Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Repent? Say What? - Purity 630
Purity 630 01/17/2022 Purity 630 Podcast
Today’s photo of a boat cruising beneath a setting sun and waves rolling into one of Florida’s beaches comes to us from a friend who shared an abundance of photos of their recent 12 day holiday get away where they visited Dunedin, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, and Tampa all for the first time. That sun, those waves, that beach and that completely cloudless blue sky makes me want to take a walk along the beach with my shoes off!
Well, it’s Monday again, and the weather in upstate New York doesn’t really bode well for barefoot walks along the coasts of nearby bodies of water. In fact even in the relatively safe confines of the Hudson Valley that tends to not get as buried as the areas to the east, west, and north, we have what seems to be 3 inches of snow on the ground at my riverfront homestead.
When I saw the forecast on Friday I had the presence of mind and good fortune to be able to use a vacation day to take the day off from work today. So I won’t be rushing out the door for my regular commute, but I will have to spend some time today clearing our driveway. My upstate neighbors to the north, east, and west will undoubtedly be dealing with a few more inches than me so I feel blessed even though I have a burden to bear.
In my years of experience of dealing with situations unskillfully and being negatively affected by every passing circumstance, I was blessed by the Lord to discover His way for living that directs us to:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray without ceasing,
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
So even after or during a snowstorm, we are able to give thanks, rejoice, and keep communicating with God in prayer. When we stay grounded in our identity in Christ and know the reality of being set free from sin and death, we can face each new day with joy and peace instead of worry, anxiety, fear, or anger.
In Christ we have found the answers to the big questions in life and when we abide in Him, by communicating with the Lord in prayer and Bible study and by following His guidance from His word, we have the answers to the “small problems” that can seem so big.
The problem in America and the world at large is that the cultural and societal Christianity of denominational church systems created a paradigm where clergy are the only ones who studied the word of God and the laity would just attend worship services resulting in a system of spiritual materialism where the laity would try to “follow the rules” by trying to “be good” and “go to church” and felt no obligation to do anything more to build their knowledge of or relationship with God and the clergy was this exalted and isolated sect who felt forced to portray an image of piety making them more unrelatable and unapproachable to the people they were entrusted to serve.
Within this system, sin and superstitious beliefs based on the traditions of men, grew like wildfire sometimes resulting in disillusionment, oppression, and abuse. Eventually, there was a rebellion and the societal pressure to be a part of a church relaxed resulting in nearly empty churches across America today. These systems didn’t work because they didn’t encourage the authentic faith of a Christian disciple who actively seeks to know God more and apply God’s teachings to their lives. Or those systems unwittingly catered to the sinfulness of men who refused to attempt to truly repent and who were content just sitting in a pew and suffering through a church service before getting back to the “real world” and their fulfilling their fleshly appetites.
Arthur and Suzanna Cincotti, my wife, and I did our weekly Bible Study podcast on repentance yesterday and one of the listeners asked about my comment that instructed that after we sin we are to repent.
Their concern apparently was that I was saying that salvation was lost with every sin. This belief is a product of church systems or pastors that teach a mixed gospel of works and grace when the Bible teaches that it is through faith in Christ alone that we are saved.
I explained that if we have truly made Jesus our Lord and Savior we are forgiven of all our sins, past, present, and future, and we are saved, and nothing can separate us from the love of God.
I was speaking on our relationship with God as His children and pointed out that God understands that we will be “saints who sin” who will need to be both forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness continually as we walk out our lives as Christians. As
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) says
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This verse points to repentance. We aren’t just to confess our sins and go on our merry way in a life of sin. We are to agree with God and turn to His way of living to be cleansed of all unrighteousness.
Arthur Cincotti’s outline yesterday cited several scriptures where Christ preached repentance and the injunction to “go and sin no more.” So there is an expectation for the Christian to grow in their faith and forsake their worldly ways.
But this is not some oppressive system that wants to whip you into shape. This is your relationship with the God that loves you, forgives you continually, and encourages you to leave the darkness of sin behind and He does so for you good.
The confession of sins for the disciple of Christ is not a means of regaining the salvation that they already have. The confession of sin for Christ’s disciples is to re-establish the harmony of your relationship with God and to restate the commitment to follow Him. So yes, we should repent every time we are made aware that we sin to eliminate the sin that would condemn us and leave a foothold for Satan in our lives.
The Christian faith isn’t supposed to be a theological system of weekly meetings that condemn you for your weaknesses. The Christian faith is supposed to be a personal dynamic interaction between us and God where we are drawn closer to Him because of His love for us that will motivate us to become more like Him.
To experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we are not supposed to have some anointed clergy man say a prayer for us while we stay uninvolved in the building up of our own faith or be a matter where we expect to receive blessings because we sat in a pew for an hour each week.
To experience the peace, love, joy, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience, and self-control from the Holy Spirit, we are supposed to take responsibility for our relationship with God and endeavor to grow in our faith. To gain the fruit of the Spirit we have to walk in the Spirit.
For those in Christ, our salvation is a settled matter. Let’s not fear losing what God has already given us. Instead let’s pursue the abundant life that Christ has already given us and that is merely waiting for us to discover.
So keep walking and talking with God. If you have sin in your life, repent of it and turn to God’s ways for your life where you can rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Today’s verse is one of the lynch pins that declare that we are saved by faith in Christ alone.
We highlighted Romans 10:9 very recently to be used as a proclamation of our “saved” status. I directed those who doubted their Christian standing to use Romans 10:9 to examine their experience compared to the truth of this verse by reading it and asking themselves if they met “God’s requirements” for salvation. By asking:
Did I confess with my mouth that Jesus was my Lord?
Do I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?
If the answer to those two questions is “Yes”, the conclusion is that “you will be saved”.
The phrase “will be saved” obviously points to our ultimate entrance into God’s eternal kingdom at the hour of our physical deaths or when Christ returns, whatever happens first. But don’t worry about that “will be” as some uncertain destiny for other scriptures declare that Christians “are saved” or “have been saved” to cover both the past, when you made Christ your Lord and Savior, and the present.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (NKJV)
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.
These verses point to the past, present, and future tense of our salvation. It is a done deal, a present reality, and will be ultimately fulfilled with our entrance into the eternal kingdom of God.
But 1 Corinthians 15 points out that we are to hold fast to the gospel of grace because there is a spiritual reality of the possibility of “believing in vain” which points to false converts: those who say they believe in Christ but who fail to follow Him, reminding us of possibly the two scariest passages in the Bible.
25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' 26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.'
27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.'
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Here Christ’s words condemn false converts whose fruits are “lawlessness” and “iniquity”. These false converts tried to talk the talk of a Christian but didn’t have a heart for God and whose fruit was either absent as in Luke 13 or false or “in vain” as in Matthew 7.
So stand on Romans 10:9 to assure yourself of your salvation but hold on to that gospel of grace and follow the Lord so you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Christ is your Lord and Savior, and you are a child of the most high God.
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 conclude sharing from Chapter 4.
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.
DEVELOP AN IDENTITY LIST
As you work through your list, it can be very helpful to make a “before and after” identity chart. Take a clean piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the page. At the top of the left column, write the words “Old Identity.” Under that column write down every negative thing you said about yourself or was said about you. At the top of the right column, write “New Identity in Christ.” Write down what is really true about yourself in Christ.
Recall the words that describe your beliefs about yourself as a result of abuse. In the left-hand column, record such words as “dirty,” “unloved,” “abandoned,” “not worth anything” and “can’t do anything right.” Especially record those words associated with the people of influence in your early years (mother, father, siblings, etc.). Such labels influenced your belief system and behavior patterns.
When you go to a store and buy a can or package of food off the shelf, it has a manufacturer’s label describing the contents. As you go through life—the bad experiences, the things done to you, the things said to you, the wrong things you were involved in—Satan is there with paper and pencil writing a label for your life. Now that you are alive in Christ, you are no longer a product of your past; you are a product of the work of Christ on the cross. All the old labels of the world don’t describe the contents of who you are anymore. Renounce the lies and choose the truth. Some examples are as follows:
For those who have been betrayed by a parent and transferred that mistrust to their heavenly Father: “Lord, I renounce the lies I’ve believed about You because of the way my earthly father treated me. I announce the truth that You are not like my earthly father. You are perfectly loving and faithful.”
• For those who think they are responsible for holding their dysfunctional families together and for being a parent’s emotional support: “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am responsible for being a savior to the people around me or that I must always be responsible for others by being the strong one. Thank you, Lord, that it’s all right for me to be honest about my own need. Thank you that when I am weak, You are strong within me.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:9, TLB.)
• For those who have been constantly put down by the authority figures in their lives: “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am unworthy and insignificant. I announce the truth that I am your special child and I am precious to You.” Or “Lord, I renounce the lie that I am a helpless victim as I felt when I was a child. I announce the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (See Philippians 4:13.)
SEEKING FORGIVENESS FROM OTHERS
Some are reluctant to forgive others because they believe they have to go to those people. The prospect of facing their abusers is too traumatic to even consider. To forgive others, you only need to go to God. Don’t confuse the issue of forgiving others with the need to ask for forgiveness, which is called for in Matthew 5:23-26. The Lord requires us to go to others before we go to Him and seek reconciliation if we know that someone has something against us.
The important thing to remember is that if we have hurt someone else, we need to go to that person first before we go to church. But if we have been hurt by others, we need to forgive them by going first to God. Forgiveness must precede reconciliation. Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men,”87 but it doesn’t always depend upon you. You cannot be reconciled with someone who doesn’t want to be reconciled. The goal is for you to be free from past abuses and abusers. Reconciliation may come, but only if the abusers will own up to their abusive ways and honestly seek forgiveness. The freedom of the abused is never contingent upon whether the abuser will own up to it. You must be willing to forgive from your heart regardless of what the abusers do. If you make your willingness to forgive others contingent upon them, then you will be controlled by abusers all your life. You may protest, but you don’t know how bad they hurt me. They are still hurting you. Forgiveness is how you stop the pain. Forgiving others from your heart is a draining experience, but a major conflict has been resolved between you and God. Satan has no right to torment you anymore. It is normal to feel exhausted, but a brief break, a good stretch, a glass of water, and you are ready to go on to the next Step. But before you do, finish this Step with the following prayer:87
Lord Jesus, I choose not to hold on to my resentment and bitterness. I relinquish my right to seek revenge, and I ask You to heal my damaged emotions. Thank You for setting me free from the bondage of bitterness and free from my past experiences. I now ask You to bless those who have hurt me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
CHAPTER FOUR: OVERCOMING
THE BONDAGE OF BITTERNESS
65. Romans 12:19
66. Proverbs 14:10
67. Colossians 2:18
68. 2 Corinthians. 10:5
69. Hebrews 12:15
70. Job 42:6
71. 2 Corinthians 5:21
72. Matthew 26:38
73. Luke 23:34
74. Romans 6:10
75. Ephesians 4:31, 32
76. 2 Corinthians 2:10,11
77. Ephesians 4:26, 27, 31, 32
78. Romans 6:23
79. Titus 3:4, 5
80. Ephesians 2:8
81. Luke 6:36
82. 2 Peter 1:4
83. 1 John 4:8
84. John 13:35
85. Romans 8:1
86. Hebrews 12:15
87. Romans 12:18
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