Friday, September 28, 2012

No Condemnation!

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.
Oh, Hallelujah! The work of the cross of Christ is so absolutely complete, the blood so overwhelmingly efficacious that the believer who is following Christ walks scot free!

The lawyerly Apostle Paul lays out the case of the believer’s innocence out so efficiently, elegantly and even dramatically that even OJ's Dream Team would be reduced to admiring tears.

Chapter 7 closes with utter frustration. The apostle finds himself crying out in desperation, "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" He had just expressed the infighting of his dichotomous nature; the flesh verses the spirit, the old nature battling the new. It almost hurts to read aloud Romans 7:15-20. We take solace that if this inward battle ravaged the greatest Christian life ever lived, then we know that we pusillanimous believers are in good company.

However, the final lines of chapter 7 introduce us to the majesty of the Bible’s Mount Everest chapter, Romans 8.

Here is the inkling: Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

A Savage war exists within our members but Jesus Christ our Lord be thanked for dropping the capital charges that were against us, allowing us to savor the free air of complete exoneration.

Legalists will do their best to draw you back into their guilt-ridden world of do's and don’ts, thou shalts and thou shalt nots. Their extreme misery desires wretched company.

But those living to please their Savior through loving relationship no longer take each step with an eye on their past and wondering when the hammer is going to fall.

Clean, forgiven, unshackled, uncondemned! That is how eternity, from the moment of salvation and going forward, is meant to be for the blood-washed child of God.

Are you still looking over your shoulder toward an ungodly past? Are you hopelessly struggling against your ever-resurrecting flesh?

Stop warring and start enjoying the winning that is already yours. As Jesus often said to those He touched and healed, "Go and sin no more." Did they ever sin again? Of course. But then, one must realize his/her error, the blood's power, complete forgiveness and move on, uncondemned once again.  

From Don Francisco:
Sittin' by my window on a rainy afternoon
Everything inside my head was playin' out of tune
I was thinkin' of the fool I'd made of me the night before
In front of God and everyone I'd sinned and sinned some more.

I thought of all the things I'd done, I winced at things I'd said
I wallowed in self-pity, I hung my worried head
Right when I was so far down that even up looked wrong
That's when Jesus gave to me the chorus of this song.

He said, "Satan the Accuser has been whisperin' in your ear"
You just tell him you're forgiven and he's got no business here
'Cause it doesn't matter what you've done
It matters what you'll be
There is no condemnation when the Son has set you free.

Now I could say that right away the sun burst through the clouds
And I just started singin' on the chorus right out loud
But actually I moped around and blew another day
Before I let myself accept the words I'd heard Him say.

He said, "Satan the Accuser has been whisperin' in your ear"
You just tell him you're forgiven and he's got no business here
'Cause it doesn't matter what you've done
It matters what you'll be
There is no condemnation when the Son has set you free.

So I can't criticize you now if you want to take your time
And cling to all your problems just the way I clung to mine
But now you've got the answer Jesus wanted you to know
He'll take your sin and guilt away if you'll just let them go. 

He said, "Satan the Accuser has been whisperin' in your ear"
You just tell him you're forgiven and he's got no business here
'Cause it doesn't matter what you've done
It matters what you'll be
There is no condemnation when the Son has set you free.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to get your prayers answered

The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. - C.S. Lewis
1.     Get on praying ground –  3 questions:
       a.     Are you Saved? Luke11:13, 2 Chr 7:14 
       b.     Is your life right? Psa 37:4 
       c.      Are you fighting with your spouse? 1 Pet 3:7 
          2. Pray according to God’s will, not according to your desires. James 4:3 
3.     Pray in Jesus’ name. John 14:13-14, John 15:16, John 16:23-24, John16:26 
4.     Have faith – pray in faith believing. Mat 21:22 
God rewards faith! Heb 11:6 
5.     Enlist the aid of another prayer warrior. Mat 18:19 
6.     Be patient and persistent in your prayers. Mat 21:21, John 15:7, Luke 18:2-8  I Thess 5:17
7.     Pray in humility. Luke 18:9-14, I PE 5:5
8.     If need be, Fast! Psa 35:13 
God wants to hear you pray. He wants to answer your prayers. He is for you in prayer. So, don’t make it more difficult than it really is.
A closing salvo from Robert Murray McCheyne: What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delivered! Free at Last!!!

Rom 7:6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

I know (and love) people who are servants to the Old Testament laws. They are under bondage, as Paul dealt with so thoroughly so often. I hope and pray that one day they will come to the realization, as I did, that they need to serve Christ and not stipulations meant solely for the Jews. It is about relationship, not rules!

I am not talking about the universal moral laws of God, I am talking about dietary, travel, dress, Sabbath restrictions and the like which are to have no bearing on the life of Spirit-filled believers.

How many years I failed to make this delineation and suffered miserably within my faith and tried to impose this same misery on others. Misery loves company! “If I have to deprive myself, you must also.”

The fruit of a life lived under Old Testament law is misery, resentment, inadequacy, division and pride. How could anyone wish this for themselves and their loved ones?

The Apostles of Christ were hounded by this legalism, based in pride and tradition more than the Old Testament, as Judaizers hounded them from city to city, demanding that believers knuckle under to their version of "godly" parameters. But they would not abide this legalism and counseled together to proclaim liberty to the captives of such religiously imposed imprisonment.

Have you been delivered?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What is Hanging Over Your Head?

Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Imagine something with me for a moment.

Imagine yourself with one of two things hanging over your head.

Either an ominous, deadly weight of the moral law is hanging precariously over you, dangling by a worn and frayed rope with only a few threads remaining intact. Every time you fail, another thread snaps and the load of the law drops another inch. You surmise that soon, you are going to be crushed by the weight of the law. This is a picture of the person outside of Christ, condemned by his sin and disbelief.

Or, you are overshadowed by the kind hand of God. Being far from perfect, you are deserving of any judgment that might fall upon you, but that gracious hand which hovers over you protects you from any hurt or danger. This is the state of the one who has been forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus. This believer is covered by grace; unmerited, wonderful, amazing, protective, overcoming, abounding, redeeming grace.

Thank God that He has placed His Holy Spirit within us, His angels all around us and His graceful hand over us.

And because of this blessed state, we should walk accordingly. We should act like we are saved. Sin no longer dictates our actions, we are free to love and serve Jesus.

It is said that before we were saved, we ran to sin, now that we are saved, we run from sin. When we were shadowed by the law, sin dictated our actions, when it said "jump" we asked, "how high?" Now, as we are covered by grace, when sin dictates that we jump, we have the power to say yes or no. Because of our position under grace, we are able to refuse sins dictates.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Blessed Autumn to All!

Jeremiah 8:20  The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

I love the fall! I appreciate the relief of the cooler weather, the gorgeous panoramas as the Master Artist dips His brush into the brilliant and rustic colors of His magnificent palette and strokes nature's canvas with glory.  I like college football, playing piles of leaves with the kids, going to the pumpkin patch, dragging out the sweaters and corduroys and sipping hot drinks. I absolutely crave fall fishing and hunting!

Best of all, Fall is a precursor to Winter. To me, that is analogous to the in-gathering of the saints before the time of earth’s dormancy. The harvest of souls will one day be completed and we will make our way to the Big House for some quality family time of rejoicing and fellowship.

Have we targeted some for planting seed, watering, weeding and harvesting? If they are still not saved, we still have an opportunity.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pay Day's Coming

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Apostle lays a choice before us, serve the flesh for a fruitless existence which leads to death, or yield yourself to the Savior for a fruitful life and eternity with the Lord. (22)

Catering to the flesh brings shame. Its pleasures are fleeting and there is nothing of value left in the aftermath. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (21)

The choice will be laid before each of us several times today. Crucify the flesh early and often and let the Spirit of the Lord have His way in your life. That's the life that pays!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Goodbye, Farewell, Adios, Adieu, Shalom, Aloha to the Old Man

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7  For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Honestly, I don't know how to get rid of the old man. He is the flesh that desires autonomy and sinful pleasures against God. We that are believers are now possessed of a dual nature composed of the old and new man. The soul is redeemed and spirit is quickened, but the body remains corruptible and mortal until the day of our home-going when it shall be made immortal and incorruptible.

You can't really part with the old nature until that day, if you would, what parting word could be used? You wouldn't want to wish it anything good, so goodbye is inappropriate. You don't commend it to God, therefore Adios and Adieu don't suffice. Aloha? Not something you want to say to one you are more than willing to part with. Shalom? I suppose peace is not too bad of a wish for the old man. You get my meaning though, right? The sooner we part, the better, for it is this body of death, this old nature, the old man, which breaks sweet fellowship with the Savior. It tries to get the upper hand, to gain control. It struggles for preeminence over my soul and spirit.

At least I can slay it each day as I yield myself to God and my parts to His service. How about "hang loose and so long?"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Blessed Rosh Hashanah!

Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of Trumpets begins today, September 16th at sunset and continues through Tuesday evening at sunset. I would like to wish all our Jewish friends a happy Jewish new year.

The Feast of Trumpets always makes me think of the “last trump” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. As well as the trumpet mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

See also Matt. 24:31

It seems that every major event in the New Testament age has or will have occurred on a Jewish feast day. These feast days are significant in their meaning as they match up with the event for the New Testament.

There were 7 holy days, or feast days ordained to Israel under Moses. 9 are now celebrated with the inclusion of Hanukkah and Purim. I will match the original 7 up with their apparent corresponding event of the New Testament.

Passover – Crucifixion of Christ

Unleavened Bread – Christ’s burial

First-fruits – Resurrection of Christ

Pentecost – Holy Spirit’s empowerment of the church

Trumpets – Parousia of Christ

Tabernacles – The final ingathering of the nations

Day of Atonement – Israel’s final cleansing

Our eyes are veiled concerning much about the coming of Christ. There are a lot of things we do know, but much we don’t. The coming of Christ could be any day, but I tend to get a little excited every time the Rosh Hashanah rolls around, thinking that I might just hear a trumpet sound and a voice accompanying that trumpet saying, “Come up hither!”