Compromise destroys Intimacy

Compromise

Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree that bears no fruit in Luke 13:6(ESV) And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Fig trees were planted in vineyards and taken care of by gardeners who worked for the owners of the vineyard.

The fig trees represents us/the church, the owner represents God and the gardener is Jesus interceding for us. God is basically saying all these trees (Church goers) are bearing fruit but this one is not, so cut it down and remove it, then Jesus intercedes and says 1 more year let me dig around it and put manure, then if it still does not bear fruit then remove it.

Healthy Fig trees that are fruit producing are pruned very little. The thinning stimulates new growth and it increases fruit size. Fig trees that do not produce fruit are pruned/thinned out meaning the diseased, weak and dead limbs are cut off during the dormant season, then in the following season if it doesn’t produce fruit they are chopped down and burned.

In the parable Jesus is pleading the case with the creator God to have mercy on the people who look like the other Christians but bear no fruit. He is saying let me prune them and put manure on them and if that doesn’t work then cut them down and burn them. Pruning is a good thing and most of time we think we are going through stuff, we think the whole world is against us, God is far from us but it is a pruning to produce fruit and it could possibly the last pruning. The manure we sometimes endure is healthy for us to produce fruit later on. Manure is used a fertilizer. We need discernment to recognize what is going on. People, jobs, things, places etc are pruned from our lives and we think it is so horrible but in all actuality it’s a pruning. Those things were the diseased, dead and weak limbs keeping us from bearing fruit.

There is no greater word that can describe the state of the modern day American church than compromise. The root of all the fruitlessness is compromise.
Somehow we let the heretical doctrine of a perverted grace message infiltrate the church and today most people think the church should look like what they see on “Christian” television rather than what in the book of Acts. The grace and salvation we receive at conversion is a doorway to a new life, but it is not always viewed that way. The Romans had heard the Gospel message and came to the conclusion that since they were now under grace, they should sin all the more, so that grace might increase. Paul replied in 

Romans 6:1-2 (NLT )Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 

They tried to use the grace of God as an excuse for sin, but it is because of the grace of God that sin should not have dominion over us Romans 6:14 (NLT)Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

2 Peter 2:19 (NLT)They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

You might say,”Thankfully, I am free and it does not apply to me.” Yes, it does. The United States of America is supposed to be the land of the free. Are we? It is the land of the slaves. It’s the land of the slaves, because Peter says, “Anything that overcomes you, anything that overtakes you, anything that rules over you, anything that reigns above you, it’s like your Pharaoh. It’s your master, and it enslaves you.”

We don’t use this language in our culture because we’re no longer a very biblically literate culture. Instead, we use therapeutic and psychological language, like “addiction.” “Addiction” is secular for the biblical concept of slavery. So, the person says, “I’m addicted to alcohol.” You’re a slave to the bottle. “I’m addicted to drugs.” You’re a slave to the substances. “I’m addicted to gambling.” You’re enslaved to the high and the potential windfall you pursue. “I’m addicted to my own reputation.” No, actually, you are one who is enslaved and you’re worshiping the God you see in the mirror every morning. “Well, I have to maintain my beauty,” or, “My spouse has to maintain their beauty. We are addicted to body image.” No, you’re enslaved to your appearance. “I am driven by my career.” “I am driven by my income.” “I’m driven by my position at work.” No, you’re enslaved to your performance.

Every one of us has different shackles, whether It’s drugs,alcohol,sex, control or power.

Paul says that God has already set him free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2(NLT)So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.), and that while he couldn’t beat the sin that had hounded him, God did by sending his own Son. God has already done the hard work in tackling the sin problem. Because of the cross, sin is defeated. Satan’s greatest threat to any of us is a permanent separation from God because of our own sin. Satan sets the trap, and hopes we’ll fall into it. But when Jesus gave his life up for the sake of sinners, the ultimate power of sin was defeated once and for all. Even though all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), when we accept the gift of God’s grace we can still experience God’s glory as if we had never sinned at all.

There is a problem, people make up their own definition of grace. Their definition may sound beautiful – it may even seem to exalt the Lord – but it is a deception. We shouldn’t be surprised or caught off guard by it, as Jude saw this and wrote with great urgency and conviction:

Jude 1:3-4″ (NLT)3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:11-12 (NLT)teaches about the grace of God:” 11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, This is what the grace of God does in our lives. Through grace, God fills our hearts with love and teaches us to live Godly lives in this evil world. Yet many want to use grace as a cloak to hide behind. Often people want others to be accepted without requiring true faith and real repentance. It should cause one to ask if they have really received the grace of God, or merely an excuse. All an excuse can do is to ease a sin-stained conscience. Similarly, narcotics or alcohol might make a person feel better, but they don’t solve problems; they only make them worse. As drugs are to an addict, so cheap grace is to a false convert. Cheap grace might make you feel better, but it can never make you right with God; it can never compare with a clean heart.

God does not grade on a curve and He will not change the standard because He has a hard time finding people that can meet it. Genesis 6:9 Noah found grace but God did not change his mind because He couldn’t find more who could meet the standard.

He also will not change the standard because you can’t put down things of this world and get into an intimate relationship with Him.
The first thing you lose in comprise is not the anointing, the revelation or the gift, it’s the intimacy. You stop spending time with God. Intimacy with God is where supernatural things are produced. Spiritual reproduction is a result of intimacy with God. God made Adam from dirt and Made Eve from Adam. We all know that men are women are different physically. God had everything he needed to form Eve from Adam. God could’ve just made another person from the dirt or give Adam the ability to form people from dirt. But it wasn’t God’s will to reproduce without intimacy. The problem with the modern church is that we have so compromised that we are no longer intimate with God and we are trying to reproduce things without presence.

