Galatians 5:7-9 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

Who is Keeping You from Obeying the Truth?

Organized religion and legalism has hindered many in Christian faith from obeying the truth. With legalism people can control you, condemn you or make you believe that you must measure up to their standards. They put you again into bondage to try to win or earn God’s favor. The simplicity of the law of the gospel is simply to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and with all of your mind and then to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said on these two commandments, all of the law and the prophets hang. If you are still struggling with trying to be good enough for God and earn your way into heaven, you are missing it. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves, through the cross He justified us as if we had never sinned, redeemed us, forgave us and washed us clean in His own blood. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Our only worthiness and acceptance before God is found in Christ. Nothing that we could do to be good enough or works we could do to earn His favor could replace or add to what God has already done for us in Christ. Our religion is to accept the finished work of Jesus that He accomplished on that cross. When we accept Christ we enter into an exchange, my old sinful life for His righteous spiritual life. We die to what we were so that we might live into what He is. That living is a walk of faith and obedience to His Word and the Holy Spirit that now resides within us. Christ didn’t die for us to be put again under bondage; He died that He might impart unto us freedom. Galatians 5:13-18 goes on to say, “13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” The religion of man and legalism only brings us again under condemnation. Roman 8:1-4 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” If there are those that are putting laws, ordinances and requirements upon you in order for you to be saved or accepted by God other than what the Word itself requires, they are keeping you from obeying the truth. They are robbing your freedom to put you again under bondage and the will of man. Know the truth of God and allow that truth to set you free. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Do not allow yourself to be put under bondage, but come out into the wonderful liberty of the Spirit that is in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

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Galatians 3:2-4
2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Legalism Seeks to Nullify Faith

The law is a static force, which is good in itself, but serves only to show man his weakness outside of God. The law in and of itself doesn’t stand as our salvation, but rather our condemnation. Instead, it is faith that is the dynamic force in union with the Spirit of God that produces life changing events and substance. ‘Without faith we know that it is impossible to please God.’
Most of us aren’t steeped in Judaism, but we might be surprised how much we try to please and earn God’s favor by our works rather than by our faith. We allow others to impound us or we put ourselves under bondage, rituals, ceremonial and dietary restrictions, the keeping of days and numerous other legal restrictions that allow us to feel somehow more superior and holy than those that do not observe and keep such things. The Word plainly tells us that righteousness is not of the law. Galatians 3:21-24 says, “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” The Law then was but an instrument and a tool to prepare us for Christ, who is our righteousness by faith. The Law was not an end in itself. Verses 26-29 goes on to say, “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Our position in God is not about who we are, where we came from, what sex we are or what race or background we come from. Our position in God is “Sonship” through faith in Jesus Christ. Our position is in Christ and He in us. It is out of this position that we will move into our full inheritance in Christ. This is why we must put on Christ by faith and no longer live out of the mentality of our natural minds that perceive us as separate and away from God. We are united with Him and it is our faith that lays hold of this truth and lives it out to produce victory and overcoming in our lives. This is the place we must learn to abide; the place of living out of His Spirit and His Life. This is the truth that declares we are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to promise. It is no longer the identification with the flesh and our goodness. That is legalism. It is our identification with “Christ in us” that will set us free and lead us into the expression of righteousness and justification that is by faith alone and no longer by works. Our works will be the fruit and expression of our faith and no longer the means of obtaining our goodness and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

Identity Theft

June 30, 2014

Galatians 4:17-20
Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Identity Theft

How many of us or others that we know have gotten a revelation of “Christ in you”? They knew who they were, their authority and freedom in Christ. They had a destination and purpose. They were no longer identified with the old man, but had come into the light and revelation of who they were as a new creation man. Then along came other teachings or worldly influence that drew them away and clouded the vision of what once was so real and liberating. Little by little you or they were seduced and led astray from the teaching and reality that once was held so dear and life giving. Once again these ones have slipped back into the law from which they had been set free. Once again they have become slaves of men or the world instead of slaves of Christ and righteousness.
Somewhere there is one like Paul who poured into you and travailed for you that you might receive and come into these liberating truths. Now the enemy has come subtly in to rob your identity and obscure your vision. There are those who want to own, control and claim you as their own, not for your good, but for there’s. Even in the religious and kingdom arenas we see these controlling and seducing spirits at work, as they bring in division and schisms within the body of Christ. They can work so cunningly in those we often regard as mature in Christ.
Paul is greatly grieved and perplexed here as he speaks with these Galatians in 3:1-5, of whom he says, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
This serves as a warning to us not to slip back into legalism and self-works, seeking to please God by any other means than faith and obedience. In doing so we find ourselves offering the sacrifice of Cain, rather than Abel, seeking to please God with the works of our hand and the sweat of our brow, rather than by the blood sacrifice that has been offered once for all in the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
What makes you extremely dangerous is when you begin to come into who you are in Christ. Satan doesn’t mind you being religious or trying to please God some other way, but when you get a hold of your identity in Christ you become a very real and dangerous threat to him. He will use whatever is at his disposal to lead you away from that reality, rather it is persecution, tribulation, worldly seduction or false teaching. When Christ is truly formed in you then you know who you are in God and you can move in the realms not of this earth. You can pull down strongholds, principalities and dominions of darkness. You operate out of the power and authority of the Spirit of Christ in you. You become hell’s greatest threat!
Will he try and rob your identity and purpose in Christ from you? You can count on it. We don’t want to follow after the foolishness and the deception of the Galatians, but we want to press in all the more into the fullness that Christ has for those who love Him and are consumed with His life. There are many distraction and attractions all around us, both worldly and religious. Anchor yourself in the truth of who you know yourself to be in Christ. Declare it daily and walk in it moment by moment, exercising it’s reality in your daily living. Do not be deceived by the outward workings of men. Even satan can produce lying signs and wonders. Discern by the Spirit, the Word and fruit of what is being produced. Listen to that still small voice and the witness of the Holy Spirit within you. Things are not always as they seem. We can be easily deceived and led astray if we are not continually walking after the Spirit and judging all things through the Spirit and the Word of God. Guard your heart and your identity. Identity theft is prevalent in the spirit as well as in the natural. Always know Christ in you is your hope of glory and your overcoming victory.

