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Archive for January, 2010

Reviewing the Gifts Passages (from Part 2)

Now to each one the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Cor 12:7-11):
The message of wisdom, The message of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healing, Miraculous powers, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in different kinds of tongues, Interpretation of tongues

In the church God has appointed (1 Cor 12:28):
First apostles, Second prophets, Third teachers, Then workers of miracles, Those having gifts of healing, Those able to help others, Those with gifts of administration, Those speaking in different kinds of tongues

Christ gave some to be (Eph 4:11-13):
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers

Different Gifts (Rom 12:4-8):
Prophesying, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Contributing (to the needs of others), Leadership, Showing mercy

The Different Gifts and Serving Appointments

Now, for clarity, if we were to represent each gift by a single word, and if we do a little sorting and notice there is some overlap in the gift passages, then we can see that there are nine Spiritual manifestations given to each one for the common good(1 Cor 12:7-11) and there are fifteen God given serving appointments(Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 12:28, Rom 12:4-8) for the edification and equipping of the body, and for the glory of His ‘Kingdom come’ here on earth.  Highlighted in red they are…

Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Tongues, Interpretation (1 Cor 12:7-11)

Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, Pastors (Eph 4:11-13)
Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracles, Healing, Helpers, Administration, Tongues (1 Cor 12:28)
Prophecy, Teaching, Serving, Encouraging, Giving, Leadership, Mercy (Rom 12:4-8)

Just to make that clearer there are…

Nine Spiritual Manifestations (given to each one for the common good)

Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Tongues, Interpretation (1 Cor 12:7-11)

Fifteen Spirit Given Serving Appointments

Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, Pastors, Miracles, Healing, Helpers, Administration, Tongues, Serving, Encouraging, Giving, Leadership, Mercy (Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 12:28, Rom 12:4-8)

With regard to the nine Spiritual manifestations…

It is my understanding and my belief and my experience, that those who are born again of the Spirit of God (John 3:5-8) will naturally or rather supernaturally manifest the nine gifts of the Spirit from time to time, through the exercising of their faith, and as the Spirit leads and directs and enables. These gifts aren’t just for the ‘super-Christians’ or the ‘wacky-charismatics’ 🙂 they are for ALL of us to build up the body of Christ for the common good.

With regard to the fifteen Spirit given serving appointments…

Now, I want to make the distinction here between the manifestations of the Spirit (given to all (who are born of the Spirit) from time to time, as faith is exercised and as the Spirit leads and directs and enables) and the specific roles or offices given by the Spirit for the function and equiping of His body.

Dr. Dale A. Robbins puts it this way…

The ministry of Spiritual Gifts originates in the New Testament, commissioned by our Lord Jesus Christ. After He established His church on the earth and ascended to Heaven, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to equip His church with power and spiritual gifts (Greek — charismata) so that His disciples could continue to carry out His ministry objectives. While there are certain gifts of a spectacular nature that are often given greater attention, the New Testament mentions at least 21 that are provided to the church. These gifts are listed in Eph. 4:11, Rom. 12:3-7, and 1 Cor. 12:1-12,28, and are generally assigned to one of three categories, as listed below:

  • Charismatic (spiritual) gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Tongues, Interpretation
  • Ministry (office) gifts: Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, Pastors
  • Motivational (practical) gifts: Service, Encouraging, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Helpers, Administration

I find Dr Robbins list quite helpful but it’s difficult (perhaps impossible) to define or categorise the Spiritual with mere words.  Note that the specific appointments of Miracles, Healing and Tongues from the 1 Cor 12:28 passage are not apparent in his list.  Note also that I don’t believe this list is suggesting that some gifts are Spiritual and some aren’t.  But, as you browse the list, can you see those in your church with the gift of ‘service’ for example?  Or perhaps the gift of ‘encouraging’ or ‘giving’ or ‘leadership’ or ‘mercy’ or ‘help’ or ‘administration’?  I can!  I  mean, we are all called to do all these things but there are those in your church and my church who have these specific gifts.  Just as a side note, I find it interesting (to say the least), that those with these gifts often tend to beat their drum from the perspective of their gift and say things like “If we are all better at leadership then the church will grow” or “If we acted more mercifully the church would grow” etc, etc. 🙂

Hold on a minute…

Let’s just stop here for a moment and make an observation.  Is there any ‘office gift’ missing in your church or my church?  I mean, I’m sure you have a Pastor(s) and maybe a Teacher(s) (you might be overrun with teachers 🙂 ) and, if you are really ‘lucky’ (sarcasm), you may have an Evangelist, but what about an Apostle or a ProphetWhat is an Apostle anyway? And prophet, “Oh, we have prophecy from time to time” it may be said.  No, no, no!  The ‘office’ of prophet (Eph 4:11-13, 1 Cor 12:28, Rom 12:4-8), not the ‘each one manifestation of the Spirit’ as mentioned in 1 Cor 12:7-11.  Do some homework on what an Apostle isHere is a linkDo some homework on what a Prophet is. Here is a link.

