Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Negatives and Positives

In a previous message we dealt with the negative instructions of Proverbs 3:1-12

There is a time and place for confronting our children as parents and our congregation as pastors with negatives  And there’s a time and  place for preaching  “Thou shalt not!” and dealing with sin. So far in our study of Proverbs 3 we have noted the following negative warnings.

My son, forget not my law.  3:1

Don’t forsake the values of mercy and truth  3:3

Trust in God with all your heart; lean not to your own understanding. 3:5

Be not wise in your own eyes. 3:7

We continue now with further negatives from God’s Word. 

 DON’T WITHOLD FROM GOD Proverbs 3:9-10

 Instead, honor God with the first and the best of your increase.  Use all your resources to honor God; including your time, talents, energy, money; your very life.

Here’s the Biblical principle concerning prosperity. It’s found in Proverbs 11:24-25.  Let me paraphrase and amplify. Those who scatter and generously share their wealth in the Lord’s work of spreading the Gospel worldwide and doing what they can to meet the physical needs of the poor, suffering and oppressed eventually discover increased prosperity.

Listen to what Jesus said about this in Luke 6:38.  “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give to you.  For with the same rule of measure with which you give shall it be measured back to you.”

Isn’t that interesting?  God dares you to take Him at His Word.  Are you willing to take Him up on it?  Check out these others dares God presents to you  II Corinthians 9:6-8 and Malachi 3:8-12.  The fact is, you can’t out-give God!

DON’T DESPISE GOD’S CHASTENING Proverbs 3:11-12

I am learning to accept God’s chastening with joy and gratitude.  As Hebrews 12:5-11 reminds us, it is just another proof that we are sons of God through faith in Christ. Never despise nor grow weary of God’s chastening, no matter how long it drags on. God loves us and delights in us.  He is working to bring us to maturity. Perfection won’t come until Heaven.

Take comfort, chastened soul, we are encouraged in Hebrews12:12-15

1. Be encouraged 12:12

2. Watch your steps. Others are following you.12:13

3. Stay in fellowship with God and with His family.12:14

4. Seek holiness. 1:14

5. Watch out for bitterness. 12:15

To summarize this passage in Proverbs 3, we are to think, plan and act in  total dependence on God.  In every decision of life, large or small;  let us sense the peace and smile of God’s approval on how we spend our time and money, plan our vacations and other free time, our financial planning, our education,  our marriage our life work and everything

Now we continue in Proverbs with more instruction on the Wisdom of God and the promises that come with it. 3:13-36

 Let’s review the value of the wisdom from God.   Going back to  Proverbs 2.

1. He gives protection 2:7-8

2. gives us understanding.  2:9

3. gives discretion. 2:10-11

4. gives deliverance  2:12-22

5. gives long life  3:16

6. gives prosperity and honor. 3:1

7. and Paths of pleasantness and peace 3:17

8. Wisdom is a Tree of Life. 3:18 This relates to our salvation.

Can you think of anything wiser than settling your eternal destiny?

THE SOURCE OF WISDOM   Proverbs 3:19-20

Christ, our Creator and Saviour is that source of wisdom. See Colossians 1:12-19, 2:3.  Proverbs  3:19 and Hebrews 1:2  Christ used His wisdom to create the universe, including this earth and everything on it. Job 26:7 says that He hangs the earth on nothing.  What wisdom and power at our disposal!

GUARD THIS WISDOM FROM GOD!

Stay in the Bible

It  protects your life. Proverbs 3:22

Gives grace to you. 3:22

Keeps you from stumbling.3:23

Gives sweet sleep with no fear 3:24    

Don’t worry about anything.  3:25-26

including, violence, war, acts of God,  stock market crash,

political turmoil in the world and in our nation.

We may be called to go through these.

But HE is our confidence.  Psalm 27:1-6  23:4

Withhold not good to whom it is due. 3:27-28

Pay your bills and debts on time.

Be thoughtful of others. Keep appointments.

If you can do good to others, do it now.

Tomorrow may be too late.

Devise not evil against anyone.  3:29-30

Including family or neighbor or  fellow church member. Romans 12:18

Envy not oppressors. 3:31,  Psalm 73:2-19

Finally, note the:

Rewards of the wicked 3:32-35

Abomination to God. 3:32

Cursed by God  3:33

Scorned by God.3:34

Shame and everlasting contempt.3:35

The blessings of the righteous

Fellowship 3:32  

Blessed of God  3:33

Given grace  3:34

Inherit glory.3:35  Matt. 5:3-5

        

Advertisements

September 29, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Negatives and Positives

#19 Freedom in Christ

In our previous message we closed out Romans 7:14-25  contrasting the weakness and failure of our old flesh nature with the strength of our regenerated new nature controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit; which truth we find in Romans 8.

Romans chapter 8 is perhaps the jewel of this Epistle to the Romans as we consider the freedoms we enjoy because of our position “IN CHRIST”.

FREEDOM FROM CONDEMNATION

 We enter the chapter with no condemnation  because we are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1-4

We end the chapter with no separation  from Christ. Romans 8:35-39

In between we learn that  All things work together for good. Romans 8:28

A translation problem.

In my King James Version I read In Rom. 8:1  That there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. (So far so good.) Then the translation continues “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”

STOP!  We have a problem here.  Which is it? Is the NO Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, or is it to those who never walk under the control of the flesh, but always under the control of the Spirit? This translation of Romans 8:1 seems to teach that both are necessary if we are going to avoid God’s condemnation.  Certainly it is clearly necessary to be IN CHRIST to avoid condemnation;  but what about the necessity of  walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Is that also necessary to avoid condemnation?   If so we have all blown it.  None of us are going to Heaven.

I checked and all my Conservative commentaries on this passage are in agreement: including Griffith Thomas, Vernon McGee and John MacArthur

Vernon McGee writes in his commentary on Romans 8:1 “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  does not  really belong in this verse. Apparently some scribe picked it up from vs 4 where it does belong. The literal rendering is  “Therefore now, not one condemnation” to them which are in Christ Jesus.”   Though the phrase about “not walking after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  does not belong in verse one, it is essential in verse 4.

Let’s reason this out for ourselves! 

Consider these three questions and the correct answer.

1, Can the Law save?  NO!  Of course not!

2  Does the way we walk save us? NO  Of course not!

3. Can the Law free us from condemnation? Absolutely not!  Why? Our flesh is weak.  The only truth that saves us and frees us from God’s condemnation is that we are IN CHRIST JESUS, through faith in Christ.

You see, in verse 1 we are looking at the truth of Justification.

In verse 4 we are considering the truth of Sanctification

We must not confuse the two doctrines!

True, they are related truths.  One who is justified is being sanctified and will  one day be glorified.

 Why is that phrase ” who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”  in vs 4?  That’s the way the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us as we walk not after or under the control of the flesh, but after or  under the control of the Spirit.  Yes, it belongs there in verse 4.

THE  CONCLUSION TO THIS DEBATE!

 

The basis of our freedom in Christ is not our walk, but our perfect, eternal standing in  Christ  through justification.

That standing in Christ results in a new walk, as Romans 8:4 teaches. So let this be settled now forever in  your mind and heart. Your perfect, sinless standing before God as one whose trust is in Christ, is that “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” Exclamation mark! Period!

Let’s move on now to the second great truth in Romans 8.

 

FREEDOM FROM THE POWER OF SIN 8:2-4

Consider Romans 8:3-4  Here’s the question.  What’s wrong with the Law? Go back to Romans  3:19-23  Our sinful flesh can’t keep it.

Picture a great Boeing 747 jet airliner sitting on the runway fully loaded with fuel,  passengers and luggage.  It has a gross weight  367 tons. It is humanly impossible to lift it off the ground.

But when the powerful jet engines work together with the law of aerodynamics, it becomes possible to do the impossible,  to lift that 367 tons over 6 miles high to a speed of  550 miles per hour.

This is a physical Illustration of a spiritual truth. “Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4

Vainly attempting to keep God’s law perfectly can NEVER save us nor give us victory over sin.  But when the Holy Spirit  fills and controls a redeemed sinner, we who  are identified with Christ in his death and bodily resurrection, are given God’s power to live  a godly life.  Read this wonderful truth in  Galatians 2:20.  We can say with the Apostle Paul, ” I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,  but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

FREEDOM TO FULFILL RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW.  8:4

For those Christian living under the control of the Holy Spirit, the Law is no longer seen as a cruel, heartless husband, as we saw in Romans 7:1-6.

The Law is no longer a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:24-25

We now see the Law as a delight, as David did  in Psalm 1,  40:7-10,   and in 119:16.  The moral Law of God is not disregarded simply because we live in this Age of Grace.  Rather Grace enables us to live it. Christ fulfilled it, we see in  Matthew 5:17-20. Since we are In Christ, He fulfills it in us.

 

FREEDOM FROM FEAR & BONDAGE  8:15-16

Fear and bondage describe the life of the unsaved.  Hebrews 2:14-15

To unsaved, death and fear of meeting God is a dreadful thought.

To saved it is a glorious thought.  Paul testified in Philippians 1:21 “For to

me to live is Christ; to die is gain.” 

We saved are God’s children who cry to our loving father,  “Abba Father!” or “Daddy, Daddy!”

 

BEING IN CHRIST JESUS ASSURES OUR BODILY RESURRECTION.   Romans8:11   I Cor.15:42-49  

How does that happen? Read  I Corinthians 15:50-58 which describes a glorious event every Christian awaits with great joy and anticipation.

CONCLUSION

The true test of salvation is not, do I believe facts about Jesus?

All genuine Christians do believe what the Bible says about Jesus.

 It is not,  Have I made a profession of faith or been baptized?

 BUT  Am I a new creation in Christ?  Rom.8:6

If I have made a genuine profession of faith in Christ, I am a new creation in Christ.

As a result, I am no longer in the first group whose end is death.

Rather, I am in the second  group whose end is  life and peace.

Do you have the Holy Spirit living in you? 

You do if you are saved.  Romans 8:9

You are also normally led by Him.  Romans 8:14

Does the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?   What is your relationship with God? Romans 8:15-16

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #19 Freedom in Christ

#18 Checkmate!

In the game of chess, the object is to bring your opponent’s king into check.  If he finds himself in a position where he cannot move without being killed, that is check mate and you win the game,

At the same time, in the process of going after your opponent’s king, you have to watch that he does not check your king. If your king is locked into a position where he cannot defend himself or escape, then your king is in check mate and your opponent has won.

Usually your only hope when your king is in check is to have  players who can come to the rescue and save your king. .

In this message I want to show you how your enemy, Satan, works to keep you in check, constantly defeated by sin. and  I want to show you  how  you can get out of check to him.

CONTRASTING THE SINNER WITH THE SAINT

 

The sinner has but one nature and that is sinful. The Bible confirms this in  Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10,23, 7:18,  and  8:5-9.  Therefore, the sinner has no conflict between  right and wrong. He can sin and enjoy it.  Ecclesiastes 11:9

The saint was given a new nature at the time of salvation.  II Corinthians 5:17 teaches old things are passing away and all things are becoming new. The indwelling Holy Spirit is at work in his life. But with this new nature, he is still stuck with his old sinful nature hanging on.

