free at last hallelujah

August 13, 2018

  “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law” (Gal. 3:21).

  Paul devoted two full chapters to establish our freedom from the fallen Adam. Romans Six sets forth our freedom from the dominion of Adamic sin; Romans Seven explains our freedom from Adamic law.

  Whereas our liberty was won on the Cross, it is worked out in our daily life and experience by the Holy Spirit. On the Cross, by the Spirit, in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  “If ministers and teachers of God’s Word would set saints free and establish them in the Gospel, let their preaching and teaching be based upon the sixth and seventh of Romans, the central theme of which is our union with the Lord Jesus in death and burial; and our resurrection and ascension with Him into newness of life; where not the law, but grace, reigneth; where not the letter but the Spirit, moveth the heart and life of the believer. Satan will fight most fiercely against such teaching, but no other will establish the Lord’s people.”

  “If God has declared that we died, we did die. If God has declared us discharged from the law, we are discharged and are hereby God’s free children, ‘new creatures,’ ‘created after God in righteousness and true holiness.’

 Our longing for conformity to the image of God’s Son shall be confirmed and fulfilled by the Holy Spirit who hath been given unto us. No man can believe he has a right to walk freely and fully in the Spirit until he believes himself to be free from the law.

 Law cannot give eternal life, nor have, therefore, any control over it.

  “But now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were held” (Rom. 7:6, ASV.).

I WANT YOUR MIND

August 11, 2018

IT’S A LONG DEVOTION SO YOU MAY WANT TO PRINT IT OUT.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:1–4).

How can we develop a heavenly mindset?

Some have said it is possible to be “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” However, when you look at the history of the church, it was those who were the most heavenly minded who did the most good. Listen to what Christ said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matt. 11:12).

The people who forcefully grabbed hold of the kingdom of heaven are the ones advancing it. Though on the earth, they had a heavenly mindset. Having a heavenly mindset is very important for advancing the kingdom, not only in our lives but on this earth as well.

It is for this reason that Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind with doubts, fears, worldly thoughts, etc. Satan wants to keep believers from focusing on what really matters, and that is God and his kingdom.

This is what Paul is primarily referring to when he says to the Colossians, “set your hearts on things above.” He is primarily referring to God and his kingdom. In the Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to be consumed with God’s name being hallowed, and his kingdom and his will being done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9–10). The believer’s mind should be consumed with heavenly things.

In Scripture, those who practice right thinking receive tremendous blessings. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” It also can be translated, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on you” (ESV).

The person whose thoughts are consumed with God and his kingdom will have perfect peace instead of anxiety and worry. When we find ourselves anxious or worried, we can be sure that we have lost a God–centered mindset.

What are some other benefits of God–centered thinking? Listen to Philippians 4:8–9:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Paul says thinking on right things and practicing them brings the God of peace—the very presence of God in our lives (v. 9). Many are missing the manifest presence of God in their lives because they have ungodly thinking, which eventually leads to ungodly practice.

In fact, Paul says that the way a person thinks is an indicator both of his salvation and his fruitfulness. Listen to what he says:

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:5–6).

The secular person thinks only about the “desires” of his carnal nature. The carnal person may be spiritual, but he only wants things of the spirit that satisfy or glorify him:

“God, give me an ‘A’ on this test.”

“God, get me into grad school.”

“God, give me this promotion.”

“God, take away this sickness.”

A carnal person may believe in God and pray for things, but God is only a means to his “desires.” James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

However, a truly born-again person desires what the Spirit of God desires. He ultimately wants God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. This doesn’t mean that we don’t pray for our desires; it means we are not consumed with our desires. The desires of the redeemed should be and must become that of the Spirit of God.

Paul says the one who continually thinks on the desires of their sinful nature will bring the fruits of death and destruction, but the one consumed with the things of the Spirit brings the fruits of life and peace (Rom. 8:6).

The mind is very important. What does your mind say about you? It will tell you who you are—a believer or an unbeliever—a person led by the sinful nature or a person led by the Spirit. It will also tell you what type of fruits you will produce. A person that thinks on the things of God receives life and peace.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is calling these believers, who are tempted like all of us to think on carnal things, to set their heart and mind on things above. He says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above.”

Again, when he says “above,” he really means God and his kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:9–10). How do we develop a heavenly mindset, a mind consumed with the things of God? We will learn principles about developing a heavenly mindset in this text.

Big Question: How do we develop a heavenly mindset consumed with the things of God according to this text?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Resurrected Position

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).

Interpretation Question: What does Paul mean by the believer being raised with Christ, and why is it an encouragement to think on things above?

Paul says believers can develop a heavenly mindset by understanding their resurrected position in Christ. When Christ died, we died with him, and when he resurrected and went to heaven, we went with him. Listen to how Paul talks about this in Ephesians: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).

When Paul says, “seated us with him in the heavenly realms,” he is primarily referring to “authority” and “rulership.” Listen to how Paul uses a similar phrase in relationship to Christ in Ephesians 1:19–22:

And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.

Paul, in talking about the power that is in believers and was at work in Christ in the resurrection, says this power seated Christ in heavenly realms far above all authority, power, and dominion. God placed all things under his feet.

Therefore, when Paul says the Ephesians have been seated with Christ by this great power, he wants them to see their authority and position in Christ. They are rulers with Christ over all things. Now at this present time, not everything in heaven and on the earth submits to Christ in the way it is supposed to, but one day it will at his coming. First Corinthians 15:24–26 says,

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

At Christ’s second coming he will bring all things into full submission to his will. All will bow and call him Lord (Phil. 2:10–11). All things will be put under his feet.

The incredulous thing about Christ’s rule is that we will rule with him. Romans 8:17 says we are “co–heirs with Christ.” Everything that is his is ours. In John 17:22, Christ said in his high priestly prayer that he has given us his glory.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 is telling us that we must think about our resurrected position with Christ. Again he says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

Paul says our thinking should reflect our resurrection in Christ, the one who is seated at the right hand of God and will rule all things. In fact, Paul uses this same argument at Corinth where the believers were arguing and suing one another. Look at what he says:

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! (1 Cor. 6:2–4).

He rebukes them for arguing and then bringing their church disputes before the world in civil cases. He essentially says, “Don’t you know your resurrected position? Don’t you know you will judge the world and angels?” God has given judgment over to the Son (John 5:22), and because we are seated with him, we will judge the world and angels in his coming kingdom. Paul says, “Because of this reality, shouldn’t you be able to judge these small disputes in the church?”

