Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Bible on Authorities (including the President of the United States)

In light of the recent election results, I wanted to post this response to provide some key Scriptures on those in authority over us, including our President. I want to encourage you to heed these words of God!

Romans 13:1-7
"Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."
  • Subjection means to come under the authority of another that placed in authority over you.
  • Our President has been given authority by God, been placed in authority by God Himself and is a servant of God.
  • Resisting authorities placed over us is not only a rebellion against man, but a rebellion against God Himself resulting in our condemnation.
  • Our willful subjection will ensure we escape their wrath and live with a clear conscience.
  • We should not fear our authorities, but rather do good while trusting God's authority and protection over our lives.
Titus 3:1-2
"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men."
  • Subjection and obedience is a mandate of humanity for rulers and authorities placed over us.
  • We are to be ready for doing good deeds.
  • We are not to malign (to speak harmful untruths, speak evil, slander, defame) our rulers, but rather be uncontentious (not quarrelsome), gentle and respectful.
1 Peter 2:13-17
"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king."
  • Submission to human institutions is commanded with the knowledge that that God has established them.
  • Authorities have the responsibility to punish evildoers and praise the righteous.
  • The will of God is for us to do right, hence silencing ignorant fools.
  • Freedom in Christ is to be used for righteousness rather than evil.
  • Every human must be shown honor including the king (hence the President).
  • Fear of God and love of fellow man, especially fellow believers, is our marching orders.
Hebrews 13:17
"Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."
  • Obedience and submission to leaders is commanded once again.
  • Leaders are required to physically protect those in authority under them and will give an account to God for this stewardship responsibility.
  • Our obedience and submission to our leaders will result in a joyful leadership experience that will profit the servants rather than an experience grieved by a disobedient people.
Acts 4:8-22
"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-- by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John, and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were marveling, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to go aside out of the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, "What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any man in this name." And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard." And when they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which they might punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed."
  • Jesus Christ is the only Savior for mankind. He was crucified, died for the sins of the world, and rose again. He is the only name from which salvation is found and by which we are saved. He offers eternal life to those who believe in Him for it.
  • The men were ordered by those in authority over them (the rulers and elders of the Jerusalem Council) to not speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
  • Peter and John respectfully answered that they could not stop speaking and testifying about what they have seen and heard concerning Jesus Christ.
  • God's will triumphs over the will of our authorities.
  • If our authorities command us to do something against the explicit will of God, we have an obligation to obey the will of God rather than the authority of man.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

God Does the Miraculous

Time and time again we see in Scripture a God who promises and a God who keeps His promises. God is all powerful and has the ability to keep His promises. This should give us great hope!

The topic of special births has been a recurring theme for me from my readings of Scripture as of late. I wanted to share with you a couple that I stumbled upon lately.

The first involves a young couple that God hand picks to be His people and lead by the hand to a land He will show them. I'm obviously talking about Abram and Sarai. Genesis 11:29-30 reads, "And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah. And Sarai was barren; she had no child." Being able to produce an heir was a big deal and Sarai not being able to produce an heir must have been very frustrating and demeaning. As hard as they tried, they could not produce an heir and her womb was barren.

It's at this time that we witness an intervention from God. Genesis 12:1-3 contains the following promise to Abram given at age 75, "Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Abram believed God enough to leave his hometown and follow God to a land which He would show him. As God promised, He showed Abram the land. God had also promised Abram an heir through Sarai.

Yet initially Abram and Sarai doubt God's ability to produce an heir. Let's be honest, Sarai was past the child bearing years - she was 65 years old! God reassured Abram of His promises in Genesis 15:2-6, "And Abram said, 'O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?' And Abram said, 'Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.' Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.' And He took him outside and said, 'Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.' Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Again both promises were confirmed and Abram believes God.

As Abram and Sarai continue to attempt to produce an heir and are continually disappointed, their patience wears then. Sarai has had enough. It has been 10 years since the promise and no heir. How long can she really expect to wait on God? She is 75 years old now! In frustration she says the following to Abram in Genesis 16:1-4, "Now Sarai, Abram's wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her." And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. And after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram's wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight." Perhaps Sarai thought it was Abram's fault that she was not pregnant. Abram chose to sin and heed the instruction of Sarai. Sarai's plan backfired. Notice that there is no mention of God in this section and this was not God's will.

When all hope has failed, God again reaffirms His covenant to Abram in Genesis 17:1-8, "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly." And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

God said further in Genesis 17:15-19, "Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" And Abraham said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him." Notice how God's will is not changed by the actions of man.

Shortly thereafter, the couple receives some visitors - the Lord Himself and two of His angels. The have good news - in one year's time they will receive the promised child. At this point, it appears as if Abraham is convinced while Sarah still needs some persuasion. Genesis 18:10-15 gives the account, "And he said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" And the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?' Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." Sarah denied it however, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh."

As promised, one year later to the day, Sarah gave birth to a son, Isaac, the son of promise. She was 90 years old. The promise of God was fulfilled in His timing which happened to be 25 years! How long will you wait upon the Lord? I see this birth as not only a miracle, but a picture of the coming Messiah, who would come through the line of Abraham, a gift from God to the world.

The second birth involves the forerunner for the Messiah, John the Baptist. Luke 1:5-20 gives the account, "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. And Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb. And he will turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God. And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this for certain? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years." And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their proper time." Zacharias saw physically age as a barrier to the work of God. A bigger barrier is those who will not allow God to work in their lives.

A key point regarding these miraculous births is trust in God. Ask yourself, "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?" What in your life have your written off as impossible? Do not give up on our all powerful God. He will fully carry out His sovereign will. Will you allow Him to carry out His will for your life? Let's learn dependence upon the Lord, wait on the Lord and trust Him and His control over our lives. Give up the reigns and bind yourself to Christ instead!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leaving a Lasting Legacy

What is your purpose?

Who defines your purpose?

What makes you tick?

God has defined our purpose in the Bible.

  • God has created you for His good pleasure in order that you might know Him and have a personnel relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
  • You were created to discover the God who created you, loves you, gave up His Son to save you from yourself and transform you into the likeness of Christ.
  • Your purpose is to discover the will of God for your life, that is His perfect plan prepared beforehand for you to walk in all the days of your life.

The world has defined the purpose for humanity too.

  • The world system tells us to confirm and blend in with society. The world says such things as, “Don’t be a radical. Do what feels right to you. You know what’s best. There is no absolute truth. Be politically correct. There are many ways to God. Don’t be intolerant. Everyone is basically good. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Don’t depend upon God. Look out for number one. You deserve to be happy. You are entitled to the American dream. Seize the day. Have it your way.”

Even God’s chosen people bought into this philosophy rebelling against God’s kingship among their nation. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

But where has these life philosophies taken us. Are we satisfied? If we are honest, they leave us empty and void. Only God can fill that void. Paul wrote about humanity in its fallen state and tells of a God who reached down from heaven to rescue humanity offering forgiveness, reconciliation through Christ and a better way.

Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

America is following the same pattern as any other great nation throughout history. The question for you is will you be a conformist or realize your citizenship is in heaven. Will you choose the broad way or the narrow way? We must be in the world but not of the world.

Paul wrote our purpose in Romans 12:1-2, I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Paul chose Christ over all others.

Philippians 3:4-14 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

How you can leave a lasting legacy:

