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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

How To Become A New Creation






I. Introduction
A. Titus 3:3—A picture of man in his natural condition without God: educated and sophisticated, perhaps, but still foolish and enslaved by sin.
B. Titus 3:4—Historically, the kindness and love of God was revealed in Jesus
Christ, making it possible for us to know God and thus to be different from what we were before. God is love and until we know Him personally, there is a depth of love we cannot conceive.

II. Salvation

A. Titus 3:5—Paul explains how God saves us. “Salvation” is the Bible’s word for
God’s all-inclusive provision for man through Jesus Christ, comprehending:
1. Forgiveness of sins
2. Gift of eternal life
3. Physical healing
4. Power to live a different life
5. Every provision financially and materially for all time
6. Assurance of eternity in the presence of Almighty God

B. God’s salvation is complete, perfect and entire and never needs to be amended or improved. There must be a moment in our experience where we enter into salvation in Jesus Christ, thus passing from:
1. Death to life
2. Condemnation to forgiveness
3. Darkness to light

C. Noah’s Ark is an example of God’s total provision for mankind, illustrating the three tenses in which the verb “to save” is used:
1. Perfect tense:
a. By grace we have been saved (Eph. 2:8). It has been settled forever.
b. By grace God provided the ark and everything that was needed for Noah and his family for all the time they would be in it.
2. Simple past tense:
a. God saved us (Tit. 3:5). Through a specific event that happens at a given time and place, we have the experience of “entering in” to God’s provision in Jesus Christ.
b. Noah and his family had to “enter in” to the ark to receive God’s provision in it.
3. Continuous present tense:
a. Unto us who are being saved the “preaching of the cross is the power of
God” (1 Cor. 1:8). This describes a continuous, ongoing experience.
b. The ark was continually saving Noah and his family all the time they were in it.

D. We must understand that we can do nothing to earn salvation.
1. The more we try to improve ourselves, the worse we will get.
2. Grace cannot be earned and no works of righteousness will avail to bring us salvation.
3. There will never come a time that we will not need God’s mercy.

E. If we desire the Holy Spirit to change us, there are eight facts we need to acknowledge:
1. No one can understand intellectually how the Holy Spirit works.
2. We do not command the Holy Spirit, we submit to Him.
3. We need to be “washed” for we are unclean—morally, mentally and
Spiritually—and no man can change that condition.
4. We need to be “regenerated” (born again) by receiving God’s Word into our heart by faith, where it is quickened by the Holy Spirit and a new (spiritual) birth takes place within us.
5. Everything about us becomes renewed (2 Cor. 5:16–18). A new life and a new personality are brought into being in us.
6. Through the Holy Spirit, every “born again” child of God is offered the privilege and the opportunity to know Jesus more perfectly, more intimately and more accurately than any of the apostles knew Him during his earthly ministry.
7. When we come to know Jesus in this way, we encounter the eternal Christ, who was, and is, and is to come, who has neither beginning of days nor end of life, the divine unchanging Son of God.
8. The moment Christ is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, we are a “new creation.”

III. How To Enter In To The Fullness Of The New Creation (i.e. Salvation)

A. God has never changed His program. It is still the same.
1. Repent
2. Be baptized
3. Receive the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38). The cut-off point between the past and the “new life” is the water.

B. Two Old Testament patterns:
1. In the ark, eight souls were separated from their old life by the water.
2. Coming out of Egypt, the Israelites were “immersed” in the cloud and passed through the sea and were thus separated from the old life.

C. Likewise in the New Testament, when we pass through the water (baptism) we are separated from our old life and enter into a new one.

D. First we must:
1. Confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord
2. Believe in our hearts God raised Him from the dead (see Rom 10:9)
E. Titus 3:6—Then the Holy Spirit will be shed abundantly on us through Jesus
Christ



adapted from  — Derek Prince Ministries–International

Monday, 22 October 2012

Like Precious Faith



God will do great things for us if we are prepared to receive them from Him. We are dull of comprehension because we let the cares of this world blind our eyes, but if we keep open to God, He has a greater plan for us in the future than we have seen or ever have dreamed about in the past. It is God’s delight to fulfil to us impossibilities because of His omnipotence, and when we reach the place where He alone has the right of way in all things, then all mists and misunderstandings will clear away.

I have been asking the Lord for His message for you this morning, and I believe He would have me turn to the second epistle of Peter, first chapter, beginning with the first verse:
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 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. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 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.
Verses 1-8
Probably there is not a greater word that anyone could bring to an audience than this word, “like precious faith.” “Like Precious Faith” means that God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, has always had people that He could trust; that He could illuminate, that He could enlarge until there was nothing within them that would hinder the power of God. Now this “Like Precious Faith” is the gift that God is willing to impart to all of us. He wants us to have this faith in order that we may “subdue kingdoms,” “work righteousness,” and, if it should be necessary, “stop the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 11:33).
We should be able under all circumstances to triumph. Not that we have any help in ourselves, but our help comes only from God, and if our help is only in God then we are always strong and never weak. It is always those people who are full of faith who have a “good report,” who never murmur, who are in the place of victory, who are not in the place of human order, but of divine order in God. He is the Author of our faith, and our faith is always based on “thus saith the Lord.”

This “Like Precious Faith” is for all. There is a word in the third chapter of Ephesians which is very good for us to consider: that you “may be able to comprehend with all saints...” (Ephesians 3:18). What does this “Like Precious Faith” mean to you this morning? Every one here is receiving a blessing because of the faith of Abraham. But remember this, this “Like Precious Faith” is the same that Abraham had. This “Like Precious Faith” is the substance of the power of eternal life which is given to us through the Word. You may not be able to use this faith because of some hindrance in your life. I have had a thousand road engines come over my life to break me up and bring me to the place where this faith could operate within me. There is no way into the deep things of God, only through a broken spirit. When we are thus broken, we cease forever from our own works for Another, even Christ, has taken the reign. Faith in God, and power with God, come to us through the knowledge of the Word of God. Whatever we may think about it, it is true that we are no better than our faith. Whatever your estimation is of your own ability, of your own righteousness, or of your work in any way, you are no better than your faith.

How wonderful is this faith that overcomes the world! “He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God overcomes the world!” But how does he overcome the world? If you believe in Him you are purified as He is pure. You are strengthened because He is strong. You are made whole because He is whole. All of His fulness may come into you because of the revelation of Himself. Faith is the living principle of the Word of God. If we yield ourselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit we shall be divinely led into the deep things of God, and the truths and revelations and all His mind will be made so clear unto us that we shall live by faith in Christ.

God has no thought of anything on a small scale. In the passage which we have read this morning are these words, “Grace and peace be ‘multiplied’ unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). God’s Word is always on the line of multiplication, and so I believe the Lord wants us on that line this morning. We see “Like Precious Faith” is to be obtained “through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” God’s Word is without change. We are to be filled with the righteousness of God on the authority of the Word. His righteousness is from everlasting to everlasting, the same, yesterday and today and forever.
If I limit the Lord, He cannot work within me, but if I open myself to God then He will surely fill me and flow through me.

We must have this “Like Precious Faith” in order to have our prayers answered. If we ask anything according to God’s will, we are told that He hears us, and if we know that He hears us, then we know we have the petitions that we desire. Oh, brothers, sisters, we must go into the presence of God and get from Him the answer to our prayers. Hear what Mark 11:24 says,
...What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
In the twenty-third verse we see mountains removed, difficulties all cleared away. When? When the man believes in his heart and refuses to doubt. We must have the reality, we must know God, we must be able to go into His presence and converse with God.
This “Like Precious Faith” goes on multiplying in grace and in peace through the knowledge of God. It places our feet on the Rock, and brings us to an unlimited place in our faith. This faith makes you dare to do anything with and for God. Remember that you can only be built up on the Word of God. If you build yourself on imagination or your own thoughts you will go wrong.

The Bible is the Word of God: supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on. Truly it is the Word of God. It brings into man the personality of God; it changes the man until he becomes the epistle of God. It transforms his mind, changes his character, takes him on from grace to grace, and gives him an inheritance in the Spirit. God comes in, dwells in, walks in, talks through, and sups with him.
Your peace be multiplied! You are to rejoice greatly. Oh! the bride ought to rejoice to hear the Bridegroom’s voice. How we love our Bridegroom and how He loves us! How adorable He is and how sweet is His countenance. At the presence of Jesus, all else goes.

Oh, my brother, my sister, we have the greatest tide of all our life. There is no tide like the power of the “latter rain.” We must not fail to see what remarkable things God has for every one of us.
Beloved, I would like to press into your heart this morning the truth that God has no room for an ordinary man. God wants to take the ordinary man and put him through the sieve and bring him out into a place of extraordinary faith. The cry of our souls can be satisfied only with God. The great plan of God is to satisfy, you, and then give you the vision of something higher.

If ever you stop at any point, pick up at the place where you failed, and begin again under the refining light, and power and zeal of heaven and all things will be brought to you, for He will condescend to meet you.
Remember, beloved, it is not what you are but what God wants you to be. What shall we do? Shall we not dedicate ourselves afresh to God? Every new revelation brings a new dedication.
Let us seek Him.







adapted from Smith Wigglesworth

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fear Rejection? Remember, You're Acceptable to God



"For it is when the Lord thinks well of us that we are really approved, and not when we think well of ourselves." (2 Corinthians 10:18 TEV)





The effect of sin is always insecurity. The more we sin, the more insecure we become. Somebody ignores you at a party and you say, "They must not like me!" No, maybe they just didn't see you were there. But because you saw through the eyes of fear, you were vulnerable.

When we look at life through the eyes of fear, we don't see other people in their pain. We only see our fear. We miss opportunities to minister to others. We can only see ourselves and what victims we are. We must look and see the pain of others and give our lives away as Jesus said; otherwise, we are vulnerable to the fear of rejection.

The fear of rejection is actually a rejection of God’s truth. God not only created you to be unique. He also made you acceptable through Christ: “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4 NLT).

We are acceptable to God, not because of what we've done (we could never be good enough to be acceptable to a perfect God), but through what Jesus Christ has done. He died on the cross, paid for all our sins, and covered us with his love. God looks down and says, "What Jesus did was acceptable, and through him, you are now acceptable." All I have to do is accept what Christ has done for me and submit to his will.

God knows every single thing about you, and he still loves you. That is amazing. No matter who rejects you, God will never reject you. The Bible says, “My father and mother may abandon me, but the Lord will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10 TEV).

Some of you may still be trying to win your parents' approval. You never could get it growing up. But, if your parents rejected you growing up, it wasn't your problem; it was their problem. Parents who reject their children are actually rejecting God’s creations and telling God he made a mistake.



Talk About It

Whenever I ask a group of people about their fears, the number one fear is the fear of rejection. Why do you think that is so?God has given us the Good News to share, but many times we don't share it because we’re afraid of what other people may think. Talk about the implications of this. 