Now, none of these Christians were probably thinking about their future rule with Christ while they were disputing with one another. They were concerned about what they had lost and how they had been cheated. However, Paul essentially says that they should be thinking about their position in Christ. One day they would judge the world and angels. Paul taught that having a heavenly mind should have affected how they handled their disputes in the church.

If we are going to have a heavenly mind, we must first start with understanding our position in Christ. We have been raised with Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. Everything that is the Son’s is ours. As mentioned before, this seating reflects our unity with Christ and the authority that comes with it. And this reality should affect how we think and live. Consider what Jesus told his disciples:

Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matt. 28:18–19).

When Christ told them to go and make disciples, he told them to do this based on his authority, which he had essentially given them. The disciples worked on behalf of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. Paul, in fact, calls himself an ambassador of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:20. He says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

An ambassador goes somewhere with the message and the authority of the person he represents. Paul is not only saying that he had the message of God, but also the authority of God in saying it.

Many Christians are scared to evangelize, scared to share their faith, scared to counsel, scared to serve God, etc. If they just understood their position and their authority, it would drastically affect their ministry. When Paul cast out the demon in Acts 16, he didn’t act on his authority, but on the authority of Christ whom he was seated in.

She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her (Acts 16:18).

Did Paul have special authority in himself? No, this authority came from whom he represented, whom he was seated in. He told the demon to leave “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Paul was an ambassador walking in the authority of Christ. If we are going to have the right mindset, we must focus on our resurrected position. We are different from the rest of the world because of our position in the heavenly realms, and we must live like it.

What else is needed to develop a heavenly mindset?

Application Question: What other applications can we take from the importance of knowing our resurrected position in Christ?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Life Of Continual Discipline

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above” (Col. 3:1).

The word “set” is an active word. It can also be translated as “seek.” The KJV says, “Seek those things above.” This does not happen by accident; it only happens through rigorous discipline. If you are not actively seeking things above, then you won’t be thinking in a heavenly manner. This is what Paul said in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

When he says, “Do not conform any longer,” it implies that the members of the Roman church were already being conformed. It has the sense of stop conforming, or stop being pressed and molded into the pattern of this world. If you are not seeking things above, you are already being pressed and molded to look and think like the rest of the world.

You will be molded in how you view yourself:

“I must have this body.”

“I must have this type of skin.”

“I must dress like this.”

“I must have this degree, and this type of job.”

The world will control how you think, how you dress, what type of job you seek, and the type of school you go to. Christ said, “You cannot have two masters, you will love one and hate the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matt. 6:24).

Most Christians have the world as their master. It tells them what to do, where to go, and how to do it. Christians must understand that they are no longer part of this world, and they must actively “seek” to think the way God has called them to think. They must seek things above.

How do we practice and develop this discipline of thinking on things above?

Application Question: How can we actively seek those things above as a discipline?

This discipline is developed in several ways.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Impressing Scripture Upon His Heart.

It is through Scripture that we renew our minds and start to think on things that are noble, good, and righteous—we start to think more like God. How do we impress Scripture upon our hearts? Listen to what Moses said to Israel:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deut. 6:6–9).

He gives them several ways to put God’s Word on their hearts.

They were to teach the Word of God to their children.

If you are going to think on heavenly things, you must be a teacher. You must teach it to your friends; teach it in small groups; teach it to strangers. When you have to teach something, you can’t help but think upon it all the time.

Some may say, “I am a baby Christian. How can I teach?” Find somebody you know more than and share with that person, even if it’s an unbeliever. That’s what the parents were doing when they taught their children. They taught somebody they knew more than. We should do the same. Every Christian is called to be a teacher, and one can’t set his heart upon things above without doing this.

They were to talk about the Word of God everywhere: at home, when walking, when lying down, when getting up.

This didn’t mean that they were to only have theological conversations. This meant that they needed to view everything from the mindset of God and what God thought about things. Christians should automatically think about what Scripture says when they see movies, watch the news, or are asked a simple question. And yes, you will be considered narrow when you do this, but this is the type of mind that pleases God—a mind that is set on God’s Word.

They were to develop reminders to help them memorize it; they were to tie it on their hands, foreheads, door frames, and gates.

Certainly this may be done very literally as Israel did, with memory flash cards, pictures, and paintings, but, even more so, you should set up places and times in your daily life where you will always encounter the Word of God. This includes things like daily meditation, small groups, or accountability meetings. Every morning you are going to encounter the Word of God here. Every Tuesday you are going to encounter the Word of God there. Every Friday you are going to encounter the Word of God when you meet with brother or sister so-and-so.

By tying it on their hands, head, and doors, they constantly saw the Word of God. This is important because if we don’t do this, we may sometimes go a week and realize, “I haven’t read the Word of God.”

This is a lot of work. But in order to “set,” to have a mind that is immovable from the things of God, it takes discipline. Many Christians know nothing of a mind that has “set the Lord before them at all times and they will not be shaken” (Ps. 16:8). Many Christians are shaken by every little event. A mind that is “set” happens only by rigorous acts of discipline, and we must seek to develop this through study of the Word of God.

How else do we discipline our mind?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Rejecting Everything That Is Not From God.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2).

Paul said we should not only seek things above but also turn away from earthly things. In order to think heavenly thoughts, we must get rid of or keep away from things that would draw us away from God. We are called to get rid of anxieties. Scripture says, “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). We are called to get rid of lust, anger, envy, jealousy, and anything else that is not of God (cf. Col. 3:5–9).

Practically, this may mean not watching certain TV shows, reading certain magazines or books, listening to certain music, or hanging around certain people, especially when we find they contribute to drawing us away from God and godly thoughts. We must zealously protect our minds. Paul said,

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4–5).

We must take captive every thought and bring it into submission to Christ. Make no mistake here, brethren. Our thoughts are not neutral, innocent, or harmless. Our minds are either lorded by Christ or someone or something else. Is Christ Lord of your thoughts?

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Developing A Consistent Prayer Life.

“Be joyful always; pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:16–17).

It is through the discipline of prayer that we develop a heavenly mindset. We must learn how to pray at all times, bringing every thought before our Father.

  1. The Believer Actively Seeks Heavenly Things By Fostering Healthy Fellowship.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Prov. 13:20).

