Live Like a Champion – Week 30

“The Promise of a Teacher”

 

Memory Verse:  Luke 12:12

 

 …for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”                                                                         
 
 

“If you love me, obey my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you… I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.  But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you..”                                                                                  

John 14:15-17, 25-26

Miriam/Webster defines the word ‘teach’ as

“to show or explain how to do something; give information about or instruction in a subject or skill; encourage some to accept as fact or principle.”

 

The Greek word that the Bible uses here is “didasko” (di da skō), which means ‘will teach’. All throughout the Old Testament, we find this word describing God as the teacher, and then those that heard the teaching were then told to go and teach. An example of that is found in Deuteronomy 4:14
 
“It was at that time that the Lord commanded me to teach you his decrees and regulations so you would obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy.”
 

And then they were instructed to teach their children in Deuteronomy 11:19

 

Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

 

I am sure we all have had a favorite teacher growing up. But in our scriptures today, we are promised that the Holy Spirit will be our full-time teacher. He will be with us 24/7, and we don’t need to search YouTube or Google for the answer we need!
 

 

I. God will provide an Advocate (Comforter, Encourager, Counselor)

 

A. Will never leave you.

 

Jesus is reminding them of God’s promise he made in Deut. 31:6
 
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
 

He was telling them that, just like God, the Holy Spirit will never leave you. And while Jesus was going to physically leave this earth, He was assuring them that they would not be alone.

 
B. Leads into all truth

 

How do we find this truth? Jesus once again reminds them of what He told them earlier.

 

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

 

We are once again shown that the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us and point us to Jesus the Son, and He, in everything He ever said or did, points us to God the Father. The Father speaks to us through the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth, which are the words and ways of Jesus, who brings glory to God…see the cycle?

 

C. What are the prerequisites?

 

Jesus tells them three times! (How many of us have to be told something more than once?)
 

“If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15 (you will)

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me….” John 14:21a

“Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say.” John 14:23a
 
When we truly love someone, we will do what they ask of us, knowing that they would never ask us to do anything that would hurt us because they love us as well. It goes back to us having faith and hope and truly trusting God.
 
 

II. The Holy Spirit will be our Teacher

 

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” John 14:26

 

 
A. He will teach you everything
 
According to Expositor’s Bible Commentary, as a teacher, the Holy Spirit’s job
 
“will be to “lead” them into the full comprehension of all he wants them to know. The Spirit will not present an independent message, differing from what they had already learned from him. Rather, they will be led further into the realization of his person and into the development of the principles he has already laid down. They will also be enlightened about coming events.”
 

 

John 16:13-14 states:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.”

 

We have been given the Bible as our textbook, and the Holy Spirit is our teacher that will open up and reveal the truths of God’s Word and how it applies to our lives.

 

Yes, we have pastors, elders, bible study leaders, discipleship group leaders, small group leaders and accountability partners, but they are all subject to the Holy Spirit teaching the wisdom of God.

 

Let’s read 1 Corinthians 2:10-12

 

“For it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.”

 

The Spirit searches the depths of God and reveals God’s plans for us, showing us the joy of living a spirit filled life in contrast to the folly of the plans of this world.

 

 
B. He will remind you of everything.
 
ILLUSTRATION:   Silly ways to remember things (mnemonic or acronym)            
 
  • Points on a compass “Never East Sour Watermelon                  
  • Names of notes on a staff: (spaces) FACE                                                                       
  • (Lines) Every Good Boy Does Fine              
  • Planets: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Is Noodles
 

The ESV version says “He will teach you all things and bring back to your remembrance…”

 

This is why we have been encouraging you to use the memory verse cards. Not only is this a good way to keep your mind sharp, it helps you to put God’s Word into your heart, and that helps you not to sin. It also serves as a reminder of what the message was based on, and then you remember at least part of the sermon! But more importantly, the Holy Spirit will bring back the verses you have studied and read just when you need them…to speak life and hope into someone’s life who is struggling…to encourage you later in the day when faced with a difficult situation…or giving you the boldness to proclaim the truth when others are spewing nonsense.
 

Solomon was a great wise king who’s wisdom was given to him by God. He wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6:

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

 

While we have a good teacher, we have to choose to be a student. The 12 apostles were chosen, but that had to make a choice to truly follow and learn from Jesus, the Rabbi/Teacher/Master. Eleven of the twelve did that…but one guy chose to not listen to the teacher.

So we have to ask ourselves:    

  • Am I willing to be a student of the Holy Spirit?                          
  • Am I willing to submit my own ideas to that which the Holy Spirit reveals?                                                          
  • Am I willing to choose to live this life in the Light of eternity?
 
Last week, Jack reminded us that we need to view our lives by seeing who we are IN CHRIST. The Holy Spirit was sent as the seal on our lives, and He is here in our lives to continue to reveal more and more of the truth of God’s love. But no one will be able to see the evidence in our lives unless we love Him first, which is the first of the two commandments that Jesus gave us in the New Testament…Love God, Love others.
 
My prayer today is that we will not be that stubborn student in the class who thinks they know more than the teacher. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and speak into your life…
 

 …for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”    

Luke 12:12

 


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Live Like a Champion – Week 29

The Promise of Good Works in Christ!

Revelation 5:9

 

Who is Jesus?  If you take some time to look at things on the internet you will find many think he lived on earth.  Some think he was a good teacher.  Some think he was a philosopher.  Some think his claim to be God ludicrous, and some who believe Jesus to be the Son of God.

 

There is a lot of talk about fact checking stories these days.  I personally think going directly to the Source of Truth is the best place to do our fact-checking.  The inspired Word of God has a much better answer. 

 

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible points to Jesus.  The entire Bible is about Jesus.  It is not about us – although we sometimes think it is just about us. It’s not.

 

The Bible is clear it is about Jesus, who He is, and what He has already done.

 

John Calvin said,
 
“The Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them.  Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all his life in learning, he will never reach the knowledge of the truth.”

 

You see my friends, when we find Christ in Scripture, we will know better how to be His followers.  We will understand better who He is.  We will also understand better who we are in Christ. 

 

In Jesus, we find our true identities. 

 

My Goal Today

 

My goal today is to help us see, understand, and live in our identity in Christ.  It is my desire that when you leave here today you will have the tools with which to fight your strongest temptations. 

 

The best way I have found to do that is to know who I am in Christ. I want to help you understand who you are in Christ.

 

Many of you have heard about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.  What you may or may not realize is in that passage Satan attacked His identity.  In Luke 4 verse 3 and again in verse 9 Satan says “IF” you are the Son of God.

 

Satan was daring Jesus to prove His identity by turning stones into bread or jumping off the Temple so angels would catch Him.  Jesus didn’t have to prove His identity.  Jesus knew Who He was.  He understood His identity because He knew what Scripture said about Him. Quoting Scripture withstood temptation.

 

I would like to attempt to help those of you in the sound of my voice to do the same thing.  Understand your identity IN Christ according to the Truth of God’s Word.  We all need to be able to withstand Satan’s attacks on our identity.  It is my contention that when we know who we are in Christ it makes all the difference in the world.

 

Satan attacks us by lying to us about our identity too.  We can use Jesus as our example and counter those same attacks with Scripture and let Satan know that we know who we are when we choose to be in Christ, and then he can’t trick us as easily.

 

If Satan can keep us off balance wondering who we are or what our purpose in life is, he can paralyze us and keep us from fulfilling our God given calling.

 

2 Timothy 3:16,
 

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, (complete) equipped for every good work.

 

We are to interact with Scripture in order to be equipped for the calling of God in our lives.  And if you profess to know Jesus as your Savior, you have a calling for ministry. 

 

Those who are in Christ have a responsibility to build up the body.

 

What we do with and for others depends on what we understand God does with and for us.  What God does with us is what we do with others.  God builds us up and we build others in the body.

 

 

So let me remind you of your identity in Christ.  Turn to Ephesians chapter 1.  I will be lifting out the phrase “in Christ” throughout these verses. Please take note.  The prepositional phrase is significant.

 

1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: to the saints and believers in Christ at Ephesus.”

 

Notice that the object of the people’s faith is Christ Jesus.  They are believers “in Christ.”  The people to whom Paul is writing have come to believe that Jesus is the Christ. 

 

They have heard the message of the Gospel and believe Jesus is the Son of God, Whose death burial and resurrection is the payment for their sin.  Paul is writing to these believers.

 

In v 2 Paul offers a blessing to the readers

 

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul then follows in V3 with a word of praise.  He is praising God as he writes to the people in Asia Minor. 

 

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 

 

This verse starts with praise, speaks of blessing, and ends with the person of Jesus, because Jesus is the focus.  In Paul’s writings he starts with Jesus, talks about Jesus, teaches about Jesus, and ends with Jesus.
 

The verse starts with praise then what follows are the reasons for that praise worthiness…

If you have a position in Christ, you have something that is absolutely praise-worthy!

 

First: You are Blessed in Christ.

 

In verse 3 we have already read that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing! That is reason to praise!  Be aware of the condition here.  The spiritual blessings God gives are only for those who are in Christ
 

This is one of the ways we make Scripture about us.  We read we have received blessings and we figuratively or actually kick back and say I can relax.  It says here that God pours out His blessings on me.

 

These blessings are conditional.  They are for those who are in Christ, and have, by faith, agreed that what Scripture says about Jesus is true.  You have EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING as your possession right now and you will keep them throughout eternity IF you are IN CHRIST.

What does it mean to you to hear that the God of the universe has blessed you already with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING??  Not just some, not a few, but EVERY blessing! (if you are in Christ).

 

Again, I do not want you to miss the qualifier.  Notice the words “IN CHRIST.”  You must be in Christ to receive every spiritual blessing.  You must be living your life under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit.
 

Maybe you’re sitting there saying my life is not all that blessed.  Being blessed is not my experience – at times maybe – but being blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing isn’t how my life is. 

 

If that is the case, I ask you a question and give you a challenge.  The question is how are you defining blessing?  If it is in material wealth or ease of life, or some other false gospel, you are defining blessing in the wrong way and basing your theology in a false gospel.  

 

The blessings God gives to those who are in Christ are spiritual not material. The challenge I offer is, if you don’t sense blessings in your life, you need to examine your heart.   The question is do you know Jesus personally?  Have you ever asked for forgiveness?  Have you said to God or anyone else I believe that what Jesus did on the cross is the payment for my sin?

 

You see my friends, this FACT of Scripture is- and it is fact- IF you have a relationship with Jesus, God pours out His spiritual blessings.  That absolutely transforms the way you live. 

 

Knowing that when you acknowledge by faith, that Jesus is truly God’s Son, and realize that He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, you live differently. 

 

You live with the freedom Pastor Jerry told you about two weeks ago in his message on Galatians 5.  Being yoked with Jesus– living for Him not yourself.  Putting God first, others second and yourself last.

 

If you don’t live differently, then I question your belief.  You may believe that Jesus professed to be God’s Son.  You may believe that Jesus lived and died on the cross.  You might even be able to give all the right Sunday school answers to religious questions. 

 

But you must come to a conscience decision to believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that His death was for you so you could be forgiven.

 Who is your faith in?  Do you have faith in faith, or do you trust in the finished work of Jesus?

 

You see when you understand who you are IN CHRIST you can let go of those things that hold you down.  You can accept that you have everything you need – God’s blessing is enough! 
 
Notice something else – this reinforces Ephesians 2:8-9.  You don’t perform in order to earn it. 
 
“It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourself, it is a gift of God…”

 

Constantine Campbell is a senior lecturer in Greek and New Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney Australia. In his book Paul and Union with Christ, he speaks directly about the prepositional phrase “In Christ.”

 

“In Christ performs a characteristic role in the description of God’s acts and gifts of kindness toward his people.  In some sense, it would seem, God’s acts towards believers are performed through Christ or are in some way conditioned or associated with Christ…such usages of in Christ primarily have to do with the role of Christ in mediating the work of God toward believers.”

 

What Dr. Campbell is saying is Jesus is the instrument God uses to do His work.  You must know Jesus if you want to experience God.  Jesus is the only door.  Without Jesus, there can be no spiritual blessing.
 

Here is a thought for you.  Maybe the reason you don’t experience blessedness is you have a belly button view of your life.  You have become good at using people to make you feel good instead of living in Christ.  You are not allowing Jesus to mediate God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and blessings in your life because you are too focused on yourself.

 

Living in Christ means dying to self, giving up on your own selfish desires.
 
Luke 9:23-24,
 
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For, whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

 

1 Peter 2:24,
 
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

What the Gospel does – what being blessed is about – is freeing you from using and manipulating people to meet your needs.  Being blessed with every spiritual blessing means God renews and transforms your mind, your will, and your spirit.

 

You stop looking at your own navel or looking to other people to meet your needs and realize that Jesus has already met your needs as you stay connected with Him as the Vine.  You are blessed and have your needs met in Him.  Listen for that phrase in Christ throughout this message.

 

Second: We have been chosen in Christ.

 

Ephesians 1:4 
 
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

 

Before the foundation of the world was laid God chose you to be holy and blameless.  Paul applies to believers a concept that formerly applied to Israel alone. 

 

Deuteronomy 7:6-8,
 
“The Lord had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.  But because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors, he brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”

 

My friends, God chose you for redemption from the slavery of sin in this world, just like He redeemed the Israelites out of Egypt.

 

The word “holy” refers to being dedicated or set apart for God.  Abraham and his descendants were set apart, and so are you if you have a relationship with the Savior Jesus.  Those who are in Christ are holy.
 

Not only are those who are in Christ holy, they are also blameless.  What Paul means here is if you are in Christ, you are seen as being without fault before God.  That is for now… here on earth – not waiting for us in heaven. It is to be lived out here on earth.  That is important!

 
The opposite is also true.  If you are not in Christ, you are guilty of every sin you have ever committed, and you will be held responsible for that sin.  The consequence of sin is Hell.

 

To be holy and blameless in His sight is where chapter 4 starts but he gives a glimpse of it here. Chapters 4-6 is about how we are to respond to what God has already done.  Chapters 1-3 is what God has done; What I want to dwell on this morning is the work of God in Christ, for you. 

 

I want everyone in the sound of my voice to realize the work of God in Christ for all of us who believe.

 

What I want you to understand is that if you have a relationship with Jesus, if you are in Christ, you are given the righteousness of Christ here on earth. 

 

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  If you are in Christ, there is no condemnation, so you are not blamed for your past. You are blameless if you are in Christ.

 

Please notice there is a condition.  You are only blameless of your past sins if you are in Christ.  If you come to church and have heard thousands of sermons and you understand about Jesus that is not enough. 

 

You must personally acknowledge Jesus as your Savior, repent, and believe.  True repentance is transformative.  You have not repented if you are still living like you always did.  You must be born again, made new.  That requires change.  As Pastor Jerry says, “You are not saved by good works you are saved for good works.” 

 

Realizing what God has done in us when we acknowledge Jesus is Lord in making us holy and blameless transforms a person’s thinking. The change in thinking causes a change in focus, which in turn causes a change in behavior. 

 

Third: Those who are in Christ are adopted.

 

Now look at verse 5.  Ephesians  1:5
 
He (God) predestined us to be adopted as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 

 

When you acknowledge, by faith, Jesus is Lord, God the Father adopts you as His very child!  You are joint heirs with Jesus – that is reason to praise! 
 
Adoption refers to the bestowing of familial rights and privileges on a person born outside the family.  We saw a fantastic illustration of this right here in our congregation a few weeks ago when Zach and Natashia Hamilton gave us their personal testimony of adoption.
Each child gave a word about what being a part of this new family meant to them.  It would be good for all of us who are in Christ to do the same. 

 

I think all of us, me included, have taken the fact of our adoption rather lightly.  It would be good to reflect on exactly what God has done for us.

 

Paul uses this metaphor to illustrate believers’ privileges in Christ. As children of God, we who are in Christ now have a heavenly inheritance[1]

 

Peter sounds a lot like Paul when he writes in 1 Peter 1:1-9
 
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

Fourth: In Christ we have redemption

 

The fourth point is found in verse 7. 

