Fearful and Unbelieving

April 25, 2014

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Fearful and Unbelieving

I am reminded of a word our pastor spoke recently about how we tend to measure sins by the degree of their sinfulness. We don’t think of telling a little white lie as being the same as murder or stealing. We tend to categorize our sins and even our righteousness. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At this point we might ask ourselves do I live my life out of faith or fear? While we may tend to judge the ungodly for their sin look who leads the list of those who are bound for the lake of fire. It doesn’t fall in our neat little prioritized list of sins from greatest to least. Sin is sin, but the greatest failure we can have is not to believe God’s Word and to fear the things of this world more than we fear Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the one who can destroy both soul and body. Satan or man can kill the body with God’s permission, but the only way that he can destroy the soul is by bringing us into that place of fear, doubt and unbelief. When we are drawn out of our place of faith in Christ then sin has place to work. Fear and doubt creep in and they rob our confidence and assurance of who we are in Christ.
The conditions of this world can lead many of us to a place of fear and doubt as we see our economy dissolving before us and our way of life, as we’ve known it, quickly disappearing. If our eyes are on the outward things we will begin to be swayed by fear, doubt and unbelief, but this is an hour our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord as never before. This world is not the believer’s economy and kingdom. We have come into a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom economy. Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us about what God has delivered us out of and what He is bringing us into. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It tells us here that we are not redeemed by our righteousness, but by His grace and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’. Many of us have grown up with the concept that we can’t go to heaven until we die, but right here it tells us that those who are in Christ are already seated there in Him. It is our faith in Christ that maintains and secures this position that we have with Him. Fear and doubt bring us out of the realm of godly thinking and trust in Christ and bring us back down into the corruptibility and fear of this world. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The spirit of fear does not come from the Lord. Our courage, our optimism, our faith in the midst of a fearful world is centered in our faith in Christ. In Him we overcome the world, because the divine Overcomer resides in us. ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ In this hour do not let fearfulness, doubt and unbelief grip your heart. You may have been weak in that former man, but that man is dead and you are a new creature in Christ; one that is filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Unbind the strong man, Christ in you. The way you unbind Him is by your faith and confidence in Him. Fear, doubt and unbelief are what bind up the grace of God from abounding in our lives. Rise up and be loosed from fear, doubt and unbelief by declaring the Word of God over you life and circumstances and then praise Him as if you already have the manifestation of it, because you do, but it may not yet be revealed in this realm.
This is what the Lord was speaking into my spirit this morning and I pass on this exhortation to you oh mighty people of God. “Contend manfully oh mighty men of valor. Stand your grand. Hold fast your faith. Be not moved by fear or the trepidation of men. YOU are the testimony to the Almighty of His life made flesh.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Labels are for Cans

May 8, 2013

John 8:31
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,

Labels are for Cans

Do you ever notice how our culture always likes to put labels on people, as if by a label we can accurately judge the content. We label people by race, color, creed, religion, denomination, by what your job or career is and by who you hang out with. Maybe it is just in our nature to categorize people by labels, then we can generically place them where they fit best in our thinking and even our prejudice.
I always hated labels, because every individual is different and while we may share certain commonalties that doesn’t make me a this or a that. Even in the religious world everyone feels more comfortable if they categorize you by faith, church or denomination. Immediately, that somehow qualifies us to judge rather this person is on my side or the other side.
Multitudes of people wear the label of “Christian”. What does that mean, that they were raised to believe in a God or that they really follow Christ?
Jesus didn’t come to gather Christians, He came to make disciples. A disciple is someone who has more than a casual belief in something; it is a person that follows a certain discipline. What was the discipline of Christ? According to John 8:31 it is abiding in His Word, then are you truly a disciple. It is a lifestyle, not just a belief. It is the fabric of what you live out of.
In John 13:35 Jesus give us another qualification and evidence of being His disciple. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Wow, we don’t always see that working among a lot of the so-called body of Christ. Do your really love your brothers and sisters or just the one that fit under your label and even there, there if further divisions and discord.
Here is another qualification that Jesus gives us as a disciple in Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.”” Again in Luke 14:27 He says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” We have to be willing to go where Jesus went and to suffer what Jesus suffered. It means as Paul said in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
How are we doing so far? Are we just “Christians” by label or disciples by action and lifestyle?
Luke 14:26 gives us another hard one, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.” That means that in comparison to our love and commitment to Jesus, not even the ones we treasure and love most in the earth can compare, not even our own selves. Our service, love, allegiance and commitment is first and foremost to Him. In comparison to that love, we hate all else.
It is easy for us to get comfortable under the label of Christianity, but that is not what Jesus called us to and that is not what He called us to do. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus gives us this commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He didn’t tell us to make Christians or even believers or sell everyone on this ideology. He told us to go a make disciples and how can we do that if we aren’t one?
This should convict all of us of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus and the cost of what He asks us to pay. Do we just embrace it with our minds or are we walking it out in our lifestyle as we abide in Him? True Christianity is so much more than just labels it is the content of who we are in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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