Friday, February 27, 2009

Johnathan Edwards - The Excellency Of Christ - Application

The Excellency Of Christ Part 3 of 3

APPLICATION

I. From this doctrine we may learn one reason why Christ is called by such a variety of names, and held forth under such a variety of representations, in Scripture. It is the better to signify and exhibit to us that variety of excellencies that meet together and are conjoined in him. Many appellations are mentioned together in one verse Isa. 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” It shows a wonderful conjunction of excellencies, that the same person should be a Son, born and given, and yet be the everlasting Father, without beginning or end, [and] that he should be a Child and yet be he whose name is Counselor, and the mighty God. Well may his name, in whom such things are conjoined, be called Wonderful.

By reason of the same wonderful conjunction, Christ is represented by a great variety of sensible things, that are on some account excellent. Thus in some places he is called a Sun, as Mal. 4:2, in others a Star, Num. 24:17. And he is especially represented by the morning star, as being that which excels all other stars in brightness, and is the forerunner of the day, Rev. 22:16. And, as in our text, he is compared to a lion in one verse, and a lamb in the next, so sometimes he is compared to a roe or young hart, another creature most diverse from a lion. So in some places he is called a rock, in others he is compared to a pearl. In some places he is called a man of war, and the Captain of our Salvation, in other places he is represented as a bridegroom. In the second chapter of Canticles, the first verse, he is compared to a rose and a lily, that are sweet and beautiful flowers; in the next verse but one, he is compared to a tree bearing sweet fruit. In Isaiah 53:2 he is called a Root out of a dry ground, but elsewhere, instead of that, he is called the Tree of Life, that grows (not in a dry or barren ground, but) “in the midst of the paradise of God.” Rev. 2:7.

II. Let the consideration of this wonderful meeting of diverse excellencies in Christ induce you to accept of him, and close with him as your Savior. As all manner of excellencies meet in him, so there are concurring in him all manner of arguments and motives, to move you to choose him for your Savior, and everything that tends to encourage poor sinners to come and put their trust in him: his fullness and all-sufficiency as a Savior gloriously appear in that variety of excellencies that has been spoken of.

Fallen man is in a state of exceeding great misery, and is helpless in it. He is a poor weak creature, like an infant cast out in its blood in the day that it is born. But Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah: he is strong, though we are weak; he has prevailed to do that for us which no creature else could do. Fallen man is a mean despicable creature, a contemptible worm, but Christ, who has undertaken for us, is infinitely honorable and worthy. Fallen man is polluted, but Christ is infinitely holy; fallen man is hateful, but Christ is infinitely lovely. Fallen man is the object of God’s indignation, but Christ is infinitely dear to him. We have dreadfully provoked God, but Christ has performed that righteousness which is infinitely precious in God’s eyes.

And here is not only infinite strength and infinite worthiness, but infinite condescension, and love and mercy, as great as power and dignity. If you are a poor, distressed sinner, whose heart is ready to sink for fear that God never will have mercy on you, you need not be afraid to go to Christ, for fear that he is either unable or unwilling to help you. Here is a strong foundation, and an inexhaustible treasure, to answer the necessities of your poor soul. Here is infinite grace and gentleness to invite and embolden a poor, unworthy, fearful soul to come to it. If Christ accepts of you, you need not fear but that you will be safe, for he is a strong Lion for your defense. And if you come, you need not fear but that you shall be accepted, for he is like a Lamb to all that come to him, and receives then with infinite grace and tenderness. It is true he has awful majesty, he is the great God, and infinitely high above you. But there is this to encourage and embolden the poor sinner, that Christ is man as well as God. He is a creature, as well as the Creator, and he is the most humble and lowly in heart of any creature in heaven or earth. This may well make the poor unworthy creature bold in coming to him. You need not hesitate one moment; but may run to him, and cast yourself upon him. You will certainly be graciously and meekly received by him. Though he is a lion, he will only be a lion to your enemies, but he will be a lamb to you. It could not have been conceived, had it not been so in the person of Christ, that there could have been so much in any Savior, that is inviting and tending to encourage sinners to trust in him. Whatever your circumstances are, you need not be afraid to come to such a Savior as this. Be you never so wicked a creature, here is worthiness enough; be you never so poor, and mean, and ignorant a creature, there is no danger of being despised, for though he be so much greater than you, he is also immensely more humble than you. Any one of you that is a father or mother, will not despise one of your own children that comes to you in distress: much less danger is there of Christ despising you, if you in your heart come to him. Here let me a little expostulate with the poor, burdened, distressed soul.

1. What are you afraid of, that you dare not venture your soul upon Christ? Are you afraid that he cannot save you: that he is not strong enough to conquer the enemies of your soul? But how can you desire one stronger than the “mighty God”? as Christ is called, Isa. 9:6. Is there need of greater than infinite strength? Are you afraid that he will not be willing to stoop so low as to take any gracious notice of you? But then, look on him, as he stood in the ring of soldiers, exposing his blessed face to be buffeted and spit upon by them! Behold him bound with his back uncovered to those that smote him! And behold him hanging on the cross! Do you think that he that had condescension enough to stoop to these things, and that for his crucifiers, will be unwilling to accept of you if you come to him? Or, are you afraid that if he does accept you, that God the Father will not accept of him for you? But consider, will God reject his own Son, in whom his infinite delight is, and has been, from all eternity, and who is so united to him, that if he should reject him he would reject himself?

