Lord, You Mean Everything

September 17, 2014

Lord, You Mean Everything

Philippians 3:7-14
Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

What is our level of commitment today in our walk with the Lord? What does He really mean to us in terms of our life plan, our goals and where we are going and what we hope to accomplish? In the above scripture we are seeing Paul lay out his mission statement and his life plan before us. Does ours sound anything like that? Paul says in the next verses 15 and16, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” He says if you want to be perfect then try this goal on for size. Even in all that Paul had committed of his life to the service of the Lord and even through all that he endured he didn’t say I’m there yet,” but I’m running with all my might.” He lost all affections for the things of this world. He was spiritually minded and heavenly visioned. He so desired to experience the depths and the riches that Christ alone could provide, everything else paled in comparison. I believe Paul wanted to so identify with Christ that in the sharing and partaking of the sufferings of Christ and the conformity to His death, he might experience and lay hold of the resurrection life. That resurrection life was so much more than just dying, going to heaven and experiencing the resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ. He desired to experience the resurrection out of the dead things of this life. What holds us back from experiencing the fullness of life right now if it not the death that works in us? And what is the power of death if it is not sin. The resurrection out of the dead is the resurrection out of the sin and death that works in our members.
Paul says in Romans 8:10-11, “And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness, But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” We may live in the natural realm and as such so much of our energy, thinking and identification is with the things of this world. I believe Paul was saying turn around from the world and look at who you are in Christ. Look what He has provided for us and where He wants to take us. ‘The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.’ Paul is telling us here in Romans 8 that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you and I. What is the implication of what He is saying? If we are dead to the flesh, then there is Spirit Power of Resurrection Life at work in us to raise us up in the power of His life. I believe Paul ran and lived his life to lay hold of that resurrection power and life even in his natural life. If he didn’t fully realize it then he carried and ran with that vision right into heaven and into the arms of Jesus. There is a high calling of life and power in Christ that we should yearn and long for. So many of us complacently wait for heaven as the end in itself. Paul wasn’t running that hard just to get to heaven. He had a greater vision and higher calling; he pressed for the high calling that is in Christ Jesus. Again, in Romans 8:19-23 I believe he gives some insight to this calling, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” The first fruit partakers of this liberty and redemption from corruption will be the administrators of its glory and life to creation. There is coming a day of restoration when all of creation is going to be set free from the bondage of sin and corruption. We who are in Christ should be travailing and groaning within to be free from the bondage of this natural man that we may experience the coming and the presence of Christ within us. Don’t let the realm that we live in now hinder the vision of what you are becoming and living your life for. If we truly live in Spirit life, the natural body and life just facilitates that in this earth, but we should already be living in the light of God’s eternal plan and not just our natural life span. The implications and fruit of how we live our lives carries on into eternity. As many as are perfect or spiritually minded want to catch the vision of God’s highest for us.
In conclusion Paul gives us gravity by saying, don’t look behind you at what you have or haven’t been. Don’t live in past condemnation or victories, but look ahead at what is before you. Set your eyes on Christ and the high calling that is in Him nevertheless wherever it is that you have thus far attained be faithful to walk in the light of the truth that you have and understand the high calling that Christ has called you too.

Blessings,
#kent

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Higher Level Living

March 5, 2014

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Higher Level Living


What is our natural response to insults, verbal and physical attacks, slander, gossip and false accusations?  Isn’t it to fight back, justify, retaliate and begin attacking our attackers.  Suddenly we find ourselves drawn in and participating in the same fleshly ugliness of those who attacked us. We have come down to their level and are fighting with the same carnal weapons they are.  We are opening our hearts to be influenced by the same spirits that are influencing them.  

“An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” some will say.  Funny you should say that because a little further down in Matthew 5:32-42 Jesus says,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  

Wow, that is pretty unconventional wisdom by this world’s standards and wisdom only a few are willing to walk in.  

Why?

Because it denies all of “my” rights.  It is asking me to give up and renounce what is “mine”.  It is asking me to return good for evil and it imposes seemingly unfair demands upon “me” as a person.  It  seems to be letting injustice prevail and our rights to be taken unfair advantage of.  

When we can all walk in the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 5-7 it is probably a pretty good indicator that we are getting very close to being dead unto self and alive only unto Christ.  For us to willingly walk in the principles that Jesus is describing means it can no longer be about me, but only about exemplifying and living out of  Christ.  These are the principles that He walked and lived by.  The reason He could is because His heart and affection weren’t upon His natural man or the things of this world.  

We all have our possessions and things we have worked hard for.  We all have our reputation and our dignity to uphold.  It so goes against our grain to be taken advantage of or exploited or to be spoken falsely about.  

What Jesus is telling us is, there is a higher level of kingdom living that most of us never touch or  really know because we are still so connected and attached to this earthly kingdom and realm.  Many of us still think that the political candidate or president is going to determine the fate of the world, the nation and my well being.   We may believe if others aren’t of our particular denomination or persuasion of belief they are going to hell or will miss it and yet how many of us are really living these principles of Jesus?  

What we all need as believers, who say we love Christ, is a deliverance from a lot of our materialistic and capitalist ways.  They are not His ways, but what the world has taught us is true and valuable.  If we are not of this world then why are these things still so important to us?  The truth is most of us are really living out of a lower level of life and values than what Christ has called us too.  

Sometimes we don’t think much about it until we are put in those positions where we must choose between the conventional wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from above.  If you want to really stand out as odd, even among most of the Christian community, try truly walking in the principles that Christ lays out here.  

Finally Jesus really stretches us even more in verses 38-43 by saying,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus is calling us to a higher place.  It is not a realm where we can operate in conventional wisdom or even love with conventional love.  It  is place that we can only operate out of, by His Spirit and His Agape’ love.   It is a place where our self identity can not live; only our identity in Christ.  It is a place where we need to thank God for our enemies, because they are the only ones who can help elevate us to this realm of living and being.  Are we ready for a higher level of living?

 

Blessings,

kent

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