  • Reprioritize your life. Make God your first priority.
  • Be a family man. Be the best husband/wife/father/mother you can be and don’t sacrifice your family for the sake of your career. Spent time with you children and labor to train them in godliness. Re-evaluate these priorities often because they will be tested constantly.
  • Make an eternal investment. Eternity is forever. Jesus said in Matthew 6:20-21, But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We must incorporate and involve God in every element of our life and acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him. Spent time with God.
  • Equip and immerse yourselves in the Bible. Read your Bible – how many actually do this anymore? Know it from cover to cover. Be a Bible expert! We have the words of God! Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
  • Pray without ceasing. Prayer is an attitude and a continual awareness that God is with us. We must learn dependence upon Him and hear His prompting by the Holy Spirit and through the Word of God. Act in obedience when prompted.
  • Find a Paul – someone of the same sex to mentor you and challenge you in your relationship with Christ, talk about life with, pray with, hold you accountable, may find this person in your church, usually older than you, but not always.
  • Find a Timothy – someone of the same sex that you can mentor and challenge in their relationship with Christ, pray for them, share your life with them, be genuinely interested in their life, call them, hold them accountable, may find a new believer in your church or may be someone you lead to Christ at work. Paul wrote Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
  • Be a part of a small group fellowship. Christianity is meant to be lived in community and not just individually. Small group fellowships have really been beneficial in providing opportunities to minister and be ministered by others.
  • Be different. Be a rebel. Rebel against the culture and the ways of the world.
  • Be an encourager rather than a discourager. Build others up. Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • Be optimistic and hopeful in Christ, eagerly awaiting His return.
  • Think of others needs before your own.
  • Be aware of God and His workings in your life. He is working, but do we see it?
  • Take personal responsibility for your actions – own up when you make a mistake. Few actually do this today.
  • Tell the truth all the time.
  • Be real. Don’t hide behind your work or be fake at church. Be humble.
  • Be zealous in your commitment to Christ and for the good deeds God has in store for you to do through the power given by Him in the Holy Spirit.
  • Be God’s ambassador at TTS&S. Pray for those you work with directly. Seize opportunities to share Christ when prompted. Be a hard worker and do the best you can at whatever you do. Christians should be the best employees. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Let’s finish strong and be able to say like Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Doctrine of Sin

8. Is man a product of age-long evolution or a direct creation by God?

  • We are a product of the very handiwork of God who created us male and female in His image (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4). God created Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life, forming a living being (Genesis 2:7). While we have the ability to adapt to our environments, as God designed, we are not the product of chance or age-long evolution as hypothesized by Darwin.

9. In God's sight, how sinful is man?

  • We are sinners and deserve to be separated from God forever in the “lake of fire,” experiencing forever the “second death” (Revelation 20:14-15). Romans 3:10-18 makes it pretty clear, “as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." But it really took just one sin to disqualify us from a right relationship with God as God’s standard is perfection (James 3:2). As James said in James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” God hates sin, but loves the sinner as evidenced in the sacrifice of His perfect Son, Jesus, as the only means for our salvation (Romans 5:8).

10. State the differences between imputed sin, inherent sin, and personal sin.

  • Imputed sin is sin that was credited to our account through the rebellion of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Adam represented mankind, and through his sin we all stand guilty before God (Romans 5:12). Inherent sin is the natural bent all people have to do wrong. The Bible refers to it as our “flesh” or “sin which dwells in me” or the “old self” (Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:17,20, Romans 6:6). Personal sins are the sins we commit by choice. We can sin by commission (doing something we are not supposed to do) or by omission (not doing something we are supposed to do). By birth (imputed), by nature (inherent), and by choice (personal) we are sinners.

11. What efforts can a lost person exert to satisfy or please God?

  • Man alone cannot exert action or in anyway satisfy or please God because God is already satisfied. God is satisfied in the propitiatory sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ as the payment for the sin of all humanity for all time (1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:2). Utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit, regenerated believers can live in righteousness (Romans 8:10-11).

12. Is everyone born with a sinful nature? Explain.

  • All people (other than Jesus) have a “sinful nature” which is that natural bent to do wrong. As stated above this is our inherent sin, our flesh which is contrary to the character and holiness of God. We naturally in our flesh desire to rebel against God’s standards and commands. For example, you do not have to teach a child to do wrong, because it comes naturally. We are to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