2. What is there that you can desire should be in a Savior, that is not in Christ? Or, wherein should you desire a Savior should be otherwise than Christ is? What excellency is there wanting? What is there that is great or good? What is there that is venerable or winning? What is there that is adorable or endearing, or what can you think of that would be encouraging, which is not to be found in the person of Christ? Would you have your Savior to be great and honorable, because you are not willing to be beholden to a mean person? And is not Christ a person honorable enough to be worthy that you should be dependent on him? Is he not a person high enough to be appointed to so honorable a work as your salvation? Would you not only have a Savior of high degree, but would you have him, notwithstanding his exaltation and dignity, to be made also of low degree: that he might have experience of afflictions and trials, [and] that he might learn by the things that he has suffered, to pity them that suffer and are tempted? And has not Christ been made low enough for you? and has he not suffered enough? Would you not only have him possess experience of the afflictions you now suffer, but also of that amazing wrath that you fear hereafter, that he may know how to pity those that are in danger, and afraid of it? This Christ has had experience of, which experience gave him a greater sense of it, a thousand times, than you have, or any man living has. Would you have your Savior to be one who is near to God, that so his mediation might be prevalent with him? And can you desire him to be nearer to God than Christ is, who is his only-begotten Son, of the same essence with the Father? And would you not only have him near to God, but also near to you, that you may have free access to him? And would you have him nearer to you than to be in the same nature: united to you by a spiritual union, so close as to be fitly represented by the union of the wife to the husband, of the branch to the vine, of the member to the head — yea, so as to be one spirit? For so he will be united to you, if you accept of him. Would you have a Savior that has given some great and extraordinary testimony of mercy and love to sinners, by something that he has done, as well as by what he says? And can you think or conceive of greater things than Christ has done? Was it not a great thing for him, who was God, to take upon him human nature: to be not only God, but man thenceforward to all eternity? But would you look upon suffering for sinners to be a yet greater testimony of love to sinners, than merely doing, though it be ever so extraordinary a thing that he has done? And would you desire that a Savior should suffer more than Christ has suffered for sinners? What is there wanting, or what would you add if you could, to make him more fit to be your Savior? But further, to induce you to accept of Christ as your Savior, consider two things particularly.

(1.) How much Christ appears as the Lamb of God in his invitations to you to come to him and trust in him. With what sweet grace and kindness does he, from time to time, call and invite you, as Pro. 8:4, “Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.” And Isa. 55:1-3, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” How gracious is he here in inviting everyone that thirsts, and in so repeating his invitation over and over, “Come ye to the waters, come, buy and eat; yea come!” Mark the excellency of that entertainment which he invites you to accept of; “Come, buy wine and milk!” your poverty, having nothing to pay for it, shall be no objection, — “Come, he that hath no money, come without money, and without price!” What gracious arguments and expostulations he uses with you! “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” As much as to say [that] it is altogether needless for you to continue laboring and toiling for that which can never serve your turn, seeking rest in the world, and in your own righteousness: — I have made abundant provision for you, of that which is really good, and will fully satisfy your desires, and answer your end, and stand ready to accept of you: you need not be afraid. If you will come to me, I will engage to see all your wants supplied, and you made a happy creature. As he promises in the third verse, “Incline your ear, and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” And so Pro. 9 at the beginning. How gracious and sweet is the invitation there! “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither;” let you be never so poor, ignorant, and blind a creature, you shall be welcome. And in the following words, Christ sets forth the provision that he has made for you, “Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” You are in a poor famishing state, and have nothing wherewith to feed your perishing soul; you have been seeking something, but yet remain destitute. Hearken, how Christ calls you to eat of his bread, and to drink of the wine that he has mingled! And how much like a lamb does Christ appear in Mat. 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” O thou poor distressed soul! whoever thou art, consider that Christ mentions thy very case, when he calls to them who labor and are heavy laden! How he repeatedly promises you rest if you come to him! In the 28th verse he says, “I will give you rest.” And in the 29th verse, “Ye shall find rest to your souls.” This is what you want. This is the thing you have been so long in vain seeking after. O how sweet would rest be to you, if you could but obtain it! Come to Christ, and you shall obtain it. And hear how Christ, to encourage you, represents himself as a lamb! He tells you, that he is meek and lowly in heart, and are you afraid to come to such a one! And again, Rev. 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him and he with me.” Christ condescends not only to call you to him, but he comes to you. He comes to your door, and there knocks. He might send an officer and seize you as a rebel and vile malefactor, but instead of that, he comes and knocks at your door, and seeks that you would receive him into your house, as your Friend and Savior. And he not only knocks at your door, but he stands there waiting, while you are backward and unwilling. And not only so, but he makes promises what he will do for you, if you will admit him, what privileges he will admit you to; he will sup with you, and you with him. And again, Rev. 22:16, 17, “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth, say, come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” How does Christ here graciously set before you his own winning attractive excellency! And how does he condescend to declare to you not only his own invitation, but the invitation of the Spirit and the bride, if by any means he might encourage you to come! And how does he invite everyone that will, that they may “take of the water of life freely,” that they may take it as a free gift, however precious it be, and though it be the water of life.

(2.) If you do come to Christ, he will appear as a Lion, in his glorious power and dominion, to defend you. All those excellencies of his, in which he appears as a lion, shall be yours, and shall be employed for you in your defense, for your safety, and to promote your glory; he will be as a lion to fight against your enemies. He that touches you, or offends you, will provoke his wrath, as he that stirs up a lion. Unless your enemies can conquer this Lion, they shall not be able to destroy or hurt you. Unless they are stronger than he, they shall not be able to hinder your happiness. Isa. 31:4, “For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them; so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.”