Why does the Modern Church have mainly Pastors and Teachers?

Would it fair to say that the church (at large) has a handle on Pastors and Teachers because these can be performed naturally instead of supernaturally? – these can be performed without faith and without the Spirits empowerment? (and then we wonder why people and churches ‘crash and burn’).

To be continued…

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Does it amaze you (it does me) that God gives us His most precious gift, the gift of His Son Jesus, and yet continues to lavish upon us further gifts for His plans and purposes and His Kingdom come here on Earth?

What are the Gifts?

So, what are the gifts?  There are four main passages in the Bible that speak about gifts.  They are Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-13, 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 and Ephesians 4:7-13.  However, I think it is important to consider the whole of the chapters of Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4.  I think it also important to include 1 Corinthians 13 and 14 as well as parts of Paul’s letters to Timothy and some things that Jesus said but I may not get time to include these in this blog.

Romans Chapter 12

Submission and Transformation; Gifts and Love

Rom 12:1-3 (Submission and Transformation)
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual  act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Rom 12:4-8 (Different gifts but one body – we belong to each other)
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his  faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Rom 12:9-21 (Love)
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”  says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Different Gifts (Rom 12:4-8):
Prophesying
Serving
Teaching
Encouraging
Contributing (to the needs of others)
Leadership
Showing mercy

1 Corinthians Chapter 12

1 Corinthians 12:1-31
12:1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,  and to still another the interpretation of tongues.   11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by  one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire  the greater gifts.

To each one the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Cor 12:7-11):
The message of wisdom
The message of knowledge
Faith
Gifts of healing
Miraculous powers
Prophecy
Distinguishing between spirits
Speaking in different kinds of tongues
Interpretation of tongues

In the church God has appointed (1 Cor 12:28):
First apostles
Second prophets
Third teachers
Then workers of miracles
Those having gifts of healing
Those able to help others
Those with gifts of administration
Those speaking in different kinds of tongues

Ephesians Chapter 4

Eph 4:1-32

4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it  says: “When he ascended on high,he led captives in his trainand gave gifts to men.”  9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.  29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Christ gave some to be (Eph 4:11-13):
Apostles
Prophets
Evangelists
Pastors
Teachers

So putting them all together…

Different Gifts (Rom 12:4-8):
Prophesying, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Contributing (to the needs of others), Leadership, Showing mercy

Now to each one the manifestations of the Spirit is given for the common good (1 Cor 12:7-11):
The message of wisdom, The message of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healing, Miraculous powers, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in different kinds of tongues, Interpretation of tongues

In the church God has appointed (1 Cor 12:28):
First apostles, Second prophets, Third teachers, Then workers of miracles, Those having gifts of healing, Those able to help others, Those with gifts of administration, Those speaking in different kinds of tongues

Christ gave some to be (Eph 4:11-13):
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers

To be continued…

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The Lord has had me focusing in on just one verse today.

1 Cor 12:7
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Thoughts:
Now to EACH ONE (ie: not just SOME people) the manifestation of the Spirit (the materialisation and evidence and demonstration and expression of God’s power and grace and purposes and pleasure and freedom, the tangable and perceptible embreaking of the Kingdom of God here on this earth by His Spirit through His people) is given (ie: the gifts are divinely given by our Heavenly Father) for the common good (for the the common and shared and collective good of His church (not for the gain or profit of an individual) but for His power and His glory to be displayed through His body, the Church). You see…

The Lord wants His bride, the church, to shine His glory and power and grace and freedom and love to this world

Isa 60:1-3
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Are we too self centred/individualistic to receive the gifts mentioned in the following verses?


1 Cor 12:8-11
8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,  and to still another the interpretation of tongues.   11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

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Just to recap ‘Sin (Part 2)’…

Sin is anything that goes against God’s written Word and God’s spoken Word.  If we are a truly, born again, Spirit filled believers we have a new Master – Jesus.  Sin is no longer our master.  The power of sin is broken in our lives and we are called to a life of obedience in Jesus.  Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to live this life of power and victory over sin.

Sin (Part 3) – Displaying God’s Power and Glory!

Now I am thinking to myself, how could I have such a title?  I mean, am I suggesting that we should sin more so that God’s grace can be displayed more?  No! – this is a nonsense (Paul deals with this type of thinking in Romans 6).  What I am suggesting is, whether we like it or not, our lives are on display to God and to others.  Each one of us is a light on a hill [Matt 5:14-15].  Now if we are truly born of the Holy Spirit and Jesus is our Master then we will have the power and the victory to display God’s glory through our lives by the choices that we make.

To sin or not to sin? – this is the question

In Genesis chapter 4 for have the story of Cain and Abel.  If you remember, Abel’s offering was acceptable to the Lord but Cain’s offering was not.  Instead of Cain examining himself he became angry and bitter towards Abel (and killed him).  This is what the Lord said to Cain as he sat in his temptation…

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.[Gen 4:6-7]

Let me make this clear,

Sin is crouching at OUR door but we must master it

Listen to what James says about sin…

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. [James 1:13-15]

Are we tempted by God?  No way!  Are we tempted by Satan?  Ah – what an interesting point!  Yes, we can be tempted by Satan but Satan is a single being and is not omnipresent so normally we would be tempted by the Satanic influences of this world.  But consider the verses above in James but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed”. These influences tap into our own evil desires.  We cannot say if we sin that “the Devil made me do it” or, if we remember the story of Adam and Eve’s sin, blame shift.

The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” [Gen 3:12-13]

Each of us are responsible for the attitudes of our hearts and the ‘birth of sin’ in our lives

Just before Adam and Eve made their excuses to God I want to bring up something interesting in the story.  Let’s read Genesis 3:6-7…

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Sin appeals to our senses and our self centred sinful nature

For Eve the fruit looked good for food and was pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom.  Eve was also justifying her actions.

Looks good, feels good, tastes good

Many people try to justify their sin by their senses.  Take adultery for example, looks good, feels good, tastes good.  Take homosexuality, looks good, feels good, tastes good.  Take drugs and alcohol, looks good, feel good, tastes good.  Take the sin of revenge, looks good, feels good, tastes good.  Take the sin of gossipping, looks good, feels good, tastes good.  And on and on.

There is a certain amount of evil, sensual pleasure otherwise the battle against sin would be a no brainer.  Sin appears enjoyable and the sinner justifies the sin.

Let me state something…

God is not going to change the taste of sin!

Rom 7:5-6 says:

5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature,  the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

If you are waiting for God to change the taste of sin you will be waiting a hell of a long time.  But, if on the other hand, you submit your heart and life to Him, throwing yourself at the mercy of God in repentance, there is hope for you.

Say to yourself…

Today, am I going to display God’s power and glory in my life?

or am I going to

‘Glorify’ the power of sin and the fruit of death in my life today


THIS CHOICE IS UP TO US!


If you are a born again believer,

You have the power to choose the fruit of death or the fruit of life!

Now if you don’t believe you have the power to choose you have believed a lie of the enemy and you make a mockery of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I believe your Word.  I submit my life to your power and authority achieved for me through the cross.  I no longer want to sow into the fruit of death and sin in my life.  Forgive me Lord that I have allowed the power of the enemy into my life.  I renounce my evil ways and I am truly sorry for my sin.  Come live in me Lord and transform me from the inside out.  I want to display your power and your glory in my life.  Holy Spirit, I receive you.  Come live in me and give me a new heart.  Lord I want to live for your glory and your Kingdom, transform me, I never want to serve sin and death again, in Jesus name, Amen

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I am thinking (again) this morning about sin and…

Why don’t we hear more preaching about sin?

Well, as I look back over my blog ‘hits’, I think I have answered my own question.  You see, my blog hits went from 70 down to 2 yesterday for the subject of sin.  I think I am onto something here.  I don’t think sin is a very popular subject.  Perhaps it is no longer ‘politically correct’ to tell people they are sinners deserving of Hell and to repent of their evil ways (he said sarcastically).  I mean who has the right to do that anyway?  Surely I have not reached perfection and I have no right highlighting other people’s sin.  Who has the right to preach this message except Jesus himself.  And there is the point, would the genuinely anoited preacher who preaches the uncompomised Word of God in power please stand up?  Could 2 Tim 4:3-4 be coming true before our very eyes?.

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

So, getting back to the subject, what is sin?
For a while there I used to define sin as something that hurts you and/or hurts someone else. But, although this is a reasonable definition, it has holes.  A better definition is that…

Sin is anything that goes against the Word of God

The Word of God being defined as God’s written Word (the Bible) but also the Word of God that directly speaks to us.  These are called the Logos (written Word) and the Rhema (spoken Word – God directly speaking to us).  So, to put it simply…

If God says ‘don’t do it’, ‘DON’T DO IT!”

There is no discussion or debate.  God and I aren’t equal debators.  My wisdom is nothing compared to God’s wisdom.  It is not necessary for me to have full understanding of ‘why’ before I obey Eg: “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” [Gen 2:17] .  The Word of God commands my full attention and obedience so that…

Whatever God says, goes!

Further Examples:
If I go out and steal my neighbour’s whipper snipper and punch him in the nose when he tries to stop me I am guilty of a number of sins as defined in the written Word of God.

Also, if God is speaking to me about going to visit my neighbour to bless him and I continually and deliberately ignore Him then I am guilty of the sin of disobedience for not obeying the spoken Word of God that is in my heart.