Again, our thinking is often affected by our friends. The fool in Scripture is a person who says there is no God or does not live for God (cf. Ps. 14:1). Therefore, the wise are people who fear and honor God (Prov. 9:10). We must develop friendships with wise, godly believers who help us seek spiritual things.

Application Question: What type of thoughts do you have to commonly reject to keep a heavenly mindset? How is God calling you to practice these disciplines to develop a heavenly mindset?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Crucified Position

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Interpretation Question: In what way have believers died, and how should this affect our thinking?

Paul says we died with Christ and our life is now hidden in Christ. For many, instead of thinking on the things of God, they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death with Christ. But, we must ask the questions, “What exactly did we die to?” and “How did we die?”

  1. The Believer Died To Sin.

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin (Rom. 6:5–7).

On the cross, our old nature was crucified with Christ. It was crucified so that we could be freed from sin. We must understand this doctrine to walk in victory over lust, anger, depression, and any other sin that tries to control us. Paul says this should be our response to our death to sin: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).

He says to “count” or think about yourself differently. You are dead to sin but alive to God. This means that I can break habitual strongholds of sin. It means that I can start over when I fail because Christ paid the penalty for my sins and broke the power of it.

For many, instead of thinking on the things of God they are consumed with ungodly things like lust, anger, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness, etc. In order to have a heavenly mindset, we must reckon our death to sin. We died with Christ.

  1. The Believer Died To Self.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26–27).

Christ says to follow him as a disciple, we must hate our life and take up our cross. This is a daily discipline. We die to ourselves, our desires, and our wants in order to submit to Christ. We get a good picture of this with Christ before going to the cross. He says, “Take this cup from me but nevertheless, your will be done” (Luke 22:42). He submitted his will to that of the Father and so must we.

Listen to Paul’s testimony of this: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

For many people, they can’t have a heavenly mind because they are consumed with self instead of God. In order to develop a heavenly mindset, we must continually crucify ourselves—we must daily reckon ourselves dead to self and alive to God.

  1. The Believer Died To This World.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Paul said his death on the cross with Christ also brought death to this world. He essentially said, “I am dead to the world and the things of the world. They no longer satisfy me. They no longer are my passions in life. My passion is to honor and to know Christ. I am alive to God and dead to the world.”

John said, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The very reason many cannot think on things above is because of worldliness. They are consumed with the things of this world: gaining them, enjoying them, and keeping them. If we are going to think on heavenly things, we must continually reckon ourselves dead to the things of this world so we can seek the things above.

  1. The Believer Died To The Power Of The Devil.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Eph. 2:1–5).

In a very real sense, we died to Satan as well. Before salvation, Scripture says that we were children of the devil (1 John 3:10) and were following his ways (Eph. 2:2). But now, as believers, we have become children of God and followers of his Word. We are dead to the devil and alive to God.

Satan, who works through sin, the flesh, and the world to tempt us, has no dominion over us anymore because we died to him. We should no longer submit to him or live in fear of him because he was defeated by Christ (cf. Col. 2:15).

However, it must be known that a person is a slave to whomever he submits to. We can still submit to sin, self, the world, and the devil. Paul said,

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom. 6:16).

Therefore, as an act of the will, we must reject sin, selfishness, the world, and the devil to develop a heavenly mindset. We died with Christ and now are hidden in him.

What does this crucified life look like?

The crucified life says, “Life is not about me. My life is not bound any longer to sin or my desires. Life is not about the things of the world. It is about Christ.” Paul said, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). If we don’t understand the crucified life, then we will be consumed with the things of this world. We will find ourselves feverishly running after every fad that comes out. If we don’t understand the crucified life, we will become enslaved to our wants and desires and other things we were delivered from.

It has been said that, “Dead men don’t get offended.” This means that a person who is living a crucified life is not consumed with fighting for his rights every time somebody hurts him. Like Christ, a person who has reckoned his death has become the meek who will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5). He recognizes that this world and his life is not his anymore. He was crucified with Christ.

Application Question: In what ways do you need to apply the crucified life practically?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Hidden Life In Christ

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:3).

Another aspect of the crucified life is that we are hidden in Christ. There are many ramifications of this we must daily internalize if we are going to develop a heavenly mindset.

Application Question: What does Paul mean by our lives being hidden in Christ? From whom are we hidden?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Protection; We Are Protected By Him.

Listen to what John says about the experience of a believer:

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand (John 10:27–29).

Because of our relationship with Christ, Jesus places us in his hand and the Father’s hand for protection. This speaks of our eternal security and Christ’s constant protection of us. We get a picture of the protected life in Psalm 23. Listen to what David says about God as his shepherd:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Ps. 23:4–5).

David said he had comfort even when confronted by death because the Shepherd protected him with his rod and staff. Even when his enemies surrounded him, he ate in peace. His Shepherd provided food, drink, and oil for healing and refreshment. He never lacked or wanted for anything because his Shepherd met all of his needs (Ps. 23:1).

In order to have peace in a world of constant trials and sometimes persecution, we must understand our hidden life. We must understand the Shepherd who protects us with his staff, feeds us even amidst our enemies, anoints our wounds, and never lets us leave his hand.

This is the hidden life of every true believer regardless of circumstances, and it must be our focus to have peace, especially in the midst of trials. We must know we are hidden in Christ.

What else does the hidden life represent?

  1. To Be Hidden In Christ Is A Reflection Of Identity; It Means The World Will Not Recognize Us.

To be hidden in Christ is essentially a reflection of how we are dead to the world. The world doesn’t recognize who we truly are in Christ, and they will commonly misunderstand us because our life is hidden in him. They may ask, “How come you are not all about partying, drinking, sex, career, wealth, etc.? Why are you so into church? Why are you so different?” Peter said, “They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you” (1 Peter 4:4).

The hidden life not only means being protected by Christ, it also means being different and therefore misunderstood by the world. Our life is different and at times these differences may cause persecution. We should not be alarmed at this because our life is in Christ who was similarly mistreated. However, now he is exalted at the right hand of God, and one day our exaltation with him will be manifest to all (cf. Rom. 8:19). A heavenly mindset understands and finds encouragement in the hidden life.

Application Question: In what ways does the hidden life encourage you? How is God calling you to make this more of your focus?

A Heavenly Mindset Is Developed By A Focus On Our Future In Christ

“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4).

In order to develop a heavenly mindset, the believer must also understand his future in Christ. Whatever you think about the future will affect how you live today. If you are consumed with being a doctor then you will constantly be thinking about your grades, preparing for exams to get into med school, or considering the best college to go to. Your thoughts about the future affect how you live today.

In the same way, this heavenly mindset is developed through constantly thinking on our future in Christ. Paul says, “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” The believer who truly understands this and focuses on Christ’s second coming and our future glory with him will be consumed with it. Listen to Philippians 3:20–21:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

He says that we eagerly await a Savior from there. Eagerly await “is strong language (in the original) to express the earnest expectation of something believed to be imminent. It means literally to thrust forward the head and neck as in anxious expectation of hearing or seeing something.”1 It means to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. Those who understand the second coming are consumed with it. Developing a focus on the second coming is crucial to a heavenly mindset.

When Paul talks about Christ’s coming, he also mentions our appearance in glory. This glory is probably not just a reflection of heaven but our glory. We will have glorified bodies when Christ comes. Listen to what 1 Corinthians 15:42–44 says about this:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

How should the reality of Christ’s second coming and our appearance with him in glory affect us? John said,

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure (1 John 3:2–3).

Everyone who has this hope purifies himself. The second coming of Christ and our future glory should make us purify our thoughts, our conversations, and our daily endeavors. It transforms us.

This is probably the reason many Christians do not have a heavenly mindset and do not have holy lives. They have lost (or never had) hope in the second coming of Christ. Listen to how Christ described this unfortunate reality in a parable about a master and his unfaithful servant:

The Lord answered, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, “My master is taking a long time in coming,” and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked’ (Luke 12:42–48).

The problem with this servant was he lost an expectation of the master’s coming. This encouraged him to cast off restraint as he lived in discord, waste, and blatant sin. This parable is about the fruits we will find in our lives if we lose our expectancy of Christ’s coming. Discord, wasteful living, and blatant sin will mark our lives as well.

For this reason Satan is always after our minds. He realizes that if he can turn them away from heavenly things, he can turn us towards earthly things. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7 NASB). The more earthly we think, the more earthly we become. Our enemy is especially after the believer’s mind as it concerns the future. He will have one think about graduate school, marriage, retirement, and anything else rather than Christ’s return and our future glory with him. Satan understands that anybody who has this hope purifies themselves (cf. 1 John 3:2–3). What you think about the future affects how you live today.

Application Question: How do we keep an unwavering focus on Christ’s coming?

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By The Study Of Eschatology, The Study Of The End Times.

Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

Eschatology is very important because God has given it to us to help us prepare for and have an eager expectation of the future. John says that there is a blessing on the one who reads, hears, and takes to heart the words of prophecy in the book of Revelation. Those who study Revelation and the doctrine of the end times have a double blessing. It helps them keep a heavenly a mind, a mind consumed with and prepared for Christ’s coming.

Sadly, the enemy has sown so much disagreement over the end times that many pastors never teach on it. And therefore, the members of the church miss out on the blessing it brings to our lives—they live with no eager expectation. Like the servant who thought his master delayed his coming, we often cast off restraint and become consumed with our earthly life instead of our heavenly one. These doctrines are very important for us to drink deeply from so we can be ready for our Lord’s return. Christ said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12).

  1. The Believer Develops An Unwavering Focus On Christ’s Coming By Practicing The Lord’s Supper.

Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper is not only a look back at the cross, but it is also meant to be a look forward. We are looking forward to the coming of our Savior. We should practice this often to keep our hearts ready for our Lord’s appearance.

Application Question: When you think about the future, what do you constantly think about? Do you struggle with staying focused on Christ’s coming, his kingdom, and our glory with him? How is God calling you to develop an eager expectation on these things so you can be more effective for his kingdom?

Conclusion

Paul wants this church to develop a heavenly mindset. It will deliver them from much of the earthly teaching filled with deceptive philosophy that was threatening the church (cf. Col. 2:8).

Developing a heavenly mindset, one that thinks on God and his kingdom, is very important to us as well. “As a man thinks, so he is” (Prov. 23:7, paraphrase). Right thinking leads to having the manifest presence of God in our lives (Phil. 4:8–9). Godly thinking brings peace and life to us and identifies us as true believers (Rom. 8:5–6). More importantly, if we are going to live a godly life it starts with a godly mind (Col. 3:1–5). This is why Satan is always attacking the believer’s mind and thoughts. He wants them to live like the world instead of living like a citizen of heaven waiting for their coming King.

How do we develop a heavenly mindset so we can live the effective Christian life God has called us to?

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our resurrected position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a life of continual discipline.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our crucified position.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our hidden life in Christ.

A heavenly mindset is developed by a focus on our future in Christ.

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCURCH@GMAIL.COM

HANG ‘EM HIGH

August 4, 2018

Well despite what the current Pope says, the bible is still the final authority to believers, i.e. followers of Christ as Savior.

I left the links in so you can read all of these bible texts.

The Old Testament law commanded the death penalty for various acts: murder (Exodus 21:12), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:5), prostitution and rape (Deuteronomy 22:24), and several other crimes. However, God often showed mercy when the death penalty was due. David committed adultery and murder, yet God did not demand his life be taken (2 Samuel 11:1-514-172 Samuel 12:13). Ultimately, every sin we commit should result in the death penalty because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God demonstrates His love for us in not condemning us (Romans 5:8).

When the Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus and asked Him if she should be stoned, Jesus replied, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). This should not be used to indicate that Jesus rejected capital punishment in all instances. Jesus was simply exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus into breaking the Old Testament law; they did not truly care about the woman being stoned (where was the man who was caught in adultery?) God is the One who instituted capital punishment: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Jesus would support capital punishment in some instances. Jesus also demonstrated grace when capital punishment was due (John 8:1-11). The apostle Paul definitely recognized the power of the government to institute capital punishment where appropriate (Romans 13:1-7).

How should a Christian view the death penalty? First, we must remember that God has instituted capital punishment in His Word; therefore, it would be presumptuous of us to think that we could institute a higher standard. God has the highest standard of any being; He is perfect. This standard applies not only to us but to Himself. Therefore, He loves to an infinite degree, and He has mercy to an infinite degree. We also see that He has wrath to an infinite degree, and it is all maintained in a perfect balance.

Second, we must recognize that God has given government the authority to determine when capital punishment is due (Genesis 9:6Romans 13:1-7). It is unbiblical to claim that God opposes the death penalty in all instances. Christians should never rejoice when the death penalty is employed, but at the same time, Christians should not fight against the government’s right to execute the perpetrators of the most evil of crimes.

And it’s the same reason a Christian can go to war if the government calls on them. The authority God gives to your government makes you exempt. plus the commandment is read properly as; “thou shalt not murder”.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

ORDINARY

July 25, 2018

There are some church and parachurch groups which cater to the “committed” and think that they are doing a commendable work. Discipleship seems to be something like the Marines—a select group of highly committed people, a few good men and women.

one can “go along with Jesus” without even being a true believer (cf. John 6:66).

one can “come to Jesus” in saving faith, without becoming a disciple, a committed follower (cf. John 2:23-25).

When one decides to follow Christ as His disciple, one must surrender any other source of “life” than Him, and one must relinquish all self-seeking. Becoming a disciple of our Lord means to give up our goals and to pursue His goals. Just as in marriage the woman should find joy in giving up her goals and becoming a helper to her husband in reaching his goal (a not-so-popular idea today), so the disciple sets aside all his aspirations for those of the Master. And just as the Master takes up His own cross, so we, too, must take up that cross which God has ordained for us.

Unlike many preachers of our day, Jesus did not desire a large following. He would rather have men count the cost of discipleship and opt to stay out than to merely go along with Him ignorantly. Jesus’ words state that discipleship comes at a very high cost, but also imply that the price of discipleship often is collected later.

There is a price to pay for following Jesus. And some are willing to stand up for him and pay the price. But we can’t make out anyone as extra special. Or have a group earmarked as just the dedicated. Just like kids mock the ones that ride the short bus. We too must be careful a labeling the more committed.

We are all extraordinarily ordinary. We will never know on this side of the glass who really has a pure heart, virtuous intent and truly committed. So church and Christianity is a bunch or gaggle of geese, we may all sound the same but each is unique. But we are traveling in the same direction, but all may not arrive. Think about it.

We can’t label the church member as gifted without falling into a trap of knowing just what parts are in their clock. It may tick but so does a bomb. So we have to have accountability, credibility and a wee bit of silliness, (don’t take everything so seriously) but as a shepherd always watch the flock, there is always one that wanders, one that plots, one that promises and one is a wolf.

You think being a Christian is tuff, try being the shepherd.

Oh, and never label the pastor as special, I’ve seen to many fleece the flock.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

You may or may not have noticed there is one topic that I don’t write about in our devotionals.

That topic is the end times or eschatology.

I have studied it a great deal as a hobby. I hardly ever do a sermon on it. The reason is this. All the prophecies concerning the return of the Lord Jesus have been fulfilled. The rapture could happen at any moment.

One reason I don’t write about it is because there are a number of theologies concerning the rapture and the tribulation and all of them have some validity and should be considered as a whole to your personal theology.

So I do believe in a literal rapture, a time of tribulation, a second coming of the Lord, a millennial reign. A literal interpretation of the book of Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel (as well as the whole the bible).

A real hell and a real heaven. And that some people have chosen of their own free will to go to a literal hell that is hot, and eternal. And a heaven that is for only believers that have chosen to submit and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, admitting their sin and helplessness to improve on that fallen state by any power of their own.

There will be the great white throne of judgement for non believers and the Bemas seat, the judging of Christians, not on their salvation, but on their motivation and works as a Christian.

This list could go on forever but it is a jumping off point. I am a Dispensationalist in theology, strangely enough more like a Bapticostal. (half Baptist half Pentecostal).

Questions, comments, prayer requests, please make them out to the web site at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Next week we will have a bible give away for a 100 dollar bible. With a question about the bible that you can’t find the answer in google.

So stay tuned.  And God bless.

Press ON

June 2, 2018

thinking over feeling

Press on

  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7).

  The difference between knowing the Lord Jesus as Savior and knowing Him as Life, is the better part of a lifetime; even for the hungriest of hearts. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

  “In receiving the Word of God by faith, there is first, light; then exercise of conscience; third, prayer—you are cast on God; fourth, the work of the Spirit to lead you into it.

  “Not one of us is beyond the work of the Spirit in us. Many think, because they have the light of a truth that they are in the power and reality of it. No! you may have all the Bible, have much light, but there is no growth beyond the measure of the Spirit’s work in us.”

  “Conception of a truth is one thing, and execution is quite another. Grace may have been furnished you with a true conception, but you must wait on the Lord to carry it out by His Spirit. The working out of a true conception is the real discipline.”

  “Do not be discouraged because you may not carry out your purpose at once; God will carry it out, but you must keep in the place where you will be preserved, in the circle of His interests.

  “Moses had to wait forty years to carry out his purpose, which was a right one, though in the first flush the flesh sought to carry it out; but in the Lord’s time, how fully every purpose of his heart was met—all the way to the Mount of Transfiguration!”

  “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Nam, he is in trouble with HR over unprofessional behavior.

Pray for Cathy C, no mom is supposed to out live her children, but she has. More to do with genetics than anything else, but still hard to deal with

Pray for Jody P, she’s always been close to her kids, but they both got promotions that come with moving

WHAT TIME IS IT?

April 16, 2018

  “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).

  Grace forsaken is freedom forfeited.

  In considering the whole testimony of the Bible, it is almost as important for the believer who would do the will of God to recognize that which does not concern him as it is for him to recognize that which does concern him.

You may have to read that sentence a couple of times for it to make sense, I rewrote it ten times and that’s the best, clearest way I could write it. (and I know Ms Kate, that’s not good grammar).

 

Apart from the knowledge of dispensational truth, the believer will not be intelligently adjusted to the present purpose and will of God in the world. Such knowledge alone will save him from assuming the hopeless legality of the dispensation that is past or from undertaking the impossible world transforming program belonging to the dispensation which is to come.

We are not living in the kingdom world yet, that dispensation has not occurred yet.

The Law of Moses is interrelated and wholly dependent on the sacrifices and ritual provided for Israel in the land. The laws of the kingdom (Sermon on the Mount) are only related to the future kingdom conditions which shall be in the earth under the power and presence of the King when Satan is bound, creation delivered, and all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest.