III. Let what has been said be improved to induce you to love the Lord Jesus Christ, and choose him for your friend and portion. As there is such an admirable meeting of diverse excellencies in Christ, so there is everything in him to render him worthy of your love and choice, and to win and engage it. Whatsoever there is or can be desirable in a friend, is in Christ, and that to the highest degree that can be desired.

Would you choose for a friend a person of great dignity? It is a thing taking with men to have those for their friends who are much above them, because they look upon themselves honored by the friendship of such. Thus, how taking would it be with an inferior maid to be the object of the dear love of some great and excellent prince. But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the princes of the earth, for he is the King of kings. So honorable a person as this offers himself to you, in the nearest and dearest friendship.

And would you choose to have a friend not only great but good? In Christ infinite greatness and infinite goodness meet together, and receive luster and glory one from another. His greatness is rendered lovely by his goodness. The greater anyone is without goodness, so much the greater evil. But when infinite goodness is joined with greatness, it renders it a glorious and adorable greatness. So, on the other hand, his infinite goodness receives luster from his greatness. He that is of great understanding and ability, and is withal of a good and excellent disposition, is deservedly more esteemed than a lower and lesser being, with the same kind inclination and good will. Indeed goodness is excellent in whatever subject it be found. It is beauty and excellency itself, and renders all excellent that are possessed of it, and yet most excellent when joined with greatness. The very same excellent qualities of gold render the body in which they are inherent more precious, and of greater value, when joined with greater than when with lesser dimensions. And how glorious is the sight, to see him who is the great Creator and supreme Lord of heaven and earth, full of condescension, tender pity and mercy, towards the mean and unworthy! His almighty power, and infinite majesty and self-sufficiency, render his exceeding love and grace the more surprising. And how do his condescension and compassion endear his majesty, power, and dominion, and render those attributes pleasant, that would otherwise be only terrible! Would you not desire that your friend, though great and honorable, should be of such condescension and grace, and so to have the way opened to free access to him, that his exaltation above you might not hinder your free enjoyment of his friendship? — And would you choose not only that the infinite greatness and majesty of your friend should be, as it were, mollified and sweetened with condescension and grace, but would you also desire to have your friend brought nearer to you? Would you choose a friend far above you, and yet as it were upon a level with you too? Though it be taking with men to have a near and dear friend of superior dignity, yet there is also an inclination in them to have their friend a sharer with them in circumstances. Thus is Christ. Though he be the great God, yet he has, as it were, brought himself down to be upon a level with you, so as to become man as you are, that he might not only be your Lord, but your brother, and that he might be the more fit to be a companion for such a worm of the dust. This is one end of Christ’s taking upon him man’s nature, that his people might be under advantages for a more familiar converse with him, than the infinite distance of the divine nature would allow of. And upon this account the church longed for Christ’s incarnation, Song 8:1, “O that thou wert my brother that sucked the breast of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee, yea, I should not be despised.” One design of God in the gospel, is to bring us to make God the object of our undivided respect, that he may engross our regard every way, that whatever natural inclination there is in our souls, he may be the center of it: that God may be all in all. But there is an inclination in the creature, not only to the adoration of a Lord and Sovereign, but to complacence in some one as a friend, to love and delight in some one that may be conversed with as a companion. And virtue and holiness do not destroy or weaken this inclination of our nature. But so has God contrived in the affair of our redemption, that a divine person may be the object even of this inclination of our nature. And in order hereto, such a one is come down to us, and has taken our nature, and is become one of us, and calls himself our friend, brother, and companion. Psa. 122:8, “For my brethren and companions’ sake, will I now say, Peace be within thee.”

But is it not enough in order to invite and encourage you to free access to a friend so great and high, that he is one of infinite condescending grace, and also has taken your own nature, and is become man? But would you, further to embolden and win you, have him a man of wonderful meekness and humility? Why, such a one is Christ! He is not only become man for you, but far the meekest and most humble of all men, the greatest instance of these sweet virtues that ever was, or will be. And besides these, he has all other human excellencies in the highest perfection. These, indeed, are no proper addition to his divine excellencies. Christ has no more excellency in his person, since his incarnation, than he had before, for divine excellency is infinite, and cannot be added to. Yet his human excellencies are additional manifestations of his glory and excellency to us, and are additional recommendations of him to our esteem and love, who are of finite comprehension. Though his human excellencies are but communications and reflections of his divine. Though this light, as reflected, falls infinitely short of the divine fountain of light in its immediate glory, yet the reflection shines not without its proper advantages, as presented to our view and affection. The glory of Christ in the qualifications of his human nature, appears to us in excellencies that are of our own kind, and are exercised in our own way and manner, and so in some respects, are peculiarly fitted to invite our acquaintance and draw our affection. The glory of Christ as it appears in his divinity, though far brighter, more dazzles our eyes, and exceeds the strength of our sight or our comprehension. But as it shines in the human excellencies of Christ, it is brought more to a level with our conceptions, and suitableness to our nature and manner, yet retaining a semblance of the same divine beauty, and a savor of the same divine sweetness. But as both divine and human excellencies meet together in Christ, they set off and recommend each other to us. It tends to endear the divine majesty and holiness of Christ to us, that these are attributes of one in our nature, one of us who is become our brother, and is the meekest and humblest of men. It encourages us to look upon these divine perfections, however high and great; since we have some near concern in and liberty freely to enjoy them. And on the other hand, how much more glorious and surprising do the meekness, the humility, obedience, resignation, and other human excellencies of Christ appear, when we consider that they are in so great a person, as the eternal Son of God, the Lord of heaven and earth!

