This IS the Christian Life!

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I have recently had the joy and privilege of listening to sermons from precious saints of “old” and wow has it been rich.  I have been soooo blessed listening to Major Ian Thomas, Watchman Nee and A.W. Tozer, and I’ve been reminded of wonderful truths that have transformed my life.

The consistent message you will hear from each of these saints is this: Jesus IS the Christian life.  What really encouraged me is how they will often say something and emphasize that “this IS the normal Christian life.”  So, for the last week my heart has been so richly blessed and encouraged as I was reminded of this liberating message of grace.

This is truly my life’s message; to let the world know I serve a risen (and therefore) LIVING Savior!  We don’t worship a dead religious leader on the cross. NO!!! He has risen indeed in order to give us HIS life!

We often talk about being saved to go to heaven, etc.  But as Major Ian Thomas has often said, “This is NOT salvation!  Salvation is perfect Divinity being clothed in a redeemed sinner’s humanity.”  Chew on that for a while.  We are not saved in order to get out of hell and in to heaven…no!  We are saved so that Jesus might “get out of” heaven and IN TO US!

As Jesus lived on this earth so do we live here on earth.  In Philippians chapter 2 we are reminded that Jesus chose to set aside His privileges as God to take on the form of a man…He became a man.  Our Divine Father clothed Himself in Jesus’ perfect humanity.  Think about that.  “God was IN CHRIST reconciling the world…”  The gospels often refer to God’s work IN and THROUGH Jesus.

So, do you see it?  This is EXACTLY what Jesus desires to do with us..wow!  Our Father wants to be clothed with our imperfect humanity.  If you read the gospels, you will be reminded that Jesus never did or said anything except what His Father told him to say or do.  He also said that “if you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father.”  My dear friend if you’ve been born again, this is EXACTLY how we are to live; in absolute dependence on Jesus “who is our life”.  When we do, the world will see Jesus when they see us!

This is truly the cry of my heart; to just let God be God (I heard He’s up for the job J) in my life and let JESUS live the Christian life through me, because He is the only one who did live it and can live it through me!  Believe me, I’ve “tried” and all I do is make a mess of things when I live by my efforts.  The bible reminds us that apart from Him “I can do NOTHING!”

My dear friend, is that your desire?  Is that the cry of your heart?  If so, then let us stop trying….trying…trying, and let us die to ourselves and OUR effort and simply start trusting Him to do what only HE CAN do; to live out HIS life!

What an exciting life this Christian life is….this truly is THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE!!! Blessings!

Check out my entry tomorrow for a wonderful illustration of “righteous” living…real cool stuff!

 

 

 

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Let’s Protect Our Freedom!

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Galatians 2:1-10

This week as we continue on our journey through Galatians, we see Paul once again defending his apostleship as well as the establishment of the standard for the True Gospel.

Is there something of value in your life that would upset you deeply if you lost it or had it stolen?  It might be a wedding ring or maybe family pictures.  We all have probably 2 or more items in our lives that we would consider as very valuable.

Like these valuables, the true Gospel & the freedom that comes with it must be equally prized and valued.  It is something that if “lost or damaged” would have dire consequences in our lives.  The true gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone is to be guarded & protected!

This I believe is the message throughout the book of Galatians.  It is a message of liberty, and our understanding of what the Gospel is will greatly effect how we live our lives – either in bondage or in freedom!

Here are the four messages found in this passage:

1. vv. 1-3 = It’s all about the message & having a clear understanding of it! The fact is that it is all about His work of grace!

2. vv. 4-5 = We must understand Satan’s two-fold strategy.

    a. To create confusion regarding our liberty

b. To bring us individually into bondage & then subsequently the whole body!

3. vv. 6-9 = There are no “big deals” in the Body of Christ.  The principle here is that it is the message & not the man that matters!!!

4. v. 10 = Someone who lives with a clear understanding of their salvation will like Paul did, be concerned for the Body & give!!!

Let me ask you this: why was this issue of circumcision (adding the law) such a huge issue in the infancy of the Church?  Why would Satan strategically target this message?  Why would Satan specifically & clandestinely seek to destroy this freedom we have?

The answer is simple: this is THE TRUTH that saves mankind & in turn truly sets them FREE…and Satan does not want YOU or anyone else FREE!!!

Are you unknowingly subjecting yourself to a yoke of slavery?  Are you demanding of yourself or of others the need to abide by a set of rules, standards or expectations?  If so, along with Paul, I plead & ask you: if we HAVE BEEN set free from the yoke of the slavery of religion, then why are you surrendering once again to that very same burden?

What a Sharp Contrast!

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I was reading a book written by Dr. Lee C. Turner entitled Understanding Grace, and how to implement it in your life and church, and came across a fabulous quote by C.I. Scofield that I knew I had to share.  Scofield wrote in his book Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth the following:

“Law curses; grace redeems from that curse.  Law kills; grace makes alive.  Law shuts every mouth before Him; grace opens every mouth to praise Him.  Law puts a great and guilty distance between man and God; grace makes guilty man nigh to God…Law says, Do and live; grace, Believe and live.  Law never had a missionary; grace is to be preached to every creature.  Law utterly dondemns the best  man; grace freely justifies the worst (Luke 23:43; Rom. 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:15; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).  Law is a system of probation; grace, of favor.  Law stones an adulteress; grace says, ‘Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.’  Under law the sheep dies for the shepherd; under grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep.

Everywhere the Scriptures present law and grace in sharply contrasted spheres.

The mingling of them in much of the current teaching of the day spoils both; for law is robbed of its terror, and grace of its freeness.”

 

 

STOP TRYING!!!

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Oh to live in “victory”!  The longer I walk with Jesus the more I realize how rare this is in the Body of Christ.  Yet, it IS the very life our Father intends for us.  Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”

    When I consider how many of true believers are not experiencing Jesus alive living in us who IS our only “hope of glory”, my heart breaks.  My heart saddens because I lived like this for sooooo long!     What is sad is that the TRUE gospel is so simple yet so profound. It is simply this: (1) the FINALITY of the cross – He reconciled us while we were His enemies and (2) the REALITY of the resurrection – He rose to give us HIS life!

    Hudson Taylor (5/21/1832 – 6/3/1905), who was a missionary and founder of China Inland Mission discovered this realty WHILE in China as a missionary.  He wrote the following in a letter:

 

“…to find your heart all taken up by Him; to be reminded of His love by His seeking communion with YOU at all times, not by your painful attempts to abide in Him.  He IS our life, our strength, our salvation; He IS our wisdom and righteousness, our sanctification and redemption; He IS our power for service and fruit-bearing, and His bosom IS our resting- place now and forever…”

 

    So, how do we then live and experience this victory?  The apostle Paul said this in Colossians 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him,” and again he says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

    We walk (live) just like we got saved…by grace through faith… period!!!

    Again here is what Hudson Taylor had to say about this:

 

“How then, is this faith increased?  Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all that He is for us: His life, His death, His work, Himself, as revealed to us in His Word, to be the subject of our constant thoughts.  Not a striving to have faith, or to increase our faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need – a resting in the Loved One entirely for time and eternity.  It does not appear to me anything new – only formerly misapprehended.”

 

May we REST in Him today!

Thank You Brother!

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small-butterfly-flapping11Have you ever wondered if there are people you have impacted with the gospel, but never knew about it?  

     I know I have, and the Lord has blessed me a few times on the receiving end when someone expressed thanks for touching their lives and I didn’t even know it.

     Well, this is why I would like to bless someone.  There is someone who has had a profound effect on my life, and I wanted to say thanks in a public way.

     Bob George of People to People Ministries was truly a God-send in my life.  Back in the fall of 1993 I began listening to his radio show, and I was instantly blown away.  I remember thinking, “I’ve never heard anything like this.”

     Up to that time, I lived a life of bondage going from defeat to defeat rather than victory to victory.  I had absolutely no idea what it looked like to walk in freedom.  Well, I was captivated by his book Classic Christianity and I will never forget the day I got to chapter 4. 

     I broke down and wept when I realized that as a Christian I have a new life and it is Jesus life being lived in and through me.  The concept of the exchanged life overwhelmed me.

     Although the “grace life” began captivating my mind and heart, it’s sad to say this but I was so steeped in legalistic thinking that it still took a good 7 years until I began to experience real transformation.  I discovered that sometimes it hard to shake all those lies.

     I could go on, but I will spare you.  I just wanted to say,

 

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart Bob!  You have been and still are a huge blessing in my life and the reason why I am now walking in freedom and victory. I love you brother!”

 

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