Our Greatest Possession is Love

1 John 3:1,11-19
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not…
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

There is no greater possession we can possess than the love of God. We in fact, as believers in Christ, possess that love, because we possess the Spirit of Christ in us. Christ, is in truth and in deed, the greatest definition of God’s love we could ever have before us. While we use the word love in many different contexts, most of us know that in the Greek there are several words that define different kinds of love which I am not going into. Agape is the form of God’s love with which we are concerned with here today. This is the manner of love that the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. We possess this love because we possess Him. What should define the sons of Gods should be the nature of the love they possess. As we truly possess and manifest this love we will fulfill the law of God. All of the law is fulfilled in His love. Galatians 5:14 says, ” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Normally a person’s first instinct and concern is for themselves, their welfare, safety, needs, wants, desires and well being. The love of God takes this love we have for ourselves and channels it through us to others. We begin to empathize with others, identifying with them by how we would feel in their circumstances. Agape love is totally unselfish, self-sacrificing and treats the needs of others as it would it’s own.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 tells us, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. Love suffereth long, [and] is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” It does not matter how many gifts, abilities, works, words or knowledge we have, if we don’t possess the Agape love of God everything else is meaningless. There is nothing in the world or in what God has given us that will do more for conforming us and others to the nature and image of God than His love. That love has to be so much more than ideology or theology, it has to be expressed through us in deed and in truth through our actions and our words. 1 John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through us much like John 3:16 is the revelation of God’s love through Christ. It tells us, “Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren.” Did you catch that we are to be the extension and continuation of John 3:16? If we are the sons of God should we be any different than the Son of God in our mission and purpose?
When I view my life, perhaps you, like myself, feel like we come up way short of the kind of love that God wants to express through us. We must remember that this is not the kind of love we can produce in the efforts of our flesh. Romans 5:5 tells us, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” So this love is a product that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The way we have more of this love is to have less of us and more of Him. We are constantly maturing in our faith, or we should be, to where the Lord is filling and possessing every part our being. As we walk by the Spirit and have our focus in life fully on Him, His love will be the by-product of the relationship we have in Him. It is not in what we can produce; it is simply letting Him be God in us and through us. We will have His heart, His vision and will be the instruments and channels of His love and grace. We already possess the most precious possession of all. We must just release it and let its fragrance fill the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

Advertisements

1 John 3:1-3
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

A Calling unto Righteousness

When it truly dawns on our understanding and we comprehend the love that God has extended toward us to call us His own children, then it ought to truly change the way we view our world and ourselves. If we are truly born of God and His nature then our viewpoint and the way we live our lives should be fully from His perspective. We don’t see the full manifestation yet, but God’s purpose is to make us fully like Him. We may be infants in our understanding, but the direction of our crawl, our walk or our run should always be into the Father’s arms. He has called us out of sin and darkness to be a praise unto His name and an expression of His character and life. If we truly comprehend what He has called us unto then why wouldn’t we want to dress our life in purity and righteousness. 1 John 3 goes on to talk about how if we are in Christ we are in an attitude and direction of righteous living and being. It doesn’t mean we never sin or fall short, but sin is no longer the attitude and the abiding place of our hearts. Verses 4-9 say, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” If we are in Christ we can’t continue to live in an attitude and lifestyle of sin. That is contrary to our nature. Some of us have gone down that road for a time, but we know the grieving it brings in our spirit and our heart. We can’t truly love our God and continue to live like the devil. The purpose of Christ is to destroy the works of the devil; we can’t live in harmony and peace with God if we are recreating the works of unrighteousness through our lifestyle and behavior. God’s Word is pretty strong on this point; “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” So who’s our daddy? Is it Father God or is it the devil? We will live out of the nature of the one to whom we belong.
God is calling us to sanctify and separate ourselves unto righteousness and purity. Our Christianity can not just be an ideology it must be who we are and what we live, think and breathe. For us to walk and live in sin is for us to deny the Christ and crucify Him afresh. If you are His then you have been called unto righteousness. Settle for nothing less and purify yourself in the hope of that calling.

Blessings,
#kent

Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Old Things Obstruct the New

Hebrews 9:6-8
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

As I was looking around my yard and home today I was noticing areas where we have made improvements, remodeled and changed our existing structure and yard. I also noticed how much of the remnants of those old things still remained and cluttered my house and yard. Either I hadn’t gotten around to getting them hauled off or I thought they might come in handy someday, so for whatever reason they remain cluttering up our lives and home, keeping us from fully enjoying the fullness of the improvements that we have made. It occurred to me that our spiritual lives are a lot like that. While we don’t remove the foundation of our homes we do update and make improvements to our existing structure. The same is true of our spiritual lives. We are continually growing in our revelation and understanding of God, of who we are in Him and who He is in us. Why aren’t some these revelations having a more profound effect in our relationship with God?
The Lord showed me some time back that He gave the tabernacle of Moses, the priesthood and that spiritual service as a type and shadow of the true spiritual tabernacle and service that is revealed in Christ and His Church. This is clearly seen and discussed in the book of Hebrews. What the Holy Spirit brought to my attention is the little phrase contained the scripture above, “the Holy Spirit thus signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing (Hebrews 9:8).” Now we know through the Word that when Christ died upon the cross, the veil in the temple was literally torn supernaturally from top to bottom, the Lord spiritually signifying to us that we all now have access into the Holy of Holies, His very presence. Hebrews 10:19-20 verifies this by saying, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” Why is it that now that we have access to the Father we are not experiencing the measure of His fullness and presence we so desire? Much of it may have to do with the excess baggage we are still carrying with us from our former belief system that was steeped in law and the traditions of men. It may be that our first tabernacles are still standing or least remnants of them. We have our own religions, denominations, agendas and our own way of doing things. So much of it is not placed there by the Spirit of God, but by man, much of it by man’s own prejudices and opinions. While, in many cases it contains elements of truth, is it the truth of the revelation that God has for us in this hour. Just as the tabernacle of Moses and priestly service was truth in the day of Moses, in God’s reality it was only pointing the way to a deeper truth and reality of God’s true spiritual tabernacle contained in Christ and His Church. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Lord is conforming and transforming us to His image from glory to glory, from understanding to understanding, from revelation to revelation. We are continually maturing and should be growing up into Him in all things. The question is, as we are growing in our understanding and revelation are we still clinging to the old? Do we still maintain our former belief system, our former mentality, our former thinking and level of faith? Is there a lot of clutter in our spiritual house that is hindering us from experiencing a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God’s presence? The only way we can enter into the Holiest of all is in full assurance of faith and the blood of Jesus. What other things in our lives and in our beliefs are we using to try and gain this access. The Lord Jesus has done it all, but we may not be experiencing it all because as long as the former temple is still standing the Holiest of all is still not going to be made manifest to us. The truth is most of us need to clean house and get rid of whole lot of junk that is doing nothing but hindering us from moving into a richer and more meaningful experience with God. This is where we need to begin to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in identifying and getting rid of old ways of thinking and believing that are not inline with His present revelation and truth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” As the old things have passed away we must get rid of even the remnants of them from our lives that we may come, unencumbered into the fullness of the new, into His Holy presence, with boldness, fullness of faith and with the blood of Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: