Live it! - The Appropriate Response of Faith – - Purity 639
Purity 639 01/27/2022 Purity 639 Podcast
Today’s photo of a dirt road running through a forest of tall pines comes to us from August of 2021 as a friend shared this view while out in God’s magnificent creation. I suspected that this photo comes to us from a friend in California but the more I look at it I suspect that this scene was captured by a friend visiting somewhere in the Adirondacks or some other area of upstate NY. I offer my apologies for not recalling the particular place or person who captured this scene and offer that anonymous friend the opportunity to enlighten us or to remain silent. The choice is yours.
Well. It’s Thursday and I shared this particular photo of a pathway through a forest as my thematic encouragement to start or to continue following the pathway of Christian Discipleship, to walk in the Spirit, or to live out your Christian faith every day.
Life is all about the choices we make, and I recommend that anyone hearing or reading this message make the choice to not only place their faith in Jesus Christ for the benefits of the forgiveness of sins and the eternal life that is promised to those who put their faith in Him but to also take your faith to the next logical conclusion: to live your life according to God’s wisdom and ways.
The word of God says that Christians will be known by their fruit and by the love they have for one another that implies that we will not be just known for “what we believe”. Faith in Jesus Christ is not just the holding of certain doctrinal beliefs that we will mentally assent to. Our faith in Christ and who He has made us to be will be reflected in the way we behave and live our lives.
If there is no “fruit”, no evidence of our “firmly held beliefs” in our lives, others, and we ourselves may question whether or not we really are a Christian.
Christianity isn’t a political party. It’s a kingdom and we are members of its royal family through adoption. The question is: have we in turned adopted the ways of the King? Are we serving and representing the kingdom as we should?
When Christ called the Apostles, they immediately stopped what they were doing and chose to follow Him without conditions or pondering the truth of His ministry or call on their lives. They knew Jesus was the Messiah and they did the only appropriate thing to do when God calls you: they chose to follow.
So how does one follow the Lord?
I know when I came to faith in Christ I was extremely weary of where I chose to go to church and whose leadership I would decide to trust.
The unseen God is certainly working in and through some people on the earth but because of the fallibility of men and the existence of Christian counterfeits, false converts, and the agents of darkness I had to decide to be discerning in who or what I listened to.
The good news is that the Lord gave us a source for His truth that we could judge the true vs the counterfeit: the Holy Bible. The obligation however is that we know what it says and what it means in order to know if someone is corrupting its wisdom for their own purposes.
Also if someone is putting up another source of truth in addition to the Bible, we have to realize that their additional sources of truth are attempting to say that the word of God isn’t sufficient and whatever they are trying to teach is a deception, whether they are aware of it or not.
So we really have to be diligent in terms of knowing what Christ would have us do and then seek to do His will to represent Him.
One of the best ways of learning what we are to do is by learning what the word of God says about who we are in Christ and then living according to that biblical truth. So instead of putting our allegiance in some church organization or some charismatic “anointed” pastor, we should seek the truth of God’s word about us and seek to live our lives according to that truth.
While we should connect to a local church, to learn, serve, and worship in a community of Bible believing Christians, we must not rely on others to walk out our faith for us. We can’t be spiritually lazy. We are the seek the Lord for ourselves and find the purpose that He has for our lives.
The call of God is as compelling on our lives today as it was for the Apostles in the early church and just like it was then we are to answer God’s call on our lives and follow Him where He will lead us.
Generally, God will lead us to repent of our sin and call us to conform to the image of Christ by renewing our minds with the wisdom of the word of God and then apply what we learn to our lives as we seek to do the good works that the Lord would have us do.
That means transformation and purpose. That means seeking God continually and learning more about Him and His purpose for us on the earth. That means that there is a relationship between you and the Lord who created all things and that means you have a part to play in His grand design.
So instead of debating whether or not you “really believe”, demonstrate your faith by choosing to believe the Lord’s call on your life is “for real” by living according to your faith.
If you know you are a part of God’s kingdom because of your faith in Jesus Christ, shouldn’t you seek to live according to the purpose for your life? If you think about it, our obedience to God’s call on our life is the only appropriate response of our faith.