13. Describe the sin nature and its position in the life of the believer.

  • The “sin nature” or the natural bent to do wrong will remain with the believer until death or rapture. While positionally in Christ, the believer has his flesh crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), in the Christian experience, the flesh and Spirit are in constant battle (Galatians 5:16-17). As a believer, we have power to say no to sin and not indulge the desires of our flesh. An unbeliever does not have this power, but only to sin and indulge the flesh (Ephesians 2:1-3). As believers, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can say “no” to sin and “yes” to righteousness (Romans 6:12-13). We will not be lifted from this battle until we are fully glorified with a new physical body that is incapable of sin (1 Corinthians 15:35-58, 2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

14. Who and what is the devil?

  • The devil is the fallen angel Lucifer, who was created as the chief archangel of God charged with guarding the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-17, Ezekiel 28, Matthew 4:1-11). He rebelled wanting to be like god. The devil is also referred in the Scriptures as Satan, the prince of the power of the air, an angel of light, a roaring lion, a serpent (Job 2:1-7, Ephesians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Peter 5:8, Genesis 3:1-5). The devil is against God in every way, is a liar who brings confusion and discouragement to believers and is at work to prevent as many people as possible from believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. He is tricky and crafty and uses the world system to appeal to our flesh (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Doctrine of the Bible

4. In what way is the Bible the inspired Word of God?
  • Not only are the words of Scripture inspired themselves, but also the very authors who wrote them (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21). Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

5. Is the entire Bible inspired and free from error in the original writings?

  • Yes, all Scripture is indeed inspired from the very breath of God (2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;") handed down in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Bible is completely inherent (without error) being inspired by God who is perfect. Translations in the English language have been provided with the utmost accuracy. My preferred translation is the New American Standard Bible, a literal word-for-word translation using the oldest known manuscripts available including the Dead Sea scrolls.

6. What other divine writings has God given to man?

  • I believe that the Word of God, the Scriptures contained in the Old and New Testaments, is the only divine writing from God to man through the agent of apostles and prophets by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. From Genesis to Revelation we have the complete Word of God (Revelation 22:18-19). These Scriptures are sufficient for us to search the depths of God. Romans 11:33 says, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"

7. What authority, other than the Bible, do you have for doctrine and the Christian walk?

  • The only trustworthy authority given for doctrine and the Christian walk is the Bible. We cannot rely on experience or traditions of man to know truth (Mark 7:5-13). Only the Word of God is truth (John 17:17, John 14:6, Revelation 19:13). While other sources may prove useful (sermons, commentaries, experiences) in the Christian experience, they must all be held up against the standard of the Word of God. The Bible is the standard for truth. Jesus said of Himself in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Doctrine of God

1. What is the Trinity? What part in God's relationship to mankind does each member of the Trinity take?

  • The trinity is a word used to describe the three persons of God in One, namely God the Father, YHWH, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Each person of God is unique, and yet also unified. All three were present at creation (Genesis 1:1-2, 27, John 1:1-3) and the baptism of Jesus. Notice Luke 3:21-22, “Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.’” All three are present inside of believers today (1 John 4:16, John 14:20, Colossians 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Galatians 4:6). The Father has the sovereign plan for His creation and is actively involved in His creation. The Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man (hypostatic union) to accomplish His predetermined plan of salvation for humanity (Galatians 4:4-5). Jesus Christ fully submitted to the will of His Father and died on the cross, the propitiation for the sins of all humanity for all time, and rose from the dead after three days, conquering the sting of death and ensuring the bodily resurrection for all humanity (1 John 2:2, 1 Corinthians 15). Jesus Christ is our only way of access to the Father (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). We must believe in Jesus Christ as Savior to receive the gift of eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the righteousness that God demands (John 3:16, Acts 10:43, Romans 3:22, Ephesians 2:8-9). The Holy Spirit convicts the unbelieving world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-10). He convicts people regarding sin because of unbelief in Christ, righteousness because that is what we need to be with the Father, and judgment because Satan has been judged and a deeds judgment is coming for all humanity (John 3:18, 16:8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:10,21). The Spirit indwells all believers in Christ, convicts believers using the Word of God, and is at work in the life of the believer to sanctify and conform the believer to the image of Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit is our helper, He illuminates the Scriptures and He is the source of power to live righteously and be fruitful and faithful in our service with God (John 14:16,26, 15:5,26, Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:16, 25). In summary, the Father had the plan, the Son carried out the plan, and the Spirit reveals the plan.

2. Show from the Bible that the Holy Spirit is deity.

  • The story of Ananias’ sin in the book of Acts relays the Apostle Peter’s acknowledgment of the Spirit as deity. When Ananias kept back some money from the sale of land, Peter says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back {some} of the price of the land? While it remained {unsold,} did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:3-4). The Holy Spirit is God and fully deity. He is also described as eternal in Hebrews 9:14 - "eternal Spirit." There are also countless places in Scripture denoting that the Spirit is “of the Lord” and “of God.” Finally, the Spirit was involved in creation as mentioned in Genesis 1:2, "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."

3. What are God's characteristics (Divine Essence) or attributes?

  • Some mentioned in Scripture: God is infinite (Romans 11:33), Spirit - the Father does not have a physical body (John 4:24), eternal - no beginning and no end (Psalm 90:2), omnipotent - all powerful (Romans 4:20-21), omnipresent - everywhere (Psalm 139:7-11), omniscient - all knowing (Psalm 139:1-6), immutable - unchanging (Hebrews 13:8), personal, righteous (1 John 1:5), just - fair (Romans 2:11, 3:26), love - unconditional (1 John 4:8-10), sovereign - nothing surprises Him (Ephesians 1:5-11), wise (1 Corinthians 1:25), truthful - he cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Bride of Christ: Are We Ready for the Bridegroom?

The process of marriage in the Jewish heritage has striking similarities to the relationship between Jesus and His church as mentioned in the Scriptures.

The Choosing of the Bride

Jewish: Following the lead of God the Father when he chose a bride for Adam, Jewish fathers considered it their duty to secure wives for their sons.

Church: In the same way, God chose a bride for His only beloved Son, Jesus, namely the church. This plan was ordained in eternity past.

John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

Espousal and Dowry

Jewish: A formal proceeding, called an espousal, followed in which oaths were made and presents were given to the bride called a dowry. The dowry was given in respect for the bride and a form of guarantee that the bride would be taken care of in the event of an untimely death of the bridegroom. The marriage arrangement was then sealed forming a binding contract between the father and the bridegroom.

Church: In the same way, God established an oath out of love for the bride and offered up His Son to pay for her sins. God promises the bride security in His Son. Jesus agreed to this plan with His Father.

John 3:16, 6:38-40 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life…For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

Acceptance by the Bride

Jewish: Following the agreement, the bride to be offered a glass of wine by the bridegroom. By drinking the wine she accepted his proposal and came under his authority, forfeiting her rights as an individual. By refusing the wine, she declined his proposal.

Church: Jesus shed His blood in sacrifice on the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity. He offers eternal life to those who believe in Him, that is accepting His invitation of salvation by faith. Believers are placed into the body of Christ are called to offer their bodies in return as a living sacrifice, that is dying to ourselves and submitting to the will of God for our lives.

John 1:11-12 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

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

Betrothal Period

Jewish: A betrothal period followed the bride’s acceptance. During this time, the bride and bridegroom were separated, yet promised to each other for a future marriage. During this period, the bridegroom prepared a place for his bride to be, usually building an extension on to his father’s house. The bride was to remain pure and prepare herself for the return of the bridegroom.

Church: In the same way, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, He ascended into heaven promising to return again for his purchased bride. Jesus is currently in heaven preparing a place for us in His Father’s house. Shortly after His ascension, He gave the church the Holy Spirit, sealing and guaranteeing our future inheritance and providing them with the power to live in holiness. The church is currently in the betrothal period.

John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory

Nearing the Time of the Return of the Bridegroom

Jewish: Neither the bridegroom nor the wife would know when he would return, but only the father. His father would appraise the built addition and after meeting the required specifications, he would allow his son to go get his bride. As the time grew closer, the bride would prepare herself. In fact, the bride often slept in her wedding dress when she knew the time must be drawing near.

