We EACH Need REVIVAL!!!

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My dear brother & sister in Jesus may your heart be stirred by the Spirit as my heart was stirred. Jesus MUST reign SUPREME in each of our lives for HIS glory…ONLY and for HIS good…ONLY!!!

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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?

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!

LET HIM DO IT!

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When we talk about “being saved” I think we often forget or maybe we’ve never been taught that our salvation has three tenses or parts to it.  They are as follows.

– I was saved when I believed in Jesus;

– I am being saved as the character of Jesus Christ now becoming manifested in my life; and

– I shall be saved when at last, in resurrection life, with a glorified body; I stand in the presence of the Son of God fully glorified forevermore.

It is the second part of our salvation that I would like to address.  The term for this is sanctification.  This is a term and concept that is often misunderstood.  Here is a fantastic definition:

“Sanctification is the appearing of the characteristics, the perfections, of the Lord Jesus in terms of your human personality.” – Oswald Chambers

Mr. Chambers absolutely nailed it!  It is a growing process by which Jesus manifests Himself more fully in us AND through us.

It thrills my heart every time I reflect on the reality that it’s all about Him.  He started it (I was saved not of myself but as “a gift”); He continues it (sanctification) and He completes it (glorification.)

So, we see that our becoming more “like Christ” is about His work in us and His work through us as we trust Him by faith to live out His life.  It reminds me of Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for {His} good pleasure.”

It’s not by my effort, my cleverness, my determination, my discipline, etc.  It’s ALL Jesus!  He gave His life TO ME!  It was the Great Exchange.  I exchanged my filth and imperfection for His wonderful righteousness. 

So, rather than wear a bracelet that says “W.W.J.D.” to remind me to behave properly.  God is calling me to live a life of faith in the finality of the cross (sins were fully paid for) and the reality of the resurrection (I have a new life).  It’s the difference between wrestling about trying to “get it right” and resting in Him.

This motivates me to be more and more consumed with Jesus and all that HE is in me; to live each day with a grateful heart in all that He has done and is doing.  Faith simply says, “Thank you!”  This is normal Christian Living.

The Body of Christ in Action

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small-butterfly-flapping3I’ve been preaching at the 1st Southern Baptist Church in the little “town” of Black Canyon City about 14.5 miles north of where I live.  They have asked me to be their interim Pastor.  So, I will be going up there for the next six months, and I am so thrilled.

This small fellowship is so sweet.  The folks there have such a genuine love for the Lord and for each other.  I truly believe God has wonderful plans for us…and tonight was another confirmation.

I wanted to briefly share a fabulous praise.  We had such a wonderful time of worship and praise.  The message was one of the best ever preached (ok….so I embellished a bitJ).  Seriously, as I preached I had such a sense of God’s presence.  We then had a pot-luck (I forgot what a Southern Baptist pot-luck was like) with sweet fellowship.

Well, tonight we met back at the church and there were about 20 of us sitting in a circle. There was a gentleman there who had visited the week before as well as this morning.  Again, we had such a wonderful time around God’s word.  As we prayed to close our meeting, I could hear the visitor saying something. 

The woman sitting next to him has a very sensitive spirit toward others and told us he had a question.  He actually had an observation.  He went on to say that since last week and today he realized that he has to give everything over to the Lord; that he can’t do it.  We eventually led him to the Lord right there.

THIS is the Normal Christian Life!  This is the Body of Christ in Action!  I share this because it is a beautiful picture of how the Body “works”.  I was able to go on and teach them and show them how the different gifts in the group were in action and how it was a great picture of how we are to function.

I love the Body of Christ!  What is really beautiful is that we were actually talking tonight about this very thing, and then the Lord gave us a living illustration…PTL!!!