By your choosing Christ for your friend and portion, you will obtain these two infinite benefits.

1. Christ will give himself to you, with all those various excellencies that meet in him, to your full and everlasting enjoyment. He will ever after treat you as his dear friend, and you shall ere long be where he is, and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment.

When the saints get to heaven, they shall not merely see Christ, and have to do with him as subjects and servants with a glorious and gracious Lord and Sovereign, but Christ will entertain them as friends and brethren. This we may learn from the manner of Christ’s conversing with his disciples here on earth: though he was their sovereign Lord, and did not refuse, but required, their supreme respect and adoration, yet he did not treat them as earthly sovereigns are wont to do their subjects. He did not keep them at an awful distance, but all along conversed with them with the most friendly familiarity, as a father amongst a company of children, yea, as with brethren. So he did with the twelve, and so he did with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He told his disciples that he did not call them servants, but friends. We read of one of them that leaned on his bosom, and doubtless he will not treat his disciples with less freedom and endearment in heaven. He will not keep them at a greater distance for his being in a state of exaltation, but he will rather take them into a state of exaltation with him. This will be the improvement Christ will make of his own glory, to make his beloved friends partakers with him, to glorify them in his glory, as he says to his Father, John 17:22, 23, “And the glory which thou hast given me, have I given them, that they may be one, even as we are one I in them,” etc. We are to consider, that though Christ is greatly exalted, yet he is exalted, not as a private person for himself only, but as his people’s head. He is exalted in their name, and upon their account, as the first fruits, and as representing the whole harvest. He is not exalted that he may be at a greater distance from them, but that they may be exalted with him. The exaltation and honor of the head is not to make a greater distance between the head and the members, but the members have the same relation and union with the head they had before, and are honored with the head. Instead of the distance being greater, the union shall be nearer and more perfect. When believers get to heaven, Christ will conform them to himself, as he is set down in his Father’s throne, so they shall sit down with him on his throne, and shall in their measure be made like him.

When Christ was going to heaven, he comforted his disciples with the thought that after a while, he would come again and take them to himself, that they might be with him. And we are not to suppose that when the disciples got to heaven, they found him keeping a greater distance than he used to do. No, doubtless, he embraced them as friends, and welcomed them to his and their Father’s house, and to his and their glory. They who had been his friends in this world, who had been together with him here, and had together partaken of sorrows and troubles, are now welcomed by him to rest, and to partake of glory with him. He took them and led them into his chambers, and showed them all his glory, as he prayed, John 17:24, “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me, that they may behold the glory which thou hast given me.” And he led them to his living fountains of waters, and made them partake of his delights, as he prays John 17:13, “That my joy may be fulfilled in themselves,” and set them down with him at his table in his kingdom, and made them partake with him of his dainties, according to his promise, Luke 22:30, and led them into his banqueting house, and made them to drink new wine with him in the kingdom of his heavenly Father, as he foretold them when he instituted the Lord’s supper, Mat. 26:29.

Yea the saints’ conversation with Christ in heaven shall not only be as intimate, and their access to him as free, as of the disciples on earth, but in many respects much more so. For in heaven, that vital union shall be perfect, which is exceeding imperfect here. While the saints are in this world, there are great remains of sin and darkness to separate or disunite them from Christ, which shall then all be removed. This is not a time for that full acquaintance, and those glorious manifestations of love, which Christ designs for his people hereafter; which seems to be signified by his speech to Mary Magdalene, when ready to embrace him [and] when she met him after his resurrection; John 20:17, “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”

When the saints shall see Christ’s glory and exaltation in heaven, it will indeed possess their hearts with the greater admiration and adoring respect, but it will not awe them into any separation, but will serve only to heighten their surprise and joy, when they find Christ condescending to admit them to such intimate access, and so freely and fully communicating himself to them. So that if we choose Christ for our friend and portion, we shall hereafter be so received to him, that there shall be nothing to hinder the fullest enjoyment of him, to the satisfying the utmost cravings of our souls. We may take our full swing at gratifying our spiritual appetite after these holy pleasures. Christ will then say, as in Song 5:1, “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly O beloved.” And this shall be our entertainment to all eternity! There shall never be any end of this happiness, or anything to interrupt our enjoyment of it, or in the least to molest us in it!

2. By your being united to Christ, you will have a more glorious union with and enjoyment of God the Father, than otherwise could be. For hereby the saints’ relation to God becomes much nearer: they are the children of God in a higher manner than otherwise could be. For, being members of God’s own Son, they are in a sort partakers of his relation to the Father. They are not only sons of God by regeneration, but by a kind of communion in the sonship of the eternal Son. This seems to be intended, Gal. 4:4-6, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” The church is the daughter of God, not only as he has begotten her by his Word and Spirit, but as she is the spouse of his eternal Son.

So we being members of the Son, are partakers in our measure of the Father’s love to the Son, and complacence in him. John 17:23, “I in them, and thou in me, — Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” And verse 26, “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them.” And chap. 16:27, “The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” So we shall, according to our capacities, be partakers of the Son’s enjoyment of God, and have his joy fulfilled in ourselves, John 17:13. And by this means we shall come to an immensely higher, more intimate and full enjoyment of God, than otherwise could have been. For there is doubtless an infinite intimacy between the Father and the Son which is expressed by his being in the bosom of the Father. And saints being in him, shall, in their measure and manner, partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.

And thus is the affair of our redemption ordered, that thereby we are brought to an immensely more exalted kind of union with God, and enjoyment of him, both the Father and the Son, than otherwise could have been. For Christ being united to the human nature, we have advantage for a more free and full enjoyment of him, than we could have had if he had remained only in the divine nature. So again, we being united to a divine person, as his members, can have a more intimate union and intercourse with God the Father, who is only in the divine nature, than otherwise could be. Christ, who is a divine person, by taking on him our nature, descends from the infinite distance and height above us, and is brought nigh to us, whereby we have advantage for the full enjoyment of him. And, on the other hand, we, by being in Christ a divine person, do as it were ascend up to God, through the infinite distance, and have hereby advantage for the full enjoyment of him also.

This was the design of Christ, that he and his Father, and his people, might all be united in one. John 17:21-23, “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” Christ has brought it to pass, that those whom the Father has given him should be brought into the household of God, that he, his Father, and his people should be as one society, one family, [and] that the church should be as it were admitted into the society of the blessed Trinity.

Friday, February 13, 2009

WE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

WE ARE IN THE WORLD BUT NOT OF THE WORLD

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Deuterotomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 15:19-20 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

John 17:14-15 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

1 Cor 3:18-21 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21 Therefore let no man glory in men....

2 Cor 4:3-4 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Cor 6:14-18 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Gal 1:3-5 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Eph 2:1-10 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Eph 4:17-24 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: {19} Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

1 Pet 1:14-16 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

1 Pet 4:2-5 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

2 Pet 1:4-9 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2 Pet 2:19-22 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

1 John 2:15-17 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

1 John 3:13 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

1 John 4:4-6 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

Agape
Zelma

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"God's will or self will"




God's will or self will

In Genesis chapter 4 a literal story is written about three people.The primary interpretation,practical application and prophetic implication in the narrative is just incredible for us as Christians. God of course is faithful and will show His children precious truths in the Bible.

The Apostle Paul said in Phil 3:14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ." Adam and the Apostle Paul had something in common. They both were sharing their faith.

I am not going to get into the prophetic aspect of this story too much, except to say that when one takes a broad look at the story of Adam,Cain and Abel, I believe this is just a snapshot of the three roles of humanity in the form of a triangle.

Adam being the (1) leader at the top of the triangle (2) Abel being the follower at a bottom point in the triangle and moving across to the other point would be (3) Cain the resister.

A person can lead in the Spirit of God or in the flesh, follow in the Spirit of God or the flesh, resist in the Spirit of God or the flesh. In life there are leaders,followers and resisters. I believe it is a triangle of humanity.This story is in the beginning of the Bible. It is a picture of the way subsequent generations would respond to life.

Should we be followers or resisters? That depends. The Bible says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1st John 4:1.

If we are a leader in one capacity or another...., "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itchy ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned into fables." 2nd Timothy 4:3-4. We are responsible to speak the Word of God with truth. God will hold us accountable. Jesus said in Matthew 15:14..... "And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." According to the Bible, the teacher will be held more responsible." My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." James 3:1. In simple terms, if we are in a leadership capacity, our responsibility is greater than the follower to stay in line with the Word of God.

Getting down to a more primary and practical level, the Holy Spirit showed me some key pivotal points that are paramount for us to know not only in our minds but more importantly in our hearts. I believe that Adam had a heart for God (repentance;conviction) and I could see him talking to his kids about the Lord. The evidence is in the implication of Scripture. Adam did instruct his children about God because the Bible says both Cain and Abel gave a sacrifice to God.

One was accepted and the other was rejected. Abel was interested, and it became evident in his response. Cain was not interested and did not care because it became obvious through his response. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20.He responded in a way that was against God's Will because he had the wrong spirit about himself.

When people hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and they insist on their own will, they are going their own way.That is what Cain did. Abel was attentive to his father because he responded with such an obedient heart. In like manner when we preach the gospel of Jesus Christ some will be attentive and some will not.

Cain and Abel represent the two different types of responses that one can have to Jesus Christ. A person can either say I care, and I want to accept Jesus Christ into my heart, or I don't care and reject Jesus Christ.

This same model is also seen on the cross. Jesus Christ was in the middle and one person was on His left and the other person was to His right. The person to His right accepted Jesus Christ into his heart. The person on His left rejected Jesus Christ. Once again, this did not just happen by accident. It was symbolic of the only two choices that mankind can make.

The fact that Abel did not make this sacrifice until he was of age speaks of a true authentic conversion. He thought about it and sincerely desired God's Will. Adam sowed good seed in Abel's heart. Since the seed was sowed, Abel was able to respond with sincerity to God from his heart. Cain just simply did not care because he had self will, and that type of attitude is never interested in God.

Their sacrifices to God were different because they had two different jobs in life. Cain brought the fruit of the ground but he had a leftover mentality, so God just simply would not accept his sacrifice. Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. The reason why God accepted Abel's sacrifice is because it was from his heart. In like manner God knows when somebody is sincerely accepting His only Son Jesus Christ or just simply repeating some words.

To take this one step further, God knows when His children are trying to do His will--- making a honest attempt to follow Jesus Christ. All true Christians believe Jesus Christ died on the Cross for their sins and rose from the dead on the third day.This is found in 1st Cor:15 3-4.

It would have to be obvious by now that Believers in Jesus Christ differ on doctrinal positions regarding the issue of once saved always saved. Many Christians on different sides are very sincere before Jesus Christ.

In keeping with the will of God which is what I am writing about, let me quote two verses. "(47) And the servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." Luke 12:47. "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." 1st John 2:17. You can interpret these verses anyway you want to, but don't ask me to modify them.

Peter says... "Selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." 2nd Peter 2:10. There are other references in Scripture similar to Luke 12:47."(20) For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therin, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (21) For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandant delivered unto them." 2nd Peter 2:20-21.I know Christians have been debating these verses for well over a millennium, but would we really like to find out the hard way? I am going to be giving reassurance of our eternal security in Jesus Christ.

What I like about the second epistle of Peter is the very first thing he goes over is how we can know that we are eternally secure in Jesus Christ. Peter talks about us being eternally secure in Jesus Christ right away. "(5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance ; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity." 2nd Peter 1:5-7.

Then Peter goes on to say,if you do these things we will never be barren or unfruitful. If we don't than we forgot that we were purged from our old sins.

The verse that I really like is verse 10. "(10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things,ye shall never fall." 2nd Peter 1:10. When we do these things our belief in Jesus Christ is in the action tense ,not the intellectual tense.

God is looking for people that want to do His will. "(14) Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardens his heart shall fall into mischief." Proverbs 28:14. We should have a holy fear for God and life. "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy "will" be done,as in heaven,so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." Luke 11:2-4.These are the people that God is looking for because they worship Jesus Christ in spirit and truth. John: 4:24.

Let me try and give some comfort to this issue. I never claimed to be a doctrinal expert. Many Christians get anxious over this issue of eternal security but the Bible says, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Phil. 4:6. Being anxious over these issues is not going to get us anywhere. "But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1st Timothy 6:6.

Whenever I try and do the will of God, the Holy Spirit always initiates His love for me. I found out some wisdom throughout my years. I always thought that I was the initiator and God was the responder but the Bible says," (7) Herein is love,not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1st John 4:10. When I sincerely try and do the will of God, the Holy Spirit initiates His love toward me. God is the initiator. I am the responder.

When this happens Romans 8:16 takes place in my life every single time.This verse says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Also in 1st John 4:13 the Bible says, "Hereby know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because he Hath given us of His spirit."

I try and walk close to Jesus Christ. Often I ask God to give me more verification that I am really one of His true children in accordance with the Holy Spirit bearing witness with my spirit. I was and still am surprised at the prayer requests that Jesus Christ will grant to me because of His goodness. We don't need a doctrine as much as we need the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are true followers of Jesus Christ. Who would you rather hear from, God or man? The Bible says, "Let God be true and every man a liar." Romans 3:4.

When we Christians try our best to do the will of God with a sincere heart, we don't want to sin. If we do fall into sin,1st John 1:9 tells us to repent. When I confess my sins before God an unexplained supernatural peace usually comes upon my spirit.

I personally believe the most comforting verse in the entire Bible regarding this issue on eternal security is, "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." 1st John 4:17. BOLDNESS--- Confidence that we are true children of Jesus Christ when we seek the kingdom of God and desire to do His will. I know that I am a Christian because the love of Jesus Christ abides in me.

Did you ever notice how these issues that Christians debate always boil down to the love of Jesus Christ? I cannot imagine my life or eternity separated from the love of Jesus Christ.

Abel was open toward God. Cain was hard. The one thing God does not want people to do is the one thing human beings insist on doing. I have seen people put Jesus Christ off all their life and right before passing away they could not get right with God because their heart was so hardened. First of all we don't even know when we are going to be leaving this world. There is no guarantee. No wonder Jesus said, "(14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14. People harden their hearts against God.

If somebody were to say to me, "You can only make one statement, make your peace and go home," I would say, "Make sure you have accepted Jesus Christ into your heart, don't harden your heart against God and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of the days of your life." I would rather do whatever it takes now to get right with God as opposed to finding myself in the seven year tribulation period or hell.

This is why in the parable of the sower Jesus said, "(8) But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold,some sixtyfold,some thirtyfold. (9) Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Matthew 13:8-9. The soil in our heart needs to be open to what the Bible is teaching, so we can do the will of God and experience His love.

Even after billions of people die in the seven year tribulation, according to Revelation 9:21 the people that survive harden their hearts against God. "(21) Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."Revelation 9:21.

It is the goodness of God that leads a person to repentance, not the judgment of God. "(4) Or despisest thou riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."Romans 2:4. I would be lacking if I did not talk about the judgment of God, but people would be wise if they embrace the goodness of God and come to repentance.

Many people are indifferent toward God. Now is not the time to ignore Jesus Christ. I believe the rapture of the Church could take place at any second. Nobody in their right mind will want to be left behind. After reading Revelation chapters 6 through 19, I would be beyond frightened if I missed the rapture.

In Jewish culture the oldest son was given special privileges, so maybe in Cain's heart he did not feel the need for God. The Bible says in Acts 10:34, "Then Peter opened his mouth,and said,of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." Romans 2:11 says, "For there is no respect of persons with God."

I think it is interesting that after Cain's sacrifice was rejected, the Bible says... "And Cain was very wroth,and his countenance fell." Genesis 4:5. God even tried to reason with Cain in verses 6 and 7.

When we do something wrong and God tries to reason with us, I believe once again there are two different responses. A good example would be found in the Gospels. Peter betrayed Jesus Christ three times but he repented. Judas betrayed Jesus Christ and then took his life. The Judas response makes me think twice about ever making a decision based on emotion. God was giving Cain an opportunity to repent; however, he chose a whole different course in his life.

We either want God's will or self will. God's will through His Son Jesus Christ is always the path that we should take. If you feel you desire self will rather than God's will, ask God to help you and I know He will because you have just confessed in your heart that you need God. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your heart then this is God's will for your life and eternity. Like Abel, all you have to do is come to Him with an earnest heart and Jesus Christ Himself will recognize this, and come into your heart.