Hence, the struggle between his flesh nature and his new regenerated spirit, as described in  Galatians 5:16-25 and  Romans 7:14-25.

Examples of this ongoing struggle with our sinful flesh nature.

 

While the new nature serves and makes sacrifices for Christ; the old nature tends to make us feel proud and self-righteous and pity ourselves for all  the sacrifices we make for Christ.

 

While the new nature is bold and courageous for Christ; the old nature tends to make us become proud and brazen in our attitude.

While the new nature makes us frank and honest in our interaction with others; the old nature tends to make us come across as cruel, cutting  and rude

Watchfulness can cause us to become  suspicious about  everything and everyone, even to  judging hearts & motives.

In our desire to have a loving attitude and be admired by others; we can become soft on sin and overlook sin that needs to be dealt with.

LET’S LOOK CLOSELY AT OUR CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL NATURES

 

Carnal Nature

 

Born with it,  we Inherited it from our first father, Adam when he sold the entire human race  into sin. Romans 7:14

There is nothing good about our carnal, fleshly nature ever. Romans 7:18

Our old nature has no spark of deity. It can not be improved, nor do right.

The old nature is like a rotting corpse. The Romans were known to chain two prisoners tightly together.   When one died his decaying corpse was left chained  to the living prisoner until they both died. That’s the picture portrayed in Romans 7:24.  So our carnal nature stays with us until we die or are raptured.  Paul further describes our old nature in Philippians 3:20-21 as “our vile body”.  Let me caution here. Paul is not speaking against our physical bodies.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made. Paul is speaking here of our vile, fleshly, sinful, old nature which we will all have as long as we are on this earth.

Our Spiritual Nature

 

In Romans 7:16 Paul declares that our spiritual nature agrees God’s Law is good and we want to do right; but the old nature puts us into check. Our spiritual nature delights in God’s Law, according to Romans 7:22; but our old nature again puts us in check.

 

We resolve to obey God’s Law. Romans 7:25  reminds us,  but the old nature again puts us in check.

 

Our old nature and our new nature are  chained together throughout our life as Christians as those two condemned prisoners.  We cry to God for deliverance from our old sinful nature and it will come at death or at the rapture when we  leave our old nature forever.

 

HOW CAN I GET OUT OF CHECK AND STAY OUT OF CHECK?

 

First make sure you are convicted of your need for victory over sin.  Don’t call your failure anything but sin. Don’t blame your circumstances or  others for your failures as  Romans 7:24  teaches.

REVIEW THE KEYS TO VICTORY OVER SIN FROM ROMANS 6.

 

1. Know  Romans 6:3

2. Reckon what you know to be true.  Romans  11-12, 

3. Yield to the control of the Holy Spirit who is renewing our minds as we spend time in the Word. Romans 7:13-14. 25,   Rom. 12:2,  Titus 3:5-9

4. Rest and rejoice  in the promises of God  Romans 6:14,  I Corinthians 15:57,  

II Corinthians 2:14,  Hebrews 4:9-16

You and   I  will win the chess game of life and one day put our feet on the neck of Satan and check mate him by mortally wounding him under our feet.  Romans 16:20 

      

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #18 Checkmate!

#17 Married to Christ

We’ve come to chapter 7:1-11 in our study of Romans. Although this passage is all about marriage; our purpose in this passage is not to discuss the marriage of a husband and wife in its normal sense. That is an important subject, but it is not our topic in this message. 

If you’ve been following along in this series in Romans, you are aware that this epistle is about how God, by His grace, takes a spiritually dead, guilty sinner, deserving of God’s judgment and wrath and  turns him into a saint and a useable servant of God, fit for His use.

He does that by justifying or putting Christ’s righteousness to His account. Having justified him, God continues His work through His process of sanctification in the life of one who is justified.  

In this chapter Paul uses some basic facts of marriage to illustrate and better understanding sanctification.

GENERAL FACTS ABOUT MARRIAGE

1. The marriage law is good and holy for God is the author of marriage.  Genesis 2:18

2. Husband and wives are bound together as one for as long as they both shall live.  Romans 7:2

3. The death of a partner does not nullify the marriage law. It simply ends the marriage of the married couple.  Romans 7:3  The living partner is free to remarry.

4. There is no marriage in Heaven.  Matthew 22:23-30  Luke 20:27-36

5. Though we will know and love one another perfectly in Heaven; our primary relationship will be with the Lord Jesus and with His spiritual Body, His beloved Church, His Bride,  which is inter- generational,  international and inter- racial.

 

THE TOPIC BEFORE US IN ROMANS 7:1-11

 

The primary purpose of this topic of two marriages before us is to illustrate God’s plan of victory over sin for Christians in this life right now.  Remember, the whole theme of Romans 6, 7, and 8 is sanctification. Everything in these three topics is focused on this topic only.  So let’s not get distracted with other topics.  To illustrate sanctification, Paul illustrates it with two marriage examples.  In each marriage we’re going to identify and consider:

1. The husband

2. The wife

3. The quality of the marriage

4. The fruit of that marriage.

THE FIRST MARRIAGE

The husband

In this first marriage the husband is The Law of God.  This first husband is described as holy, just and good. Romans 7:14  describes it as spiritual. because it is spiritual.  It also deals with our spirits; not just the acts of our body.  Because it is spiritual, only those controlled by God’s Holy Spirit can  keep it.   In Romans 8:4  it is also described as righteous.

The Law is good for everyone keeping it.  Breaking it brings heart ache, ruin and death.