In Him (there’s that phrase again) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace

 

The fourth point is you are redeemed by the blood of Christ. 

 

Let’s make sure we understand the him and the his’s.  In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His (Jesus) blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His (God’s) grace.
 

 Your redemption is the will of God and it’s the work of Christ on the cross.  You cannot earn it, you cannot pay for it, you cannot go out and get it – you receive what has already been done for you.

 

This is what our memory verse is talking about.  Let’s read the memory verse in Revelation 5:9,
 
“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.'”

 

The Good news is that Jesus redeemed you; He purchased you for God when He died on that cruel cross of Calvary.
My friend, do you know Him?  Have you accepted His payment for you?  Or are you still trying to get to God on your own?  There is no other way for you to be in Christ!
 

So far in this message we have seen that it is God who blesses, God who adopts, God who chooses, and God who redeems.  All of this is done in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. 

 

Fifth: You are sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit

 

This is found in verse 13,

 

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 

 

You are saved by faith – having believed – you are sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  That is the work that is done.  You can’t earn it, you can’t pay for it, you don’t even deserve it, but that is who you are if you are followers of Christ!  If you have come to Jesus in repentance, if you are IN CHRIST that is your identity and neither Satan nor anyone else can take that away! That is God’s gift to you.

 

Do you see the work of the Trinity in this passage?

 

The Father blesses, chooses, and adopts you.

 

The Son redeems you.

 

The Holy Spirit seals you.

 

Now let me go back to my earlier premise.  You are not living transformed lives because you either have never had a born-again experience or you don’t understand your identity in Christ.

 

The first question is, have you made a conscious decision to believe the message of salvation that Jesus came to earth, lived a sinless life, suffered, died on the cross, rose, and is coming again? 

 

Have you received by faith that Jesus is God’s Son, our Savior?

 

Does that belief cause you to live life in a way that bears the fruit of the Spirit that others can see?  Scripture says Satan knows about Jesus.  So the question is not do you know about Jesus, it is do you have a relationship with Jesus?  Are you in Christ?

 

These realities of your identity being found in God’s blessing, choosing, and adopting you, the fact that Jesus has paid the price for your redemption and the fact that the Holy Spirit seals you should impact your relationship with God and with others.

 

Notice verses 6, 12 and 14.  This is how Paul responds to these realities.

 

V 6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace,” (because God has blessed, chosen, and adopted.

V 12b “to the praise of His glory.” (Because Jesus has redeemed)

V 14 “to the praise of his glory” (because the Holy Spirit has sealed us)

 

Paul is worshipping as he writes!  We are to worship as we read it.  These realities lead us into the presence of God in worship and adoration.

 

The reality of your identity in Christ and your praise and worship also transforms our relationships with others.  This praise is not only personal; it is with the body of believers.  We worship together because of these realities.

 

When God is always in the forefront of your mind your relationships with others are changed.  You become loving, joyful, and peaceful.  Your patience increases, you find it easier to be kind to those around you, and you can be gentle with others, no matter how they treat you.  Being faithful to the people around you, at home and at work gets easier.  Your self-control is also noticeable.   

 

God the Father has already done the work for you. When you come to believe that Jesus is Lord, God blesses, choses, adopts, redeems and seals you.  He gives the fruit of the Spirit freely.  What I have missed, and what I think many in the church have missed is these blessings are conditional. 

 

We must be IN CHRIST- outside of Christ none of these are yours. 

 

That is a scary thing my friends. 

 

My encouragement to you is to ask the Holy Spirit to examine your heart.  Ask the Spirit to reveal to you the state of your relationship with Jesus. 

 

 

FOOTNOTE:

 

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 1:5). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


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Live Like a Champion – Week 28

The Promise of Glory!

John 6:44 (NAS95)
 
The play of the week is “The Promise of Glory!” The memory verse for this promise is John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
 
The theology of this verse is the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in salvation. The promise of this verse is that every believer will enter God’s glory through participation in the eternal life of God through faith in Jesus Christ! The ancient’s cosmology was such that to be raised up was to go to God’s domain. Heaven is still often talked about as being somehow above us, even if now that is more figurative than literal.

 

In Romans 8:29-30, Paul explicitly lays out Jesus’ promise of glory within a larger framework of God’s work of salvation:
 
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

 

To glorify: theologically, this is called the glorification of the saints. In Ephesians 2:4-7, Paul describes the promise of glory, not as a futuristic hope of glorification, but as the present reality of our being “in Christ”:

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

It is common that when we discuss God’s work of salvation that we say our justification has been done by Jesus on the Cross (past), our sanctification is being done by the Spirit (present), and glorification will be with Our Father who is in Heaven (future)! Those categories help us talk about it, but God’s overarching reality of salvation was declared by Jesus, “It is done!” from the Cross in John 19:28-30 and from Heaven in Revelation 21:6. This is the plan of the Father, the provision of the Son, and the power of the Spirit.
The promise of glory is an integral part of our salvation because salvation cannot be compartmentalized. These three categories of salvation must be seen as the cord of three strands of our salvation—I am justified, sanctified, and glorified! Just like we cannot stop seeing God as being only one God, even though He has clearly revealed Himself as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 
Just because our language is limited and our capacity to understand is finite, does not mean we need to diminish the glory of God and His work of salvation. His glory is expansive and beyond our capacity to fully comprehend, but God, because of His great love, revealed Himself to us so that we can partake in His glory!
 
So, while your glorification with God is a future hope, God’s glory has already come to you in love! In John 1:14, we see this in the incarnation of Jesus Christ: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
 
Furthermore, in John 17:22-24, Jesus taught us about God’s gift of glory to every believer through Him:

 

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

 

Do you know where the word “glory” came from? Listen to how the original audience would have heard it:

 

The Hebrew word for “glory” originally meant “weighty, heavy, or important.” From there it moved to the idea of an influential, rich, or prominent person. In ancient cultures the wealthy and the powerful were marked by the finery of their dress and jewels. Hence a person’s glory meant the ostentatious signs of wealth and power. Glory also suggested beauty, since fine clothes and jewels were items of beauty. The concept was then extended to God.

 

Jesus brought the weight of God’s immensity to the people! Hebrews 1:3a teaches us, “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”

 

Understanding the word “glory” helps us apply this promise in a very practical way to our everyday lives. I bet you never knew that that the promised hope of your future glorification would be so relevant to your lifetoday. The hope of glory is the ballast of your life so that you can sail true through the storms of life!Without the weight of glory, the rough waters and high winds will sink you in their despair and turmoil.

 

God’s promise of glory puts everything in perspective because God’s glory outweighs all else! That is exactly why in Philippians 1:19-21 Paul can say weighty, perspective-altering truths while he was in prison:

 

I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

 

Paul had an earnest expectation of hope! God’s glory provided ballast to His mind, heart, and soul! His faith prioritized his emotional response to his circumstances, his mental health through the situation, and his priorities of decision making for his lifestyle. That is what the promise of glory gives us—it calms our hearts, orders our minds, and directs our paths.

 

The weight of glory stabilizes us through life’s storms!
 
Let’s talk about this application to our lives.

 

You weigh your options based on their urgency and their importance. There is a competition for our attention and whatever weighs the most wins! This happens at a level we are not even aware of and we have lots of ways of explaining it: it is heavy, it grabbed me, it caught my attention, it’s got a hold of me, etc.

For example, if there are bills pressing you, making money weighs the most and decisions reflect that priority. If you are in pain or have a pressing medical diagnosis, seeing the doctor and medical treatmentsweigh the most and all else that was important are put in the back seat. If there is a broken relationship, a heavy heart weighs you down and shades your perceptions of everything else.

 

What weighs us down shapes our perceptions of life and determines our decision making!

 

Important things, left unattended will eventually become urgent, but if we can prioritize them by the weight of their actual importance before their urgency starts weighing us down emotionally, then potentially we can save ourselves a lot of pain, anxiety, and heart ache. Here is a quick list of everyday examples:

 

• You don’t take the time to get your oil changed (though it’s important) until the tow truck is taking you to the mechanic after your engine seizes up on I-70 (now it’s urgent). A $50 bill becomes $1000!

