Christian Teachings

The Discipline Of Love and The Pursuit, Perfecting, and Practice Of Holiness

Two things are required of us as Christian believers in order to live a life of victory over sin. We must trust in God’s divine assistance (grace), and we must train ourselves in the Spirit-led covert disciplines of Christian consecration.


When a parent tells a good child to do something, or not do something, the child obeys because he wants to please his parent. When a parent tells a strong-willed child to do something, or not do something, the child ignores the command because he wants to please himself. Speaking hereditarily, I believe that a strong-willed child, or a child who is habitually disobedient to his parents, is most likely displaying the symptomatic outworking of his great grandfather Adam’s sin of independence against the word and will of God.


Now it is true that if a parent has proven to be an untrustworthy person in a child’s life, the child will have a more difficult time trusting and obeying him/her. And even if the parent is worthy of the child’s trust, if the child
perceives that the parent is untrustworthy, he will have a difficult time trusting the parent and will trust more in his own will than his parent’s will.


Perception is everything, and perception is often clouded by deception as in the case of Eve. Her vulnerable perception came under attack through the Serpent’s deceiving her in the Garden of Eden by questioning the validity of God making good on his warning that the day she or her husband ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die. Buying into the Serpent’s deception resulted in her act of disobedience and rebellion against the word and will of God. When she offered the forbidden fruit to Adam, he ate from it too, disbelieving the validity of God’s stern and severe warning. All human beings have suffered the consequences of their sin from that point onward. The things that made Adam and Eve susceptible to the Serpent’s deception was the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.


Unlike Adam, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Child of the Father, trusted in His Father’s will instead of His own throughout His life and at the most crucial and critical time in human history. Specifically, He chose to do His Father’s will instead of His own will in the Garden of Gethsemane. From the point of that decision in the garden, Jesus set His face like a flint to go to Jerusalem and “drink the cup,” allowing Himself to be crucified on Calvary’s Cross for the sins of the world. Prior to that time, Jesus had already overcome Satan’s deceptive temptations in the wilderness, at the end of a forty-day fast, when He rejected Satan’s offer and renounced the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, proclaiming “It is written,” and “Get thee behind Me Satan.”


Jesus Christ choosing to trust and do His Father’s will instead of His own will, or Satan’s, has resulted in the salvation of every human soul who would choose to receive Him into their hearts by faith, believe on his name for their justification, continue in Him for their sanctification, and finish in Him for their glorification. This is why the Apostle Paul called Jesus “the second Adam,” and this is why I preach that Jesus Christ, the strong Son of God, is our second chance to “get it right” as a human race.


Again, the way we “get it right” and gain the victory over sin is through trusting in God’s grace found in His Son Jesus Christ, and by training ourselves in the Spirit-led covert disciplines of Christian consecration. These covert disciplines of Christian consecration are fasting, praying, giving, and meditating in God’s word in order to do His will instead of our own wills, especially when faced with satanically inspired temptations, tests, and trials in our lives.


I recommend that you begin an in depth study of covert fasting, praying, giving, and meditating in God’s word, and most importantly
put into practice what you learn. A good resource for all of these subjects is Derek Prince’s ministry website. When you visit his website, go to the category listed “Resources For Living.” I recommend that you thoroughly research this listing and then purchase and study the books and tapes on these subjects. Derek’s website can be found and accessed through our links page. May God bless you in the discipline of love, and in the pursuit, perfecting, and practice of holiness.

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Overcoming Life Threatening Resentments through The Love Walk

Author’s note: This teaching goes hand in hand with my biographical testimony that deals with my various experiences of rejection, “From A Place Of Rejection, To A Place Of Repentance, Restoration, and Revival.” In retrospect my great problem was not merely experiencing rejection time and again, but it was the way I responded to it with bitterness and resentment. Hopefully, dear reader, this teaching will help you avoid the same mistakes that I made, and hopefully keep me from making the same mistakes again when I feel rejected, offended, or treated unfairly by someone. I know this is going to happen because Jesus said it would, “For offences must come, but woe unto him through whom they come.” The important thing is that we react in Christ-like love when they do come!


“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:7&8)


It is only in our temptations, tests, trials, and tribulations that we, as Christian believers, truly learn to grow in the grace of God and in Christ-like love. Through the difficulties of this life we learn to bear the unbearable, believe the unbelievable, hope in the midst of hopelessness, endure the unendurable, and never fail when surrounded by apparent disaster including, personal, moral, relational, financial, social, physical, spiritual, emotional, governmental, and any other kind of heartache and sorrow that we may be forced to endure. It is what Bill Shakespeare refereed to in his play, “Hamlet” as, “The thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.”

None of us ever expects “bad things,” or certainly not the “worst things” to ever happen to us, so if, or when, they do, we are more often than not shocked out of our socks! Don’t you agree?

Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, knew of those shocks only too well. But He didn’t have to bear them; rather He
chose to bear them for us so that when we face them we could bear them too. (See Hebrews 2:18) Fact of business, much of our trouble is brought on by our own stubborn rebellion against the word and will of God. Conversely we can avoid many unnecessary troubles if our faith is strong and our faithfulness stronger still. If this is the case, then it can be accurately proclaimed, “He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows,” so that we wouldn’t have to bear or carry them. Nevertheless, no one on planet earth who has breath in their lungs will ever be completely exempt from some degree and measure of heartache and pain. That’s just life 101. It can also be stated accurately that we should not suffer as evildoers, but suffering for doing righteously as Christian believers, disciples, and saints is regarded highly by Heaven.

The prophet Isaiah, writing about Jesus several hundred years before He was born, proclaimed:

“For He grew up before God as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him, He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and aquatinted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem. Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:2-6)


If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not “God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” Isaiah fifty-three should completely dispel it!

“God is love.” This is how He relates to us. It is His nature to relate to us like this, and this is how Christ commands us to relate to each other. (See
John 15:9-13) It should be noted that loving like this is only possible through the divine influence of the Word of God and indwelling Holy Spirit. In other words, the grace of God!

We are instructed, “know no man after the flesh” (natural appearances) but to know ourselves, and each other “after the Spirit.” In other words, we are to relate to fellow Christians, or, for that matter, all those with whom we are in relationship and fellowship the same way Jesus did, with Agape’ (unconditional) love.

This means laying down our lives, or if you will, crucifying ourselves through accounting ourselves dead and buried with Christ to our self-indulgent rights, our judgmental and condemning attitudes, our prideful opinions, our negative propensities, and our hyper-sensitive nature, etc. These things are all part and parcel with the flesh (sin nature) to which we are exhorted to account ourselves dead. We are called to do this for the sake of our friends and enemies alike! But we will not know if we can do this until we are tested. By the way, it is easier to forgive an enemy than a trusted friend or brother by whom we feel betrayed.

This is why we are instructed,

“Count it all joy when we fall into different temptations, tests, and trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that we might be perfect and entire lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:2-5)


“God cannot be tempted with evil; neither can He tempt any man” because it is not in Him. “But we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own lust and enticed.”


Paul writes, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)


If we resist the temptation to compromise our love for God and our fellow man when we are under trials, then we will have passed the test. But if we will not resolutely remain in Christ’s love, through keeping His commandments while under trials, then we will have failed the test. It is only in Christ, or, if you will, in the faith, that we can pass the test of God because apart from Him we can do nothing. By the way, Christ and His commandments are one. That is why He is called the Word of God! “If we keep His words we will remain in His love.”



As Christian leaders, parents, employers, teachers, etc., this does not mean that we are not required to rebuke, reprove, chasten, punish, correct, discipline and instruct those for whom we are responsible. If we failed to do these things when necessary, that would not be love but neglect, a subtle form of hatred. But the manner in which we implement adjustments in the lives of those under our charge is very important. Correction must be done in love, letting the person know that even though you may have been inconvenienced, you will happily go the extra mile with him/her, that you will humbly turn and offer the other cheek when slapped, that even though someone may have taken your coat without permission, you are ready to offer them your cloak also! It has been said that true learning is caught, not taught, and the Bible teaches that as servant/leaders, we are to lead by example.


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices with the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-6)



“Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Notice wrongs, plural, more than one. If we live, work, play, or commute closely with someone, which most of us do, there will be more than one opportunity within the time-space continuum in which we all live, to feel wronged or offended.

Let me give you a hypothetical scenario. Say you work with a person who is the most offensive human being that you’ve ever known! Even when he’s trying to do right and be magnanimous, it turns out to be offensive. This person consistently makes himself look good while making others look bad. He paints himself in the most positive light, while painting his fellow co-workers in the most negative light possible. And he does this for all the bosses to see. If this were not bad enough, almost every word that comes out his mouth about his fellow workers is condescending, judgmental, and condemning. This person does this both to their faces and behind their backs, sowing discord among them. Let’s take it a step further and say that this person has actually gone to your boss crying poor and has been able to weasel work away from you, causing you to lose one third of your previous yearly income!

In the natural, you would certainly be within your rights to be resentful about this unpleasant person who is in your life. If the flesh were in control you might even think about murder! But if Christ lives inside you and you live in Christ, you are not in the natural, but in the Spirit. God has placed this person in you life for you to learn to love them unconditionally and hopefully influence them to repent and receive Christ as their Savior. You are in their life to make intercession for this person’s eternal soul! Jesus instructed us to live in a state of perpetual forgiveness. He even told us that if we will forgive others their trespasses against us, God would forgive ours. But if we refuse to forgive others, God would not forgive us! Now, if that’s not motivation to forgive others I don’t know what is!

Jesus commands us,

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

We have all offended God many times in our lives, and someone else has surely offended us just as we have offended others. The Good News is that, as Christian believers, we can confess our offences to God because we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If we will do this,
“He is faithful and just to forgive our offences and cleans us from all unrighteousness!” That is, if we are willing to forgive others, but remember if we are not, we cannot expect God’s forgiveness. If we won’t forgive others from our heart then God’s wrath will abide on us as sons of disobedience until we repent and become sons of obedience. This is why we must learn to be “quick to forgive, quick to receive forgiveness, and quick to repent!”

Furthermore, as Christian believers we are instructed to
“return no evil for evil but overcome evil with good.” We are told, “Do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath,” because, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay; thus says the Lord.” We are commanded not to judge and not to condemn when we are judged and condemned in an unrighteous or unfair manner. We are instructed to bless, pray for, and do good to those who curse us, despitefully use us, and do us harm. Clearly we are told, “The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.” God will pour out His wrath upon all evil doers on the Day of Judgment, but we are to leave that to Him. If we take it upon ourselves to do that which He alone is qualified to do, we will find ourselves facing the wrong end of the barrel on that Great and Terrible Day!

If that alone were not enough motivation to keep us clean and free from harboring resentments for wrongs done to us, the following should be. It is extremely counter-productive and self-defeating to live with un-forgiveness in our hearts. It is the reason for many of our ills and misfortunes. This is why Jesus tells us to
“forgive from the heart.” It is also why He tells us to be reconciled with a brother who has anything against you before you offer your gifts on God’s altar, and if your brother has offended you, go and tell him of the offence in the hope of him hearing you and repenting of the wrong done. We must rid our hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and Christian community from of all defilements of sin and the flesh, because we are the temples of the Holy Spirit!

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)


“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
(1Corinthians 3:17)


Therefore we must, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)


Jesus declared, “Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.’” (Matthew 15:17-20)

Harboring resentment against someone who has done us harm is one of the most evil thoughts we can have, especially in light of what Christ has done for us, and unless we forgive others
from our hearts for their offences, as we have been forgiven for ours in Christ, we will be considered “unclean,” and no “unclean person” has any inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven. (See Galatians 5:19-21) Question: Is harboring your resentments against others worth missing out on your inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven? Is it worth sacrificing your righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit? Of course not!

Get alone with God and let Him lead you and enable you to forgive from your heart all wrongs done to you over your whole life and be clean! Resentment is not a burden that any child of God should have to carry. When you confess it and forsake it by forgiving others from your heart, you will experience the washing of the water of the word. You will feel like a new creation. You want to know why? Because you will be!
“If any man be in Christ he a new creation, old things have passed way, behold, all things have become new!” And, “There is no offence in Christ Jesus!”

Look at these words written by Choi Young Hun who was a brutally tortured prisoner in a Chinese prison for five years. He was imprisoned for his humble service to North Korean exiles in China and his witness for Christ. “The most evil feeling in the world is hatred. It is very easy for people to harbor resentment in their hearts, allowing hatred to grow. For those who have been imprisoned, it is especially easy to give in to feelings of self-pity and hatred. Christ alone can help us overcome these feelings. With His help, we are able to forgive and love.” Wow, and you and I think we’ve got challenges!

On the cross Jesus prayed for His false accusers and His executioners,
“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” One of the most difficult things to do is to hold resentment against someone for whom you are praying and blessing from your heart. This is one of the ways we “overcome evil with good.” If we can’t seem to forgive for our own sake, or for the sake of our offenders, then let us forgive from our heart for Christ’s sake. Paul declared, “Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief,” and “you have not yet resisted sin to the shedding of blood.” Also, “We have the mind of Christ,” so let’s use His mind in the way we relate to others, especially those who offend us most. After all, Christ died for them too, and I’m sure that all professing and practicing Christian believers would rather see our offenders converted and saved instead of cast into Hell and the Lake of Fire! So the next time someone deeply offends you, professing but not practicing Christian, or unbeliever imagine them popping and burning in the Lake of Fire. This should produce the necessary compassion to forgive them from your heart and pray for their salvation. If it doesn’t, just imagine yourself in there with them! Selah


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The Rewards Of Remaining In Christ, And His Words Remaining In Us And The Consequences Of Failing To Do So

If we remain in Christ and His words remain in us our prayers will be answered, and better yet, our names will be written in Heaven and not blotted out of the Book of Life!

Jesus promised those who believe in Him,

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:6-8)
Remaining in Christ and Christ’s words remaining in the Christian believer is the great need of the centuries and of the hour! Regrettably, remorsefully, and hopefully repentantly, the church in general has failed to do this, and that is the reason many of us are in such insipid weakness, desperate want, and tottering on the threshold of apostasy! If we can find the courage to be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that often we pray and ask God for the things we need and for the needs of others, (i.e. financial provisions, healing for our bodies and minds, deliverance from bad habits and demonic oppression, salvation from our highhanded and deliberate sins, etc), but tragically, much of the time our prayers go unanswered, and unless we repent and learn to remain in Christ and allow His words to remain in us, this will continue to be the pitiful, pathetic, painful, devastating, and extremely dangerous case!
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor un-circumcision, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6) “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 3-4) Nevertheless, Jesus Christ Himself pondered, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
It is important to realize that faith in Christ and faithfulness to His commandment to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbors as ourselves are one and the same, so unless we hear the words of Christ and also do the words of Christ, we are self-deceived if we think we are remaining in Christ and His words are remaining in us.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
It is by both hearing and doing the words of Christ that we remain in the faith! This is how we remain in Him! This is how we pass God’s test! This is how we prove His good, and acceptable, and perfect will! Question: What is God’s will? Answer: That the church be one with Christ in wisdom, purity, power, and love!
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)
It was because of His unity in plan, purpose, and pursuit with His Heavenly Father’s will that Jesus always knew whenever He prayed that His prayers would be answered because He always sought to do God’s pleasure instead of His own pleasure or the pleasure of anyone else. (i.e. self, Satan, and sin; not to mention Mary and Martha who wanted Jesus to show up and heal their brother Lazarus before he died, but God had another agenda and a better plan that resulted in His greater glory and a better testimony of the fact that His only begotten Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. In other words, God’s way of dealing with the drama of Lazarus’s illness resulted in greater benefit on behalf of the people to whom Jesus was sent.) Anyway, let’s look at Christ’s prayer and testimony when He raised Lazarus from the dead.
Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me. When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’” (John 11:41-44)
As was true of the Master, the same is true of the disciple.
“My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:18-24)
The “prayer of faith” is the prayer of the faithful, and this is why the church was instructed, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15)
At the time the above scripture was written, the church was under great persecution. To be appointed and to remain an elder would have required great faithfulness, and this quality in a man or woman would have given them the authority to pray the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus and get the desired results. There are elders in the church today who can do this, but regrettably they are the exception, not the rule. If you don’t believe it, go ask some elders in your church to pray for you and see if they get the desired results to their prayers! Some will flat out refuse to do it, saying that divine healing and miracles are not for today. A lie from the pit of Hell! Others might tell you that it’s God’s will that you fulfill the sufferings of Christ in your own body and therefore remain ill. A doctrine of devils! Others who do believe that healing is for today will pray for you, and when nothing happens, they’ll tell you to exercise
patience, saying that God will heal you in His time and in His way. The problem is that you already are a patient and that’s why you requested prayer! In all fairness, it must be stated that the person requesting prayer must be in a place of faith also, not just the elders.
Having said that, to be able to pray the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus and get the desired results of our prayers should be the rule for all Christian believers, and there should be no spiritual pride attached to getting results. As followers of Christ, when praying the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus, we have only done what was expected and required of us as obedient servants. God deserves all the glory and credit for answered prayer because He has paid the ultimate price through allowing His sinless Son to suffer the unbearable consequences for our sins so that we might be prospered, healed, delivered, and saved! With this in mind I’d like to share a testimony with you.
Once Dr. Lester Sumrall was starting a church in the Philippines and was involved in a big building project. There was a woman in prison who had been arrested for prostitution. The newspaper had reported that while in her cell, bite marks had begun appearing on all parts of her body, both front and back. Many of the bite marks were in places that would have been impossible for her to inflict upon herself. The newspaper’s front page read “Bitten By Demons.” This was accompanied with a plethora of photographs of the woman and the bite marks all over her body. It was revealed in the article that the jailers would hear her screaming in the night and run to her solitary cell only to find her writhing in pain and crying out for help. The whole country had become aware of this case because it lasted for several months and had received full media coverage.
When the article came to Lester’s attention, the Lord told him, “Go and pray the prayer of faith over that woman and cast the demons out of her in My name.” Lester said, “Lord I’m very busy, can’t You send some other minister to do it.” The Lord replied, “I don’t have anyone else who can!” Lester went and ministered to the woman, and over a period of time, she was completely set free, and the pain and the bite marks disappeared, never to return again. The media also covered her deliverance, interviewing brother Sumrall, who gave God all of the glory. A great revival began in the city where he was starting the church, and it spread throughout the whole country! Many souls were saved and healed during this time, and many members were added to his congregation.
I shared that testimony with you, dear reader, to remind you, and myself, that in order to be available to be used of God to bring deliverance and healing to hurting human beings through the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus, we must remain in Christ and His words must remain in us. We must be sanctified, set apart, and prepared for the Master’s use as branches abiding in the Vine and bearing fruit to eternal life. If we are not, we must not waste other people’s time or unrealistically get their hopes up only to be dashed upon the rocks. Our prayers will not be answered! We will only bring reproach to Jesus Christ by using His blessed name in prayer while not getting the desired results from our prayers. This is most often the case because we are still harboring iniquity in our hearts and continuing in our un-confessed and un-forsaken sins instead of continuing in Him and His words continuing in us. Jesus always got the desired results when He prayed, and He is our example and goal!
“Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are His. And let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
Regarding the above testimony of Lester Sumrall, the Lord knew Lester was His and that he had departed from iniquity so he could pray the prayer of faith in the name of Jesus with authority and get results. But what must we conclude about the other professing Christian ministers in the area whom the Lord could not use?
And consider this scripture,
“Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7)
In the above scripture we discover that if a husband does not honor (love and respect) his wife, his prayers will be hindered. What is true for the gander is also true for the goose! As Christian believers we must all walk in love towards God, each other, and the world if we do not want our prayers to be hindered.


Paul declared,

 “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)
Jesus Christ told the church at Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I will vomit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
He also gave an ultimatum,
“Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”
For the professing and practicing Christian believers the only option is to be white hot and zealous in doing right, and to continue to pursue and perfect holiness (godliness) in reverence of God. “To be a disciple of Christ will cost you everything; not to be a disciple of Christ will cost you a whole lot more!” In other words, the cost of being a disciple of Christ is great, but the rewards for doing so and the consequences for not doing so are greater still. You might ask, what are the rewards for remaining in Christ and His words remaining in us, and what are the consequences for not doing so? The answer is simple; so let me be succinct. The rewards for obedience are,
“you can ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:6) The consequences for disobedience are “your prayers will be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) Which will we choose?
Now, according to Jesus, having our prayers answered and having demons subject to us through His name is no reason to rejoice. This is just a bi-product of remaining in Him and allowing His words to remain in us. The real reason for remaining in Him and allowing His words to remain in us, and the real reason to rejoice is because in doing so we will assure ourselves that our names are still written in Heaven! (Luke 10:20)
With these things in mind we must ask ourselves, what will happen to those unbelievers who do not repent and believe the gospel? Jesus tells us that the unbelieving will have their place in the lake of fire. (Revelation 21:8) And what will happen to those backsliding professing Christians who do not wake up and put their energies into the things that are of eternal value through repentance from dead works and obedience to what they have received and heard regarding the word and will of God? What will happen to those who do not overcome the defiling of their garments through their sexual immorality, human debaucheries, slothfulness and spiritual sleepiness, and the hypocrisy of having a reputation of being alive while in reality they are dead? In other words, what will happen to those unrepentant, un-revived, backsliding, reprobate, and apostate professing Christians who fail to remain in Christ and allow His words to remain in them?
Let’s take a look at two scriptures regarding both people groups. Notice, if you will, that the first scripture, offered by Peter, promises that if unbelievers repent and are converted, their sins will be blotted out. Good News! Jesus spoke the second scripture that I will quote, and promises that the believers who overcome will be dressed in white and never have their names blotted out of the book of life. Good News!

The first is written to the unbelievers: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

The second is written to professing Christian believers: “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:1-6)

So, at the end of the day, we can have our prayers answered or hindered, and we can have our sins blotted out, or our names blotted out of the book of life. The choice is entirely ours! Which will we choose?

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Inheriting and Demonstrating God’s Eternal Kingdom And Escaping The Eternal Torments Of Hell

The Apostle Paul tells us,
“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1Corinthians 3:17)


The universal Christian church is the sacred temple of God. It is the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit. It is made up of individual Christian believers who have been justified (made innocent) by grace through faith in the blood and name of Jesus. Christian believers have also been called out and set apart (sanctified) by God to be living stones in this sacred building as we confess Christ before humankind, practice Christ’s teachings and keep His commandments, and witness to the world through a lifestyle of faith, hope, and love.


This is accomplished through seeking and receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit and with the understanding, as well as remaining filled with the Spirit through singing with our born again human spirits (in the languages of both men and of angels) and also with our understanding (in our native language). All of these disciplines, along with our knowledge of, and obedience to the Word of God will result in our living and walking in the Spirit. So, it can also be accurately stated that in the same way corporately, as the community of Christ, we are the temple of God; as individual Christian believers each one of us is also a temple of the Holy Spirit. This requires great obligation and responsibility on our parts as to how we treat our bodies and how we behave with our bodies. Why? Because they are temples of the Holy Spirit!


Paul exhorts us,
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)


Now, “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” but regrettably, many are called but few are chosen.” This is because “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many take that route, but small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” God’s will is that all Christian believers be “chosen vessels of honor, sanctified, set apart and prepared for the Master’s use. But in a great house there are many vessels, some for honor and some for dishonor.” Nevertheless, God’s will is that we all be sanctified, as well as consecrated vessels of honor.


We must understand that
sanctification is God’s part, and consecration is our part. After we experience our justification by grace through faith in Christ’s accomplished atonement for our sins, both of these processes of sanctification and consecration in operation are the means by which we inherit God’s eternal kingdom and escape the eternal torments of the garbage dump that Jesus called Hell (Gehenna). In this terrible, dark, and odiously odiferous place “the fires are never quenched and the worm never dies.” It is the place where all unrepentant sinners and all unrepentant professing to be, but not practicing “Christians” will spend eternity! These are those individuals who are unrepentant non-believers, as well as “Christian” hypocrites, heretics, backsliders, reprobates, and apostates. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise or tell you differently regarding this matter. If anyone does, it is a lie from Satan that has been propagated through false teachers in the church!


Again, Christ is made unto us sanctification, and the God of all peace has promised to sanctify us wholly, spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord. “Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it.” But we must also choose to consecrate ourselves unto Him - spirit, soul, and body - by yielding to the promptings and leadings of the Holy Spirit and not to the dictates of the flesh (sin nature). This means that Jehovah God desired to sanctify us through His Son Jesus Christ, and that is what He did through the cross. He still desires to sanctify us through His truth (Word) and through the workings of His Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth, and that is what He is doing. His will is to do this for our entire being - spirit, soul, and body - unto the second coming of Jesus Christ by setting us apart as pure, devoted, and dedicated vessels of honor for His plans, purposes, and pursuits.


As Christ has sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified, God has and will continue to sanctify us in Christ in order to demonstrate what is His good, and acceptable and perfect will in the earth. But we have a part to play in this process! Our chosen consecration unto Him means that we give ourselves - spirit, soul, and body – daily, in obedience to Christ’s commandments and to the Spirit’s directives and thereby live and manifest the gospel of the kingdom, not in word only, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power!


I hope that we are beginning to understand the spiritual dynamic between what God is working in us, and what we are to be working out in Him!


The scriptures are clear,
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12)


Jesus Christ testified that the fulfillment of the law is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”


Jesus came to fulfill the law, and that is exactly what He did!


Paul also said,
“the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit,” and he exhorts us,


“Brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14)


He goes on to write,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)


The Holy Spirit’s job is to “lead us into all truth,” and our job is to follow His lead! “He will not speak of His own, but will only speak what Jesus speaks.” Notice, if you will, that this is just like Jesus during His public ministry on the earth, He “did not speak of His own, but only spoke what He heard the Father speak.”


With this in mind consider these words of Jesus Christ,
“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?’” (Mark 8:34-37)


And again, the words of Jesus Christ,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)


If we don’t want to lose our souls and our lives, we will have to get real good at following the leading of the Holy Spirit! We will not be able to die for Christ unless we are willing to live for Him. Living for Christ means denying one’s own will and doing God’s will instead. Again, the will of God concerning the Christian believer is our sanctification, and only those who do the will of God by consecrating themselves unto Him in denying themselves and taking up their own cross daily and following Him will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Selah (Think long and hard about this!)


The writer of Hebrews exhorts us,
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)


And consider this exhortation from Paul,
"I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." (Romans 6:19)


And,
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
(1Corinthians 6:12)


Another word for holiness is godliness, and Christ Jesus is the perfect expression or manifestation of God in human form. If you will, the Lord Jesus Christ’s character is the perfect human expression of God’s character. The way God thinks and behaves is revealed in the way Christ thought and behaved while on the earth, and the way Christian believers are supposed to think and behave is the way that Christ thought and behaved! Again, this is accomplished through yielding to the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and conforming ourselves in obedience to the word of God. We are to strive to live our lives as Christ lived His life, free from sin, and not live our lives apart from His example or influence.


Jesus taught His disciples,
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)


Another definition for the word perfect, as used in the scriptures, is the word mature, and Paul tells us that Christian maturity is defined as our not having arrived at the goal, but by being in the practice of “pressing for the goal of the heavenward call of God in Christ Jesus.”


No one but Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, has ever achieved the goal of sinless perfection this side of glory, but as His followers, we are all called to “grow in God’s grace,” to “pursue peace with all men and holiness,” and to “press towards the goal of the heavenward call of God in Christ Jesus.” In other words, we are to be in the business of “perfecting holiness in reverence of God!” Anything short of this practice means that we have “received the grace of God in vain.”


Jesus said, “To this present hour, the kingdom of Heaven allows pressure, and those who press into it take it by force.” If we are not in the diligent business of pressing into the kingdom of God and taking it by force, we are in the business of backsliding. In the words of Bob Dylan, “You’ve either got faith or you’ve got unbelief, and there ain’t no neutral ground.”


This is why Paul instructs,
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)


If we are not presently “in the faith” through daily living and walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading and the Word of God, then according to the scripture just quoted Christ is not in us! So we see that it is entirely possible to fail the test if we are not in hot pursuit of Christ and His kingdom that resides within us as born-again believers. This pursuit will result in the transformation of our characters and the transfiguration of our beings into a state of true holiness and godliness.


Now, if any of us, dear readers, after careful examination of ourselves, find that we are
“failing the test,” it is still possible because of God’s mercies to repent and become faithful to God’s calling by appropriating the sanctification that has already been provided for us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Again this is realized by our choosing to live a consecrated life unto God by confessing and forsaking our sins. If we will do this, we will truly be the elect, the chosen of God, and not just the called of God. We will be in the company of the few who find the road to life instead of in the company of the many who choose the road to Hell! Consecration is what God requires of us if we are to inherit the eternal kingdom of Heaven and escape the eternal torments of the Lake of Fire. Repentance from our sins and a consecrated life unto God is still possible for all of us who still have breath in our lungs and have not denied Christ before men because, “God is love,” “His mercy endures forever,” “His mercies are new every morning,” and “mercy rejoices against judgment.” So concerning our consecration unto God, I beg you, in the words of the Nike commercial, “Just do it,” and please pray that I will also!


In this exhortation I have spoken much about giving ourselves to God, spirit, soul, and body so that His will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. I will leave you with a few final scriptures to contemplate from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.


“Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.’” (Matthew 15:17-20)


"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes
so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.


 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”


“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.”
(John 15:1-17) 

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Becoming Doers of the Word Through the Gift of Righteousness

The other night I was watching the evangelist brother Jimmy Swaggart on television. He was speaking about the communication that was going on between the Lord and him after he was exposed to a worldwide audience for his adulterous behavior. The Lord told him that He had allowed a wound to be leveled upon him like that of Jacob’s, who wrestled with the Lord and came up lame. This was necessary for his correction. At one point in the show, Jimmy picked up his Bible and said, “I don’t know the answer to living a victorious Christian life, but I do know one thing; it can be found in this Book.”


I was deeply touched by his humility, honesty, and transparency, and I agree that the answer to victorious Christian living can be found in the Bible, but not just in reading it, hearing it, understanding it, teaching it, or preaching it; but also, and without a doubt of equal or much greater importance, by trusting and obeying what is written in it!


To hear the word and teach the word without
doing the word is at best self-deceiving, self-defeating, and counter productive to receiving God’s blessings in this life, as well as receiving one’s inheritance of eternal life in Christ and the kingdom of God that is to come. It is at worst utterly devastating and totally self-destructive because it is a potential formula for eternal citizenship in Hell and the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.


Consider the warnings of Christ to His disciples,
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:12-14)




Consider the words of James to the church,
“Be doers of the word, not hearers only deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22) And, “You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe and tremble. But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20) And last but not least, “My brothers, not many of you should presume to be teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation and be judged more severely.” (James 3:1) So, we see that our faith must be accompanied with corresponding righteous actions for it to be validated and living. Why? Because an invalid or dead faith cannot save us; it is only a living faith in the living God that can save us. Another word for a living faith is “faithfulness.”


If you don’t believe that the above scripture quotations mean a professing Christian, or especially, a Christian Bible teacher, could potentially end up in Hell, then consider the words of the Apostle John,

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:3-4) And we know that ‘All liars will have their place in the lake of Fire. This is the second death.’” (Revelation 21: 8)


And consider the words of the Apostle Paul, who wrote two-thirds of the New Testament,

“I keep my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (I Corinthians 9:27)


The author of Hebrews, speaking of mature Christian believers writes,

“For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs suitable for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected, and is near unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8)


Again, consider the exhortation of the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples (not to sinners), who were soon to be faced with the temptation to deny or confess Him before men, and this, if they were to remain faithful, at the very real threat of being martyred in their service for Christ.


“Fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28)


It is interesting to note that unlike the sermons of most contemporary preachers who warn sinners about going to Hell, whenever Jesus warned of going to Hell, He was speaking to His disciples and not to sinners, except for twice when He was speaking to the Pharisees!


And again the words of the Lord Jesus Christ,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:21-27)



And again, consider these words of the Lord Jesus Christ,
“He answered and said unto them, He that sows the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather ‘out of His kingdom’ all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:38-42)



And look at the words of Jesus Christ on this subject once again,
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:5-6)



And last but not least,
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating. Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more. I am come to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled.” (Luke 12:42-49)



Now, for those of us Christian believers like Jimmy Swaggart and me, and perhaps even you, dear reader, who may not know how to live a victorious overcoming Christian life free from sin, but know that the answer to this perplexing question is found in the Bible, and not just in reading it, hearing it, or even preaching and teaching it, but much more so in trusting and obeying it, there is yet hope!


You may be asking, please tell us what is that hope? The answer is definitive,


“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)


If you and I, as professing Christian believers, tried with all our energies and efforts to keep and practice the Word of God perfectly (without a revelation of the grace of the atonement and the gift of righteousness stored up for us in Christ, and released to us through the Holy Spirit) and were somehow successful, it would result in self-righteous religious pride. And remember,
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) If we were unsuccessful, it would result in spiritual frustration and drive us to abandon our efforts and remain in, or return to our sins, a condition of unrighteous licensed rebellion.


If we truly understand this dynamic, we will know why the concept of
“sinless perfection” (which is a doctrine that teaches it is possible for Christian believers to never sin again after their initial conversion to Christ) is at best, unrealistically ambitious and at worst, heretically erroneous. Of course this does not mean that we, as Christian believes, are not required of God to pursue, perfect, and cultivate the fruit of holiness found in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, “sinless perfection” will not be ours this side of glory.


When the Bible speaks of
“repentance from dead works and faith towards God,” (Hebrews 6:1) it is not just referring to unrighteous works, but also self-righteous works. Concerning the Israel of God and the Hebrew people, “works of law” cannot make them righteous in God’s eyes, even though many of them are still trying to achieve righteousness through works of law. Concerning Christian believers, neither can “works of faith” make us righteous in God’s eyes, even though many of us are still trying to receive righteousness through works of faith!


Our righteousness is through a trust and reliance upon Christ for our salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification), and our works of faith are a result of receiving God’s grace through faith and walking in the revelation of Christ’s accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. Our righteousness is also dependent on yielding to the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in our spirits and souls, and patiently waiting in a state of perpetual hope for Christ’s finished work to be revealed in us at His second coming and the first out resurrection of the dead and living in Christ.


As we wait in the hope of His righteousness and glory to be revealed in us, we must also be in hot pursuit of the holiness, godliness, and righteousness already provided for us in Christ. This is accomplished by working with Him and not against in His efforts to reveal Himself in us, to us, and through us to the glory of God our Heavenly Father!


This is of course why the Apostle Paul wrote,
“That I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is of God through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on for the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” (Philippians 3:9-15)



So in closing, let’s sum up what we’ve learned. Not every one who professes to know Christ, and even teaches the Bible, actually practices doing Christ’s words; therefore these are liars who will have their place in the Lake of Fire. (1 John 2:3-4 & Revelation 21: 8) But sincere Christian believers, or if you will, those who are
“loved by Christ” and “who love Christ in sincerity,” (1 John 4:19) are not like the hypocrites mentioned above (Luke 6:46) because they are the recipients of God’s grace (Ephesians 6:24) by which through faith they have been made “the righteousness of God in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Because “they love Christ and keep His commandments, God the Father and God the Son have chosen to come and make their home with them!” (John 14:23)


If we are professing and practicing Christian believers and not as
“those who draw back into perdition” (Hebrews 10:38), we have continued in His love by trusting in Christ’s blood and name for our salvation that has been made available through His righteous work on the cross, “Jesus having been made sin for us.” At that moment in time our sin nature was crucified with Him on the cross. We have also been “buried with Him through baptism” and “raised with Him from the dead for our justification.” We are now “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” and “seated with Christ in heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:13 & 2:6)


Another way of saying this is that we have received
“the gift of righteousness” (Romans 3:24) through continuing in Him and allowing His word’s to continue in us, (John 15:7) thereby not receiving God’s grace in vain. (2 Corinthians 6:1) We are also “pressing for the goal to win the prize of heavenward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8) by “living and walking in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) This is accomplished in us through yielding our spirits, souls, and bodies to the Spirit’s leading and not to the dictates of our old sin nature because, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24) In other words, we are in the practice of “mortifying the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit.” (Romans 8:13) Through the Holy Spirit and obedience to Christ’s words, we have become and are becoming “doers of righteousness, (Romans 2:13 & 1 John 3:7) “not allowing sin to dwell in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in the lust thereof.” (Romans 6:12) Also, “the righteous requirement of the law (which is to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves) is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit!” (Romans 8:4)


And last but not least,
“we ourselves through the Spirit, by faith, eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Galatians 5:5) This will be ours when Christ returns because at that time we will truly be the “spirits of just men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:23) The Apostle John tells us, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) Praise God, amen!



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God’s Conditional Promise Of Sanctification ‘Faithful Is He Who Calls You, Who Will Also Do It’ (In you, to you, and through you, but not without you)

The Holy Scriptures make many conditional promises regarding Christian believers that are to be received by faith in the One who promised them. The Apostle Peter tells us,

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)


If I may, I like to put it this way. Through God’s divine power, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He has done this through having called us by His own glory and goodness, through the knowledge of Christ, and through His very great and precious promises. Through them we can participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires, if we choose to!

Now, one of these great and precious promises of God given to us is the promise of our whole sanctification that incorporates the blameless preservation of our spirits, souls, and bodies unto the coming of the Lord.

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” (1Thessalonians 5:23-24)


Here we have the Apostle Paul offering a divinely inspired prayer to the God of all peace on behalf of the individual believers in the church at Thessalonica, that He would sanctify them wholly; and that their whole spirits and souls and bodies be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord. Then he adds a God breathed promise. “Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it.”

If “all scripture is given by inspiration of God,” which it is, (2 Timothy 3:16), and if “God is no respecter of persons,” which He is not, (Romans 2:11) then this promise is relative to all believers, including you and me. Right? So, this is a great and precious promise that we can choose to believe or disbelieve. If we choose to believe it, we must ask ourselves, how will the God of all peace sanctify us wholly; and how will our whole spirits and souls and bodies be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is that He will do it in us, to us, and through us, but not without us.

To prove this fact, let’s turn to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He Himself gives us the answer to this question in a God breathed prayer offered to His Heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples and also on behalf of those who would believe in Him through their preaching. “Sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth.” (John 17:17) And consider this exhortation of the Apostle Paul,

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)


The Holy Scriptures found in the Bible are the Word of God because they are God breathed. “All scripture is God–breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

When the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit are trusted in and obeyed, it results in the sanctification of the Christian believer’s whole spirit and soul and body through the truth of God’s word and the empowerment of His Spirit.

In the following scripture we find a condition in order to experience God’s sanctification; namely, we must continue in His word to know the truth, and if we do so, the truth will make us free from sin. Then we will be sanctified wholly, spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord!

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?’ 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.’” John 8:31-36


Let’s take a look at some scriptures that we must continue in, on a disciplined basis, in order to experience God’s conditional promise of sanctification for our spirits, souls, and bodies, so that we might know the truth, and so that the truth might make us free from sin.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)


But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)


Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)


“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoever keeps His word; truly the love of God is perfected in Him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)


With this in mind, please consider the following sobering scriptural truth dictated by the Lord Jesus Christ and recorded by the Apostle John.


But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelations 21:8)


As Christian believers the key concept for our sanctification is found in denying ourselves, taking up our crosses daily and following Christ. Every day of our lives we can choose to do this or choose not to. If we choose to do this, we will experience the happiness of holiness that comes from sanctification; if we choose not to, we will experience the pleasures of sin for a season, but in the end it will pay off in dividends of death. (Romans 6:23 paraphrased)

Now, God has promised to sanctify us wholly, that our whole spirits, souls, and bodies would be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and remember, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” God has chosen to sanctify us through Christ’s own blood and the name of Jesus in which we have placed our trust, through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and leads and guides us into all truth, as well as through His words that are Spirit and life. All of these means and ways of God’s choosing involve the submission of our wills to His will. If He is leading, we must follow! If we refuse to submit our wills to His will, He will have to deal with us as disobedient sons, and this will mean unpleasant circumstances allowed by God for our ultimate good.

“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrew 12:5-11


The hard times and the difficult circumstances that we encounter as Christian believers are more often than not the results of our refusing to submit our wills to God’s will through chosen obedience to His word. If this is the case, then we must consider the hard times that we have to endure as the chastening of the Lord, and in that knowledge, run towards Him and not away from Him! “God will not tempt us with evil, neither can He be tempted with evil,” (James 1:13) but we have been “tempted through our own lust, drawn away and enticed.” (James 1:14) Remember, “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Nevertheless, “If we lose faith He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself,” (2 Timothy 2:13) and “He will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able to bear, but will with the temptation, make a way of escape.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) And again, the way of escape from our sins is in our choosing to abide in Him through trusting and obeying His word (John 8:31-32) and through following the leading of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13)

Now, let’s take a look at the words of the psalmist, King David, on this subject of God’s faithfulness to afflict us for our correction, which he knew something about on a personal level!

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. I know, O Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119: 67, 71, 75)


This is the proper response when we are chastened of the Lord for our sinful behavior. May the sufferings that we endure as sons, who are learning obedience to the word of God, lead us to the happiness that comes from holiness. Jesus Himself, the sinless Son of God, had to learn obedience through the things that He suffered (Hebrew 5:8) and as Christ’s followers, so will we. If we learn our lesson well, it is a suffering that will lead us to comfort, and an ability to comfort others in their difficult circumstances.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)


In the economy of the Christian faith there are times like the one just quoted when Christian believers will have to endure suffering at the hands of sinful men because of our faithful identification with Christ. At other times like the ones previously quoted, Christian believers will have to endure the chastening of the Lord because of disobedience to His will, and because we have yielded to our own lusts, and at times even pursued them instead of denying self, taking up our own cross daily and following Jesus! Then, of course, there’s what every human being conceived in Adam and born of Eve has experienced. It is what William Shakespeare called, “The thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” In all cases, it is the way we respond to suffering and chastening that will cause us to succeed or fail in our spiritual pilgrimage. The latter painful experiences mentioned above, that we might have to endure for righteousness sake, will require an abiding trust in God. This will lead to our comfort from Him. The former painful experiences mentioned above that we might have to endure for our disobedience will lead to repentance from our sins and learned obedience through the things that we suffer.

One way or the other, as Christian believers, the end results of our sufferings for righteousness or unrighteousness will lead to the sanctification and preservation of our whole spirits, souls, and bodies unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the most extreme cases our disobedience can lead to sickness and death, and this is why we must learn obedience through the minor afflictions that we suffer in order to avoid those extreme cases. Let’s take a look at a couple of such extreme examples revealed in the scriptures through the exhortations of the Apostle Paul for our sanctification and edification.

“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-30)


In the following scripture it is recorded that Paul made a decision (based on the severity of this man’s sin) to pass righteous judgment on him through his apostolic authority. “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (John 20:23) He retained this man’s sin for the ultimate salvation of his spirit man, “the hidden man of the heart” on the Day of the Lord, and for the overall good of the church at Corinth. Would be that there were men of God to exercise such authority in the Church today!

“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sin nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. Your glorying is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. ” (1 Corinthians 5:1-7)


So we see that God is faithful to sanctify us wholly and to preserve our whole spirits, and souls, and bodies blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost. First He shed His own blood on the cross and released His Spirit into our hearts; next He gave us a written document of His God-breathed words that are called the Holy Scriptures and are found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Again, these are the means to our sanctification if trusted in and obeyed. If not, He will allow difficult circumstances and afflictions in our lives in order to cause us to learn obedience through the things that we suffer and to turn back to Him by confessing and forsaking our sins. (Proverb 28:13) If this does not work, He will allow weakness and sickness in our lives, and even premature death so that our sin nature will be destroyed, and our spirits saved in the Day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:5) Having said that, God’s ultimate and highest plan for our sanctification is found in the revelation of the atonement, and the following scriptures express this quite well.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.” (Romans 6:1-4)


It is my prayer, dear reader, that “whoever names the name of Jesus will depart from iniquity,” (2 Timothy 2:19), and that we will all “be subject to the Father of spirits and live” (Hebrews 12:9) instead of having to go through afflictions, weakness, sickness, and premature death, or even worse, the second death which is Hell and the Lake of Fire! (Revelations 21:8) God’s promise is to sanctify each Christian believer wholly, and his/her whole spirit, and soul, and body will be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but this will require our choosing to believe His promises and work with Him through appropriating His grace through faith in and obedience to His Word and Spirit.

You might ask, why is all this necessary? The answer is simple, because
“without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Our sanctification is a necessary part of our salvation that follows our justification in Christ and precedes our glorification in Christ. So let us “rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (Thessalonians 5: 16-18) After all, how can we do otherwise? Because, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

But again, I must emphasize, do it in us, to us, and through us, but not without us. God has and will be faithful to His promise to sanctify us wholly unto the coming of the Lord, but our consecration unto Him is required, and this will take “energy, enthusiasm, and effort” on our parts. In other words, God’s part is to sanctify us, and our part is to consecrate ourselves unto Him that we might be sanctified! So for God’s sake, and for our own present and eternal comfort and happiness, let us be resolute in working with Him and not against Him in this great enterprise the Bible calls sanctification.

A couple of other promises that we have from God are that if we will separate ourselves unto Him and from the corruption of world, then He will be our Father, and we will be His sons and daughters, and He will walk in our midst. (2 Corinthians 6: 14-18 paraphrased) But whoever defiles his body, which is the temple of God where the Spirit lives, God will destroy! (1 Corinthians 3:16 paraphrased)
“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) Amen!

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Winning Crowns Through Righteous Works of Faith, Without the Offence of Spiritual Pride

“Of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 

As Christian believers, we are in Christ Jesus because God put us in Him. (Ephesians 1:4-6) When we exercised our faith in Jesus, He became for us “wisdom from God,” and righteousness from God, and sanctification from God, and redemption from God. Therefore, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” In other words, as Christian believers, we have no reason to glory or boast because of any accomplishment of our own making or achievement of our own doing. If we are wise, if we are righteous, if we are sanctified, and if we are redeemed, it is because God chose to place us in Christ Jesus! Our salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) was, is, and will be the result of our sovereign God’s choosing. Now, this does not mean that the human will is not involved in the process. God’s will was to provide the Way for our salvation from sin. Our responsibility is to repent from our sins and trust and obey the gospel. When our wills line up with God’s will, then His will is done in us, to us, and through us, on earth as it is in Heaven!

“God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) And, “It is God’s will that you be sanctified.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Still, if we are sanctified, there is no reason for us to boast because “no flesh shall glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) and “our righteousness apart from the gift of His righteousness is as filthy rags!” (Isaiah 64:6) Also, any crown or position of authority that we might attain to now or in the future kingdom of God that is to come, will be attained to “by grace through faith.” This, of course, is why the twenty-four elders who stand before the throne of God are seen casting their crowns at Jesus’ feet instead of parading them around on their heads in a perverse display of spiritual pride! (Revelation 4:10) Any righteousness that might be attributed to us is a direct result of God having predestinated us to be in relationship with Him, and because of that relationship with the righteous One, we can now choose to remain in fellowship with Him instead of living in, or returning to our sins.

At the end of the day, it is all about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and God’s efforts to save us! The only alternative for us apart from Christ’s righteousness
imputed and imparted to us through faith, resulting in a relationship with Him, and an opportunity to continue in fellowship with Him, is self-righteous religion or unrighteous rebellion, which in reality are two sides of the same coin! Both of these depraved human conditions are completely unacceptable to God. It is interesting to note that the body of fallen humanity instrumental in crucifying the Lord of glory came under both these two categories; the self-righteous legalistic religious, and the unrighteous rebellious, or, if you will, those who seek license and give license to sin.

The
“works of faith” that we might perform as Christian believers are a direct result of His faithfulness to “perfect that which concerns us,” (Psalm 138:8) and to “complete the work that He began.” (Philippians 1:6) After all, “We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that God ordained before hand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Even our choosing to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” by yielding to the directives of the doctrine of Christ and the blessed Holy Spirit, is a direct result of His grace, which is “the divine influence upon our hearts and its reflection in our lives.” (Philippians 2:12-13) It is by God’s grace through faith alone that we choose to do righteousness and choose to resist the temptation to do evil. This does not mean that we cannot resist God’s will or “receive His grace in vain;” the scriptures clearly point out that potentially we can. (2 Corinthians 6:1) Therefore, it would do us all well to remember the following quotations: “Temptation resisted is the mark of true character,” and “After everything is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.” And let’s not forget the exhortation of Paul, “Be careful if you think you stand, lest you fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)

We are all self-centered and self-seeking to one degree or another because of Adam’s transgression and because of our own choices to continue in sin instead of
“believing in,” “receiving,” and “remaining in Christ.” God’s desire for sinful human beings is for them to begin the process of becoming Christ centered instead of self-centered through being born again, or, if you will, by believing in and receiving God’s grace in the Person of His only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 1:12-13) This is accomplished through “repentance from works that lead to death and faith towards God,” baptism in water in the name of Jesus, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 6:1-2) Now after our initiation into Christ, the sublime and supreme mission or, if you will, the highest calling and goal in this life as believers in Christ, disciples of Christ, and saints of God is to continue in the process of becoming as Christ centered as possible through “growing in the grace” we have received. (2 Peter 3:18) This is accomplished through yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit and conforming ourselves to the teachings and instructions found in the Holy Scriptures. (Romans 8:14) It is through these disciplines of spirit, soul, and body that we are to “be transformed through the renewing of our minds that we might prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) All of this is what Paul called “pressing for the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 3:14) Nevertheless, even our “pressing for the mark” is an out working of His grace. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples where Jesus warned his disciples against spiritual pride and how to avoid it.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If any man remains in Me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say, when he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down at the table, and will not rather tell him, ‘Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink?’ Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not.  Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.’” Luke 17:7-10



To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:9-14


"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5


Earlier in this teaching I mentioned the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before the Lord’s throne. Let’s take a look at five crowns or rewards for righteous works of faith mentioned in the Bible that we as Christian believers can receive by grace through faith. They are the following:

The Crown of Life: Given to all who endure temptation and are faithful through trials. This crown is also given to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

The Crown of Righteousness: Given to all who keep the faith and long for and love His return. (2 Timothy 4:8)

The Crown of Rejoicing: Given to all who have helped bring others to Christ. (1Thessalonians 2:19)

The Crown of Glory: Given to all who serve and shepherd God’s people. (1 Peter 5:1- 4)

The Imperishable Crown: Given to those who have exercised self-control in all things and subdued their sin nature. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

So, we see that it is entirely possible for Christian believers to “practice righteous works of faith” without “spiritual pride” and receive “crowns” for our behavior. Why? Because, “Of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

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The Cross of Jesus Christ and the Cross of the Christian Believer

Part One

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ neither circumcision nor un-circumcision avails anything but a new creation. Galatians 6:14


For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

In essence, these two scriptures are saying that one’s salvation from sin is not based on works of law but on grace through faith resulting in “a new creation” and “faith working through love” for those who are “in Christ Jesus.” Another way of saying this is, "That I might be be found "in Him," not having a righteousness of my own which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Philippians 3:9

For the professing Christian believer it is through receiving the knowledge of the truth, resulting in faith in the accomplished sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, that the “the world,” “the flesh” (sin nature), and the “old man” have been executed with Christ, resulting in his justification (innocence) from sin.

The power of heart belief and mouth confession:

‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, because if you shall
confess (profess) with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession (profession) is made unto salvation. Romans 10:8-10 (Also see Hebrews 10:23)

Respectively, the
professing, practicing Christian believer (which obviously we are all called to be) has been crucified and is dead and buried to the behavior of the world, the dictates of flesh, and the practices of the old man, and is thereby, a new creation "in Christ," if he chooses to remain "in Christ." This will result in his sanctification by the righteousness that comes from God through faith. In other words, sanctification requires the Christian believer’s continuous and consistent infilling and yielding to the promptings of the indwelling Holy Spirit and obedience to the doctrine of Christ. This is how the Christian believer chooses to remain "in Christ" and become a disciple of Christ.

Jesus said, "
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more friut. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless in remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in Me. I am the true vine, you are the branches. He who remains in Me bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:1-8

The power of consecrated Christian disciplines motivated by Christ’s love for us and our faithful appreciation of, and heartfelt love for Him:

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died
. And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if any man be "in Christ," he is a new creature: old things are passed away; "behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Again, whosoever believes in and professes their faith in Christ has had “the world,” “the flesh,” and “the old man” that resided within them executed and condemned by God with Christ on His cross, i.e. --- “I have been crucified to the world.” This has resulted in their justification. Whosoever believes in, professes, and practices their faith in Christ has had “the behavior of world,” “the dictates of flesh,” and “the practices of the old man” condemned and executed by God with Christ on His cross, and respectively has chosen to take up his own cross and follow Christ. i.e. --- “the world has been crucified to me.” (Paraphrased Galatians 6:14) This choice will result in the believers sanctification. We must understand that when we become a believer and professor of Christ we are justified by faith, but if we choose to be a disciple of Christ by remaining in Him and allowing his words to remain in us, as professing, practicing Christian believers, we will bear much fruit and our God and Father will be glorified! By the way, we are all called to be disciples of Christ, but the choice is ours. If we will choose to remain in Him and not in sin, He will choose us to be a part of the first out resurrection,(Revelation 20:6) but remember, "many are called but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)

Now, with this in mind, the word
“believes” that the Apostle John used in his gospel is used in the present continuious tense, and it means, “Whosoever believes and keeps on believing.” (John 3:16) The word “disciple” comes from the word discipline, and it means “a disciplined follower of Christ.” The word “saint” comes from the word “sanctification.” The word sanctified means “separated unto God,” and the word saint means “one, who by the mercies of God, presents his body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is his reasonable service. And is not conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of his mind, that he may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Paraphrased Romans 12:1-2)

Let’s take a look at a
believer, a disciple, and a saint whose life was dramatically changed by an encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-19) This fellow’s experience of meeting the glorified Jesus so affected his character that it didn’t just change the course of his life, but his name was changed also, from Saul to Paul! (Acts 13:9) In Hebrew the name Paul means “small.” All who have an encounter with the Lord and continue in Him as Paul did (Galatians 1:17-26 & 2:1) remain small in their own eyes; as a matter of fact, Christ becomes so large in them that there is little, or no room for their “old man,” which is the carnal element within human nature given to self-centeredness, self-seeking, self-pity, selfish ambition, angry resentment, and prideful boasting etc. Such a person’s ego becomes so small through this divine displacement and replacement that he becomes an ever increasingly difficult target for Satan to see, much less hit with his “fiery darts.” This was the case with John the Baptist (the forerunner and friend of the Bridegroom) in relation to Jesus Christ when speaking about himself and the soon summation of his ministry and life on this earth. “He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:30 --- This concept of Christ increasing in the believer’s life as he decreases is the normal pattern of all sincere Christian believers who are “growing in the grace of God” (2 Peter 3:18) and not “receiving God’s grace in vain.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Also, it is important to understand that a saint of God is a stealth weapon in the arsenal of the Lord, pulling down satanic strongholds and destroying the works of the devil. Jesus said to His disciples when preparing for the cross, which would prove to be the spiritual, mental, and physical sacrifice of His life,
“I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” John 14:30 --- The Apostle John declared, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was begotten of God keeps him safe and the evil one cannot touch him.” 1 John 5:18 --- Jesus spoke of His cross as His sanctification, resulting in the Christian believer’s sanctification. This is accomplished through Christ’s blood, God’s word, and the blessed Holy Spirit. So we see that the sanctifying cross of Christ, and the cross that the Christian believer chooses to take up through yielding to the Holy Spirit in obedience to Christ’s words results in his “putting off the old man,” and leads him to “putting on the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness.” This is how the Christian believer experiences the sanctification that Christ died on the cross to provide for him. (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) This sanctification is also the means to his protection from “the evil one.”

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:1,15-20

Now it is important to realize that the Apostle Paul was not just a professing Christian believer, but he was both a professing and practicing Christian believer (meaning that he was both justified and sanctified or, if you will, a professing believer in and a practicing disciple of Christ), and he spent a great deal of his life and ministry exhorting others to believe and behave as he did. The reason that Paul could say of himself, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” is because “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ” was in operation in his life. In other words, Paul had been granted “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God” which meant he had come to know that he was dead to “the world,” and “the world” was dead to him. Because of Christ’s cross Paul’s sin nature had been crucified with Jesus and now, because of Christ’s resurrection, ascension, and the shedding of His Holy Spirit abroad into his heart, he had a revelation that Christ was now alive in him and increasing to the degree that he could say, “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new!” This was both a profession of Paul's faith based on Christ’s accomplished work on the cross, and a practical reality based on his new life "in Christ" that was being continuously filled with, and led by the Holy Spirit as a practicing believer!

Can you, dear reader, realistically say this about yourself, not only as a profession of faith, but also in your practical experience? If not, there is still some
“working out” to do, but take courage, you are not alone in your efforts, because “God is working in you both to will and do of His own good pleasure!” (Philippians 2:12) Nevertheless, this was Paul’s reality. It meant that he had come to “live in the Spirit,” by faith in Christ’s atoning cross, resulting in his justification as a professing Christian believer. It also meant that he had learned to “walk in the Spirit,” by yielding to, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, resulting in an experience of consecrated sanctification as a practicing Christian believer. Was he perfected (glorified)? No, but he was pressing towards the perfection associated with, and anticipated by those awaiting the first out resurrection from the dead, through both living and walking in the Spirit.

It is through
living and walking in the Spirit and by remaining continuously filled with the Spirit, through praying and singing in the Spirit, as we mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit and worship God in Spirit and in truth, that we sow to the Spirit, and “from the Spirit reap life everlasting!” This is also how we bear and cultivate “the fruit of the Spirit, which is 'love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.” It is also how “the gifts of the Spirit” are in operation in our lives, which are “words of wisdom, words of knowledge, discerning of spirits, the gift of faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.” And last but not least, it is how we avoid sowing to the flesh, thereby producing “the works of the flesh which are, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”

Now, this same spiritual revelation and these same transforming, or if you will, sanctifying experiences that were in Paul’s life and ministry are available to every born again, Spirit-baptized Christian believer. It is through both this “life in the Spirit” and this “walk in the Spirit” that “faith works through love” in our lives, and “the righteous requirement of God’s law, which is to love God with our entire beings (spirit, soul, and body) and to love our neighbors as ourselves, is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit!” This happens when Christ is revealed to us, in us, and through us by the power and influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. When this takes place, we are enabled to love and serve God and humankind as Paul and his fellow apostles loved and served. Why? Because we know that God loves us with the same love that he loved them. “God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) The problem is that most of us don’t know what Paul and the other apostles knew, but we can! How? By the exact same, “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him!” This very thing will lead us to a life of justification, sanctification, and glorification in Christ. In other words, it will lead an unbeliever to become a Christian believer, a Christian believer to become a disciple of Christ, and a disciple of Christ to become a saint of God! Now, it is also important to know that this path, if we choose to take it, will lead to both agony and ecstasy, to suffering for righteousness sake and to glory. In other words, this road will lead to a cross, a grave, a powerful resurrection, and a glorious ascension. I would like to add my prayer of faith with the Apostle Paul’s prayer on your behalf, dear reader, that God will give you “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Amen!

Part Two

Experiencing the ecstasy, the glory, and the resurrection.

I would like to start part two of my teaching by quoting two ecstatic prayers offered to God by Paul on behalf of the church at Ephesus. In essence, Paul was praying that the believers in Ephesus would come to know God the way he knew God, and that they would have the same results in their lives and ministries that he was having in his.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and every power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-22

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height --- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-20.

Experiencing the agony, the suffering for righteousness sake, and the grave.

Jesus testified, “No greater love does any man have than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) We know that Jesus Christ our Chief Apostle was the first to love God the Father and His fellow man like this through enduring the cross, and that the Apostle Paul, and all other "sent ones" are simply making feeble attempts to follow in Christ’s foot steps. After all, in Christ's suffering for our sins on the cross, He actually experienced Hell, bearing the consequences of our sin's so that we wouldn't have to! But let's see where faithfully following Christ lead the apostles?


For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the off scouring of all things until now.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13


Let’s take a look at an itemized list of what the Apostle Paul suffered personally as a minister of Christ.

Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool, I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, fasting often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11: 23-38

Both the agony and ecstasy of “sent ones” is well expressed in the following two scriptures:

Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Corinthians 12:12


Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Philippians 3:8-15

So we see that Paul, and the other apostles were special messengers sent by God, with signs and wonders following. And that suffering and glory walk hand in hand with the apostolic calling.

Now, not everyone is called into the office of apostle, and the twelve original New Covenant Apostles of Christ (minus Judas Iscariot) have a special status in God’s kingdom. Having said that, there are presently many apostles on the earth today, and there have been many anointed apostles other than the original twelve apostles of Christ throughout the history of the church. Whereas not everyone is called in the office of an apostle, as professing and practicing Christian believers who desire to come after Christ, we are all called by Him to do as He did, to walk as He walked, and follow in His footsteps as Paul and all other faithful apostles did and do. Remember the words of Paul to the Philippians, regarding “pressing for the goal of the prize,” resulting in their attaining to the first out resurrection of the dead, and as Peter put it, attaining to “an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God,” (2 Peter 1:9) “Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.” (Philippians 3:15)

And consider the words of Jesus:

Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-27

So we see that all Christian believers are called by Christ to follow His lead, and if we are faithful to do so, it will take us to an agonizing cross, a humbling grave, a powerful resurrection, and a glorious ascension.

Now, as individual Christian believers we each have our own cross to bear. It will not be the same cross for each of us, but it will be a cross that requires denying of self. This is played out in the daily activities of our lives as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in obedience to the words of Christ. For one the cross may mean sacrificing himself/herself by working diligently in the market place to provide the basic necessities for his/her loved ones and family. To another it may mean pastoring a church, and feeding Christ's flock with the word of God. For another it may require visiting and caring for a person in a nursing home. For another it may mean visiting those in prisons and hospitals. For another it may mean loving unconditionally a child, a parent, or a spouse who has hurt them. For another it may mean caring for a special needs child or adult. To another it may mean forgiving a co-worker who has offended them. For another it may mean sacrificing certain personal needs to provide financially for widows and orphans. To another it may mean starting and operating an orphanage. To another it may mean leaving homes and family and lands to minister in a developing country and live in another culture to which one is unaccustomed. To another it my mean leaving their job and family to evangelize in their own nation. To another it may mean embracing martyrdom in their service to Christ. One thing is certain for all of us, it will mean
"keeping ourselves unspotted by the world," because "without holiness, no one will see the Lord!"

The list of acts of self-denial goes on and on, and plays out in a myriad of personal situations and circumstances throughout one’s life. The essence of bearing one’s cross means following the leading of the Holy Spirit at all times, especially during times of temptations, tests and trials --- and doing so through the grace that Christ provides.

Why would anyone want to go through an agonizing cross and a humbling grave? Because, without the cross and the grave, there is no resurrection or ascension! Are you ready to take up your cross and follow Christ? I hope so!

Again, you might ask, why would you hope this for me! I will try to answer you with one simple sentence that sums up my meaning and message quite well.

Because, “To be a follower of Christ will cost you everything; not to be a follower of Christ will cost you a whole lot more!” Selah.

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Walk in the Spirit and You Shall Not Fulfill the Works of the Flesh

“This I say then: Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the works of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.”
Galatians 5:16-17


Please, allow me to do a little unpacking of this scripture.


Notice, if you will, that if you walk in the Spirit, you won’t do what the flesh wants to do, but if you walk in the flesh, you won’t do what the Spirit wants to do. In like manner, if you walk in the Spirit you will do what the Spirit wants to do, and if you walk in the flesh, you will do what the flesh wants to do. The Apostle Paul adds, “But, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”


There were some Jewish “believers” in Galatia at the time this letter was written to the church, who were trying to diminish the gospel of grace by attempting to make the Gentile believers endure circumcision in keeping with the law of Moses. This was the same as saying,
“If you want to be righteous in God’s eyes, you must follow this rule of law.” The Apostle Paul would have nothing to do with this error, and even went so far as to say that he wished those folks would castrate themselves!


