Saturday, September 11, 2010

A SMOKE SIGNAL - I'm Dying to be More Like JESUS!

Consider Jesus Christ: His character, His nature, His embodiment of truth and love, His integrity, humility, compassion . . . I could go on and on!

Who of us as Christians don't want to be more like Him, but at the same time, how many of us struggle in our endeavors to be more Christ-like?

We see a war going on within us (Romans 7:23): the clashing of our two natures - that nature we inherited from Adam, what's been called the Adamic (sin) nature -

Rom 5:12
Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

And as born again believers, we also have a new nature, installed within us upon the point of salvation and spiritual regeneration -

2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust(see also Titus 3:5).

Like John the Baptist, we must declare:
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

Yet how? How do we overcome our sinful nature, how do we actually become more like Jesus?

The same instrument that effectively decreases our sinful nature is the same instrument that we find (continual) new life in Christ: THE CROSS!

That's why I can say, and so can all of you: "I'm dying to be more like JESUS!"

Let's have a look at some scripture and see what they say about all of this:

Mat 10:38-39
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it

Seen any one carrying crosses lately? Well, there was Arthur Blessitt, the traveling evangelist who would literally carry a cross on his back (though it had wheels on its base for easier passage), but other than that, any one?

What's this mean, "taking up his cross"? The answer is found, in part, in vs. 39 there of the same passage. If you lose your (self/sinful) life on that cross, then you shall find life, that is Christ and holiness, and all that this entails (consider the brief description of the LORD at the start of this post).

Again, consider more these verses:

Mat 16:24-25
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it
. See also in regards to the cross: Mark 8:34-35; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 14:27; 1 Cor. 1:17-18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12-14; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20; 2:14 and Heb. 12:2.

When each of us received forgiveness for sin at the cross of Christ, repenting of our sinful life, and receiving new life through our Savior, we also encountered the provision by which we can "die daily (1 Cor. 15:31)" and become more and more like Jesus our great LORD and LOVE!

Ponder this passage personally and perceive the primary importance of which it pertains (how's that for alliteration?!):

Rom 6:1-7
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

The 'old man' is not a reference to your father... its the old nature, the sinful nature that would've been judged by God on Judgment Day and dealt for us the death sentence in that Court of Holy Law for all eternity. This is what Jesus suffered for on the cross, the judgment of our sins, and the subsequent separation from the Father (which He had never experienced before the Cross!)!! When He died, He took with Him not only our sins, but the dominating power of sin over our lives! We can "reckon" that is, take into account as being true, that our old self (our 'B.C.' persona, if you will - is officially dead; on the day of our spiritual new birth, we should have had an obituary taken out for ourselves, for that sinful power is no longer the dominating force in us, that person is essentially dead.

Further down in this chapter we read (note key words in green):

Rom 6:11-13
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God
. (See also Gal 5:16)

And here - Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (see also Gal. 2:20).

And this - 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Consider these verses as well - 2 Cor 4:10-11, 16
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day
. (see also Romans 8:13 and Col. 3: 5-14)

The next time you are tempted by sin, consider the work of the cross, and just as you received salvation, that is justification, FROM the PENALTY of sin (death and hell), you can now, daily, receive salvation, that is sanctification, FROM the POWER of sin (over your life).

Deny any such temptation as a trespass into your mind, which no longer belongs to yourself, but your mind is now the prized possession of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, just as your spirit and body are! Resist that temptation not in your own power (because you're dead and one can't tempt a corpse) but in the power of Christ and His Spirit that reigns in you.

1 Cor 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

As we yield to God, and allow our members to be used by God's Spirit as instruments of righteousness, we are allowing this new life to permeate those areas of our minds, and thus are they being transformed to Christ-likeness. The battle is indeed for the MIND and if our MINDS are transformed, this will directly affect our character and life so that we will in truth, become more and more, incrementally like JESUS!
And finally, from the group, Kutless, we have a song: Dying To Become -

Rom 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

No comments: