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the Mind with Christ!
8:2-3 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free
from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it
was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the
what is the sin nature? Is it not the desire that we all have from birth
to try the things that we are told not to do? Surely, we think we are
being deprived of some privilege or pleasure when we listen to the
"thou shalt not" decrees of God. Isn't that how Satan
convinced Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit? He told her that eating
that fruit would open her eyes (that is, give her understanding she
didn't presently have), and it would make her "like" God. I
don't think Satan has to speak to us in that same way anymore, because
it is in our nature to try anything that has a "Don't do
that!" associated with it. If we tell a child not to touch a hot
stove, usually they have to touch it to see why they shouldn't touch it.
Most of them don't ever touch one again.
we are told not to do something and when we try not to do it, we tend to
center our thinking on the negative rather than centering our thinking
on the positive. We tend to live our lives by trying to keep from
offending God which is a burden that most of us cannot bear. Instead we
need to live our lives positively, with a desire to please God and then
we will have neither time nor energy to fixate on what we should not do.
Neither will we spend our time wondering what great pleasures are
eluding us because we have chosen not to do the things that God says we
law has great power over our lives and it will always defeat us. Paul
himself makes that clear when he says in Romans 7:19, "For the good
that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I
practice." It is possible to deal with this problem like the
unregenerate (unsaved) would and say that it is impossible to keep the
law, so why try? Or we can relegate the principles of the law to another
day and say that they are not relevant in our society. Or we can do like
Paul and recognize that the only solution is Christ. Paul says, "O
wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I
thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I
myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans
7:24-25)." I think Paul is saying that the mind that has been
regenerated through the new birth is occupied with Christ, is motivated
by the desire to please Christ, and is no longer occupied (or maybe I
should say preoccupied) with the sinful desires of the natural man (or
person who lives by the law is living a defeated life according to Paul.
His life will be a life filled with burdens because, if he is honest
with himself, he will know that he has not lived up to his own standards
let alone living up to the standards of God. It was that conviction of
sin that led those of us who are saved, to come to Christ for an answer
that reformation and our own efforts could not achieve for us. When we
trusted Him, we found grace and mercy and deliverance from the
condemnation and burden of the law. Christ bore those burdens for us and
now we are free from the law. Free, that is, to serve voluntarily and
devotionally the Lord who delivered us. By serving Him and not the law
we are led by the spirit. Our life is lived positively and not
negatively. We are occupied with what is good and not with what is bad
but tempting. We may from time to time yield to the temptations of the
flesh but our occupation is with Christ. Our focus is on heaven and not
on earth. Our victory is in the resurrection and we don't have time or
energy to squander on trying to "keep the law."
says in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ
Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." We can and
should thank the Lord for the power of the Holy Spirit that frees us
from the power of the law. The Holy Spirit leads us in the same path of
holiness that the law would have led us, but the Holy Spirit does that
by keeping our focus on Christ.
for the week of August 7, 2011
am I Missing Here?
17:5) Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And
makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
17:7) "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is
political process of electing Presidents and Congressional
representatives never stops in the U.S. It is enough to give a real
Christian a real headache. We tend to talk freely about politicians who
can solve the problems in the U.S., but in the political process I never
hear about the need for regeneration by trusting in the Lord Jesus to
get us back on the right moral track. I hear each candidate saying that
they are the answer to our problems and that they can change things for
the better. Many of these candidates claim to be Christians. Now if they
are Christians, their mandate is found in Matthew 28:19-20 where the
Lord says, "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, 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." The
political process does not accomplish that commission. Only the
preaching of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ accomplishes
that since the Lord uses the preached Word to bring people to faith in
Him. That faith will bring about real change by changing people from the
inside out and giving them a new life, a new spiritual King, and a new
Christians are the answer to our problems, why don't Christian
politicians act like Christians in their campaigns? For example, a
Christian is to esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
A Christian is to be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19). A
Christian is to honor the present leaders (Romans 13:7, 1 Peter 2:17). A
Christian is to show the 15 characteristics of love found in 1
Corinthians 13:4-7. That includes being patient, not being envious, not
promoting themselves nor should they be filled with pride. Proverbs 27:2
says, "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth."
How many politicians could win debates and elections if they adhered to
these standards? So my question is, "Why do we Christians always
want to vote for Christians if they are bound to lose if they act like
Christians should act in their campaigns?" What am I missing here?
The debates and campaign speeches that I have heard and the sound bite
ads that I see and hear all violate these basic standards of decency.
The general thinking seems to be that if you don't tear down your
opponent and if you don't exalt yourself, you simply won't win. Even
candidates that try not to tear down their opponents, still exalt
themselves as though they are the answer. Of course, after the elections
everyone is disappointed because, in the real world, nobody can solve
our problems like they say they can during the campaigns.
stage is being set for the world to accept a man who says he can bring
about peace and economic stability to the whole world. We read about
that man in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and in Revelation 13. I am concerned
that Christians will have wasted their time on political reformation
instead of spiritual regeneration. As a result there will be enough
unsaved religious people left after the Lord comes to convince the world
that the missing people have not really been raptured. After all, if the
rapture had occurred wouldn't all these well meaning religious people be
gone? The stage is being set for the man of sin (antichrist as some call
him) to take control and deceive the world after the Lord comes because
everyone is looking for a man with the answers, but they aren't looking
to Christ. That seems to include many who call themselves Christians.
The only problem is that this man will require the world to worship him
and not Christ in order to buy or sell in the marketplace. He will be a
deceiver and murderer just like Satan who is his boss.
I am right, what should Christians do? We can't stop what God has
predicted will happen. But we can get back to the business of putting
our trust in the Lord and not in men and women in the political system.
We can get back to the business of being evangelical in the Biblical
sense. We can warn people that things are going to get worse before the
Lord sets up His physical kingdom and things get better.
hope is not in the best of the best in the political system. My
confidence is in the Lord who died to save me from my sins. I am not
looking for a man who can save us politically. He doesn't exist. Only
one Man met those qualifications in the history of mankind and He was
crucified. I am going to trust that Man because He can save us eternally
and I am going to preach that Man. He can give us the real change that
for the week of August 14, 2011
12:6 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE
of us would like to think that salvation solves all of our problems. A
Christian's path is supposed to be downhill (even though we are
traveling up to heaven), the wind is supposed to be at our back, the
bank account is supposed to be always sufficiently full, our friends are
supposed to treat us like we are really their friends, we aren't
supposed to get sick and our marriages are always supposed to be stress
free. We may have those conditions in our lives for a little while, but
then reality sets in and we find out that life can be hard, hard, hard!
the problems come (and they will), many of us have been taught to
believe that we have done something wrong and that God is
"punishing" us. We may have done something wrong, but I am
glad that God is not "punishing" us if we are saved. He may be
correcting, instructing, or chastising us, but the punishment that we
deserved because of our sins was taken care of at the cross. Christ was
punished in our place. God does not demand payment twice.
tend to use punishment and chastisement in the same way in our normal
every day speech. They are not terms that mean the same thing in the
Bible. The only time in the new testament that punishment is linked with
a believer is in Corinthians 2:6 which says, "This punishment which
was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man." This
"punishment" really would be better translated censure,
penalty or rebuke. This man had been excommunicated for persisting in
sin but had apparently repented and was now living a Godly life. He
didn't pay for his sin, but as long as he was persisting in that gross
sin, he was removed from the assembly since their internal discipline
had not corrected him. Now, it turns out, God had corrected Him while he
was excommunicated and he needed to be restored to the assembly.
is the legal penalty required by the law when the law has been broken.
It looks backward and makes people "pay" for their sins. God's
punishment involves vengeance, wrath and condemnation and is going to
inflicted on those who reject Christ. Chastisement is always a means of
correction, instruction or discipline and is always looking forward.
Many of us punish our children because of their disobedience when in
fact we should be chastising them or disciplining them in such a way so
that they don't do what they did again. I would call this correction.
