Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple


Some people say that opposites attract. You know that saying, right? Like the couple where one person is outgoing and the other is very shy. Or when one likes to stay around the house and the other is always itching to get out and go somewhere. Well, I am not so sure I agree that opposites attract. I believe that successful relationships are more dependent on the shared values of patience, kindness, selflessness, respect, commitment, forgiveness, etc. as expressed in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians chapter 13).

Within all followers of Jesus Christ, there are two opposite natures. These natures are not attracted to each other – they differ in every way and each wants complete control. They are constantly battling to dominate our thoughts, desires, actions and words. These two natures are our flesh (the sinful desires, passions and attitudes that define our human nature apart from God) and our spirit (the supernatural union of our nonphysical essence and the Holy Spirit of God living within us).
  • Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
  • Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Bible explicitly declares the opposing natures of the flesh and the spirit.
  • Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

So why doesn’t God do away with our sinful human nature when we surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The Bible states that we are new creations in Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

How awesome it would be to live with no desire or inclination to sin!

Or would it?

I would never claim or pretend to fully comprehend the mind, nature and depth of God as presented in His Word. It’s quite the opposite. The longer I know Him and the more I learn, the more questions I have. But this I know, in His infinite and perfect wisdom, God chose and ordained that His children must deal with the odd couple of flesh and spirit from the moment of salvation until the end of mortal life. And since He is all-knowing and all-powerful, I know He did this by design.
  • Romans 8:5 those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
  • Galatians 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

I believe that part of the reason He did this is choice. Just as God would never force a person to surrender their lives to Him, He does not force those who do surrender to Him to live a Godly life. Each person must decide how they will live. For God or against Him. Serving and honoring Him or rebelling against Him.
  • Romans 8:13-14 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. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
  • Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How does a perfectly programmed robot that has no choice but to obey bring glory to God? It can’t.
  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
  • John 6:66-67 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

The church of Jesus Christ is not calling
the lost people of this world to perfection in this life.

We are calling them to trust Him for salvation.
We are calling them to surrender all they are to Him.
We are calling them to love, obey and follow Him.
We are calling them to make choices that honor Him.


The first choice a person makes to honor God is to be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ. As part of our spiritual rebirth, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in us and is the guarantee of our eternal life in Heaven.
  • John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
  • Romans 8:1 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.

From then on, it is a life of choices; you have to deal with the reality of the odd couple inside you moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Will I obey Him? Will I wait for Him? Will I respond to His Word and the promptings of His Spirit? Will I reject my human nature? Will I give Him the glory for my victories and confess my failures to Him?
  • Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
  • Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

What choices do you need to make?


Prayer

Father, I praise You for Your wisdom, love, patience, knowledge, plans and so much more. I also thank You for giving us choice! Please Father, draw many to You through salvation in Jesus. I pray for those who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. I pray that Your Word and Your Spirit will lead them to the right choice. I pray for those who have given their lives to You. May they make choices every day that bear witness to the new creation they are in Jesus. I pray all these things by choice, and in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

That You May

That You May


Jesus loves you. He humbled Himself by coming to earth as a man to fulfill God’s plans for your redemption. He lived a sinless life to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament Law on your behalf. He died on a cross as the perfect and final sacrifice for your sin debt to God. He rose from the dead to prove that He is God and to assure those who follow Him of their eternal life in Heaven. He ascended to Heaven where He continues daily in His high priestly ministry of advocacy and intercession before Father God for those who have surrendered to Him.

He did all this:

That You May Believe
Jesus wants you to trust in who He is.

John Wrote
  • John 20:30-31 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
The Bible is God’s message of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. A belief in Jesus that leads to surrender to Him as Lord and Savior is what God wants for you.


That You May Know
Jesus wants you to be assured of your salvation.

John Wrote
  • 1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Jesus Said
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The Bible unapologetically tells us that Jesus is the only way to a right relationship with Father God. A Christian’s confidence in their relationship with God is based on the redeeming power of Jesus’ shed blood, not their good works.


That You May Stand
Jesus wants you to endure in His strength.

Paul Wrote
  • Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Jesus Said
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
The Bible shows us that it is only in God’s strength that we can stand against the weaknesses of our flesh, the wickedness of the world and the schemes of the devil. In union with Christ, even when we are weak, we can be strong.


That You May Walk
Jesus wants you to live a life that honors God.

Paul Wrote
  • Colossians 1:9-10 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Jesus Said
  • John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
The Bible defines our ultimate purpose in this life – to bring glory to the God of the Bible. We bring honor to God by walking in the truth, love and righteousness of Jesus Christ.


That You May Proclaim
Jesus expects you to share the truth about Him with others.

Peter Wrote
  • 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
Jesus Said
  • Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The Bible requires that its message be declared to every tongue and tribe and nation by those who profess to follow Jesus. Followers of Jesus lead others to Him!


Turn to Jesus!
Live for Jesus!
Share the Good News about Jesus!


Prayer

Father, the pressures, pains, problems and preoccupations of this life cause many of Your children to fall short in our calling to spread the good news about Jesus to those who have not heard (or need to hear again). But we are without excuse. Despite the weaknesses of our humanity, please use us for Your glorious purposes. By the truth of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit, enable, empower, excite and erect Your church to fulfill its evangelist mission. In the blessed name of Jesus I pray. Amen