Walking Beyond Belief – Practicing What He Teaches- Purity 968
Purity 968 02/16/2023 Purity 968 Podcast
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Today’s photo a pathway stretching out and disappearing into a forest green comes to us from Fred Dimmick who captured this peaceful scene while hiking in Meeks Park in Blairsville GA earlier this week.
Well, It’s Thursday again and as is my habit I share this quaint pathway to not only inspire you to spend some time in nature but also use it to represent the pathway of Christian Discipleship that I encourage everyone I can to get on and to stay on.
Yesterday, I returned to my place down by the River after spending 8 business days in Syracuse receiving training for new skills for my job. So today I go back to work where I will discover whether or not I will be called upon to demonstrate my new found knowledge and training in a “real world situation”.
Ironically, my experience parallels quite nicely with the material that the Men’s Freedom in Christ Course was discussing last night as we were talking about the importance of demonstrating our beliefs with actions.
In our Christian walk, it is important not only to say we believe what God’s word says but to really show we believe it by applying God’s knowledge to our personal experiences. One definition of wisdom is the application of knowledge and last night our session challenged us all to be wise by applying God’s knowledge to our lives.
Even though I spent 8 days learning new things for my job and demonstrating that I understood how things work in a controlled lab environment of training, time will tell whether or not I will get to demonstrate my knowledge and skills in the real world. My employer may call me to use those skills today or they may choose to be content with the fact that I received the training and call me to just keep doing what I have been doing before. However, although I suppose there would be some value in me knowing about these different areas of my job, my training really won’t be valuable unless I go out and actually use this new knowledge and practice these new skills.
Similarly, the participants of the Freedom in Christ course may receive some benefit from learning the materials of the Freedom in Christ course but the true value of the lessons of the course won’t be fully realized unless they apply the teaching to their lives. That’s what being a disciple of Jesus Christ is all about. We not only seek to learn from Christ’s example and teachings but we seek to represent Him and God’s kingdom from not only applying those teachings to our lives but from also teaching others what we have learned.
Christ’s last words in the gospel of Matthew specifically instruct us to do this:
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
So the point of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not only to learn and apply the knowledge we have received, our ultimate purpose is to learn and live the lessons from Jesus Christ so well that we become living examples of His wisdom and power to the point we are proficient enough in His way of life that we would be able to teach and encourage others to do likewise.
While I review the material presented in the Freedom in Christ course each week, a good deal of time I speak consists of me presenting examples from my and other Christians lives that demonstrate us acting out our faith in the way we live. I do this to encourage the participants that they can actually live a Christian lifestyle, that they can actually do it.
The Freedom in Christ course is progressive. The first week teaches that the Bible is true and can be trusted. The second week teaches what the Bible has to say about who we are “in Christ”, about what has taken place when we put our faith in Jesus. And the third week, challenges the participants to make the decision to actually believe the truth by acting on the things they have been taught.
And last night I heard the men testify about how even the act of believing what they have learned is an action. More than one man testified to how they previously “knew” these things about their Christian faith, but now were being deeply impacted by this knowledge because they not only considered that these things about those who are in Christ are not only true in general, but were true about them – individually – personally.
These truths of the Christian faith are now being taken “to heart” because they are making the decision to believe that these things are not just general truths about their faith, but are things that are true about them because they have faith!
The fundamentals of who we are in Christ can be summed up with the words accepted, significant and secure. In essence the participants are being changed because they personalized the truth.
Before, in theory, although it might not have been clearly spelled out or understood in these terms they “believed”:
“Christians are accepted, secure, and significant because of their faith in Jesus Christ”.
But now they have considered and are being asked to understand that:
I am accepted, secure, and significant because of MY faith in Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t seem like much of a stretch does it? But the difference that these men are experiencing is great because they are “receiving” what they are choosing to believe.
And let’s not get it twisted, this “isn’t the Jedi mind trick” here, where we just say something and try to apply it to our lives. This is the application of the TRUTH that comes from God – this has spiritual power to affect our lives because our Creator blesses His creation when we live in accordance with His Truth, when we are One with Him – in a harmonious relationship with Him and His truth.
When we agree that we are accepted by God, because of what He has done, we experience His acceptance because when we put our faith in Christ, we already have it! We are not “making this up” – We are realizing and receiving what God has already given to us but what we have been kept from because of our ignorance or failure to “believe it”.
Now “just believing” can have power, I have seen it. The peace and joy that comes over a Christian when they realize that it really is “finished”, as Christ said, is real and awesome, but the strength of our joy and our peace if “we just keep on believing” can weaken when we don’t seek to live out who we are in Christ.
When we fail to seek the Lord through the practices of our faith (through prayer, bible study, worship, and acting on it with the way we live) the enemy will come in an accuse us and deceive us that what may be true about Christians isn’t true about us, and our resolve will be shaken because we won’t have anything to demonstrate that what God says about us is true.
Every disciple of Christ will be able to testify of what has changed and be able to show the fruit of their new life in Christ, but “believers” in Christ may be shaken from the truth of God’s word because they haven’t acted on it by actually practicing what is preached.
So let me encourage you to take the next step beyond “just believing”, by walking and talking with God everyday and seeking to know Him more through His word and by applying it to your life.
With declaring Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we receive a new life but we will fail to experience it unless we make the decision to actually use our new knowledge in skills and the “real world”. So let’s be real Christians by really believing what the word of God says about us and by making the daily decision to live according to what it says.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 John 4:4 (NLT2)
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
Today’s Bible verse encourages us that because we have put our faith in Christ – we have ALREADY won the victory over the world because we have the Spirit of God living in us and thus His Spirit confirms in our spirit the truth that we are children of God.
We belong to God because we put our faith in Christ. We have been adopted into God’s family. We are His children and because HE is the source of all power and authority , we are victorious over anything that would oppose us because no matter how things play out in our lives, nothing will separate us from Our Heavenly Father.
We don’t have to fear anything because God has given us the victory. So live like a victor, not a victim, and know that you belong, in Christ you are a winner, and His Spirit lives in you to guide and strengthen you through life.
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 sharing from A.W. Pink’s “The Sovereignty of God.”
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase A.W. Pink’s books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
By ARTHUR W. PINK
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN OPERATION continues
God’s method of dealing with the wicked: continues
3. God exerts upon the wicked a directing influence so that good is made to result from their intended evil.
Once more we revert to the history of Joseph as a case in point. In selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites his brethren were actuated by cruel and heartless motives. Their object was to make away with him, and the passing of these travelling traders furnished an easy way out for them. To them the act was nothing more than the enslaving of a noble youth for the sake of gain. But now observe how God was secretly working and over-ruling their wicked actions. Providence so ordered it that these Ishmaelites passed by just in time to prevent Joseph being murdered, for his brethren had already taken counsel together to put him to death. Further; these Ishmaelites were journeying to Egypt, which was the very country to which God had purposed to send Joseph, and He ordained they should purchase Joseph just when they did. That the hand of God was in this incident, that it was something more than a fortunate co-incidence, is clear from the words of Joseph to his brethren at a later date, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7).
Another equally striking illustration of God directing the wicked is found in Isa. 10:5–7: “O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation. I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” Assyria’s king had determined to be a world-conqueror, to “cut off nations not a few.” But God directed and controlled his military lust and ambition, and caused him to confine his attention to the conquering of the insignificant nation of Israel. Such a task was not in the proud king’s heart—“he meant it not so”—but God gave him this charge and he could do nothing but fulfill it. Compare also Judges 7:22.
The supreme example of the controlling, directing influence which God exerts upon the wicked, is the Cross of Christ with all its attending circumstances. If ever the superintending providence of God was witnessed it was there. From all eternity God had predestined every detail of that event of all events. Nothing was left to chance or the caprice of man. God had decreed when and where and how His blessed Son was to die. Much of what He had purposed concerning the Crucifixion had been made known through the Old Testament prophets, and in the accurate and literal fulfillment of these prophecies we have clear proof, full demonstration, of the controlling and directing influence which God exerts upon the wicked. Not a thing occurred except as God had ordained, and all that He had ordained took place exactly as He purposed. Had it been decreed (and made known in Scripture) that the Saviour should be betrayed by one of His own disciples—by His “familiar friend”—see Psa. 41:9 and compare Matt. 26:50—then the apostle Judas is the one who sold Him. Had it been decreed that the betrayer should receive for his awful perfidy thirty pieces of silver, then are the chief priests moved to offer him this very sum. Had it been decreed that this betrayal sum should be put to a particular use, namely, purchase of the potter’s field, then the hand of God directs Judas to retun the money to the chief priests and so guided their “counsel” (Matt. 27:7) that they did this very thing. Had it been decreed that there should be those who bore “false witness” against our Lord (Psa. 35:11), then accordingly such were raised up. Had it been decreed that the Lord of glory should be “spat upon and scourged” (Isa. 50:6), then there were not found wanting those who were vile enough to do so. Had it been decreed that the Saviour should be “numbered with the transgressors,” then unknown to himself, Pilate, directed by God, gave orders for His crucifixion along with two thieves. Had it been decreed that vinegar and gall should be given Him to drink while He hung upon the Cross, then this decree of God was executed to the very letter. Had it been decreed that the heartless should gamble for His garments, then sure enough they did this very thing. Had it been decreed that not a bone of Him should be broken (Psa. 34:20), then the controlling hand of God which suffered the Roman soldier to break the legs of the thieves, prevented him from doing the same with our Lord. Ah! there were not enough soldiers in all the Roman legions, there were not sufficient demons in all the hierarchies of Satan, to break one bone in the body of Christ. And why? Because the Almighty Sovereign had decreed that not a bone should be broken. Do we need to extend this paragraph any farther? Does not the accurate and literal fulfillment of all that Scripture had predicted in connection with the Crucifixion, demonstrate beyond all controversy that an Almighty power was directing and superintending everything that was done on that Day of days?
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1949), 128–130.