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5:27 AM   [24 Nov 2013 | Sunday]

The Independent Spirit

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (KJV).

Those who are poor in spirit realize that they are spiritually helpless.  They comprehend they do not possess the righteousness necessary to enter the Kingdom.  They recognize they need the Holy Spirit for sanctification and power for living.  As a result, they humble themselves before God, which positions them to receive the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.  Even while moving from darkness into His marvelous Light, they will be ever mindful of the paradigm found in Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (KJV).  They embrace the reality that their sufficiency is unequivocally reliant on God, which is the complete opposite of those who have an independent spirit.

In a number of cultures, the independent spirit is celebrated.  It ties in with the “power of pride” that declares I can do it myself.  This self-reliance snubs its nose at humility, even though it feigns to have it when necessary for public relations.  While a number of people consider the independent spirit to be an asset, it is actually a detriment.  Proverbs 16:18 makes this clear, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (KJV).  Because they will not bow their knees, those with an independent spirit will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, much less be able to function there.  Because this attitude is incapable of submission, the Holy Spirit cannot lead those with it.  Only those led by the Holy Spirit are the sons of God (see Romans 8:14).  That means if a person is not a son or daughter of God, their spiritual daddy is the devil.  If they continue to keep him as their father, while rejecting God the Father, they will follow him all the way to his eternal destiny –the lake of fire (see John 8:39-47; Revelation 20:1-15).

James 4:1-5 describes the independent spirit this way, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy”(KJV)?

Clearly, those with the independent spirit are selfish.  They may do things for others, but it is usually on their terms with impure motives.  Even while “blessing” others, it still about them: “Look what I did!”  Whom do they glorify when they take pride in doing things?  A sad part is they have difficulty honoring others when honor is due to them.  They practically choke on words of congratulations to people when they are promoted or accomplish something major.  Worst of all, they would rather honor themselves than God.

2Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (KJV).  The True Free Spirit is the Spirit of the Lord.  Without the Spirit there is no freedom.  Those of the world will never know freedom because they cannot know the Holy Spirit (see John 14:17), unless they become poor in spirit and choose life.  Those who walk in pride will fail to fully enjoy the freedom God intended them to have.  Blessed are the poor in spirit indeed!

www.perfectfaith.org

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2:39 AM   [17 Nov 2013 | Sunday]

Comfort Comes When Repentance Comes

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted (KJV).

Mourning connects with repentance as it works in concert with conviction.  While often identified with grief as the result of a loss, it also can be known as godly sorrow as the result of an awakening.  That awakening is the product of the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment (see John 16:7-11).  With conviction comes an awareness of the separation between God and the individual.  Consequently, sorrow grips the heart and soul of those who receive that conviction, which in turn leads to a change in the way they think about sin, the righteousness of God and the Judgment to come.  With their eyes thus opened, they are able to turn form darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they are able to receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among those sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus (see Act 26:12-18).

Comfort comes when repentance comes.  While tears often accompany godly sorrow, they in of themselves are not necessary a sign of repentance.  Any hypocrite can produce tears in order to appear sorrowful.  There may be some legitimate grieving, but that does not mean there has been a change of heart or change in the way a person thinks.  We find an example of sorrow leading to repentance with the Church at Corinth.  They had allowed sin to enter into the camp, and as a result, Paul wrote concerning this issue in 1Corinthians 5-6.  In his second letter to the Corinthians, we find that repentance took place as a result.

2Corinthians 7:8-11 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter (KJV).

Without repentance, none will ever experience the complete comfort of the Holy Spirit while on the earth.  Nor will they experience the Ultimate Comfort when 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 (Revelation 21:4, KJV [see also Revelation 7:17]). Mourning is also attached to humility.  As we find in James 4:6-10,“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (KJV).

There comes a time when we need to put away merriment, so we can properly grieve.  Some seek constant pleasure to avoid the suffering attached to sorrow.  They use laughter to inoculate themselves from weeping; but without weeping, there can be no real healing.  Weeping is a spiritual and emotional cleaning process that also flows into the physical realm.   Tears literally remove poisons from the body caused by heaviness.  That is why when people have a “good cry,” they feel better mentally and physically.  When we allow the healing process to take place, we find that mourning turns to dancing.  This is especially true when repentance is involved.  There comes a time when we have to face the reality of where we are in life.  At times, we may need to properly mourn for a loss, instead of stuffing the pain.  To move on in such instances, one must mourn first.  We may find we have sin in our life and need repentance.  Often, tears accompany the restoration process the Lord takes us through as we genuinely sorrow.  However, He also turns them into tears of joy and laughter.  Psalm 30:10-12 “Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.  Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: Thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever (KJV).

www.perfectfaith.org 

 

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1:04 AM   [10 Nov 2013 | Sunday]

What Is The Sin Unto Death (1John 5:16)?

1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it (KJV).

Understand that it is God’s will that none perish and all come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).  He is not looking to write someone off because he falls into sin; rather, He desires that person to repent and be restored.  This is one reason that we are to pray for those who have fallen.  Furthermore, the Father desires that we come along side our fallen brother or sister to restore him or her. Galatians 6:1-3 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (KJV).  Instead of taking a self-righteous posture, our hearts should ache for them, so much so that we would stick our necks out to reach out to them.  It may be that they need some help, but do not know where to turn.  Self-righteousness is deadly, and it is one reason that many will not ask for help.  How many of us would go to someone who is going to judge us?  When we are more concerned about how righteous we look to others, we will never reach out properly.  That is not love.  Love will always speak the truth, but it also compassionate!  James tells us, “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20, KJV).  Please consider the next two verses of Scripture before going any further, especially if you are struggling with where you are in relation to God because you just “blew it.”  1John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV).  Secondly, “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: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2, KJV).  The ability to redeem a person depends on the condition of the heart.