 All harmony of truth is shattered when there is the slightest commingling of the principles of law and grace. Grace alone now reigns through Christ to the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  “By the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Ok this is 10 pages, I would print it out.

The Jesus Narrative part two

Just before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples, Go and make disciples of all nations. We know that this is a command for all Christians in each successive generation. Yet I think most of us feel guilty because we hardly ever tell anyone about the greatest gift in the world (salvation through Jesus Christ). But usually our problem is to know how do to do it.

One of the ways is through Friendship Evangelism. The premise is that as we try to win people to Jesus Christ, we must attempt first to become their friends, talk to them, listen to them, invite them to our homes, go places with them, show them love, help them in their need. Then when they see that we really are different, they will want what we have and we can share Christ with them.

We are learning that Jesus Christ was God living here in a human body, fully God and fully man. He revealed the invisible God, our heavenly Father to us in His words, attitudes and actions. He told his disciples He wanted them to be His friends and He showed what true friendship looked like.

Since He is now in heaven, He has given us the responsibility to reveal God, our heavenly Father, through our lives so that others may be born into His family, and He modeled for us in His many relationships how to be a true friend to others.

As we work through our lesson today we will discover principles He modeled that still work in being a true friend.

Jesus’ ministry had begun in earnest and it was attracting attention. He had gone to Jerusalem for the Passover and the religious leaders were beginning to ask questions about him. In order to avoid a direct clash with them at this time He started back to Galilee.

John 4:4-6

He did not have to go through Samaria. This was a deliberate choice other Jews never made. They hated the Samaritans, they considered them to be racial and religious half breeds. So they went around two longer routes to avoid them. But Jesus went through Samaria because there was someone He had to see there.

TO MAKE FRIENDS, GIVE PRIORITY TO PEOPLE AND BE AVAILABLE

I think we often give priority to activities, schedules and programs. But people must come first.

They arrived at the little village of Sychar about noontime. The road ran through a valley and the town was up on a hill. The well that Jacob had dug 2000 years before was still supplying water. The disciples went into the town to buy food, but Jesus sat alone by the well. He was tired, hungry, and thirsty, a clear indication of his humanity.

John 4:7-9

Imagine this woman’s surprise when a Jewish man spoke to her and asked her for a drink. Jesus did something we can learn from.

USE A COMMON POINT OF INTEREST OR CONTACT

They were both at the well needing water. She had a jar, He did not. He asked a favor of her, put himself in a position of need. This is not usually our approach, is it? What was even more unusual was that Jews would not use the same utensils as a Samaritan, because they considered them unclean, but this man wanted to use her waterpot. Not only that but a Rabbi never spoke to a woman in public, not even his own wife and he certainly never would have spoken to a Samaritan woman. But man made rules never controlled Jesus. This woman had a heart’s need and He knew he could meet it. There is a lesson for us here.

DO NOT DISCRIMINATE BECAUSE OF RACE, GENDER, RELIGION OR SOCIAL CLASS

Do we let social, racial or religious barriers keep us from befriending people who need to know the Lord Jesus and who could enrich our lives and broaden our understanding of the love of God for all people.

John 4:10

If you knew the gift of God and WHO it is… (NIV)

Now Jesus began to reveal who He was to her.

REVEAL YOURSELF GRADUALLY

We cannot make true friendships when we always wear a mask to protect ourselves and hide our real self. I know we can do this from fear of rejection. But people want to know the real you. We must be authentic and vulnerable. Sure, there is a risk involved. On the other hand, we do not want to dump the whole truck load at our first encounter. It is wise to reveal ourselves gradually depending on the person’s response, just as Jesus did.

He constantly exposed himself to rejection, but He never let rejection change His confidence or His worth.

You see, this woman had to trust Him before she could receive His gift. And people have to trust us before they will trust the Savior we say we believe in. Notice how He stimulated her curiosity. What was the gift? Who was He? What was living water?

John 4:11-14

Living water to her meant a fresh spring in contrast to a pool or cistern. Her answer shows that they were on different wave lengths. She was literal. He used terms that had deep spiritual significance. But he was not discouraged by her cluelessness. Living water was used symbolically in the O.T. to refer to God.

Jer. 2:13 (NIV) My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Many references in the Bible to water do not mean H2O, but refer to the Word of God or salvation. Just as we cannot live physically without H2O, we cannot live spiritually without God, who is the Source of living water. Jesus wanted to satisfy the thirst of her soul. That thirst we were all born with.

GOD BUILT A THIRST WITHIN US TO DRIVE US TO HIMSELF.

But instead we spend our time and energy drinking water from the world’s broken cisterns and wonder why we are still thirsty. Wealth, beauty, art, education, power, pleasure, career, even marriage –all are finally meaningless in the effort to find the essential values of life, to find personal fulfillment, to quench our thirst. Nothing material or earthly can satisfy the thirst of our spirits. Jesus claims to give one drink that will satisfy our heart’s thirst forever. To drink is another way of saying, “to believe.”

Later on Jesus made clear how that thirst for God would be satisfied.

John 7:37-38

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S INDWELLING PRESENCE SATISFIES OUR THIRST FOR GOD

Here Jesus identifies living water with the Holy Spirit who indwells each person the moment that we put our faith in Christ. In the O.T. the Spirit came upon people to enable them to accomplish specific tasks, then He could leave. But now He lives permanently in each one of us who belong to Jesus. That is why we will not be thirsty for God again.

Many of us, even believers spend our lives expecting another human being to satisfy that thirst –a husband, either present or future, a parent, a child, a friend. No human being, no matter how wonderful can fill the place meant only for God. There are needs people can meet, and there are needs only God can meet and we should know the difference. This will save us from unrealistic expectations and constant disappointment.

John 4:15

The woman was interested. She was entirely literal. She had a wrong understanding and wrong motives. Cannot you hear her thinking: Would not it be wonderful to never have to come to the well again, never to run the risk of woman gossiping about her. What a deal. But Jesus did not lose patience with her.

ACCEPT PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE. DO NOT JUDGE BY EXTERNALS

We must show that we are interested in them, accepting them without demanding that they change first. This is hard to do, but if we are going to tell them that God loves them, it might be a good idea to let God demonstrate that love through us from the start.

Now Jesus abruptly seemed to change the subject.

John 4:16-18

Jesus knew all about her before he met her. (Omniscience) He accepted her just as she was. This does not mean he approved of her life style. She was either widowed or divorced 5 times. Only men could initiate divorce. Can you imagine what her self image was. The only man that would stay with her was one who would not marry her. Jesus just stated the facts, but He teaches us something important here.

DO NOT ASK SOMEONE TO TRUST CHRIST UNLESS THEY KNOW THAT THEY ARE A SINNER.

The first step towards recognition of a need for salvation is for a person to acknowledge that she is a sinner. Each of us was born a sinner. That is why we sin.

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Ps. 51:5, NIV)

The sins we commit are just the evidence that we have a sinful nature. We all need forgiveness and Jesus is the only One who can give it. Many times human pride will keep us from admitting our sin. That is why this is important.

John 4:19-20

Now she sidetracked him into a religious discussion. This will often happen when we try to share our faith.

E.g. If Jesus is the only way, what about the heathen who never heard? Why would a good God let such evil happen?

We can try to answer those questions if they are answerable, but do not let them get us off point.

John 4:21-24

DO NOT COMPROMISE THE TRUTH TO WIN FAVOR.

Jesus was very honest with her. Notice how He used her detour to enlighten her further. He revealed something about God that is nowhere else stated so clearly in the NT.

A time is coming and now has come… (NIV)

His own death and resurrection would bring in a new access to God.

  1. The worship of God would no longer be located in a certain place, like the temple in Jerusalem.

  1. Samaritans worshiped ignorantly. They had a corrupt mixture of Jewish and pagan religions. He did not use soft soap to win her favor.

  1. Salvation is from the Jews. All the O.T. promises about a Savior coming from the Jewish people were true. Jesus in His humanity was descended from Abraham, the father of the Jews.

  1. God is Spirit and seeks people who worship Him in spirit and in truth. Worship would not be in man made temples or churches, but in the inner sanctuaries of people’s hearts. God would not be the exclusive property of one race or one denomination. He fills the universe and is everywhere present. But He is also our heavenly Father.

In this exchange Jesus introduces a dimension to friendship we cannot ignore.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP NURTURES THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

All friendships for believers must have a spiritual aspect, either for evangelism or for encouraging and building others up. Friendships will not be deep and intimate that do not nurture the spirit as well.

John 4:25

Well, she did not know a lot, but this was one thing she did know. Samaritans expected a Prophet like Moses to come. Since they did not accept anything but the first 5 books of the O.T. as their scriptures, they did not know the other prophecies about Messiah. They just looked for this Messiah to be a teacher who would explain everything.

John 4:26

This is total self revelation. This the only time before His trial that Jesus stated this so clearly. He revealed His identity to this immoral Samaritan woman, not to the religious leaders or even to His own disciples. This was remarkable in a day when the rabbis taught that to teach a woman spiritual truth was like teaching a dog; that it was better to burn the Scriptures than to teach a woman. But He also models something very important.

BE WILLING TO RISK REJECTION

He had offered Himself to her as the One who could satisfy her soul’s thirst, the Messiah. What would her response be?

She had two choices: faith or rejection. Those are really the only two options anyone has and as we befriend people and witness for Christ, we must make this clear. There is no safe fence to sit on.

But do you realize that we who have trusted Him already must make the same choice daily?

Do we believe or reject Him when He promises to guide us concerning our future?

Do we believe or reject him when He says that suffering is a major instrument used by God to build into us the character of Jesus Christ?

Do we believe or reject him when He says He unconditionally loves us and will meet our every need?

Do we believe or reject Him when He warns us that the love of money is the root of every kind of evil?

Do we believe or reject Him when He tells us that knowing, memorizing and obeying his word will keep us from sin?

Do we believe or reject Him when He says that no one comes to the Father except through him?

What would this woman’s response be: Faith or rejection?

John 4:27-30

The disciples attitude towards women reflected that of the culture, but Jesus never obeyed the traditions of men that violated God’s value system and they did not dare to question him.

The woman was so excited about her encounter with him that she just left her waterpot and hurried back into the town. Notice what was most impressive to her about their conversation.

“He told me everything I ever did.”

TELL YOUR FRIEND WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU

All any of us have to really share is what Jesus Christ has done for us personally. That is why it is so essential to keep growing in our experience with him and in our knowledge of His Word so that we have something fresh to share with others. We cannot give others water from a dry well.

This could not be the Messiah, could it?

It is interesting to see how her perception of Jesus had progressed as He gradually revealed himself. He went from being a man by the well to a Jew to a prophet to the Messiah.

CULTIVATE THE RELATIONSHIP BY INCREASING SELF-REVELATION

Friendships and love grow as we reveal ourselves, accept and trust each other and challenge each other. Friendships are pretty sterile if all you do is talk about surface stuff. We all need friends who know who we really are and love us anyway.

John 4:39-41

Look at the impact this immoral woman had on her community. The disciples had gone into the town and only brought back bread. She went in and brought back the town. She was someone none of us would want to represent us. But Jesus was not ashamed to be identified with her.

Jesus stayed with these Samaritans for 2 more days at their request. What did he teach them in those 2 days? Their conclusion is revealing.

John 4:42

This man really is the Savior of the world. (NIV)

Jesus had given them a world view. Not just the provincial idea that the Jews had that the Messiah would deliver Israel from Roman rule. The world needs a greater deliverance than that from political or economic oppression. The world needs deliverance from sin. Maybe Jesus even told them He would die for the sins of the world and rise again from the dead and they believed in Him. But how did it all start?

It started with Jesus truly reaching out in friendship to this outcast woman. He initiated the contact. He revealed himself to her because she needed what He had to offer, and He accepted her as she was. He did not compromise the truth to win her favor. She believed him and he quenched her thirst for a secure relationship with a Person, a heavenly Father who would love her unconditionally forever. And her witness to her townspeople resulted in their conversion as well.

Now I would like to go back to the conversation Jesus had with His disciples while she was telling the good news back in town.

John 4:31-34

The disciples were as literal in their understanding as the woman was. Jesus spoke of the complete satisfaction that comes from doing what God wants us to do. Many of you know the unparalleled joy it is to see a person trust the Savior because of your efforts.

Now as they were gathered by the well, Jesus turned their attention to the town on the hill. A stream of people was already coming down. This was the harvest ready to be gathered in.