But chastisement and discipline can also occur when no correction is
needed. Job was chastised because God knew he could be trusted with the
trial. He had done nothing wrong. God makes that clear. Job was used to
show Satan that there are people who worship God because He is worth
worshiping. They don't worship Him so that He can be a genie in a
bottle, giving them their every wish. Sometimes the best are chastised
the most so that they can be better.
we become followers of the Lord, we become disciples. Disciples are
learning a discipline. Some of us put in a lot of effort and paid a lot
of money to learn a discipline. We took tests to prove we had learned
the lessons. So it is with our profession of faith. We may need to be
tested as we make progress as disciples. From time to time we may need
to be corrected as well. But as believers, we are never punished. That
was taken care of on an old rugged cross outside the city gates of
Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. God will not punish His Son and those of
us who trust His Son as well.
today, there are things happening in your life that you don't understand
and that are causing you pain, you may have done something that needs to
be corrected. If that is true, you will know what it is. We don't
correct our children without telling them why they are being corrected.
Neither will our heavenly Father. On the other hand, your problems may
be simply because the Lord is trying to make you stronger and better.
Either way, the chastening is the evidence of God's love, because whom
the Lord loves, He chastens.
for the week of August 21, 2011
there ever be peace in Jerusalem?
for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you."
is a very important city as far as God is concerned. Melchizedek was
King of Salem or Jerusalem long before it was established as the capital
of Israel. He was also priest of the God Most High (Genesis 14:18). Jews
think this is where God created the earth. However, it is best known as
the city that rejected Christ and crucified Him outside it's city gates.
doesn't appear to be part of the conflict that Abraham was involved in
during Melchizedek's reign. The city probably had peace at that time. It
certainly had peace when Solomon reigned. There is going to be a future
peace when the Lord sets up His Kingdom and the True Prince of Peace
reigns. But right now, at this point in history, there is no peace in
Jerusalem. There is constant conflict in that city. The jews are certain
that it is theirs by Biblical decree, and the Muslims are certain that
Allah wants them to control it (and to kick the Jews out). So why are we
to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Because when peace comes there, the
Savior will have come to set things right in this world and there will
be world wide peace. No matter how many wars are fought and no matter
how many leaders promise peace, there will be no lasting peace until the
Lord comes. Jerusalem is an object lesson of how the Lord works. When we
truly worship the Lord, when we honor Him and His name, we have peace
When we turn away from Him there is nothing but turmoil.
cannot have true peace until they have turned from sin and self-will to
the Savior. They cannot know what it is like to have the burden of sin
lifted until they trust the Lord. Jerusalem has experienced that same
thing. When they were worshiping Jehovah, they were blessed and were at
peace. When they turned away from Him as a nation, God turned away from
them and sent them into captivity. The last dispersion was in 70 A.D.
when the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple and the city. Until
today, Israel, as a nation, has never acknowledged that they have
crucified the Messiah. God calls them rebellious children in Isaiah 1:2.
Blessing is associated with the Jews since the Lord was a Jew and was
the descendent of Abraham. Abraham was promised that his seed would
bless the earth, yet the Jews today are not at peace because they have
not repented and believed in their own Messiah. They will not be at
peace until they do.
sometimes act as though the present Jews in Israel are believers in the
Lord Jesus Christ, just like Christians. While individual Jews are
believers in Christ, the Jews leading the nation, for the most part, are
not. They are not the friend of Christ, and they are not the friend of
Christians at the present time. The nation must repent of its sin of
rejecting Christ before God can come and establish Himself with the
nation. They have not done that yet, but they will. Isaiah 53:5 may very
well be the confession of the nation when they have lost every battle
and are about to be overrun by their enemies at the end of the
tribulation period. When all is lost and the Lord comes on the white
horse and wins the last battle for them, it will be because the nation
has confessed, "Why He was wounded for our transgressions!"
That is the same confession that sinners make when they are truly
repentant and ready to accept the Lord on His terms.
we pray for the peace of Jerusalem because that means we are praying for
the Lord's return. But while events in the world tell us that time is
short, we can't rush God's time table either. The Jews have not yet
repented. They are not yet ready for the Lord to reestablish His kingdom
more important question is, "Have we truly been humbled and made to
see that as sinners we cannot save ourselves?" Have we ever come to
the point where we realize we are lost? Any attempt to bring people to
faith in Christ before that point is reached in their lives is
fruitless. Salvation is urgent, but again, we cannot rush the work of
the Holy Spirit when it comes to seeing people saved. The work must be
done in God's time and in God's way.
for the week of August 28, 2011