What these heretics failed to understand was the following: The Spirit of God has regenerated the Christian believer’s human spirit creating a new righteous and holy nature within him. This happened the moment he repented of his sins and believed on the name of Jesus Christ for his salvation from sin, death, Hades, and the Lake of Fire. This grace was further implemented through the sacrament of water baptism in the name of Jesus, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire.


“The flesh” represents the old sin nature that every human being inherited through Adam’s transgression. This nature was executed on the cross with Jesus Christ when He became sin for the human race, giving all those who receive Him and believe on His name the ability to be born again and to see the kingdom of Heaven, or, if you will, the opportunity to inherit the kingdom of God.


The law of God was given to the Hebrew people through Moses so that
“sin might become exceedingly sinful,” and it served as a tutorial until Jesus Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. “When the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” He then proceeded to fulfill the law through His sinless life, vicarious suffering, sacrificial death, miraculous resurrection, glorious ascension, and eternal intersession. “The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Jesus said, “I did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it,” and that is exactly what He did. “Therefore Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” Also, it is essential that we understand, “The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” In other words, when we walk in the Spirit, we do the will and pleasure of God and not the will and pleasure of our old crucified sin nature. Simple. But wait a moment, there’s a potential challenge.


“My people perish for a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6


Even though the sin nature of the Christian believer was executed with Christ on the cross, it still tries to live on and manifest itself in us through satanic deception, deceiving spirits, and doctrines of devils. All of these principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places attempt to blind the human race and keep it ignorant of the knowledge of the truth, the knowledge of Christ, and/or the knowledge of God. Regrettably, this is not only true of sinners in the world, but also of many in the church, who are blinded by, and kept in bondage to, the sins of self-righteous legalistic religion and unrighteous licensed rebellion. The key to our deliverance from, and our victory over, these foes is our receiving the knowledge of Christ. This knowledge of the truth leads to a relationship and fellowship with God through faith and obedience, resulting in the manifest gift of imputed righteousness through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, and imparted righteousness through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.


Therefore, we are instructed to
"reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" through knowing and appropriating the following truth by faith. "Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin." “Sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under the law, but under grace.” We are thereby encouraged and inspired to "mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit" as we refuse to allow the executed sin nature to "rule in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in the lusts thereof." In a sentence, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” The knowledge of this truth, or if you will, the knowledge of Christ is the means to our liberation from the satanically and self imposed ignorance that attempts, and more often than not, succeeds in keeping us bound to our old sin nature that was executed with Christ on the cross!


Jesus testified,
"When He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth."


Now, being baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, and continuously praying in the Spirit, as well as singing in the Spirit as we worship God in Spirit and in truth, will cause us to remain filled with the Spirit and thereby appropriate the grace of God in overcoming the sin nature. This is possible because we
"live in the Spirit." These disciplines of glossolalia are also of great assistance in helping us to "walk in the Spirit" and not fulfill the works of the flesh. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” To walk in the Spirit we must follow God's lead, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”


Paul also instructed us to
"pray without ceasing." Now, the Spirit of grace will not necessarily cause us to walk in the Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will so influence our spirit man, “the hidden man of the heart,” to cause our souls, which are comprised of intellect, will, and emotions, to choose, via divine exhortations, revelations, and impartations to do God’s will in a myriad of given situations and circumstances, instead of performing the works of the flesh in our mortal bodies. In other words, the born again, Spirit baptized, regenerated human spirit, in union with the Holy Spirit of God, enables our souls to take the ascendency over the executed human sin nature and thereby mortifies the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit. When our wills are completely submitted to God’s will through the influence of the Holy Spirit, we experience the sanctification that Christ provided for us on the cross. We are separated unto our God, and we are separated from our sins. This results in our deliverance from the works of the flesh which are: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” The Apostle Paul ended this infamous list with the following sobering exhortation, “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Now, the kingdom of God is revealed in the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit which is, “love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.” Again, the Apostle Paul ended this famous list with the following liberating revelation, “Against such there is no law.”


It also essential that we understand that
“the doctrine of Christ,” or if you will, “the law of Christ,” is “the grace of God.” Jesus testified, “My words are Spirit and they are life,” and Paul reveals in his letter to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Through our new birth in Christ, God has placed His law in our human spirits. The Apostle Paul contrasting “the law of Moses” against “the law of Christ,” made this clear in his letter to the church in Rome recorded in chapters 7-8. (Please take a moment and prayerfully read Romans 7-8 now.) All the writers of the New Covenant well understood this new paradigm shift from the “law of Moses” to the “law of Christ” which is “the grace of God,” referring to it as, “The royal law of liberty whereby we will all be judged,” “The law of faith,” “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ,” and “The doctrine of Christ.”


Again, this law written in our hearts by God, is
"the law of the Spirit of life in Christ" that was placed in us when Jesus fulfilled God’s law for our justification. So we see that in the New Covenant, grace and law become one and indwell the Christian believer through the Holy Spirit, and the righteous requirement of the law, that Jesus fulfilled, which is to love the Lord our God with our entire being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, is also fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.


Now, it is also important to understand the following spiritual principle,
“Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. If he sows to the flesh, he will from the flesh reap corruption, but if he sows to the Spirit, he will from the Spirit reap life everlasting.” This is why we are told to “wake up and strengthen the things that remain,” or, if you will, put our energies and efforts into disciplines and practices that carry eternal weight and value. It is also why we are told, “Physical exercise profits a little, but spiritual exercise profits much, in this life and in the life to come.” Some of these disciplines have already been mentioned in this teaching, but I would like to reiterate them for you now, dear reader, as well as offer a few more. They are the following: Covert praying in the spirit and with the understanding, covert singing with the spirit and with the understanding, covert fasting, covert giving, praising and worshiping God in Spirit and in truth, meditation in the scriptures, fellowshipping with like-minded believers, witnessing and sharing your faith with others, confessing your faults one to another, and praying one for another that you might be healed, holy communion and breaking bread with one another, one on One communing with God in silence, Bible study, hearing and applying good preaching, teaching, and sound doctrine, mercy ministry and visitation to those in prisons, nursing homes, and hospitals, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, ministering to the orphans and widows in their affliction, and keeping oneself unspotted by the world. Or, if you will, in a phrase, living and walking in the Spirit. This is just a short list of some “good works that God has ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.” The important thing is to simply follow the leading of the Holy Spirit at all times and in all things, because if you, “Walk in the Spirit, you shall not fulfill the works of the flesh.” Amen!



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You In Me, And I In You
John 14:20
(Understanding the Spiritual Union between Jesus Christ and the Overcoming Christian Believer)



“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 8-10


“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Philippians 2:12-13


Notice, if you will, that the first scripture tells us,
“By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, not of works, lest any man should boast.” And the next scripture tells us, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” At first glance these two scriptures, both written by the Apostle Paul, seem to be contradicting each other, don’t they? Now, knowing that God’s Word could never contradict itself gives us reason for further examination of these texts.

If you want to know the truth, both scriptures are saying the same thing, in essence, when read in context of both complete verses. Also, please understand that the first scripture quotation is written in the past tense and deals with the subject of our justification in Christ. The second scripture quotation is written in the present tense and deals with the subject of our sanctification in Christ. At this point it would be good to understand, dear reader, that Christian salvation is made up of three experiences: justification, sanctification and glorification.

It is also important to understand that in practicing the discipline of biblical exegesis we learn that “a text taken out of context is a pretext,” so the key to unlocking the apparent paradox or contradiction in the previously quoted scriptures regarding faith and works lies in the fact that both scripture verses make reference to two other very important facts besides our faith and works. It is what I like to call “the God factor.” The first fact is that
“we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” And the second fact is that “it is God who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

It is also important to notice and understand this: “Works of law” cannot save us, lest anyone should boast, but we have been saved by grace through faith in the accomplished work of Christ’s atonement for our sins, resulting in our present “works of faith,” or if you will “righteous deeds.” These works of faith and/or righteous deeds are inspired by 1) Our awesome respect for our Heavenly Father or, if you will, “The fear of the Lord.” 2) Our gratefulness to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and 3) Our yielding to the promptings of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

So, at the end of the day, there is no room or reason for us to boast! In other words, any good work that is performed by a Christian believer is the direct result of God’s unmerited favor extended towards us through the atoning blood of Christ which is the result of our past
justification in Him, and it is also the direct result of His divine influence upon our hearts and its reflection in our lives. This is made possible and is the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit because the work of Holy Spirit is the means by which we experience our current and continuing sanctification in Christ.

Now, the Gospel of the kingdom of God reveals that
“we are created in Christ Jesus for good works,” and that through Christ Jesus, God is working in us to will and do for His good pleasure.” Therefore we are to work with Him and not against Him, because if we don’t work with Him, there is plenty of reason for “fear and trembling. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether good or bad. Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11) “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)

It is through faith that we have been
justified having experienced something marvelous of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace in our past. This took place when we believed in Jesus Christ and received Him as our personal Savior and Lord. It is through faith that He is working in us now, and we are also currently working with Him, in the continuing process of our present sanctification through “walking in the Spirit.” It is through faith that we will continue to follow His lead onward and upward towards the final goal of our salvation, which is a future and eternal experience of glorification. This will take place at the second coming of Christ and the rapture of the overcoming redeemed believers in Christ. In other words, those who overcome the accuser of the brethren “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives to the death.” (Revelations 12:11) What we must overcome now, so that we will be able to overcome during the Great Tribulation, is the human propensity to sell out to Satan when under great temptation and unprecedented pressure. Always remember this, “Resisted temptation is the mark of true character.”

If we allow God to have His way in us through yielding ourselves (spirit, soul, and body) to the Holy Spirit’s directives, and if we allow ourselves to find our way in Him, through pursuing and perfecting holiness in reverence of God, it will result in an abundant entrance into the kingdom of Heaven (2 Peter 1:11). If, however, we don’t, it will result in eternal loss! (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

It is essential for us to understand that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Psalm 111:10) and that, “The holy scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) The holy scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation because they inspire a righteous fear of God’s judgment against our sins, a righteous hope of God’s rewards for our continuance in well doing, and a righteous revelation of what God has done through Christ on our behalf and in our stead. This revelation results in freedom from sin, and a profound gratefulness, thankfulness, love, adoration, commitment, and devotion to Christ on our part.

It is important to realize that it is through faith in Christ that we are saved, and it is through faithfulness to Christ that we inherit all that He has saved us for, namely His eternal Kingdom. Thus, our inheritance of God’s Kingdom is conditional, and based upon us working with Him as obedient sons, and not against Him as slaves to self, Satan, and sin, or if you will,
“sons of disobedience.” So, victory is possible because Christ is in us through faith, and we are in Christ through faithfulness. Let’s take a look at a couple more scriptures regarding Christ being in us, and our being in Christ.

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27


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


“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” If you are hoping to win a marathon race and be awarded a prize at the end of the race for coming in first, you will have to exercise self-discipline and condition your body in advance. In order to win the race and the coveted prize at the end, you will have to train yourself properly by eating the correct diet. You will have to put your body through rigorous exercises, stretching your legs and expanding your lung capacity, and then resting your body at the proper times if you are going to be able to endure the hardships and the pace of the race. To fail to do so will diminish your hope and chances for success, victory, and glory. The Apostle Paul well understood the allegorical significance of self-discipline and the marathon race or the prizefight regarding his own spiritual success, victory, and glory.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:24-27


We must come to understand that winning the prize is about learning to trust God’s promises, as well as training ourselves to obey His commandments. We must do both, and thereby give it our best effort through the strength that Christ provides by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. In a phrase, “My utmost for His highest.”

“If anyone be in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all thing have become new.” If, after careful examination of one’s self, one discovers that the old things of one’s Adamic personality (the old man) are still dominating one’s personality, and the new things of Christ’s personality (the new man) are not dominating one’s personality, one must take the spiritual initiative to cast off the old man and put on the new man who has already been created in righteousness and true holiness.

Again, notice the different tenses in the following scriptures. The first is speaking of a past experience that happened when we first put on Christ through faith, resulting in our
justification. The second is talking about something we must do presently in order to remain in Christ, resulting in our sanctification.

“Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Colossians 3:9-10 (Past tense…justification)


“That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 (Present tense…sanctification)


So in summation let us rejoice in this revelation. The salvation experience of justification, sanctification, and glorification that is ours through being in Christ, and Him being in us, will lead us to a spiritual marriage of complete union with Him at His second coming and the rapture of the overcoming church. To God be the glory for the things He has done in our past, is doing in our present, and will do in our future through saving us from our sins. After all, the reason for Him removing our sins by nailing them to the cross is so that we might enjoy His presence both now and forever more.

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The Full Counsel of God

"For I have not shunned to declare unto you the full counsel of God."
Acts 20:27
An Exhortation to Holy Living and a Godly Lifestyle:



I have discovered after almost fifty-seven years of life on this planet and after thirty-seven years of new life in Christ that what the Church, including myself, needs to understand above everything else is what the Apostle Paul called “the full counsel of God.” The following is a brief synopsis of my understanding on that subject, but it is by no means an all-inclusive exposition of what the Bible teaches.


The full counsel of God reveals what God
has done in the past for the human race through Christ’s passion in His death, burial, and resurrection in order to save us from our sins. It also reveals what God is doing in the present through the Holy Spirit’s work in the earth to bring sinners to Christ, as well as what He is doing presently in the hearts of Christian believers in reminding us of, and relaying Christ’s words to us in order to bring us to spiritual maturity in Christ.


[
Author’s Note: The entire New Testament reveals the above truth to one degree or another, and a large portion of the Old Testament points us to it, and yet a compact and concise example of this can be found in the first half of the book of Ephesians. (Ephesians, chapters 1-3) Please take a few moments and prayerfully read these chapters now on your own.]


The full counsel of God also reveals what God
will do in the future at the end of the Great Tribulation period at Christ’s second coming and the first out resurrection of the dead and living in Christ from the earth.


[
Author’s Note: Presently, the spirits of those who have died in Christ are in Paradise enjoying eternal life with Jesus as disembodied human spirits (Luke 23:43 & 2 Corinthians 5:8) as they await the first out resurrection of the dead.]


At a time in the future, Christian believers will be raised up to meet Christ and his angels coming from Heaven in the skies over Jerusalem. (Matthew 16:27)---At that moment in time they will receive immortal and incorruptible bodies. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)---Christ will rest His feet upon the Mount of Olives causing a great earthquake. (Zechariah 14:4)---Christ will fight and defeat the anti-Christ and False Prophet at the battle of Armageddon and cast them into the Lake of Fire. (Revelations 19:20)---He will have Satan bound and cast into “a bottomless pit” for a thousand years. --- (Revelations 20:1-3) Christian believers will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the things done in their bodies, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10) and be given rewards and suffer loss according to what they have done. The consuming fire of God will test each person’s works. (1 Corinthians 10-14) Those who have not done the will of God, (God’s will for the justified believer is their sanctification, so that they might be glorified) even though some claim to acknowledge Jesus, calling Him Lord, Lord, and testify of having done great works (including charismatic works) in His name, they will still be rejected by Christ. (Matthew 7:22-24) Only those that Jesus
recognizes as good and faithful servants will enter into His joy, (Matthew 25:23) in other words, he who overcomes self, Satan, and sin, by an appropriation of God’s grace through faith. (Revelations 3:21)


[
Authors note: What will prove to be profitable for Christian believers when judged by Christ, will be whether or not Christ-like love for God the Father, and for their fellow man is found to have been active and alive in their lives. (1 Corinthians 13) --- This is the righteous requirement of God’s law that was fulfilled by Christ, and is also fulfilled in the Christian believers, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.]


Christian believers names must be found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life for them to escape the second death, which is Hell and the Lake of Fire. (Revelations 3:5) Christ will establish His millennial reign with His resurrected saints and faithful martyrs on the earth. (Revelations 20: 4)---After a thousand years of peace on earth, Satan will be loosed and lead a final rebellion against Christ and His saints. He will be quickly defeated by Christ and cast into the Lake of Fire. --- (Revelations 20:7-10) There will be a second out resurrection of the dead from Hades at which time the unredeemed sinners will receive immortal bodies. (Revelations 20:13)---All unbelievers will be judged by Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment for what they have done in their bodies and for having rejected Christ, and they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. (Revelations 21:8) ---This old earth will be destroyed by fire and a new heaven and new earth will be created. (2 Peter 3:10-13)---The New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, will descend from Heaven and rest upon the new earth wherein dwells righteousness. (Revelations 21:1-7)


The full counsel of God reveals what all sinners and Christian believers can and must do now in response to what God has done, is doing, and will do in saving us from our sins. Sinners must repent and believe the good news. After this they must be baptized in water in the name of the Lord, and receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues in order for their initiation in Christ to be completed. (Hebrew 6: 1-3, Acts 2:1-4, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-7) Next, Christian believers must make every effort to add to their faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5-11)


[
Authors Note: As Ephesians, chapters 1-3 is a good compact example of what Christ has accomplished for Christian believers, so Ephesians, chapters 3-6 is a good compact example of what Christian believers must do in regards to what Christ has done on their behalf, and in their stead. Please take a few moments and prayerfully read these chapters now on your own.]


The full counsel of God reveals that there are eternal rewards for those individuals who respond appropriately to what God has done, is doing, and will do in saving them from their sins. Jesus declared, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelations 2:26-28 & 3:21) It also reveals that there are eternal judgments for those individuals who respond inappropriately to what God has done, is doing, and will do in saving them from their sins. “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars---their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelations 21:8) --- Also see (Galatians 5:15-26 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


The full counsel of God reveals that divine mercy is available to every individual sinner or backslider who chooses to respond appropriately to what God has done, is doing, and will do in saving them from their sins, by confessing all of their known sins to God and forsaking them. (Proverbs 28:13) This is true for all human beings who are granted repentance from their sins and exercise faith towards God, to the point of amending their wicked ways, even after a lifetime of inappropriate responses to the grace of God. Christ stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. If anyone hears, and opens their heart to Him, He will come in and eat with them, and they with Him. (Revelation 3:20) This implies relationship, fellowship, familiarity, and intimacy. This message was addressed to backsliding Christians, even though it is also applicable to sinners. God commands all souls to repent and believe the gospel, and He has, and will continue to grant all souls the opportunity and capacity do so, until the end comes. (Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38, Matthew 24:14, Acts 5:31, Act: 11:18, Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21) The only exceptions to this rule are the reprobate and/or apostates, because it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. (Hebrews 6:6)


The full counsel of God reveals that both sinners and Christian backsliders who are granted repentance from all of their known sins, are those who are so influenced by the conviction of the Spirit of grace, that they begin to seek a change in their character from a carnal state of being (behaving) to a spiritual state of being (behaving). They do this and are to continue doing this with their whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. They will not and must not relent in their desire and pursuit of holiness until the divine grace to be transformed is granted unto them in abundance from on High. (2 Timothy 2:25 & Revelation 2:5,16,21,22, 3:3,19, 2 Corinthians 7: 9 & 10)


[Authors note: For those poor backsliding souls who want to repent of all their known sins, but don’t seem to be able to, please know this: God’s desire is to grant you repentance even more than you desire it, therefore keep asking, seeking, and knocking, and it will be granted unto you. (Matthew 5:3, Luke 11:9, Luke 18:1) Also, know this: the kind of transformation mentioned here is only possible by remaining filled with the Holy Spirit and through the discipline of watchfulness and prayerfulness. One must stay awake and draw near to God, lest they fall into temptation, because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) ]


The full counsel of God reveals that once backsliders are granted repentance from all of their known sins in the manner stated above, it is possible for their hearts to be so filled with gratitude towards God, that the remainder of their lives on earth are lived in the pursuit, perfecting, and maintaining of holiness in reverence of God. Among other things, this means the avoidance of all known, deliberate, highhanded, willful, and habitual sins against God, their fellow human beings, and their own bodies. (Luke 7:47)


[
Authors note: For Christian believers who do stumble and fall into temptation and commit various sins of the flesh due to infirmities of the body, human compulsions and impulses, and/or demonic strongholds operating in their minds that are more often than not brought about by generational curses, there is forgiveness and deliverance available to them through the conviction of the Holy Spirit upon their human conscience and the confession and forsaking of their sins to God. (1 John 1:9)]


Finally, the full council of God reveals that nothing, or no one, that causes offense will be allowed into the Holy City of God or upon the new earth wherein dwells righteousness. My brothers and sisters, now is the time when all offenses and sinful traits in human character and behavior need to be dealt with, confessed, forsaken, and overcome in order to inherit the kingdom of God and avoid the Lake of Fire. God has provided all grace available in order to do this. It is the responsibility of all human beings to repent and believe the gospel, be baptized in water in the name of Jesus, and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is time for all Christian believers to work with God and not against Him in this great salvation by appropriating His transforming and overcoming grace through faith. I pray that all who read this document will determine in their hearts to do so. May all believe in Christ, and settle down into Him, and be not removed from Him. May God bless all of us in our effort and enthusiasm to do His will and live holy lives and godly lifestyles. May we all fall on the Stone and be broken before Him for our sins. May we all be granted repentance, and faith towards God. May we all be renewed, restored, revived, and sanctified in our spirits, souls, and bodies, unto the coming of the Lord.
“Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it.” But remember, He will do it in us, to us, and through us, but not without us. Our cooperation is necessary. Philippians (2:11-13) Therefore, I will leave you with a final encouragement and warning, “Whoever shall fall on the Stone will be broken; but on whomever it shall fall, it will ground him to powder.” (Matthew 21:44)

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Enjoying Our New Life in Christ

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

For Christian believers, to
“be in Christ” first means being in relationship with God by having been justified, or if you will, reconciled unto God through faith in the shed blood of Christ for the remission of our sins provided for us through the atonement of Christ’s cross. For those of us who have experienced this grace through faith, the scriptures declare that we “live in the Spirit.”

Of equal importance for Christian believers, to
“be in Christ” also means being in fellowship with God through sanctification by continuing, or if you will, abiding in Christ and His words abiding in us. For those of us who are experiencing this grace through faith, the scriptures declare that we “walk in the Spirit” and therefore “do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Remember Jesus promised, “If a man loves Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make our abode with him.” John 14:23 - Now, that’s fellowship! This kind of divine fellowship is both the reason for and the result of our present sanctification in Christ.

In order for
2 Corinthians 4:17 to be realized in our lives, both a relationship with God through our past justification in Christ, and a fellowship with God through our present sanctification in Christ is required. If both justification and sanctification are ours at Christ’s second coming, then we will partake of the first out resurrection from the dead and glorification will be ours also. I might add, whereas Christ has provided justification, sanctification, and glorification for us by grace through faith, we are responsible for appropriating this great salvation through our chosen consecration unto Him. This requires our consistent yielding to the directives of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, as well as our continual separation from the defilements of the flesh (sin nature) and the corruption of this present evil age. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; And I will receive you. And be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, said the Lord all mighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

It is not enough to hear the word of God; we must trust and obey the word of God if we expect to experience the benefits of being
“new creatures in Christ!” And remember Jesus said, “When you pray,” “when you fast,” and “when you give,” not “if you do!” A good test as to whether or not we are “doers of God’s word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves,” is to “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith,” or if you will, “in Christ.” It is a wonderful thing for Christ to be in us; it is indeed “the hope of glory.” But it is an equally important thing for us to “remain in Christ and His words to remain in us, because in so doing, we will bear much fruit unto eternal life. Herein is the Father glorified!” In other words, it is not just our goal and aspiration to be glorified after a fashion now, and in the fullest sense at Christ’s second coming; it is our supreme goal and aspiration to see our Heavenly Father glorified in the earth today!

So, after careful inspection of our lives and lifestyles, if “old things have not passed away” and “all things become new,” it is a pretty good sign that we are not in fellowship with God through sanctification, even though we may be in relationship with Him through justification. You see my brothers and sisters, my wife and children and I are in relationship with each other, but unless we spend intimate time together, we will not enjoy the benefits of fellowship with each other. The same is true of God and the Christian believer.

It is communing fellowship with God around His Word and in His Spirit that will cause us to experience the practical realities of
2 Corinthians 4:17 in our lives. This means “staying awake and drawing near to God, because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” It means, “praying with the spirit and with the understanding and singing with the spirit and with the understanding.” This is a good way to remain filled with the Holy Spirit and overcome the weakness of our flesh. We must “worship God in Spirit and in truth.” We must “continue in His word through meditating in the scriptures both day and night so that we might observe to do all that is written therein.” We must “mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit.” “For those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” Jesus declared, “My words are Spiri,t and they are life” and “apart from Me you can do nothing.”

Question: Why do we try to live the Christian life apart from Christ, when doing so only leads to fruitless frustration and moral failure?
Answer: The independence of Adam.
Question: What is the solution to this problem?
Answer: Training ourselves to utterly depend on Christ!

It is only through our
“remaining in Christ, and His words remaining in us,” that we will experience the triumphant victory that He, through His great personal sacrifice, has so graciously provided for us.

It is not only Hell that Christ has come to save us from. It is also our pleasurable, habitual, highhanded, willful, and deliberate sins, as well as all other sins and works of the flesh. If we choose to continue in sin instead of continuing in Him, it will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God that is within us, and the kingdom of Heaven that is coming to this earth when Christ returns. With this in mind, it is imperative that we do what is necessary to be rid of our sins, once and for all. And again, it is only our communing fellowship with God through Spirit-filled prayer and meditation in His Word in order to do His will that makes us free from the sins that so easily entangle us! In the same way that God the Father turned his back on His Son when He became sin on the cross for our salvation, we must also turn our backs on our sins and utterly forsake them!

Jesus said, “If you continue in My words, then are you my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” “Truly, Truly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a servant to sin, and the servant does not abide in the house forever, the Son does abide forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-32 & 34-36

Paul said, “As you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Romans 16:19

James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:7-10

Now it important to understand that such affliction, mourning, and weeping for our sins is the result of genuine heartfelt godly sorrow leading to repentance. This kind of repentance will cause us to truly enjoy our new life in Christ. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. After all, our present and continuing inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus asked a rather pointed question to His followers.
“Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you?” Luke 6:46 - Another word for “Lord” could be “boss,” or in television production terms, “director.” Having worked in television production for the last thirty years, I’m sure I know something about this subject. A television director sits in the control room and over a microphone, calls the shots for the camera operators to perform. It would be completely unimaginable for a camera operator to disregard or ignore the commands of the director. If he were to do so, he would not keep his job for very long. If a camera operator tried to sit in the director’s chair and call the shots, the only way he could do that is by pushing the director out of his chair and taking over the production.

Does any of this sound familiar?

We must allow God to direct the action of our lives, not ourselves. We must allow Him to sit in the control room of our hearts and tell us what He wants, and then, promptly do it without hesitation and without question! In the world of television production, a crew that follows the instructions of their director could enjoy a national Emmy award winning performance. In the realm of the kingdom of God the Christian believers who follow the directives of the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit will most assuredly win Heaven’s eternal rewards, not only in this life, but far more importantly, in the life to come!

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The Apostolic Mission, Founded on Faith, Hope, & Love: 
The Attributes of God Himself

In the same way that God the Father sent and ordained His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,” so has He sent those who choose to follow faithfully in Christ’s footsteps. Jesus Christ gave up everything to obey His Father’s calling, and those who choose to follow Christ will be required to do likewise. If we have been called to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, we must ask ourselves, “Are we willing to pay the price?”

The cost is indeed great, but the rewards are greater still, in this life and in the life to come. In the words of one preacher, “To be a follower of Christ will cost you everything; not to be a follower of Christ will cost you a whole lot more!” Will we pay the price or will we not? That is the question. It will require us to lay down our lives for our friends and to love our enemies as ourselves.

1) Where will we find the resolve to do this?
2) How will we preserver during the hard times?
3) How will we put our hands to the plough and not turn back?

There are three answers to these three questions and they are one in the same.

1) Through “faith that works through love,”
2) through “the love of Christ that constrains us,” and
3) through “the love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” “God is love.” Paul tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking; love is not easily angered, and it keeps no records of wrongs. Love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” We are called to bring God’s love to a world in need, and it is the love of God that bears us up upon His own wings and enables us to do so. Praise His Holy Name!


I have spent a good deal of my time and energy warning Christian believers about the importance of remaining faithful to Christ, and the consequences of failing to do so, because I am a exhorter in the Body of Christ. But, if the truth be known, this is an utter impossibility without a revelation of Christ’s faithfulness to us! It is only His love and faithfulness revealed to us, in us, and through us that can cause us to love and be faithful to Him, our families, the Church, and His human creation. When we are dead in our trespasses and sins, His love revives us. When we are blinded by self-centeredness, His love enlightens us. When we are tempted by Satan, His love sustains us. “God is love,” compassion, and mercy and it is in Him alone that we have hope. We can rejoice in this, however, because it is a hope that acts as a steadfast anchor to our souls, and it will see us through the storms of this life to the peaceful shores of the next life. “Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” When we are forced through dire circumstances to reach down deep within, that is where we will find Him. Jesus promised, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “And this is that which overcomes the world, even your faith.” “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto Me, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” “Love never fails.” Amen!

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The Full Council Of God and The Doctrine of Christ And A Definition of the Seven Deadly Sins Linked to the work of the 4th century Monk Evagrius Ponticus and later revised by Gregory the Great in 590 AD

Part I



The full council of God, (a good example of this is the Book of Ephesians) and the doctrine of Christ, (a good example of this is Matthew 5-7) for the salvation of sinners is founded on what God the Father has done through Jesus Christ’s “Passion,” by the spilling of His Blood and through the shedding of His Holy Spirit abroad into the Christian believers hearts. They also involve instruction in the way we faithful believers can, should, and must presently conduct ourselves because of His accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from our sins and their terrible present day and eternal consequences. If sin had been allowed to continue unchecked, it would have resulted in unnecessary temporal suffering for sin far beyond what the redeemed have experienced to date, and far worse than that, the eternal torments of Hell and The Lake of Fire would be the destiny of every human being as it is now for every unrepentant and unredeemed sinner.


So, I guess my opening paragraph can be summed up in what Watchman Nee said, “Christianity is not a big “do,” but a big “done,” and, I might add, the importance of our proper response to what has been done through Jesus Christ. The essence of these revelation truths might also have inspired the title of Oswald Chambers’ best selling devotional book entitled, “My Utmost for His Highest.”


Now, salvation incorporates a past event (the justification of the Christian believer), a present experience (the sanctification of the Christian believer), and a future hope (the glorification of the Christian believer). All three are essential to the concept of what the Bible calls “salvation,” and therefore one without the other is an incomplete puzzle or a picture not quiet in focus.


Our initiation into this saving grace (to be found only in Jesus Christ) involves the following: Repentance from works that lead to death and faith towards God, water baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.


First and foremost, we must learn to always focus our gaze on what Jesus Christ has done for us through His passion on the cross in dealing with our past sins. This is an expression of His unmerited favor that has been extended to us by His sinless life, atoning death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and eternal intercession and is to be received by us through faith, resulting in the justification” or “translation,” of our
“spirit man,” what the Apostle Paul called, “the hidden man of the heart.” “For He (God) delivered us from the from [the powers of darkness and translated us (powerfully removed us) into the kingdom of His Son.” (Colossians 1:13) Secondly, we must recognize what He is presently doing for us in dealing with our sins through the divine influence of His Holy Spirit upon our hearts and its reflection in our lives resulting in the “sanctification” or “transformation,” of our human souls which incorporate our intellect, will, and emotions. “And be not conformed to the world but be transformed through the renewing of your mind that you might prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) And thirdly, we must learn to rest in the eternal hope and blessed assurance that we will be glorified together with Him at His second coming and the rapture of the church, resulting in the “glorification” or “transfiguration” of our bodies. “For we know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2) And “Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)



All aspects of our triune human constitution (we ourselves being created in the image and likeness of the triune Holy God) are expressed in a prayer of benediction offered by the Apostle Paul on behalf of the church at Thessalonica.
“Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Next, Paul offers a statement of encouragement, and exhortation regarding the faithfulness of our God to answer this prayer. “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) It must be understood that He will sanctify us completely, spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord, but He will do it in us, to us, and through us, but not without us. Our cooperation is expected. In other words we are required to work with Him in this sanctification process and not against Him. This will require our “consecration” unto Him and our separation from the sins that so easily entangle us. There are present and eternal rewards to be obtained through our chosen consecration unto Him, as well as present and eternal losses to be avoided in failing to consecrate ourselves unto Him. Therefore, we are exhorted, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12,13)


Our cooperating with Him is what the Bible calls “walking in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), and what might also be referred to as “appropriating the grace of God.” "The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all people, teaching us to renounce ungodly and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).


A good metaphor for “working out,” or if you will, “walking out,” our own salvation could be the following. This life is a lot like a trek through a swamp. The swamp represents the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. God’s grace and the directives of His Holy Spirit represent a clear bright path of seven wide, dry, and flat stones that are sticking out, and standing well above the dark, murky, diseased, and dangerous swamp waters. These stones are the seven virtues: Chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Our mission, should we decide to accept it, is to use the path that has been so graciously provided for us by God the Father, in God the Son, through God the Holy Spirit, and make our way across the swamp to the solid dry higher ground on the other side of this life, the heavenly shore! Jesus, as the Son of Man, has already walked this path before us, therefore our journey is to be achieved by keeping our eyes on Him,
“the author and finisher of our faith,” through “yielding our members to God as servants of righteousness and not slaves to sin,” through “following the leading and directives of the Holy Spirit,” and through “watching for, and avoiding the pitfalls of sin.” Jesus warned, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).


To fail to find the path through the swamp or to stray from the path will not only prove to be extremely dangerous, but absolutely disastrous. Regrettably, according to the words of Jesus Christ,
many will do this horribly ignorant and rebellious thing, and only a few won’t! Jesus warned, “Many are called but few are chosen,” (Matthew 22:14). And, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate, and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13,14). Nevertheless, backsliders can rejoice that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, and that He will leave the ninety-nine other sheep of His flock in order to seek and to save just one straying lost sheep that belongs to Him.


But we must
"be careful if we think we stand lest we fall" Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Remember, God’s will for us is our sanctification unto Him through the working of the Holy Spirit, and our chosen consecration unto Him through submitting our wills to His commandments.) On that day (The Day of Judgment) many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord. Did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-22).


I submit to you, dear reader, that one way to avoid this from happening to us is through an awareness of the seven deadly sins in order to avoid them. We can escape their consequences through continuing to confess our sins (day by day) and through godly sorrow (a continuing attitude of contrition for our sins) until repentance (the utter forsaking of our sins) is realized. This could be an aspect of what "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" means. (Please see Psalms 51, 103, and 107) Also the Apostle John tells us, “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness (un-confessed and un-forsaken sins), we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light (of confessed and forsaken sins), as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we come to know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same manner that He walked.” (1 John 1:5-10 and 1 John 2: 1-6)



The Seven Deadly Sins


Lust (Latin, luxuria)


Lust (or lechery) is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature. Giving in to lusts can lead to sexual or sociological compulsions and/or transgressions including (but not limited to) sexual addiction, fornication, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion, and incest. Dante's criterion was "excessive love of others," which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary.


Gluttony (Latin, gula)
Gluttony



Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. In the Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, or its withholding from the needy. Depending on the culture, it can be seen as either a vice or a sign of status. Where food is relatively scarce, being able to eat well might be something to take pride in (although this can also result in a moral backlash when confronted with the reality of those less fortunate). Where food is routinely plentiful, it may be considered a sign of self-control to resist the temptation to over-indulge.


Medieval church leaders (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony,[3] arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods.[4] Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, including:

Praepropere - eating too soon.
Laute - eating too expensively.
Nimis - eating too much.
Ardenter - eating too eagerly (burningly).
Studiose - eating too daintily (keenly).
Forente - eating wildly (boringly).


Greed (Latin, avaritia)


Greed (or avarice, covetousness) is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to the acquisition of wealth in particular. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things."
"Avarice" is more of a blanket term that can describe many other examples of greedy behavior. These include disloyalty, deliberate
betrayal, or treason,[citations needed] especially for personal gain, for example through bribery. Scavenging[citation needed] and hoarding of materials or objects, theft and robbery, especially by means of violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority are all actions that may be inspired by greed. Such misdeeds can include simony, where one profits from soliciting goods within the actual confines of a church.

Sloth (Latin, acedia)


More than other sins, the definition of sloth has changed considerably since its original inclusion among the seven deadly sins. In fact it was first called the sin of sadness or despair. It had been in the early years of Christianity characterized by what modern writers would now describe as melancholy: apathy, depression, and joylessness — the last being viewed as being a refusal to enjoy the goodness of God and the world God created. Originally, its place was fulfilled by two other aspects, acedia and sadness. The former described a spiritual apathy that affected the faithful by discouraging them from their religious work. Sadness (tristitia in Latin) described a feeling of dissatisfaction or discontent, which caused unhappiness with one's current situation. When Thomas Aquinas selected acedia for his list, he described it as an "uneasiness of the mind", being a progenitor for lesser sins such as restlessness and instability. Dante refined this definition further, describing sloth as being the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind and all one's soul." He also described it as the middle sin, and as such was the only sin characterized by an absence or insufficiency of love.

The modern view of the vice, as highlighted by its contrary virtue of zeal or diligence, is that it represents the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts. For example, a student who does not work beyond what is required (and thus fails to achieve his or her full potential) could be labeled slothful.

Current interpretations are therefore much less stringent and comprehensive than they were in medieval times, and portray sloth as being more simply a sin of laziness or indifference, of an unwillingness to act, an unwillingness to care (rather than a failure to love God and his works). For this reason sloth is now often seen as being considerably less serious than the other sins, more a sin of omission than of commission.

The
sloth, a South American mammal, was named after this sin by Roman Catholic explorers.

Wrath (Latin, ira)



Wrath (or anger or "Rage") may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. These feelings can manifest as vehement denial of the truth, both to others and in the form of self-denial, impatience with the procedure of law, and the desire to seek revenge outside of the workings of the justice system (such as engaging in vigilantism) and generally wishing to do evil or harm to others. The transgressions borne of vengeance are among the most serious, including murder, assault, and in extreme cases, genocide. Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest (although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy, closely related to the sin of envy). Dante described vengeance as "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite". In its original form, the sin of wrath also encompassed anger pointed internally rather than externally. Thus suicide was deemed as the ultimate, albeit tragic, expression of wrath directed inwardly, a final rejection of God's gifts.


Envy (Latin, invidia)


Like greed, envy may be characterized by an insatiable desire; they differ, however, for two main reasons. First, greed is largely associated with material goods, whereas envy may apply more generally. Second, those who commit the sin of envy resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it. Dante defined this as "love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs." Aquinas described envy as "sorrow for another's good.”


Pride (Latin, superbia)



In almost every list pride (or hubris or "vanity") is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to give compliments to others though they may be deserving of them, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God). Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor." In perhaps the best-known example, the story of Lucifer, pride (his desire to compete with God) was what caused his fall from Heaven, and his resultant transformation into Satan. Vanity and narcissism are prime examples of this sin

Part II

Trust And Obey, For There’s No Other Way,
To Be Happy In Jesus, You Must Trust And Obey




I wonder when John H. Sammis pinned the above refrain to this great hymn of the church, entitled, “Trust And Obey,” in 1887, if he knew he was expressing the full counsel of God? My guess is that he did! The truth is, the more closely we Christian believers can come to doing these two simple things, namely trusting the promises of Christ and obeying the commandments of Christ, the happier we will be, and remember, the kingdom of Heaven is the realm of eternal happiness, and it is also “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

So, it is important to realize the following simple Bible truth: Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross, and was resurrected from the dead, in order to provide both forgiveness for our sins, and deliverance from our sins.

God’s provision of forgiveness for our sins and deliverance from our sins is revealed in the following scripture.
“There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) We enter into the realm of forgiveness for our sins through faith in the blood of Christ, and through the “washing of the water of the word,” and we enter into the realm of deliverance from our sins through the power of the Holy Spirit and through “the washing of the water of the word.” The Apostle Paul declared, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the ‘washing of the water of the word,’ so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) Jesus testified, “My words are Spirit and they are life.” The Apostle John proclaimed, “This is He who came by water and by blood - Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” (1 John 5: 6-8)

With these truths in mind, there is no reason whatsoever for a Christian believer to ever carry the burden of condemnation, guilt, fear, and/or shame for sins committed against God or man if he has repented of them and confessed them to God and is trusting in His promise to forgive him and cleanse him from all unrighteousness. As a matter of fact, the only reason that one would be inclined to carry such burdens unnecessarily is because of a lack of knowledge, and therefore a lack of faith, in Christ’s promises and provisions regarding Christian believers sins. It should also be noted that where sin against ones fellowman is concerned, there are times, when possible, that it is necessary to make restitution for the sin committed through replacing the wrong deed that was performed with a right deed performed on behalf of the offended party, all the while remembering that reconciliation between the two parties, namely, the offender and offended is the goal.

There are far too many Christian believers living under condemnation, guilt, fear, and/or shame because they do not know about Christ’s promise and provision of forgiveness regarding their sins. Or if they have known, they’ve forgotten. Whatever the case, let me take this opportunity to remind you by quoting the following scripture.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

If you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, have been carrying the unnecessary burden of condemnation, guilt, fear, and/or shame for your past sins, let me encourage you to confess them daily to God, and He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness as soon as you do so. Praise His Holy Name!
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34) It is also important to forgive others there sins against us because if we won't God won't forgive ours. A good rule for Christian victory is to be quick to forgive, quick to receive forgiveness, and quick to repent.

So having dealt with the subject of forgiveness for our sins, let us now turn our attention to deliverance from our sins.

Do you not know that as Christian believers, we do not have to sin unless we just want to? (And the flesh always wants to.)

“Let not sin therefore reign in you mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace.” (Romans 6: 12-14) and, “They that belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” (Galatians 5:24) “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

So, we see that the problem is not that we
have to sin, but that we want to sin. Why?
Because
“sin is pleasurable for a season.” It is so pleasurable that we forget that “the wages of sin is death.” So let us remember this truth and stop sinning. It is possible to do so by appropriating the grace of God, “for the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Now,
“sin is the transgression of the Law,” and “anything that is not of faith is sin.”
Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God said,
“I did not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them.” And the Apostle Paul tells us, “The righteous requirement of the Law is to love the Lord our God with our entire being spirit, soul, and body and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” And, “The righteousness requirement of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Jesus also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” And, “Love does no harm to its neighbor therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.” Paul said, “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law” and “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” Once again Paul testified, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Philippians 3:8-10

Christianity is a religion founded on a relationship and a fellowship with God the Father, through God the Son, and by God the Holy Spirit. It is a relationship and a fellowship in the Spirit that results in righteous living. Whenever we sin, we break fellowship with God and in order to restore and resume fellowship with Him we must confess our sins, and also forsake them in order for his mercy to be fully appropriated. (Proverbs 28:13) This unbroken fellowship with God is available to us through faith in the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and through yielding ourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit directives for deliverance from our sin. Both are available to us through the
“washing of the water of the word.”



Part III
Spiritual Warfare


Now the origins of sin is spiritual, but it manifest itself in human beings through thoughts, words, actions, and reactions. “There are six things that God hates, seven that are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The Apostle Paul instructed,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Let us also consider these words of the apostle:
“For though we walk in the flesh, (physical) we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

If we will seize the opportunity and subdue the flesh through walking in the Spirit we will defeat the devil through using the weapons of our warfare and will overcome everything the flesh and devil can throw at us. We will always be caused to triumph in Christ Jesus over every temptation, test, trial, situation, and circumstance in this life. We can choose to sow to the flesh and from the flesh reap corruption, or we can choose to sow to the Spirit and from the Spirit reap life everlasting. We can choose to love and serve God or love and serve sin. The former will lead to eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven, and the latter will lead to eternal death in Hell and the Lake of Fire. Again the choice is ours, and it is choice we must make daily. Jesus Christ proclaimed,
“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loses or forfeits himself ? For whoever is ashamed of Me and my words, of Him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26)








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Can Those Who Have Been Accepted In Christ, Be Rejected By Christ?

Ephesians 1:1-6

“Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful (trustworthy, sure, true) in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted (highly favored) in the beloved.

Hebrews 6: 1-12

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrines of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. If they shall fall away, (apostatize, defect, desert, recant, retreat, turn, renounce) to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessings from God. But that which bears thorns and briers is rejected (unapproved, worthless, castaway, reprobate) and is near unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteousness to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered, to the saints and do minister. And we desire that every one of you shows the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

We see from reading these two passages of scripture that it is possible for those who have been accepted in Christ to be rejected by Christ. Nevertheless, in the latter scripture we also see that the authors are persuaded “better things” of their audience, and “things that accompany salvation, though they thus speak.” Why? “Because God is not unrighteous to forget their work and labor of love, which they have showed toward His name, in that they have ministered to the saints and do minister.” And then the authors go on to encourage their audience to “show the same diligence.” Why? “In order to have the full assurance of hope to the end. That they be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” It is also important that we take note of the fact that the glowing address to the Church in Ephesus, quoted in the former scriptures, was written to the faithful in Christ, not to those who had expressed a faith in Christ at some point in their lives and later turned their backs on Him and the Church through cowardliness and unbelief. I believe the likes of these would be those Paul refers to in other scriptures as, “the sons of disobedience.”

In speaking on this subject, let me be clear on a couple of points. A backslider could be defined as a spiritually immature or spiritually mature person, who, after having faith in Christ for his salvation, for some reason or another began behaving inappropriately in keeping with his profession of faith by returning to his former sinful lifestyle. This person may have never officially renounced Christ publicly or privately in word, even though he has done so to one extent or another in deed.

Now, the definition of an “apostate” is different. An “apostate” could be defined as someone who has come to a level of profound maturity in God through faith in Christ Jesus and experienced an abundance of His grace (i.e. those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come) and then for some reason or another made a conscious choice to renounce, reject, and/or refute Christ and their faith in Him. This could have been done privately and/or publicly, in both word and deed. Such as these have turned away from Christ and the salvation that He offers by turning from faith in Him, back to their former posture and position of unbelief.

For a former atheist, who had come to faith in Christ Jesus for salvation, this would require renouncing faith in Christ Jesus for the imputation and impartation of God’s righteousness (right standing with God) on his behalf, and returning back to believing that there is no God, much less one who justifies the ungodly through faith.

For former followers of Judaism, who had come to faith in Christ Jesus for salvation, it would require a renouncing of faith in Christ Jesus for the imputation and impartation of God’s righteousness on their behalf, and a turning back to believing that God does not justify the ungodly through faith in Jesus Christ. Such as these would return to the Law of Moses in a futile attempt to be justified through adherence to the Law. In this act they would, in essence, be saying that Christ is
not “the end of the Law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” This was the case of those being spoken about in chapter six in the letter to the Hebrew believers.

It must also be noted that the apostates are not only those who, after having come to a mature faith in Christ for their position of right standing (righteousness) with God, choose to renounce that position through falling away from the faith and rejecting Jesus Christ in both word and deed, but it is also those who reject Jesus Christ’s claim of being the only legitimate way to the Father and attempt to replace Him with some other person, religion, or ideology. This is spiritual adultery at its worst, a subject that I will address in greater detail later on in this teaching.

Now, whereas there are obvious similarities between the backslider and the apostate, there are also obvious differences. The differences are pointed out in a scripture found in one of Paul’s letters to his
“son in the faith,” Timothy.

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He abides faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2: 11-13

In God’s eyes there’s a big difference between losing faith in Christ for a season (due to infirmities and iniquities of the soul or situations and circumstances in this life) than there is to, after having received Christ and reached a level of spiritual maturity (through specific divine spiritual experiences), become faithless to Christ to the point of renouncing Him as the justifier of their souls either privately and/or publicly in both word and deed!

Again, the difference between the backslider and the apostate is explained thusly,
“If we deny Him, He also will deny us (apostate). If we believe not, yet He abides faithful, He cannot deny Himself.” (Backslider) Whereas Peter, while under duress, denied that he “knew” Jesus, He never renounced Him in his heart as his means to achieving “right standing with God.” You see my point? I hope you see that the difference between the backslider and the apostate is a matter of one’s actions based on believing or not believing in Jesus Christ for one’s justification. Thus, in the eyes of God, apostasy is a more serious sin than backsliding.

Now, even though this may be true, backsliding is still a very dangerous business, and it is to be resisted and discouraged with all of one’s energy and with all of God’s grace, knowing that if the pattern is continued in without repentance, it could most assuredly lead to apostasy and Hell, or, at the very least, certain loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Nevertheless, there is still hope for the backslider during this present dispensation through the hope of renewed repentance and faith towards God, but according to the scripture, there is no such hope for the apostate. Why? Because
“it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.”

This apparent loophole, of course, should not be a license to sin for the backslider because,
“We must all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, to be judged for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.” And “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord shall judge his people.” “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Now, the causes that lead to a sincere mature Christian believer becoming apostate or reprobate are difficult to imagine. The consequences that follow such behavior are extremely severe, because their condition stems from a soul that was at one time open and receptive to Christ and His purposes and experienced every gift that Christ had to offer of Himself in this life, most especially revelation knowledge revealing who Christ is, what He has done, and what it has cost Him to do it. And yet, the apostate still made a choice to deny Him!

Jesus told His disciples,
“To whom much is given, much will be required.” James warned, “Be not many teachers, knowing that you will receive the greater condemnation.”

So we see that in God’s economy, with great privilege comes great responsibility. The archangel Lucifer is the perfect example of the apostate and reprobate, and we know that he is far beyond redemption. It is extremely sobering to realize that the scriptures teach that this same fate is possible for those who were once sincere mature Christian believers and then became reprobate and apostate.

Now, one of the reasons for me writing on this difficult subject is because the Apostle Paul warned,
“Let no man deceive you by any means, that day (the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasy) first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (the anti-Christ).” Prior to his revealing there will be what Jesus called the “beginning of sorrows” and with this “revealing,” there will come great persecution against the elect of God. The scriptures point to that persecution and suffering of God’s people at the hands of the anti-Christ as being synonymous with a falling away from the faith. The faithful followers of Christ are not appointed to experience God’s wrath, but through our prayers will be instrumental in releasing it! In keeping with this, we will most assuredly experience the wrath of Satan during the Great Tribulation, and we will do so because we will choose to remain faithful to Jesus Christ instead of selling out our allegiance to the anti-Christ who will require all souls to worship him as God. Again, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:

It is high time for the Church of the living God to
“wake up and strengthen the things that remain” because we are already in the beginning of sorrows, and we are quickly approaching the Great Tribulation.

In the parable of the sower, recorded in Matthew 13:3-8 and explained in Matthew 13:18-23, Jesus points out three reasons that the seed that was sown did not bear fruit, and they are all interconnected. For this lesson’s purposes, I would like to focus on all of them because I believe that understanding them is extremely important during these latter days in order for Christians to avoid becoming apostates. The seed that was sown on the path is represented as the heart of a believer who hears the word of the kingdom but does not understand it. The Bible teaches,
“We enter the kingdom of God through much tribulation.” There are many Christian believers who have been taught that we will escape the Great Tribulation through a secret rapture prior to Christ’s second coming. There will most assuredly be a rapture of the church, but it will be at the end of the Great Tribulation, not prior to it. Many Christians who find themselves in the middle of the Great Tribulation will have already had the seed of God’s word snatched from their hearts by Satan through embracing this false teaching, and through their disappointment, confusion, despair, and despondency, they will become fruitless in their service to God.

The seed that was sown among thorns is what I believe to be the most accurate description of the Christian believer in the U.S.A. and the West in general.
“This is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” This unfruitfulness, in itself is bad enough, but I believe it could be a predecessor to the other example of unfruitfulness mentioned by Jesus, which leads to the believers “falling away.” “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.”

In a sentence, if we are not living fully for Jesus now because we are either living in ignorance through having embraced a false eschatological doctrine, or we are living with regard to the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, we will most likely deny Christ and fall away from the faith when threatened with tribulation and persecution on account of the Word.

As Christian believers we can avoid this pitfall now by rightly handling the Word of Truth, by becoming and remaining faithful to Jesus Christ, and by living a sanctified life in obedience to God’s will and word, as we
“work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God who is working in us, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” Let us work diligently now, “For the hour cometh when no man can work.” After all, the Holy Spirit has been sent by Christ to “lead us into all truth.” Let us follow His lead and not “the dictates of the flesh,” “deceiving spirits,” and “doctrines of devils.”

Speaking of deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils, there will be many professing Christians (apostates) in the latter days that embrace a one world religion under the deception of the False Prophet. They will do this for the sake of peace and unity with other religions. In doing so they will have sacrificed their allegiance to Jesus Christ who came to bring a sword of division between the enlightened and the deceived, or if you will, the believing and the unbelieving. (Please see Matthew 10:34-39) These will also persecute the lovers of the Truth and deem them as evil doers. They will think that they are doing God a service in persecuting and killing the faithful believers in Christ, because they will see us as evil does and trouble makers, and as those who reject their humanistic religion of “unity, peace, and justice” for all human beings. (John 16:2)

Now, the Greek word for adultery is “moicheia,” pronounced
moy-khi’-ah. Webster’s – English – “adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.” The figurative Greek word for apostate is “moichos” - moy-khos’ and it means adulterer! In the same way that God requires faithfulness in the marriage covenant between a husband and wife, He requires faithfulness in the new covenant between Jesus Christ and the Christian believer.

The seventh commandment proclaims,
“You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. Jesus Christ proclaimed, “You have heard that it was said by them of old time, you shall not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into Hell. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into Hell.” Matthew 5: 27-30.

According to the teachings of Paul the un-confessed and un-forsaken sin of adultery, among other sins, will keep a Christian believer from inheriting the kingdom of God.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, fits of anger, rage, and wrath, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.

Now, Paul also proclaimed,
“Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” He also said that one of “the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.” The others are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

If we are to remain faithful to Christ now, and especially during the Great Tribulation, we must be born of the Spirit, baptized with the Spirit, live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit. This can only be accomplished by being continuously filled with the Spirit through praying in the Spirit, worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth, and speaking to ourselves with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts to the Lord. And remember, Jesus Christ said,
“My words are Spirit and they are life.” May we be faithful to Him through a life in the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit!

I will end this exhortation with the words of our Lord, that sum up the essence of the teaching quite well.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this you bear much fruit and prove to be My disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Fathers commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love as no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. These things I command you so that you will love one another.” John 15:1-17

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Faith Without Works Is Dead and The Importance of Forgiveness

What good is it, my brothers; if a man claims to have faith but has no works (of faith)? Can such faith save him? Faith by itself, if not accompanied by works (of faith), is dead. But someone will say; you have faith; I have works. Show me your faith without your works (of faith), and I will show you my faith by my works (of faith.) You see that a person is justified by works (of faith) and not by faith alone. As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works (of faith) is dead also.” James 2:14,18,24, 26.


Phillip Malanchthon said, “It is faith alone that saves, but faith that saves is not alone.”


The other night, Mike Huckabee ended his television show with these words, “More importantly live your faith.” Bob Dylan wrote, “You talk about a life of brotherly love, show me someone who knows how to live it.” Once the Lord spoke to me saying, “Personalize your revelations.” Another way of saying this is, “practice what you preach” or, “do what you know to do.” As Christian believers it is not enough to
profess that we know the Truth; we must also practice the Truth we know! We must learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in all things, and at all times. Why? Because the Holy Spirit has been sent by Christ in order to “lead us into all Truth!” It is equally important that we trust and obey the Holy Scriptures. Why, because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work! Furthermore, “they are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Therefore, we must train ourselves around God’s Word and in His Spirit to practice the Truth we profess! Saint Francis de Sales put it this way, “Live Jesus, Live Jesus!”


It is not enough to have good intentions, because “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Our “good intentions” and “professed faith” must be backed up with good actions, not inaction, or, if you will, with “sins of omission.” Remember, “faith without works (of faith) is dead.” In like manner, neither should our professed faith be accompanied by wicked behavior, or if you will, “sins of commission,” such as
“sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealously, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.” Paul charged, “I warn you again as I warned you before, they that practice these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Dear reader, do you profess to be a Christian and still practice any of these things? If so, I beg you, repent, lest you lose out on your inheritance in Christ that has been obtained by grace through faith. Again, Paul proclaimed, “They that practice these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God!” He called activities like the ones mentioned above, “the works of the flesh.” He instructed Christian believers to walk in the Spirit and promised that if the did so they would not fulfill the works of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit means being led by the Holy Spirit. This is accomplished through yielding one’s will in trusting obedience to the Holy Spirit’s directives instead of yielding one’s will to the dictates of the flesh. If we are to ever over come self, Satan, and sin, like Jesus did, we must get real good at doing this daily.


Christian believers have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. Even though this is the essence and foundation of our Christian faith, we must also practice
“doing righteously even as Christ is righteous.” Paul spoke of “the obedience of faith.” There is a first out resurrection that we must attain to because we don’t want to be a part of the second resurrection when the slothful, sleeping, and dead church will be judged along with all sinners and unbelievers. “He that has this hope (of the first resurrection) purifies himself, even as He is pure.” Those who pursue this purification, by grace through faith, have the “hope of righteousness.” Those who live in willful and deliberate defiance to the Word, and Will of God should not deceive themselves into thinking that they have this hope. We must not think in terms of happiness now and holiness later, but we should embrace the concept of holiness now and happiness later! Better yet, we should realize and remember the wise words of John Wesley, “holiness is happiness!”


“We are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works
(of law) lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works (of faith) that God ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Through predestination, our
position in Christ is secure, for we have obtained an inheritance being sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Nevertheless, the actual possession of our eternal inheritance is not yet accomplished because Christian believers are “waiting for the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.” Jesus said, “He that overcomes shall inherit all things,” and “not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.” As Christian believers, our inheritance is relegated to us but not fully delegated to us yet, because “many are called but few are chosen.” The chosen “delegates,” or, if you will, “the elect of God” are those who by grace through faith overcome self, Satan, and sin through “the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.” These Spirit baptized witnesses
(martyrs) of God will accomplish the latter,
(loving not their lives unto death) even as Jesus did, by first being baptized in the Holy Spirit and then remaining filled with the Holy Spirit, and also by living and walking in the Holy Spirit and thereby, doing the will of God, instead of their own will. These are the ones who will share in the rule of Christ’s millennial kingdom with Him, and in the eternal kingdom of Heaven, the New Jerusalem that is coming to a new earth (wherein dwells righteousness) in the near future! Jesus said, “If you seek to gain your life, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, you will gain eternal life. And what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his eternal soul?”


So what shall be said about those professing Christians that reject the requirement that Christ made of those who would be His disciples?
“If you would be my disciples indeed, you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow Me. Jesus said, “Broad is the road that leads to perdition and many go that way, but narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus proclaimed, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Only those who begin in Christ, continue in Christ, and finish in Christ through faith in Him, (which also results in faithfulness to do His Father’s will) shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven. We must, by the mercies of God, be willing and enabled by the Holy Spirit to daily surrender our lives, (spirit, soul, and body) unto God upon His altar of sacrifice.

Now, let’s see how all of this pertains to our relationship with our fellow human beings? Or, if you will, in the words of Steve Taylor, “Will we live to forgive?”


Jesus taught His disciples,
“Bless those who curse you, do good to those who do you harm, and pray for those who despitefully use you. If a man ask for your coat, give him your cloak also. If he compels you to go a mile with him, go two miles. If anyone strikes you on one cheek, offer him the other also.” He went on to say “Be holy because your heavenly Father is holy. He gives the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and He causes the sun to shine on the righteous and on the unrighteous alike.” We are to do likewise with our possessions. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “If your enemy hungers, give him something to eat; if he thirsts, give him something to drink, for in so doing you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” In other words, you will share your fire with him! We are to “Return no evil for evil, but overcome evil with good.”


The other day I said to a Christian friend and co-worker of mine who was being offended by one of our unbelieving co-workers, “If a blind man stumbles into you and knocks you down causing you pain and injury, your initial reaction may be hurt and anger. But once you realize that he is blind, it would be difficult and even unreasonable for you to bear anger and resentment in your heart against him. Right?” He agreed!


This is the way that Christian believers are to react toward non-believers. But what about those Christians who act wickedly towards other Christians? How are we to respond to those who know right from wrong, and those who know the Light and claim to walk in the Light, and yet still do “dark things,” and thereby cause us pain and injury. The same way we react towards the “lost,” is the way we are to react towards the “found!” Why? Because Jesus said,
“The disciple is not greater than his Master, but he shall be like his Master.” In keeping with this thought, “Jesus was wounded in the congregation of His friends.” He was forsaken by His disciples, and even denied by one of the three who was closest to Him. He was despised and rejected by those He loved and came to save! His responses to all of these was, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


So you see my brothers and sisters, I'm going to say it again. It is one thing to profess to know the Truth and an entirely different thing to practice the truth we know! It is in knowing the Truth that we are justified, but it is in the doing the Truth that we are just, and thereby known of God. To have been justified by grace through faith and to still do unjustly at times is the great dilemma and disparagement of those striving to live the Christian life. This is why we must understand that “if we live in the Spirit,” we must learn to “walk in the Spirit.” In doing so “we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Once we have believed in Christ for our salvation, we must learn to both live and walk in the goodness of that salvation. The following scriptures point to how this is possible. “If we were saved by His death, how much more shall we be saved through His life.” “In Him we live and move and have our being.” “Christ ever lives to make intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” “The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” “Those who are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” “Therefore, mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit.”


The basis of our covenant relation with God through Christ, and our redemption in Him is to be found in the exchanged life. He took our sins upon Himself on the cross and in exchange offered us the free gift of His righteousness. We must learn to settle down into and be not removed from Christ and the righteousness found in Him, even as branches abide in the vine and bear much fruit, we must learn to abide in Christ so that we might do likewise. Our sin nature, or, if you will, who we were, was condemned in Christ’s body on the cross and thereby His righteousness was imputed (stored up) unto us. Now through communion with Him around His Word and in His Spirit, his very righteousness is imparted unto us to the glory of God as we are made brand new creations in Him. “
If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is new creation, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new!”


Now, none of us have learned to live and walk in this perfectly. Even the great Apostle Paul proclaimed that he had not attained to the perfection of Christ
(the first out resurrection from the dead), but he said that he “followed after” and “pressed towards” this great goal. As a matter of fact, he said that those who are “perfect” are the souls who are doing likewise. So, my fellow Christian believers, be sure to forgive unbelievers for their offenses against you, because they have been blinded by Satan, and led captive by him at his will. Therefore pray for them, bless them, and do good to them. If you do so, it will be the most convincing sermon that you will ever preach! Also, be patient and forgiving of yourselves and each other. All of you give each other a lot of slack and “bear one another’s burdens (moral shortcomings) and thus fulfill the law of Christ” as you continue to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” And remember the exhortation of Jesus Christ, “If you forgive others their trespasses against you, your heavenly Father will forgive yours; But, if you don’t forgive others their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive yours.”

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Calvinism vs. Ariminianism: Appreciating My Mentors

At different times in my Christian life and ministerial career I have been led of the Lord to sit under the teachings of two separate ministers. The first is an Englishman named Colin Urquart, who is solidly Calvinist in his theological beliefs. The second is an Englishman named David Pawson, a dyed in the wool Arminian. Both Calvinism and Arminianism have five points of doctrine, but the main and most basic difference between these two persuasions, according to John Wesley, is on the point of irresistible grace.

The Calvinists believe that God’s saving grace cannot be resisted by the human will. The Arminians believe that God’s saving grace can be resisted by the human will. Whereas I am inclined to believe the Arminian view, I hope with all of my heart that the Calvinist view is correct. In my personal experience I have discovered that both views are potentially true to one extent or another. In other words, I have found that, at times, I seem to have been capable of resisting God’s saving grace through my own rebellious human will. At other times I have discovered that I seem to have been incapable of resisting His grace through His divine intervention in my life. The source of this quandary could be a matter of semantics, or more specifically, a question of spiritual dynamics at play in my life as a Christian and in my human experience in general. Ultimately, however, neither the Calvinist view nor the Arminian view will be discovered as being accurate or inaccurate until we all stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ to be judged for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.