adapted from Rick Warren

Monday, 7 May 2012

Sin Shall Not Have Dominion




I have seen many people come to God, and sometimes a person will be instantly set free from habits like smoking, drinking, or drugs. Yet another person may spend years struggling with sin and addictions before he either catches hold of the truth and lives in the freedom of his salvation, or he turns loose of his relationship with God and is lost for good. But the question is "Why?"
We know that God is no respecter of persons, and since the same rebirth took place in both people, why does one person live a life free of sin and addictions while the other struggles and falls away? You see, everyone has access to the same amount of power at their rebirth. What they do in the hours and days following their conversion--concerning the Word they hear and the grace they establish themselves in--determines the rate at which they become "free."
A person who is bound by sinful habits must understand from "Day 1" of his salvation that no matter how hopelessly overpowered he may feel or how powerful the sin may appear to be, the power of sin has been broken over him! Sin cannot make him do what he does not want to do!
Yet Satan continually uses deception and circumstances to keep us oblivious to God's truth--Sin shall not have dominion over us! (Romans 6:14) This deception of the enemy robs us of the faith we need to come totally out of the world's lifestyles, practices, and ways of thinking, and establish ourselves in God.
No matter how much we want to say, "I could not help it," "It was out of my control," "The temptation was much too great for me," or "The devil made me do it," we must understand: God did not let that sin overpower us; we did. When we understand this, we have taken our first real step into the freedom of God's Word and out of our problem.
A great injustice has also been done to the new believer because of incorrect teachings about the grace of God. Instead of being taught that God's grace "frees" him from sin, he is taught that grace "covers" him while living in sin. This wrong doctrine makes the new believer an easy target for the devil, leading him away from using his faith in what the Word says to overcome his flesh, and instead, into the deceptive thinking that he can live a lifestyle of habitual sin and still go to Heaven.
Let's say a sinner gets born again and struggles with his conscience because the Holy Spirit is convicting him of sin-related habits, such as drinking, smoking, and adultery. He hears a minister teach that once you are born again, grace covers you while you continue in sinful habits. So this newly-saved person wonders why he should even bother to give up his cigarettes, alcohol, and women when it doesn't make any difference. Why bother to stop if he is going to Heaven anyway?
Yes, there is grace for a person bound by sin. Jesus will walk through hell with a believer trapped in ungodly habits, addictions, and lifestyles until he is totally free from the bondage of sin, but he has to want to be free. Whether the "getting free" process is long or short, unending grace is available for the person who is striving for God's truth in his life. On the other hand, when a believer begins to make excuses for his sin and to justify ungodly actions, he removes himself from the covering of God's grace and heads down the path of destruction.
One reason a person will be set free from sinful habits right after his conversion is because he has allowed the Holy Spirit to incorporate the law of the spirit of life into those areas of his life. A reason another person will struggle and struggle with sin after getting born again is because he is being "selective." There are certain sins he wants to hang on to, because in his heart he does not want to relinquish control of his sins over to the Holy Spirit.
There are many Christians who haven't quite reached the place where they want the Holy Spirit to break the hold that the sin has over them in order to be free. They have erected strongholds--wrong ways of thinking--in their minds that are reinforced by their emotions. Each time the Holy Spirit convicts the conscience of a believer who struggles with habitual sin, his emotions go to war against him to protect the sin and to keep the stronghold intact. The person will become trained to believe that his freedom is not worth the effort, that it is impossible. It becomes easier for him to believe false doctrine, like "God doesn't really mind the sin," than to continue fighting his flesh.
However, the problem with sin, especially the kind that the Apostle Paul classified in First Thessalonians 4:5 as concupiscence--"sexual in nature"--is that it will not maintain an even amount of control in a person's life. The sin will want more and more until, eventually, the person is back in the world in a worse state than he was before being born again.
Believe me when I say that I am not intending to bring any person under condemnation but merely to point out the fact that we have been set free from sin and we can stop sinning if we want to.
When a person plays with sin, the enemy's intention is to leave him completely destroyed. Yet, this doesn't mean that he can't ask God to forgive him and make his life right again. He can ask, and God will!
Let's take a look at James 1:14,15:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
This passage clearly tells us, when sin is finished, it intends on leaving us for dead. So the real danger of sin is that no matter what caused us to fall into it or to permit it in our life, the end result will always be the same. Sin leads to death!
Whether we have been led to believe that grace covers a lifestyle of active sin or that the temptation was too great for us to bear, we must remember what Paul said in Romans 6:14: "Sin shall not have dominion over us!" Ultimately, in order for temptation to get out of control in our life, there has to be something in us that wants to be enticed and to yield to temptation.
The word enticed, as used in James 1:14, means "having been excited at the prospect of gratifying the flesh more than wanting to resist the temptation." Whatever the cause, when a person gives himself over to enticement, the 15th verse classifies the temptation as giving way to lusts. And when lust conceives, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death.
When a woman conceives, it means she has become pregnant with a child, but she did not become pregnant by herself. Usually there is a romance, an engagement, and then a wedding. In other words, mutual cooperation on the part of both participants.
Along the same lines, sin--by itself--does not overpower a person. There has to be mutual cooperation between the person and the sin to produce conception. This cooperation begins with temptation giving way to enticement, and enticement giving way to lust.
When a woman conceives, she is carrying inside her womb a seed with the DNA or programming for a human being. In the same way, when lust impregnates the human soul, it carries within its seed the programming for a full-blown, out-of-control operation of sin that will take over a person's emotions.
This sin will attempt to keep that person from recognizing the grace and freedom in God's Word until it is finished and "brings forth death." That is to say, until sin delivers that person back into the spiritually-dead state he came out of, as Jude 12 says, These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.
In case you are wondering whether a man can be lost once he has been born again, notice that the 12th verse says, "trees whose fruit has withered, without fruit, twice dead"!
Now, why would Jude say "twice dead"? How can someone become dead a second time in this life? Jude had to be talking about spiritual death. In other words, the person is born spiritually dead, then at some point receives Christ and is born again, and then becomes spiritually dead again. That would make him twice dead.
I want to make this clear: Enticement is the beginning stage of flirting with sin. It is trying to gratify the appetites of the flesh by feeding it just a little bit at a time. However, let me assure you once more, the devil intends on leaving that person dead!
One of Satan's strongest delusions concerning sin is to deceive a person into thinking he is getting away with it, or to convince him that he will be able to stop "tomorrow." Well, I have sad news for people caught in this deception. Those kinds of "tomorrows" are the exception and not the rule. "Tomorrows" almost never come. The devil wants to keep a person flirting with sin until conception, because once conception takes place, that person will swear up and down he cannot stop sinning; his emotions just will not let him.
It is not that people trapped in sin will not come to church--they will. You see them at the altar, then back in the world, then back at the altar, then back into sin because their emotions are pregnant with sin and their will to serve God has been outweighed by emotions that demand gratification of the flesh.
But as I said before, I have good news for the person who is bound by sin: It is not necessary to stay that way, "for sin shall no more have dominion over you." Jesus has set you free!
Let's take a step into freedom by turning and spitting in the devil's eye and telling him that the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death! (Romans 8:2) No matter how out-of-control we may feel or how powerful sin may appear to be, it cannot make us do what we do not want to do. God has not failed us. He put His nature in us that desires to yield to the law of the spirit of life, and we can learn how to cooperate with life and not death.
To purge our emotions from our weakness towards sin and to fortify our will against yielding to the temptations of the flesh, we must mortify the deeds of the body by praying in the Holy Spirit every day. We also need to learn more about private worship, not just praising God in a song service at church, but the kind of worship where we are alone with God and we lift our hands and begin to worship Him because our names are written in Heaven, and we worship Him because His Word says we are free.
This is why James 1:2 says, Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, because worship and joy sustain us in the emotional realms of our soul where Satan loves to operate.
Also keep in mind that once sin reaches the conception stage, the devil will do everything within his power to convince a person that unless God comes along and does something really spectacular or "special," he can never be free.
Wrong! That is what the devil wants us to think. The last thing he wants us to understand is that God has already broken the power of sin over every man, woman, and child. The devil wants us to keep waiting for God to do something, while at the same time, God wants us to understand that He has already done everything! God wants to teach us how to reconcile our whole life to the Cross, which destroyed the hold that sin has over us.
Many people--bound by sin--have confessed their sins, repented of them, and asked forgiveness only to fall back into those sins again. But no matter how condemned a person may feel, he still needs to stand up after each failure and say, "Sin cannot make me do what I will not do because Jesus has set me free!" Then, instead of looking and waiting for Jesus to come and do something, he needs to turn and worship God for His Word that says He already has. This is how freedom begins.
Find a place that is private and start telling God over and over again how much you love Him. Just say, "I love You, Jesus. I love You, Father God. I worship and adore You." Keep worshipping and adoring Him like this for a while. Worship Him for who you are in Him based on His Word--and that is free from the dominion of sin! The more you worship your Father and declare yourself free from the dominion of sin, the more you will be transformed into the image of who you are as a born-again child of God, in whom sin no longer has dominion. You will renew your mind to the truth of God's Word.
Confess daily, "I thank You, Jesus, that sin has no more dominion over me. Therefore, I am free. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Therefore, I am free!"
            If you will worship and praise the Lord every day, for as long as it takes, I can assure you that you will be free!








