Monday, February 28, 2011

THIS VICTORY IS YOURS, CHILD OF GOD - Part 2

The victory we have in Christ Jesus is indisputable, unalterable, and eternal, for those of us who are of His body, the church invisible (believers who are born of God's Spirit that are represented in churches everywhere, though not all church members are included as there is a 'mixed multitude' of mere professors of Christ and those who are possessors of Christ).

We have eternal life through our LORD; we are promised this gift and assured of our residence in heaven with JESUS our SAVIOR.

However, there is another aspect to our victory in Christ Jesus that is available to us saints, but many are not receiving it; rather they're living in a complacent, compromised life that reflects the life and nature of Jesus very little.

Salvation is an all encompassing work of God's grace through the LAMB of GOD, the LORD Jesus; not only is He our LORD, not only is He our Savior, not only is He our Elder Brother, our High Priest and Prophet and King, He is also our Regal Role model.

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

1 Peter 2:21
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Just as our LORD suffered the agony of His Cross to purchase by atonement through His blood, our redemption, we also share in this Cross, not in acquiring redemption through our own sufferings (Jesus Christ proclaimed "It is FINISHED!" and so it is!) but in the putting to death the flesh or carnal nature that influences our thinking and actions.

What Jesus did for us on the Cross is purchase salvation in our justification; that is by Divine Judgment declare us 'not guilty' before our Holy God, being washed and cleansed and delivered from the punishment for our sins.

Rom 3:24
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Rom 3:28
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

His work would continue in the lives of His children in another aspect of salvation via the Cross, that is, our sanctification: the transformation of our minds, to put on the mind of Christ - but this is only possibe as we willingly mortify (that is "put to death") the sin nature that would enslave us and compel us to continue a carnal existence much like we did before we came to Christ Jesus for salvation.

Rom 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

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
.

Let me ask you a question that I would really ask of myself as well:

What is it in our lives that hinders God from expressing His glory, His presence, His miraculous working to reach out and touch this sinful world and make a difference for His kingdom?

Or putting it another way: what is it in our lives that needs to be put to death, so that the life of Christ Jesus can be more greatly revealed in me and minister to this lost world of souls that are heading towards hell?

Its our flesh, that is our carnal, sinful nature. Take the word 'flesh' and spell it backwards and you get 'hself'. Now put a space between the 'h' and the 's' and you get 'h self'; and now interject 'uman' after the 'h' and you have 'human self' and that is our sinful nature: its our human self as a descendent of Adam after the fall into sin, thereby creating a sinful race of humans.

It is this fallen Adamic nature that needs to die in us, so that the divine nature of Jesus Christ may be magnified in us.

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.

And what is the means of our escape from this sinful nature and all of its hellish habits, and the very compulsions and drives that finds allurements in this fallen world?
The CROSS! By faith we accepted salvation and surrendered ourselves to the LORD for our justification. It's no different for our sanctification! We must accept what Jesus has done for us in living a holy, sanctified life unto the Father, and surrender to Him; that the same Spirit that He was empowered by is able to work in and through us as we simply yield freely to Him.

Rom 6:10-14
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
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.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace
(For a greater comprehension of this, please read chapters 6 through 8 of Romans; its in the entire context of these three chapters that we are able to understand the spiritual reality of this victory!).

Remember the words of that old battle hymn?

1. Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!
Refrain:
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

2. At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
(Refrain)

3. Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.
(Refrain)

4. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
but the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
we have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.
(Refrain)

5. Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,
this through countless ages men and angels sing.
(Refrain)

Our victory over sinful self, over the world, over Satan and all the kingdom of darkness resides not in our own determination to succeed, not in any vow we might make to 'do better' not in making ourselves accountable to others (though this at least has some merit, but only AFTER the fact that we place first things first), but in allowing our own weak, frail, utterly human selves to die and evict its corpse from our house and thereby making room available, and then allow the invincible Spirit of Christ to have greater residence within.


John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 2:14

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him [that is] from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

1 John 4:4

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Rev 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Gal 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

See also 1 John 2: 15 - 17; 3: 5-9.

Besides spending time in the Word of God, and in prayer, and in godly fellowship (emphasis on both 'godly' and 'fellowship' - not socially 'hanging out' with other believers, that's a separate issue; but the sort of fellowship with Christ Jesus is the center purpose and focus for the gathering and is spiritually edifying) which are needful and essential ministerial exercises that all Christians must engage in, there is the action required in dealing with temptations.

First we must realize that temptation starts in the heart, and then the mind; a sinful thought entertained is a sinful thought engaged later on. Thus in order to keep ourselves from sin, the battle is within the mind -

2 Cor 10:4-5
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
;

I used to think the verse above applied to opposing imaginations and high things in the world and in unbelievers, and I still do to some degree, but I think a greater application is for we ourselves and those things in our flesh that would exalt themselves against and above the knowledge of God; bringing these things into "captivity" and "every thought to obedience of Christ".

When confronting a thought that would lead us to sin, we must acknowledge the sin-in-the-making, which is temptation, and confess that this thing is not acceptable or welcome in our lives and it is actually a trespass onto territory that God has purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28) and in the Name of Jesus Christ reject it; then in earnest prayer to the Father, ask for His divine intervention by the power of His Spirit and the crucified and Resurrected Christ, that He would allow such things to die in us, nailing it to the cross, and replace such sinful thoughts with those of His own, well pleasing and acceptable - surrender not to sin or self but to the Savior!

1 Thess 4:3-5,7
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor;
Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness
.


This victory has been granted by the LORD Jesus Christ to all those that abide in the body of Christ. It is my heartfelt and sincere prayer that this message blesses, ministers, encourages all the saints to live such lives that know the power of Christ, the sanctification of Christ, and imprint such indelible marks of holiness in our lives that can never be erased!

AMEN!
God bless each of you!

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