Archive for the ‘Resurrection of Christ’ Tag

Once “Works FOR God”, Now “Fruit FROM God!” (And by ‘God’ we mean The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – God)

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Bible Verses: Galatians 3: 27-29, Galatians 5: 16-26


Introduction:

It’s possible to coerce or even force someone to do something, but for an action to be meaningful and fulfilling, it must be done because the person wanted to. This is the key difference between behavior modification and heart change, changing our actions versus changing our motivations underneath our actions. In the letter to the Galatians, especially concerning the fruit of the Spirit in chapter 5, Paul taught on GRACE, WORKS, and PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION in the light of the gospel. What we do certainly matters, but WHY we do what we do matters even more.

If you’re a Christian, you will obey because you want to obey, not because you have to. The Spirit of God living inside of us ensures it. We will bear good fruit. This doesn’t make us sinless, but it does make us sure of spiritual growth and it does make us more conscious and convicted of our sin. This Gospel-driven way of living means that we ourselves are a Gospel project, always being developed and shaped by the Gospel – Jesus! And it means that we are always acknowledging that the changes in us have not come primarily through our own efforts but through the Spirit of Christ working in us. We don’t get the glory. The Father does.

Theological Theme:

The fact that the gospel begins and ends with Jesus Christ, means that the gospel is PRIMARILY about the Father’s commitment to YOU! The Father receiving/ including YOU (our human nature) PERSONALLY into His love and life through Jesus and by the Spirit. The Father’s Faith and repentance on YOUR behalf in Christ. Secondarily it is about you being committed to Him and your faith and repentance towards Him.

Christians crucify the flesh and walk by the Spirit who, too, is God of GOD [ Father -Son and Holy Spirit]. The Spirit is the one poured out on Jesus Christ without limit, and the one who Jesus pours out on us human beings so that we might participate with Him in who He is and what He is doing. By the Spirit we participate with Jesus in His worship of The Father and in His witness to this world that His Kingdom is already in our midst, and that his rule and reign are yet coming in full!

Christ Connection:

In contrasting the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit, Paul showed the Galatian church what it looks like to belong to Christ Jesus. To be crucified with Christ means to put away our fleshly passions and desires and to follow the Spirit.

Walking after Christ – with Christ, by the Spirit, means Christ leads and by the Spirit we follow Him and move in that same direction that He indicates. When we walk by The Spirit we go where He goes, we live how He lives and how He directs us to live. Walking by the Spirit can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be that way because we have been gifted by God through Jesus and in the Spirit, to be able to see through the eyes of FAITH. If you are to walk by the Spirit you will need to spend more time with the Spirit, reading and studying and meditating on Jesus Christ through scripture by the Spirit. The Spirit mediates Jesus and Jesus will meet you in and through scripture by His grace.

“We are not to challenge and envy one another. We are to get down from our high chairs and start walking in the Spirit. The Christian life is not a balloon ascension with some great overpowering experience of soaring to the heights. Rather it is a daily walk; it is a matter of putting one foot ahead of the other, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” –J. Vernon McGee

Missional Application:

God calls us to follow the Spirit in humility as we develop Christian character that sets us apart from the world.

As the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control within us, we will also see that our external actions will change too. A person who is loving will act in love with others. A person who is joyful will act joyfully before others. Being leads to doing. And in this case, when we are changed to be more like God on the inside, we will live more like Him on the outside.

“It is in the midst of difficulties and hardships that we especially need the fruit of the Spirit, and it is in such times that God may especially work through us to touch other people for Christ. As we bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, others will see in us ‘the family likeness of his Son’ (Rom. 8:29, Phillips) and be attracted to the Saviour.” –Billy Graham

Conclusion:

The power of our obedience and the source of our holiness is not our own efforts but the effort of the Holy Spirit applying to our lives the finished work of Jesus Christ. It’s God who works in you to will and to work for His good pleasure! Your participation with Christ in his good works were ordained beforehand. The same gospel that empowers our conversion empowers our sanctification. It is Jesus who both authors and perfects our faith. It is God alone who is faithful both to start the work in us and to complete it. Jesus Himself is our Sanctification!

Of course, it’s not that we don’t expend any energy. We have to remember that “grace is not opposed to effort, but is opposed to earning.”  Instead, it is simply that the energy we use to obey from our hearts for the pleasure of God comes from God’s Spirit. Here is how Paul explained the source of righteousness in Galatians 5:22-26: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Photo Compliments: http://www.antiochpeople.org

In Jesus, The Church Is God’s New Humanity!


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Bible Verse: Acts 2:42 – 47 Romans 8


Introduction:

Because Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son has come and lived, and suffered, and died, and risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, in our glorified humanity, sending the Holy Spirit to us,  a new world order has been inaugurated from the Father, through Jesus the Son, and in the Holy Spirit! A new humanity is breaking in and rising up in believers who share in the responses of Christ in the holy Spirit, through Jesus, and to the Glory of the Father! This New Humanity, or New Creation, breaking into our present is what it means to be a part of the Church, a part of the Father-Son-and-Holy-Spirit-God’s New Community!”