Adapted from Dave Roberson

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Surrender Is the Heart of Worship








"Give yourselves to God ... surrender your whole being to him to be used for righteous purposes." Romans 6:13 (TEV)
The heart of worship is surrender.
Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. 
Surrender evokes the unpleasant images of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. Captured criminals surrender to the authorities.
In our competitive world we're taught to never quit trying, never give up, and never give in - so we don't hear much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable.
Yet, the Bible teaches us that rather than trying to win, succeed, overcome, and conquer, we should instead yield, submit, obey, and surrender
And by surrendering to God, we enter into the heart of worship. This is true worship: bringing pleasure to God as we give ourselves completely to him. 
Surrendering is best demonstrated in obedience, cooperating with your Creator. You say "Yes, Lord" to whatever he asks of you.
In fact, "No, Lord" is a contradiction. You can't claim Jesus as your Lord when you refuse to obey him. Peter modeled surrender when, after a night of failed fishing, Jesus told him to try again: "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." Surrendered people obey God's word, even when it doesn't make sense.
God is not a cruel slave driver or a bully who uses brute force to coerce us into submission. He doesn't try to break our will, but woos us to himself, so that we might offer it freely to him. God is a lover and a liberator, and surrendering brings freedom, not bondage.
When we completely surrender ourselves to Jesus, we discover that he is not a tyrant but a savior; not a boss, but a brother; not a dictator, but a friend.