Archive for May 24th, 2015

A New Power, Part 2 (Onward Christian Soldiers #83)

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward Christian Soldiers


The purpose of this time together is to teach young believers everything they need to know about their faith in Jesus Christ and provide them with the knowledge they need to live victorious Christian lives.

Our key Bible passage today is Galatians 5:16-25

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

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

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Our lesson today is titled “A New Power, Part 2”

In part 1 of this lesson, we began talking about the problem of the flesh. Our sinful flesh always wants us to sin. However, as Christians, we have a power within us that enables us to resist the evil that our flesh wants and do the good that our Heavenly Father wants us to do.

That force is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God; He is not just an influence for good. He is a Person who lives within us.

The Holy Spirit is God’s Gift to each of His children. Every believer in the Lord Jesus has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. And once the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our heart He will never leave us. The Lord Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter [the Holy Spirit], that He may abide with you FOREVER.”

The work of the Holy Spirit within us is twofold:

1. He battles against the flesh.
2. He produces Christ’s life in us.

Let us consider this twofold work of the Holy Spirit.

First, the Holy Spirit battles against the flesh. The power of the flesh within us is very strong. Sometimes it is too strong for us and it overpowers our will. We do things that we do not really want to do. Even the Apostle Paul could not overcome the flesh in his own strength. He said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

But God has not left us to try to overcome the flesh in our own strength. He has given us a new power—the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has taken up the battle against the flesh on our behalf. The Holy Spirit hates sin. He is against every sin in our life. The Bible says, “For the flesh lusteth [or battles] against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”

The Holy Spirit is more powerful than the flesh, but the Holy Spirit does not deliver us from sin apart from our will. We must CHOOSE to be delivered from the works of the flesh.

Suppose, for example, that we have a negative attitude. That is a work of the flesh. We must make a choice. Will we allow it to continue to rule over us, or will we choose to be delivered from it?

God says that the flesh must not rule over us; instead, it must be put to death. If we choose to be delivered from the work of the flesh, then, as we count on our death with Christ, let us ask the Holy Spirit to put the flesh to death and trust Him to do it. The Bible says in Romans 8:13, “if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”

The second work of the Holy Spirit is that He produces Christ’s Life within us. Jesus Christ said the Holy Spirit “shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Jesus Christ is holy, gentle, loving, pure, kind, patient, unselfish, and faithful. The Holy Spirit takes these things of Christ and makes them real in our life. “The fruit of the Spirit” is simply Christ’s life in us. The Bible tells us how this life is manifested when it says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance.”

We do not make these things happen in our life. God makes them happen through the power of the Holy Spirit by the grace of God. Every good thing that we do is attributed to God and His work in our life. If we could always do good on our own, then we would, and we would not need the work of Christ within us. However, because of our sinful nature, our flesh always wants to do evil. Therefore, we must allow our flesh to be crucified with Christ and choose to let the Holy Spirit flourish within us and make us into the Christ-like people we ought to be.

If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, in our next lesson, we will look at the two ways in which the Christian can walk — in the flesh, or in the Spirit.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!

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Stepping Out of the Straight and Narrow Way and Getting Into Trouble, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #39)

Pilgrim's Progress

Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A


PART B


TEXT: James 1:12-16

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Stepping Out of the Straight and Narrow Way and Getting Into Trouble, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #39)

The temptation to sin is a recurring problem for all people, Christian and non-Christian alike. The great American statesman, Benjamin Franklin, who is considered by many to be a very wise man, once set out to live in moral perfection. He stated that if he knew right from wrong, he saw no reason why he ought not to be able to always do what was right and always avoid doing what was wrong. However, he remarked in his autobiography that after attempting to do this, “I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While my care was employed in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason.”

As Christians in the world, we also face the same dilemma as Benjamin Franklin. The temptation to do something that is displeasing to God is always present. As Paul said, “Evil is present with me.” Last week, we looked at the “Why” behind Christians who fall into sin and begin to stray from the straight and narrow path. There are two main reasons for this: the devil and the flesh. The devil wants to destroy a Christian’s testimony and make him or her an ineffective witness for Christ. And when we speak of the “flesh,” we are talking about our human nature which is naturally sinful. The pull of these two forces often leads many Christians to go astray and to leave the straight and narrow way.