Hebrews 6:4-8 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly Gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned (KJV).  While reading these passages, we learn that there is a point of no return.  This should indeed give us pause!  We need to heed the warnings that God gives us, which also shows us the lengths He goes to keep us.  Nevertheless, He leaves the decision to heed them up to us.  Why is it impossible to renew them to repentance?

Hebrews 10:24-29 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the Day approaching.  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace (KJV)?  Jesus made the final Sacrifice; there are no more sacrifices available for those who ultimately reject His.  Therefore, this willful sin is unto death, and it is the result of a wicked heart of unbelief that has counted the Blood of Jesus to be unholy.  They have insulted the Holy Spirit and have thusly reproached Him.  As a result, they will not heed the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance.  Jesus said, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31-32,KJV).  The sin unto death, therefore, is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

We close with some parting thoughts.  One is that those who have truly blasphemed the Holy Spirit could care less if they have.  They are that far gone, which means if you happen to be one who has sinned, but very much care about your condition, it is not too late.  However, let this also serve as a warning: the Bible tells us about those whose consciences become so seared that they reject Truth.  Unrestrained sin leads to death, which means the more we ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the easier it gets to sin.  There comes a point where the grace of God is no longer in the picture to help those who have entered into willful sin, because they have rejected it.  Their heart is so hard that they will never repent.  Their knees will never bow before the Lord on this side of eternity; however, at the Great White Throne Judgment, they will, but then it will be too late.  God did not design us to stand alone, which is why it is so important to spend time with brothers and sisters in the Lord.  He has provided us a “safety net” through the Church.  There are days when some will need you by their side to help them; likewise, there will be times when you need their encouragement to keep going.  We have to be able to speak Truth into one another’s lives in love, especially, to keep each other from faltering.

www.perfectfaith.org

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6:57 AM   [03 Nov 2013 | Sunday]

Understanding Grace (Part Five)

Without grace, our works before God would be as wood, hay, and stubble.  All to be burned in His holy fire (see 1Corinthians 3:9-15).  By His grace, our works may be that of gold, silver, and precious jewels.  Our works apart from grace are dead because they are self-centered and flesh-driven.  Our unguided efforts are aimed to do things on our terms according to our understanding.  They please the flesh; therefore, it is impossible for them to please God.  People do good things all the time, but that does not mean they glorify God.  How often have we seen people in the media drawing attention to themselves by their “good deeds?”  Who gets the glory?  It is wonderful to do things that help humanity, but it does not mean there will be rewards waiting in heaven as a result.  Nor does it mean that the one doing them is righteous before God.  Remember, our deeds do not make us righteous; it is Jesus Who makes us righteous.

Grace enables us to do works fit for the Kingdom of God.  It enables us to function according to Kingdom design.  A kingdom is the realm in which a king rules.  It is the place of authority and those who live in the kingdom are his subjects.  He is not theirs.  God is King, and we are His subjects, and not the other way around.  Therefore, grace helps us comply with His desires, not our wishes.  The bottom line is that it was designed to please God.  Contrary to what many believe, the most pleasing thing to ours souls is pleasing God.  One of the most miserable Christians you will ever meet is the one who tries to please only his self.  It begs the questions, how can such a one call himself a Christian?  Christian means Christ-like and there is nothing Christ-like about trying to get God to serve us.  As we delight in Him, the Father loves to give us the desires of our heart (see Psalm 37:4).  However, He will never give us things that are contrary to His nature.  Grace helps us have the right desires, so He can bless us with good gifts.  By grace, through faith we received the new man who is created in God’s image in righteousness and true holiness (see Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).  We have His Spirit dwelling in us because of the favor He extended to us, which means we have His nature as well.

Grace is holy and is designed to lead us in holiness.  It was given to us so we may live free of sin and our former lusts (see Romans 6).  It gives us the freedom to freely serve the King.  Grace is extremely expensive.  It cost the Blood of Jesus; therefore, it should be most precious to us.  We should never cheapen it by having a cavalier attitude toward it in relation to sin.  Some have the idea that grace enables them to do as they please, and still be “good with God.”  That is self-deception at work in their lives.  In fact, at the Judgment, they will discover grace did not work for them; it worked against them.  Grace was intended to keep them from sin; not cover their sinful lifestyle.  Just as Jude 1:3-4 tells us, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (KJV).  As Jude continues to describe such people, it reveals their end: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.  These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:11-13, KJV).  When a person attempts to use grace to his advantage, it will turn against him.  For some who do enter heaven, they will suffer loss of rewards due to their carelessness.  While they are saved by grace, they should have submitted themselves fully to God by it.  Grace is not a “Fire Insurance Policy,” but it will help us go through the fire unscathed.  Remember, the Lord is our Exceeding Great Reward.  All other rewards pale compared to Him.  By grace, we are able to enjoy Him.

www.perfectfaith.org

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