I can really relate to this story because the model of what God is trying to show us is so real, not only for our life but eternity.

The real emotions came out after both chose to either accept God's way(Abel) or his own way(Cain) --- especially on the part of Cain.

So there were two times Cain did not listen to God (1) The sacrifice (2) The reasoning from God to Cain. Cain took it upon himself to murder Abel when nobody was looking.This is the kind of fruit a hardened heart and self will produce.

It is true that Cain was the first murderer; however, Abel was the first martyr for God. This would have to be obvious but I need to bring this point out. Abel had no desire to murder Cain. He listened to God and was approved by Him because he chose to approach God in the way he was told.

The Bible says in John 14:6 that Jesus is the way,truth and life. If anybody wants to know God they have to go through Jesus Christ. Abel through his obedience was content.

Cain on the other hand had a desire to murder Abel. In Cain's mind and heart murder was the only fruit he wanted to produce. " Prating against with malicious words: and not content therewith..." 3rd John verse 10. Cain was not content because of his self will and this did lead into murder.

Abel was content.The 23rd Psalm says, "The Lord is my Shepard I shall not want."

Look at the emotions of Cain.(1) Self will (2) Reluctance of heart (3) Belligerence (4) Anger (5) Murder (6) Fear and (7) A cry for mercy.

There were two parts to Cain when he responded, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The fear part of him. (2) The technical part.Technically speaking he had his job and Abel had his job. Human logic will almost always try and cover our sin before God because we are fearful. It is hard to confess before God. People don't naturally want to do this.The Bible says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9.

To me this story also symbolizes an eternal hell. Think about this. People go to hell everyday. Cain had (1) Self will (2)Reluctance of heart toward God (3) Belligerence (4) Anger (5 ) Murder (6) Fear (7) He found himself crying for mercy. The Bible says in Rev.22:11, "He that is unjust,let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy,let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous,let him be righteous still:and he that is holy,let him be holy still."

The first part of this verse describes a person that dies in their sins as they rejected Jesus Christ.They are helpless in their sinful condition for all eternity.The second part of this verse describes the righteous person that approached God through Jesus Christ.He or She has a holy character that loves God and wants to worship and serve Him for all eternity.

There is a Gospel track written called," This was your Life."It may have won more souls to Jesus Christ than any other track ever made. In this track the man gets a second chance. If you are one that is contemplating self will or God's will, it would have to be obvious which direction you should take. We have only two choices. God's will leads to eternal life. Of course I just explained what fruit self will produced in the life of Cain. I think we should all choose God's will over self will. That is what Jesus Christ is looking for in our lives.

Love in Christ,
Bob D.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Spirit of Man—The Natural Man

Spirit of Man—The Natural Man

1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

The natural’s man relationship is with the world, sin and satan. His chief motivating force is “I.” All of his existence is centered on himself. He is the result of Adam’s fall and therefore, has all of Adam’s fallen nature. He is alienated from the presence of God and until his soul is awakened to his lost condition, he has no desire to be reinstated with his Maker
The Greek word PSUCHIKOS, used is 1 Cornithians 2:14, means sensual. This best describes the natural man. He lives under the control of his bodily or fleshly appetites. The order of his total man is first body, then soul, then spirit. This is exactly the reverse sequence of what God intended.
The natural man has no spiritual values. Spiritually he walks in utter darkness. He cannot know God, for God is Light. When this man reads the Bible with his natural eyes, he receives only natural knowledge. The deep things of the Scriptures are hid from him, for his spirit is dead and only through the spirit, can a man really come into a knowledge of God. The natural man has no knowledge of God. He is, in fact, an enemy of God and has no love for Him. He will not worship God because he lacks fear and faith in the Supreme Ruler. He refuses to receive God’s truth or obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

James 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

James 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
James lists the characteristics of the natural man and this man's wisdom. When Jesus accussed the Jews of His day of being liars, He said they were of their father, the devil. Verse 16 of James summarizes the natural man's wisdom in resulting in confusion and every evil work.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Paul here contrasts the natural man (here called flesh) and the spiritual man. He says among many other things, that the flesh is carnally minded , at enemity with God and completely dominated by the sin principle.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Note: In verse 21 pay close attention, as it says they which do such things will not enter the kingdom of God.

Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Romans 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

This sums up the plight of the natural man as a wretched man in a body of death, one in definite need of Deliverance.
To summarize: we return to our original thoughts that the natural man is one whose spirit is dead to God and his soul has taken the place of the spirit in his body as supreme ruler of the total man’s earthly and Eternal destiny.
Now lets us take a close look at the spiritual man.

1 Corinthians 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

As the spirit of man is the antithesis of the body, so the spiritual man is antithesis of the natural man. The spiritual man is living under the subjection of the human spirit controlled by the Holy Spirit. In this man’s life the spirit is first, then the soul and last the body. This is the perfect sequence. God intended in His eternal plan for man.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Adam was orginally created a perfect spiritual being. He enjoyed direct communication with God and had a perfect standing before Him. Spirit, soul and body were completely pure. We all know of the test God gave Adam. Hoe he had the choice of obeying God or disobeying God’s command. Adam failed and his sin not only drove him from the garden, but reduced his posterity to the state and fate of the natural man, eternally separated from God. If he had not partaken of the forbidden fruit, there is no telling what heights, width, and depths this first spiritual man could have attained.
The spiritual man could only have received Christ as His Saviour, but he also made Him the Sole Master of his life. Christ Jesus is his all in all.
In opposition to the natural man where “I” or "self” is the chief motivation factor, the spiritual man’s only motivation is Jesus Christ. In world colloquialism: he sleeps, eats, drinks, breathes and talks Jesus Christ. Everything he does for Christ is out of a spirit of love. He detests the world, sin and the devil. In fact, he reckons himself dead to these.

James 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Here we discover the wisdom of the natural man; as we read on, here we also find the characteristics of spiritual wisdom.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

James 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

The spiritual life is one of purity, chasity, holiness and cleanliness. This man is peaceable, gentle. meek. modest, and kind. He is spiritually cooperative and full of mercy. He is not hypocritical: but is open, honest, genuine, and true. He is the branch on the Vine, Jesus Christ that is producing fruit and needs not be cut off.
Everything the Spiritual man does, whether speaking, making decisions or just plain everyday living, he does only after first seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The spiritual man is then characterized by right relationship with God. He is Christ centered and all his motivations are for the lifting up of his Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
Where are you in your walk with God?

Agape
Zelma

Man has a Body, Soul and Spirit: Lesson One


Greetings in the Name of Jesus;

Just as God is a Trinity, so is man. Read Genesis Chapter 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness." God here is the word Elohim which means three. Man in His original creation by God , was a trinity. He is a spirit, has a soul and dwells in a body. The body is a house that God has provided for man's soul and spirit to dwell in. It is that part of man which is visible to the eye and of course, is distinguished from other animal life by its physical appearance. Mans body has five senses. He can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. It is thru these five senses that man becomes so materialistically tied to this world. This is where the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life have their outworking. 1 John 2:16: " For all that is in the world , the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father. but is of the world." This part of man , then, is that which is most closely related to the earth, made of clay.

SPIRIT PART OF MAN Man is a spirit.This spirit is the antithesis of the body. Whereas the body is visible, the spirit is invisible. The human spirit is separate from the soul, it is immortal. Both will leave the body at death. 1 Thessalonians 5:23: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Heb 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
1Pe 3:4 "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
It is the spirit of man that separates man from the animal kingdom, for only he has has a spirit, capable of communication with his Creator. It is only in the spirit that man can worship the Father who made him, loved him and redeemed him.
Php 3:3 "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
The unregenerate spirit is in a state of perpetual death. It abides in utter darkness. Therefore, it may be said that the spirit of man is that which has capacity to receive life. (light)
1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

1 John 1:6 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"

1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
In order for man to walk in fellowship with God in the same relationship that Adam had with God before he fell, man must receive light and walk. He must find his position with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Beloved Holy Spirit. While death is a future certainty for the body, the spirit will never die. Thru Adamʼs trangession and manʼs own sin, spiritual death has taken place. Divine life may be restored to the spirit of man when he is born again and he becomes a new Creature in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

Eph 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"

Eph 2:3 "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."

Eph 2:4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"

Eph 2:5 "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved)"

Eph 2:6 "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"

Eph 2:7 "That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

Eph 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"

John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 3:4 "Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"

John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

John 3:6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

John 3:7 "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

2 Cor. 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Part Two The Soul of Man will be up today or by tomorrow and then we will progress on to The Spirit in Man."

Agape
Zelma

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Why I Have a Gun

Why I Have a Gun

My old grandpa said to me, "Son, there comes a time in every man's
life when he stops bustin' knuckles and starts bustin' caps and
usually it's when he becomes too old to take a Beating."

I don't have a gun to kill people. I have a gun to keep from being
killed.
*
I don't have a gun to scare people. I have a gun because sometimes
this world can be a scary place.
*
I don't have a gun because I'm paranoid. I have a gun because there
are real threats in the world.
*
I don't have a gun because I'm evil. I have a gun because I have
lived long enough to see the evil in the world.
*
I don't have a gun because I hate the government. I have a gun
because I understand the limitations of government.
*
I don't have a gun because I'm angry. I have a gun so that I don't
have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be
prepared.
*
I don't have a gun because I want to shoot someone. I have a gun
because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a
sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.
*
I don't have a gun to make me feel like a man. I have a gun because
men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.
*
I don't have a gun because I feel inadequate. I have a gun because
unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am Inadequate.
*
I don't have a gun because I love it. I have a gun because I love
life and the people who make it meaningful to me.
*
"Police Protection" is an oxymoron. Free citizens must protect
themselves. Police do not protect you from crime; they usually just
investigate the crime after it happens, do the paperwork and then call someone in to
clean up the mess.
*
Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old
to take a Beating.

Yes, I Believe that Jesus can protect me, but in His Word, He tells us to use Wisdom.

1 Timothy 5:8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

-- Author Unknown (but obviously brilliant)


Friday, February 06, 2009

A God Planned Life

For example, the eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days;


Those of the canary in 14 days;


Those of the barnyard hen in 21 days.


The eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days;


Those of the mallard in 35 days.


The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days.
(Notice, they are all divisible by Seven).

God's wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant.
The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction.
No other Quadruped is so made.


God planned that this animal would have a huge body,
Too large to live on two legs.
For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it
Can rise from the ground easily.


The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first.

A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first.
How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!

God's wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments as well as in the number of grains.


Each watermelon has an even number of strips on the rind.
Each orange has an even number of segments.

Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.


Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains


Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.


The waves of the sea roll In on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.

All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks



The Lord specified Thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold -

All even numbers.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day, so that Linneus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil,moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed.

Thus the Lord in His wonderful grace can arrange the life that is entrusted to His care in such a way that it will carry out
His purposes and plans, and will be fragrant with His

Presence.

Only the God-planned life is successful. Only the life given over to the care of the Lord is safe.


Agape,

Zelma