So do the appropriate thing and seek to follow the Lord’s direction for your life. His ways are higher than our ways, but He invites us to know them and to walk with Him. So answer the call today and everyday to draw a little closer to God than you were yesterday. If you do that God will reveal Himself to you in amazing ways and you will discover that He will bless you with a life that leaves the darkness of this world behind as He increasingly welcomes into the light of a new and everlasting life where the fruit of the Spirit will grow and and your love for God and others will define the rest of your life.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Acts 1:8 (NLT2)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Today’s verse are the words of the Resurrected Christ, who speaks of the power that the Holy Spirit will bring to the lives of those who follow Him to go and share the gospel throughout the earth.
The Holy Spirit had not yet come into the world and Christ was pointing to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would enter into all those who put their faith in Christ to empower them for ministry and righteous living for evermore.
How can a Christian change from who they used to be? How can they leave sin behind? How can they have the boldness to tell others about Jesus?
All of these things can be done through faith in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit! When we believe and put our faith and trust in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and to give us the power to overcome.
When we receive Christ, we receive the Helper, and the Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us to live the Christian life.
This power isn’t for selfish gain. No matter how we individually may benefit from the transformation that the Holy Spirit gives us, it is done for God, His glory and His purposes and today’s verse points to the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit and His power: to make Jesus Christ known throughout the earth.
The power to change us is for a purpose to give glory to God. Our testimony of victory is a testimony for God. We become the evidence and the witnesses for the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So choose to follow where the Holy Spirit seeks to change your life and where He calls you to go. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit has the power to do mighty things in our lives but the most powerful thing we can do for the kingdom of God is to take the power we receive and use it to share the love of God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So feel the power and use the power of the Holy Spirit to help you but also utilize it to boldly proclaim the goodness of God and the truth of Jesus Christ to the world that desperately needs the power and love of God too.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we continue sharing from Chapter 6.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY HAS A PRICE
After Jesus fed the 5,000, He sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee while He went up to the mountain to pray. In the middle of the sea, the disciples encountered a storm: “And seeing them straining at the oars...He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.”119 The Lord intends to pass by the self-sufficient. Go ahead and row against the storms of life. He will let you until your arms fall off, but those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
The only answer the world has for those who are caught in the storms of life is “Row harder, or give in to the pressure and learn to live at sea!” The devil says, “You can do it by yourself, but if you need a little extra power, I can arrange that for a small price.” Pride says, “I think I can get out of this by myself. All it requires is a lot of hard work, human ingenuity, and maybe a little luck.” God says, “I won’t interfere with your plans. If you want to try to save yourself, solve your own problems or meet your own needs, you have My permission. But you won’t be able to, because in the final analysis, you absolutely need Me, and you necessarily need each other.” Fallen humanity is on a sinking ship that is going nowhere without God.
Pride can sneak up on the best of us. King Uzziah was a godly man who reigned for 52 years,120 and “he did right in the sight of the Lord.” His accomplishments were exceptional. He built a strong army and fortified the city. “Hence his fame spread afar, for he was marvelously helped until he was strong. But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the Lord his God.”
The more we are able to accomplish, the more susceptible we are to pride. More than one Christian leader has fallen when he started receiving glowing accolades for his work. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”121
FALSE AND TRUE HUMILITY
What is humility? Is it groveling around in poverty, proclaiming our worthless state? No, that is counterfeit humility that leads only to defeat. Paul says, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in selfabasement.”122
Humility is not saying God is everything and we are nothing. That is a form of false humility. Christ didn’t die on the cross for nothing. He was crucified to redeem a fallen humanity. Throughout the New Testament, we are admonished to build up one another, and we are strongly warned against any attempt to tear down one another, including ourselves.
Paul tells us, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”123 That is not a call for self-abasement; it is a call for sound judgment. Paul says of himself, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”124
We are what we are by the grace of God! To deny that would be to discredit the work that Christ accomplished on the cross. To believe that we are more than we are, or to believe that we are products of our own doing, is to join the ranks of the deceived millions who have fallen victim to pride.
Humility is confidence properly placed. So Paul says, “Put no confidence in the flesh.”125 But we ought to have all the confidence that our faith can muster in God and in what He can do through us. We should all want ourselves and all the children of God to reach their highest potential in Christ. “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”126 Pride says, “I did it.” True humility says, “I did it by the grace of God.”
Cowering in some corner in unbelief or groveling around in mock humility in utter defeat brings no glory to God. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”127
The glory of God is a manifestation of His presence. When we glorify God in our bodies, we manifest His presence in the world. The only way we can glorify God in our bodies is to live victorious lives and bear much fruit. And the only way we can live victorious lives and bear much fruit is to abide in Christ.128 That is why we must come to terms with our pride—so we can be established in Christ, “in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”129
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship