BEING OBEDIENT TO GOD

For Christians sometimes obedience comes before understanding.

To enable us, Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our Spirit to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.John 3:5-8

In my own life, many times, I am confronted by the Holy spirit prompting me to do something I would not ordinarily do and when I am obedient and do it, I discover that God had orchestrated all aspects of the the event, circumstances, people and location and it invariably did one or more of the following things: helped others, proved God’s existence and brought glory to Him and His Word.

Even before Jesus made it possible for believers to be born again and receive the Holy Spirit, God was working with people like Abraham who by faith was prepared to be obedient . Think about it, Abraham could have had no understanding of why he was called to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. This is trusting God to the uttermost.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.Hebrews 11:17-19

What did God promise Abraham because of his obedience:

By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voiceGenesis 22:16-18

Long after Abraham had died the children of Abraham knew that:

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45

Jesus now calls us to do the following things, which in the natural you would not do, but by the power of the Holy Spirit you can do.

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.Luke 6:27-31

Are you being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading each day of your life? Are you living eternal now?

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LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

Until we have received the Holy Spirit, we cannot possibly bear righteous fruit like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23). Unless a person has died to self (water baptism is the sign to the world we have died to self) and received the Holy Spirit, literally born again of the Spirit, they are not able to live the Christian life.

Take captive every thought

The Apostle Paul said “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). So how do we demolish such thoughts when they enter our mind? Again, without God’s Spirit, we have no hope of reforming our own thoughts. Paul has said that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4), so until we’re set free from the clutch of Satan and his minions, we remain blind, even though we think we can see. Only trusting in Christ allows us to resist the Devil, and only then will he flee from us. David had a way of resisting evil thoughts. He wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11), so along with the Spirit of God, we have the Word of God to help us avoid such evil thoughts, and only then are we able to “not sin against” God.

Be transformed

One way to eliminate something is to replace it with something, and in the case of our thoughts, replace them with something much better. For example, we can dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8), instead of dwelling on whatever is sinful, lustful, or pleases the flesh. By allowing the Spirit of God to renew our minds, we will “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2). With the Spirit of God and the Word of God, we can renew our minds. The Word of God allows us to walk in safety since the “word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). His Word shows me the path in order that I might stay on the path and avoid leaving the path. That’s the power of God’s Word.

Sanctification

Before conversion, our thoughts gravitate toward whatever pleases us, with little or no regard for those around us. If we are fulfilling the desires of the flesh, we could care less about the fruits of the Spirit. Our minds will be held captive until we repent of our sins and put our trust in Christ. Only then can we have God’s supernatural power; the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and changes the child of God into being more like the Son of God. I don’t mean we’ll be sinless, but we should sin less over time. Sanctification takes time…in fact, it takes a lifetime, and only until we enter the kingdom will our minds be completely free of evil thoughts, desires, and intentions.

Conclusion

You cannot take captive any thoughts you have but only for a moment or only temporarily. Eventually, our minds will gravitate to unholy things, that is unless we are in the Word of God daily and have the Spirit of God in us. When we’re saved, we receive a new nature…the nature of God, and even though it falls infinitely short of God’s mind, we strive to have it renewed daily by prayer, by the Word, and by His Spirit, so we can receive help from God in overcoming our thought life, particularly our thoughts on things of the world and of the flesh. Paul asked the Corinthians, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). Paul admonishes us to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:5-7). When we focus on serving others in humility, there is no room for selfish thoughts to satisfy the flesh. Instead of it being all about us, the mind of Christ makes it all about others. We cannot control our thoughts but the Spirit of God can. The Spirit of God allows us to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil 2:3).

DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT INDWELL YOUR SPIRIT?

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts. Proverbs 20:27

This Scripture indicates that spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord. What is missing until we are born again by the Holy Spirit is the oil to fuel the lamp. In fact, our spirit cannot function as God intended without the Holy Spirit. A lamp needs oil to provide light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Andrew Farley shares New Covenant promises that will assure you of your union with the Spirit and address whether you need to ask for more spiritual blessings. Old Testament references to a double blessing or double anointing of the Holy Spirit might leave you wondering if you have all of the Spirit. Should born-again Christians today ask for more of the Spirit, a fresh anointing, or worry about the Spirit of God coming and going? Andrew provides the answer in this short video.

DYING TO SELF; TRULY BORN AGAIN

This is one of the most needed sermons for the church, particularly the denominational church in our day. In the age of “selfies”, this generation is more focused on me than any in my lifetime, and my lifetime now spans three generations. Yes! my eldest son is a grandfather.

Francis Chan recognises we are in the last days: unless Christians are truly born again of the Holy Spirit (died to self), they will fall away when prophesied persecution of Christians intensifies.

Each of us needs to obey God and use the gifts He has given us to bless the church and take the Gospel to their world.

Please share this sermon by Francis Chan to challenge and hopefully bless many.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE?

Do you live by human wisdom and worldly power?

Jesus Christ did not leave us to live out this human existence in our own wisdom and power. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. This is what it means to be born again and enables us to walk in true power beyond human reasoning.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-2, 5 confesses to the Corinthians that he knew lofty words or brilliant ideas would not convince anyone of the truth of Christ. Rather, he focused solely on the cross of Christ with simple words and language. Everything else was up to the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul knew it was futile to trust in human wisdom. Yet much of church culture—has lost that heart of dependence on God alone. We build our programs and train our leaders to cater to the consumer mentality of attracting people through creativity or entertainment. We forget that our human wisdom is so limited and naive. Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life. By His work on the Cross, our Heavenly Father has sent the Holy Spirit to be our Counsellor, Teacher and Comforter. He will guide our steps, produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy peace, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self control. He will also provide all nine gifts of the Spirit for ministry as we need them.

Jesus wants to live His life through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Will you submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life or will you quench His work and grieve Him?

Pray accordingly for yourself, family and the church.

 

HOW EASY IT IS TO GET TRIPPED UP BY SIN

Image result for pictures of king solomon's throne

For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Ashtoreth:  Female goddess worship, over-exaltation of women power. 
Milcom:  National god.  Worship of political power.  
Chemosh:  The god of SELF focus.  False confidence, audacity, worship of the temple itself.  
Molech:  Required the sacrifice of your very own children.
What an abomination this must have been to God and of course we know that it was because of Solomon’s disobedience that the entire nation of Israel was rent in two after his death.

Thank goodness we have this stark example of the dangers of worldly treasures, the WISEST human in all of history turns away from God because of them. It should force us to our knees to ask God to protect us not only from the evil one but from our own selfish evil desires.

Sin is toxic.  Sin is the equivalent of cancer in the Body of Christ. The same applies to our nations. Like cancer, it metastasises. As it progresses, the Body is ravaged and wasted.  If we were giving a medical prognosis:  We only have a certain amount of time left to live.  Sin cancer will lay us flat out.

Three helpful Scriptures:

“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  Romans 7:24

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Ephesians  5:17-21