Friday, January 23, 2009

Can the understanding of Election motivate us for Spiritual Growth and positive relationships?

Read Colossians 3:1-17

Being the elect of God or as some translations put it chosen and holy. In the Colossian context, refers to God’s people who are in community, who have a special guarantee and favor. This means we have a special personal and communal relationship with Jesus Christ, as He had with the Israelites in the Old Testament. Thus as Paul puts it, this as a question of how will we then live in response to our new life together?

Being a person who is elect, is also in the form of a duty, not to receive salvation, but rather for us to respond to what Christ has freely and lovingly given us. Our Divine election means He chose us not by merit or worth, but just because of His pure and perfect purpose and knowledge, which we do not deserve. And how do I know if I am elect? I will love Christ and desire to follow Him!

Thus, our election is also to motivate our “human responsibility,” not to rest and do nothing with our faith or responsibility! Election is never an excuse to ignore our faith or responsibility to produce fruit and unity but because we have been chosen and are secure in Christ and we can respond back to Him and others with gratitude.

Thus, when the reality of what Christ has done for us hits and motivates us, we can put forth every conceivable effort and passion to live out the Christian life. As Augustine, Calvin, and Spurgeon all said, divine sovereignty and human responsibility go hand in hand. So, why would we not put off what holds us back? Why would we not want to be grateful, grace oriented, forgiving, loving, and virtuous?

Election also means that God loves you!

We are His dearly loved and beloved. God loves you and accepts you more powerfully, passionately, purposefully, and deeply than you could ever fathom! You are secure. God “guarantees” you with a clear, powerful, loving, impacting, and lasting relationship with Him. When you are in Christ, God is pleased with you! You have no need to fear; you are a person of deep value and worth before our Lord! You are forgiven because of Christ and His righteousness that covers you—not because of your deeds or performance. You are unique and complete in Him; and because of this, you are a special person whom God loves and will use to further impact His kingdom (John 6:37, 44, 65;13:1; 15:16; Rom. 5:1-8; Eph. 1:4-5; Phil. 1:6; Col. 1:21-22; 2:10; 1 John 4:9-11)!

God chose you to be one of His holy people, so you must clothe yourself in His love and His principles. We all must realize that others have faults and show them the grace and forgiveness that Christ has given us. We are to be in unity and filled with gratitude, which will set the tone for our lives, spiritual growth, and our relationship with God and others. This is about what we are to put on and put off in our lives. What are we to put on? Fruit, which is the Holy Spirit working in and through us, so we are oozing with His love. We are to become His masterpiece and showcase of God’s goodness and grace.

What is produced by our election?

Tender mercies, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness; these are virtues that are sealed and empowered by His love for us, which comes from Christ ruling our hearts and His Word indwelling us. This is not a set of ideas we are being asked to consider. Rather, we are called and “must do” them! What do we get in return? Peace, as Christ dwells in us and uses us in the lives of others through our words, attitudes, and lifestyle.

Thus, being elect will enable us to clothe yourselves, put on Christ as LORD. This means we can now emulate the character of our Lord Jesus Christ on how He acted and reacted as He walked this earth. This is a call to take on the character of Jesus and put it on us. Don’t worry; we do not construct this on our own. He imparts to us the power and ability to do so through His and the Holy Spirit’s work! It is something we do not force to come about; rather, it happens naturally as we learn and grow in Christ. Then, His character envelopes us, wraps around us as we take on the new identity of a person not only saved by grace but empowered and shaped by Him (Gen. 35:2; Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27; 5:19-23; Col. 1:15; 2:3; 3:10; 1 Pet. 5:5)!

Since Christ gave us new life and election, we have the empowerment, gifts, and abilities, and alongside that, the Spirit’s indwelling to rise up and live for Him. Because Christ is supreme, because He is there molding and guiding us, we can set our purpose and vision of our life in Him and for Him. He is our real life; He is our all in all. We share in His glory, so we can put to death all that holds us back from embracing and living for Christ, and become persons of spiritual maturity who are effective for the Kingdom! We can recognize sin and remove its influence from us.

Think this is not biblical? See for yourself: Deut. 4:37; John 3:16; 6:37, 44, 65; 15:1-16; Rom. 3:21-26; 8:29-33; 9:10-24; 11:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:1:2, 30; Eph. 1:4-5; Phil. 1:6; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Tit. 3:4; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; 2:9, what do these Scriptures say to you?

1. What does it mean to you that God loves you and He chose you to be His? How can this help motivate you?

2. Do you understand what Christ did for you? If so, how will you have more hope and confidence to trust and obey Him?

3. What do you need to put on in your life? What do you need to put off?

What do you think?

More here:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Setting our Minds on Christ

We, as Christians, are to set our sights and our focus upon Christ as Lord, who raised us to new life, for this is our authentic reality and Truth. We are to trust in Christ who sits at God’s right hand in honor and power in the reality of heaven. We are to also let Christ fill our thoughts and take hold of our will so we need not give a thought to earthly troubles and fears.

It is not enough just to know what we should know; we must do as we are called to do. We need to not only engage His Word, but also obey and practice its precepts. If not, we are not living as an authentic Christian. How do we do this? Paul tells us to put to death our old man—our sin and evil desires—and not only embrace our new lives in Christ but reside in them as well. We are to make Christ first in order to receive His blessings and empowerment! That way, Jesus is our focus and attention rather than our own agendas. Then, we will lead lives of distinction, maturity, and character (Matt. 6:33; Rom. 6:1-14; Eph. 2:1-10).

There is no reason or necessary function for an authentic Christian to be drawn to sexual sin, greed, rage, dirty language, gossip, slander, malicious behaviors, or idolatry ruling our hearts and minds. Such things cause us to seek other things to be our god and direction in life. We may not be able to remove sin completely, but we can move away from sin and towards our Lord. We can throw off our wrong desires, and live a life that is real, impacting, and triumphant! Do not allow your life to be hidden or ineffectual. You are so much better than the world says you are or people at school or work say you are; you have power from on High! You were dead; now you are alive in Him. What more can you possibly need or want? Christ is all that matters and He is living, working, and guiding you as a Christian!

Real, spiritual improvement comes from surrendering our will—not opposing or imposing upon His will!

Q: What do you need to do to strip off your old nature of sin and put on His nature of fruitfulness and renewal?

What do you think?

Read more here:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Got Legalism?

Our lives in Christ are not about dos and don’ts; they are about being in Christ!

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation and daily life—no added ingredients or rules are needed. In fact, the message of our new Bible study is about that adding anything to God’s Work and Word neuters His Message and Work in our life. The only thing we “put in” to build faith and fruitfulness is our knowledge and growth in Him.

The Colossians were like any church or Christian group that tends to take on its surrounding societal characteristics and customs. We have to be careful that our church’s values and wants can mimic its cultural environment as it did for these Colossians. Thus instead of being a light to darkness or salt, we build a wall of legalism that is also separatism.

Legalism and being bonded to a set of human rules and regulations and thinking we are honoring God’s precepts, when in fact we are disobeying Him.

Legalism even affects our worship. God desires the fruition of our will to truly, sincerely, and lovingly offer up our worship of Him, but when we do it out of obligation or routine or put in our own rules, it becomes meaningless and even repugnant (Matt. 15:9)! Our Worship of Christ must be sacred, heartfelt, and genuine, with never an afterthought, routine, whim, or a series of meaningless rhetoric or ritual. Nor is true worship about seeking our needs, desires, or inserting our presumptions or expectations or procedures or regulations; rather, real worship is respect and reverence for our Lord God, the way He wills and instituted it. True worship is a matter of our hearts, not our will. The will is to be surrendered, and the heart is to be opened and given to Christ. Never forget: He is the Sovereign Lord (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 6:16-18; 15:9; Mark 7:7-8)!

We need to beware of the problem and lure of legalism. We think the gospel of grace is too simple, and perhaps in logic and reason it is. However, thinking we have to add to it is insanity. Legalism substitutes what is great with what is fleeting. It robs what our God has freely given; it replaces our spiritual nourishment and liberty in Christ with junk that is empty and fleeting. It is defrauding as it puts a price tag on the purchase of our soul that Jesus has already paid for. Legalism wants to steal from us and then continue to extort us like a mobster seeking protection money. We are never to live by religious traditions and obligations when we have liberty in Christ. We are not to seek new or exciting teachings when they do not line up to His already stated precepts. Rather, we are to live in His grace and add nothing of ours into it.

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Monday, January 05, 2009


This was sent t us by a supporter, [erhaps you can pray and seek our Lord on these, I know I will…

This coming year, I have decided that with God's help, I shall:
1) Give up complaining . . . focus on gratitude.

2) Give up harsh judgments . . . think kind thoughts.

3) Give up worry . . . trust divine providence.

4) Give up discouragement . . . be full of hope.

5) Give up bitterness . . . turn to forgiveness.

6) Give up hatred . . . return good for evil.

7) Give up anger . . . practice patience.

8) Give up pettiness . . . put on maturity.

9) Give up gloom. . . enjoy the beauty that is around me.

10) Give up gossiping . . . control my tongue.

-- Author Unknown

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