Whereas I hope that the Calvinist persuasion is correct, it would be extremely foolish on my part, and yours, dear reader, to discount the possibilities and probabilities of the Arminian persuasion being correct. The same could be said of the Calvinist persuasion, in that being under confident of our salvation in Christ could diminish our spiritual growth in the grace of God leading to spiritual discouragement and a legalistic approach to our salvation, resulting in self-righteous religion. Conversely, to be overconfident of our salvation in Christ could diminish our spiritual growth in the grace of God, leading Christian believers into a license to sin through unrighteous rebellion. I have found in my employment experience that both under-confidence and overconfidence have, at times, lead to humiliating and embarrassing errors. For me to be successful in my work as a professional television camera operator, it has been necessary to achieve a balance in my attitude between the two. In reality, a confident assurance of my abilities and a humble assessment of my potential for failure, has proven the best course of action for me to take.

At one time, I was given a vision from the Lord of a swinging pendulum. On one side of the pendulum was unrighteous rebellion leading to a license to sin, and on the other side was self-righteous religion leading to legalism in an attempt to deter sin. In the center, where the pendulum was beginning to totter and come to rest, was righteousness and deliverance from sin through a relationship and fellowship with Jesus Christ, the living Lord.

To be a disciple of Christ and a sheep of His pasture, given to Him by God and therefore incapable of being snatched out of His Father’s hands, requires three significant tell-tail signs. The first and foremost requirement is to be known by the Good Shepherd and to also know Him. The second and third requirements are to hear His voice and follow His lead. If this has been, is, and continues to be the pattern of our lives, then we can rest assured of our salvation in Christ. If however, this is not the pattern of our lives, then we must examine ourselves to see if we are still in faith. If we discover that we are not in faith, we must repent of our sin, have faith towards God, and be restored, renewed, and revived.

Regarding salvation, I have heard it said by a Calvinist preacher encouraging the concept of the “eternal security” of the Christian believer, “Born once, die twice, born twice die once.” This implies that all that is required to experience salvation in Christ is to have come to a place of faith in Christ at some point in one’s life, resulting in one’s rebirth in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is accomplished through believing in the name of Jesus and receiving Him as Savior and Lord.

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:11-13

It must be noted however, that the word, “received” means, “to settle down into and be not removed from Christ.” Concerning our rebirth in Christ, Peter speaks of a present continuing process,
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” (1 Peter 1:23). And Paul speaks of a future salvation. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

All of these scriptures point to the Arminian view of salvation in Christ, namely, that our salvation in Christ requires a beginning in Christ through faith, a continuing in Christ through faith, and a finishing in Christ through faith. Of course we must also understand and come to believe that, in keeping with the Calvinist view of sanctification, “Faithful is He that calls you who will also do it.” He will do it in us, to us, and through us, but not without our cooperation. Thus Paul’s exhortation, in keeping with the Arminian view, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is working in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12

While touring Northern Ireland as an itinerant minister in the early nineteen nineties, I kept coming across the books of Colin Urquart in the houses of fellow Christians where I was staying. As I read his books, I started feeling that he had something in his spirit that I desperately needed. After attending a meeting of his in Bangor, N. Ireland, I was deeply impressed of the Lord to leave the mission field and take my family to Horsham, East Sussex, England, and attend Kingdom Faith Bible College which he founded, and where he lived and taught. I did this for a semester and graduated with a certificate of completion for one of the many ministerial courses offered there. During that time, through his ministry, I came to a greater understanding of Christ’s accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead, as well as a greater revelation of what it meant to be “in Christ.”

After having returned to the U.S.A. I was working in television production for Turner Entertainment in the late nineteen nineties. At that time I was becoming interested in the International House of Prayer Ministries founded by Mike Bickle. One night I went to his ministry website, and as I researched it, I discovered a conference being advertised which was dealing with the subject of the end times. The keynote speaker for this ministry was a man named David Pawson. As I looked at a picture of him, and read about his ministry, the Lord spoke clearly to my spirit saying, “Go and hear him.” I signed up for the conference and booked a flight to Kansas City. For one week I sat under his ministry and every time I heard him teach, I received a confirmation from the Holy Spirit of the truth that he was speaking. In essence, everything that he said was exactly what the Lord had been saying to me throughout my entire Christian life and ministry. I bought four of his books and read them thoroughly again and again. My life and ministry have been greatly enriched by his teachings.

In conclusion let me say, I know in my heart of hearts through the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the faithfulness of God, that I have been saved, that I am being saved, and that I will be saved. I also know, through the exhortations of the Holy Scriptures, that I must
“be careful if I think I stand lest I fall.” Regarding the different points of doctrine between Calvinism and Arminianism, let me say in agreement with the revealed Word of God, “Now, we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, we will know even as we are known.”

In honor of my two mentors, Colin Urquart, a Calvinist, and David Pawson, an Arminian, I would like to recommend two of their books for your edification. “The Truth That Makes You Free,” by Colin Urquart. (KingdomFaithMinistries.com), and “Once Saved Always Saved?” by David Pawson (DavidPawson. com). May the God of all wisdom and grace bless you as he has blessed me through both these great men of God and their respective ministries.

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Accepting, Acknowledging, Acquiring, Appropriating, And Applying The Knowledge Of Jesus Christ Our Lord

My people perish for a lack of knowledge.
Hosea 4:6

I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
Philippines 3:8

This I say then, walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the works of the flesh.
Gelatins 5:16

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Matthew 6:10


Accept - verb - To receive willingly. (the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord)

Acknowledge - verb - 1) To admit the reality or truth of. a. To express recognition of. b. To express gratitude for. c. To report the receipt of. (the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord)

Acquire - verb - 1) To secure possession of. 2) To come to have. (the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord)

Appropriate - verb - 1) To set apart for a particular use. 2) To take or use often, without permission. (the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord)

Apply - verb - 1) To put to a special use. 2) To give one self or one's efforts to. (the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord)

Human beings are triune beings. We are spirits, we have souls, and we live in bodies. We were created in God's image and likeness who is also a triune being, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

“The knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord” incorporates the Christian believer’s past justification in Christ (which took place when we first believed the gospel message), present sanctification in Christ (which takes place as we continue to believe the gospel message and follow the directives of the Holy Spirit instead of the dictates of the flesh), and future glorification in Christ (which will take place when we finish the course, having kept the faith).

Believing the gospel message results in the salvation of the human spirit through
translation, the human soul through transformation, and the human body through transfiguration. This great salvation that incorporates the past, present and future; the spirit, soul, and body; translation, transformation, and transfiguration; or, if you will, justification, sanctification, and glorification, is provided through Jesus Christ’s past death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, His present intercession in Heaven for the saints, and the on going work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This great salvation will be finalized in the future at Jesus Christ’s second coming, when He will rapture His church (the dead in Christ from Paradise and those who are alive in Christ from the earth) and establish His millennial rule on the earth. At the time of the rapture (the first out resurrection), the redeemed of the Lord will receive immortal and incorruptible bodies. There will be 1,000 years of peace on earth because the earth will be ruled by Christ and His saints.

Preceding this, the earth will experience the "beginning of sorrows," (chaos among nations and disasters in the earth.) There will be manifestations of false teachers and false Christ. The wrath of God will be poured out on the earth. There will be dictatorship in the Middle East, led by the anti-Christ and False Prophet. There will be a falling away in the church. The anti-Christ will stand in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem a declare himself to be God. He will require the whole world to worship him and to receive his mark (666) in order to buy and sell goods. Those who receive the mark of the Beast will experience God's wrath in it's fulness. Many who refuse the mark will be beheaded for their faithfulness to Christ, but they will not taste of the second death, which is Hell. There will be great persecution and martyrdom of the elect of God. There will be Trouble like the world has never seen before or will ever see again. If those days were not shorten, even the very elect would be deceived, if possible.

At the end of this Great Tribulation Period (3.5 years), and at Christ's second coming, (in the eastern skies of Jerusalem with His fiery angels and redeemed saints) the anti-Christ and False Prophet will be defeated along with their armies by Christ at the battle of Armageddon. He will cast those two buggers into the Lake of Fire. Satan will be bound with a great chain and cast into a bottomless pit by a large angel.

At the end of Christ’s millennial reign Satan will be loosed from his chain and pit for a season and lead a final rebellion against Christ and His saints. Christ will quickly defeat him and his followers. There will be a second out resurrection of the dead from Hades as Hell's inhabitants receive immortal bodies. (Prior to this they where disembodied human spirits held captive and awaiting God's final judgment.) Christ will judge both saints and sinners at the Judgment Seat of Christ and The Great White Throne Judgment. He will judge the saints for their works, both good and bad. Some will receive rewards and some will suffer loss. Every faithful believer in Christ will be saved, however, for some, it will be as those barely escaping through the flames. Unrepentant sinners and "Christian" backsliders will be judged and condemned to Hell for having rejected and denied Christ in both word and deed. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire along with Hell and its inhabitants, the hypocritical and heretical, the fearful and unbelieving, the abominable and murderers, the whoremongers and sorcerers, the idolaters and all liars, along with those who practice adultery, fornication, sexual immorality, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition's, heresies, envying, drunkenness, reveling and things such as this. The overcoming saints who have walked in the Spirit, and have thereby cultivated the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, will be preserved by God as the heavens and the earth are destroyed by fire.

Thus says the Lord,
“He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.” Jesus said to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, and this is that which overcomes the world, even your faith.” God will create “a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” The Holy City of God will descend from Heaven and rest upon the new earth. There will be the marriage supper of the Lamb. The prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray will have been answered. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

When an individual human being believes on the name of Jesus Christ, and Christ is received into his heart by faith, he is forgiven of his past sins inherited through Adam’s transgression, and propagated through his own ignorance and/or rebellion. He is thereby
“born again, not of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of the will of God.” According to the words of Jesus Christ, in order to see the kingdom of Heaven, we must be born again of the Holy Spirit.

“No man can come to the Father unless the Spirit draws him.”

This revelation knowledge or, if you will, this wisdom from above which is the grace of the Holy Spirit in bringing saving faith to a human being through leading him to believe in and receive Jesus Christ for his justification, is further accomplished through the provisions of God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who comes to reside within the Christian believer’s born again human spirit at the moment he becomes justified (innocent) through faith in Jesus Christ. Again, this residency of the Holy Spirit takes place when an individual believes the gospel message and is born again of the Holy Spirit. This residency is increased and enhanced when one is baptized in the Holy Spirit and receives power from on high to be a witness of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. Being born of God’s Spirit and being baptized in God’s Spirit are two separate and distinct experiences of grace made available to the Christian believer, and therefore required by God for the believer’s initiation into Christ. These two experiences of grace walk hand in hand with two other experiences of grace, which are repentance from dead works, and water baptism in the name of Jesus.

But God has established and ordained even more than these great enterprises and sacraments to assure our salvation by grace through faith. He has instructed us to remain filled with the Holy Spirit, to live in the Holy Spirit, to walk in the Holy Spirit, to be led by the Holy Spirit, to pray without ceasing in the Holy Spirit, and to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth! He has given us these instructions through the written word of God, the Holy Scriptures. Jesus testified
, “My words are Spirit and they are life.”

He has also given
“some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

In order for us to benefit from this revelation knowledge which is the truth expressed in the Holy Scriptures and revealed to our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, and brought to our attention by the five fold ministry gifts mentioned above, we must accept, acknowledge, acquire, appropriate, and apply this knowledge of the Son of God by exercising a living faith in Him. Remember,
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Consider these words of the Apostle Paul that were given to him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me; and the life that I now live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Paul was granted a revelation that an exchange had taken place. This exchange incorporated Christ’s life of righteousness imputed unto him through the redemptive power of faith in His Blood, and imparted unto him through the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit. This grace resulted in his justification and sanctification in Christ through faith. This saving grace was exchanged for his life of self-righteous religion and unrighteous rebellion. Thus, he came to realize that he was totally dependent upon a relationship and fellowship with Christ through His Blood, His Word, and His Holy Spirit in order for his salvation to be attained to by faith. Through faith in the accomplished work of Christ, and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, he was enabled to account himself dead indeed to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He encouraged the church to receive, live in, and walk in this revelation also, by walking in the Holy Spirit! “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creation, old things have past away, behold, all things have become new,” and “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” We are to “mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Holy Spirit.”

Paul accepted this truth by faith, and thereby consistently acknowledged it. By consistently acknowledging this truth, he acquired it, and having acquired it, he was enabled to appropriate it. In appropriating the knowledge of the truth, the knowledge of God, the knowledge of Christ by faith, he continually applied it in every situation and circumstance that he faced throughout his difficult and challenging life of faithful service to Christ, His church, and the world. This was all accomplished through his relationship with the Holy Spirit. He testified,
“The same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead now dwells in us to quicken our mortal bodies.”

This revelation knowledge imparted to him by the Holy Spirit led him into a lifestyle and lifetime of faith and faithfulness to Christ, or, if you will,
“the obedience of faith.” Towards the end of his life he testified, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 6-8.

The grace of God is the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:1-14.

Let us also consider this proverb. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

We cannot experience the salvation that God has provided for us in Christ by leaning on our own understanding or looking to ourselves. We can only experience it by trusting in God with all of our heart, because “without faith, it is impossible to please God. They that come to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” “All things that pertain to life and godliness have been provided for us in Christ.” “But of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, ‘He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ ” “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” “The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” And again, “The life that I now live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Jesus promised, “I will not leave you alone, I will send the Holy Spirit, and when He is come He will lead you into all truth. He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.”

“Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three.”
All three of these godly qualities and character traits (faith, hope, and love) have been provided for us through Jesus Christ, but in order for us to benefit from them, we must accept, acknowledge, acquire, appropriate, and apply them consistently and continuously in every situation and circumstance in our lives. This, of course, is a learning process, and it is the work of the Holy Spirit to help us to do so. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who has been sent by Christ to lead us into all truth. May we learn to follow His lead! As we learn to obediently follow the leading of the Holy Spirit more closely, our spirit man, the hidden man of the heart, will begin to gain the ascendancy over our souls and bodies, instead of our souls and bodies having the ascendancy over our spirit man. When our spirit man, in submission to the Spirit of God, has the ascendancy in our lives, it leads to true spirituality and eternal life. This results in us receiving our inheritance in Christ, which is an abundant entrance into the kingdom of Heaven starting now and continuing for all eternity. When our flesh (sin nature) is given the ascendancy in our lives, it leads to carnality and eternal death, which is Hell. In our spirit man we have the unlimited knowledge of God, the unlimited faith of God, the unlimited hope of God, the unlimited righteousness of God, and the unlimited love of God. “We have the mind of Christ” for “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In our souls we only have a limited understanding regarding the things of God, which is, in essence, a lack of knowledge. If we choose to live by our own limited understanding, we will perish, but if we live in, and walk in the grace of the Holy Spirit, through faith in the knowledge of the Son of God, we will experience eternal life both now and forevermore.

To be spiritually minded is life and peace, but to be carnally minded is death. The spiritually minded man accounts himself dead indeed to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He knows that sin shall not have dominion over him because he is not under the law, but under grace. He makes every effort to be found in Christ without spot or blemish, but his efforts are not only in trying to do right through following the commandments of Christ, but also in making every effort to grasp a better understanding, a greater revelation, of the fact that he has been made the righteousness of God in Christ. In other words, he does not get the cart before the horse by merely trying to do right, but he does right because of the revelation of the Word, the Blood, and the Spirit, that he has been made the righteousness of God in Christ. All of our righteousness apart from His gift of righteousness is as filthy rags. The operative phrase for us to contemplate is “In Christ.” The spiritually minded man recognizes that any good that comes from him is a result of him coming to Christ and continuing in Christ, and ultimately finishing his spiritual course in Christ. For it is
"in Him that we live and move and have our being." If we are struggling with sins, strongholds, and curses in our lives and being overcome by them, we must examine ourselves to see if we are still in faith. If we are not, we must repent and return to our first love, and do the first works again. God has granted us the grace to do so. May we not receive His grace in vain.

I will leave you with a few scriptures to contemplate.

“This day I have placed life and death, blessings and curses before you. Choose life that you and your children may live.”

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not profitable to me.”

“Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, 'if you continue in my words, then you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. If any man is overcome by a sin, he is the slave of sin, and a slave does not abide in the house forever. A son abides forever, therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.' ”

“It is for freedom that Christ has made us free.”


May we learn to walk in the Holy Spirit and thereby accept, acknowledge, acquire, appropriate, and apply God’s amazing grace (which is the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord) in every area of our lives. (Spiritually, mentally, physically, financially, and socially) May we also continue in His words, the Holy Scriptures,
“which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen!

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Peace With God, Christ In You The Hope Of Glory

Having been ordained by God as an exhorter in the church, and being a proponent of the Arminian theological persuasion, I have had a propensity throughout my ministry to both encourage and warn myself and other Christian believers to pursue and perfect holiness in reverence of God. I have consistently and continuously written on the benefits of doing this and the dangerous and devastating consequences of failing to do so. Namely, death, Hell, and every negative thing in between. I believe my exhortations are in keeping with the teachings found in the scriptures, therefore, they are necessary and essential to a vital and valid spiritual life in Christ. Nevertheless, in this approach, there is the danger of focusing more on our sins, instead of focusing on Christ and His atonement for our sins! In my attempts to deter my readers from giving license to their sins, my exhortations could be construed as a legalistic approach to sanctification. God forbid!

Religious legalism is grossly lacking and devoid of the benefits of the revelation of grace through faith because no human flesh can be justified in God's eyes through adhering to a set of rules, regulations, or laws. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for every one who believes." The flesh (sin nature) has been judged and crucified through the cross of Christ, therefore we must not try to justify or save it through works of law. Instead, we must reckon it dead! To attempt to reform the flesh through imposing laws upon it would be the equivalent of putting the cart before the horse. Good works follow a living faith in God, not the other way around. “Show me your faith without your works (of faith), and I will show you my faith by my works (of faith.)” It is faith alone that saves, but faith that saves is not alone." Therefore, to get this wrong by attempting to justify oneself through adhering to rules, regulations, and/or laws, as opposed to exercising a living faith in the living God, would lead only to frustration. It would also lead to religious pride and therefore would seriously hamper our progress on the road leading to peace with God. “God gives grace to the humble but resist the proud.”


Peace with God is not available to human beings through giving them a license to sin, nor is it available through imposing legalism on them in an attempt to deter their sins. Peace with God is only available by grace through faith based on trusting God's promises and obeying His commandments. As the old hymn of the church rightly proclaims, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, we must trust and obey." Nevertheless, to encourage obedience to Christ's commandments without equally encouraging a trust in His promises could result in an imbalanced emphasis on sound Christian doctrine and distort the full council of God.


So, I’m concerned that in my efforts to encourage faithfulness to God’s commandments regarding the pursuit and perfecting of holiness, I may have inadvertently diminished my readers’ faith in Christ’s accomplished work on the cross by consistently pointing out the dangers of continuing in our persistent, willful, deliberate, highhanded, and rebellious sins.


"Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three!"
We must not neglect the importance of our hope in Christ regardless of our moral failings and sins. The revelation that we need to abide in is "Christ in us the hope of glory." And this must be trusted in because of and in spite of our sins!


This essential revelation also incorporates the fact that our old man was executed with Christ at His crucifixion, and our sins were judged in His broken and bruised flesh. Now, through His resurrection from the dead, we have been granted a new life of righteousness in Him. In other words, we were made innocent of our past transgressions and actually made new creations in Christ Jesus. To neglect this great truth, while only focusing on our need to pursue and perfect holiness, would be a terrible oversight indeed. The reason that this is true is because our faith in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross is the very means to our sanctification in Him! The revelation that accompanies our faith in Christ’s redemptive work that not only grants us forgiveness for our sins, but also deliverance from them, is the very revelation that gives us the power
“not to let sin dwell in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in the lust, thereof.”


If I am guilty of neglecting this fundamental truth or not emphasizing it sufficiently, please know that it was not my intention to do so. I hope to balance out this potential oversight through this teaching. I pray that in doing so, I will become more accurate in rightly dividing the word of truth, by not only warning Christian believers to obey Christ's commandments, but also by encouraging them to completely trust in His great and precious promises. We must know that the essence of our Christian faith is a trust and reliance upon Christ for salvation.


In other words, in order for us to have peace with God, we must learn not to focus on our sins, but to focus on God’s faithfulness to
"perfect that which concerns us." We must know that, "He is faithful to complete the work that He began." We must learn to trust in His faithfulness to, "sanctify us wholly, spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord." "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace."

On the cross,
"Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Jesus testified of Himself, "As the serpent was lifted up on a pole in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. For if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me."

In the wilderness, God brought forth His judgment against the Hebrew people because of their complaining against Him and His servant, Moses. This judgment was executed through the manifesting of deadly serpents in the camp. Many of the people were dying from the bites of these poisonous serpents. When the people repented of their sins, God in His mercy commanded Moses to fashion a bronze serpent and place it on a pole. When the people gazed upon the serpent on the pole, they were healed of the deadly bites that they had received and lived.

MERCY REJOICES AGAINST JUDGMENT


Jesus identified Himself with the serpent on the pole when He, the sinless Son of God, allowed Himself to become sin on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. He, Himself partook of death and Hell on the cross, which are the just judgments for our sins so that we would not have to!
"Mercy rejoices against judgment."

As Christian believers, we must keep our eyes and minds stayed on the accomplished work of Christ on the cross, instead of focusing on our sins if we want to have peace with God. For
"He was wounded for or transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by his stripes we are healed."

"Therefore, being justified (made innocent) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Paul addressed many of the churches, with these words of encouragement; "Grace and peace from God the Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ." He also said, "The kingdom of Heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Regardless of our many failings on a multitude of human levels, we must not focus on them beyond our confessing and forsaking them. We must rather keep our eyes on the Prize if we are to have peace with God, because we have this promise,
"I will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Me."

The Holy Spirit will convict us of our sins leading us to godly sorrow, repentance, and faith towards God. Satan will accuse us of our sins and seek to cause us to feel condemned for them. If we allow him to do this, it will drive us further and further from God. We must not give him any place in our hearts and minds. We must protect ourselves against the wiles of the devil through putting on the breastplate of righteousness (the free gift of right standing with God) and the helmet of salvation.
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!" "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Christian believers are saved (justified), are being saved (sanctified), and will be saved (glorified) through the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. It is through His grace and faithfulness that we are saved.
Thus says the Lord,"My arm is not short that I cannot save." “Bless the Lord oh my soul and forget not all of His benefits, who forgives all your sins, and who heals all your diseases.”

Again, it is only through beholding Him and His accomplished work on the cross, as opposed to focusing on our sins, that we can have peace with God. This does not mean that we are not responsible to acknowledge, confess, and forsake our sins when convicted of the Holy Spirit. It simply means that we are not to focus on them, but rather to gaze intently upon Christ and His atonement which covers our past, present, and future sins with His own blood.

"They turned their faces unto Him and were radiant, and their faces did not blush with shame."

Following are lyrics from a song that the Lord gave me. I think it would be a good way to sum up this lesson.


I Look Away To You
© 1994 Rob Johnson

I look away to You,
and I see my righteousness,
I look away to You,
and I see my holiness,
I look away to You,
and I see my innocence,
In you O God, in you my God.

I look away to You,
and I see my joyfulness,
I look away to You,
and I see my peacefulness,
I look away to You,
and I see my healthiness,
In You O God, in You my God.

I will be satisfied
when I awake in His likeness.
I travail again in birth,
till Christ is formed in you.
When He returns,
we will see Him as He is,
for we’ll be like Him,
we’re going to be just like Him!

But now I look away to You,
and I see my righteousness,
I look away to You,
and I see my holiness,
I look away to You,
and I see my innocence,
In You O God, in You my God.

We must learn to look away to Him in faith, not focus on our failures and faults, if we are going to have peace with God.

The other day, an unbelieving associate of mine, who I had witnessed to in the past, pointed out something that he had observed in my life that was not, in his estimation, in keeping with my Christian testimony and witness. He had actually done this kind of thing before on more than one occasion by pointing out what he perceived to be a couple of my shortcomings that were not in keeping with his understanding of the Christian message that I claimed to follow. Regrettably, this dear fellow appears to be possessed of a judgmental and critical spirit and is full of humanistic pride. He is a very accomplished, intelligent, and self-disciplined individual and apparently quite proud of it. We have discussed his humanistic leanings on more than one occasion and I have pointed out to him the scriptural reality that,
“pride goes before a fall.” He has also told me that he has a problem with the claims of Christ to be the only way to the Father and seems to have a greater problem with folks like me who believe this and preach it.

On the particular day mentioned, he and I, as well as a couple of other guys that we work with, were going out to lunch. He accused me of the sin of vanity because I didn’t want to ride in a convertible and mess up my hair. I had long hair at the time, and the weather was hot and humid. We were going to be working with some top executives in our company later that day, and I wanted to keep as neat as possible instead of looking like a porcupine! He was incensed and outraged at my concern about my appearance and called me “Sally” in front of my fellow associates! We all had a good laugh at that snide remark, especially me.

Later, while we were all at lunch, he asked me if vanity was in keeping with my Christian witness. I quickly agreed with him on his assessment of my being vain, and then I said, "Hey buddy, I’m full of sins, thank God for Jesus!" God’s peace was upon me, and my associates, including this dear fellow, were notably impacted by my loving, honest, humble, and faith filled response. Rather than allowing him, or myself, to focus on my perceived “shortcoming,” I turned our attention to the goodness of Christ and His accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead!

The moral of this lesson is,
let’s keep our eyes on the Lord’s victory and not on our defeats, because the battle is the Lord’s, and the victory is ours!


"His strength is made perfect in weakness and His grace is more than sufficient for our salvation."

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Our Eternal Inheritance in Christ Jesus, Starting Now

The Arminian theological view, that arose out of sixteenth century reformed theology and was opposed by the Calvinists, is founded on sound Christian doctrine because it is based on the Pauline revelation that, “we are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works [of law] lest any man should boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works [of faith] that God ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.” We must know that good works based on adherence to the “law of Moses” cannot get us into the kingdom of Heaven. But we must also know that wicked works, or no works at all, that are in direct defiance to the “law of Christ,” “the perfect law of liberty whereby we will all be judged,” “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ,” “the law of faith,” or, if you will, “the doctrine of Christ,” are defining tell tail signs, distinguishing marks of dead faith, and dead faith can save no one! Paul and James are in perfect agreement on these points. So, good behavior cannot save us, but wicked behavior, or a dead and dormant faith resulting in no works of faith can keep us from receiving our eternal inheritance in Christ, which is the kingdom of Heaven. “It is faith alone that saves, but faith that save is not alone.” A living faith in God will be accompanied by corresponding faithful actions.

Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit which is the kingdom of Heaven, are available to us right now because
“the kingdom of Heaven is within,” and a tangible kingdom, the Holy City of God, where there is no more sickness, death, poverty, sorrow, sadness, or tears, is available to us in the future when Christ returns. There is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. This inheritance, this realm and rule of eternal happiness, can only be appropriated by grace through faith in trusting and obeying the gospel of the kingdom. Faith in, and faithfulness to, the will and Word of God are required to inherit this wonderful everlasting kingdom. In other words, a trust and reliance upon Christ’s promises (resulting in our justification) as well as a lifestyle of obedience to His commandments (leading to our sanctification) are required for us to enter into the glory of His kingdom.

I am concerned that our eternal inheritance in Christ is seriously jeopardized when we conduct ourselves in a manner that is unpleasing to God and not in keeping with His will. His will is our sanctification and only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps this is why I am constantly warning myself and other Christian believers that we must conduct ourselves
“in a manner worthy of the vocation to which we are called,” and “pursue holiness without which no man will see the Lord.”

Now, being a father of three lovely children, I have come to realize that it is important to warn them of the consequences of their bad behavior and chasten them for their defiance. It is equally important to affirm, encourage, and reward them when they do well. When they do righteously, I am pleased, but when they do wrong, I am grieved. I don’t love them any more when they do what is pleasing to me, or any less when they do what is unpleasing to me. I don’t love them for who they are or for what they do. I love them for whose they are, and they are mine. This is the way God relates to His children! Having said that, when they do right, I also know that they will be rewarded by life, and when they do wrong, life will punish them, for we will reap what we sow, God is not mocked.
“If we sow to the flesh, we will from the flesh reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit, we will from the Spirit reap life everlasting.” This is another reason for my disciplining them through restricting their freedoms when they do wrong, and rewarding them with acts of affirmation when they do right. Understanding that there is both a consequence for wrongdoing and a benefit for right doing is essential to our spiritual maturity and well-being. It is extremely important that we remember to affirm our children for their good behavior and not just punish them when they do wrong. It is equally important for us to affirm ourselves and each other in the same manner that God affirms us for our works of faith, and not just beat our selves up or brow beat each other when we fail to please Him by performing works of unrighteousness. I am afraid that I have been more prone to warn, rebuke, and discipline than I have been to reward, affirm, and encourage. Good works have their present and eternal benefits as bad works have their present and eternal consequences, “for we must all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be judged for the things done in the body, whether good or bad.” But to focus more on one while neglecting the other is dangerous and will have undesirable results. I pray that in the future I will be more balanced in this important matter.

“Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” To be Christ’s requires repentance from works that lead to death and faith towards God. This is true of the unregenerate sinner as well as the backsliding Christian, those who profess Christ but don’t practice His doctrine. Paul, speaking to the sons of obedience said, “For you have obeyed from your hearts the manner of doctrine that was delivered unto you.”

I have already mentioned some of the benefits of being a practicing Christian, namely
“righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” By grace through faith (faithfulness) we are also saved from sickness, sin, and poverty, “for sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under the law but under grace.” “We have been given authority to tread on scorpions and serpents (demonic powers) and no works of the enemy shall harm us.” More importantly, “our names are written in the Book of Life” and “our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west. He remembers our transgressions no more.” “We are made more than conquerors through Christ who loved us and gave Himself for our sins.” “We are always caused to triumph in Christ Jesus.” “He ever lives to make intersession for the saints according to the will of God.” “He is our High Priest unto God.” Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” “And this is that which overcomes the world, even your faith.” And let us remember the affirming words of Paul, “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” and “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, and at all times having all that you need, you shall abound in every good work.”

As Christian believers, we can only come to God and remain in Christ when we come to the end of ourselves. When we come to the end of ourselves, we find the sanctifying cross of Christ. An emissary of Satan was sent to buffet Paul. He referred to it as a thorn in his flesh. When Paul prayed for deliverance from this thing, God told Him, “My grace is sufficient for you because My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” Worrying, fretting, and being anxious over our faults, failures, infirmities, and sins is based on our lack of faith in Him. It is a sign of our independence from Him when we do this. It is a practice in direct opposition to our dependence on Him. This is because He is faithful to do the saving and sanctifying work in us that He has promised to do. He will do this through bringing us to the end of our own self-reliant efforts. Our only effort is to abide in Him, and this is where we will find our strength in Him alone, through faith. This is the labor that enters into rest because “He that has ceased from his own labors has entered into His rest.” We can only stand uprightly by learning to lean completely on Him. “Therefore, be careful for nothing, but in all things through prayers and supplications, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

If you are worried about your iniquities and infirmities, take Christ into them with you by patiently trusting in His grace which is available to you for your total deliverance in the midst of your weaknesses, temptations, tests, and trials.
“Count it all joy when you fall into different temptations, tests, and trials, knowing that the trying of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men freely and does not withhold. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavers is like the sea tossed to and fro. Let not him that wavers think that he shall receive any thing from the Lord, for he is double-minded and un-stable in all his ways.” We must discipline our minds by “casting all of our cares upon Him for he cares for us.” “He was tempted on all points, yet without sin. Therefore, he is able to nurture us when we are tempted.” “No temptation is overtaken you that is not common to man, but God will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way of escape.”

"Mercy rejoices against judgment, and His mercies are new every morning." "Great is Your faithfulness!" "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

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The Blessed Assurance of Our Salvation in Christ Jesus and the Fundamentals of the Doctrine of Holiness

For those of us who believe in Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and desire His will to be done in earth as it is in Heaven, “salvation” involves beginning in faith (justification), continuing in faith (sanctification), and finishing in faith (glorification). Justification happens the moment we repent of our sins and exercise faith in God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. Another phrase for this experience is “regeneration of the Spirit.” It is at this very moment in time when we believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation that our “spirit man,” “the hidden man of the heart,” is translated (powerfully removed) from “the power of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.” Through receiving Christ and believing on His name, we are “born again, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.” This union, leading to communion with God, for which we were created, was lost to humankind through Adam’s transgression, but is now regained through Christ’s obedience and our faith in Him. Again, we can only enter into this reunion experience through believing in, and receiving Jesus Christ through faith. Once this is accomplished, we are justified (made innocent of our past transgressions) through faith in Jesus Christ’s accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. “If we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Now, whereas justification happens in a moment of time, sanctification requires a lifetime of believing in the promises of God to sanctify us wholly spirit, soul, and body, unto the coming of the Lord, to perfect that which concerns us, and to complete the work that He began. A phrase for this experience of continuing in Christ is “transformation of the soul.” This transformation takes place as we learn to consistently yield our human wills in obedience to God’s divine will by following the leading of the Holy Spirit instead of the dictates of the flesh (the old sin nature). It also requires that, “by the mercies of God, we present our bodies, living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our spiritual service, and be not conformed to the world, but be transformed through the renewing of our minds that we might prove (demonstrate) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Our hope is in the risen Christ, and “He that has this hope purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

The end result of this process of transformation is the transfiguration of our bodies, which will take place at the rapture of the church, also called “the first out resurrection of the dead in Christ.” This transfiguring glorification of our bodies will be the experience of those who have died in Christ as well as of those who are alive in Christ at His second coming. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

The present process of our transformation (change) in Christ takes place in our souls and leads to the perfecting of our moral character in conformity to the character of Christ, as opposed to conforming ourselves to the sin nature inherited through Adam’s transgression. This requires our consecration unto Christ. Our sanctification is God’s business, and it has been accomplished through the work of Christ’s cross, and it is also being accomplished presently through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Whereas our sanctification in Christ is God’s business, consecration in Christ is our business, and this is accomplished through our working with God in yielding the members of our bodies as servants of righteousness as opposed to slaves to sin. Thus the exhortation, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” As we continue in Christ and His words continue in us, we come to know the truth, and the truth makes us free from sin. So we understand that God is working in us leading to our sanctification through the Spirit as we work with Him through our willing consecration unto Christ.

Paul referred to this perfecting process, or if you will, this finishing work that God is actively involved with in our lives (even as we are actively involved with Him through faithfulness to His directives) with the following proclamation,
“I press toward the mark (goal) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my on righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press for the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Philippians 3: 7-15

God has not, and will not, leave us alone in the processes of perfecting us or in the finishing of our moral character in order for us to be able to share in the glories of His kingdom. “Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.” He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him; but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:15-17

Paul writes, “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13

We are made innocent of our transgressions through faith in Christ Jesus. We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. He is made unto us redemption, wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification. We will be made perfect by the same grace through faith.

I will conclude this teaching with a quote from the book of Hebrews.

“You are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; And to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel; See that you refuse not Him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth (Moses), much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from Heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:22-29

We see that our salvation involves the past work of Christ, whereby we were justified by grace through faith, and the present workings of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are being sanctified by grace through faith, as well as our continuing works of faith born of His grace, whereby we shall be glorified by grace through faith. Thus,
“You are saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works (of law) lest any man should boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works (of faith) that God ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Our works of faith that validate our faith in Christ as being a living faith in the living God (a faith that saves), come forth out of a relationship, a fellowship, and a communion with Him. Jesus said,
“Apart from Me you can do nothing.” The scriptures declare, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Our salvation in Christ is a result of our utter dependence on Him, which is the opposite of independence from Him. Independence from Him is the very nature of sin. Dependence on Him is the very nature of the faith that saves. Self-righteous religion whereby one attempts to save oneself through his own efforts, and unrighteous rebellion whereby one rejects Christ and His doctrine of holiness are one in the same. They are just different sides of the same coin because they are based on human pride. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the might hand of God that He might exalt you in due season. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Let us reject self-righteous religion born of legalism and un-righteous rebellion born of license to sin, and let us receive eternal life through a relationship and fellowship with Christ, around His Word and in His Holy Spirit. Amen?

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An Exhortation to Holiness

“We are not saved through works of law, but by grace through faith,” and “faith works through love.” “It is faith alone that saves, but faith that saves is not alone.” “Faith without works (of faith) is dead.” Neither works of law nor dead faith can save us, therefore works of faith born of God’s love for us and respectively and responsively our love returned to Him through walking in obedience to the leadings of His Holy Spirit are essential for our complete salvation to be realized. This incorporates our justification, sanctification, and glorification in Him. “We love Him because He first loved us,” and made us innocent of our past transgressions. He is presently working in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure resulting in our sanctification unto Him and our separation from our willful and habitual sins. If this is what we are pursuing and pressing towards when He returns, we will be glorified (raptured) even as He is glorified.

Concerning Christian believers, at this time, during this present dispensation of grace, there must be corresponding actions accompanying our faith in Christ for saving faith in Christ to be validated. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is working in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” Our transformation (sanctification) comes through the mercies of God allowing us time and unction to present our bodies living sacrifices holy and acceptable unto Him. This is to be accomplished through the renewing of our minds to the will of God, not by our conformity to the world. We are to “put off the old man who is corrupt according to the sinful nature and put on the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness according to the new nature.” This new nature has been imputed to us and is imparted to us through faith in Christ’s accomplished work on the cross and His Holy Spirit’s ongoing work in our hearts.

We cannot help but live in the fear of God’s righteous judgments and punishments against unrighteous behavior when we allow ourselves to live outside of obedience to His will. Those who live outside of God’s will shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, only those who do the will of God shall inherit His kingdom. And again, God’s will is that we present our bodies pure and holy and renew our minds through hearing His word and doing His will instead of conforming ourselves to the world. This is how we are to prove what is His good, acceptable, and perfect will, which is our separation from sin through our consecration unto Him resulting in an appropriation of His sanctifying grace that has already been provided for us through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

Therefore we must, “Come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing; and I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will walk in the midst of you,’ says the Lord.”

“It is for freedom that Christ has made us free.” Christ has made us free from sin,
not free to sin! Why, then, do we sin? Because “sin is pleasurable for a season,” but we must realize that, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, “If you continue in my words, then are you my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free. He that sins is a slave to 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.” He also said, “If you would be my disciples indeed, you must deny your self, take up your own cross daily and follow Me. For he that seeks to gain his life will lose it, but he that loses his life for my sake will gain eternal life. And what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his eternal soul?”

“In the last days perilous times will come, for men will be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” If we love the pleasures of sin more than God, we have left our first love, and we must repent, or our names will be blotted out of the Book of Life.

In other words we have a choice to make, to continue in Christ on the narrow path leading to holiness and eternal life, or to continue in the pleasures of our highhanded and persistent sins that will lead us down the rocky road to death and the broad slippery path to Hell.

It would do us all well to contemplate and meditate the following two scriptures. “It is for freedom that Christ has made us free,” and, “Therefore, knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.” The gospel of the kingdom of God is good news for those who believe, but it is bad news for those who refuse to believe and thereby continue in and/or return to their former sins instead of continuing in Him. Question: Is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Answer, for those of us who continue in Him, He is a freedom fighter, but for those of us who continue in the pleasures of our un-confessed and un-forsaken sins, He is a terror, indeed! We must not allow ourselves or anyone else to convince us otherwise, for if we do so, we do it at our own peril.

There are far too many of us professing Christians who are bound by strongholds of our own making, and curses of our fathers’ making. This is the result of us and/or our fathers persistently yielding to the Tempter’s voice and following his lead instead of yielding to the voice of God and following the leading of His Holy Spirit through whom we now have the opportunity and ability to become practicing Christians and thereby freed up from entangling sins.

I will leave you with a few more scriptures to meditate on. May God grant us a revelation of these truths and a change of heart and soul leading us to a life changing experience of freedom from our sins and an abundant experience of liberty in Him. May this happen as we cry out in faith to our faithful Savior and Lord, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me!” May it also happen as we exercise our authority in Christ and “tread on the scorpions and serpents” (demonic powers) that have tempted us and imprisoned us through our rebellious yielding to them.

“There is no temptation that has overtaken us that is not common to man. But God will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able to bear, but will with the temptation, make a way to escape.” 1 Cor. 10:12-13) I might point out that trusting God’s promises and obeying His commandments is the way of escape because, according to the words of Jesus, “I am the Way.”

“The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2 Cor. 10:4-5) We are told to put on God’s whole armor and take up His weapons that incorporate truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, the preparation of the gospel of peace, and the Word of God in order to stand against the wiles of the devil and having done all to stand.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deut. 30:19-20)

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after the other.” (John 1:16)

“Jesus became a curse so that we might be delivered from the curse of the Law; For it is written, cursed is every man that hangs on a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles.” Gal. 3:13

In closing let me exhort you with a final word from the Holy Scriptures. More often than not, in overcoming demonic strongholds and curses in our lives, it is important - no, it is essential that we seek the assistance of a faithful prayer partner or partners; a confessor and a confidante who will keep our confessions to themselves and stand with us (not for us) in faith. It must be someone who we know is spiritually mature and therefore can be depended on and fully trusted in, not to condemn us for our sins or self-righteously judge us un-righteously. We must know that they will daily lay down their lives for us through their prayers and intercessions before our faithful God, as we humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Christ ever lives to make intercession for the saints, and we are called to join ourselves with Him in His intercession for each other.

“Confess your faults, (sins) one to another, and pray for one another that you may be healed.” James 5:16

“Verily I say unto you, whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Matthew 18: 18-20

“This then is the message that we have heard of Him and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness (unacknowledged and hidden sins), we lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, (by failing to confess our sins to Him and to each other) we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things I write unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate from the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 1:5-10 and 1 John 2: 1-2.


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The Wisdom That Is From Above

“If your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart and knows all things; if your heart (conscience) condemns you not, then you have confidence towards God. He that fears has not been made perfect in love. Fear has torment (of judgment) but perfect love cast out fear.”

If I were soon to depart this tabernacle and be with my Savior and Lord, there is one spiritual exhortation that I would leave with my wife, children, and my extended family, as well as with the church at large.
Never do anything that causes your conscience shame or leaves you with a fear of eternal divine retribution for sinful acts committed. And then I would add, if you do, be quick to confess your sins to the Lord and, by faith, receive His forgiveness and cleansing from all unrighteousness. He has promised to do this for us! Also be quick to repent (utterly forsake) the performance and/or practice of your sinful behavior. “For he who confesses his sins and forsakes them shall find mercy from the Lord.”

“The greatest commandment of the Law is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second is like the first, that you would love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “He that loves Me keeps my commandments.” Paul said, “The righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” He also said, “Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the works of the flesh.” And, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Jesus said, “My words are Spirit, and they are life.” When we obey His commandments, we walk in His Spirit, and the works of the flesh (sin nature) are not fulfilled in us. When we keep His commandments, the love of God is fulfilled in us and expressed through us.

Along with the exhortation to be quick to confess and receive forgiveness for our sins and quick to repent of them, I would add,
be quick to forgive others for their sins against you. “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will forgive your sins, but if you don’t forgive others, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you.”

The cross has both a vertical plane and a horizontal plane. The vertical plane represents the relationship between God and man. The horizontal plane represents the relationship between man and man. Both are of equal importance to God in His Son’s redemptive work of reconciliation on the cross, as well as His Holy Spirit’s continual sanctifying work in our hearts and lives. Therefore, concerning our sins, let us keep short accounts between God and ourselves, as well as between ourselves and others. Again, let us be
quick to forgive, quick to receive forgiveness, and quick to repent. Let us always remember the words of our Lord to His disciples, “Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” And let us not forget the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man will see the Lord.”

These scriptural exhortations, if received, performed, and practiced are able to make us “
wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” “For the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” I will leave you with some confirming scripture verses from James.

“Who is wise and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish. For where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But
the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:13-18




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God Is Love

God is love, mercy, and compassion. If there is one thing that I can say about God based on my own personal experience, it is that He has been faithful to be just that to me throughout my entire life and especially since my rebirth in Christ. I also have a strong belief base on a personal divine revelation, and, of course, on the authority of the Holy Scriptures, He will be thusly to me for all eternity. Of all the other sound and true claims about God revealed in the Bible (such as His righteous anger, His holy wrath, His severe judgments against evil doers and the reason for me, as a disciple of His, to fear Him who is able to both kill my body and cast my eternal soul in to Hell), love is still the one characteristic that stands out the most in my mind and heart when I think about Him and who He is, has been, and will be towards me. Now this does not mean that I have not experienced His hard hand of correction, His displeasure because of my sinful behavior, or the horrible consequences of willfully breaking His commandments and in so doing mocking Him. On the contrary, I, for one, have experienced all of these in abundance, and I pray that I will have to experience them less and less as time goes by. All the same, there is nothing that can convince me that God is not love because as I said before, I have been the constant recipient of his love from the start of my life to this present hour and as I also said before, I fully trust that I will continue to be a recipient of His love for all eternity.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of His love for me is realized in His patience towards me, and His willingness to be there for me, especially after my many failings on a multitude of human levels. He could have and should have consumed me in His justified anger on many, many occasions - but He didn’t! It is His goodness that has been, is, and will continue to lead me to repentance, and it is the grace of His goodness that is causing me to make spiritual progress along the path of His righteousness. I pray that we will all come to know God in His love towards us in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ and in the power of His Holy Spirit.

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Our God Is In The Overcoming Evil With Good Business

God loves the hard cases. If you don’t believe it, look at the life of King David who was guilty of murder and adultery, or the Apostle Paul, who, before his conversion to Christ, was called Saul of Tarsus. He had the infamous reputation of being a radical religious terrorist because of his fanatical practice of methodically and systematically killing Christian believers. I used to think that God loved and saved us in spite of our sins, but the truth is, He loves and saves us because of our sins! This is because “our God is in the overcoming evil with good business,” and this is how we are to behave towards those who sin against us by “returning no evil for evil, but overcoming evil with good.”


Our God saw sin enter the world through Adam’s transgression and got after it like white on rice! Even on our best days, our righteousness apart from His gift of righteousness is as filthy rags. But there’s Good News! God is in the business of dealing with our unrighteous rebellion and our self-righteous religion by offering us genuine righteousness through a relationship and fellowship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit. He is in the business of dealing with self, Satan, and sin and overcoming them through the love and passion of His Son’s cross. Yes, He accomplished this great “overcoming evil with good business” by the gift (grace) of His Son, whom He gave for the forgiveness of and deliverance from our sins. We receive this grace through repentance from dead works, faith towards God, and baptism in water in the name of Jesus. He continues to accomplish this great “overcoming evil with good business” in us through the gift (grace) of the indwelling Holy Spirit whom we are to receive by faith through the baptism with the Holy Spirit and Fire.

Baptism in water in the name of Jesus is a sacrament representing our death to the old life of self, sin, and the dominion of Satan and our rebirth in Christ the righteous One. Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is an additional experience of grace available to Christian believers, actualizes our death to the old sin nature and actually imparts the power of Christ to us in order to be His witnesses in the earth. Living and walking in the Spirit causes us to fully possess what Christ has purchased for us. It is the Holy Spirit in whom we live, walk, pray, sing, and remain filled and, thereby, overcome sin in our lives. Therefore, we discover that where sin abounded, grace much more abounded (through the Son), and where sin abounds, grace much more abounds (through the Holy Spirit). Does this mean that we should sin so that grace may abound? No, God forbid! Nevertheless, when we do sin, grace does abound because our God is in the overcoming evil with good business. As a matter of fact, “it is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.”

The ultimate spiritual reality that so many of us seem to have difficulty getting our minds around is that sin has been judged in the flesh of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the old sin nature of the Christian believer has been executed with Him. He is the spotless sacrificial Lamb of God who became our substitute. Jesus experienced the wrath of God for us so that we wouldn’t have to. Because of His great love for the Father and His creation, Jesus Christ willingly took our sins and the judgment for them upon Himself. As our scapegoat He allowed Himself to be carried outside the camp and crucified on Golgotha’s cross for our redemption. Therefore, we are instructed not to sin because such a great price has been paid for our forgiveness, and sin leads to spiritual bondage and enslavement. “It was for freedom that Christ has made us free,” and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Jesus said to His disciples, “If you continue in my words you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” and “if anyone practices sin, he is the 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 will be free indeed.” We are commanded to account ourselves dead indeed to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord because, again, in reality our old sin nature was crucified with Christ in His death, and a new divine (righteous) nature was imputed (stored up) unto us when He was raised from the dead. Now, through the mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit, the very righteousness of God is imparted unto us. As we live and walk yielded to the Holy Spirit’s directives instead of the dictates of the flesh, we grow in grace and in the knowledge of God as the Holy Spirit leads us into all Truth (the character of Christ). “If we sow to the flesh, we will from the flesh reap corruption; but if we sow to the Spirit, we will from the Spirit reap life everlasting.” We are, therefore, instructed to “mortify the misdeeds of the body, through the Spirit.”

As Christian believers we were foreknown of God before the world was framed. He has also predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son so that He might be the first born among many brothers. Whom He predestined, them He also called; whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them he also glorified.

We Christian believers must not deliberately go on sinning after having been justified by grace through faith, in having come to the knowledge of the Truth in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we do, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but only an expectation of God’s righteous judgment that will devour the adversaries. After experiencing enlightenment and tasting the heavenly gift, and after having shared in the Holy Spirit as well as partaking of the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if a Christian believer falls away from the faith and denies Christ in both word and deed, it is impossible to renew him again to repentance because he has done despite unto the Spirit of grace and tread Jesus Christ under foot, counting the blood whereby he was sanctified a common thing. Many professing Christians, and more and more as the end times approach, will be guilty of this very thing and become reprobate to the faith through the spirit of apostasy - the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. Don’t be part and parcel with them!

Nevertheless, those who are in Christ by faith and are striving against sin by submitting themselves to God and resisting the devil are given this great hope. “I write to you so that you sin not, but if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God is married to the backslider, therefore, if we lose faith, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself, but if we deny Him, He will deny us. Therefore, I exhort you, don’t do it! There is soon coming a time when professing Christians are going to be faced with the choice of taking upon their flesh the mark of the Beast, 666, which is the number of man, or refusing to take it and remain faithful to Christ. Those who take it will be allowed to buy and sell goods; those who refuse it will not. Many faithful souls who refuse the mark will also be rounded up and beheaded for their faith. Jesus Christ testified that those martyred souls will not partake of the second death which is Hell. Those who deny Christ by taking the mark will experience the wrath of God in its fullness. Jesus told His disciples, “Do not fear him who can kill the body and then have no more power over you, but rather fear Him who, after having killed the body, has the power to throw your souls into Hell. Yes, I say unto you, fear Him!” If we as Christian believers don’t truly love and fear God now, we won’t love and fear Him when it’s a matter of life and death; therefore let us truly love and fear God now so we will be able to do so when the Great Trouble comes.

Because Jesus overcame sin, we can too, and again this is accomplished through repentance from dead works and faith towards God, baptism in water in the name of Jesus, baptism in the Holy Spirit with whom we are to remain filled. We must also learn and practice a continuous and consistent trusting and obedient yielding to the Holy Spirit’s directives instead of following the dictates and rudiments of the flesh or, if you will, the old sin nature.

Repentance means turning from our sins and utterly forsaking them in much the same way that God turned His back on Jesus when He became sin on the cross for us. On the cross Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” I’m looking forward to, and expecting the day when my sins cry out to me, “my Rob, my Rob, why have you forsaken me?” It is important to realize that Christian repentance is not just the practice of daily turning from our sins, but it is also the practice of daily turning towards our God in faith (trust) and faithfulness (obedience). Jesus said, “If you would be My disciples indeed, you must deny yourselves, take up your cross daily and follow Me.”

Again, it is the goodness of the Lord that leads us to repentance, and it is His longsuffering patience with us that gives us the opportunity, as well as the ability, to turn from our sins and utterly forsake them through His overcoming love and power. So, let’s do it! Let’s no longer be overcome with evil, but let’s overcome evil with good. We can do this by grace through faith because our God is in the “overcoming evil with good business.” “Greater is He (God) that is within in you than he (Satan) who is in the world.” “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”

Jesus became sin so that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. He became poor, that we might be made rich. By His wounds we are healed. Through His death we experience life. Through His burial we are hidden with Him in God. Through His resurrection we have power over sin. Through His ascension we are seated with Him in heavenly places. Through His intercession we are made more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. God always causes us to triumph through Christ Jesus. His Holy Spirit makes us faithful witnesses (martyrs) unto Him in the earth. Because of this we can bless those who curse us, do good to those who do us harm, and pray for those who despitefully use and abuse us. We can love the unlovely and be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good as we understand and cry out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” “In killing you, they think that they are doing God a service!” What they don’t know is that you are already dead, buried, resurrected, ascended, and seated with Christ in heavenly places and that your life as a Christian witness of God’s love, as well as your death as martyrs who choose to remain faithful to Christ even unto death, is the strongest witness to the world that a Christian believer can offer. Paul said, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

As forerunners of Jesus Christ’s second coming we must preach and live in forgiveness and unconditional love, and this is what we must be preparing others to do. Begin relating to those individuals in your life now who are the most difficult to deal with as if God were allowing you to be tested by giving you the opportunity to love them unconditionally with the same love that God loves you. They are truly in your life so that you will learn to love the unlovely and develop the character of Christ in your character through yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Love. Begin to look at the temptations to sin as an opportunity to overcome sin through the resurrected power of Christ in your life. Yes, even those old besetting sins that have kept you bound and caused you to live beneath your privileges in Christ are to be resisted, and overcome in this hour through the power of the Holy Spirit. Begin to look at the difficult circumstances in your life as opportunities to persevere and endure hardships as a good solider of the cross while remaining faithful to Him in the midst of them. Begin to visit, live, and minister in the mission fields of underdeveloped countries with the grace that God provides because before Christ returns, the whole world will be a third world mission field. It is time that we remove ourselves from our comfort zones because our comfort zones are going to be removing themselves from us as the end times approach. Our only comfort will be found through an intimate relationship with God around His Word and in His Spirit, and this is how it should be! “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” We must also learn to live and die in faith, giving no place to vengeance for, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, thus says the Lord.” We are commanded to pray for our enemies forgiveness and salvation!

Above all we must learn to return no evil for evil, but overcome evil with good, because our God is in the “overcoming evil with good business!” God cannot be tempted with evil; neither does He tempt any man, but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed; when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and when sin has had it’s way, it brings forth death. The first Adam yielded to the Tempter’s voice in the person of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were deceived by the Serpent through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. This resulted in their sinning against the will of God, and the results of that sin led to their death. Every human being born of Adam has now inherited a sin nature that leads to death. The good news is that Jesus Christ, the second Adam, did not yield to the Tempter’s voice, but rather yielded his will to God in perfect obedience and faith. Therefore, those who receive Him by faith are born again, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but they are born of the will of God. We thereby receive a divine nature that has the power over lust, sin, and death if we will just learn to appropriate it by faith. Thereby, we become partakers of His divine nature because He has not imputed our sins unto us, but rather He has imputed His righteousness unto us. Let’s live and walk in the goodness of that revelation, and let us lead others into it through our thoughts, words, actions and reactions. Let’s do this for both our friends and our enemies alike, because our God is in the “overcoming of evil with good business.” Amen?

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God’s Gift of Unmerited Favor, Divine Influence Upon The Heart and Its Reflection In The Life, and Our Free Will

The title of this lesson expresses three aspects of the grace of God, and all three aspects are instrumental in our ultimate salvation, which incorporates our justification, sanctification, and glorification in Christ Jesus. To neglect or ignore any one of these three aspects of God’s grace will cause us to live far beneath our privileges in Christ and could bring our ultimate salvation into question. Therefore, they must all work together in tandem for our conscience to remain clear from the fear of eternal judgment and for our blessed assurance of salvation in Christ to be just that, a blessed assurance!

Paul said, “We are saved by grace through faith, not of works [of law] lest any man should boast for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works [of faith] that God ordained beforehand that we should walk in them.” James said, “Faith without works [of faith] is dead.” He went on to ask a rather pointed question, “Can faith without works [of faith] save you?”

Christian believers are justified (made innocent of our past transgressions) by grace through faith, and this is because of God’s unmerited favor extended to us through Christ’s passion, which incorporates His sinless life, brutal beating, death on the cross, burial, resurrection, ascension, and eternal intercession.

We can do no “works of law” to earn our salvation, thus our justification in Christ is based on a childlike faith in God’s “unmerited favor” found in Jesus Christ’s accomplished work on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s continuing work in our hearts. If we could have earned our salvation through “works of law,” there would have been no reason for Christ to fulfill His passion, and there would be plenty of reason for us to boast in our arrogant satanically inspired religious pride.

Unmerited favor, found only through faith in Jesus Christ, is God’s free gift offered to a world of helpless sinners in need of salvation. The only thing unbelieving sinners need do to experience justification, is repent of their sins and unbelief, believe in, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (It should be noted that, scripturally speaking, our full initiation into Christ incorporates repentance from works that lead to death and faith towards God, baptism in water in the name of Jesus and baptism in the Holy Spirit. The other two rudimentary doctrines of the church are “the laying on of hands” [for ordination and healing] and eternal judgment.)

Secondly, we are being sanctified by grace through faith in God’s divine influence upon our hearts and it’s reflection in our lives as we allow ourselves to be influenced to the point of resolute obedience to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s directives. It will be greatly beneficial to our cause if we will make daily choices to yield ourselves to the disciplined practice of meditating in God’s holy scriptures, so that we might receive “correction, reproof, and instructions in righteousness in order to be a mature people of God, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.”

The Christian believers’ responsibility concerning sanctification is to continue and remain in a posture of faith and faithfulness to the divine influence of God, so that His grace will be reflected in our lives to His glory and good pleasure. A good word for this state of being is consecration, which is a condition brought about by our choosing to know and do God’s will instead of our own will. Again, this will require daily discipline on our part around God’s Word and in His Spirit. Discipline is the root word for disciple. Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, “If you continue in My words, then you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free [from sin.]”

In other words, to be free from sin we must choose to discipline ourselves to continue in His Word and allow ourselves to be influenced by His Holy Spirit. If we choose to do so, we will be vessels of honor, sanctified, set apart, and prepared for the Master’s use. If we choose not to, we will be vessels of dishonor. If we choose to be consecrated unto God appropriating His sanctification by faith and faithfulness, we will be sons of God led by, and walking in the Spirit of God, and we will not fulfill the works of the flesh. If we choose not to be consecrated unto God, we will be sons of disobedience. It would do us well to remember, “the wrath of God abides on the sons of disobedience.” This is true because they are in the business of fulfilling the desires of the sin nature inherited through Adam’s transgression. Paul warned that those who practice the works of the flesh will in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also told his disciples that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the Scribes and Pharisees, they would not enter the kingdom of Heaven. The sin of the Scribes and Pharisees was hypocrisy, being hearers and teachers of the scriptures but not doers of the word. James also warned Christian believers against such behavior. It is important that we think long and hard about these warnings, and if necessary, repent and return to our first love and do the first works again!

We have been created in the image and likeness of God. We have been given a free will. We are not puppets on a string. Our responsibility is to use that free will to conform ourselves (through the power of the Holy Spirit) to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection by being transformed through the renewing of our minds in order to prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. His will for us is our sanctification now and our glorification at His second coming and the rapture of the church. Both of these are available and possible for the Christian believer who has been justified by grace through faith.

My brothers and sisters, be encouraged in the Lord, and remember: “Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it.” “Christ in you the hope of glory.” “He will perfect that which concerns you.” “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” “I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that Day.” Amen.

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Keep Awake And Draw Near To God

Jesus told His disciple, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” “Watch and pray,” simply means to keep awake and draw near to God.

Doing this in a disciplined way will result in our fulfilling the five action verb instructions found in the Gospel of John. These will lead us into an overcoming, victorious, and triumphant life in Christ. In other words, keeping awake and drawing near to God in a disciplined manner will cause us to be less likely to fall into temptation and sinful behavior. The five action verb instructions that Jesus spoke of found in the Gospel of John are, “
Abide in Me,” “Dwell in Me,” “Keep My commandments,” “Continue in My words,” and “Follow Me.”

Here are some more scriptural action verb instructions that lead to victorious living in Christ which are my present goals and aspirations in God, as well as my request of God when I keep awake and draw near to Him in prayer.

1) That “by the mercies of God I will
present my body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God which is my spiritual service and be not conformed to this world, but transformed through the renewing of my mind, that I might prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

2) That I will “
keep my body under all subjection lest after I have preached to others, I myself would be a castaway.”

3) That “through the mighty weapons of God I will pull down strongholds,
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”.

4) That I will “
deny myself, take up my own cross daily and follow Him. For he who seeks to gain his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will gain eternal life. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”

5) That I will “
submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from me. That I would draw near to God so that He would draw near to me.”

6) That “the God of peace will
sanctify me wholly spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord. Faithful is He who calls me who will also do it.”

7) That I will “
love my wife as Christ loves the Church” - unconditionally, committedly, caringly, caressingly, and consistently.

8) That I will “
love my children and not rebuke them harshly provoking them to anger” or “damaging their spirits,” but rather bring them up in the nurture and admonition (gentle reproof) of the Lord.”

9) That “the righteous requirement of the law (which is to
love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength, and that you would love your neighbor as yourself), would be fulfilled in me as I walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”

10) That God’s divine destiny, anointing, call, and choosing of my family and me would be
fulfilled in our lives both individually and corporately to His good pleasure and glory.

Jesus said, “Satan has come to kill, to steal, and to destroy. But I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Paul said, “If we were saved by Christ’s death, how much more shall we be saved through His life.” Jesus also said to the Jewish leaders of His day, “You search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, but you won’t come to me that you might have life.” Could we be guilty of the same erroneous behavior? Our eternal life is to be found through communing prayer with God. It is a relationship and fellowship with Him around His Word and in His Spirit. It is where His very life, love, faith, hope, power, beauty, strength, righteousness, peace, joy, justification, sanctification, and glorification which have been imputed to us in Christ Jesus is imparted to us through the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is where we gain the triumphant victory over self, Satan, sin, sickness, poverty, and death. Let us therefore keep awake and draw near to God so that we might experience the abundant life, the victorious life, the triumphant life in Christ who is indeed the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

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Firm Resolve

The Definitive Answer To Every Temptation, Test, and Trial

At one time while Jesus was ministering, He asked a rather thought provoking and somewhat disturbing question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?” Now, we know from other scriptures that the answer to that question is an affirming yes, but the very fact that He had to ask it gives us reason to pause and ponder, does it not?

Jesus faced every temptation that came His way with undaunted faith. When the powerful storms of life blew, when the overwhelmingly negative circumstances where desperately pressing in and trying His faith, when He found Himself in times of great testing, He always met every situation with a strong faith in His Heavenly Father by standing on the solid rock of God’s unfailing word through hearing His voice, trusting His promises, and obeying His commandments. After all, He was the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, right?

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The Gospel Truth That Makes Us Free

Authors note: I received inspiration for the following teaching from a chapter in the book entitled Rules of Engagement written by the late great Derek Prince and published by Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The chapter to which I owe my inspiration is chapter seven, and it is entitled "Denying the 'Old Man.' " I highly recommend this book as I do all of this great minister's works of literature and recorded teachings. He has left the church a legacy of unmatched value through over forty years of faithful and doctrinally sound Christian teaching and hands-on ministry.

For much of my life and ministry I have been consumed with the idea of pursuing holiness and exhorting others to do the same. Holiness, in its ultimate and optimum sense, is the total absence of sin. It is the nature and character of Jehovah God, His only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessed Holy Spirit. However, I must admit that regrettably, remorsefully, and hopefully repentantly, attaining to and maintaining a genuine posture of holiness seems to have been as elusive and evaporative for me as paper thin ice in the noonday desert sun. Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul tells us that as Christian believers, we are to be pressing towards, and perfecting holiness, in reverence of God. He defines Christian maturity as having this attitude, mind-set, and purpose. Of course, as Christian believers, we must come to fully realize and understand that both righteousness and holiness are graces of God that cannot be "worked up," but having already received them, and having actually been made them, through faith in Christ, they must still be "worked out" by appropriating God's grace through an abiding faith on a daily basis. In other words, a deposit of all things that pertain to life and godliness has already been made in the Christian believer's spirit through faith in Christ, but we must still learn to draw upon it by faith, daily. Righteousness has been imputed (stored up) for us in Christ, and as we draw upon it through faith, righteousness and true holiness are imparted (delivered) to us through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Again, this transformed life is the result of faith in Christ's accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead.

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God's Will, Satan’s Will, or Our Will- Which Will It Be?

“After everything is said and done, there’s a lot more said than done.” Regrettably, I know this statement is true for me and my life and ministry. How about yours? Jesus said that it is the ones who do the will of God who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And “He who loves Me, keeps My commandments.” God’s will is revealed in the law of Christ, the law of faith. This doctrine of Christ is recorded, among other places, in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters five through seven. Please take the time to read what Jesus had to say in these chapters. “Meditate in them day and night so that you may observe to do all that is written in it.” If you do that and teach others to do it, you will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven, but if you diminish one of the least of Christ’s commandments and teach others to do so, you will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven. We will be blessed if we hear Christ’s law, and do Christ’s law, and teach Christ’s law, but if we hear it and teach it without doing it, we will be like the Pharisees who heard God’s law, and taught God’s law that was given to them by Moses, but did not do what was important and essential in that law. As a matter of fact, there are many in the church today who are doing the same thing with Christ’s law. Jesus said that unless our righteousness (right standing with God by grace through faith, resulting in right doing towards God and others) exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we will in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven. He also said that those who hear and do His sayings will be like a man who builds his house on a solid rock foundation, which results in his protection from whatever life can throw at it, as well as rewards on the Day of Judgment. But those who hear His sayings, but do not practice doing them, will be like a man who builds his house on sinking sand. It will not stand up under what life is going to throw at it, neither will the one living in that house stand without loss on the Day of Judgment. (Paraphrased).

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Our Heavenly Father's Wisdom

In His Dealings With Our Iniquities and Infirmities

Pride goes before a fall. Lucifer found that out in spades. The apostle Paul was transported to the highest heaven and saw things that he could not speak of. He testified that he was given a buffeter from Satan, a thorn in the flesh lest he become puffed up with pride beyond measure. He went on to say that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. So, we understand that spiritual authority and revelation knowledge are both important in God’s economy, but they carry a danger of spiritual pride with them.

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An Exhortation for the Church

Christmas Day, 2006

The Bible claims that, “Jesus Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” John the Baptist made reference to Jesus Christ as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Whereas these are true, righteous, and accurate proclamations, we must ask ourselves, if this is the case, why haven’t we experienced these realities more in their fullness? There is plenty of sinfulness abounding, and the works of the devil seem to be increasing all around us, even within us, not only in the world, but also in the church! This condition was predicted by Paul in his exhortations to the church regarding the end times. He called them perilous times in which the spirit of apostasy would be increasing, the love of many would wax cold, and men would be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Just as in the past, the present and future are going to require the patient endurance of the saints.

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The Power Of Availing and Travailing Prayer

The original sin of spiritual pride that was discovered in the archangel Lucifer resulted in Adam’s transgression when he, in rebellion against the will of God, yielded to Eve’s suggestion and partook of her infamous culinary offering. This, of course, took place after she, in satanic deception, yielded to the Tempter’s voice in the Garden of Eden and ate the forbidden fruit found on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam’s act of disobedient rebellion against the will of God caused all human beings to inherit a condition of spiritual, mental, and physical disorder that has resulted in social disorders of every kind. But it is not only original sin that is the problem, because since Adam’s transgression, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

“Salvation,” which incorporates our justification, sanctification, and glorification through faith in Christ Jesus (the second Adam), offers all human beings an opportunity to be forgiven and delivered from our sins that are the result of our fallen condition. We are
justified (made innocent of our transgressions) when we believe in and receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We are being sanctified as we walk in the Holy Spirit and live a life of trusting obedience to the Word and will of God. We will be glorified when Christ returns to this earth, and we are caught up to be with Him in the air. This is the first out resurrection (rapture), and it is reserved for the justified souls who have died in Christ (who are presently, at this time, disembodied human spirits living in Paradise) and for the justified souls who are still alive in Christ on earth at His second coming.

Both the dead and the living in Christ will receive new immortal and incorruptible bodies in a moment “in the twinkling of an eye” as they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Prior to this, the believers will experience “the beginning of sorrows” and “the Great Tribulation,” the likes of which the world has never seen, nor will ever see again. This is because, “Satan has come down with great wrath, knowing that his time is short.” There will be apostasy in the church and the wrath of God will abide upon the son’s of disobedience. The wrath of God will also be poured out on the world in judgment against sinners, but the faithful in Christ will be spared this because God has not appointed them to His wrath. In much the same way that God spared the children of Israel in the land of Goshen during His judgments on Pharos’s Egypt, He will also spare the saints from His wrath.

Immediately after the rapture, the immortal and incorruptible saints of God will return to this old wrath filled, ravaged, ransacked, and darkened world along with Christ and His fiery angels. Christ will fight and win the battle of Armageddon against the anti-Christ, False Prophet, and their armies who will have been ruling the world as totalitarian political and religious dictators from Jerusalem, Israel. During that time, they will have been waging a fierce three and one half year campaign of persecution and mass martyrdom against the elect of God. After Christ’s triumphant and victorious return, the saints will rule the nations with Him in His millennial kingdom.

At the beginning of Christ’s reign Satan will be bound with a chain by a large angel and cast into a bottomless pit, and the anti-Christ and False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire. The rule and order of God will be established and promoted during this one thousand year period, and there will be divine peace on the earth during Christ’s reign. At the end of this one thousand year period Satan will be loosed from his chain for a season and lead a final rebellion against Christ. He will be quickly defeated by Christ and cast into the Lake of Fire. There will be a second out resurrection of the dead, (the unredeemed, disembodied human spirits who are presently held captive in Hades awaiting judgment), and they will receive immortal bodies and be judged by Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment. The saints will be judged also at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the things done in their bodies while on earth, both good and bad. Some will receive rewards and some will suffer loss, but all will be saved, yet some as those barely escaping through the flames.

Regarding the believer’s salvation, the Bible teaches, “They overcame Satan, the accuser of the brethren, by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” These are those faithful souls who have taken, and do take Jesus at His word, “Fear not him that can kill the body and after that have no more power over you. But fear Him that after He has killed the body, has the power to throw your souls into Hell. I say unto you, ‘Fear Him.’ ” The Word declares, “He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

The saints will be preserved as the earth and the heavens are destroyed by a great blast and fire. God will create “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness, and the Holy City of God, the New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven and rest upon the new earth like a Bride adorned for her Husband.” There will be the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. God will rule from His throne from that Holy City, and the overcoming believers will live there forever with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, the holy angels of God and each other as Christ’s holy Bride. The redeemed of the Lord will also have total access to the new heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness. The prayer that Christ taught His disciples to pray will have been answer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Authors note: Dear reader, what I have just expressed to you in the last few paragraphs of this exhortation is the Christian classical pre-millennialism eschatological view, which also incorporates the Christian apocalyptic view of history. Of the several different views regarding Christian eschatology and history, I believe this one to be the most scripturally accurate.


“God’s will for the Christian believers is our sanctification.” Paul said to the church at Thessalonica, “May the God of peace sanctify you wholly, spirit, soul, and body unto the coming of the Lord. Faithful is He who calls you who will also do it.” This is a great promise for us to put our trust in, but we must understand that even though He is faithful to sanctify us wholly, He will not do it without us. He will do it within us and through us. In other words, our co-operation is required. Thus, “we are co-laborers with God in Christ” in this great quest towards our sanctification and glorification that is found only through faith in Him. “God’s responsibility is to sanctify us; our responsibility is to consecrate ourselves unto Him.” (Oswald Chambers)

We must choose to begin in Christ, to continue in Christ, and to finish in Christ. This requires us to “deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him. For he who seeks to gain his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will gain eternal life. And what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” Jesus said, “Wide is the path that leads to destruction and many go that way, but narrow is the path that leads to life, and only a few find it. We must ask ourselves, “Are we ‘of the many,’ or are we ‘of the few?’ ” Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, to see if you are still in faith.”

To assure ourselves that we are “of the faithful few and not of the unfaithful many,” Paul begs us “by the mercies of God to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God which is our spiritual service, and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we might prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Remember, God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will is our sanctification found only through a relationship and fellowship with Him around his Word and in His Holy Spirit.

God has always desired a holy people (a remnant) separated unto Himself for His plans, purposes, and pursuits. Therefore, He declares, “Come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing, and I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will walk in the midst of you. And you will be my sons and daughters and I will be your Father. And you will be My own dear children and I will be your Daddy!” Paul exhorts us to be “vessels of honor, sanctified, set apart, and prepared for the Master’s use.” He warned, “I keep my body under all subjection, lest after I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away,” and “be careful if you think you stand, lest you fall.”

Again, he proclaimed, But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phil. 3:7-15)

One of the main aspects of Paul’s spiritual “pressing,” both for himself and for the churches for which he had the oversight, was travailing prayer. “I travail again in prayer until Christ be formed in you.” When a woman gives birth to a child and brings forth a new life, she does not do so without labor. As a matter of fact the doctor or mid-wife tells the woman to push (press) as the contractions become stronger in order to bring forth the child. Years ago the Lord spoke to me, “Mid-wife the church.” There have been times in my life during intercessory prayer that the praying became so intense, it progressed into traveling prayer. “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered.” “Christ ever lives to make intercession for the church.” Let us join with Him in this labor of love so that His kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Availing and travailing prayer is also essential so that we be led not into temptation, but delivered from the evil one. “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

If we will consistently and continuously make ourselves available to God as consecrated instruments of Spirit-led and Christ-centered prayer, the sanctification that He alone has provided for us will be appropriated in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we pray. “Is there any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray anointing him with oil; and the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise Him up; if he has committed any sins, they will be forgiven him.” This, of course, is one of the main ways that God has ordained for the multitude of human disorders that we have all inherited through Adam’s transgression to be displaced, dispelled, and replaced by the divine order of spiritual, mental, physical, and social health found through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Amen.

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Words of Deliverance

From Prophets, Priests, and Kings

I, like many others, have always tried to do the best I can with what I have received from God regarding my Christian life and Christian ministry. Nevertheless, in my opinion, I have failed Him on many occasions and on many human levels. I say this with an understanding of the regretful reality that I have not learned to receive or, if you will, appropriate everything that He has for me regarding my manifest victory over sickness, sin, and poverty.

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We Shall Overcome Some Day

Do you ever feel like Isaiah who said, “I am a man of unclean lips, in the midst of a people of unclean lips?” Or can your relate to the disciple’s of Christ whom He rebuked for their lack of faith? Or can you identify with that generation of folks that Jesus called “perverse?” Paul prophesied that the end times would be perilous times, and that men would be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. He went on to say, “from such turn away.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I qualify to one degree or another in all of those unseemly categories.

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Are We Kidding Ourselves?

The Apostle Paul tells us that the righteous requirement of God’s law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh (sin nature) but after the Spirit. So we see that in order to experience God’s law fulfilled in our lives requires a continual and consistent communion with God around His Word and in His Spirit, so that we might be enabled and influenced to yield to God’s leading at any given time in order to see His purposes, plans, and pursuits fulfilled in us and through us. Now, God has made this possible by writing His laws on our hearts by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The end of all this is to experience His will fulfilled in us on behalf of others. In essence we become Christ’s willing hands and feet (His body) carrying good things to those in need. This, of course, is the heart of both evangelistic and mercy ministries which, if done in the Spirit of Christ, are one in the same. As we yield to the Holy Spirit’s unction to sacrifice ourselves for God and others, we receive the great reward of the overcoming faithful which is the kingdom of Heaven here and now realized through righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, and this is our inheritance and present reward regardless of the hardships associated with dedicated service. This appropriated grace that enables us to remain faithful in dedicated service to God and others will also result in our inheritance of a future tangible eternal kingdom of God to be received at Jesus Christ’s second coming.

This begs the question, do we really love God with everything we are and with everything we have, and do we truly love our neighbors as ourselves or are we just kidding ourselves in professing to do so while practicing something altogether different?

Now, the love of money is the root of all evil, so we should be giving as much of our money away to others in need as often as we possibly can in order to avoid the temptation of serving Mammon, the god of materialism. The willing, sacrificial, lavish, and disciplined giving of our finances is also necessary in order to meet both the spiritual (eternal) and physical (temporal) needs of others. Are we doing this? If the answer is yes, that’s good. Let’s encourage ourselves to increase in this good practice. But if the answer is no, we had better correct the error! Let us make every effort to be rich towards God in making for ourselves purses that don’t wax old and riches that don’t rust like gold or silver and can't be stolen by thieves. May we strengthen the things that remain by sowing the seeds of our finances and everything else we have into God’s eternal kingdom. This can, and must be accomplished through the giving of our lives and our means into the hands of those who are dedicated to fulfilling God’s eternal purposes through having adopted His eternal perspectives. This of course, would be His body, the true church of the living God in the earth today. If we won’t give to those who are in the business of giving, (churches and Christian ministries) then our profession of Christ is a big joke, and we are only kidding ourselves if we claim to be His. Amen?

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Holiness Unto God Results In His Power

Why don’t we believe the warnings of Christ Jesus and his apostles when they clearly tell us about the severe consequences for our willful and deliberate sins? How is it that we can so easily seek to justify ourselves for our behavior that we know is an offense to God? Perhaps, it is not that we are even in the business of trying to justify ourselves because we believe so strongly that we are already justified by the Lord’s redemptive work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. Far be it from me to try and diminish that work of grace or that strong belief in it, but let me add that our continuing in willful and deliberate sins after having received the knowledge of the truth is the equivalent of receiving the grace of God in vain. The Bible teaches that if we do this, there will be a price to pay, not only in this life, but also in the life to come! My fellow Christian believers, Christ has provided both salvation and sanctification from our sins for us on the cross, but there is a clear and present danger of experiencing devastating consequences if we misappropriate that grace as it pertains to achieving and maintaining holiness unto God. Remember, holiness is to be both pursued and perfected, attained and maintained, in reverence of God. This of course requires, as my spiritual mentor David Pawson says, "enthusiasm, energy, and effort on our part.”

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Prayer, The Only Priority

It is high time to trade in the pen, the pulpit, and the podium for the prayer closet. A genuine spiritual revival proceeded by genuine spiritual repentance and restoration is the only hope for this nation and this old world. Wise men and women know this to be true. Preaching and politics both fall short in accomplishing the necessary healing that we as individuals and a nation need to rise above the maddening fray of twenty first century existence. I have been privileged to know a few men, women, and ministries that came to this conclusion years ago. As a result, they have been successfully pursuing and practicing a life of intercessory prayer as their number one priority in life as a means to fixing what is wrong with this world. Nations have been changed and turned towards God by the efforts of these mighty prayer warriors.

The cost of these accomplishments have been as great or greater than that of any and every solider that has ever been engaged in battle for their own lives, the lives of their fellow soldiers, and the existence of their countries. The only difference is that there are fewer souls willing to pay this price for spiritual revival than there are for those brave soldiers that are willing to lay down their lives in defense of their respective nations. The price of effectual prayer is so great because it requires a total denial of self and a total resistance of the multitude of distractions that exist to keep them from their goal. These souls have had to press against great internal and external pressures to continue and succeed in this discipline. Prayer warriors of this caliber are exceptions to the rule. In order to carry on, they have had to consistently draw upon the very power of God. One of the many benefits of this lifestyle is that they have been transformed closer and closer into Christ’s character and likeness in the process. May God raise up more devout souls like these, who are both willing and able to pay the price for the salvation of humankind and for the healing of the nations. May it be said of them, “It is for a time such as this that they have come into the kingdom.”

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Faithful Perseverance and Patient Endurance

The Need of This Hour


Hebrews 6:10&11 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through
faith and patience inherit the promises.”


My fellow Christian believers, the Bible teaches that there is a warfare being waged in our members. This warfare is between the flesh (sin nature) and the Spirit (divine nature). The Bible also teaches that
“we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of darkness of this age, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It also states that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

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Grace, Faith, and the Privilege of Prayer

There are many people in the world who profess and practice faith in a deity or a system of religious beliefs and practitioners of religion who are erroneous in what they believe, because what they are putting their faith in is, regrettably, false. Even the atheist, the agnostic, the humanist, the secular humanist, the communist and others who do not believe in God or a God who can be known still profess and practice some kind of faith, even if it’s a faith in the fact that they don’t believe in God. They have faith in their unbelief. Even those who profess to be Christians can potentially be in error on certain points of sound biblical doctrine because of deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils. This, of course, is not the case, generally speaking, of professing and practicing Christians who are born of, baptized in, live in, walk in, and remain filled with the Holy Spirit because “you have no need that anyone teach you because the anointing that is within you teaches you all things,” and “the Spirit will lead you into all Truth.” Even then, there are always exceptions to the rules because of the deceptive power of Satan and human falibility. We must understand that human faith by its very nature can be somewhat arbitrary and, therefore, misdirected. In other words, human faith is not necessarily a product of God’s divine grace. The good news is that there is a divine faith that is a product of divine grace, and this is what the Bible calls “the faith of the Son of God,” which is both a fruit of the Spirit and a gift of the Spirit.

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Trusting and Obeying the Leading of the Holy Spirit Results in Our Victory Over Sin.

It has been said that true Christianity is more of a relationship and fellowship with the Living God, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, than a religion simply based on the letter of law. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.” “What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Jesus Christ said, “I did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.” That is what He did over two thousand ago in his human body by the power of God, and that is what He is doing presently in His universal body (the church) through the power and divine influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit in our lives. By the way, the righteous requirement of the law is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.”


Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” He went on to say, “My words are Spirit, and they are life.” The law of faith, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ, the law (doctrine) of Christ, and the law of liberty are based on a relationship and a fellowship with God around His Word and in His Spirit. All of these divine “laws” are decidedly different from the letter of the law delivered to Moses for the Hebrew's because that law did not only serve as a reminder of their inability to keep it perfectly, it also served as a tutor for them until Christ came and died on the cross and rose from the dead in order to redeem those who where under the curse of the law. This dichotomy was both the frustration of Paul (recorded in Romans 7) and the relief of Paul (expressed in Romans 8).

I have for many years read and heard the phrase, “walk in the Spirit.” Along with this phrase comes the promise “and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” For some reason I have had a hard time knowing what the phrase, “walk in the Spirit,” actually means. It always seemed somewhat ethereal and ambiguous to me. Well, despite my spiritual thickness and stupidity on the subject, I believe that the Lord has recently given me some insights that I would like to share with you in this lesson.

To walk in the Spirit simply means to hear God’s voice and follow His lead. Jesus said, “I know My sheep, and they know Me; they hear My voice, and they follow Me; and another they will not follow.” It was said of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, that he, being a man baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, evangelized the whole country of Ireland by simply praying to God, hearing His directions, and obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thousands of souls where converted from paganism to God by brother Patrick simply praying, hearing God’s voice, and obeying the Lord’s instructions and directions.

On a personal level as it pertains to our sanctification and consecration in God, we too can be saved from the sins that so easily beset us by doing likewise. Praying and obeying God leads to the crucifixition and mortification of the misdeeds of the body. It is through this discipline that those exercised thereby can legitimately testify, “They who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts” because they know and have experienced that “the misdeeds of the body are mortified through the Spirit.”

Jesus told His disciples, “Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The solution to this problem of “weak flesh” is found through communing prayer around God’s Word and in His Spirit because our spirits are strengthened and our flesh is crucified and mortified when we wait on the Lord. This allows us to hear His voice and follow His lead. Apart from the vital disciplines of watching and praying we will remain dominated by the flesh and easily led into temptation.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” To draw near to God requires both a desire and a discipline. It requires a hunger and a thirst after righteousness. Hungry and thirsty men will press through extraordinary circumstances, obstacles, and barriers to have their hunger relieved and their thirst quenched. Therefore, desire is necessary to have our initial needs met, but it alone is not enough. If we want to keep food and drink on our tables, we must exercise the disciplines necessary in order to put food on our tables daily. (Some have called this a strong work ethic.) This is also necessary concerning spiritual things. In order to continue to meet our spiritual needs, we must be industrious and diligent in the spiritual disciples ordained of God to bring us into spiritual strength, prosperity, and health.

Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven allows pressure, and those who press into it, take it by force.” Paul said, “I press for the mark of the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.” He also said, “wake up and strengthen the things that remain,” or, if you will, put energy and effort into the things of eternal value, or the things that are of eternal significance.

Jesus promised his followers that those who practice the disciplines of Spirit led covert prayer, fasting, and giving will be rewarded openly by their heavenly Father. So we see that spiritual progress, heavenly rewards, and victory over our sins require a diligent and disciplined spiritual work ethic on our part. This is why Paul tells us “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God who is working in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” Let’s get with it and stick with it, my brothers and sisters, until we win a decisive victory over the sins that so easily beset us. “Let us therefore labor that we may enter into rest.” “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” but remember, “if a man does not work he should not eat.” Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Our work is to consistently and continuously come to and remain in Him. If we will learn to do so in a disciplined way, it will result in a divine rest from the burden of our sins and a great overcoming victory in Him. The grace of God surely teaches us this. Amen!

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The Power of Communing Prayer And The Christian Believer’s Victory Over Sin, Sickness, Poverty, Demons, Disaster, and Death

Psalm 91

1) He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2) I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. 3) Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. 4) He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5) You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; 6) Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7) A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. 8) Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9) Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation, 10) there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. 11) For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. 12) They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13) You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet. 14) Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high because he has known My Name.
15) He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. 16) With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.


“Where you live determines how you live.”
(George Miller, Reconciliation Ministries International)


It has been said where Christians are concerned that the only failure is prayer failure. In other words, many, if not most, of the moral failures, fractures, and defeats in our lives are based on our own failure to pray effectively.

Pastor Dennis Rouse of Victory World Church says, "Communing prayer is where we contact God, and where God contacts us."

“If we were saved by His death, how much more shall we be saved through His life.” It is through communing prayer around His Word and in His Spirit that we receive the life of God which is eternal life starting now! To commune with God is to abide in God, to dwell in God, to continue in God, to follow God, and to keep in step with God. Jesus promised, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments, and My Father and I will come and make Our abode with you.” Wow!

Jesus also said, “I am the true Vine, and you are the branches. Abide in Me, for apart from Me you can do nothing; just like a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.” Jesus went on to say, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be given unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit.” Paul tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.” If we want the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives, we must
discipline ourselves to abide in the true Vine. This will require the discipline of putting off certain demands, distractions, and determents of the flesh and putting on Christ daily. Paul also instructs, “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and be clothed in the armor of light.”

John tells us, “as many as
received Christ, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believe on His name, who were born again, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.” This word translated “receive” in English comes from a Greek word that means, “to settle down into and be not removed from Christ,” and the word “believe” translated from the original Greek language to English is used here in the present continuous tense which means to believe on the name of Jesus and to keep believing.

Paul also said “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” This means that we need to experience the presence of God and practice the presence of God in our daily lives through the discipline of communing prayer. In so doing, we will not fulfill the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit, and they are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like. Paul goes on to warn us that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is also written, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” This implies a continuing relationship and fellowship with Him, which also means to “pray without ceasing.” Paul recognized his need to continue in Christ to the degree that he was able to testify, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” He also said to the Church at Corinth, “I thank God that I pray in tongues (with the spirit) more than you all.” It is obvious that this great transformation was realized in his life through communing prayer. Wouldn’t it be great if you and I could make that same confession with truthful conviction? Well, my brothers and sisters, that is exactly what God is requiring of us if we are going to live victorious over the sins that so easily beset us.

We must learn to commune with God and stay in prayerful communion with Him around His Word and in His Spirit if we are going to be victorious over the enemies of our souls. James tells us, “God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud.” The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are the enemies of our souls. “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Lust brings forth sin, and sin brings forth death.” Lustful human pride is what causes us to attempt to live independently from God, void of prayer, and full of prayerlessness, or, if you will, void of God and full of ourselves.

Dependence upon God is true humility, and it finds its perfect expression through communing prayer. May we “humble ourselves therefore under His mighty hand so that He might exalt us in due season.” “If My people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

This is the simplicity of the gospel. Mike Bickle points out that simplicity is single mindedness. Let us be single minded, energetic, and enthusiastic in this effort of communing prayer with our loving God, and thereby win a decisive victory over self, Satan, and sin. James said, “Let not a double minded man think that he will receive any thing from the Lord. He is unstable in all his ways.”

Paul exhorts, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you, both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.”

The effort of consistent, continuing, communing prayer is indeed the need of the hour. Let us, therefore, occupy ourselves with the commissioned work of our precious heavenly Father as obedient children of our faithful God, because apart from Him, we can do nothing. The good news is that “all things are possible for him that believes,” and “the prayer of faith will heal the sick, and if we have committed any sins they will be forgiven us.”

Amen!

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Are We Living for Christ, or for Self, Satan, and Sin?

The Apostle Paul, formerly called the Pharisee Saul said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Here was a man that had an encounter with the risen Lord while on the road to Damascus that both temporarily blinded him physically, but also opened his eyes spiritually, for all eternity. This divine encounter completely changed his life, consumed his being, and charted his eternal destiny. For all intents and purposes this experience began for Paul a life of complete dedication and absolute devotion to Christ and His cause. Through this divine meeting with the risen Lord, Paul became Christ-centered instead of self, Satan, and sin-centered. Even his name was changed from the haughty, blaspheming, insolent Pharisee Saul (persecutor of Christ) to the humble, devout, faithful, obedient, loving Apostle Paul (martyr for Christ)! Perhaps we need to pray for such an encounter with the risen Christ for ourselves and for those we hope to effectively evangelize. Could this kind of experience help our resolute conviction and their spiritual conversion as it did Saul’s? Whereas these divine encounters with the Lord are in His hands, and at His discretion, should we not pray for Him to perform more of them on behalf of others and ourselves? I say that we should. It couldn’t hurt! Believe it or not, there are some professing and practicing Christians today that have had conversion experiences even more dramatic than Paul’s. These brief encounters with the Lord have absolutely changed the recipients’ lives, and also won them over for Christ and His purposes. I’m reminded of one Indian man whose co-worker I met while on a mission in Africa. He told me that his boss had been a radical Hindu who was actively involved in persecuting Christian believers in India until Jesus appeared to Him and transformed his life. He is now a Christian evangelist based in Houston, Texas, and from there he has been conducting worldwide evangelistic gospel crusade meetings for Christ! Thousands are being saved in each meeting! There are, of course, many that have had less dramatic conversion experiences and yet, their dedication and devotion to Christ is still very great. After all, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.” Nevertheless, I have often prayed while witnessing of Christ to hardened radical Muslims that God would grant them a “Damascus Road” experience. Paul was a hardened radical Hebrew Pharisee, and it sure helped in converting him. I recently read an article written by Ken Walker in the December 2008 edition of Charisma magazine entitled, “When Muslims Find Jesus.” The article reported that there have been thousands of Muslims in the Middle East within the last few years who have come to faith in Christ through divine dreams and visions.
Having said that, my own experiences in relationship with the risen Lord through the power of His Holy Spirit have, at times, been through visions. To name just a few, at the age of nineteen I received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior by faith, and walked with Him for a few years before backsliding, because at the time, I had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, nor discipled by mature saints. After a couple of years of serious backsliding, having become frustrated by my apparent lack of ability to live the Christian life the way I felt Christ required of me, I was thus summarily deceived by Satan into embracing the Buddhist religion in a futile attempt to seek and find a measure of relief from my frustrated condition.

Not long after that, I unknowingly became intimately involved with a practicing witch who seduced me and cast a number of spells on me, which led me down the slippery path of unseemly sensual pleasures and lawless sexual sins. At a certain point after having become completely addicted to her seductions, she began to withdraw her affections from me and share them with another. It almost goes without saying that when this sinful relationship, which was
“pleasurable for a season,” was taken away from me, I was led into spiritual, emotional, and physical withdrawals. This resulted in an experience of extreme and desperate bondage, as well as a state of dire suffering in the grip of demonic spirits.

In a sentence, I had been seduced into allowing her to “share her powers with me,” and when she decided to remove herself from me and no longer be emotionally and sexually exclusive with me, it put me on the deck. I could not get out of bed or eat for a week!

Now, being a practicing Buddhist at the time, I shared my experience with a Christian friend, and parroted to him Buddha’s phrase, “Desire is the cause of all suffering.” He looked at me and said, “Rob,
sin is the cause of all suffering.” This hit be like a brick right between the eyes. It was my wake up call!


I knew from my past relationship with the Lord that the only way to deal with sin (the cause of my suffering) was through faith in Jesus Christ.
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” My rationale was, “If I want to be rid of this suffering, I’d best be rid of this sin.” It was in this wretched and painful condition that I found myself once again calling on the name of the Lord for deliverance from my sins. He miraculously restored my life and rescued me from the powers of darkness. This was the result, in no small measure, of the prayers of my Christian mother and sister and their prayer partners who had been recruited by them on my behalf to offer supplications unto God for my deliverance.


I offered my prayer to God with desperate, heartfelt and sincere confession of and repentance from my sins, while I was crying out in faith for Jesus Christ’s mercy. Suddenly, I had an open vision!

For those of you who have never had one, it is like you are watching a movie, but not from your seat in a theater or from your armchair in your family room. You are actually in the scene, and are playing an active role in the drama. In this vision, I was actually playing the lead role. But it was no plaything; it was a real open vision. For all intents and purposes, I was there. In this vision, God was showing me my spiritual condition at the time.

The Vision

I was struggling to walk through a waste deep quagmire swamp. The humidity was 110%, and the heavy air was weighing down on me, making it very difficult to breath. There were several ashen white, dead, barren, and leafless trees lining the edges of the swamp. As I struggled to make my way through the swamp, there were several ugly poisonous vipers slithering on top of the murky water hitting at me. “I was afraid I was gonna get hit.” In this horrible place and in this desperate condition I cried out upon the name of the Lord. I heard the name “Jesus” come out of my heart (chest), resounding and echoing through the caverns of the swamp. As soon as His name cleared my being, I was out of the swamp and standing on top of a high mountain. The air was fresh and clear, and a gentle breeze was blowing through my hair. All the oppression, bondage, and sin had been removed from me. I was washed clean, and I was high and dry in the Lord. Jesus had delivered me once again. All praise and glory to His holy name!

Not long after that blessed experience, Jesus manifested Himself to me in the pure light of His absolute compassion, eye to Eye or spirit to Spirit, if you will. I was soon to be speaking in
“the tongues of men and angels,” having received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not long after that He called me and anointed me into Christian service and ministry. “His mercies are new every morning; great is His faithfulness!”

Anyway, back to Paul. This brother, after conversion, spent all of his time, resources, and strength in an effort to know Christ better, to offer Him to others, and present to Christ a pure and holy church, zealous for good works. Jesus said that He would show Paul the things that he must suffer for His name, and indeed He did! As an apostle, it was required of Paul to embrace Christ’s sufferings and be conformed to His death. He wrote many of his letters to the churches that he had established from prison cells. Because of his love for Christ, His church, and the Gentile world, he was beaten with rods and whips, stoned, shipwrecked, starved, made homeless, despised of his Jewish brothers, abandoned by his Christian brothers, imprisoned, and the list goes on and on. He did not fear suffering for Christ. Rather, he embraced it.

In these latter times, as in the former days, the same will be required of many, if not most, sincere Christian believers. The good news is that those who bravely choose to do God’s will and not deny Him, even to the point of
“resisting sin to the shedding of blood,” shall not partake of the second death (Hell), but will share in the first out resurrection from the dead, and become citizens of God’s tangible eternal kingdom on earth!

It should be noted that Christian believers shall not fear persecution or martyrdom at the hands of their enemies, provided they are living in the spiritual revelation and practical reality that they are already dead, buried, and risen with Him,
“seated with Christ in heavenly places” right now! In other words, those who live like, and “reckon (account) themselves dead to sin (their sins) and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” will not fear persecution or physical death as martyrs for Christ, but they will, as Paul did, be enabled to embrace death and consider it gain! Because they truly fear God, they will not fear what man can do to them. “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Quoting again from the previously mentioned Charisma article: “Three new converts (to Christ) in Egypt recently told Janssen that Christians in America should pray “with” them not “for” them.” “If you pray for us, you will pray for our safety, and the persecution will stop,” they told him. “If you pray with us, we can be sure the persecution will increase. Pray we will see millions come to Christ. We know there will be backlash. Pray we will be faithful, even if it costs us our lives.” Amazing!

Regrettably, this will not be the stance of the unrepentant backsliding Christian or the reprobate, apostate Church now or during the Great Tribulation. The likes of these will easily be deceived and embrace the False Prophet and anti-Christ, and they will gladly receive the mark of the Beast in order to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones. God forbid, but it is true. Remember, Paul prophesied a great falling away from the faith in the latter days.

Towards the end of Paul’s life, just before his martyrdom, he testified that he had
“run the race and finished the course, having kept the faith.” He was soon to receive his “eternal crown and reward!” He proclaimed, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

I ask myself, am I running the race and staying the course that God has ordained for me? Is Christ my reason for living? Could I consider death in the cause of Christ, gain?



In reality, I am a man that has had a propensity in the past to get off course through both internal pressures and external distractions. In other words there have been sins in my personal life that I, through rebellion against God, have allowed to exist, as well as circumstances orchestrated by Satan that I have allowed to throw me off of God’s course and His purpose for my life. My greatest obstacles to doing the will of God have been self, Satan, and sin in their many forms. Nevertheless, by the grace of the Father, I keep getting back on course, but alas, only to be distracted again!

Now this is particularly concerning to me because God has ordained me to bring healing to hurting bodies and souls, as well as to bring salvation to lost sinners in the name of His Son Jesus. This, of course, involves my chosen consecration unto Him (spirit, soul, and body) and my willing separation from those sins that so easily entangle me, namely,
“the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.” After all, “He that is wise wins souls.” And, “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

As I see it, at this time, the majority of the Church, or if you will, professing Christians in the United States of America are represented by
“the seeds that fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.” Jesus speaks of these as “those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Having said that, I, for one, am once again “in pursuit of holiness” in the hope of “perfecting holiness in reverence of God,” through an appointed season of separation unto Him. It is my hope, through repentance and faith towards God, to make an effort to accomplish my consecration unto Him by His grace through faith coupled with my resolute will beginning on January 1, 2009. I made a similar effort twice in 2008 only to be quickly distracted upon my return from cloistered life to “civilization” and “modern society.” Having said that, cloistered life is not designed as a retreat from evil. It is designed to be a time to face evil and overcome it by God’s grace. There have been times in my life when I have been successful at this, and other times when I have failed. I believe that my lack of success in the past has been due to a failure of my human will, at the point of temptation, to appropriate God's grace through faith, in order to resist the temptation effectively. My proper response to this lack of success is to "rejoice, knowing that the trying of my faith produces patience, and to allow patience to have its perfect work that I might be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." After all, "it is through faith and patience that we inherit God's promises," and "He has promised to be faithful to sanctify us wholly, sprit, soul and body until the coming of the Lord." If the truth be told, our success in resisting temptation is dependent upon our ability to draw upon the presence of God's grace on a moment-to-moment, hour-to-hour, and day-by-day basis. So, whether one is living a cloistered life or a life in the world, the world and the things of it have no dominion over you but, you "reign in life by Christ Jesus."

Dear Heavenly Father, in the name of your holy child Jesus, may Your will be done this time concerning this matter of my change from a life motivated by self, Satan, and sin to a lifestyle of holy consecration, communion, and sanctification in Christ. May I learn to practice your presence and appropriate Your righteousness through repentance from all my sins and faith towards You. Amen!

I must ask myself these questions. Is my wife my life, or is Christ my life? Are my children my life, or is Christ my life? Is my career my life, or is Christ my life? Are my natural and carnal pleasures my life, or is Christ my life? Are my appetites, addictions, and emotions my life or is Christ my life? Are “Mammon,” materialism, and money my life, or is Christ my life? Will I ever be able to say, as Paul said, and mean it, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain?” I pray that this will be the case for all of us. Why? Because if we won’t learn to live for Christ every day by denying self, taking up our own cross, and following Him, we will never be able to think, as Paul did, of dying as gain!

If we won’t live for Him now, we won’t die for Him later, and if we won’t take a stand and die for Him when the time of Great Tribulation comes, we will easily deny Him to save our own skins. And,
“If we deny Him, He will deny us.” This means the second death (Hell) for all those who do so.

Jesus said,
“If you seek to gain your life, you will lose it. But, if you lose your life for My sake, you will gain eternal life; and what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?”

I know that there are many things that God is leading me to do, and there are also many things that He is leading me not to do.

These can be summed up in a sentence or two,
“To cast off the works of darkness and be clothed in the armor of light.” “To put off the old man and put on the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

My spiritual mentor, David Pawson, has recently said, “Jesus didn’t just come to save us from Hell. That’s just a bonus; He came to save us from our sins!” And I might add, any sinful thought, word, action, or re-action that we allow to exist in our lives or deliberately continue in, robs us of our holiness unto God, and, therefore, robs us of our happiness in Christ. Most of us don’t want to be saved from our sins, because they are pleasurable to our sin nature. This sin nature was crucified with Christ upon His death, but we must account ourselves dead to it by faith in Christ’s accomplished work on our behalf, and thereby, not
“allow sin to dwell in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

The kingdom of God is the realm of eternal happiness, and
“it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you His kingdom.” Let us not be like Esau and sell our inheritance for a brief moment of natural or carnal satisfaction. May we not sell our inheritance of God’s eternal kingdom within for the fleeting pleasures of sin!

“For sin is pleasurable for a season, but the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

May we appropriate God’s grace and mercy, by faith and faithfulness to do His will, which is our sanctification from sin, to Him, and thereby enjoy the life of holiness and happiness, the gift of righteousness that Christ has purchased for us through the shedding of His own precious blood. May He once again grant us repentance from all our sins!

Now,
“God will not allow us to be tempted beyond that which we are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way of escape.” This scripture points to the fact that if we, as Christian believers, yield ourselves and give in to Satan’s temptations, we are without excuse, because the way of our escape from sinful behavior has been provided in Christ.

The way out of yielding ourselves to evil temptations is to abide in, dwell in, and continue in Christ, by keeping His commandments and following His Spirit’s leadings, and by following the example of Christ’s life as a human being while living here on this old earth as the Son of Man. Jesus Christ was a man of covert prayer, covert fasting, covert communion with God, and the constant covert consecrated giving of Himself to God in His service to others. Therefore, He was a man of the Spirit. In our Lord’s life, doing His heavenly Father’s will was always of paramount importance to Him, instead of following the dictates of self, Satan, and sin. Jesus testified,
“My sustenance is to do the will of My Father who sent me and to finish His work.” On the cross Jesus cried, “It is finished, and He gave up the ghost.”

May sin be finished in us also, as we covertly fast and pray and read our Bibles every day, as well as follow the leading of the Holy Spirit at all times, in every situation and every circumstance. May we thus become empowered to hear Christ’s voice, follow Christ’s lead, and do Christ’s will instead of our own. After all, our way of escape is Jesus Christ who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” Let us therefore, “reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Let us “come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing.” Let us “be in the world but not of the world.” Let us be quick to forgive others their sins against us, and quick to receive forgiveness for our sins against God and others, and quick to repent, confess, turn from, and forsake all of our sins against God, ourselves, and our fellow human beings. Amen!

But, someone might ask, what if there are iniquities and infirmities in my life that I would like to repent of, and be rid of, but I don’t seem to be able to? We must get real with ourselves and with our God. Paul said,
“In the latter days men would be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” He added, “From such turn away.” Jesus said, “He who loves Me keeps My commandments.”

We must ask ourselves, are there sinful pleasures in our lives, sins of commission that we are continuing in even though we know they are not pleasing to God? If so, we must repent, and train ourselves in His righteousness, as we trust Him for the grace to utterly forsake them. Let us ask ourselves when tempted to do something that we know God will not be pleased with, “Do I love this sin more than I love my Lord and Savior or do I love my Lord and Savior more than this sin?”

If we truly love God more than we love the sin, or anything else in the world, we will make a resolute decision to prove our love by abstaining from the sin so that we might please God! “It’s a kind of diet of the mind.” This is the nature of Christian discipline and discipleship. The same is true of sins of omission (good things we should be doing but neglect to do). But, back to sins of commission (bad things we should not be doing, but do anyway), there are many pleasures and luxuries of the flesh that self, Satan, and sin cry out for to be satisfied. However, these are pleasures and luxuries that we Christian believers cannot afford to partake of if we want to inherit the eternal kingdom of God, which is
“righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We cannot afford the luxury of being unforgiving, bitter, or resentful. We cannot afford the luxury of anger, rage, and wrath. We cannot afford the luxury of being slothful or gluttons. We cannot afford the luxury of sexual immorality or impurity. We cannot afford the luxury of greed and selfish ambition. We cannot afford the luxury of envy, jealously, slander, and covetousness. We cannot afford the luxury of being cowardly and unbelieving. Well, the list goes on and on of what we can’t afford to do as professing and practicing Christian believers. Fill in the your own blanks.

Jesus calls us to be His disciples, and tells us that in being such, we must
“deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him.” The fruit of the Spirit is self-control and if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

Lord God, fill us with your Holy Spirit, and cause us to remain filled, so that we might live in your Spirit, and walk in your Spirit, being led by your Spirit and enjoy the fruit of your Spirit which is self-control. Amen.

Now for those struggling with sins and strongholds that you can’t seem to forsake, realize that Jesus promised,
“All things are possible for him that believes.” Place your faith in God and patiently wait for His deliverance.

“Ask, and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking.”

“Believe you receive when you pray and you will have what you prayed for.”

“Follow after those who through faith and patience inherit the promises of God.”


And remember this,
“We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.”

And don’t forget to, “Count it all joy when you fall into different temptations, tests, and trial, knowing that the trying if your faith produces patience. Let patience have its perfect work that you might be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”

Jesus promised, “Continue in my words, and you will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free.” (Free from our sins).

And remember,
“We walk by faith, not by sight, calling those thing which be not as though they were.

“We have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.”

We must appropriate that righteousness through “repentance from works that lead to death and faith towards God.”

“Do not let sin therefore dwell in your mortal bodies, that you should obey it in the lust thereof.”

And this is possible because “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”

Question: What is this grace we are under, and what does this grace do for us in allowing no sin to have dominion over us?

Answer. The grace of God teaches us. Let us be good students and learn!


For the grace of God has appeared to all men, teaching us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself and people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.


I will close with some final scriptures for your meditation and edification.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore your members that are on the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you, too, once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with its practices and have put on the new man, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there is not Greek or Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:1-17

Let us say yes to Jesus, and no to self, Satan, and sin throughout this New Year. May it be said, “Jesus is mine in 2009” so that we will be able to shout the victory and sincerely proclaim in 2010, “we win!” Amen, Amen, and Amen!

And let us remember, we have not yet attained to the character of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, but becoming like Him is our goal, and the expression of His character in thought, word, action, and reaction, is what we, as His disciples, are all aiming for.

In this quest, may we all be blessed!



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Our Holiness, Healing and Happiness In Christ

Christ is the Healer, and "it is the sick that need a physician." Iniquity (sin) and infirmity (weakness) walk hand in hand down the corridors of the human spirit, soul, and body. Without Christ the entire human race is under the curse of the law of sin and death inherited through Adam’s transgression of God’s will and commandment issued to him in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, the second Adam, has come to set us free from the curse of the law of sin and death, being made a curse for us, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” He has hung on a tree as the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world as the substitute for our sins, inherited through Adam and continued in through our own volition. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “If any man says that he is without sin, he is a liar and the truth is not in him.” Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. Sin carries with it the burdens of guilt and shame and the devastating consequences of individual ship wrecked lives, damaged families, distorted societies, and a world of corruption. Therefore, as Christian believers, those who have been set free from the law of sin and death through faith in the accomplished substitutionary work of Christ on the cross on our behalf and in our stead, must learn to appropriate this grace through faith and be quick to forgive, as we have been forgiven, quick to receive forgiveness through faith in the shed blood of Christ for our cleansing, and quick to repent, by turning from our sins and doing right in the eyes of God. “Beloved, I write unto you that you sin not, but if any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is also true that "sin shall not have dominion over you because you are not under the law but under grace." "Therefore reckon yourselves dead indeed to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." "With the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation" and "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." We must lean to embrace the grace of God as it pertains to our forgiveness from our past transgressions with our hearts and confess our innocence with our mouths. Let the sick believe with His heart and confess with his mouth, “By His stripes, I am healed.” Let the poor, believe in his heart and confess with his mouth, “He was made poor that I might be made rich.” Let the sinner believe in His heart and confess with His mouth, “I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ.” If any man be in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away, behold, all things have been made new!

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Godly Sorrow Leads To Repentance

When we do things that are harmful or hurtful to ourselves and/or others, it harms and hurts God, too. When King David lusted after Bathsheba and set her husband up for certain death on the battlefield, the prophet Samuel exposed him for his sins. After David was exposed for committing adultery and murder, his prayer of confession to God was, “Against you alone have I sinned.”

There are several responses that we can have when we hurt God, ourselves, and/or others, but there is only one response that leads to genuine repentance. On the darker side, we can be happy and relish in our sins, or we can be completely indifferent to and/or willingly ignorant of them. On the brighter side we can be regretful for our sins and/or even remorseful over them. The latter response is better than the former, but even this response will not always lead us to exchange our destructive behavior for healthy behavior.

The Apostle Paul realized this fact and exhorted his flock with these words of wisdom. “Godly sorrow leads to repentance.” Godly sorrow is produced when God Himself shows us the nature of our self centered and satanically inspired sins and the consequences of harm and hurt that they have caused Him, others, and ourselves.

When Godly sorrow is granted to us, repentance for our sins is also granted unto us, and we are supernaturally changed in our spirits, souls, and bodies for the better.

It must also be understood that our highhanded, deliberate, and habitual sins have a hardening and callusing effect on our hearts and minds. More often than not, for us to even come to a place of Godly sorrow leading to repentance, God has to replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.

Only intercessory prayer can accomplish this. Good news! “Christ ever lives to make intercession for us.” “The Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.” The church, being bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh, and being filled with His Holy Spirit, are also called to make intercession according to the will of God. “God’s will for us is our sanctification.”

So let us become very resolute about our intercession and “pray without ceasing” that God will replace our stony hearts brought on by willful, deliberate, highhanded, and habitual sins with “hearts of flesh, turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers,” and that He will grant us Godly sorrow leading to repentance. Amen?

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Faith in the Accomplished Work of Jesus Christ On The Cross Regarding the Christian Believer's Victory Over Sin, Sickness, Poverty, and Death

NOTE: The foundation of this teaching was inspired by an article called, "Dealing With Sin Which Dwells In Us," by Kay Williams of Total Life Ministries (www.totallifeministries.org), as well as Romans 6. For your greater edification I encourage you to read both before reading mine.

Perhaps one of my, if not my greatest errors to date in preaching and teaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God has been a somewhat limited focus and emphasis on the accomplished work of Jesus Christ in His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead as it pertains to the Christian believer’s victory over sin, sickness, poverty, and death. In this article, I hope to correct that error.

When Jesus was executed, the body of sin (the sin principle that indwells every human being including Christian believers) was executed with Him. When He was buried, every Christian believer (past, present, and future) was buried with Him and their lives are hidden with Christ in God. When He was raised from the dead every Christian believer was raised with Him to newness of life. Water baptism in the name of Jesus is representative of this. We are to enter into this truth by revelation knowledge brought to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who has been left here with us by Christ in order to lead us into all truth. As we receive this revelation knowledge, we are to account it as true and act on it as factual by faith, as opposed to basing our perception and opinion of ourselves and others on what we see with our natural eyes.

None of us would disagree that one plus one equals two. Why do we refuse to acknowledge, account, and act on this great spiritual revelation that the sin principle that indwells every human being born of Adam has been executed in Christ (in that through Christ’s death, God was reconciling the world unto Himself), and that the imputed righteousness that indwells every human being born again of the Spirit of God (through believing in and receiving Jesus Christ) has been imputed (stored up) unto us in Christ and imparted (released) unto us through the Holy Spirit, as surly as one plus one equals two?

I believe that the reason we have such a difficult time acknowledging, accounting, and acting on this great liberating revelation (which results in us yielding the member’s of our bodies unto God as instruments of righteousness instead of as slaves to sin), is because it has not been sufficiently taught to us from our youth with the same diligence as one plus one equals two. If it had been, I believe that there would be a greater degree of sanctification experienced by individual Christian believers and a greater degree of consecration of the church unto God in the earth today.

Throughout the spiritual teachings found in the Bible we are encouraged to walk by faith (in the knowledge of this revelation), not by sight. We are admonished to know ourselves as well as each other after the Spirit (of this revelation). We are instructed to live and walk in the Spirit (of this revelation), and in doing so, we are promised that the works of the flesh will not be fulfilled in us. We are told to continue in Christ who incorporates this revelation so that we might know the truth and that the truth will make us free from sin! We are commanded to mortify the misdeeds of the body through the Spirit (of this revelation). Again, this revelation is that our old man (the one subject to the principal and power of sin) was executed with Christ on the cross, and that the new man, created in righteousness and true holiness, was imputed unto us when Christ was resurrected from the dead and shed His Spirit abroad into our hearts. Furthermore, the mortification of the old nature and the revival of the new nature, which is imputed righteousness, is imparted unto the Christian believer as he continues in the Word of God, and lives as well as walks in the Holy Spirit.

Apart from this great revelation we are hopeless in our efforts to appropriate both the righteousness and holiness of God that is found through faith in Christ. But if we will learn to live and move and have our being in Christ through the practice and discipline of acknowledging, accounting, and acting on this revelation, we will begin to experience a genuine victory over sin which is holiness unto God. We must daily renew our minds to this revelation knowledge expressed in the Holy Bible.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are, in essence, the revealed knowledge of absolute truth, and the absolute truth is found in the gospel message revealed through the apostles of Christ for the edification of the church. Perhaps the greatest teaching of this great revelation is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Let us be encouraged to meditate in the chapters and verses of this great book of Christian doctrine called “The Book of Romans,” for it teaches us to live by the law of faith, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

If we are going to make present progress in our pursuit and perfecting of holiness, and if we are going to experience a future state of glory, it will not be done without continuously reflecting on the past accomplished work of Christ on the cross as it pertains to our justification, sanctification, and glorification in Him, as well as the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in leading us into all truth. Jesus cried out with His last breath from the cross before giving up His Spirit, “It is finished.” Let the fact of our victory over sin be a finished matter as well. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace!” Let’s acknowledge this, account this, and act on this truth in spite of and in the midst of ours and other’s moral failings, and thereby bear one another’s shortcomings, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. In so doing, let us win a decisive triumphant victory over sin and its consequences of doubt, fear, and shame through faith in Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.

When a Christian believer attends a fellow Christian believer’s funeral, he must choose to view the event with the eyes of faith, as opposed to with his natural eyes. If he does so successfully, it will result in a time of great joy and rejoicing, but if he fails to do so, it will be a time of despair and despairing just like those who have no hope in God’s gracious provision found through faith in Christ for those who die in Him. If we are able to attend a fellow Christian believer’s funeral and rejoice in faith, we should also be able to rejoice by faith in every aspect of our life in Christ, regardless of our faults, failures, and fractures. In other words we may be flawed by a sin nature inherited through Adam’s transgression, but we are also forgiven our sins through the righteousness of God in Christ, and ultimately, through Christ’s great provision, delivered from sin through His accomplished work on the cross on our behalf and in our stead. It will help us to realize this if we will focus on the fact that nothing in life or death will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! Thus, faith works through love.

I have attended funerals directed by Christian believers for other Christian believers, and even though there is natural grief over the loss of a loved one, there is greater rejoicing over his or her Homecoming. “For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Let us, therefore, learn to live and die in faith with a heart full of continual joy and rejoicing over Christ’s sublime provision of grace for the living and the dead in Him.

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” “They that come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The atonement for our sins provided by Christ’s shed blood also incorporates our salvation and deliverance from disease involving healing for our souls (intellect, will and emotions), and our bodies. We as Christian believers “must not allow sin to dwell in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in the lust thereof.” “Anything that is not of faith is sin.” In like manner we must not allow sickness and disease to dominate us. Both sin and sickness must be dispelled from us through faith in Christ’s accomplished work on the cross. This is achieved by lining up our will with God’s will, and our words with His Word. The appropriation of grace through faith begins within our hearts (spirits), with which we believe, and with our mouths with which we confess God’s Word, "For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation." Thus, in the great scheme of God’s provision of atonement, sickness and sin and poverty shall not have dominion over me for I am not under the law, but under grace.

To acknowledge, account, act on and appropriate this grace through faith requires a daily meditation in the Word of God. "Your Words have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against You." "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night so that you might observe to do all that is written therein, then you shall make your way prosperous, and then shall you have success." If we have become negligent in reading, studying and meditating the Word of God in our personal, daily devotions, we will have a dormant faith, and works of unrighteousness will be the end result. If this is the case, we must repent of our slothfulness in this area and begin to be renewed and revived to the Word of God (the Holy Scriptures). If we will do so in a disciplined fashion, we will begin to experience the salvation of our souls, and healing for our bodies. If we do not repent from our slothfulness in this area, our souls and bodies will perish along with the unbelieving. God forbid! The Church today stands in need of a Christian revival. This revival will come as we rededicate ourselves to following the leading of the Holy Spirit, continue in the Word of God, and use the name of Jesus appropriately in our prayers, requests, and supplications unto God.

"Let everyone who names the name of Jesus depart from iniquity."

Jesus Christ, our example declared, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds from the mouth of God." This was His response to Satan when tempted to turn rocks into bread and eat after having fasted all food and water in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. When further tempted, He refuted Satan with the following response, “It is written." This must become our response as well, when we are tempted to do our old sinful nature's will instead of God’s will. As the Son of Man, Jesus Christ lived a complete and perfectly consecrated life unto God. Regular seasons of prayer and fasting helped Him to do so. He was thereby empowered to deny self, Satan, and sin. He chose to know what was written in the Holy Scriptures and to act on that knowledge when tempted. Thus He lived a sinless life and died a vicarious death as the spotless Lamb of God, who was ordained of God to bear our sins upon Himself on the cross, and to carry our diseases. In place of our sin and sickness He now offers us the free gift of righteousness, healing, and health. “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes (wounds from the whip), we are healed!”

We enter into these great provisions through the faith of the Son of God, which is faith in the accomplished work of Christ on the cross. We walk in the abundance of this grace and gain a victory over sin, sickness, poverty, and death as we learn to respond to temptations in the same way that Jesus did, “It is written.” When the temptation to sin comes knocking at our door, we respond with the Word of God in resisting it, “I am crucified to the old sin nature, and I'm alive unto righteousness through the faith of Jesus Christ.” “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.” It is written, “God’s will for me is sanctification spirit, soul, and body, and faithful is He who calls me who will also do it,” therefore “get thee behind me Satan.” When we are tempted with sickness, our response should be, “It is written, ‘By His stripes I am healed.’ ” and “Bless the Lord who forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” When tempted with poverty and lack, our response should be, “He became poor so that I might be made rich.” “Beloved, I desire that you prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers.” “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” When death comes knocking at our door, we can respond, “It is written, 'He that lives and believes in Me shall never die.' ”

Now, “If we sow to the flesh, we will from the flesh reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit, we will from the Spirit reap life everlasting. God is not mocked; whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”

Since we were in Christ when He was raised from the dead, we can “serve Him in newness of life.” We are presently “seated with God in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” “If we were saved by His death, how much more shall we be saved through His life.” "Christ in you the hope of glory.” “Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.” We can “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is working within you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure.” We are co-laborers with Christ in this life and walk of faith. He is working in us, and we are to be working with Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but “if we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we can ask what we will, and it shall be given unto us. Herein is the Father glorified, that we bear much fruit.”

In summary, we see through Paul’s revelation that “it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for me.” As we exercise faith in the fact that the kingdom of Heaven (where God the Father and God the Son live) is within us now through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and as we learn to yield in faith to His power, purity, wisdom and strength of character instead of our own weak abilities, we will gain a victory over the sin, sickness, poverty, and death that so easily beset us. Let us, therefore, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might as “He Himself crushes Satan under our feet.” “For you will tread on scorpions and serpents, and no work of the enemy shall by any means harm you.”

We will only be able to stand uprightly as we learn to lean completely on Him. "His strength is made perfect in weakness." Thus, we become "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might," not ourselves.

Human pride is what produces Independence from Him, which is sin, but dependance on Him instead of oneself produces true humility. This will result in His power being released in our lives to the glory of God. "God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud."

There is an old hymn of the church that declares, "I'm learning to lean, I'm learning to lean. I'm learning to lean on Jesus. I'm finding more power than I ever dreamed, learning to lean on Jesus." Let's do likewise and win a decisive victory over sin, sickness, poverty, and death through faith in the accomplished work of Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and intercession that God ordained for all Christian believers' total victory through faith in Him.

A prayer of faith.

Heavenly Father, In the name of Jesus Christ I repent of my unbelief. I have allowed sin to dwell in my mortal body. I have also allowed myself to be dominated by sickness, disease, lack, and poverty. From this moment forward by grace through faith in knowledge of Christ's accomplished work on the cross I refuse to allow sin to dwell in my mortal body that I should obey it in the lust thereof. I renounce all sickness and disease in my body and soul, and I reject all material lack or poverty that would attach itself to my life. I also pray this for my wife and children, for my extended family members, my friends and associates, and the church at large. Amen.



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The Grace of Love & Forgiveness Found in Jesus

The Apostle Paul exhorts, “Examine yourselves to see whether or not you are still in the faith.” You will see in most of my writings, I am a man quite concerned with the problem of sin (my own and others). I suppose that is why some have called me a hell-fire, holiness preacher!


I recently had a close Christian relative over for dinner, and in the course of one of our conversations, I was politely told that he didn't want to hear any more about sin. In retrospect, why should we dwell on sin? After all, Jesus Christ has dealt with our sins in the atonement, and we are forgiven. But the full council of God does not only incorporate atonement for sin; it also commands the pursuit and perfecting of holiness. Granted, it will do us only harm and prove completely counter productive if we get the horse before the cart. In other words, the first and foremost practical revelation that we must learn to live and walk in is the continuous appropriation of our forgiveness and right standing (imputed righteousness) in God through a living faith in Jesus Christ's accomplished work of grace on the cross on our behalf and in our stead.

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A Prayer From My Heart

It is my prayer that all people and all people groups, all nations, all ethnic groups, every religious observer, every atheist and agnostic will come to the knowledge of the truth found by grace through faith in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. May all be born again by the will of God through believing in and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. May all repent of their sins, have faith towards God, be baptized in water in the name of the Lord, and receive the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit and Fire. May all humankind and every human being be translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. It is my prayer that all who are will be transformed into the likeness of Christ, and transfigured, (immortal and incorruptible) at His second coming to the glory of God. It is also my prayer, supplication, and request to God that all people, in all places, will be justified, sanctified, and glorified through faith in God’s amazing grace and that Christ's church, the community of Christian believers worldwide, will learn how to live in God's Spirit and walk in God's Spirit, cultivate the fruit of God's Spirit and not fulfill the works of the flesh. May we all partake of the present eternal kingdom of Heaven within through sanctification of spirit, soul, and body unto the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we all meet Him in the air at the rapture of the church. May we all be granted an entrance into Christ's millennial kingdom on this old earth, as well as an abundant entrance into God's eternal kingdom of Heaven, that will rest on a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. This is my prayer for my friends and enemies alike. May we all, this day, find unity under the banner of Christ's unfathomable love. I make this prayer request to You my Heavenly Father Jehovah God, in the name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. May it be accomplished according to Your will and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, knowing that it is not Your will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. There is a promise in the book of Isaiah that gives me great hope. "And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Amen.



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Hypocrisy and Heresy: The Enemies Of The Truth

It has been brought to my attention by the Lord that the two great enemies of the truth are hypocrisy and heresy. The Pharisees were a powerful and prospering Judaic denomination during the time of Jesus Christ’s three year public ministry on earth, and they constantly opposed Him at every turn. Jesus Christ endorsed the teachings of the Pharisees because, "they sit in the seat of Moses," so He told His followers to do as they say, but not as they do, saying, “Beware the leaven (sins) of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.” So, it could be accurately stated that the theology of the Pharisees was sound, but their behavior was unsound. Hypocrisy is acting one way in public and another way in private, something we are all guilty of, wouldn't you agree? But the hypocrisy of the Pharisees went beyond that because they acted one way in public and another way in private all the while, self-righteously and mercilessly condemning others who were not living up to the standards of the Law of Moses and the traditions of Jewish religion. It would not have been so bad had they not been guilty of the same or similar sins! " Jesus said, to the religious leaders who were going to stone a woman caught in adultery; "He among you who is without sin, let him cast the first stone." Not one in the group could do it. Jesus also said, "mercy rejoices against judgment," and when judgment is dispensed by fallible human beings in religious, political, or any other positions of authority, it must be done from a posture of heavenly wisdom, grace, and mercy for in to be truly just and for the end results to bring about justice in the society. The latter is what Jesus and His apostles referred to as "righteous judgment" as opposed to what the Pharisees were up to. By the way, Jesus told His disciples that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the Scribes and Pharisees, they would in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven.

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Heavenly Wisdom, Available For The Asking

“The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.”

The Bible declares that as Christian believers, “Christ is made unto us wisdom,” and if there is one thing that this old world needs, it is more wise men and fewer wise guys, wouldn’t you agree? Foolishness is the antithesis of wisdom. As a matter of fact, the scriptures tell us that there is an earthly wisdom that is from beneath, that is sensual and devilish, and there is heavenly wisdom from above that is pure, peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy.

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Additional Grace For Daily Living

A Christian Exhortation To The Church On Chaplain Rob Johnson's 54th Birthday, October 6, 2006

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is working in you both to will and to do of His own good pleasure."

"And this is God’s will for you, even your sanctification."


My fellow Christian believers, love is a choice; holiness is a choice; and ultimately eternal life is a choice. Therefore, let us choose to walk in love, holiness and the new life that is offered to us through faith in Jesus Christ so that we might truly inherit "eternal life."

"This day I have placed life and death before you, choose life so that you may live."

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The Grace Of Becoming Comfortable In Your Own Shoes

One Size Fits All!


As of late, I have been experiencing a gift from God that may be somewhat in keeping with one of the few benefits of becoming middle aged. (One of the other benefits is the sports car!) I have been realizing that I don’t have anything to prove to anyone in that I am no longer as "self-serious" or as "self-conscious" as I once was in my adolescence and throughout most of my life as a young adult. I believe that being overly "self-serious" is the result of having a "huge ego" and that being overly self-conscious is the result of having "low self esteem" or "a bad self image." Now, these two conditions, a "huge ego," and "low self esteem," coexisting in the same being, at first glance seems to be a bit paradoxical. (In much the same way the phrase manic depression, bipolar, or schizophrenic define two opposite and extreme emotional conditions operating in the same brain.) Think about it, mania is the opposite of depressed, right? I'm sure that one could point to their parents or a dysfunctional childhood as the blame for such conditions, and to some extent this is probably true, but in reality, both of these infirmities and/or iniquities, as well as all others, are ultimately the results of Adam and Eve's fall from grace. The consequences of their rebellion were played out soon thereafter in the lives of Cain and Abel, and then eventually throughout history with the rest of affected and infected humanity to one extent or the other. As a matter of fact, all of the madness being played out on the world stage and being reported by the mass media today, and the historians tomorrow, is nothing more than the results of the first Adam's transgression. The good news is that God sent a second Adam, in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, who did not transgress the will or law of God like the first Adam did, and therefore, He is the only one in the world or the universe qualified to take away the sins of the world. Whosoever believes in Him and receives Him will not perish but have everlasting life!

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