Genesis 38:8-10 (NLT)

8 Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, “Go and marry Tamar, as our law requires of the brother of a man who has died. You must produce an heir for your brother.”9 But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground. This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother. 10 But the Lord considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So the Lord took Onan’s life, too.

We need to be impregnated not stimulated, Onan went in to stimulate the bride but did not impregnate her.  We are in the church to impregnate you with something so your appetites change, we are not here to stimulate and make u feel good about yourself.  The sword is the word and it is here to separate your flesh from your spirit. The sword is not here to entertain, we are in an entertain me society.

The problem is most people come here to get stimulated and never leave impregnated with something to where their appetites change.

You have to be in Covenant to produce Intimacy to have something impregnate you so that your appetites change.

Abraham even at 100 knew that he could not reproduce without intimacy with Sarah. At 100 he still believes, not that God will do it another way but that intimacy is still relevant to reproduction. Abraham is a man of enormous faith who refused to stop believing God. Regardless of the mistake he made he was still unwavering in the promise that God made him. What God spoke to him at 75 he still believed at 100.What God spoke to him at 75 that he made a huge mistake of getting intimate with something that should have been serving him. Hagar was supposed to serve Abraham but when you get in bed with things that are supposed to be serving you like your job, your career, materialism, secular humanism, philosophy, intellect, whenever you get intimate with them you end up producing something that will fight against your promise. Later on Sarah looks out and sees Ishmael picking on Isaac and says to Abraham get that bondwoman and her son away from my Isaac.

Genesis 21:8 (HCSB)The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son mocking—the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be a coheir with my son Isaac!”

If you never separate them your mistake will begin to mock your miracle. Isaac was the miracle and Ishmael was the mistake and Abraham wanted them to live together but God is showing us that there must be a place of consecration and disconnection if there is going to be a real elevation to the next level. Whatever God is asking you to get rid of, whoever he is telling you to disconnect from is not because he wants to see you in pain or suffer its because you cannot elevate to the new level with that amount of baggage.

What happened here is Abraham stepped in and took a matters into his own hands not because he didn’t believe it’s because he compromised and when you compromise you lose intimacy. When you compromise you diminish the role of the bride and you start partnering with stuff you should be communing with. God is looking for brides. Sarah was the bride but her role was diminished when Abraham turned to self management. When we compromise and move into self management we lose our bride status. We become busy, sensible, reasonable and practical and just getting things done seems much more easier than just waiting in prayer. We move into busy but we don’t labor for him anymore. We lose the intimacy that marks us and our ability to reproduce and any thing coming out of us isn’t of any divine consequence.

We cannot come to church and spend 2 hrs a week with Him and expect intimacy. Intimacy is a secondary consequence of covenant. We have a Covenant first that produces intimacy. Many people try to have intimacy without covenant. We can not expect to have intimacy with our spouse by only spending 2 hrs a week with them. God does not allow us to get into intimacy with anything else without covenant why do we think we can not have a covenant with him and reproduce anything worth while?

We are the Bride of Christ, there is a difference between a bride and a whore.We have got to maintain our commitment to His presence and stay in the intimacy if we are going to become the bride that God has intended us to be, the warring governing bride of the almighty God representing on the Earth, the great groom who has never lost a battle in the history of all mankind. It’s going to take intimacy to get us back to the place He called us to be.

Matthew 7:21-23“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. 22 On that day 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Luke 1:34 And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man

That word know, “ginosko” in the Greek, refers in this context to an intimate relationship of union and approval. That is the kind of relationship a believer needs to have with Christ.

Paul said, “But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:3). Jesus will not say those words of condemnation in Matthew 7:21-23 to someone who truly loves Him, and seeks intimacy with Him, God recognizes, approves and truly works together with those who love Him.

If we have lost intimacy then we must fight to shut everything down, repent of what we have compromised and partnered with. We must fight to get back what is of any worth in this life and it is the presence of All Mighty God. Deep is calling to deep just as shallow is calling to shallow. We must get so deep into intimacy with God that we can no longer hear the calls of shallow. We must stay the course that God put us on when we first came into His presence; we must stay in His presence and stay in intimacy with Him. We must remember that God timing is not our timing. If God told us to do something we must do it until it comes to fruition and he puts us on another task.

Advertisements

No Longer Slaves

Are we free? I mean are we truly free?

Here’s what Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, his lead disciple, says.

2 Peter 2:19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

“This is an interesting historical survey of slavery. Thankfully, I am free and it does not apply to me.” Yes, it does. The United States of America is supposed to be the land of the free. Are we? It is the land of the slaves. It’s the land of the slaves, because Peter says, “Anything that overcomes you, anything that overtakes you, anything that rules over you, anything that reigns above you, it’s like your Pharaoh. It’s your master, and it enslaves you.”

We don’t use this language in our culture because we’re no longer a very biblically literate culture. Instead, we use therapeutic and psychological language, like “addiction.” “Addiction” is secular for the biblical concept of slavery. So, the person says, “I’m addicted to alcohol.” You’re a slave to the bottle. “I’m addicted to drugs.” You’re a slave to the substances. “I’m addicted to gambling.” You’re enslaved to the high and the potential windfall you pursue. “I’m addicted to my own reputation.” No, actually, you are one who is enslaved and you’re worshiping the God you see in the mirror every morning. “Well, I have to maintain my beauty,” or, “My spouse has to maintain their beauty. We are addicted to body image.” No, you’re enslaved to your appearance. “I am driven by my career.” “I am driven by my income.” “I’m driven by my position at work.” No, you’re enslaved to your performance.