• You don’t make time for exercise and diet (important) until you have a heart attack (urgent). Your lifestyle has been changed, but not by your own choice!
• You don’t make time for your children (important) until you are having meetings about their behavior and trying to get them help (urgent). Your figurative priority has now becoming your real priority!
• You don’t make time for your marriage (important) until you are spending time and money for marital counseling (urgent). You will pay the piper eventually for ignoring what’s most important!
 
I often tell people to prioritize the important now or it will prioritize your time for you later.
 
Our everyday lives are driven by what is heaviest! We have internal scales that we use to make our decisions and we prioritize our lives based on what those internal scales tell us what is heaviest. If those scales are not calibrated by God’s glory, then we are controlled by lesser things! People generally live from crisis to crisis, and they don’t know how to get out from under the weight of their life being out of control.
 
The answer is to add the ballast of God’s glory to your life to stabilize you in the storms so that your course is not directed by the storm itself, but by the Captain of the ship.
 
That’s why God’s glory is all about God’s weightiness! God’s glory allows us to make decisions based on an eternal perspective of what is God’s purpose for our lives! Philippians 1:9-11 teaches us this truth:

 

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

The promise of glory allows us to love faithfully in all circumstances so that God gets the glory in all that we think, say, and do. Listen to 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and how understanding the weightiness of God’s glory helps you in your everyday decision making:

 

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

The promise of glory minimizes the emotional hijacking of the urgent, the mental kidnapping of anxiety-producing circumstances, and the physical straight jacket of your stress response to bad news. It allows you to put everything in right perspective to God’s overarching reality—your salvation is signed, sealed, and delivered. You are justified, sanctified, and glorified. Rest! Believe! Trust!

 

The promise of glory is how you can be a peaceful presence and a loving person in the midst of the raging storms around our world, nation, and community.

 

The promise of glory is not only the promise of being raised up to Heaven in perfect union with God, but it is the promise of being intimately yoked with the One who walks with you every day to that destination. I can only live that way and think that way because I know my destination is secure and that death is not the reality of my eternity. Therefore, fear, anxiety, and insecurity will not outweigh God’s promise of glory!

 

I have been raised up because I am in Christ and I have my eyes fixed on His glory—past, present, and future. May God’s glory be your motivation and help you discern your decisions each and every day. May your emotional well-being and mental health be stabilized by the weight of glory in these turbulent times.

 
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch this message by clicking HERE.

 
 
 
 
 

FOOTNOTE:

 
[1] Bernard L. Ramm, “Glorification,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 869.
 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 27

The Promise of Freedom!

Galatians 5:1 (NAS95)

Pastor Jerry Ingalls of New Castle First Baptist Church on July 4, 2021

 

The play of the week is “The Promise of Freedom!” The memory verse for this promise is Galatians 5:1,
 
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

 

Today’s teaching is going to have three parts:
 
1) the yoke imagery;
2) the context of the promise; and
3) the application.
 
Both the first and second parts require short Old Testament lessons.

 

I.  The Yoke Imagery.

 
The Old Testament usage of the yoke was that of covenant faithfulness to God’s Word, the Torah, contrasted with apostasy (faithlessness) through worship of pagan gods and foreign idols. Charles Tyer, in the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, explains this usage of yoke in Judaism:

 

The yoke concept within the Hebrew literary traditions is strongly related to the idea of the Sovereignty Covenant. God laid his yoke on his people. His people either bore the yoke (an obedient, proper relationship) or broke off the yoke (a relationship of rebellion). God’s people might choose to attempt to wear the yokes of other gods, which was the same as throwing off the yoke of Israel’s god. Obviously, one could not wear two yokes at the same time. The wearing of the yoke as viewed in Hebrew scripture was the outward sign of an inward relationship. Thus one might bring the offerings and do all of the things of religion and still not be bearing the yoke in terms of attitudes and relationships. Hebrew scriptures can thus view the bearing of the yoke of God’s sovereignty as joy, honor, and privilege rather than tragedy, hardship, and sorrow.[1]

 

God is passionate about upholding His covenant with His people as we read in Jeremiah 2:20, “For long ago I broke your yoke and tore off your bonds; But you said, ‘I will not serve!’ For on every high hill and under every green tree you have lain down as a harlot.” God continues in Jeremiah 5:5-6,

 

“I will go to the great and will speak to them, for they know the way of the Lord and ordinance of their God.” But they too, with one accord, have broken the yoke and burst the bonds. Therefore a lion from the forest will slay them, a wolf of the deserts will destroy them, a leopard is watching their cities. Everyone who goes out of them will be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are numerous.

 

This connection to the concept of the yoke as God’s sovereign rule over His chosen people, as opposed to their bondage to idols and false gods cannot be lost, nor ignored. Jesus aligned His usage of yoke with the Old Testament, as seen in Matthew 11:28-30 when viewed in context with His declaration of the people’s apostasy in verses 20-24.

 

The yoke imagery would not have been lost on the original New Testament audience. Jeremiah Garrett explains in the Lexham Bible Dictionary, “Some New Testament Letters seem to rely on the Old Testament understanding of yoke as an instrument of slavery (e.g., Gal 5:1; 1 Tim 6:1).”[2]

 

You are either in the yoke of faith (trust and obedience to God and His ways) or in the yoke of slavery (rebellion against God’s plan and ways)!

 

II. The Context of the Promise

 

That transitions us to our second point of the lesson. Let’s now understand our memory verse and the Holy Spirit’s promise of freedom within its original context by reading Galatians 4:21-31 & 5:1:

 

Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more numerous are the children of the desolate Than of the one who has a husband.” And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

 

Obviously, Paul just gave us an Old Testament lesson to help us understand his teaching on the freedom Jesus has given us. This promise of God is birthed in the ancient Genesis story of the first Patriarch couple—Abraham and Sarah. I will paraphrase this story from Genesis 15—21.

 

God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child and through that child their descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. God promised that rulers of nations would come through Sarah’s womb, but into a very old age her womb remained closed. In a desperate moment, they took matters into their own hands and Sarah, the “free woman” gave Abraham Hagar, her handmaiden or as Paul called her, “the bondwoman,” to conceive a child. In this moment of fear and anxiety, Ishmael was born, and the results have been disastrous to God’s people and the world ever since! You hear about it nearly every day!

 

Let’s now connect that story to Paul’s teaching in Galatians 4. Ishmael is the “son by the bondwoman [who] was born according to the flesh.” Later, God performed a miracle and though Sarah was well beyond her biological capability to have a baby, her and Abraham conceived Isaac and he is called the “son by the free woman through the promise.” Paul says that these two women and their respective babies allegorically correspond to two different covenants: (1) Ishmael and his offspring are the slaves to the Law of flesh and death, corresponding to Mount Sinai and “the present Jerusalem” (that is the Old Covenant based on the Mosaic Law) and (2) Isaac and his offspring are the “children of promise” who correspond to “the Jerusalem above” and are born according to the Holy Spirit (that is the New Covenant based on Jesus Christ and His promised baptism of the Spirit, that we have discussed so often over the last month).

 

You are either in the New Covenant as children of promise and born again through the Spirit, which is trust and obedience to God and His ways, or in the Old Covenant in slavery to the Law of sin and death, which is being in rebellion against God’s sovereign plan through Jesus Christ and the new way of the Spirit!
 

III. The Application

 

This takes us into our final point and the application of the promise of freedom. The Promise of Freedom is learning how to live the life of believing God and resting in His easy yoke where the burden is light.

 

The yoke is easy because God has made a way for you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus’ own relationship with the Father, and the burden is light because God gives you everything you need for life and godliness through your baptism of the Holy Spirit!

 

As Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2:1-10,

 

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

 

What is very interesting is that after both Galatians 5:1 and Ephesians 2:1-10, Paul contrasts the distinction between those who are circumcised of the flesh (Old Covenant) and those who are in the Spirit (New Covenant), once again reinforcing today’s teaching and the importance of understanding the New Covenant through Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Covenant requirements and the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost.

 

Here is the invitation: Believe God, rest in Jesus, and walk in the Spirit. This is the yoke of faith. This is the Covenant of the Spirit—the easy yoke of Jesus shatters all other yokes! The Fear of the Lord drives out all other fears! Greater is the Spirit of God who is in me than he who is in the world!

