Crucify the Earthly Nature

Crucify the Earthly Nature

Today’s topic is the earthly nature of man with its passions and desires.  The Bible urges us to put to death the deeds of the body.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  (Col 3:5 NIV)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  (Rom 8:13)

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  (Gal 5:24)

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and temporary residents in the world, to abstain from the desires of the sinful flesh, which war against your soul.  (1 Pet 2:11 EHV)

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  (1 Cor 6:18)

Why do you think the Scriptures urge us in so many passages of the Bible to:

  • Put to death the earthly nature;
  • Put to the death the deeds of the body;
  • Crucify the flesh;
  • Abstain from desires of the sinful flesh; and to
  • Flee sexual immortality?

1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Peter 2 state very clearly the reasons why we should obey the Bible:

  • Because the desires of the flesh war against our own souls; and
  • The one who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

When we allow the lusts of the flesh to govern our actions, then we sin against our very own bodies.  How?  Because our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19-20)  This type of sin is an offense to our temple and the Holy Guest living within it.   

We belong to God, and our individual bodies belong to God.  We have chosen to follow Jesus of our own, free will; it hasn’t been forced upon us. 

The Lord has sealed each believer and given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  (2 Cor 1:22)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  (Eph 4:30)

We are urged by the Word of God to live a righteous and holy life by the empowering grace of God.  (See Rom 12:1; 1 Pet 1:15-16)  Since the Lord has given us His gift of grace, we are enabled to live obedient, holy lives.  He has given us victory through Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57)  Let us celebrate God’s goodness and mercy!

We are called, as followers of Jesus Christ and children of God to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits.  God bless you!

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Jesus told us that the kingdom of God has come upon us, and that the kingdom is within each and every believer.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Mt 12:28 NIV)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit . . .  (Rom 14:17 NIV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Lk 17:20-21)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  (Lk 9:2)

‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’  (Lk 10:11)

The Kingdom of God arrived on earth in the person of Jesus, and was established in the hearts of all believers when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples.  This is described for us in Acts 2:1-5.

Since then, all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord have also received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in the Word of God that we are the very temple (house, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) Glory to God!

The gift of the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scriptures as:

  • The promise of the Father (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4)
  • The Helper (Joh 14:26; 16:7-16)
  • The Spirit of Truth (Joh 14:16-17; 15:26)
  • The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
  • Advocate (Joh 14:16 NIV; 1 Joh 2:1)
  • The Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
  • Lord (2 Cor 3:17)
  • Intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
  • Teacher (Joh 14:26)
  • Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3)
  • Spirit of Glory (1 Pet 4:14)

We are temples of the Living God.  We are highly blessed and favored, and we need to meditate upon that truth more frequently.  It’s almost too monumental of a concept to grasp with our human intellect.  The Kingdom of God dwells within you and me!  Rejoice!

Filled with the Spirit

Filled with the Spirit

Today our topic is about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues (glossolalia).

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Eph 5:18-19)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:4)

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 9:17)

The Bible encourages us to be filled with the Spirit and to praise the Lord and sing hymns and melodies to Him.  What an joy and an honor!

To be filled with anything indicates that all of a person’s faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence.  We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to allow the Holy Spirit to have such a mighty influence and impact upon us that He is able to pervade and engage literally every area and portion of our being.

When the Bible says that they spoke with “other tongues” it means that they spoke in languages that were not their own.  Acts 2:9-11 lists which languages were heard that day. 

To speak with other tongues – At the building of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and, in consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of the earth: at this foundation of the Christian Church, the gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent (επισκοπος ) of all souls.  (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

As the Spirit gave them utterance – The word αποφθεγγεσθαι seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from immediate inspiration, and included oracular communications.     (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

There are believers who still speak in tongues today, and who usually operate in the fruit of the Spirit as well as in the gifts of the Spirit.  They typically believe that miracles still happen all over the world because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8) Hallelujah!

Our Lives Are a Message

Our Lives Are a Message

Would it surprise you to learn that the life of each and every follower of Jesus Christ is an epistle (letter) to the world?

. . . clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.  (2 Cor 3:3)

The word epistle means:  letter, communication, or message.  Every person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord is a message to the world!  The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30), has been given to us as our guarantee or promise that we are born-again.

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.  (Ps 40:8) 

The verse above teaches us that every human being [saved or unsaved] inherently knows the moral law of God. (Rom 2:14-15)  One reason that this is true is that all mankind has been created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27)

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart . . . (Pro 3:3) 

Mercy and truth are bound up in the Scriptures.  When we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, we are cooperating with “writing” them upon our hearts.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (Heb 8:10) 

The Holy Spirit will bless every believer with grace to enable us to memorize passages of the Bible, thereby putting God’s laws in our minds and sowing it into our hearts.  Only the Spirit of the Living God has the necessary power to “write” God’s moral laws upon the heart of a believer.  This Bible passage says that God has made a covenant with us to do these things, and also to be our God. 

The Lord calls us His people, and what an awesome blessing that is.  God bless you!

Priest & Sacrifice

Priest & Sacrifice

The verses below all discuss or outline the fact that Jesus is our High Priest, and He is also the perfect Lamb of God.  He gave up His own life as a perfect, unblemished sacrifice to God.  With His sacrifice, Jesus purchased reconciliation to God for each one of us:  our salvation. 

In the Old Testament, the High Priest used the blood of bulls and lambs to pour upon the mercy seat as a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  God had instructed His people to build Him a sanctuary within which was the “Ark of the Testimony” which held the “mercy seat.”

. . . who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.  (Heb 7:27)

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  (Heb 9:12)

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.  (Rom 6:10)

In Hebrews 12:24, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the blood of Jesus “speaks better things than the blood of Abel.”  God was the Avenger of “righteous Abel,” but Jesus Christ, the righteous, is our Advocate with the Father, and He is the appeasement for our sins.  (1 Joh 2:1-2) 

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is unique in all of time and eternity.  He has done what no one else could do.  He completed His mission on earth perfectly.  He is the perfect Priest and the perfect atoning Sacrifice:  the Lamb of God.   (See Heb 3:1; 4:14; 6:20; Joh 1:29, 36; Rev 7:17)  All glory to His name.

As a Little Child

As a Little Child

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  (1 Kgs 3:7, emphasis added) 

This verse in 1 Kings reflects the wisdom of Solomon—who considered himself as a little child in comparison to the wisdom and the eternal knowledge of God.

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.  (Mk 10:15)

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mt 18:3-4)

What do you think are the characteristics of a little child that Jesus is referring to in these passages?  Here are some ideas to consider.  Very young children were, in ancient, biblical times:

  • Humble and not envious of each other;
  • Did not think about advancing themselves to a place of power;
  • Didn’t have status or rights; and
  • Were completely dependent upon the good will of others to care for them.

Jesus humbles Himself in identifying with the little child.  Jesus came to meet the needs of all those who are marginal, needy, and powerless.  He came to save the lost—and there are many ways to be “lost.” 

Jesus says that the way that WE should respond to such marginal, needy people is the same way that we respond to HIM.  (see Mt 18:5)  If we love Jesus, we should show love and concern for the lost. Jesus wants to remind us of the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and desires that we be heavenly-minded. 

The Bible says that we are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth (Heb 11:13) because our King is a heavenly King, and our country is with our heavenly King. 

As we submit our lives to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, we shall suddenly move from earthly life into eternity—into humility and total dependence upon God.  (1 Cor 15:51-52)

Keep in Step With the Spirit

Keep in Step With the Spirit

You may well ask, “How do we keep in step with the Holy Spirit?”  Let’s study that today.

  • Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Gal 5:25 NIV) 

This verse reminds us that we live by the Spirit (of God), so it is important that we walk in unity and harmony with Him.

  • It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (Joh 6:63 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit is the author of spiritual truth and life in all of its forms—physical, spiritual, and mental.  The Lord tells us in this verse that His words are spirit and life, so the more that we read, meditate upon, and memorize the word of God, the more that we are renewed, revived, and refreshed by it.

  • . . . who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:6 NKJV)

Again the Bible affirms in the verse above that the Holy Spirit gives us the gift of life in all of its forms:

  1. A long life (Ps 91:16)
  2. An abundant life (Joh 10:10)
  3. A blessed life (Joh 10:10; Jam 1:12; Rev 22:14)
  4. Health and healing (Pro 3:7-8; 4:21-22; 3 Joh 1:2)

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  11 But if [since] the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  (Rom 8:10-11 KJV, emphasis & bracketed word added)

This passage from the book of Romans (above) reminds us that the Spirit is life, as well as the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within each and every believer.

The Holy Spirit’s perfect, holy, healthy life is continuously quickened (accelerated, renewed) in each believer because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) 

So, we may reasonably conclude that we “keep in step with the Spirit” by living in agreement with and in obedience to the Word of God, the Bible.  God bless you.

Reverence for the House of God

Reverence for the House of God

It pleases the Lord when we honor the place where He resides.  Since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the “house of God” is any building or gathering place where two or more people assemble to study the Word of God, to teach others spiritual truths from the Bible, and to praise and worship the Lord. 

 ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.’  (Lev 19:30)

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.  (Eccl 5:1)

And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mt 21:13)

From these passages of Scripture we can recognize a number of truths.

The Lord tells us to reverence (respect; regard with awe) His sanctuary.  A sanctuary is a refuge, safe haven, or place of safety.  When we meet with fellow Christians to praise and worship God and to partake of His Word, we are in a place of safety and protection.  Our collective attitude of honor and respect contribute to the free flowing of the Holy Spirit to minister in our midst.

It isn’t a building that is the church—it is the people and the gathering of God’s people together that forms “the church.”  The sanctuary, the House of God, and the church are all synonymous terms.  Any place or building where God’s people gather together to give Him honor and praise can be understood to be “the church”; whether it’s an event room at a bowling alley, a rented meeting room in a hotel, or a family room in a private home.

The Word also reminds us to behave wisely as we enter into the meeting of the body of Christ.  How do we do that?  We “draw near to hear” with a heart full of obedience and true worship.

Lastly, the Scriptures remind us that the church is a “house of prayer” and that its main purpose is a spiritual one and not a monetary one.  God forbid that a body of believers would focus upon money instead of honoring God and His Holy Word.

It is very understandable that God would ask us to show honor and respect for any place where He meets with His people—all who call Him Savior and Lord.  Remember that GOD IS PRESENT when His people come together in His Name.  God bless you.

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.  (Mk 4:34)

. . . that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  “I will open My mouth in parables;  will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”  (Mt 13:35)

Why did Jesus speak in parables so regularly?  Jesus used parables frequently as a means to illuminate weighty, divine truth.  He also had other reasons to use parables to communicate in public.

  • And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. (Lk 11:53-54)  The scribes and Pharisees were always looking to find fault with Jesus and to discredit Jesus in the eyes of all of the people.  By using parables, Jesus could thwart the plans of His enemies.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Mt 5:6)  Through the use of parables, Jesus could spiritually feed those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness.  Those who had a good heart, who were truly seeking God, could find what they needed in His teachings.
  • “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14)  This story of the two roads (one narrow, one wide) caused people to think about where their lives were headed.  Using parables motivated people to stop and think about such profound topics.
  • Jesus’ parables brought pressure upon people to cause them to choose whether they wanted to be a sheep or a goat. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left . . .”  (Mt 25:31-33, for full story see Mt 25:31-46)
  • Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (Ps 78:1-3)  As we can see by this passage, by speaking in parables, Jesus fulfilled prophecy concerning Himself.  (see also Mt 13:34-35)

Jesus always had very good reasons for His actions.  He listened for and obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit, and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.  He has set us an excellent example, hasn’t He?

Children of Promise

Children of Promise

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.  (Gal 4:21-26, emphases added)

That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  (Rom 9:8, emphasis added)

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Gal 4:28)

Children of the Promise is another way of saying “children of God.” (see Rom 9:8 above)  But what, exactly, is the significance of this for us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior?

One thing to note is that the Bible says that we become children of the promise when we’re baptized into Christ through water baptism. 

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  (Act 2:38-39)

This teaching is verified in Ephesians 3:

. . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel . . . (Eph 3:6)

Upon our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and our water baptism into Christ, we become Children of Promise—children of God!  Hallelujah!

For you are all sons [children] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (Gal 3:26-29, explanatory word inserted)

Being Children of the Promise means that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ!  Glory to God!  (Rom 8:17) 

This means that we are entitled to all of the blessings that Jesus earned for Himself by living a sinless, perfect life in loving obedience to His Father while He lived on earth.  In accepting Christ as Savior and being baptized into Him through water baptism, we become qualified to receive this vast and rich inheritance!  Rejoice, O children of promise!