The Apostle Paul takes a look at his own life, and his own shortcomings, and writes words like these:

Romans 7:15, 18–19, 24 HCSB”For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?”

Had Paul ended his letter at that moment, it would have been one of the most depressing things any of us had ever read- not necessarily because we’re disappointed in Paul, but because it rings so true in each of our hearts. We know we are a sinful people.

How many of you, that’s your story? You’re ashamed, you’re embarrassed, you’re horrified, you’re mortified. Maybe there are secrets in your life that you hope nobody finds out about. And you would say that you are a Christian, that you worship the God of the Bible, but there are parts of your life where you are in slavery.

Every one of us has different shackles, and the Holy Spirit can highlight that for you. It’s drugs. It’s alcohol. It’s sex. It’s power—whatever the case might be. That’s exactly the condition that the children of God here, at the base of Mount Sinai, sitting on the proverbial couch for a meeting with their dad, are in the condition of. What will he say? What does he say to them? What does he say to us?

LIVE FREE

Paul says that God has already set him free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2(NLT)So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.), and that while he couldn’t beat the sin that had hounded him, God did by sending his own Son. This is coming from a chapter-seven man who still battled sinful leanings, a man who often lost those battles.

This should be a relief to us. God has already done the hard work in tackling the sin problem. Because of the cross, sin is defeated. Satan’s greatest threat to any of us is a permanent separation from God because of our own sin. Satan sets the trap, and hopes we’ll fall into it. But when Jesus gave his life up for the sake of sinners, the ultimate power of sin was defeated once and for all. Even though all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), when we accept the gift of God’s grace we can still experience God’s glory as if we had never sinned at all.

You can’t live free until you realize there’s only one God, and you’re not God. This is going to blow your mind: You’re not the center of the universe. You’re not the most important person. The reason you’re miserable is because you’re worshiping yourself and you were not made for that. You were made to worship him. You were made to enjoy him. You were made to glorify him. And when you make yourself the center of your life, you make yourself miserable.

“Oh yeah, I love God, and I go to work, and—” It’s not like we check the first off the list and move on to the rest. God’s the center of our life, and then he’s going to say, “OK, since I’m the center of your life, let’s talk about your worship, let’s talk about your money, let’s talk about your marriage, let’s talk about your possessions, let’s talk about your real estate, let’s talk about your sexuality.”

Everything has to be connected to him, and if you choose to sin, you choose to suffer. So, there’s one God. How many gods? One. What’s it mean in Hebrew? One! Does it say it anywhere else in the Bible? Everywhere! That’s very offensive. Other people say, “Well, there are lots of gods.” God says there’s one God. Other people say, “There’s no God.” God says he’s God. The agnostics say, “We can’t know.” God says, “I’ll tell you. You can know for sure. I even wrote a book.” Some come along and say, “Oh, well, no, everything in the world is all part of God.” No, God says, “I made the world.” This answers all the philosophical, theological, spiritual questions: one God.

Exodus 20:1-3(HCSB)Then God spoke all these words:2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.3 Do not have other gods besides Me.

And in that day, they had tons of gods. It was very common to have tons of gods. You can read the Bible. There’s all kids of false gods and goddesses. They’re really demons who bless people. But there’s Ashterah, there’s Baal, there’s Molech, there’s Chemosh—there’s a whole list of them.

And some of us will practice what C.S. Lewis calls chronological snobbery. We’ll go to the Bible and say, “Oh yeah, back in the day, they were very primitive people, and they worshiped these gods with weird names. And thankfully, we’re not like that.” Here’s how it works: the reason they had multiple gods is because the gods promised to give you different things, this god or goddess sex, fame, money, pleasure, comfort, fertility, children, power, promotion.

Do we worship those things? Anybody here—sexual problems, financial problems, relational problems, employment problems? Anyone? OK, anyone made a real shipwreck of their life chasing after those things? You’re worshiping false gods. Now, we may call it success, and they called it Molech. Same thing. All Satan has done is just rebranded old demons. God says there’s one God—him alone, him at the center.

The instruction from Romans 8 sounds a familiar chord from other biblical teachings. According to what Paul writes here:

Romans 8:5-8(NLT)Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

The very first psalm teaches the same principle, only with a different word picture:

Psalms 1:1–2 HCSB”How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night”

A man who meditates on the word of God will delight himself and God. But a man who doesn’t control his mind will slow first to a walk with the counsel of the wicked, then he will stand in the way of sinners, and finally, he will sit in the seat of mockers. We should run a good race for Christ – not even slowing to a walk!

James writes:

James 1:13–15 HCSB”No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God.’ For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death” 

If you could go backwards through the progressive steps – from death to sin, from sin to the birth of sin, from the birth of sin to the desire to sin – you’ll come to the point of your own evil desires. If at that point we take hold of the mind of Christ, we can break the progressive chain and stop its destructive cycle.

Paul says the key is to set our minds on what the Spirit desires. Is that a bad thing? The tempter would have us think that we’ve just missed out on some great experience, that God has actually punished us for leaving a life of sin. But picture this: When a man and woman fall in love and get married, they automatically stop some practices and start others. For instance, both the husband and wife stop dating other people, and start enjoying the companionship for which they had so long searched.

Later in Romans 12:2, Paul will writes these words to those who want to please God: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Your transformed mind will make all the difference when it comes to enjoying or despising your walk with Christ. The power to break free from the chains of sin – the power that God has already provided – is already available to us, right now.

Have you been set free? Do you know Jesus? Have you given him your sin? Is he your God? If not, you give yourself to Jesus now. And you walked in here apart from him, but you walk out of here with him. He goes before you like the pillar in the cloud. He walks with you, never to leave you nor forsake you. Let him set you free and let him lead you to live free. If you’re not a Christian, your biggest problem is not your behavior, not your conduct. It’s your God! That issue has to get settled.

Give yourself to Jesus and be set free, and then commit to a life walking with him, living free.

Number two, for those of you who are Christians, you have been set free, and today, by the grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can live free. You can leave your sin here. You can leave your folly here. You can leave your rebellion here. You can leave your death here, and you can walk with Jesus, and you can walk together and you can pray for one another, and serve one another, and help one another. That’s why God spoke to all of his people.  And the way that we grow in freedom, the way that we walk in freedom is understanding that we’re free to—what? Freedom is for what? It’s for the worship of God.

Guess what you’re going to do? Worship God. We’re going to do that by giving our tithes and offerings, because a lot of times we vote for our God with our debit card. We give to the Lord who has given all to us. It’s our Father’s way of inviting us to grow in generosity to be more like him.

As we collect our tithes and offerings, I want you to know we’re also going to take Communion, remembering Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, our Passover Lamb who was slain. God’s wrath is removed if we’re covered by his blood, shown in the drink and in the bread, his broken body and shed blood. And we’re going to sing. You ever seen a nation that was oppressed and then they were liberated? The people run into the streets and they cheer and sing.

Jesus has conquered our pharaoh, Satan. We have been set free. We can live free. We have a Father King who loves us and adores us. And we get to take to the streets, and we get to sing and shout his praises. We get to worship and enjoy him, and when we get together in song, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Free people have someone to celebrate.

Purpose of the Holy Spirit

Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

Sanctification We are being saved from the Power of Sin

Justification is Instantaneous, Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone, it is the God working His character in us though the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Helper to get through Sanctification.


Jesus says in Acts 1:8(HCSB)8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When the spirit comes it gives you power, “You shall receive power . . . and you shall be my witnesses.” 

This is an experience of boldness and confidence and victory over sin. A Christian without power to overcome sin is a Christian who is void of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:11(HCSB) And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit before His crucifixion and resurrection. He said it was promised as a HELPER.

John 14:15 (ESV)“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Jesus gave the Spirit as a “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions toward us which He would have done if He had remained personally with us.

The Spirit has many functions, roles, and activities. First, He does a work in the hearts of all people everywhere. Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Spirit into the world to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-11). Everyone has a “God consciousness,” whether or not they admit it. The Spirit applies the truths of God to minds of men to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners. Responding to that conviction brings men to salvation.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Greek word  for power here is “Dunamis” it is the power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, power to overcome sin.
Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, The scripture here is present tense meaning to continually be filled. Being filled with the Spirit is not a one time thing.

You will be filled with the Spirit to go out and perform miracles, speak the gospel, say no to temptation, etc. It is the supernatural power to accomplish a task set forth by God. It is not a one time deal and it is done throughout the book of Acts

Acts 4:31 (HCSB)31 When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.
The effect of their fullness was that they spoke the Word of God with extraordinary boldness and Christ-exalting power.

Acts 4:8-10(HCSB)8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.

Peter is again filled with the Holy Spirit and speaks with such power that the Jewish leaders were amazed at his boldness in spite of his being relatively uneducated (Acts 4:13).

In Acts 6 we meet Stephen who is full of faith and the Holy Spirit (v. 5). And Luke tells us in verse 8 that he was therefore full of power and did wonders and signs among the people, but especially in verse 10 the leaders could not resist the wisdom and Spirit with which he spoke. His fullness gave him an extraordinary power for Christ-exalting ministry.

In Acts 9:17 Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit at his conversion and the result was that he spoke with such extraordinary power that the Jews of Damascus were confounded (Acts 9:22).

In Acts 11:24 Barnabas was full of the Holy Spirit and faith and the effect Luke mentions was that “a large company was added to the Lord” (as at Pentecost).

In Acts 13:9 Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit as he spoke to Elymas the magician and God gave him the extraordinary power to pronounce Elymas blind for a season (Acts 13:11).

Overcome Sin/Working of miracles

Romans 8 tells us the Spirit will help us stop sinning and do the things that please God. Romans 8:5(NLT) Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

It’s important to remember that the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture. People sometimes justify their actions by saying, “My conscience told me … ” We need to make sure we’re listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires. And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God’s Word.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the Spirit would come and go from the saints, empowering them for service but not necessarily remaining with them. Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives:

John 14:16-17(NLT)16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

The apostle Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 6:19–20(NLT) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:15-18 (NLT)Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

These verses are telling us that the believer in Jesus Christ has the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, living in him. When an individual accepts Christ as personal Savior, the Holy Spirit gives the believer the life of God, eternal life, which is really His very nature and then the Holy Spirit comes to live within him spiritually.

Titus 3:3-7(NLT)3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—

When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. The fact that the believer’s body is likened to a temple where the Holy Spirit lives helps us understand what the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is all about. The word temple is used to describe the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum in the Old Testament tabernacle structure. There, God’s presence would appear in a cloud and meet the high priest, who came once a year into the Holy of Holies. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest brought the blood of a slain animal and sprinkled it on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. On this special day, God granted forgiveness to the priest and His people.

Today, there is no Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and the animal sacrifices have ceased. The believer in Christ has become the inner sanctum of God the Holy Spirit, having been sanctified and forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:7). The believer in Christ becomes the habitation of the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, Scripture also says that the believer is spiritually by Christ and by God the Father —the Trinity is involved.