 

You must choose today which yoke you will put on and walk in. The yoke of slavery or the yoke of freedom!

 

The hard yoke of Law is all about you taking matters into your own hands and producing an Ishmael with devastating results to you and others. It is when you strive to make life work out for you the way you think it should work out.

 

The easy yoke of Jesus leads to freedom through trust in God for His plans and His ways to bring about what He promises you—Isaac! Jesus promises you freedom from the anxiety and fear that tell you that you must take control of your life if you want to see God’s abundance! We can rest in God’s promises!

 

I conclude with a powerful call to strive to live this life of rest. From Hebrews 4:8-11,

 

For if Joshua [the Old Covenant] had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that [the New Covenant]. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

 

Strive to enter God’s rest by taking the yoke of Jesus Christ on to yourself and become like Him, gentle and humble in heart! You will believe God and His promises, and you will experience the fulfillment of all God’s promises. Walk in the Spirit who has given you everything you need for life and godliness.

 

How do we stand firm and resist the yoke of slavery? We do as the psalmist commands each of us in Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

 

Your life of freedom from sin exalts Jesus Christ!
 
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch this message by clicking HERE.

 
 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Charles L. Tyer, “Yoke,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1992), 1026.

[2] Jeremiah K. Garrett, “Yoke,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

 
 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 26

The Promise of Adoption!

Romans 8:14-25 (NAS95)

 

The play of the week is “The Promise of Adoption!” The memory verse for this promise is Romans 8:15,
 
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’”

 

Adoption is the Holy Spirit’s ministry of the Father’s grace towards His lost children. Allow me to share an illustration of what grace is; I’ve shared this with you before, but it has been years since I have:

 

If a young man is killed through some random act of violence, and his father tracks down the guilty person and kills him, we would call that vengeance. If, however, the father calls the police and the murderer is arrested, tried, convicted, and executed, we’d call that justice. If, at the trials, the father pleads for the guilty man’s life to be spared and the judge and jury consent, we’d call that mercy.  Now imagine this: in addition to pleading for the guilty one to be spared, the father appeals to the judge to release the offender into his custody and care.  Miraculously gaining approval, the father takes the young man into his heart and home, adopts him, and raises him and loves him as his own son…that would be grace! (DeMoss & Grissom, Seeking Him, 86) 

 

That is a beautiful image, but God’s grace goes one step further!

 

This adoption by the Father is made possible because God, our Heavenly Father, gave His only son Jesus Christ to take our death for us so that justice was satisfied through Jesus’ propitiation of God’s wrath. Jesus came so that all the sons and daughters could be bought back from the penalty of sin, for the wages of sin is death, and brought Home to God’s forever family through the shed blood of Jesus Christ!

 

This is a legal transaction! We move from alienation and estrangement from God to welcomed and cherished members of God’s large, forever family. Listen to John teach us this in 1 John 2:2, “[Jesus] Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the provision of the Father’s love that makes the Holy Spirit’s promise of adoption possible!

 

As John further explains in 1 John 4:9-10,
 
“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

The Holy Spirit assures you of God’s grace in your life, forever. Because of the plan of the Father, the provision of the Son, and the promise of the Holy Spirit, you do not get what you deserve, but rather you receive grace upon grace through the ministry of adoption. Rather than being cast aside because of the sin that separates us from our heavenly Father, we are welcomed into a large, forever family. Adoption not only gives us a new heavenly Father, but it also gives us a large, forever family of brothers and sisters.

 

I am a child of God, forever, because I have been adopted into His forever family! I love this truth from 1 John 3:1a,
 
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”

 

Helping us better understand this is Zach & Natasha Hamilton and their family, including their newly official son—John Luke! 
 
(7–10-minute testimony from the Hamilton family, to include the dedication of John Luke and family prayer. Then, Hamilton family children to read Romans 8:14-25)

 

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

 

Listen to the theological definition of adoption;
 
“Adoption is the divine work wherein God declares regenerated believers to be his beloved sons and daughters and welcomes them into his eternal family.”[1]

 

Adoption is a part of God’s plan of salvation to redeem all things back to His rightful rule, what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God, which is often taught through the imagery of a family (“familial imagery”). While we are not yet in God’s eternal Kingdom, which will be in the New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22), we are in the age of God’s grace when it is through the promises of the Holy Spirit that the Church, the adopted people of God who have been grafted into Israel, to declare and make known the Kingdom of God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in word and deed.

 

Until the Lord returns, this is our purpose as the children of God—the sons and daughters of the King of kings—with rights of inheritance to His presence, His power, and His promises! Amen!

 

Therefore, there is no reason to fear because you are no longer a slave to fear, but a son of God; you are a child of God with legal rights of inheritance to Jesus’ Victory! Paul proclaims in Galatians 4:4-7,

 

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

 

You are legally and forever adopted as a member of God’s household because of the plan of the Father, the provision of the Son, and the promise of the Holy Spirit! You are secured by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God! God lives in you—He has sealed you for the day of redemption, He has anointed you as His chosen possession, and He has given you power from the heavenlies to be His witnesses to all the wayward children of the nations.

 

What is our witness to the world as the family of God? Jesus says in John 13:34-35,
 
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

Our witness as the children of God is how we live our lives with God and with one another, as His family. Our lives are the signs and wonders of the Kingdom of God! This is the promise of adoption for all to see and to know that there is a God who loves all the little children.
 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch this message by clicking HERE.

 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 
[1] Susanne Calhoun, “Adoption,” in Lexham Survey of Theology, ed. Mark Ward et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018).
 
 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 25

The Promise of Power Through the Holy Spirit!

Acts 1:8; Zechariah 4:6

This Week’s Memory Verse:   Acts 1:8

 
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

Who wouldn’t like some more power?      

Power to get up and face the day (Show the Energizer Bunny)                    

Power to get the list of chores done (Show Tim Tool Man Taylor)
Power to be able to handle stressful work situations (Show the Star Trek Kirk quote).
 

The world defines power (according to Merriam-Webster)

“a source or means of supplying energy; the ability to act or produce an effect; possession of control, authority or influence over others.”

 

The biblical word used in this specific verse is “dunamis” (doo-ni-mas), which means:

“a description of strength of mind; moral qualities of a person; an inner strength that does not come from or depend on outer things. This is how they will be able to show God to others through their lives.”

 

Growing up, my parents raised my two sisters and me to be able to do things on our own, to take the initiative to get things done (which took a lot of prodding at first), and to help others when needed, which they led by example. They had us in church, surrounded by people who encouraged us in our walk with Jesus, and showed us that they were to be serving others in love, as the Holy Spirit gave them the power and the strength that they needed to get it done.

 

I know it was God’s power through the Holy Spirit that was helping them to do this because they could not have done it on their own. They demonstrated to us that they were studying the playbook. In this day and age, we could say that we have an app for that…downloading and plugging in to the right source! But where the problem lies is that, just like a gym membership, it doesn’t work unless we use it or put it to work. The power of the Holy Spirit is not something you use in the case of an emergency. NO! We are to be allowing it to flow in and through our lives each and every day.

 

I trust you have been listening to Pastor Jerry’s messages the last two weeks. They are key to understanding the differences between being sealed, being anointed, and having the power of the Holy Spirit. Somehow, there has been confusion in the church and many have come to think that these are interchangeable, and that is not the case! They are all part of what He does in our lives so we can carry out God’s plan for our lives. Let’s dig into the playbook (the Bible) and see how these all can work together in our lives.

 

Today, we will cover

  1. What is the intent of the power of the Holy Spirit?
  2. What is the best way for the power to flow?
  3. ow are we to listen? and
  4. How He ultimately brings glory to God?

 

I. What is the intent of the power of the Holy Spirit?

 

It is literally the power of God, the ability to act effectively and influence the behavior of others or influence events. Since it comes from Him, it is infinite, unlimited and eternal, unlike any other kind of power.

 

A. Old Testament examples

 

As David was being anointed to be king:

So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.”

1 Samuel 16:13

 

The Spirit enabled him to do wonderful things, even in the face of great hardship and persecution. While He did not permanently indwell, the Spirit worked through them and gave them power to achieve things they would not and could not on their own.

 

n a vision to Zechariah for Zerubbabel:

“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

Zechariah 4:6

 

In this message of encouragement to Zerubbabel, he was being told that his work wasn’t going to be accomplished through human strength and human power, but by the Spirit of the Lord, a divine power that is constant and consistent.

 

B. In the New Testament we find:

 

To be witnesses and share the Good News of Jesus with everyone

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

 

Personalize this verse… “In New Castle, and in all of Henry County and Indiana, and to the end of the earth.

 

The once timid disciples, who had been in hiding since Jesus’ crucifixion, were now turning the world upside down with the message of the Gospel.

 

Paul writes to Timothy to encourage him:

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

 

Look at that order! It is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to love, and to be disciplined. When we share the Gospel, we are to share it with power, but also in love and the evidence of that should be seen in our lives. It can never be a “do as I say, not as I do” message.

 

 

 

II. What is the best way for the power to flow in your life?

 

A. Look at the initial instructions:

 

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

Luke 24:49
 

 

“Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:4-5

 

They were told to stay and wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit would come. They were not told how long they would have to wait. How many of us would have honestly stayed in place after just a couple of days? This group of followers waited over a week! Ten days after receiving the message to ‘stay put’, that is when the power fell on them.

 

B. We are told to submit or surrender.

 

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

1 Peter 5:6

 

I have told you before that Peter is one of my favorite disciples. He was often quick to speak or act, yet Jesus loved him dearly and kept telling him to love others as well. He was the one who had denied knowing Jesus to a servant girl yet on the Day of Pentecost, he was the one preaching to all who would listen! God provided through the Holy Spirit what Peter needed, just when he needed it!

 

 

 

III. How are we to listen to His voice and leading?

 

A. You can’t listen if you are doing all the talking.

 

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

 

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

Matthew 6:5-8

 

Remember, prayer is a TWO-WAY communication! You don’t just pray down through you prayer list, then say “OK, that’s it. Gotta run!” We are to wait upon the Lord, allow Him to speak to our hearts, and for Him to tell or show us what He wants us to do for the day.

 

And you don’t have to be real wordy with your prayers. Just talk with Him like you would a friend on the phone, but just like a friend on the phone, let Him get a word in edge wise!

 

B. Follow Jesus’ example.

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”

Luke 5:16

 

This is just one time the Bible records Jesus going off by himself to pray. He knew that in order to hear God’s voice clearly and without distractions, He had to be by Himself. So if Jesus did it, and we say we want to be like Jesus, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing?

 

C. Fasting is part of the training.

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1

Corinthians 9:27

 

No excuses about fasting. I know some can’t fast from food because of medical conditions. Then fast from Facebook, or television or games on our phone, iPad, or gaming system. Spend that time reading your Bible, praying and journaling. If you can only fast one meal, then take that time to go out to your car and spend that time with God. This is a great way to set a new habit or routine, as some of the other things we do are distracting us from what God is trying to say to us that He wants us to do as believers.

 

 

IV. How does He ultimately bring glory to God?

 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

 

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Colossians 3:17

 

The Holy Spirit was moving upon Paul as he emphasized an important message. In his letters to the Corinthians and to the Colossians, he uses almost the same words. Not just some things, but everything, knowing that we are representing Jesus and giving glory and thanks to God. This can only be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Left up to us, trying to do it in our own strength and power, usually ends up a train wreck!

 

The Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, pointing us to the example of Jesus and helping us become more like Him. Jesus never took credit for the miracles and wonders that He did, but rather always pointed people to give praise to His Father, God. And God loved us so much, that He sent His one and only Son to live among us and give His life for us. Then when He rose again, He ascended to the right hand of the Father to intercede for us, and the Holy Spirit came to comfort and guide us….see the wonderful cycle of love!

 

This is how we should live our lives…in the fullness of power through the Holy Spirit. This can only be done when we stay in the Word, discipline and train our hearts and minds, listen to the voice of God as He speaks to our hearts and then work together to build His kingdom, all to His glory.

 

 

I want to pray this blessing over you as we close out this message:

 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

 

You can listen to the message here:

 

You can watch the message by clicking HERE.

 
 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 24

“The Promise of an Anointing!”

1 John 2:20 (NAS95)

 

Last week, we learned that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are sealed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of promise. This promise of a seal secures you in two things: 1) your identity as a child of God, and 2) your eternal life with God.

 

We are signed, sealed, and delivered in the Trinitarian fellowship of God because God has called us to be a part of His team to go into the world and represent Him—we are Image Bearers, ambassadors of Jesus Christ, messengers of His Gospel, ministers of reconciliation. People see God’s love in and through us because it is the Holy Spirit who verifies us as God’s Image Bearers. We are authenticated by the Holy Spirit, sealed for this purpose and anointed to do this very work.

 

We are now a part of God’s rescue mission and this week’s promise is an essential part of God’s plan of salvation. The play of the week is “The Promise of an Anointing!” The memory verse for this promise is 1 John 2:20, “You have an anointing from the Holy One.”

 

Let’s look at this promise in the context of 1 John 2:20-27:

 

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

 
What does it mean that we have an “anointing” from the Holy One?  
 
The concept of being “anointed” carried a specific meaning in the minds of the original audience because the anointing was a key part of the Old Covenant. Anointing oil was “used to show that an official, such as a priest or king, was chosen by God, by pouring the oil on top of the person’s head. The anointing oil was stored in the tabernacle and, later, the temple. [In Exodus 30:22-31], the oil is to be used on the tent of meeting, all of its furniture and utensils, and the priests.”[1] The anointing oil was a visible practice of an invisible reality—God anointed that which belongs to Him! He sets it apart for His use! 
 

To summarize, when you are anointed it means you are consecrated or set apart (chosen) as a person for a special work of God. Literally, you are declared holy by God. The anointing means that you have the presence and power of the Holy Spirit “abiding” in you. According to Peter in 2 Peter 1:3, the anointing is “His divine power [that] has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness.”

 

The anointing of the Holy Spirit is not about being an elite soldier for Jesus or gaining a special status or position in the church through secret knowledge or increased revelation, because the anointing is what makes each of us a Christian in the first place. You don’t need something more to make you feel more special than everyone else, because God has already made you His treasured possession! When a person is anointed or when we say there was an anointing on a service or worship time or sermon, what we are actually saying is that the presence and power of the Holy Spirit was witnessed. To walk in the anointing is to walk with Christ in His easy yoke. It is the way of life for every believer.  
 
The anointing comes from God at the same time as the seal. As Paul makes clear in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22,
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”

 

Not only are we given the identity of and security as the children of God, but we are anointed by the Holy Spirit to do the work of God’s household. The promise of the anointing equips each of us to fulfill the purpose for which we have been chosen! As Pastor Ken will teach us more about next Sunday, the Holy Spirit is God’s power within us!  This was true for Jesus in His ministry, just as it is for our own. Listen to Jesus, as He began His ministry in Luke 4:14-21
 

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61:1, which was again applied to Jesus in Hebrews 1:9. This same anointing is applied to set apart New Covenant believers for God’s glory.  
 
Peter make this very clear in 1 Peter 2:9-12

 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

 

 And just to close the loop, Peter is directly referencing Isaiah 61:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; Exodus 19:6; and Hosea 2:23.  
The anointing is established by God in the Old Covenant; fulfilled in Jesus Christ with the New Covenant, and imparted upon us and fulfilled through the Holy Spirit! This is who you are as the Church—the anointed ones (hagios) to whom Jesus has promised victory through His victory. John declares in 1 John 4:4,
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

 

How do we overcome? 
 
Because the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us. By the power of the Holy One who has anointed us for this very reason—to defeat darkness and shine the Light! The following is a series of teachings about the Holy Spirit by Jesus on the night He was betrayed, from John 14—16: 

 

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).
  • “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18).
  • “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:25-26).
  • “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
  • “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:7-8).
  • “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:13-15).
 

This is Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the One who sees to the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises for God’s glory. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he stated in Philippians 2:13-16,

 

It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

 

This is the promise of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In Mark 1:17, Jesus made the promise of discipleship to all who would follow Him:
“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

 

Why are you anointed with the Holy Spirit?  TO MAKE YOU BECOME…  It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that fulfills in and through us the promise of Jesus Christ to all who follow Him! God is the means by which we can partner with Him to do His will for His glory! All glory to God!

 

Church, the question is not whether or not you are anointed, because it is impossible for you to be His Church apart from this promise! As a member of the Body of Christ, you are His anointed! 

 

The question is whether or not you are walking in the anointing and experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit in you! 

 
 
 
 

You can listen to this message from Pastor Jerry here:

 

Or you can watch the video by clicking Here.

 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), Ex 30:25.


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Live Like a Champion – Week 23

The Promise of a Seal!

Ephesians 1:13c (NAS95)

 

Two weeks ago we celebrated Pentecost Sunday and the birth of the Church through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which historically occurred fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection in order to further and more deeply imbed God’s salvific work through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit with God’s work through Israel. We discussed the ancient and biblical doctrine of salvation and the importance of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for eternal life. The Holy Spirit is an essential part of your salvation and today we are going to learn more.

 

The play of the week is “The Promise of a Seal!” The memory verse for this promise is Ephesians 1:13c, “You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

 

The sealing happens when you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are still dead in your sins and your spirit has not yet been quickened to life through this indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in you. As Paul said in Romans 8:9-11,

 

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

 

To understand today’s memory verse, let’s study the context of Paul’s words from Ephesians 1:3-14,

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

 

Amen! Let’s unpack this to reinforce the work of God in our salvation and what Paul is communicating to us about the partnership between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

  1. God the Father is the great architect of God’s plan to create and redeem creation (Ephesians 1:3-6).
    1. The Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
    2. The Father chose us before the foundation of the world.
    3. In love, the Father predestined us and adopted us to be His children. He willed it and it was done!
    4. The Father freely bestows His grace on us; He lavishes the riches of His grace on us.

 

  1. God the Son makes the provision with His crucified and resurrected body to fulfill God’s plan (Ephesians 1:7-12).
    1. It is in the Son and through the Son that the Father blesses us and adopts us.
    2. The Son is the grace freely bestowed on us.
    3. It is through the Son’s shed blood on the Cross that we have redemption, the forgiveness of our trespasses.
    4. The Son is the one who makes known the wisdom and insight of the mystery of God’s will.
    5. The Son is summing up all things, in heaven and on earth.
    6. The Son grants us access to our inheritance.

 

  1. God the Holy Spirit is the promised pledge, the seal, of God’s plan (Ephesians 1:13-14).
    1. The Holy Spirit seals us in Christ as the pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

 

What does it mean that the Holy Spirit seals us?

 

Here is a simple explanation of what a seal meant in Bible times. We all know that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Matthew 27:66 describes, “And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.” The seal they set on the stone “refers to pressing wax or clay between the stone and the tomb entrance and then stamping it with an imperial insignia.”[1] The seal on the tomb meant that if you rolled the stone away, you would incur the wrath of the Roman government. The stone blocked the way as it was heavy and cumbersome, but it was the power behind the seal that prevented people from removing the stone.

 

First, the promise of a seal secures our identity in Christ!

 
The Holy Spirit authenticates you (verifies who you are!) as one who belongs to Jesus Christ.

 

Think of all the software that’s out there that does facial recognition or thumbprint recognition. In the context of that image, it’s as if, when our identity is checked, the Holy Spirit’s presence in us allows us to be identified as Christ-like, and not as merely ourselves. We have the thumbprint of Christ in us because we have the Holy Spirit. Holiness is the Holy Spirit in you—God abiding in you—not that you are doing certain things, but that holy activities are flowing from God’s holy presence in you!

 

In 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

, Paul declares,
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”

 

The Holy Spirit in our lives is like the seal on milk or drinks, like the seal on medicine. You know it is what it is promised to be when it is sealed. If you find something not sealed, you question whether it is what it says it is or wonder whether it has been tampered with.

 

This is why we cannot live the Christian life apart from the seal of the Holy Spirit. Just as the gifts of the Spirit demonstrate our ministry, the fruit of the Spirit authenticates that we are in Christ Jesus.

 

Second, the promise of a seal secures your eternal life with God!

 
The Holy Spirit is the “pledge of our inheritance” meaning that the Holy Spirit guarantees delivery to the intended destination of Heaven, with God as one who belongs to Jesus Christ!

 

In Ephesians 4:30, Paul warns,
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
 

When you think of the Holy Spirit, you can think of the mail or a carrier service you trust. We seal, address, and stamp a letter for the USPS expecting it to get to the address it was intended. It is a federal crime to tamper with the mail or impede its rightful delivery. A seal is a sign of both ownership and authorship! When something is sealed, you know who it came from and that they authored it.

 

The good news is that the Holy Spirit never misses a delivery! The seal of the Holy Spirit allows us to live with the security of God’s grace and love towards us in Christ Jesus! God is the author and finisher!  

 

This is why Paul can say about those of us who are in Christ Jesus in Romans 8:38-39,
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 
The seal is a guarantee of that which God owns; we were bought at a price!

 

Our security in Christ is because of the promise of the seal, which happens at our conversion, when we enter into eternal life. We are safe in God! Not from bombs, gunmen, cancer, financial woes, family heartache, accidents, betrayals, or any other messes that occur by living in a broken world, but we are securely embraced by God through His redemption plan for His creation.

 

We are not only invited and welcomed into a relationship with the Triune God, but the triumphant work of the Holy Spirit is to authenticate God’s presence in our lives by putting His seal on us. We are now a part of God’s redemption plan and how we live our lives matters in God’s plan.

 

The blood of Jesus Christ has covered all of our sins for eternity (the payment is made!) and the Holy Spirit has sealed us for eternity (the guarantee is given!). It is done!

 

Why? Because the Holy Spirit as the seal of God’s promise proves we belong to God as His children and authenticates us as His approved representatives to the world. As Paul explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17-20,

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

The Holy Spirit is the visible sign that we belong to God. And we are sent by God to do His will; we are under His authority! The Holy Spirit is the sign—the seal—of the authority and power by which we are authorized, and through which we are empowered, to accomplish God’s will. We are bound together with God and with one another as the body of Christ through the seal of the Holy Spirit.

 

Over the next two weeks, we are going to learn that the promise of the seal of God goes hand in hand with God’s promises of anointing and power in the Christian life. As we progress in the sanctification process, we have greater awareness and access to the Holy Spirit as He is activated within us, more and more.

 

While it is important that we feel secure in God’s love because of the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we must know that our security is so that we can go out into the world and shine God’s light and love with anointing and power as His ambassadors—we are His messengers, His image bearers!

 

Then, the world will hear, believe, and know that there is a God who loves them! Because they will see His power and presence in us and how we live our lives!
 

You can listen to this message from Pastor Jerry here:

 

Or you can watch the video by clicking Here.

 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), Mt 27:66.

 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 22

The Promise of Partnership

Exekiel 22:30

 
This message was presented by Kevin King and Jody Maddy.
 
 

I. Introduction to Partnership with God

 
The triune God’s method of operation is PARTNERSHIP!
 
 
God doesn’t have to partner with anyone, He’s all powerful, all knowing & always present.  So why does God choose PARTNERSHIP to accomplish His will?
 

 
For our NextGen Ministries we have chosen to follow this example of partnership.  By the way, NextGen = Children & Youth.  Our children & Youth are not the church of tomorrow.  Once they have accepted Christ as Savior & Lord, they are the church of today!

 

 
God was looking for someone to partner with – but didn’t find anyone…

 

 

For our ministries with children & youth, we have chosen to use the Orange Model.  We desire to bring the church and the home together and work as partners to see kids & teens coming to Christ!
 

 

This is outside of school!  It includes all kind of media (TV, billboards, advertising, phones, etc.)
 

 
If they were to spend every available hour at church that they can, they still get only 140 hour per year!  But very few teens do this…
 
The average FAITH EXPOSURE for a young person is really only about 40 HOURS PER YEAR – TOTAL!