Today, we are going to look at the consequences of such action so that we will be fortified against temptation and encouraged to not give in to temptation. Our passage states, “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust [his fleshly desires], and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Continue reading

Israel in the End Times (Part 10)

 

TEXT: Romans 11:30-36

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Israel in the End Times (Part 10)

In his book “Future Israel”, Barry Horner calls Romans chapter 11 “the crucial passage regarding the New Testament teaching concerning the present nature and destiny of national Israel.” One of the important threads that we see in this passage is the sovereignty of God.

In the past nine messages, we have seen that the sovereignty of God is demonstrated in the election of grace which is spoken of in Romans 11:5 — “Even so then at this present time also there is a [Israeli] remnant according to the election of grace.” The sovereignty of God is demonstrated in God’s dealings with the Gentiles spoken of in verse 11 which says, “through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.” And the sovereignty of God is demonstrated in the eventual salvation of Israel spoken of in verse 26 which says, “so all Israel shall be saved.”

As we have seen, Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ opened the way for Gentiles to hear and receive the Gospel of Christ. What Paul makes clear in the conclusion of this passage is that we, Jews and Gentiles, are on level ground before the cross of Christ. He says in verses 30 and 31, “For as ye [Gentiles] in times past have not believed God… Even so have these [the Jews] also now not believed.” Both Gentiles and Jews are guilty of sin. Both Gentiles and Jews are guilty of nonbelief. Both Gentiles and Jews are guilty of rejecting Christ. But the good news is that both Gentiles and Jews are eligible for God’s mercy and grace. Regarding these two verses, Richard Lenski writes that Paul is saying “These still disobedient Jews are in the position you believing Gentiles once occupied with your disobedience: as their disobedience brought you mercy, the mercy you have is to bring them to the same mercy from their disobedience. God made no mistake and has nothing to regret in regard to the gracious gifts and the call he extended to the patriarchs and to the Jews. All is working out according to his wonderful plans.”

In fact, it is God’s intent to show His mercy to all people. Verse 32 tells us, “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” From this verse we see that God regards us all as unbelievers so that He can show His mercy to us. The Jews are no nearer to salvation than the Gentiles just because they are the children of Abraham. The Gentiles are no nearer to salvation than the Jews just because many accepted Christ when the Jews had rejected Him. Ultimately, we are all in the same boat in God’s eyes. And He will accomplish His sovereign will for both the Jews and the Gentiles by bringing a “fullness” of both groups into His family.

Unfortunately, it is human nature that when favor is shown to one group of people, that favored group tends to look on the other group with arrogance or disdain even though both groups are equally undeserving of favor. In the New Testament era, many Jews were prejudiced against Samaritans and Gentiles in general. Some of the early church leaders did not want to allow the Gentiles to become full members of the Christian community unless they also completely adopted Jewish rites and customs. In the Middle Ages in Europe, many Christians (mostly Catholics) harbored a hatred for the Jews and often persecuted the Jews. At different times in history, each group viewed itself as better than the other.

However, Paul lets us know that God has a higher, loftier perspective which sees Jews and Gentiles being loving and merciful toward each other just as God himself intends to “have mercy on all.” As Frederick W. Faber wrote,

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

At the end of days, all of God’s children will unite in praising God for His marvellous, merciful plan which was worked out throughout history. We see a glimpse of this praise and worship in Paul’s conclusion to this passage. He breaks out in praise to God saying, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” In the end, God will get immense glory out of His dealings with Israel. W.A. Elwell writes that these verses of praise show that “Paul believes in the absolute God who controls the course of history and will faithfully bring it to an ultimate conclusion in salvation and judgment.”

In this chapter, and in the larger part of Romans in which this chapter is contained, Paul tries to explain to us some of God’s ways as it concerns His dealings with the nation of Israel. However, ultimately, as with much of Scripture, we must simply say that although we don’t understand it all, we believe God, and we choose to trust Him for Israel’s future and our own. It is humanly impossible to exhaust the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge. We may not fully grasp why God has chosen to cut off Israel in order to graft in the Gentiles, but we can be glad about what God is doing. As the Scripture says, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?”

God’s glory is manifest in His carrying out of the plan of salvation for the world which was put in motion before the beginning of time. John Piper said, “The vindication of God’s glory is the ground of our salvation, and the exaltation of God’s glory is the goal of our salvation.” God is glorified when sinners come to Him through Christ. He is glorified when Jews and Gentiles come together as the body of Christ under the headship of Christ. He is glorified when both communities show mercy and grace to each other. As the final verse of this passage states, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Through the cutting off of Israel, the grafting in of the Gentiles, and the eventual salvation of Israel, God will be ultimately glorified.

_________________

If you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you how you can trust Him for salvation so that you can be ready for His return.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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