Blessings,
#kent

Single Eye, Single Mind

June 26, 2014

Single Eye, Single Mind

Luke 11:34-35
The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness.
Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

We hear it said, “the eye is the window of the soul.” Jesus is saying something similar to this in this passage. The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions. The eye really represents the input to what we are feeding into our soul. Someone could be physically blind and actually have more light in their body than someone who has all of their faculties. In John 9:39-41 Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees after healing a blind man and remarks to them,”…For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And [some] of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Our spiritual sight comes by way of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is what quickens the Word of the Lord to us and makes it light and life. We become accountable for the knowledge and light that we have. With what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees it is plain to see that just because they had the knowledge of the Word of God they didn’t necessarily have enlightenment and understanding. How many are deceived today because they think if they know something about God that saves them or puts them in right position spiritually? Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, if you were ignorant of the Word of God that would be one thing, but because you think you know the truth and because of your knowledge your sin remains. Knowing the truth is not necessarily living in the truth.
If there is one thing that I’ve seen through the years, “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Corinthians 8:1).” We can have a great command of the Bible and great revelation knowledge, but it is not in what we know, it is in what we are walking in and putting into practice in our lives. Faith in action according to knowledge and working through love is what produces life and light.
Jesus is speaking to His disciples concerning spiritual sight in Matthew 13:10-17, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].” In order for us to have light it must come to us through the eyes of spiritual insight. That brings with it not just knowledge and legalism, which is the state we see the people of Jesus’ day in, but it comes through the Word that is quickened by the Holy Spirit who gives life and understanding to our knowledge. Rather than a head thing, it becomes a heart thing. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The law simply written on pages and administered by men simply becomes legalism, condemnation and death. The law written upon our hearts by a life changing Spirit becomes to us life, liberty and light.
Jesus likens our light as unto a candle set upon a lampstand. If we have a candle alone, like the Word without the Spirit, we have no light. If we have a flame with no candle we may well have a fire out of control. But if we have a candle lit with a flame we have a union that creates balance and produces light. We are the lampstands that are to carry that light with singleness of purpose. Our purpose is to be the outshining of His light and the truth of His Word through lives that are lived in the luminance of the light which He brings to us who of a single eye and a single mind.

Blessings,
#kent

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

January 22, 2014

Phl 4:18

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

 

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice


Is the Lord only interested in our tithes and offerings that we give out of obligation and legalism?  Tithes and offerings are a good thing to bring unto the Lord, but what is God looking for?  Is it just money and our substance?  In Hosea 6:6 God says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  Often in the law of our traditions, we, like Israel of old are only concerned with carrying out the ceremony and doing our duty.  God tells His people your duty has no relevance if you don’t have a revelation of what the significance of the duty is about.  God doesn’t need our money.  He is the Creator of all things and all things are His possession.  The possession that He doesn’t own is that which He gave to us to choose to whom we give it too.  That is our soul and will.  If we bring our offering, but it is not an expression of our soul and our will then it is not acceptable to God.  

We have all had experiences with others where they may have did what we said or expected, but their heart and their will was not in it; especially within our own family.  Love gives from the heart, not just out of obligation.  The sweet smell of our sacrifice is when it comes from the love of our heart.  Song of Solomon 4:10 says, “ How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”  What was it that made, in type, the Lord’s bride better than wine and all spices?  It was her love.  The Lord so loves us and He proved that by giving Himself for us.  Now it is our opportunity and privilege to express back to Him our love for Him in every way.  When we offer up the sacrifice of praise from a heart of love, worship and praise then it is like that sweet smelling incense that was burned upon the altar.  We are like that altar, made of flesh, but covered in the nature and gold of God’s character and likeness.  We are the instrument upon which is offered the sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord.  

Paul experienced this same type of sacrificial giving from the Philippians in Philippians 4:18.  Paul, who had sacrificially given of His life to the church was now experiencing back a sacrifice that he knew came out of a heart of love and caring.  I believe his words are expressive of how the Lord sees the sacrifices that we bring Him that comes out of a right attitude of heart and love.  

In Exodus 30: 7-8 the Word says, “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”  God is looking and desiring an incense that will arise continually from that altar of His people.  The incense of a broken and contrite heart that functions in the love and fear of God.  The incense of continual worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration of the One who gave it all.  Our lives, how they are lived and expressed, have the ability to be that sweet smelling incense that rises up into the nostrils of the Father.  It is in the expression of our love that he delights and it is in this expression that our offerings and sacrifices are acceptable unto Him.  

 
Blessings,
kent
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