Theological Theme:

“There can be no doubt, however, that the New Testament is pervaded with the joyful sense of God’s actual presence in Jesus Christ, and with the realisation that the coming age has already broken into the present and overlaps it. That is precisely the good news of the gospel, that here and now in Christ Jesus God is present in all his royal power, not only to speak a word of pardon but actually to enact it and fulfil it in the liberation of the children of God.” – T.F. Torrance

Christ Connection:

“…when we do hear God’s voice through Jesus Christ, It calls us out of ourselves into community with God and man. And then individual Gospel and social Gospel become all one. We can’t separate them, without killing both, and running away from God…God was incarnate in Jesus Christ, and He created in the world a new community – the fellowship of the Holy Spirit – to draw us out of ourselves into community with God and man, for our own salvation and the salvation of the world.” – Donald Baillie

Missional Application:

“And if you, my friend, feel your heart pierced, in this your day and generation, by the woes of your fellows, that is perhaps the beginning of God’s work in your heart, saving you from yourself, drawing you out of yourself, into a life worth living, where you wiIl be lifted above your own temptations and defeats by the enthusiasm of the service of God and man, in the Community of the Holy Spirit. God is beginning that work in you – let Him have his way.” – Donald Baillie

The scriptures indicate what Salvation in Christ sounds and looks like in Acts 2:

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

Photo Compliments: http://www.redemptionchurch.org

Whoever Has Been Forgiven Much, Loves Much!

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Main Bible Verses: Luke 7: 36-50 Acts 2: 36-41


Introduction:

The Father-Son-Holy-Spirit-God revealed in Jesus Christ is the God of Love and is therefore a forgiving God! In the birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus we see God at work to forgive and overcome sin, sending it away and reconciling all to himself. In the way Jesus lived, the things he said, and the way he thought and spoke we understand what forgiveness really is and means for human beings.

Theological Theme:

We are each and all called to participate in receiving God’s gift of forgiveness, and participate with Jesus in being reconciled back to his Father and our neighbors! This proclaims to us the Good News that forgiveness is first something God gives to us a gift which enables us to repent and then share his forgiveness with others. So, we don’t have to repent in order to be forgiven, rather we are forgiven and enabled to repent!

Christ Connection:

Jesus is the True and Fully Human Being. When we want to see and know most clearly what God’s love really looks like in a human being and what his purpose and plan is for us we look to Jesus Christ! WE LOVE because HE first LOVED US. WE FORGIVE BECAUSE HE HAS FORGIVEN US. What Jesus gave us was not only himself as an individual but, in and through the Holy Spirit, he gives us the opportunity to participate with him in his human nature.

“We put our trust in God because of who Jesus Christ is. And he himself is the grace of God towards us. He is the Gospel. He himself is our salvation. And we receive all the benefits of who he is as we trust in him and cast aside (repent of) all other rival objects of trust. We then enjoy our union and communion with him as our Lord and God. Our lives are united to Christ and we share in his life, we participate with him in all he is doing and will do in and through our relationship of trust or faith.” – Dr Gary Deddo

Jesus Christ took on our broken humanity, healed it and raised it up NEW so that he shared in his renewing humanity. He performed a great exchange. He shared in OUR POORNESS so that we could share in HIS RICHNESS! He shared in OUR BROKENNESS so that so that we could share in HIS HEALED HUMAN NATURE! He shared in the temptation of our unforgiving nature and, resisting it with his forgiving love, gives us the same opportunity to resist our unforgiving nature through receiving his forgiving love.

Missional Application:

We are called as Jesus’ disciples to encourage God’s children tore forgiven in order that they, too, might REPENT because of the forgiveness of their sins by God the Father and receive the Holy Spirit. They will then not only be saved FROM their sins but also be saved FOR God and sharing God and his characteristics with their neighbor.

Conclusion:

Overflowing love and forgiveness toward others is the natural response to God’s forgiveness of us and the appropriate consequence of faith in him. However, only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness that God offers them and the share that with others. Having received this forgiveness we believers seek to share it freely with others because, in Jesus Christ, God has forgiven and rescued the sinful human nature of all people, whether those people are extremely wicked or conventionally good, even as we were!

Do you appreciate the wideness of God’s mercy? Are you grateful for his forgiveness?  Are you grateful for God’s forgiveness given to us in Jesus Christ?” If so, you will become more and more forgiving of others. Having received this forgiving love of Jesus we are now being compelled as ambassadors who are appealing to others (as if Christ was appealing through us!) to “Be reconciled to God”. “Receive his forgiveness!” The compulsion to appeal to others in love “to repent, turn to Christ and be reconciled” should outmatch any anxious cry and plea to “turn before you burn” because God’s grace is greater than our sin! Although God’s grace through faith is what saves us, and NOT our good works toward our neighbors, our good works demonstrate faith in Christ and are honored by Christ, and actually come from Christ, and therefore can bear fruit in the lives of our neighbors as we participate in them!

Photo Compliments: https://sermons.faithlife.com

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