The wife

 

The wife in this first marriage is the natural, unconverted child of Adam, also known as “the natural man” or the natural woman as  I Corinthians 2:14  labels him or her.  This is the condition of all  human beings in their unconverted state.  They are spiritually blind according to Ephesians 4:17-19  and dead, according to Ephesians 2:1-6,  to spiritual truth from God’s Word. That’s why they seldom or never darken the door of a church where the Bible is faithfully preached.

The quality of the marriage

 

The marriage of the natural, unconverted man or woman to the Law of God is a fact that no one can escape.  Whether they like it or not, every natural unconverted man or woman is married to the Law of God.  It holds its absolute power over everyone of us in our unconverted state demanding that we obey it or die. There is no love between these two marriage partners.  That does not make for a happy marriage, just as no woman is happy being married to a tyrant. The natural person is totally incompatible to such a husband.  The only way the wife can get out of this marriage is to die, or for the husband to die.  One thing for sure, God’s Law is not going to die.

The fruit of this marriage

 

According to Roman 7:5 the fruit of this marriage is death.  Every human being who has ever been born on the face of this earth finds himself (herself) married to this absolutely unbending, holy Law of God. We are all required to obey it perfectly or we die.  The problem is not with the holy Law of God.  Rather, we as sinners are the problem.  As natural, unconverted men and women, we try to ignore it and hope it will go away, but it stands over us in unbending holiness, requiring absolute, perfect obedience or death and hell.

How can the sinner be freed from this miserable marriage?

 

One party must die,  either the sinner or the Law.

The Law does not die. There is nothing wrong with the Law.  It is holy, just and good.  Rather, the sinner must die to be freed from the power of the Law.  

THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SINNER  PUTS HIS TRUST IN CHRIST AND IS CONVERTED!

The sinner died for having broken God’s Law,  He died in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ when Jesus died on the cross.  Read what the Scriptures say about this.  Romans 7:4 “Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the Law by the (crucified) body of Christ that ye might be married to another. (We’ll get to this truth as we discuss the Second Marriage in a moment.)  

Note also Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ”    Read the rest of this wonderful verse and we’ll discuss it in a moment.

The point here is that we can get out from under our awful marriage to The Law of God by dying with Christ when He died on the cross two thousand years ago.    God’s unbending Law is still in force upon all sinners, but I become dead to it when I put my trust in Christ to save me.   In the words of Philip Bliss sing with us as we sing in our church,

 

Once For All

Free from the Law, O happy condition!

Jesus hath bled and there is remission;

Cursed by the Law and bruised by the Fall,

Grace hath redeemed us once for all.

Chorus:

Once for all, O sinner, receive it!

Once for all, O brother believe it!

Cling to the cross, the burden will fall.

Christ hath redeemed us once for all.

Now are we free, there’s no condemnation!

Jesus provides a perfect salvation;

Come unto Me, O hear the sweet call!

Come and He saves us once for all.

Children of God,  O glorious calling!

Surely His grace will keep us from falling;

Passing from death to life at His call!

Blessed salvation once for all.

THE SECOND MARRIAGE

 

The Husband

 

In the second marriage, Romans 7:4 tells us that He who died on the cross and rose again  on the third day, that is,  The Lord Jesus Christ,   is our husband.

 

The Wife

 

Christ’s wife is the redeemed sinner.  In addition to Romans 7:4, read Ephesians 5:22-33 for a clear explanation of  our relationship to Christ as His Church, His spiritual bride.  He is our spiritual husband.

The quality of this marriage

 

What a difference this marriage is from our former marriage to the Law.

In our marriage to Christ

1.  We receive His name, Christian

2.  We partake of His divine nature. II Peter 1:2-4

3.  We share in His glory now and throughout eternity.  John 17:22

4.  This marriage is not characterized by drudgery, misery and failure.

5.  It is based on a love relationship with Christ.

6.  As Christians we have a new spirit.  See Romans 7:5   That new spirit is no less than the Holy Spirit living within our bodies as Christians.  Imagine!  The third person of the Trinity living within our bodies!  I Corinthians 6:19-20

7. No longer are we under a code of laws to keep.  Rather it is a person, the Lord Jesus, our beloved Bridegroom, to please.

The Fruit of this marriage

 

In John 15 Jesus shared with His disciples (and this applies to every Christian) of the new intimate relationship that we enjoy with Christ as Christians  By abiding in Christ as our Heavenly Husband we bear fruit now and throughout eternity, even the Fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-25.

CONSIDER THIS.

 

To whom are you married, the Law of God or The Lord Jesus Christ?

 

Is your religion one of drudgery, misery and failure; or do you have a personal, joyful, living relationship with Christ?

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #17 Married to Christ

#16 Whose Servant Are You?

In Romans 6  Paul teaches truths of Sanctification  by posing questions we might ask about sin and righteousness, and then answering those questions.

 

The first question in verse 1  is this.  Since we’re saved by grace and not by our works and since sin  gives God greater opportunity to reveal His grace, shall we just go on sinning, since it is so natural to sin and so difficult to do what is right?

 

Paul answers that carnal reasoning in verse 2.  He shouts back, “God forbid! Don’t even think that way. We are dead to sin. 

 

The second question is found in verse 2.  What do you mean, Paul, that we are dead to sin?  How are we dead to sin?

 

With those questions Paul in Romans 6:3-10  launches into an explanation of our relationship with two races of people:   our natural relationship with Adam our first father and our super-natural relationship as Christians  with Christ, the second Adam.

 

 

AS CHILDREN OF ADAM

 

 

Here are some of those facts as recorded in Roman 6 and I Corinthians 12.

 

We all, as children of Adam and Eve,  fell into sin with Adam, who was the federal head of the human race.  In falling we inherited God’s curse on Adam and his descendants.

