Archive for July 2016

True Worship: The Lifestyle of Spirit & Truth 

 2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 

Timothy 4:1, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron 

 John 4:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24] God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 

 Deuteronomy 26:8 'So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9] He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, "a land flowing with milk and honey"; 10] and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O LORD, have given me.' Then you shall set it before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God. 11] So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. 

 Worship is an all encompassing, all inclusive experience. It is both spiritual and physical; temporal and eternal. It involves the total person, spirit, soul, body and even our possessions. We must challenge ourselves to worship God in fullness and in the release of everything to Him. 

 It is human nature to worship according to our own preferences and pleasures—like the Samaritan woman. However, the problem with such worship is that it is unbalanced and conveniently neglects that part of worship which is undesirable. 

 God requires that we worship Him at two levels at all times: “In Spirit” and “In Truth.” 

 a. “In Spirit” addresses the supernatural dimension of our walk with God and the transcendent nature of His presence 

 b. “In Truth” addresses the practical, everyday actions we engage in obedience to the Truth. Jesus said, “Your Word is Truth.” 

 ROM 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (“your act of spiritual worship” -NIV).

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Perfected Love Casts Out Fear

Perfected Love Casts Out Fear

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 
Fear distracts and dominates the lives of too many people. The Bible says that "Fear has torment..." Faith and fear both have the power to influence and attract. Some leaders use fear to influence people to be afraid other people. It’s called xenophobia which is, “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”
Leaders should inspire people and offer solutions. 
Fear is defined as "expectation of danger or harm." Faith attracts God's favor, blessings, and overcomes all fear!  
Here is a story that in that illustrates how fear distracts and torments when faith could have resolved the problem: 
Matthew 8:23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” 
Jesus asked His disciples (and us): "Why are you fearful?" 
The disciples woke up Jesus (who are sound asleep during a storm!) to ask Him to do something they should have done. Jesus was resting in the boat after a long day of ministry. A sudden storm made the disciples afraid. They allowed their fear to interfere with their faith and forget that Jesus was on the boat with them! Because of this, Jesus called the disciples' faith “ little.” He expected much more from men who had been trained first hand. 
When storms come, or big opportunities are presented, let your faith rise, not your fears. 
Phobias and fears arise when a lifestyle and mindset of faith are absent. If we claim to be Christians and disciples, Jesus FULLY expects us to trust Him. When you feel like you have respond with fear, remember that the Miracle Worker is with you. 
People are tormented by fear because of the absence of God, who is love, dwelling in them. Torment is the negative thought, the scenario, or the drama that plays out in our minds over and over again. 
Perfect love, that is God’s perfect love that is in you, will cast out all fear. If there are things you need to do, but that you are afraid to do, God’s love and presence will remove all those fears. Rather than expecting something bad to happen, you expect something good to happen because your "Father” is right there with you! 
There is a real emotion of fear generated by imminent danger that requires action. However, most fears are imagined and therefore not real and best summarized by the acrostic: 
F-alse E-evidence A-ppearing R-eal 
For believers in Christ, there is an overarching reality to embrace summarized by this text:
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 

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Romans 13:1 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. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe ta

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"How to Stand Victorious in Faith by Grace in Times of Compromise"

At the beginning of this series on faith, we defined faith in two ways: 1) Faith has belief, trust, obedience and acting on God word and promises. 2) What we believe, the doctrines that guide our actions, our understanding of the Bible.

By grace we stand in faith, but make no mistake, WE NEED TO STAND.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Jude 3:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

1 Timothy 4:1, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron

2 Tim 4:1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2 Thessalonians 2

The Great Apostasy

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

 Apostasy:  A total desertion of or departure from one's faith, principles, and cause. People turning away from the principles of the gospel

John 6:66 - From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.

How do you test yourself? How would you test yourself as a driver? Operation of vehicle, understanding of rules of the road, physical capability.

Testing your faith involves:

Corresponding actions (Words and deeds)

Attention to the one who saved us an to Whom we belong

Obedience to basics: Prayer, reading the Bible, doing the word (obedience), worship (vertical love), fellowship with believers at church meetings (horizontal love), giving and serving.

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"Faith and Corresponding Action" 

The faith walk is about believing God's promises and acting with confidence on those promises. Faith is not a leap into the dark. Faith in God is a leap and a walk into the LIGHT!

James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[d] works, and I will show you my faith by my  works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[g] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Paul wrote Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We don’t work to be saved, but good works is the best evidence of a saved lifestyle.  

Galatians 2:16, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Our works are distinctive to believers in Christ. Every lifestyle and “religion” or “non-relligion” has their form of works. 

Exodus 23:24, You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars 

Matthew 23:5, But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments

We are doing the works of God that need to be seen. These works glorify the Lord, not ourselves.

Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven 

John 9:4, I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work 

We are empowered by Jesus Christ.

John 14:12  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father 

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