Kingdom Inheritors

April 1, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Kingdom Inheritors

Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” We are not inheriting a kingdom of flesh, but of Spirit. God is making real to us who we are in Christ, that we are a spiritual and kingdom people being fashioned and transformed into His image and likeness. It is just as important to know who we are not in Christ. We are not what we used to be. We are not what we came out of. Those things have passed away and we are a new creature and creation in Christ Jesus. God makes it clear that His kingdom is not made up of the thinking, ideology and behavior of this world. Anyone that is still living and abiding in that paradigm in their thinking and living is not going to fit into the kingdom of God. If we want God’s kingdom there is only one way and that by being ‘washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform our lives from the world that is lost outside of Christ to those are in Christ and become partakers of kingdom thinking, living and being.
The Corinthians in this text were having a hard time transitioning their thinking and being to kingdom principles and kingdom ways. The apostle Paul is telling them here that the former ways have no place in the kingdom. They are enmity to it. We live by a different standard and if we are not seeing the effectiveness and power of that kingdom, it may well be that things are not lining up in our thinking and living with kingdom principles and ways.
We have a righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is establishing His kingdom within the hearts and the lives of His people. If we consider ourselves His people then we need to find that place of complete submission to His Lordship. Most all of us would agree that we want to go to heaven when we die, but how many of us are willing to go there while we live? Ponder that question for a moment.
You see living heaven on earth is a place we find first in our spirits. Outwardly we still live in this world and as such we are faced with all of it trials and difficulties, as well as its pleasures, temptations and sins. Heaven comes to earth when we are living and walking out the life of Christ and the principles of the kingdom in our earthly life and vessel. We are the manifestation and expression of His kingdom in the earth. When we mix the two realms of flesh and Spirit we get a muddy mess. It is this muddy mess that defiles and taints the name of Jesus in the earth. The world sees in us a people that proclaims and preaches one thing, but then tries to live it out with natural thinking and human ways. No wonder they are put off by our hypocrisy. God gives us some grace here. We are growing and we are not fully matured yet, but it is important that our heart is after the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of this world. Already we see them passing away and more than ever we are impressed with the truth that we must lay hold of His kingdom in mind, word and deed. Judgement is swiftly coming for the wicked, but our lives must stand as a testimony against all wickedness and perversity of men through the demonstration of righteous living and through the power of our love in Christ. We stand as a testimony to God’s alternative to judgement. We stand and walk with the light of hope and salvation for all that would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. Heaven is here, but it needs you as a vessel to reveal it and unveil it. The kingdom of God has come, is come and is coming, but we are the revelation of its presence and reality in this world. How will they know the King unless they see the reality of His kingdom in you and I? We are where the rubber meets the road and where spiritual principles become practical reality in our daily living and actions. If the wicked would see Jesus, they must see Him through us, not through our condemnation, but through our love and righteousness.
A kingdom principle is, that our gain is often in our loss, and our life is found in our death. Paul reveals it this way in Philippians 3: 7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is a kingdom mentality and thinking. It is how we transition into the kingdom of God. We become the less that He might become the more, till He becomes our all in all.

Blessings,
#kent

Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

The Spirit of the Overcomer

1 John 4:2-4
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Did you know that you have already overcome the spirit of this world? All victory has been granted unto us in heaven and in earth. Our deficiency comes when we fail to step into who we are. Christ has gone before us to conquer and now we must come behind Him and possess. We still have the illusion that we are called to do something that is beyond our power to do. Our victory is in getting a revelation and lining up with God’s program. Christ has provided all that we need for life and godliness, but like clothes laid out upon the bed we have to put on the spiritual garments He has given us to wear. We can’t do that if we are still wearing the garments of the flesh and self-dependency. As the one is put off the other can be put on. Faith and obedience are the means by which we change into the garments of the overcomer, fashioned in the likeness of Christ.
Again, for us to come into who we are we have to see ourselves for who we are. We have to see ourselves as Christ sees us. We have to see ourselves as more than conquerors, as the head and not the tail, as sitting with Christ in heavenly places. You are the overcomer because of the One who is in you and He has conquered and defeated the one who is in the world.
Now obviously that doesn’t mean the world is going to embrace us. It is still antichrist in nature and behavior. It will hate us as it hated Jesus if we are truly walking in Christ. Jesus told us, “ In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”
This is where we have to have the spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart that is tender before the Lord. John tells us here to discern the spirits. It is because we don’t discern and embrace the right spirit that we are struggling in defeat and compromise. We are mingling clean and unclean. It is defiling our walk and is a stumbling block before us, because it will turn us out of the Way. Just as the Canaanites that were left in the land brought the Israelites into idolatry, those wrong spirits left in our lives will be our source of stumbling. This is why John is exhorting us to take a good look at the spirits that influence and touch our lives. Don’t receive and embrace every spirit that comes along no matter how good it sounds, but test those spirits if they be of God. Any spirit that is robbing you and denying you of who you are in Christ is not of God. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but He has also come in the flesh of your humanity to be manifest in you. Embrace the spirit of Christ in you with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, because He is the essence of your being and life in God. He is the victory in you that overcomes the world; that delivers you out of darkness into His marvelous light and truth. The assurance we have in Christ gives us the peace and the confidence to go through whatever this life brings against us, because our hope is not in this world or its temporal treasures. We are aliens, spirits of another world, dwelling and sojourning on this earth. This is not our home. We are not just earthly beings with a spirit; we are spiritual beings living in earthly bodies. Our bodies are just to facilitate who we are in Christ while we dwell on this earth, even as the body of Jesus facilitated the Spirit of God while He was in the earth.
Put on your spiritual vision and see that you are in the Mountain looking down upon the valley and not in the valley looking up to the mountain. Don’t allow the spirits of this world to cloud your vision and hinder you from being the overcomer that Christ has destined you to be. We don’t boast in ourselves, we boast in the One who is mighty in us, who imparted His Spirit and His Life into us. Out of that Life we live and move and have our being.
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1John 5:3-5).”