 

 

CHRIST, THE SECOND ADAM

 

 

By trusting in the efficacy  of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the second Adam, we can be saved from the penalty,  power and ultimately from the presence  of sin.

 

Those who have put their trust in Christ for salvation  have His  resurrection life. Just as a caterpillar has the resurrection life of a butterfly in it, so we have the resurrection life of Christ in us.   That’s Paul’s message to us in Galatians 2:20.   That life is the fruit of Christ’s Spirit being lived out in us, as described in Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

“GOD FORBID!” PAUL CRIES OUT IN HORROR.

 

 

This wonderful truth of Christ living through us makes the thought of living  in known, premeditated, planned sin, repugnant and unthinkable to us as Christians.  That’s why Paul cries out in horror in Romans 6:1-2  “God forbid such thinking!”    If you are a Spirit-led Christian, you don’t plan, prepare and pay to commit sin by visiting prostitutes or by going to  view sin-glorifying movies in theatres or in your living room watching television or porn on the internet.  Nor do you engage in the innumerable other sins Satan offers to satisfy you.

 

Instead, Paul’s desire and our desire as Christians  is described in Philippians 3:10.  ” That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”  

 

 

WE’RE NOT SINLESSLY PERFECT

 

But then he adds quickly in Philippians 3:12-15. (Let me summarize it for you)  It’s not that I have attained the perfection of Christ, but that’s my desire, to be like Jesus.  And so I press on to that goal of perfect Christ-likeness. If we are mature Christians, this is the way we should be thinking.

 

Most Christians are well aware that I John 1 teaches us that no Christian is sinlessly perfect.  It we think we are, “we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

 

 

DOES CHRIST’S  SACRIFICE ON CALVARY MATTER TO YOU?

 

 

I fear many Christians live lives defeated by sin, simply because they are not aware nor do they care about the resources God has given us to live victoriously over sin. Those resources include:

 

1. His shed blood as the sacrifice for our sins,

 

2 His Word and

 

3. His Holy Spirit living within us to empower us to live victoriously over sin.

 

 We live like the  poor beggar who has had  $100,000 deposited in his bank account by a benefactor, but He refuses to  believe it and continues to exist in his poverty.

 

Before we move on to the next step in understanding sanctification, let’s review what we know.

 

 

I  We KNOW the Truth  Romans 6:3-10

 

 

We know the truth of substitution in regards to justification; that Jesus bore the penalty for our sins by shedding His blood on the cross as the full atonement for our sins

 

We know and are beginning to understand the truth of our identification with Christ in regards to our sanctification.

 

Read Romans 6:6  and  Galatians2:20again. In these verses we are reminded that we have been crucified with Christ and raised with Him to walk a new life.  These events have already taken place in our lives as believers. 

 

Now to the second step.

 

 

 

II  We RECKON or count on what we know as true.  Read Romans 6:11.

 

 

 

If a poor, destitute man knows that $100,000 has been deposited into his bank account, it will do him no good until he reckons or counts on this fact as true by going to the bank and drawing on what he needs to live.

 

So when tempted to sin, I must reckon that I was crucified in the person of Christ who died for me.  Furthermore, I must reckon, or count on the truth that I was buried with Christ and that on the third day I rose with Christ to walk in Christ’s resurrection power over sin.

 

The only time I sin is when my heart grows cold towards God and I choose to sin or when in a spiritually-weakened condition I am deceived by the devil.  No Christian who longs for victory over sin need be denied that victory.  God promises that victory in Romans 6:14.

 

 Now to the third step towards victory over sin.

 

 

 

III. We YIELD  to Christ  Romans 6:13-15

 

 

 

We yield our body, our emotions and our desires to His control and experience victory over sin.   God’s promise of victory in Romans 6:14 is there for you and me to claim. Walking purposely into known sin should be unthinkable.   When we come to Romans 12 we will delve further into this step.

 

 

 

IV. We REST in Him.

 

 

Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30 invites us to come to Him for rest, even as we serve Him.  He likens our relationship with Him to  two oxen yoked together to work in the field.  Christ is the strong, wise ox.  We are the young, inexperienced, weak ox. 

 

Christ invites us to yoke with Him and He will help us pull our load.  He will guide us as we walk together. we must follow His leadership and not try to go our own way, or we will find the yoke rubbing our necks raw and making life miserable for us.

 

What a joy it has been to me these past 55 years in the ministry to walk along beside Him as I submitted to His Lordship.  How painful it has been for me, when I tried to go my own way and ignore His Lordship.

 

Again I remind you that the victorious Christian life is a life of rest.  Hebrew 4:9-11 speaks to us about this rest of victory over sin.  Yielding to Christ is just the opposite of struggle in our own efforts to conquer sin.  Such struggles end in defeat.  Some Christians go throughout their lives  living in constant defeat to sin.  Hebrews 3:7-19 give sober warning to Christians who settle for that defeat.

 

We dealt with the first two questions concerning our sanctification at the beginning of this message.  Let’s move now to the third question. It is found in Romans 6:15.  Actually, it is a duplication of the first question found in verse 1.

 

 

The third question.   Shall we sin because we are no longer under Law, but under Grace?   Whose slave are you, anyway?   Are you still a slave to sin and Satan  or are you now a bond slave to Christ ?  Read Romans 6:16-23  to determine your answer.  To answer this question consider these Biblical issues and questions.

 

 

1.  Salvation is simple.  Trust Christ’s provision for your sins. He died for you on the cross and rose again for your justification.  John 3:16

 

2.  Does salvation result in a changed life?  II Corinthians5:17clearly answers that question, “If any man, (anyone) be in Christ,  he is a new creation.  Old things are passing away.  Behold, all things are becoming new.”  

