May 22, 2014

Who’s Your Daddy?

John 8:42-47
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

The question we ask today is “who is your real Father?” In this passage from the discourse that Jesus was having with the Jews they were quite convinced that they were of the seed of Abraham and that therefore God was their Father. Jesus was telling them it is not a matter of natural descent. Many people in this country and even in others think they are Christians by virtue of fact they grew up in a Christian heritage and that is their general belief even though it may have no effectual working in their lives. Many even call themselves Christians and claim God as their Father because they go to church, or they are involved in church activities or they have a religion. Muslims believe that God, or Allah, is their Father, so much so that many are willing to sacrifice their lives and yours too for what they believe is His cause. What Jesus was telling many of these same types of people are that God isn’t your Father, you only think that He is. If God were your Father, then it would stand to reason you would know His Son. The reason you would know His Son is because the Son is just like the Father in nature, in character and in purpose. The true children of God are able to hear the Father. They are able to receive spiritual instruction, exhortation and even rebuke. The true children of God embrace the Son of God, for they recognize and acknowledge that it is only by His life we have access to the Father and are adopted into sonship. The difference is seen in the fact that we have a new nature and what is more, we have put off the former nature with the sins and lusts that it carried. God’s children no longer pursue the flesh, but walk after the Spirit. We are as Romans 8:12-17 puts it, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We live and operate our lives under the influence of who our Father is. We have to ask ourselves what is the fruit of my life, what am I producing and is it in likeness of God’s character and nature?
The Bible and Jesus himself warns us that in the judgement day, “21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).” This tells us that it is not even the outward miracles and demonstration of the Spirit that are true evidence of who one’s Father is, it is the faith and the fruit produced by one’s life. It is seen in whom we listen too, whom we obey and whom we follow. We, like the Jews, can profess that God is our Father, but how much do we look like the Son; are we like it says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” It is not our outward appearance and demeanor that always reveals our true nature and descent. It is our heart for God, our love and faith in His Son and our obedience to His Word as the Spirit that speaks to His Fatherhood in us, leads and directs our lives. Who’s your daddy?

Blessings,
#kent

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Attributes of a Holy People

January 11, 2013

Colossians 3:5-14
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Attributes of a Holy People

Just as oil and water don’t mix, righteousness and iniquity don’t mix and yet so many of us as believers are still trying to carry our two natures in one vessel. We can be all sweet and Christian until it doesn’t suit our need or our disposition. Just as quickly we can pick up that old nature that we supposedly reckoned dead upon the cross and live it out again. We’ve all been guilty of this.
Christ has given us a new identity with His nature, character and being, but each day is a decision on our part to pick up our cross and follow Him or to look back into the world and the death that He died to bring us out of. Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom and Gomorrah and it didn’t serve her well.
God doesn’t want us as Christians to just have a pretense of godliness; He wants us to have the in-working of a holy nature that manifests the attributes of who He is. Thus, Colossians exhorts all of us here to put death, whenever it pops up, crops up or arises in our hearts any of these former things we once practiced and were a part of our lives. God wants the fullness of what we are to be pressing into the fullness of what He is. He is now our nature and our identity. When I see these old nature attributes wanting to come up again I must repent and renounce them, because they are no longer who I am. As a holy people God wants us to see ourselves for who He has redeemed us to be, not a mixture of flesh and Spirit. Every day. just as we dress the outward man, He wants us to dress our inward man with the robes of the righteousness of Christ Jesus. He wants us to clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” He wants us to bear with each other. That means we put with the weaknesses, the faults, the irritations, the offenses, the clashes of our personalities and all of the other things that make us wants to react in ungodly ways toward others. People are going to push our buttons, but they may be in our lives so that God can do a deeper work in us. His will is for us to suffer and endure them in love. Life isn’t going to always be about what we like or what pleases us. It is about what pleases the Father. Father isn’t a respecter of persons and He doesn’t want us to be either. Just because we can’t relate with another member of the body doesn’t mean they aren’t needful and just as essential as you or I. So it is important that we grow in our tolerance, forbearance and acceptance of others. It is important that we forgive and not hold on to grievances, offenses or disappointments we have with others.
The binding fiber of all of these Christ-like attributes is love. God wants us to love higher, deeper and wider than our natural love can go. That is why we are stretched by those that we don’t necessarily like or can relate with. God wants to take us into a love that exceeds our natural boundaries and dimensions. It is His love and because our identification is with Him, it has to become our love.
God is calling forth a mature people. A people that know who they are, where they live and are positioned and what their purpose is. When we really know that, then we know it is all about Him and not about us. It is not about our pleasure, but what pleases Father. When we truly start living that way then we will experience His good pleasure through us. People will truly see Christ in us, because we don’t carry prejudice, bigotry, sectarianism, judgement, favoritism and all of the things that cause schisms and separations among us.
As we saturate our life in God’s Spirit then those natures will separate and as that old nature comes to the surface. we will recognize it, repent of it and get it out of our life. We are a chosen, holy priesthood of God. We carry His name and we represent Him in the earth. We want what others see in us to be a true representation of who our Father is. Because He has been so misrepresented, many have turned away because they saw a form of godliness, but no real substance was being revealed. All they saw was a pretense. We want to be the real deal.

Blessings,
kent

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