BOTH are disobedience against the Word of God

Now the former appears a more severe sin than the later but who can judge?  Perhaps the later has more severe eternal consequences.

Who is your Master?

Now here is a very important question.  Let’s look at some Words of Jesus.  Jesus, speaking to the ‘Jews who believed’ and the Pharisees, replied,

“I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” [John 8:34-36]

Free from what?  Sinning ?  No!  We are not yet perfect.  Then, free from what?

Free from the power of sin!

For the true, born again believer sin no longer has a hold on them/us.

Sin is no longer our master!

Have a listen to these verses from Romans 6:5-14:

5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with,  that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The truth is, IF we are truly born again

we have a new Master

who has conquered sin and conquered death

JESUS!

and as disciples of Jesus we are to fully obey Him.

Jesus said in John 15:14:

“You are my friends IF you do what I command”

We cling onto Jesus with all of our strength knowing that we…

9 are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, IF the Spirit of God lives in you. And IF anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But IF Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And IF the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For IF you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but IF by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
[Rom 8:9-14]

Prayer:
Father, forgive me for not obeying you fully.  Forgive me for not making you my Master fully.  You are more important to me than any sin in my life.  I believe your Word that sin no longer has a hold on my life.  Forgive me of my sin, I don’t want to do that again.  May your power fully manifest in my life as I fully submit to you.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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We don’t hear a lot of preaching about sin these days and yet…

It is because of OUR sin that Jesus died on that cross

I  believe, we need to hear a lot more preaching about sin so that we hear a lot more preaching about the God’s solution to sin.

It is because of OUR sin that we needed a Saviour

You see, having an understanding of the seriousness and foulness of our sin is basic and essential to having an understanding of the graciousness of the cross and a true and correct understanding of salvation.  Sin and God’s solution to sin go together.

It is because of OUR sin that we have the cross

The offensiveness of the cross makes no sense unless we understand the offensiveness of our sin.

The horror and offense of the cross highlights…

How extremely foul and offensive OUR sin is in the sight of a Holy God

God hates sin and his anger and wrath are poured out against those who sin.

My friend…

We are in desperate need of a Saviour

The penalty for OUR sin is death but the good news is, by the grace of God…

Jesus bore the penalty for OUR sin on that cross!

Now I’m not sure why we don’t hear a lot more preaching about sin.   Maybe telling people they are sinners is a little offensive nowadays and we don’t want to offend anyone do we? (he said sarcastically)  But…

How is anyone going to understand the cross if they don’t understand the foulness and offense of their sin?

The truth be known…

The message of the gospel has always been offensive

It is offensive to those who don’t want to hear it (ie: those who are perishing) but very, very sweet to those who accept it.

The Bible tells us…

All of us are guilty of sin

“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Rom 3:23]

and all of us need to come humbly towards our gracious Heavenly Father in…

REPENTANCE

Turning away from the stench of sin and turning towards a Holy and Righteous God.

In the light of a Holy God we see the stench and the wickedness of our sin

In the light of a Holy God we see our desperate need for the saviour

In the light of a Holy God we understand the truth of the cross

In the light of a Holy God we repent and turn away from our sin and turn towards Him

In the light of a Holy God we give our life to the One who saved us from the penalty of our sins


Thank you Jesus!

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To all the broken people,
To the boy or girl who has been abused or neglected,
To the boy that never became a man,
To the girl that never became a woman,

There is hope and there is healing

You don’t have to continue in your self destructive ways.  Jesus came to give you LIFE!  Ubuntant life!

How many times have you heard that and felt “Where is this ubundant life?  I cannot find this ubundant life in my torment and isolation”  The truth is God is not very far away from any of us but our minds and our souls have instigated coping mechanisms that get in the way of God’s healing waters. There is an answer,

We have to enter the ‘arena of healing’

Most people sit in the stands and never enter into the arena.  Why?  Some find an unhealthy and destructive comfort in staying the same.  Others believe the lie that things cannot change in their lives. Others ignore God’s promptings because of the effort involved in change.

I am here to tell you that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captives free BUT you(and me) we need to get out of the stands and enter into the ‘arena of healing’ where Jesus awaits us to give us victory for the healing of our souls.

We have to place ourselves in the battlefield and not in the stands

This requires effort and determination and courage on our part but Jesus is there on the battlefield to break those bondages and to bring those healing waters of ubundant life.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me the courage to get out of the stand and into the arena of healing in this New Year.  Lord I don’t want to waste another year.   I am going to grab onto this ubundant life with all of my heart and all of my strength.  Lord, I invite you to come into my life.  Father, deliver me and help me to overcome all that hinders me entering into all the fullness of your presence, the fullness of your joy and the fullness of your peace in Jesus Name, Amen

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