Saturday, June 28, 2014

Romans 6 - Living the Resurrection Life

Overcoming the flesh is possibly the biggest issue of our Christian life.  One person has said, "You can be victorious today, but give the flesh one nights rest and it is ready to take over in the morning"!  How true.  Paul the apostle dealt with this issue in Romans 6.  He actually gives us the solution!  Now that's significant.  The key according to Paul is something he calls identification with Christ.  That is done by faith not works.  Do you know there is nothing you can do to overcome the flesh!  It is already done!  But we must identify with it by faith. Everything that really works in the Christian life is done by faith!  Christ fulfilled all righteousness for us and for us to add to it insults His work. So what is our part?  We must believe we are crucified with Him, buried with Him, risen with Him, seated with Him and now reigning with Him!  Too simple. Maybe that's why it isn't working for you.  Name one New Year resolution that really stuck?  We stumble over the simplicity of Christ. We take classes on how to overcome, we make resolutions, commitments and try the best we can in the flesh. In fact we have been working on some sins for years without good results of overcoming.  Paul says, "How can we that are dead to sin live any longer in it?"  Paul takes us through three steps of faith.  First to KNOW about this truth.  Second is to RECON it for yourself and third is to YIELD yourselves to God's Spirit as having done the first two.  The key then is focusing on the person of Christ. Stop focusing on the sin... it will only get worse!  Paul says to Timothy, "meditate on these things, give yourself wholly to them, that you profiting may appear unto all.  For in doing this you will both save yourself and them that hear you." Paul says that Romans 6 is about SANCTIFICATION not salvation.  He already has dealt with all the doctrines of salvation in Romans 1 - 5.  Sanctification is Christ's IMPARTED righteousness given to us to make us holy. Wow does that sound too deep?  Imparted simply means Christ gives us HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS to us and we receive it daily by faith.  We literally cloth ourselves daily in His righteousness... again it's to KNOW, RECON & YEILD to the power of the Holy Spirit by faith to perform His word in us.  It's that simple!  

Paul says, "Clothed in His righteousness alone".  The Pharisee big mistake was trying to establish their own righteousness.  Most religious people today are still doing the same thing
and wondering why their Christian life is so shallow.  The three greatest words in the New Testament are when Christ said, "It is finished".  Take less than  30 minutes to watch this could change your life!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Book of Romans - Foundation of Faith

The Book of Romans has affected more great Christian leaders than any book of the bible. The simple phrase, "The just shall live by faith" changed the hearts of men like Saint Augustine. John Wesley was saved listening to the reading of Luther's commentary on Romans.  Martin Luther formed the reformation around the book of Romans. This book creates a foundation of faith based on true doctrines like righteousness,  justification, propitiation, redemption, identification, adoption, election and sanctification.  Unless you understand these doctrines, you cannot understand who you are in Christ nor understand what Christ has done for you.  
   Reformer John Calvin wrote that "If a man understands Romans he has a sure road open to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture." Gleason Archer concurs, saying, "There is no more complete compendium of the Christian doctrine in the sixty-six books of the Bible than the Epistle to the Romans." Likewise, Dr. Lloyd-Jones called it "a colossal and incomparable statement of Christian truth."  
   Paul outlined his own writings when he wrote II Timothy 3:16  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine (Romans), for reproof (I & II Corinthians) for correction (Galations) and for instruction in righteousness (Philippians, Ephesians & Colossians).  Romans is the beginning of understanding the new testament.  I challenge you to take the time and effort to renew your understanding of this great salvation that has appeared to all men and by which we are saved. It will bring a new appreciation of the person of Jesus Christ and His absolute provision for us.  Romans answers the sin question entirely.  It answers the question of how we overcome the flesh entirely. It makes clear and concise statements about homosexuality and lesbianism.  It answers the questions of Israel and the church and the final restoration of Israel in the end of this age.  It answers the questions of how we should operate under our government, oppressive or not.  Romans will unlock the keys to the "mind of Christ" that we should have toward ourselves and our world. It will clearly affect your World-View.  It has the power to bring another reformation!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

50 Year Celebration - Thank you Lord!

1964 Launching my ministry
Today is my 50th year celebration of ministry.  On June 14th fresh out of Bob Jones University I traveled to Loveland, Colorado and Faith Baptist Church hired me as their associate pastor. We moved into the basement apartment of one of the church families and began the long journey of ministry that leads to my celebration tonight at 6:00 pm in our new office building here in Tampa, Florida.  You might watch the video below to catch a bit of the journey. 

 What have I learned in 50 years?

1. Integrity is longevity.  To have anything that lasts it must be centered in integrity...everything else fads away.  The things that have lasted in my life have only been those centered in integrity.

2. Life has seasons.  I recall the many season I have gone through and, believe me, each season comes to a close.  Their have been seasons of wonderful blessings, incredible lack and struggle, great disappointment, great growth and wonder, powerful revelation and astounding miracles.  But the sustaining force was the faithfulness of God.  His loving kindness and goodness has overcome any setbacks, betrayals, failures and lack on my part.. David explained it this way....overall  "My lines have fallen in pleasant places".  It has been exciting and no question the greatest adventure in life discovering the secrets of the "Kingdom of God" with it's new authority and also receiving a greater revelation of my standing as a "King and Priest" unto my God!  

3. In my flesh dwells no good thing.  I know this is against popular religious thought, but at the risk of being non-religious, I have discovered that the total "Righteousness of Christ" is sufficient for everything I need in life and godliness.  I have learned, especially later in life, that a passionate love affair with Jesus Christ and being obsessed and addicted to Jesus is the only thing that really satisfies my spirit, soul and body.  I have found that in Jesus Christ all the "fullness of God dwells".  And that "I am complete in Him".  The book Colossians has remained my favorite book of the bible.  I discovered it at Jr. High School camp well over 50 years algo and it never left me. I was taught inductive bible study and outlining and that also became the standard my entire life study of the word. 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

True Gospel - False Gospel

They tell me that if you work at a bank and handle a lot of money, you can immediately tell when a bill is fake by it's touch.  You know the fake by knowing the real.  Paul said, "I know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified."  Paul later defined the gospel in  I Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered unto you that which I also received, that Christ died for you according to the scripture, that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the scriptures".  This is the gospel also "by which you are saved"  (verse 2).  Satan is a deceiver and an anti-Christ.  His demons dwell primarily in religion.  They don't deny that there is a gospel, but bring "another gospel" Jesus warned, "Many will come in my name saying I am christ, and deceive many".  How important is this?
1. The wrong gospel produces the wrong faith.  "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name given among men by which we are saved."  Faith does not save you, but the object of your faith.  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews)
2. What then is the right gospel?  Paul said this gospel he received was not from man, neither did he receive it from man.  It came by revelation of Jesus Christ Himself.  Paul was separated unto Christ in the desert and Jesus clearly gave Him the "True Gospel". It came as a mystery, i.e. a formerly hidden truth that was now revealed. It was the apostolic doctrine upon which the true church was built.  "They continued in the apostles doctrine..from house to house and the Lord added daily to the church.."  (Acts 2:42)  The apostles doctrine was the revealed truth that the early apostles all agreed upon.  Their message was all the same.. Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

What are some of the "other gospels" preached today?
- The gospel of self achievement and self exaltation.  The better self image you have, the better life you will have. You hear this gospel even on Christian television and radio. Emotional lectures on how to improve yourself, look inside of yourself and you will see greatness.  
- The gospel of good works.  You can do it!  You can make something of your life by self effort and hard work. This is a performance based gospel.  
- The gospel of great ideas and man's philosophy.  Searching out the great thoughts of history's greatest leaders and thinkers.  These guides will take you to the level of greatness you desire.
- The Christless gospel.  Preaching that never brings the person of Christ into the central message. The preacher can talk about God in wide general terms.  These messages sound poetic and tickle the ears of the listeners, but never deal with the message of Christ's death, burial and resurrection.  They never deal with the real issue of man's sin and need of a savior.
- The false christ gospel.  Just because Jesus name is used in the church documents and tenets, does not mean it is the Christ of the true scriptures.  This again becomes the most deceitful of all false gospels.  How do we know the difference?  "All scripture is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof and for correction in righteousness."  You must be committed to search the scriptures for in them you have eternal life.  Through diligent study and passion to know Christ, His revelation will come through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Your life (eternal) depends on it!

We could go on and on and see how Satan has deceived even the church. What then is the solution?  Go back to the word of God and see what God really says.  It says the simplicity of Christ is the only answer.  It is all about Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection.  It is about the fact that "in our flesh dwells NO good thing".  What about "No Good" do we not understand?  It just does not seem to connect with our pride and self achievement. It takes true revelation of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince us that we absolutely need Jesus Christ and HIM ALONE and His complete righteousness to have right standing with the Father God. There is no second choice.. only Christ.