TRUE FRIENDS SHARE JESUS CHRIST WITH OTHERS

He tells us here, as he told them, that we all are to be working at gathering in a crop for eternal life. That means we are to be involved in evangelism. One will sow the seed, another water it, another cultivate it and another reap it. But we will all rejoice together. All around us are fields of people ripe for harvest. But we must gather them in. We must learn how to make friends, and be a true friend to them just as Jesus was. Remember, He was called the Friend of sinners.

What does Jesus reveal to us about God, our heavenly Father?

Our heavenly Father is a seeking God. He initiates relationships

He knew all about her life. He is omniscient

Our heavenly Father is Spirit, He fills the universe (omnipresent),

He values women as much as He does men. He cares for us individually

He is patient with our ignorance and blindness.

He leads us gently into light.

He makes us confront our sins not to condemn but to deliver us.

Our Father loves us and proved it by sending his Son to be the Savior of the world

Our heavenly Father wants our worship to be in spirit and truth.

He wants to use us to bring others into his family.

He wants to be our Friend as well as our Father.

Jesus said,

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13, NIV)

That is exactly what he did when He died on the cross and rose from the dead.

He also said,

You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:14, NIV)

If sharing your faith is difficult for you, tell your heavenly Father that you want to be obedient, but you need His help. He will show you how to approach a person and what to say.

Let us be true friends to others and introduce them to the greatest Friend of all, our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Who is Jesus part two

March 26, 2018

We in God’s family must examine ourselves to answer honestly 2 questions:

Do I believe the Bible is the inerrant, authoritative Word of God and totally true?

Do I believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ, that He was the fully human and fully divine Son of God?

John 1:1 calls the Son of God, the Word for good reason. Words reveal our invisible thoughts. In the same way Jesus made the invisible God visible. How did He do it?

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth….No one has ever seen God but God, the One and Only, who is at the Fathers side, has made him known. John 1:14, 18 (NIV)

When did the Word become flesh? When did God become a human being? God the Son left heaven for a few short years to become a man. The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and placed in her womb the Holy one who was the Son of God. When Jesus Christ was born 2000 years ago, God entered this physical world and lived among us. No one has ever seen God’s essence but God the Son has made him visible and knowable. He said Himself, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9.

The Son revealed that we have a heavenly Father. And what do we see when we see Jesus? The glory of a God who is full of grace and truth. Our God is not a cosmic ogre waiting to destroy us but a merciful, gracious Father who welcomes us into His family.

This is the distinctive difference between the OT and the NT. The almighty, sovereign God of the OT is the personal heavenly Father of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. In the NT God is called Father over 240 times as compared to a small handful of times in the OT.

“You sum up the whole of the New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. Father is the Christian name for God.” (J. I. Packer)

This is hard for some of us. If you had a loving, caring earthly father, it is easy to transfer that image to a heavenly Father, just multiply it by a million. But if you had a distant, absent or abusive father, you will have a problem. You will have to disconnect everything you experienced with your earthly father and learn how wonderful your heavenly Father is and choose to believe it.

That is why Jesus spoke so often of God as our heavenly Father. Then His life showed us what the Father is like. But why was Jesus Christ able to reveal the invisible God? Because of who He is. We cannot disconnect Jesus from God. He was not just a perfect man or an ideal example. He was God in a human body. Immanuel, God with us.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Rhianna, lung infection

Pray for Paul C, kind of wandering away from the flock

Pray for Jimmie H, anger issues, Vietnam Vet, PTSD, on full disability, pray for peace of mind.

 

Who is Jesus

March 25, 2018

What do we really know about Jesus? Who is Jesus anyway?

Why is this such an important question? Because the answer determines life on earth and life in eternity.

God has always been the eternal mystery. God created the human heart with an inner longing to know God, even though it cannot always identify that longing. Pascal called it a God shaped vacuum. But how can a person come to know God? Does the universe give us any evidence that God really exists?

Rom. 1:19-20 tells us that God has revealed His existence, divine power and His divine nature through His created world. And Rom. 2 tells us that He has revealed His moral nature through the conscience that all people have that sense of right and wrong. So just from this evidence every person on earth can believe that there is a great and powerful God who has righteous moral standards.

But we still do not really know Him, do we? What is He like? What does He think? How does He feel about people? Is He distant and unreachable? Is He sitting up there waiting to zap us when we sin? Is it possible to know Him personally? God knew our need and the impossibility of our reaching Him through human reason or human effort, so He revealed Himself in two powerful ways.

Heb. 1:1-3 tells us the lengths God went to so that we might not only know He exists but that we may have a personal relationship with Him.

Hebrews 1:1

God spoke verbally to men in OT times, either directly or through visions and dreams. He gave these prophets His message to give to His people. Over a period of about 1500 years His Words were written down by about 40 human authors inspired by the Holy Spirit, the divine Author. The Bible is God’s written revelation, inerrant in the original manuscripts. It is our only source for the true knowledge of God

The central message of the OT is that God created men and women for a relationship with Himself. But our sin separated us from God. So God promised to come Himself to redeem His fallen creatures and make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him. God promised that a divine Savior would come to earth and reveal God’s glory to us.

The NT tells us that He kept his promise and the Savior came. He not only spoke God’s Word to us but He revealed God’s nature.

Hebrews 1:2

The Son of God is God’s final revelation to us. He is the fullest revelation of God that we will ever have here on earth. Do you not see why Satan has tried through the centuries to distort and deny who Jesus really is?

The sad thing is that one of the greatest distorters of the truth about Jesus is today’s church. The false prophets, the Joel Osteen’s with their god of plenty or Max Lucado, who is so afraid to preach about hell in his own church. Or the countless other preachers whose goal is to line their own pockets, I mean do you really need to have a 14k gold toilet, come on Kate.

Fame and preachers seems to be a recipe for disaster. The better known you are the more letters you get from women who claim God told them they would bear your baby. It’s really disturbing when you get sent a pair of women’s underwear in your mail and a letter telling you that God has revealed to them they will be your next concubine. Next? Whoa, I must have missed the first one.

Then there’s the $19.95 book about a secret that God revealed.

All of this could be ended by one thing, personal attention to the bible, but that’s not sexy enough.

Oh well, for only $9.99 I will tell you who the now living Anti-Christ is, no, it’s not Donald Trump.

 Blessing from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Shawn and Brittany, who got married today. Pray for their families who hopefully won’t lead them down the wrong path.