Church: In the same way, the church and Jesus Himself does not knows the time of His return. The Father will allow Jesus to return at the proper time when our dwelling places are ready. This could very well be the new Jerusalem/new heavens and new earth. While Christ is away, we must remain pure and holy, being unstained by the world, while eagerly anticipating His imminent return.

2 Peter 3:10-14 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

The Return of the Bridegroom

Jewish: After receiving the father’s approval, the bridegroom would gather together a group of friends. At midnight, the group would march through the town, preceded by a group playing musical instruments, singing and shouting in loud voice, “Make way for the bridegroom!” and accompanied by those bearing lamps. If the bride was not ready for his return, it was an embarrassment to her. They would still get married, but she would be ashamed. A wedding celebration followed.

Church: In the same way, Jesus will descend from heaven to meet the church in the clouds and take her to heaven to be with Him forever. The church is to eagerly anticipate this return with hope and confidence, remaining faithful rather than greeting His return with shame for a life wasted on sin and self.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

Wedding Celebration

Jewish: The wedding celebration usually lasted seven days and was a time for immediate family to feast and celebrate the new couple. The marriage was also consummated during this time.

Church: The church will be in heaven with Christ during the seven years of tribulation on earth. During this time, we will enjoy the presence of the Lord, be judged according to our deeds, recompensed accordingly and glorified to the image of Christ Himself, having received new eternal bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

Wedding Feast

Jewish: Following the wedding celebration, a wedding feast was held which was the main event. It usually lasted anywhere from seven to fourteen days, but could be longer depending upon the wealth of the bridegroom. This feast was opened up to the friends of the bride and bridegroom. The guests at the party were provided with special wedding clothes to identify them as being accepted to the feast.

Church: Following a time of seven years in heaven, Jesus will come a second time to earth to establish His millennial kingdom and reign upon the earth as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS . Following the judgment of the world, Jesus will host the marriage supper of the Lamb for 1000 years.

Matthew 22:2-14 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited," Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.' And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him,' Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."

Matthew 24:29-31 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

Matthew 25:1-13 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, saying, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. And later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered and said, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

Revelation 19:7-16 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems; and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Controling the Body - We Can't Do It Alone

Before Christ we were dead in sin, slaves of sin and walked in the flesh.

  • Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

By faith in Christ we are made alive in Christ, slaves of Christ and are to walk in the Spirit.

  • Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Christians are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit, baptized into the body of Christ.

  • Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the power given to us by God to overcome the flesh and control the body.

  • Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

We have to choose how we will live. We can live in the flesh or the Holy Spirit.

  • Romans 8:5-11 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.

Some Keys to Victory

The 12:1-2 passages – memorize them, personalize them and say them daily to the Lord.

Present your body in sacrifice to God daily in order to discern His perfect will for your life.

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

Run the race with Jesus, fixing your eyes on Him, while learning endurance. Run to win.

  • Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
  • John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Labor hard in prayer, thanksgiving and knowing the Word of God through daily renewal.

  • Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.
  • 1 Peter 2:2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,

Protect your eyes and your mind from sinful images and thoughts.

  • Matthew 6:22:23 The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Do the math. Sowing to flesh = death, loss. Sowing to spirit = life, rewards. Garbage in = garbage out.

  • Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Put on the Holy Spirit like a garment. Wear Him in your everyday life.

  • Ephesians 4:22-24 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Stay sober in the Spirit and prayer being ready at all times for God to use you.

  • 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
  • 2 Timothy 2:20-21 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Stay humble so God can use you most effectively.

  • Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
  • 1 Peter 5:5-6 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

Remember we are in a war, a spiritual battle. Put on the full armor of God.

  • Romans 7:22-25 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
  • Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
  • 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
  • 1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Let the Holy Spirit control your temple. Give Him control. Don’t quench or grieve Him.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
  • Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit;

Live each day in expectation of His return.

  • Philippians 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
  • Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Think correctly. Know who you are in Christ.

  • Colossians 3:5,12 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Ask for help. Learn dependence upon God in every aspect of your life.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

The choice is yours. Choose life.

  • Romans 6:1-23