 

3.  Whose slave are you?  Christ’s or Satan’s?  It’s one or the other.

 

 

Consider these Biblical facts in review.

 

 

Salvation is by faith and faith alone; but by a faith that does not remain alone, but results in a changed heart and a changed life bringing glory to God.

 

Faith in Christ results in justification.

 

Justification results in sanctification.

 

Sanctification results in a choice to live for Christ and serve Him instead of Satan.

 

We can’t be half saved and half lost.  We can’t serve two Masters.  Matthew 6:24  We love one and hate the other.  Who is your master?  Christ or Satan?   Lordship is  a love and hate matter. We either love ‘Christ and hate sin and Satan; or else we hate and reject Christ’s lordship and love going our own way, which, by the way, is always Satan’s way for us.

 

Loving and living for Christ is the best evidence of genuine salvation.  See the solemn warning in  I Cor.16:22   There we are warned that if we do not love Jesus we will be cursed when Jesus returns for us.  Do you love Him enough to trust Him with your life and follow Him?

 

Jesus in John 10:10 offers abundant, life that overcomes sin.  Do you have that life?   I’m not saying and you had better not boast that you are living in sinless perfection. I  John 1:8-10 warns against that deception. Sinless perfection won’t happen until you are in Heaven.  But in the meantime you can live a life of consistent victory if you are resting in Him.

 

If you fail Him, just get up out of the muck,  confess to Him that you sinned and ask His forgiveness and keep on resting in Him for victory. “He’ll not cast you out” is His promise in John 6:37.

 

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #16 Whose Servant Are You?

#15 Resting In Christ

With this message on the rest we have in Christ, we begin our study of  Sanctification, as found in Romans 6-8.

Life begins with regeneration.

The whole process begins with regeneration, that is, being born again through faith in Christ’s provision for our sins: through His crucifixion, death and bodily resurrection from the dead.  John 3:3-7  and I Peter 1:23 speak of this new birth. 

II Corinthians5:17  speaks of the miraculous change that occurs when we trust Christ as Saviour.  The change is so radical that it is like being born all over again as a new person, even though we are still the same soul and body.  

A good example of this new birth was Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee who hated Christians and devoted his life to persecuting and killing them.  When He met Christ on the road to  Damascus, he was so radically changed that God changed his name from Saul to Paul.  Paul was that fire brand for  Christ  who went throughout the Roman Empire winning people to Christ and building and strengthening churches and writing most of the New Testament. 

It’s not that we become perfect in this life.  I John 1:5-10 warns us that if we think we have arrived at perfection, we are deceiving ourselves; nevertheless, we have a desire to be like Jesus, which desire we will attain the moment we are in Heaven, I John 3:1-3 assures us.  There is a definite, unmistakable change. 

Our intimate relationship with Christ

 

Jesus pictures in John 15 that this new relationship we enjoy with Christ in this world is as intimate as grape branches in union with the grape vine, which union enables us to bear the Fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-25.  Being a Christian is not our struggle to try to be like Jesus.  Rather, it is described as a life of resting in Jesus in Matthew 11:29-30 and Hebrews 4:9-11.

Wade Robinson wrote about it in his song,  “I Am His and He Is Mine”  We often sing it in church.

Loved with everlasting love,

Led by grace that love to know;

Spirit breathing from above,

Thou hast taught me, it is so!

Oh, this full and perfect peace!

Oh, this transport all divine!

In a love which cannot cease,

I am His and He is mine.

Heaven above is softer blue.

Earth around is sweeter green.

Something lives in every hue,

Christless eyes have never seen.

Birds with gladder songs o’er-flow,

Flowers with deeper beauties shine,

Since  I know, as now I know,

I am His and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms

Cannot now disturb my rest,

Closed in everlasting arms,

Pillowed on the loving breast.

Oh, to be forever here,

Doubts and care and  self resign,

While He whispers in my ear.

I Am His and He is mine.

His forever, only His;

Who the Lord and me shall part?

Ah with what a rest of bliss,

Christ can fill the loving heart!

Heaven and earth may fade and flee,

First born light in gloom decline;

But while God and I shall be,

I am His and He is mine.

This almost sounds like a love song between a husband and wife, but it beautifully pictures the intimacy between Christ and us. His Church.

Israel’s distant relationship with God

 

 Before Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, the relationship with God was distant for Israel. Israel could not  approach God directly; only through the temple and the priesthood and animal sacrifices for sin.

When Moses approached God at a burning bush, He was ordered to take off his sandals in Exodus 3:1-6.

Later when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, Israel was ordered in Exodus 19:16-25 to not come near to the mountain. upon pain of death.

Only the priests could enter the temple.  Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies within the temple and that but once a year.  Those who would disobey would be instantly killed.

Israel’s relationship with God was distant, to say the least.  The Gentiles had even less relationship with God. They were strangers to God and to His Covenant with Israel, Ephesians 2:12 reminds us.

When Jesus died on the cross, something huge happened.

 

Ephesians 3:1-11 describes what happened.   Through the shedding of  Christ’s blood on the cross,  a brand new Body was inaugurated.  The spiritual Body of Christ was born, The Church!  It was neither Jew or gentile, but it was a new Body, composed of regenerated Jews and gentiles.

The Sacred and the Secular

 

For the Christian,  life is not divided into the sacred and the secular.  We don’t sing our sacred music with an affected, unnatural pious, holy tone of voice and then throughout the rest of the week sing our secular songs with our normal voices.

Worship of God is not a sacred segment of our life, an emotion we seek to work up. Worship is initiated by our understanding of Biblical Truth concerning Christ.   Worship can result in deep emotion; but more than that, it results in a changed life that brings glory to God.

For the Christian,  all of life is sacred every day of the week, whether we are at church or at school or at work; whether we are  playing a basket ball game or watching it on television, or visiting with friends and neighbors, whether we are eating and drinking or being intimate with our spouse.  

Our life ought to be a constant fragrance of worship, Philippians4:18  tells us. Everything we do is sacred and ought to be done for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel.   That’s the truth of I Corinthians 10:31.  If God is not glorified in our conversation and actions, we ought not do it.

The Doctrine of Sanctification

 

Romans 6:3-10 teaches us a simple three point doctrine of sanctification. It’s summed up in three key words:  Know, Reckon and Yield.  Let’s look at them. 

KNOW

 

What is it that we are to KNOW concerning the truth of our identification with Adam and Christ?

1.  As Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, we, his descendants,  are all identified with Him in that fall.    We inherited a sinful nature from our first father and we sin because we are sinners.  With our sin we have inherited the curse which is death. As Adam died for his sins, so we who have inherited Adam’s sinful nature have inherited death with him. See I Corinthians 15:21-22

2. As Jesus was buried after His death, so we who are in Christ, were buried with Him

3.  As Christ, the Second Adam, rose from the dead; so when we put our trust in Him, we have resurrection power to live victoriously over sin presently and one day we who are in Christ, shall rise from the dead to live with Him free from the presence of sin forever.

We are taught in I Corinthians 12:13 this wonderful truth.  Baptism is primarily a picture of this spiritual truth that we were crucified in the person of Christ, we were buried with Him and we arose from the dead with Him to walk a new life of freedom and victory over sin. Read  Romans 6:3-5 on this.

You and I as believers  in Christ have resurrection life within us just as a caterpillar has the resurrection life of a butterfly within it.   Galatians 2:20 teaches us of this crucified life which we live daily, while at the same time, experiencing His resurrection power over sin.

Paul’s desire, as expressed in his testimony in Philippians 3:10 ought to be our desire and testimony.  Understand that we do not attain it perfectly in this life, but it is our constant desire and longing.

RECKON

 

Knowing these truths about victory over sin, we reckon them or count them to be true.  We live in the light of this truth.

If a poor man knows that $100,000. has been deposited into his bank account by a wealthy  benefactor, he must reckon or count that fact to be true, before he will go to the bank and withdraw what he needs to live. Otherwise, he continues in his life of financial poverty.

When I am tempted to sin, I must remember the truth that I was crucified in the person of Christ.  I was buried with Him and rose again with Him and I must reckon on those facts to be true and count on them to walk in victory over sin. 

YIELD

 

Upon knowing and reckoning these truths of victory to be true,  I can yield to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit and He will enable me to live a life of victory.  That’s the truth of Romans 6:13.

No Christian who desires victory over sin with all his heart, need be denied victory That’s  the promise of Romans 6:14. 

This three-fold truth of knowing, reckoning and yielding is the opposite of self struggle which can only bring spiritual exhaustion and defeat.

Again,  I remind you that this victorious, Christian life is a life of rest, rather than a life of struggle.  Having said all of this, let me remind you that none of us live a victorious life over sin perfectly.  If we think we do, we are deceiving ourselves 

I John 5:11-13 reminds us.   But that does not give us permission to just give in to our fleshly, sinful natures and willingly choose to sin.

I repeat  that the victorious Christian life is a life of rest. rather than a life of struggle.  Read again the wonderful truths concerning our rest in Christ, as found in Matthew 11:28-30 and  Hebrews 4:9-11.

Though we are confronted with our sinful nature  daily,  by resting in our relationship with Christ,  we can find daily victory.  That rest does not give us permission  to just give in to our fleshly desires and willingly choose to sin.  Hebrews 3:7-19 gives serious warning to such Christians.   To those Christians who willingly choose to live under the control of their sinful, flesh nature,  there are serious consequences.  Not a loss of salvation; but a loss of the presence, power, joy and blessing God has available for you.

 

 

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on #15 Resting In Christ

How to be Wise

The Book of Proverbs is addressed to youth.  It teaches that there are basically four categories of people:  the simple, the wise, the scorners and the fools.

THE SIMPLE

All little children are simple and naïve. They are totally trusting and can easily be deceived,  misled and harmed.  It is not  bad for a child to be simple.  It is perfectly normal.   But it would be harmful and sad for a child to stay simple all of his life.  Part of growing up is the ability and the desire to move out of the simple stage of life and become wise.

As children, we have much to learn.  Not just about math and grammar and history, but also about how to live successfully.  We make lots of mistakes. We have lots of accidents.  We do childish things because we are children. We all have painful lessons to learn.  When toddlers are learning to walk, they fall down often.  It’s all part of the learning process.

The simple tend to be gullible and believe anything anyone tells them, even if it is not the truth.  Proverbs14:15says, “The simple believe every word: but the prudent man looks well to his going.  They can easily be led into evil or good.  It depends who is teaching and leading them.  That’s why I am a strong proponent of home schooling or a good Christian school that supports  Biblical values. 

I’m so thankful that I had the privilege of receiving my education in Christian schools from fourth grade through high school and college.  These were not simply schools that had the name Christian attached to them.  They were Christian schools that were true to the Bible and taught and exemplified genuine Biblical Christianity. 

I’m thankful for the privilege I had of receiving my college education at Bob Jones University.  Dr. Bob Jones, the founder, was in his 70’s when I was there. He  used to speak to us in chapel about how to live.  I remember him saying to us, “I have never yet found a man who knew how to live who had any trouble making a living. If you learn how to live you can make a living.”  I have found that to be true in my own life.

Part of growing up and leaving the simple stage of life is learning from seeing others punished for wrong doing. Proverbs 21:11 teaches, “When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise.”

The oldest of our three children received more spankings than the next two: not because he disobeyed more than the others, but because he did not have the opportunity of seeing an older sibling punished for doing wrong. He was that older brother.   The younger two learned from his mistakes.  It’s smart to learn from being punished; but it’s smarter to learn from seeing others punished. Actually, none of our three children were rebellious. They all learned quickly from their mistakes and it was a joy for my wife and me to raise them.   You can learn more about  our experience raising them by going to category FAMILY on this web site.

The simple, even adults, can easily be deceived by false teachers. Romans 16:17-18 warns about this. That’s why we need our Christian parents, and faithful  teachers and pastors to warn us and guide us into God’s Word that is able to make  us wise. Read the sober warning  II Timothy 3:13-17 gives to all of us as Christians as we seek a church home.

Thank God, He preserves the simple from making a mess out of life.  Psalm  116:5-6

THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

As we grow there comes a time when we are confronted with the truths of the Bible and begin to understand the consequences of our decisions and actions.  This is known as the age of accountability.  It’s a different age for every child. It’s at this age that we must make a decision about the Bible and Jesus.

Am I a sinner bound for hell, as the Bible says I am?

Is Jesus the Son of God?

Did He die on a cross to pay for my sins?

Did He rise again bodily from the tomb to give me eternal life?

Will I receive or reject Him?

I made the decision to trust Christ as soon as I understood  the Gospel.  I was 9 years old at that time.  The Lord Jesus not only became my Saviour; He also became my Lord and  the joy and purpose of my life.

THE WISE

When we receive Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we are not only given eternal life; but we are also given much more.   

I Corinthians 1:30  tells us Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification  and redemption.

We learn from Colossians 2:9-10 that  “in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and we who put our trust in Christ are complete in Him.

Wisdom is found in His Word, Proverbs 1:1-9 tell us. The earlier you receive it and the more time you spend in it, the wiser you will be.

Unsaved people can gain knowledge.  Wisdom is ability to use knowledge, Many smart people lack wisdom.  The Corinthians were smart; but not wise.

I Corinthians 1 tells us.

MY DEFINITION OF WISDOM

 Wisdom is the God-given ability of one who has received Christ as Saviour and Lord to use  knowledge and IQ (regardless of what that may be) to process facts and  situations and assess people with discernment and good judgment so as to make the right choices,  have favour in the eyes of God  and reasonable people and  to be successful  and bless others to the glory of God.

One thing for certain.  Wisdom comes from God alone; whereas knowledge can be acquired through reading and study.

Luke 2:52  gives us amazing information about Jesus’ boyhood,  Even though Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and the Creator of the Universe,  He was a  fully human child, without sin , Jesus grew in wisdom as a young boy.  What a mystery this is.  God, Creator of Heaven and earth, growing in wisdom as a little boy!  Being taught by his mother, Mary and his step-father, Joseph, how to walk and talk. Joseph, no doubt, taught Him  how to work with tools.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in authority, from the President on down, including all of Congress who make our laws and all the judges in our courts and State governors, City mayors and council members had God’s wisdom?  What a difference that would make in our nation!  That ought to be the primary requisite we seek in an office holder.

REJECT CHRIST AND WE BECOME SCORNERS

You can recognize a scorner by the  sneer on his face and by his rudeness and impudence towards his parents, teachers and others  and by his know-it-all attitude. A scorner does not realize that he is headed for a lifetime of trouble, and probably prison and ultimately destruction.

The devil deceives him into thinking he is free and having a good time. It is a waste of time to rebuke and try to correct  scorners.  Better to just leave them  or dismiss them from class or from school.  Read what God’s Word says about this in Proverbs 9:7-8,  15:12,  22:10, Severe punishment from God awaits them. They are becoming FOOLS

WHAT ARE THE DISTINGUISHING MARKS OF A FOOL?

“No God for me!”  they boast.  Psalm 14:1

That is his claim as an atheist;  but he is deceiving  himself. Why are atheists so angry in trying to convince themselves and others that there is no God?  Because they know in their heart there is a God and someday they will stand before Him to be judged. No one get angry and worked up trying to prove there is no Santa Claus nor Easter Bunny nor Tooth Fairy.

The fool despises the wisdom of God.  Proverbs 1:7

He makes a mock of sin.  Proverbs 14:9

He despises his parent’s instruction. Proverbs 15:5

He is a burden and heaviness to his mother. Proverbs 10:1

He is always right in his own eyes. Proverbs  12:15

His mouth is his destruction. Proverbs 18:7

He can’t keep his mouth shut. If he could; probably others would not know he is a fool.  Proverbs 17:28

He returns to his folly like dog to its vomit. Proverbs 26:11

He is beyond help. Proverbs 26:4

We must not call anyone a fool, even if they are.  Only God has the authority and wisdom to do that. Luke 12:15-27

IF YOU ARE A FOOL WHAT CHOICES DO YOU HAVE?      Only two.

1. Continue in your sins, ignore God and the Bible.  Eventually you destroy your future, die and go to hell.

2. Come to the end of yourself, and turn to God for mercy and salvation.

God will save you and as you read His Word, determined to obey it;   you will grow in wisdom and grace.  Listen to God plead with you to turn from being a fool.  Proverbs 1:20-33  2:1-6  

Ultimately it’s your choice!  Deuteronomy 30:19-20   You bear the eternal consequences of your choice.

For further studies on the theme of WISDOM, go to category PROVERBS.

September 1, 2011 Posted by | Wisdom | Comments Off on How to be Wise