As the Holy Spirit lives in the believer, He brings about some life-changing results:

1) The indwelling Spirit comes to a soul dead in sin and creates new life (Titus 3:5(NLT) 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.. This is the new birth Jesus spoke of in John 3:1–8.

2) The indwelling Spirit confirms to the believer that he belongs to the Lord and is an heir of God and fellow-heir with Christ

Romans 8:15–17(NLT)15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering..

3) The indwelling Spirit installs the new believer as a member of Christ’s universal church. This is the baptism of the Spirit, according to

1 Corinthians 12:13(NLT) Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

4) The indwelling Spirit gives spiritual gifts (God-given abilities for service) to the believer to edify the church and serve the Lord effectively for His glory (1 Corinthians 12:11(NLT) It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have..

5) The indwelling Spirit helps the believer understand and apply the Scripture to his daily life (1 Corinthians 2:12 (NLT)And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us..

6) The indwelling Spirit enriches the believer’s prayer life and intercedes for him in prayer (Romans 8:26–27).

7) The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers the yielded believer to live for Christ to do His will (Galatians 5:16(NLT)16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The Spirit leads the believer in paths of righteousness

Romans 8:12-13(NLT)12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

8) The indwelling Spirit gives evidence of new life by producing the fruit of the Spirit in the believer’s life

Galatians 5:22–25(NLT)22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

9) The indwelling Spirit is grieved when the believer sins (Ephesians 4:30(NLT)And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. and He convicts the believer to confess his sin to the Lord so that fellowship is restored (1 John 1:9(NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.).

10) The indwelling Spirit seals the believer unto the day of redemption so that the believer’s arrival in the Lord’s presence is guaranteed after this life (Ephesians 1:13–14(NLT)13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

When you accept Christ as your Savior Romans 10:9-10(NLT)9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved., the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your heart, bringing with Him an entirely new life of love, relationship, and service to the Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-11(NLT)3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Justified & Sanctified Pt2

Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

Sanctification We are being saved from the Power of Sin

Justification begins our sanctification. We are both Justified (a one time event) and in the process of being sanctified(on going). Sanctification begins with our justification, it is a process that conforms us to Christ’s likeness. Justification is a legal declaration of a sinner being righteous before the Father, it does not make us self-righteous.

Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer. It is through the process of our dying to self and being obedient to the word and the Spirit we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are completed and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.

Our justification is by faith in the work of the Son of God on the cross, his shed blood and death for forgiveness of our sins. Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is imparted to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous. This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved.  Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life.  It is based completely and solely upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and is received by faith alone.  No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification.  Otherwise, it is not a gift.

At the moment of faith, the new Christian is marked and sealed with the Spirit, who was promised to act as a deposit to guarantee the heavenly inheritance. The end result is that God’s glory is praised. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to erase the mark, withdraw the Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, forego the praise, and lessen His glory.

We do nothing to obtain or earn salvation (salvation being a free gift of God’s grace), then how can we lose salvation? Conditional security is acceptable only to those who also believe that they somehow contributed to their salvation in the first place.
Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” which clearly states that we contribute absolutely nothing to our salvation; even the faith necessary to receive the gift of grace, is itself a gift from God.

You are no more justified the first day you accepted Christ than the your last day on earth, you may be more sanctified but you are no more justified. A Christian is justified. Romans 5:1 (ESV)“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

We are being saved from the Power of Sin

Sanctification-is a continual process that conforms us into the image of the Son of God. Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. Jesus meets us where we are but His goal is to never leave us where He met us, We are to follow Him and strive for holiness AFTER He meets us where we are. 


True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.

Sanctification is the same Greek word as holiness, “hagios,” meaning a separation. To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thessalonians 4:7(ESV) For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.)

Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy. 
God’s pattern for spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says and what it means. The meaning of the Scripture is the Scripture—if you don’t know what it means, you don’t have the truth. So the process of spiritual growth starts with understanding what the Bible says.

We grow in Christlikeness and experience victory over the sins we’ve been enslaved to by learning to find more joy in God than in sin. A huge ally in the sanctification process is hatred of sin.  And while many Christians struggling with habitual sin know that they should hate their sin enough to forever flee from it, the reality is that a part of them still loves it.  And that can be confusing.  How can you love God so much, read his Word all the time, go to weekly accountability meetings, and still be enslaved to this sin?  Ultimately, I think it’s because we still love that sin deep down.  And I think the reason we still love it deep down is that we don’t hate it deep down.

 So why don’t we hate it?

A big reason hatred for sin is lacking could be that we don’t see it for the what it truly is.  We give it less-than-horrible names and treat it lightly.  Or to say it another way, we just don’t call our sins for what they are, because to do so would be to face the ugly truth about ourselves.  Here are some examples of ways I’ve typically heard myself or others describe sin.

1. “I screwed up last night.”

2. “I’m struggling with anxiety.”

3. “I’m having a hard time getting in the Word.”

4. “Prayer hasn’t really been consistent.”

The problem with these phrases is that none of them sound that bad.  They succeed in getting across a “This isn’t the best thing to do” vibe, but also a “Oh well no one’s perfect” one, and that’s the problem.  They don’t capture the magnitude of the fact that your sin cost Jesus his life.  Here’s the same list again, in the same order, worded now in such a way to capture what’s really going on:

1. “I looked at porn and masturbated.”

2. “I don’t trust in God’s goodness and provision.”

3. “Other things are just more important to me than God.”

4. “Prayer has no value to me.  I feel like God’s either not there or doesn’t care.”

Things like these are a lot harder to say.  The more specific we get with our sin, the more uncomfortable it becomes to confess it, because we’re starting to see it for what it really is.  The lines in the first list aren’t untrue.  But I don’t feel as terrible saying them since they’re sugar-coated.  When I go deeper though and say the words in the other list, I’m far more ashamed and disgusted.  It’s a lot more jolting.

If we’re not calling sin for what it is and owning up to it, we’ll never learn to hate it.  Sin is personal, not abstract.  For example, if a wife catches her husband looking at porn, she’s going to take it personally.  What he’s doing says something about how he views her, in this case her desirability.  Similarly, sin says something about how we view God.  Struggling to find time to get in God’s Word isn’t primarily a discipline issue.  It’s an issue of you not finding God desirable enough to spend good quality time with him.

True sanctification begins with renewing your mind. You must know the truth, plain and simple. There’s no premium on ignorance in sanctification. You’re not going to get there through some emotional or mystical experience. Spiritual growth won’t happen by osmosis—it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s truth in your mind.

Romans 12:2(NLT)Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 13:12-14(ESV)12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Then it is up to us; Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone, it is the God working His character in us. But it takes us to exert the fruits of the spirit.
Matthew 16:24 (ESV)Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Colossians 3:5 (ESV)Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ.  This conforming to Christ involves the work of the person, but it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified.  Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone.  The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God’s will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly.

Sanctification has no bearing on justification.  That is, even if we don’t live a perfect life, we are still justified.  Our salvation is not that fragile, we don’t LOSE it when we sin.

Jesus says in Acts 1:8(HCSB)But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” that baptism in the Spirit means, “You shall receive power . . . and you shall be my witnesses.”

This is an experience of boldness and confidence and victory over sin. A Christian without power to overcome sin is a Christian who needs a baptism in the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:11(HCSB) And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit before His crucifixion and resurrection. He said it was promised as a HELPER.

John 14:15 (ESV)“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:26 (ESV)But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Jesus gave the Spirit as a “compensation” for His absence, to perform the functions toward us which He would have done if He had remained personally with us.

The Spirit has many functions, roles, and activities. First, He does a work in the hearts of all people everywhere. Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Spirit into the world to “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-11). Everyone has a “God consciousness,” whether or not they admit it. The Spirit applies the truths of God to minds of men to convince them by fair and sufficient arguments that they are sinners. Responding to that conviction brings men to salvation.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper to get through Sanctification.


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

The Greek word  for power here is “Dunamis” it is the power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, power to overcome sin.
Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, The scripture here is present tense meaning to continually be filled. Baptism of the spirit is not a one time thing.

Now, the Holy Spirit can’t do all the work for us. We’re still responsible to do our part—especially to consistently read our Bibles and pray, asking the Spirit to show us the truth and teach us how to live.

It’s important to remember that the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture. People sometimes justify their actions by saying, “My conscience told me … ” We need to make sure we’re listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires. And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God’s Word.

How can you tell if you’re being led by the Spirit? By the “fruit” of your life—your attitudes and actions. Galatians 5:22-25(HCSB) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.

Are these things evident in your life?

Justified and Sanctified Pt1

Justification We are saved from the PENALTY of Sin.

Sanctification We are being saved from the Power of Sin

Glorification We will be saved from the presence of Sin

Justification begins our sanctification. We are both Justified (a one time event) and in the process of being sanctified(on going). Sanctification begins with our justification, it is a process that conforms us to Christ’s likeness. Justification is a legal declaration of a sinner being righteous before the Father, it does not make us self-righteous.

Romans 8:29(ESV) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Someone who is a Christian for 10 years is no more justified than when the first became a believer. It is through the process of our dying to self and being obedient to the word and the Spirit (John 17:15(NLT) I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.) we are daily changed, in God’s eyes we are completed and accepted because of our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.

Justification is a pronouncement to clear the guilty. When one is justified, he is declared right before the Lord; he is pardoned and cleared of any violation. “Romans 8:1(NLT)So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” To have “no condemnation” declared means to be found innocent of the accusation, to have no sentence inflicted and no guilty verdict found. By the grace of God, believers in Jesus Christ will not face the condemnation of God.

Romans 3:23(NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. 

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:9 (ESV) Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

We are SAVED from the WRATH of GOD!!!

Our justification is by faith in the work of the Son of God on the cross, his shed blood and death for forgiveness of our sins. Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is imparted to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous. This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved.  Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life.  It is based completely and solely upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and is received by faith alone.  No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification.  Otherwise, it is not a gift.

Therefore, we are justified by faith.NOT by WORKS.  It is by the Grace of God that we are saved.

Romans 3:27 (NLT)Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

What is the meaning of Grace? Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.

We were dead spiritually; we were fit for nothing but wrath; we were rebels and in bondage to sin and Satan. In the midst of that condition, God saved us. We exercised faith, which is itself a gift of God

(John 6:44-47(NLT) 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)47 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life, and God blessed us with the greatest possible gift–eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!

John 6:37-40(NLT) 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

What is more, we can add nothing to Grace. Before we were saved, we had nothing to contribute to the process

Romans 3:10-11(NLT) 10 As the Scriptures say,“No one is righteous—not even one.11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.

When we are saved/justified we have what is called eternal security.John 3:16(NLT)“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. This states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never “eternal” at all. Hence if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.Eternal life is the promise of spending forever in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be redefined. The Christian is promised to live forever. Does eternal not mean “eternal”?

A Christian is marked by God and sealed by the Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13–14(ESV) “You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory”.

At the moment of faith, the new Christian is marked and sealed with the Spirit, who was promised to act as a deposit to guarantee the heavenly inheritance. The end result is that God’s glory is praised. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to erase the mark, withdraw the Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, forego the praise, and lessen His glory.

The most powerful argument for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Please understand that eternal security is not a license to sin.  The Christian is regenerated.  He is changed from within–being made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.)  Those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit will war with their sin and not seek to abide in it.  Those who declare that they are eternally secure and then go out and sin on purpose in any manner they so choose are probably not saved to begin with since this is contradictory to what Scripture teaches.

1 John 2:3-6 (NLT) And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

We do nothing to obtain or earn salvation (salvation being a free gift of God’s grace), then how can we lose salvation? Conditional security is acceptable only to those who also believe that they somehow contributed to their salvation in the first place.
Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” which clearly states that we contribute absolutely nothing to our salvation; even the faith necessary to receive the gift of grace, is itself a gift from God.

We are not kept in the faith by our good works. However, our faith should be manifested by our good works

James 2:14 (NLT)What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?

James is not saying that we need works to be saved, He is saying because we are saved we will do good works.

You are no more justified the first day you accepted Christ than the your last day on earth, you may be more sanctified but you are no more justified. A Christian is justified. Romans 5:1 (ESV)“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

Willing and Able

You have been given one life to live. The question is “How will you live it?” The church today is facing a great enemy and soldiers are needed to join the battle. The kind of soldiers that God is looking for can be summed up in two words; WILLING and ABLE.

There are 4 types of Christians in terms of service:

1. Not Willing or Able – the crowd

Several nations that lived around Israel to the North in what is present day Syria came together to march out and destroy it. The army that came against them was massive:

Judges 7:12 (NLT)The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count!

To come against this vast army Gideon blew the trumpet and called all the Northern tribes of the Israelites to come together to fight:

Judges 6:34-35(NLT)34 Then the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. 35 He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded.

There were 32,000 that responded to the call and came together to face the enemy. Certainly this did not represent all the men of fighting age that were available. Many heard the trumpet but did not respond to the call. They were part of the Jewish nation and like those who responded to the call they had everything to lose but they chose to stay home and let someone else fight their battle for them. They just did not show up.

It is interesting that in the Herodotus account of the Battle of Thermopylae, after Leonidas was defeated Xerxes asked why a larger army had not been sent. The answer given was that most of the Greek men were participating in the Olympic games. They were more interested in games than battle.

Likewise the church today is facing a great enemy. Just turn on the news and look at the world around you. Marriages are under attack. The liberal media is dragging the name of Jesus through the mud. There is a very real and clear agenda to destroy the church. The host of hell have gathered and God is sounding the trumpet and calling us to fight. Unfortunately, there are many who will just never show up. All around us we see this. Christians who just stay at home. They are part of the family of God. They have everything to lose by what is happening around them and yet they stay home with no interest or experience in worship or service.Too many believers today see their faith as a purely personal experience. They see involvement in the church as an optional part of their life. I sometimes here this attitude expressed; “If I have nothing better to do – I’ll go to church”. As long as worship does not interfere with my rest and recreation or challenge my convictions or cause me discomfort then I will participate.

2. Able but not Willing – the curious

The 32,000 that came to fight were no match for the huge army they faced but God wanted to make it very clear that it was in HIS strength and not the armies strength that Israel would be saved. When given the choice to stay or leave 22,000 (about 69% of the army) left for home immediately. Even though they had been summoned and had shown up for battle, their hearts were not in it. They were not really committed to what they had been called to. They had other things to do.

Can you imagine that! What if the marines on D-day had been given a choice not to get out of the landing boats? It reminds me of the paid expatriate soldiers who ran away at the start of the Kuwait invasions when they saw the Iraqi tanks – they understood that their paycheck was not worth dying for.

I am sure that within this group of 22,000 men that there were many warriors. There must have been many who had faced other battles in the past and knew combat well. They did not stay and fight because their minds and hearts were somewhere else. Perhaps they had things to do at home or perhaps they were just afraid. Perhaps they had been hurt in the past and did not want to be hurt again.

3. Willing but not Able – the committed

There were 9,700 who chose to fight but still did not experience battle. Much has been written about why God would have separated out the men that put their face down to the water to drink from the men that brought the water to their mouths to drink. I don’t think that this choice was arbitrary. I think that God was intentionally selecting the trained soldiers from the group. An experienced soldier is always on the lookout and keeps the battlefield in sight at all times. The 300 who brought the water to their mouths were the veterans and most experienced soldiers in the group.

Willingness is an essential element in Christian service but it must be tempered with ability. Training and equipping is essential. The Christian life is not about trying but about training.

4. Willing and Able – the core

The few that remained were both willing and available. They had shown this in action and attitude. With this small group God was able to defeat a mighty enemy and win the victory.

Judges 7:19(NLT)19 It was just after midnight,[c] after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”

21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, the Lord caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places as far away as Beth-shittah near Zererah and to the border of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.

The same is true today. The trumpet is sounding throughout our city and nation. A mighty enemy has marched out and declared war upon us. God is looking for a people who are willing to serve and able to be equipped for service. Let us join together in the fight.

The devil is the prince of the air. When you blow the shofar you release into the enemy’s camp the sound of the trumpet, which is like the voice of God. Each time the shofar is sounded it hammers holes into the enemy’s camp with the voice of God. That is why the whole atmosphere is changed when the shofar is sounded. You are clearing the air between you and heaven. You drive the enemy back with each blast of the trumpet. You are releasing Gods power and anointing into the air. It creates confusion in the enemy’s camp just as it did for the troops of Gideon. At Gideon’s command 300 troops went into battle blowing shofars , and it confused the enemy and they destroyed themselves.

Judges 7:8, 16, 20, 22

People are healed when the shofar is sounded.

Numbers 10:9 – when you go to war in your land against the enemy, who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God and you will be saved before your enemies.

Sickness is the enemy that oppresses you in you land (your body).When we blow the shofar in obedience to the Lord, God delivers people from the enemies that oppress them.

When a shofar is first cut off of the animal it has cartilage and flesh inside. The outside is rough. There is no hole or mouthpiece to make a beautiful sound that is pleasing to God. But by taking the horn and cleaning out the rotting flesh and smoothing and polishing the outer edges,  drilling a hole and making a mouthpiece to breath air into it, You create a beautiful sound that is pleasing to God, and disruptive to the enemy.

The making of the shofar is symbolic to the making of a Christian. When you are first saved you still have a lot of flesh inside of you. The outer edges are rough and there is no way for God to  breathe life into you. God takes all of the flesh (worldly nature) out of you, then he cleans up the edges, then He breathes the Holy Spirit into you and uses your mouth and actions as a beautiful sounding instrument that is pleasing to His ears and disruptive to the enemy.

Baptism of Fire

Baptism of Fire

Zechariah 13:8-9(NLT) Two-thirds of the people in the land

    will be cut off and die,” says the Lord.

    “But one-third will be left in the land.

9 I will bring that group through the fire

    and make them pure.

I will refine them like silver

    and purify them like gold.

They will call on my name,

    and I will answer them.

I will say, ‘These are my people,’

    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

There are 3 religious sects that stem from Abraham- Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Guess who He is talking about in vs 9?
Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Galatians 4:5-7(NLT)God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

John the Baptizer said this about our Lord

Matthew 3:11(NLT)“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

So what is the Baptism of Fire????

Malachi 3:1-6(NLT)“Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. 4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past. 5 “At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.6 “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.

It does not say in verse 2 that he is like a forest fire, or like an incinerator’s fire. It says that he is like a refiner’s fire. A forest fire destroys indiscriminately. An incinerator consumes completely. But verse 6 says, “ I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.”

He is a refiner’s fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner’s fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner’s fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner’s fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner’s fire.

It does say FIRE. And therefore purity and holiness will always be a dreadful thing. There will always be a proper “fear and trembling” in the process of becoming pure. We learn it from the time we are little children: never play with fire! And it’s a good lesson! Therefore, Christianity is never a play thing. And the passion for purity is never flippant. He is like fire and fire is serious. You don’t fool around with it.

But it does say, he is like a REFINER’S fire. And therefore this is not merely a word of warning, but a tremendous word of hope. The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction.

The most important thing to say is that it is a life of confidence in God. And the foundation of our confidence is this promise: The furnace of affliction in the family of God is always for refinement, never for destruction. “” I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed ” Which simply means that life in the refiner’s fire is a life of trust in the unchanging, purifying love of God.

If you were told that becoming a Christian was easy, and that you are a great person and you can have your “Best Life Now” You were LIED too! If this is your “Best Life Now you going to Hell!

1 Peter 4:12(NLT)12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

God is more concerned with your character than He is with your comfort.

God is more concerned with your holiness than He is with your happiness.

God is more concerned with you as a person than He is with your possessions.

God is getting you ready  to live with Him forever. He is getting you ready to accept His inheritance. Your possessions will not go with you – but your character – your holiness – who you are as a person is important to God. Why? Because if you are a Christian – you will live in God’s Kingdom – forever and ever and ever.

And perhaps the next most important thing to say is that there is no painless path to heaven. Why? Because Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And it is no more possible to become pure painlessly than it is to be burned painlessly. Purity comes through the refining fire. And the fire has two forms: one is the fire of affliction and the other is the fire of intentional self-denial.

The Fire of Affliction

We see the first fire, for example, in

1 Peter 1:6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Hebrews 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

Holiness is not legalism; Legalism looks like holiness but the motives are different.

The Fire of Intentional Self-Denial

And the other form of purifying fire is the fire of intentional self-denial. We see it for example in

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Romans 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Proverbs 17:3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.

How HOT does the fire have to get?? As HOT as we let it.
God doesn’t care about your reputation; He cares about your Character.

For Godly character to be in us HE has to work our fleshly character out of us. God doesn’t change our personality, He changes our character.

Character is what you are behind closed doors, when no one is watching, when your all alone, when you don’t have to wear the “mask” in front of people.

Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. Sanctification, or in its verbal form, sanctify, literally means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. Therefore, sanctification refers to the state or process of being set apart, i.e. made holy.

Character in the believer is a consistent manifestation of Jesus in his/her life. It is the purity of heart that God gives becoming purity in action. God sometimes uses trials to strengthen character:
Romans 5:3-5 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

To have Godly character we must kill the flesh and feed the spirit.

Galatians 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

Intimacy with the Lord is where all this happens, It is like a marriage. You have to spend time with the person, the more “extra curricular” activity happens in your life the less quality time you spend with the Lord. ANYTHING you put before the Lord is idolatry.  It is not bad to put things AFTER but when its BEFORE its idolatry.

Remorse over sin, daily confession, and a continual attitude of repentance are marks of a healthy Christian life. What’s the benefit? 1 John 1:8-10(NLT)8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. Forgiveness and cleansing — those promises are as refreshing to the sinner as a cold drink of water to a thirsty man.