 

[Ping Pong Ball demonstration comparing HOME 3,000 hours with CHURCH 140 hours]
 

Parents must be modeling Christ at home for their kids, otherwise church has little chance of getting through to them.

 
 
 
 

II. Jody Maddy, FBC Children’s Director

 

Our VISION is that every child will come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.

Our MISSION is to partner with parents to build a strong Biblical foundation in every child.

 

Mark 10:13-16 (NLT)

13 They brought little children to Jesus that He might put His hand on them. The followers spoke sharp words to those who brought them. 14 Jesus saw this and was angry with the followers. He said, “Let the little children come to Me. Do not stop them. The holy nation of God is made up of ones like these. 15 For sure, I tell you, whoever does not receive the holy nation of God as a little child does not go into it.” 16 He took the children in His arms. He put His hands on them and prayed that good would come to them.

 

Jesus was rarely angry in the Bible, but this is one of those times and He was angry with His disciples.  He cares about children and all through the Bible we see examples where God cares for children – and so do we!  That is why we do what we do.

 

 

We use the GROW CURRICULUM in our time with the kids.  Be sure to get the handout that gives the parents several tools to use with their kids during the week.  The 5th and 6th Graders (and a few older ones) are under Dr. & Mrs. McAllister.  They lead the kids through a book of the Bible verse by verse.  Their current study is in the book of Job.

 

AWANA is a big part of our working with the kids.  Each meeting includes Book Time, Lesson Time, Game Time and Book at home.  Please work with them at home whenever possible.
 

 

Please give us your kids/teens’ schedules.  We want to show up and support them in their activities/sports whenever possible.
 
 
 
 

III. Kevin King, FBC Youth Director

 
 
Kevin began volunteering in Youth Ministry in 2003.  He served as a Youth Pastor in Virginia from 2008-2013 and in North Carolina from 2013-2017.  He came to New Castle and has served since 2018.
 

 

We named our Youth Ministry at FBC “DtL” or “Death to Life Student Ministry”   Ephesians 2:4-5 (CSB) tells us:
 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

 

God didn’t come to earth and die on a cross to make bad people good or good people better.  He died on a cross and rose from the dead to transform us from death to life!  And if that’s not what you have then you don’t have it!  We want to transform teenagers from death to life!
 

 

Our ministry is two-fold as you can see above.  I preached on 1 Timothy 4:12 (CSB) a few years back:

 

12 Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

 

 

Jody comments on a recent DtL Café that Kevin held with a Sci-fi theme.

 

 

Beyond services & events we offer are involved in counseling, visits, 1 on 1 discipleship and attending youth games, recitals & other extra-curricular activities.  We offer and are involved in Dive at local Elementary schools, Wyld Dive and Young Life in the community.

God wants to partner with us so that we can share in the joy of partnering with Him!

 
 
 

IV. In Conclusion

 
If you are missing out… If you feel like something is missing in your life, maybe it’s because you are not partnering with Christ.  Maybe if you are not enjoying the Christian walk, perhaps you are not partnering with Him to bless other people.  I encourage you to make a change!

 

That brings us back to Ezekiel 22:30:
 

30 I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one.

 

Sometimes God searches for someone to partner with and finds no one!  Don’t let that happen! 
Is God searching for you?  Is He looking to partner with Him?
 

How does God want you to partner with Him to share the Gospel?

 
 
 
 

You can listen to this message from Kevin & Jody here:

 

Or you can watch the video by clicking Here.

 

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Live Like a Champion – Week 21

The Promise of the Holy Spirit!

  John 14:26 (NAS95)

 

Reader: Acts 2:1-13.

It’s Pentecost Sunday and today we are going to learn about the importance of not only the historical event of Pentecost as just read in Acts 2, but also of the ongoing promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ gave us.

 

Before we get into the promise of Jesus, though, let’s learn about the importance of Pentecost. 
 
(Pastor Curt Ferrell shares about the background of Pentecost and the importance of its fulfillment.  You can follow along on his manuscript by clicking HERE.)

 

The play of the week is “The Promise of the Holy Spirit!” The memory verse for this promise is John 14:26,

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

 

I want you to listen to Jesus’ clear teaching on the Holy Spirit so that you can hear this promise in the fullness of Jesus’ teaching. From John 14:16-31 Jesus taught,

 

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.”

 

Jesus gave us this clear teaching, along with other teachings, on the Holy Spirit. From Acts 1:4-5, immediately before His ascension to the right hand of the Father (please listen to last week’s sermon if you have not yet listened to that important teaching on the Ascension of Jesus Christ), Jesus promised that His followers would be baptized in the Spirit:

“Gathering them together, [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”

This is not the first time the followers of Jesus heard this invitation to be baptized in the Spirit because the baptism of the Spirit is not a secondary event to salvation itself, it is the very nature of salvation itself—the Spirit of God is our inheritance—the presence and power of God dwelling in us, the Giver of new life transforming us into a Temple of the Holy Spirit and inviting us into the eternal fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by allowing us to participate in His divine nature. This is what it means to have salvation and it should never be reduced to some secondary work of sanctification in our lives. The Son removed our sins from us through His sacrificial death on the Cross so that God could live in us through His Spirit!

 

From the beginning of the New Testament, the baptism of the Holy Spirit was distinguished apart from the baptism of John. John the Baptist’s baptism was a means of preparation for the coming of the Lord, a purification of oneself in preparation for the coming of the Lord in Christ Jesus. Listen to John the Baptist make this distinction in Matthew 3:11,

“As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (cf. Mark 1:7-8 & Luke 3:16).

 

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of Jesus, which is the only form of New Covenant baptism that Jesus commanded His disciples to conduct immediately before His ascension to the right hand of the Father when He gave us the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

This issue is often confused by people misapplying the early church history book of Acts. The early church leaders dealt with this confusion, making a distinction between the baptism of John and the baptism in Jesus’ name. Acts 11:15-18 is a powerful illustration of the importance of understanding how yoked our justification in Christ is with the baptism of the Spirit. Listen to Peter give a first-hand witness of the work of the Spirit after Pentecost and in the early church among non-Jewish people, called Gentiles:

 

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

 

Pentecost is both a one-time historical event recorded in Acts 2 and the beginning of the age of the Church—the promised fulfillment of Jesus Christ who fulfilled the Old and ushered in the New Covenant, to which the baptism of the Spirit is a fulfillment of God’s promise to His people from Joel 2:28-32:

 

It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the Lord has said, Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.

 

We will be in the age of Pentecost until we experience the fulfillment of God’s Word and the return of Jesus.

 

Until that Day, we are to walk in the Spirit. As we learned last week, the ministry of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ, right now, is to intercede for us at the right hand of the Father until He returns. Simultaneously, the Father and Son have baptized us with the Spirit so that our eternity would be secured and we would carry in our very person the same anointing that the Messiah Himself had: the Spirit of the Living God! The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you and me—the Resurrection power of God is in us!

 

Paul teaches us in Galatians 5:16-26 what it means to live our lives in the Spirit:

 

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

 

When the power of the risen Christ comes upon the Church of Jesus Christ through the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is keeping His promise to His followers that He will always be with us and that we will become like Him. Jesus’ ascension did not leave us alone in this world. He promised to not leave us as orphans and He kept His word!

 

God came upon His church at Pentecost in a new and different way than Jesus’ incarnation at Christmas. We don’t live in the age of Christmas where Jesus’ uniquely incarnated God’s Presence on earth; rather, we live in the age of Pentecost where God now incarnates in each of us through His Spirit living in us. Jesus has ascended and will come again, but until that time, the Spirit of the Living God indwells the Church of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the words of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ and the earliest church teachings.

 

God is with us! We are not left as orphans! The promise of the Holy Spirit is ours in His fullness!

 

Just as Acts 2:32-33 taught us:
“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”

 

God is with us through His presence and power living in us! May God be exalted in and through His Church!

 

As we move to prepare ourselves to respond to this message and invite the Spirit of the Living God to move upon us and work in our hearts and minds, allow me to pray over you the ancient prayer of the Apostle Paul from Ephesians 3:14-21:

 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

 

Amen!
 

You can listen to this message from Pastor Jerry here:

 

Or you can watch the video by clicking Here.

 
 
 

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