Monday, October 25, 2010

Who are you “Because of my Name?”

What do you do “Because of my Name?”

“Because of my name?” Means to confess Christ as Lord and follow His precepts with trust and obedience!

So hard, so easy, so few will… Yet, for by His grace and love, we can know our Lord—who He is and who we are in Him. Then, we can take hold of His empowerment and nourishment and trust—the things we have from our Lord now; what we learn and grow through will remain with us, past our leaving of this life and echoing into the next. What we have in Christ is now and eternal. Christ gives Himself totally to us. He shed His Blood and gave His life so we can have life—new life. This is also about how God's will and His glory will be carried out, and His second coming will come about in His perfect timing!

There are some passages on this (Ex. 25:8; 29:45; Lev. 26:11-12; Ezek. 37:27-28; 43:9; Psalm 96:10; Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; John 2:21; 6:54-56; 8:31; 14:1-23; 15; Rom. 8:24-25; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; 15:35-57; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 1:3-14; Col. 1:23; 3:18-4-1; Heb. 2:7; 3:6-19; 1 John 2:19-24; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8; 22:3-5, 12).

Yet, we have help! We can depend on the power and influence of the Holy Spirit, not in our pride or faulty, worldly systems to be a mature, faithful Christian. We are to be faithful and wise in Christ. See John 14:15-31 Study. The Holy Spirit has a prime role in our redemption, calling and empowerment. He comes from the Father to point to Christ and gives us the ability to know and accept Christ (John 7:39; Acts 2:1-33).

By Him, yes we can! We can Testify. Our role and responsibility are to know and make known who and what Christ is and to speak on His behalf by words and lifestyle. We are enabled to do this by the Holy Spirit. He models obedience for us to do the Christian life rightly with faith, character, and in His True truth because we have been regenerated and now have His interests in mind and in our will. We cannot have a good relationship with God and not with one another, or vice versa (Psalm 37:23; Isa. 42:1; 43:10-12; 44:3-8; Luke 24: 24:48; John 16:2; Acts 10:39-41; 2 Cor. 5:17-20; Eph. 2:10; 1 Thess. 5:18; 2 John 1-4; 3 John 1-4).

Abiding in Christ means total, surrendered devotion to the Lordship of Christ; we behave toward Him as LORD, Redeemer, and Savior, not just a casual friend we can occasionally call "dada." To grow in our Christian formation, our will must be sacrificed to God's will so that we are totally at the disposal of our Lord. Our daily lives, our ministry, our plans and purposes, and our thinking and actions all must filter through the sieve of who He is and who we are in Him. So the refuse of our lives, our thinking and misguided tendencies, is removed and the purity of His percepts are mixed into us. We must come to a point where we are surrendered and totally devoted to Christ. And, if this is a problem (and I am sure it is; it has been for me), remember that it isn't easy; do not give up, but give in to Him. It takes time. We must be in prayer, be immersed in His Word, and be discipled so He can “hit home” in our ways and thinking (Acts 6:1-6; Rom. 1:1; 9:3; 12:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; Gal. 1:15; 2:20; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:8-3:13; 4:6)!

The Good news of the Gospel is not just a tool for evangelism; it must be the prime staple of our lives as well. In fact, it does nothing good for evangelism, to which this passage attests, unless real love has hit us deeply. Love must make an impact on us so we can make a response back to God. God’s love is what changes our lives to be models for the lives of others. Our complete change from the inside out comes about because His real, true Truth is what the Gospel is supposed to be about in our lives. And, this message of the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ must be in us before it can go out to the entire world! If not, we become the noise, the problem, the barrier…The Gospel message makes sense and is accelerated when we show our love to God and also to His people. Then we will see more of a desire by the lost to be reached. All because of His work and our ability to be used when we obey His commands and call.

What do you need to do to take hold of His empowerment and nourishment and trust—the things we have from our Lord now?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Christ is our Model and Dwelling!

Read John 15:9-17

Have you considered that the love Jesus puts in us molds and shapes us and appoints us to be His orchards and fruit stands? So, how can you and your church be His fruit stand? Why can’t a church function without fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness… and forgiveness…?

This is why the Christian life and our church is not about us, it is about Him and them we abide in Him! That Christ is all, for obedience and everything else! Our relationship with God is through Christ. Christ's redemption is that He took away our sin and preserved us in faith for God's glory.

Have you considered that God is our dwelling place? We are dependent on Him for both life and salvation, and to think otherwise is foolish. This is a prime fulfillment of a promise of God from the Old Testament and it refers to those who are already saved. This also means in synergy to stand for and abide, to be unwavering and sure of the supremacy of Christ that gives and builds our life and intimacy in Him. The purpose is that we have a binding and effectual relationship with Christ that transcends our comprehension; we have a relationship with God that we do not deserve by means we cannot fully understand (Ex. 25:8; 29:45; Lev. 26:11-12; Ezek. 37:27-28; 43:9; Psalm 96:10; Isa. 42:9; 48:6; 51:15-16; 65:17-25; 66:22; John 2:21; 6:54-56; 8:31; 14:1-23; 15:1-8; Rom. 8:24-25; 1 Cor. 2:9; 4:5; 15:35-57; Gal. 2:20-21; Eph. 1:3-14; Col. 1:23; 3:18-4-1; Heb. 2:7; 3:6-19; 1 John 2:19-24; Rev. 7:9; 21:1-8; 22:3-5, 12).

Christ takes the initiative in our relationship; He comes to us by first loving us, then we are free to exercise our will and be enabled to know and receive Him. If He did not choose us, we would not have the desire, will, or ability to receive Him; this is by His work on the cross. In Jesus’ time, a committed learner would seek out a rabbi to teach him; here, Jesus picks us to teach. Did you know that as growing and mature Christians, we belong exclusively to Christ (Eph. 1:4-11; John 2:23; 14:13)?

Christ brings us Real Love, that He died in our place and then infuses us. The love that flows from us is not from us, but from God through His Spirit. We cannot prove love; we can only respond to and obey it. Once we fully realize that the love of Christ has been poured out in us, we can then identify ourselves in Him. We will be able to identify Christ's interests in others over against our own interests (John 15:3; Rom. 9:3; 1 Cor. 9:22; 13:13).

Discipleship is our response to His love—to be passionate, submissive, and obedient to our Lord. As a committed follower of Christ, I must attest that I belong completely and entirely to Christ. He purchased, restored, and renewed me, and He now empowers me. And what how are we going to live and express being His slave or servant? What would that mean to your spiritual formation and relationships? How will this help you lead and manage yourself, family, and church?

It should be to “Go,” this is an aspect of our “Great Commission” and “fruit” is what characterizes our Christian service and points others to Christ. When we indentify ourselves in Christ, we will obey and we will be effective in loving and strengthening each other for His service—something so few of us actually do! A proper witness to Christ will be identified by the distinction between good and false teaching and/or good versus bad love, Fruit, and character and/or a good or a failing church (Psalm 66:18; Matt. 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:13; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 4:1-6; Rev. 1: 2; 2:20; 6:9; 22:9).

All Jesus asks of us is to receive Him and His love so we can pay it forward to others, to show His love by our display of love so we succeed at His will. His love is the sap that flows and what causes us to know Him and have His love working in and out of us; it causes us to make Him known to others even more diligently. We were sinners; now, because of His love, we are His people—united to Him, reconciled to God, and filled with the Spirit. This love now becomes the process of continued blessings for us and others. All it takes is our dedication to Christ, so we can respond by faith, worship, and spiritual formation to carry on His love. Growing in Christ is what the Christian life is all about. It is the life-long process of discipleship and spiritual growth that builds our faith and knowledge in Him so we can take hold of His love and produce even more of it, giving it back to Him and onto others. This helps us with our assurance, maturity, character, and spiritual formation. We become changed because we have received Christ and we can keep on loving. If this is not so, there is something fundamentally wrong in our Christian operating system, because love helps us have more hope and reassurance of faith (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 5; Heb. 10: 26-39; 12:14; 2 Pet. 1: 5-11).

The love that Christ has for us is demonstrated by His ultimate sacrifice. What have you done with this truth?

Monday, October 04, 2010

What does it take to be a faithful and fruitful Christian?

A growing faith! One that is fed and focused on our response to Christ that motivates the Fruit of the Spirit and moral and virtuous thinking and action because of God’s love to us and our gratitude and love back to Him. This is God's love and work in us that flows in through His Holy Spirit and out of us to others around us—all because we have a personal relationship with Christ. We have God's living presence in us, living in us (Matt. 6:10; Rom. 5:1-5; 12:1-21; 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40; Gal. 5:16-26; Eph. 4:1-6:20; 2 Peter 1:3-9).

This is a call to be obedient, to multiply the seed given to us. We are to make disciples of His Word. We are to point to Christ, never to ourselves! We need disciples of Christ, not of people like ourselves! This is a standard call of God to do something productive and effectual with our life and faith. To have a great gift like salvation, and do nothing with it is a great insult to the gift giver, God, and a proof of ingratitude and nonuse, which would prove that one is either not saved or highly disobedient and foolish (Isa. 27:6; Hos. 14:4-8).

What does it take to be a faithful and fruitful Christian, to be attached to Christ as His love and work flows in and through us? If we claim to know Christ as Lord and hang in His Church, we must yearn to imitate Him and follow His precepts, especially when we lead others! This happens when we show the faith to permanently leave our sinful lives, and with overwhelming gratitude, follow Jesus. We must first follow before we can lead. We are never to be unfaithful, prideful, manipulative, or abusive to the people God gives us to care for, for such an act is wicked and we will be held to a strict accounting (Jer. 23:1-2; 31:34; Ezek. 34:11-31; Mic. 5:4; 6:8; Hos. 6:6; John 15 and16; 17:21-23).

Faithfulness comes when we are in a state of right being; this can only come about from a right, growing relationship with God, which, in turn, only comes by accepting what Christ has done for us and applying it to our lives by faith. This helps us create an atmosphere of happiness, contentment, cooperation, and the closest we can get to living in real unity. Yet, it can only be grasped if/when we surrender our pride and sin and really live by what Christ has called us to. In my many years of helping people in their hurt or in recovery to transformation and effective ministry, we have all had to rely on the Vine. People only change when they realize that the pain and challenge of the change is less than the pain and work of staying where they are. Then the sap will flow ever so more!

Our greatest purpose is to build relationships with Him and with others; when we ignore this, we fail in the most important aspects in life, including our relationship in Him!

Authentic salvation is verified by obedience and fruit bearing, the mark of a disciple in this passage. Without trust and obedience, we prove ourselves unworthy to be His and we prove ourselves not to be a Christian. Grace is free for us, beyond the concept of cost for God, and is evidenced by our response (Matt. 7:20; Luke 6:43-45; Heb. 6:9).

What does it take to be in Christ and flourish for His glory and our betterment? What gets in the way? How can you be better enabled to thrive and give Him Glory? What do you need? What will you do?

What do you need to thrive in Christ and not be infected by the weeds or thorns of faulty desires and the ways of the world that will only hurt you and others?

What is defiling you? What do you need to do to accept God’s pruning and work in you? What ill thoughts and ways do you have about yourself that need to be tossed out?