Blessings,
kent

House Cleaning

May 16, 2012


House Cleaning

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Folded up and put away,
Is the laundry that I did today,
Dusted shelves and cleaned the room,
My house is clean I assume.

What is this in these hidden spots?
It’s dirt and lent that I never caught.
Hidden away and out of view,
I’m finding filth I never knew.

Furniture moved and closets cleaned,
I’m finding dirt that I had never seen.
I was so proud of my clean house,
Moving things, I even found a mouse.

How can things look so clean on the outside?
I guess it’s the hidden places that dirt can hide.
It is when circumstance rearranges my room.
That’s when I see how badly that I need a broom.

Holy Spirit come and search my house.
Clean my clothing and press my blouse.
Jesus wash with your blood, my filth away,
Thoroughly cleanse me, Lord I pray.

You brought to light what was hidden from view,
You revealed in me things that I never knew.
Now help me do a deep and thorough clean,
So that without spot or wrinkle I may be seen.

Kent Stuck

Blessings

Whose Fan is in His Hand

April 13, 2012


Whose Fan is in His Hand


Matthew 3:11-12
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:
Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Church, in its present state, is a mixture of flesh and spirit.  It is composed of the true grain, which contains the life of God and the power within them to reproduce that life in multiplication of that same nature and substance.  The chaff is seen in two dimensions.  First, we see the chaff in regards to the purity in the individual’s life as a believer.  While the blood of the lamb has redeemed us we know that we who are walking in this life are constantly struggling and warring against impurity and the flesh.  None of us are yet walking in the fullness and sinlessness of Christ, except by faith.  We as believers groan within ourselves for the completeness of that redemption that sees the fullness of deliverance and overcoming of sin in our lives.  So there is a mixture of that which is still being redeemed in soul and body and that which is already redeemed in our spirit that God is dealing with even now as salvation continues to work in us, spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The second dimension of this chaff is seen in those who are identified with the church, but aren’t true believers.  They may put on a good religious front, know how to say all the right theology, and have all the wrapping of a Christian; yet, they are in fact, none of His.  They may not even truly recognize and discern their state.  They think that because they wear the label and have the outward appearance of religious ones they are saved and are going to heaven.  Sadly the Lord makes plain through many parables that the present Church is not made up wholly of believers, but there are a lot of church goers and bench warmers that really don’t have a personal, saving relationship with Christ.  The Lord says, “by their fruits you shall know them.”  We have all had occasions in our lives to see those who spoke in the name of God, but in no way represented His character and nature in their lives.  Do we?  Are we of the true household of God, having come in by true repentance in our hearts, whereby it is our desire to forsake sin and unrighteousness and we have asked the Lord Jesus to be the Lord and master of our hearts and lives?
When the world looks at the church, they don’t even realize that they are looking at a mixed bag of sheep and goats.  When those who present themselves as Christians, but live a life of hypocrisy, are seen by the world, then all of the Church and God are judged accordingly.  Realistically it is not just the unbelievers that are guilty of this, even as true believers we can dishonor the name of the Lord through our behavior and lifestyle that is contrary to the will and purpose of God.
If the Church is the trashing floor, then it is a place where the Lord Jesus comes in with a fan in His hand. What does a fan do?  It creates a wind that blows.  John baptized with water, but he said that Christ would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  In Matthew 3:10 he says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”  The true test of everyone one that confesses to be a believer is the fruit that they bear.  The way that fruit is tested is when the fan blows the wind of the Spirit and fire across our lives.  When adversity and trials come upon us, what is coming out of our lives?  Are we murmuring and complaining?  Are we cursing and angry with God?  Are we forsaking our confession of Christ to go back into the world?   What happened to the children of Israel when they were tested in the wilderness?   It brought out the true nature of who they were and many were judged accordingly.  The Lord’s fan is even now blowing across many of our lives.  What it brings up in us is not always a very pretty sight.  Often we even see things in ourselves we didn’t know were there.  How we deal with these revelations of ourselves is paramount to our relationship with Christ.  When the Lord fans our lives it will do one of two things, it will drive us deeper and more committed into Him or it will drive us away from Him.  It is separating the wheat and the chaff both in our individual lives and corporately in the Church as a whole.  The last thing any of us would ever want to hear is the Lord say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Church, we must know Him, intimately and personally in this hour.  We must pursue and press into Him as never before.  Allow the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire to only blow you further and more completely into Him and fan away from you all that isn’t of His nature and Spirit.  All the fire can do is consume the dross and impurities that still want to cling to all of us who are believers.  All that we want to remain is a pure faith and pure nature flowing out of a heart filled with the love of God.  We want to be sure we are the real thing and not a cheap imitation.

blessings,
kent

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