For a translation other than the King James, click on an individual verse.
Psalm 19:1-11 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Psalms 103:1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Christian mission is twofold: 1) surrender our life to Christ who then lives in us and through us. 2) Share the gospel with others and teach them what it means to make Christ the Lord of our life, i.e., bring our thoughts, words and deeds into obedience to Christ who leads us via the Holy Spirit. This is only possible if we seek God with all our heart, pray, and study of God’s word. Then by God’s grace, Holy Spirit leads us and empowers us to become mature followers of Christ.
After hearing of their faith in Jesus Christ, Paul wrote the following to Colossian believers. Colossians 1:9-22 For this cause we also, since the day we heard [of your faith], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Jesus Christ) 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him (Jesus Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, to reconcile all things unto himself; whether things in earth or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL (GOOD NEWS)
Because Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, all of humanity has been born with a sinful nature. Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus Christ) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Sin, suffering and death came into the world because of Adam’s sin. But God immediately made a promise to redeem humanity. Genesis 3:15 (God was speaking to Satan) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God put enmity between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman. The seed of the woman is a reference to the genealogy of Jesus Christ. But the world became so corrupt, it could have destroyed the genealogy that was to produce the Savior. So God flooded the world to preserve Christ’s genealogy through Noah. Then God called Abram (Abraham), who by faith produced a son (Isaac) whose descendants (Hebrews/Jews) God used to fulfill his promise of redemption.
John alluded to the fulfillment of God’s promise in 1 John 3:8 …for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God (Jesus) was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. The apostle Paul also referenced God’s promise of redemption in Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
In the process of fulfilling His promise to Abraham, God gave the law to Moses as a holy standard meant to steward God’s people until the coming of Jesus Christ. Most people know about the ten commandments (laws) given through Moses, but there are 613 laws. And the law is not a smorgasbord from which God’s people can pick and choose. If we break one law, we’ve broken them all.
Fortunately, Christ fulfilled the law and now we are commanded to love one another, including our enemies. Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The apostle Paul defines what it means to love our neighbor as ourself in 1 Corinthians 13. The King James version of chapter 13 substitutes the word “charity” for love.
Even good people have sinned, so Christ lived a perfect life for us, died on the cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God where he intercedes on our behalf. All we have to do is believe this good news and make Jesus Christ the Lord of our life. Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous.
God is love, but God also hates sin and there’s a penalty to pay because we all have sinned. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. God cannot excuse sin because that would not be love or mercy. That would be lawlessness, and as a result, evil would reign supreme in the world. So love requires justice and God must judge sin. However, God does not want to judge us, but he must judge sin in order to be just, holy, and loving. 1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (payment) for our sins.
So God’s son, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a man, was tempted like us, and kept all God’s laws perfectly. This qualified Jesus to become a sacrifice for all the world’s sins, and on the cross, he took all our sins on himself. As a result, all God’s righteous judgement fell on Jesus Christ, and all the demands of the law were fully met, fully paid by Christ on the cross. Whoever believes Jesus Christ died for their sins and was resurrected from the dead, is in right standing with God. Romans 10:9 if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
So now we can stand in God’s holy light with a clean conscience and an emancipated heart, knowing we stand righteous before infinite holiness because we are in Christ. Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
During Christ’s ministry, no one worked harder to obey God’s law than the Pharisees, and yet, Jesus said their righteousness was not sufficient to get them into heaven because they rejected him. Romans 10:3-4 For they (Pharisees) being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes [in Christ].
In order to escape God’s judgement, one has to obey the law perfectly like Christ. But the Pharisees refused to admit their failure to be perfect under the law, as a result, they refused to believe that Jesus came to free them from the curse of the law and give them a free gift of righteousness.
Only God’s grace, and faith in Christ and HIS righteousness, qualifies us for heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (Christ). Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Applied grace is believing in our heart that we have exchanged our sin for Christ’s righteousness, which frees us from the bondage of fear and condemnation. Applying grace in our lives enables us to walk into a holy, sanctified life in Christ. Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Regarding law and grace, the apostle Paul warns us about two pitfalls:
1) Falling back into legalism, i.e., believing obedience to the letter of the law is salvation. Galatians 5:1,4-5 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you who believe you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
2) Using the liberty of grace to justify the practice of sin. Romans 6:1-2&6 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Grace is not a license to sin, but living with one foot in the Old Testament covenant of law, keeps us in bondage to condemnation and death.
2 Corinthians 3:6-8,17 6 [God] hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter [of the law] killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 If the ministration of death, written and engraved in stones was so glorious, that the children of Israel could not behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away with, 8 Shall not the ministration of the spirit be more glorious? 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus said, 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Is Jesus saying lawbreakers will enter the kingdom of heaven? All have broken the law, but those who receive the gift of righteousness by faith in Christ, will enter the kingdom of heaven.
John 6:28-29 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Acts 13:38-39 38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him, all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
The law is holy and righteous, but it cannot bring salvation because only Christ was able to keep the law perfectly. In the Old Testament, a system of sacrifice was set up to atone for sin and the sacrifices had to be performed regularly for atonement. But Jesus Christ offered himself as the perfect sacrifice, which was payment in full for all past, present, and future sins of the world. So everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior stands righteous before God and inherits the gift of eternal life in heaven. This is the good news of the gospel. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is a difference between going to church on Sundays and having a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Have you asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior and made him the Lord of your life? Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Pastor Charles Stanley does a great job explaining the difference between a Sunday Christian and a true follower of Christ. Whether you are a believer or not, please watch Pastor Stanley’s message on what it means to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Then enjoy Ken Hagin’s uplifting teaching about fighting the good fight of faith.
THE GOSPEL, A.K.A. THE GOOD NEWS
In order to share the gospel effectively, we must understand it. The gospel is summarized in the following paragraphs. Luke 1:26-35 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Galatians 4:4-5 When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
John 1:19,25,26,29 19 And this is the record of John (the Baptist), when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Acts 10:43 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him (Jesus Christ) shall receive remission of sins.
Romans 3:19-28 Now we know that whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare at this time his (Christ’s) righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Philippians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Romans 5:8 God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Romans 10: 9-13 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Ephesians 2:2-7,12-18 2 In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
12 …ye [Gentiles] were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both [Jew and Gentile] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances; to make in himself of the two, one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Because God is in Christ, and Christ is in us, we are one with God. This is a key aspect of the gospel. Read John chapter 17, much of the chapter is Jesus praying to the Father that we would be one with him. Colossians 2:9-10,13-14,16-17 9 For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
1 John 1:9-10 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
1 John 4:16-17 And we have known [Christ] and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he (Christ) is, so are we in this world.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19,21 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them… 21 For he hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Timothy 1:8-10 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: (the apostle Paul was in prison) but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
John 1:1-4,9,14,17-18 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
John 6:35,38,40 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 8:32,36 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Luke 4:18 [Jesus said] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
John 14:16-17,26-27 16 And [Jesus said], I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Acts 1:8-11 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me (Jesus) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the [second] coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Revelation 19:6-9 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb (Christ) is come, and his wife (the church) hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God.
Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
A CHRISTIAN MISSION STATEMENT
Galatians 4:3-6 When we were children, we were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 Because ye are sons [and daughters], God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Galatians 5:22-25 …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 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. 2 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.
Phillipians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [perfection]: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:29-32 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 5:1-4, 15-20 1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Romans 12: 14-21 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Philippians 4:6-9,11-13 Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Do those things which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me (Paul): and the God of peace shall be with you. 11…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Romans 8:35,37 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he (Christ) that is in you, than he that is in the world. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-24 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Titus 2: 11-15 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
1 Timothy 6:12,17-19 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 I exhort therefore that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Colossians 3:1-4,9-10,14-16 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Ephesians 6:10-17 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Jesus taught us to follow his example as a humble servant. John 13:3-5, 12-15 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
1 John 5:2-5,13-15,20 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 20 And we KNOW that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Matthew 10:7-8 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
Without the Holy Spirit living in us and leading us, accomplishing the mission set before us as Christians would be impossible. Before Adam sinned, the Holy Spirit led him by spiritual revelation. After sinning, Adam was separated from the Holy Spirit, so he was led by information that came to him through his five senses. Jesus Christ came to redeem us and reclaim our bodies as temples for the Holy Spirit. After the fall of Adam, Jesus was the first born man who was also the temple of God. This was foreshadowed by Zechariah when he wrote about Zerubbabel rebuilding the temple, which represents the future Body of Christ, a.k.a. the church.
Zerubbabel faced great opposition, but an angel said he would overcome by the the spirit of the Lord. Zechariah 4:6-10 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things?…
The “day of small things” is a reference to the kingdom of God as preached by Jesus Christ. Matthew 13:31-32 31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Jesus was that mustard seed, i.e., the first born of God’s kingdom and human temple for the Holy Spirit. John 2:19-22 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
Paul and others laid and built the foundation of the church upon Christ, the headstone, and first born seed of God’s kingdom. 1 Corinthians 3:6-17 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that gives the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Because we are temples of God’s Holy Spirit, Paul tells us to be careful about our associations. 2 Corinthians 6:14, 16-18 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Ephesians 2:19-22 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
After Adam sinned, blood sacrifices were the only way to restore fellowship with God. And God’s spirit did not dwell in man, he dwelt in the ark of the covenant behind the veil in the holy of holies, which was in the wilderness tabernacle and later in the temple. But after the perfect blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our bodies have become the temple of God and we have free access to the holy of holies. Hebrews 10:12-23 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for he had said before [in Jeremiah 31], 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 2 Corinthians 3:18 …beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The intimacy we can experience with our heavenly Father, can only be fully realized when we understand what it means to have our conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ. Even though we still sin as Christians, we can stand boldly in the Father’s presence with a clean conscience. This grace wherein we stand, also transforms our bodies into vessels of honor fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus emphasized the importance of receiving the Holy Spirit, which empowers us to be witnesses for Christ. The disciples had walked with Jesus, been taught by him, had seen him perform miracles, and had spent time with him after his resurrection. But in order to be effective witnesses, Jesus said they must receive the Holy Spirit because, (John 14:20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus told his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Luke 24:44-49 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Before his death, Jesus explained the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. John 14:11-20, 25-27 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 15:26-27 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:7-15 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Paul explains the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Romans 8:1-2,4,10-11,14-17,28-32 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Paul said God, who sent his only Son to die for our sins, will freely give us all things. Jesus made this same point in a parable about parents and their children. Luke 11:10-13 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Without the Holy Spirit, we are just going through the motions of being a Christian. With the Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. After Jewish leaders commanded the apostles to stop preaching in Christ’s name, they prayed for boldness. Acts 4:29-31, 33 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
God sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, through us, and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, i.e., be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29 For whom he (God) did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Walking in the Spirit means living moment to moment in submission to our Lord Jesus Christ. This requires a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit which enables us to be obedient to his initial promptings. For example, when we’re tempted, the Holy Spirit will guide us into obedience. All relationships require time and commitment to develop, so be patient and faithful while getting to know the Christ within you. We wake up everyday with three enemies: 1) the antichrist world system 2) our carnal mind which is inclined to fulfill the desires of our flesh 3) Satan. But with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us, we can live each day in victory. 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.
KNOW YOUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
The apostle Paul puts great emphasis on teaching believers what it means to be “in Christ” because it is the key to living in victory. We will live a defeated life if we think our works can make us righteous before God. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. It’s important to note that Isaiah says our righteousness is as filthy rags, not our sins. So believe with all your heart, the Holy Spirit’s words spoken through the apostle Paul, and the knowledge of Christ living in you will produce a holy, sanctified life.
2 Corinthians 5:17, 21 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 21 For he (God) hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Isaiah 61:3 …to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Psalms 112:6-8 6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid…
Paul emphasized knowing our identity in Christ because it’s the key to becoming a mature Christian, a vessel of honor fit for goods works in the kingdom of God. Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The first thing we must grasp is our standing before God, i.e., Christ’s death, resurrection, and indwelling Spirit, makes us righteous in God’s eyes, not our obedience. Believing this gives us a clean conscience, without which, we live in a constant state of spiritual poverty. This mindset makes us feel unworthy and greatly limits our ability to receive what God wants to freely give us. 1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
In Ephesians, Paul reveals the mystery of the church and Christ becoming one flesh, like a man and his wife. Ephesians 5:22-32 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 4:4-6, 14-16, 23-24 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, Christ 16 From whom the whole body fits together by that which every joint supplieth, and according to the effectual working of every part, increases the body by the edifying of itself in love. 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Ephesians 1: 17-23 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 2:5-10 5 Even when we were dead in sins, God hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:14-21 For this cause I (Paul) bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
The apostle Peter exhorts (encourages) us to realize our full potential in Christ by seeking knowledge of Christ. We gain knowledge of Christ by committing to daily study and meditation on God’s Word, prayer, and quiet time listening to the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:2-8 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 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. We are partakers of God’s divine nature because Christ lives in us. It is a gift from God received by faith.
PUT GOD’S WORD INTO PRACTICE
Taking time everyday to seek God seems impossible while trying to raise families and pursue careers. But we should consider daily time spent with God as a tithe, for our lives have been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ and we have no life outside of Christ. If we acknowledge that we owe God some time each day, and take a leap of faith, the time we yield to God will bring more blessings than the perceived loss of time. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
God reminds the children of Israel, and us, that our lives are totally dependent on his Word. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
If the Israelites had trusted God, they would not have wandered forty years in the wilderness. Likewise, if we commit time each day to seek God, and trust him to provide for us, we will avoid wilderness experiences. Isaiah 55:6-13 6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
LESSONS TO LIVE BY
Matthew 6:24-33 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink? Or, with what shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Seek first the Savior, then comes salvation, seek first the Healer, then comes healing, seek first the One who can bless, then comes blessings, seek first the One who can make you prosper, then comes prosperity. Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
The apostle Paul warns us about the love of money. 1 Timothy 6:5-12, 17-19 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Proverbs 3:5-14 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. 13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Jesus warned the church in Laodicea to repent because they put their trust in worldly riches. Revelation 3:17-22 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Romans 5:1-5 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. James 1:2-3 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into temptations, 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
TRUST IN GOD OUR FATHER DURING TIMES OF TROUBLE
From the time Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, there has been trouble and suffering in the world. Isaiah 59:1-2 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God… God’s plan for us was to live a glorified sinless life without suffering or death, so after sin entered the world, God put a plan in motion to redeem the world. God chose to make a covenant with Abraham, which promised that his descendants would eventually produce the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
After Christ ascended into heaven, Peter explained to unbelieving Jews that Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham. Acts 3:25-26 25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:19-21 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. The “times of restitution” refers to the second coming of Christ when there will be a new heaven and new earth.
Followers of Christ have been forgiven of all their sins, past, present, and future. And God has promised us an eternal life free from all pain and suffering, so be patient and trust God because all the troubles of this present world are temporary. When Jesus comes again, the struggle between good and evil will be ended, and all the struggles of the past will be forgotten. Revelation 21:4-5 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
The following verses are a conversation between the pagan king Balak and Balaam the sorcerer. They demonstrate the trustworthiness of God’s promises. Balak wanted Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites, but God put a blessing in Balaam’s mouth instead. Numbers 23:18-21 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. 21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them.
God did not see iniquity in the nation of Israel, which was not without sin, but because of his promise to Abraham, God counted their faithfulness as righteousness. Likewise, Christians are righteous in God’s sight because Jesus fulfilled the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. The fulfillment of Abraham’s blessing was also foreshadowed in Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in him (Christ) are yes, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Abraham waited twenty four years, and was nearly one hundred years old when God blessed him with a son whose descendants produced the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Regarding promises, God is never early or late, he’s always right on time. It’s up to us to have faith and patiently wait on God. In Romans, the apostle Paul explains that Abraham received God’s promise based on faith, not because he kept the law. Abraham lived before God gave Moses and Israel the law, so for all nations to be blessed through God’s promise to Abraham, we too receive redemption through Christ Jesus by faith alone. Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Romans 4:13-25 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,)…Abraham believed God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
1 Peter 1:3-7 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
In the following verses, Paul is writing to the congregation in Corinth about Christian persecution, which is a “light affliction” compared to our eternal rewards. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed 10 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. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Hebrews 11:1-3, 24-27 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him (God) who is invisible.
Romans 8:22-25 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
Philippians 2:5-9 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being fashioned as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Jesus said this to his disciples shortly before he was crucified: John 16:32-33 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 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.
Revelation 21:1-4 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.