Imparted Power

Imparted Power

Most of us who follow Jesus Christ don’t realize how much power the Lord has imparted to us, His people.  The word imparted means transferred, taught, or revealed. 

When we read the Bible, we need to think deeply about each and every passage that we read.  We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and to give us revelations into the Scriptures.

Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ . . .  (2 Cor 2:10 ESV) 

We have authority to forgive others on behalf of the kingdom of God!  Think about the significance of this, and don’t take it lightly. 

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.  (Joh 20:23 ESV) 

Jesus has given us the example, along with our Heavenly Father, of forgiving mankind of all sin through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  It is our responsibility to follow His good example and His teachings.  Let’s advance the kingdom of God by being just like Him by extending merciful, and generous forgiveness to others.

And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.  (Mt 18:18 TL B) 

We have power to bind on earth: 

  • to truss up or tie up;
  • to hinder or inhibit people, demons, or calamitous events; and
  • to deter or prevent situations—as God directs.  

We have authority to set free on earth:

  • to liberate (unshackle) people from bondage;
  • to emancipate human beings from every shame;
  • to release all those imprisoned by sickness, fear, pain, and the consequences of sin; and
  • to unshackle hurting ones from unhealthy situations and relationships.

The Lord Jesus has said clearly that He has given His followers power and authority.  This is an important truth upon which to meditate, and ask God to give us insight and wisdom into it.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19) 

Later, in the book of Luke, Jesus talks again about our being given power from heaven.

I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49 ISV) Recognize who you are and what you have been given.  Believers are children of the Kingdom, and we have been given the message of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.    It’s our job to bind or to set free the right things for the right reasons.  It’s time for us to listen to and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Praise God!

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  (Hos 6:6)

This Scripture verse states two things that God prefers over a burnt offering:

  • Mercy – God wants His people to show compassion and kindness to others, especially anyone who is in need.
  • Knowledge of God – God wants us to know Him, and one important way to do that is to read and to meditate upon His Word.  He has given us His Word in order to allow us to learn all about Him, and about His truth.

So Samuel said:  “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  (1 Sam 15:22)

God says clearly here that obedience is better than sacrifice.  He wants us to obey Him and His Word.  He asks us to live in agreement with His Word and His wisdom.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3)

The Bible passage shown above teaches us that more than sacrifice, the Lord desires:

  • For us to live righteously – This means to live a holy, good, and moral life among men, a life that honors God and obeys the Word of God. 
  • For us to do justice – This means to live with a sense of fairness to all, and to treat everyone equally.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

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.

Power Belongs to God

Power Belongs to God

All power and all authority belongs to God.  That also means that any power or authority that anyone exercises in any position of authority comes FROM God!  That’s why the Word instructs us to obey governing authorities. 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  (Rom 13:1 NIV)  We’re instructed to obey all who are in authority.

By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.  (Pro 8:15-16 NKJV)  The Lord reminds us that He is the One who establishes kings, princes, nobles, judges, and all who are in positions of authority.

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11 NKJV)  This verse is yet another reminder from God that it is always to Him and to HIS POWER that we submit.

For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.  (1 Pet 5:11 VOICE)  God holds and owns all power FOREVER.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (Rom 13:2 ESV)  If we resist authority, we resist God Himself, and we invite judgment from God.  Doing such a thing is not a wise move.

Titus 3:1 implies that being submissive to rulers and authorities is the same as being ready for every good work!  If you would like the Lord to credit you with performing good work, submit to and obey those who have authority over you in the world—whether in your family, your church, your community or your work environment. 

God loves to bless the obedient because to Him, obedience is better than sacrifice!  (1 Sam 15:22b)

We Are Servants

We Are Servants

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  (! Cor 4:1-2)

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad . . .  (Jas 1:1)

“These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  (Act 16:17)

. . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mt 20:28)

As shown in Matthew chapter 20, Jesus came to serve humanity—He came as a servant.  Jesus came to reconcile mankind to His loving Father, and how thankful we are for His completed work. 

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our example.  (1 Pet 2:21)  Since He lived to serve humanity (which means people), so also should we!   Let’s admit that God saved us to empower us to serve others. 

How may we serve other people in meaningful ways which bring glory to God?

  • Hold onto and teach others sound doctrine. (Tit 1:9; 2:1)
  • Perform good works/deeds for other people so that people will give glory to God for them. (Mt 5:16; Eph 2:10)
  • Be LIGHT in the world. (Mt 5:14)  Jesus says in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world.  As believers, we are to allow the light of Christ within us to shine forth to all.
  • Live honorably. (1 Pet 2:12)
  • Be faithful. (Mt 25:23)
  • Use your gifts, skills, and passions to serve within the body of Christ. (Rom 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:27-28)

Living our lives as an offering and a sacrifice to the Lord—in service to others—is not only honorable; it is very satisfying.  God bless you.

Accepted In the Beloved

Accepted In the Beloved

. . . to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  (Eph 1:6, emphasis added)

And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.  (Lev 22:21, emphasis added)

Accepted means:  received; recognized; admitted; acknowledged; welcomed; understood; or allowed. 

In Christ, we are accepted by Almighty God as perfected.  How wonderful and awesome a gift we have been given!

As the verse from Leviticus above demonstrates, an offering (in the OT) had to be perfect in order to be acceptable to the Lord.   Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, slain in our place for our sins and iniquities.

Now, we are accepted into the household of faith, the kingdom of God, and the family of God!  No matter what our past may look like, what our personality is, or what our appearance is—we are welcomed by the loving arms of Jesus!  Hallelujah!

Jesus invites us to come to Him in every circumstance of life and in the face of every challenge, need, or failing.  He is the very embodiment of perfect, unconditional, and unfailing LOVE.  There is mercy (forgiveness, kindness, humanity, generosity) in Christ’s embrace. 

Know, trust, and believe that you’re accepted in Jesus and rejoice!

 

The Armor of Light, Part 1

The Armor of Light, Part 1

The armor of light (Rom 13:12) and the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11) are synonymous terms.  The armor enables us to cast off the works of darkness and to stand securely (endure) by faith in the Gospel of Peace.

Why do we need armor?  Because we’re engaged in a daily battle with evil.  We need to stand firm and to resist the attacks of the devil. 

This is a battle that requires our dedication and steadfastness.  It requires us to sacrifice our own desires and goals.  We are soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ, and we were drafted into this army upon our salvation.

All of the armor is defensive except the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.  The sword is the one offensive weapon to use against the enemy.  With it we can be victorious over his attacks.

All of the other armor is intended to aid us in our Christian life and walk.  According to the Scripture verses shown in these notes, the armor of light includes:

  1. Belt of Truth
  2. Breastplate of righteousness; breastplate of faith and love (Isa 59:17; Eph 6:14; 1 Thes 5:8)
  3. Helmet of salvation (the hope of salvation)
  4. Shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace
  5. Shield of Faith
  6. Sword of the Spirit—the Word of God

Two possible additions might be suitable—although not often named as part of the whole armor of God:

  • A cloak of zeal (Isa 59:17)
    This cloak represents our enthusiasm and passion for the battle.  It’s fitting for us to feel a keenness and fervor to bring glory and honor to our God.
  • Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Eph 6:18)
    As we know, the Bible reminds us that man ought always to pray and not to faint.  (Lk 18:1)  Prayer is a significant tool in our arsenal that we must wield with skill and wisdom.

For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
  (Isa 59:17)

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  (Eph 6:14-18)

Watch for the next article which discusses how to employ the Armor of Light.