Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Law: To Abolish or Fulfill

Often times many us think of the Old Testament as being a former dispensation of God that applied to the Jewish people, gave the Law, the history, the Psalms, Proverbs and a lot of good stories. Many might think that because we are a New Testament people that the Old Testament doesn’t have real application and promise to us. After all we are no longer under the Law. While there is truth to this we might be overlooking what Jesus is saying here. Jesus declares that His mission and purpose isn’t to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The Old Testament and the Law provided the foundation and groundwork for the fulfillment of that Law through Christ. What has changed for us is that it is no longer the works of the Law that we are trying to keep through the efforts of the flesh, but it is the Spirit of that Law now written upon the tablets of our heart. The nature of God has not changed or His Laws, but He has taken them from the outward to the inward through the power of the Holy Spirit and His nature that now resides in us. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For 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.” Christ fulfilled what we could not in that He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law, but more than that, He became the sin offering to take upon Himself all of the penalty of sin for us. His faith in us embraces and appropriates that finished work of Christ that fulfilled the Law. It is that faith in His finished work that is now reckoned unto us for righteousness. The Law is fulfilled in us only through Christ. As we now live in Christ it is His nature within us that fulfills and keeps the Law. As we walk by the Spirit we no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh. Romans 8:10-11 declares this truth by saying, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” In Christ, in this New Testament man, we do not abolish the Old, but we become the fulfillment of it. We have the power, authority and life of Christ to walk into what the Old Testament saints dreamed about. They were our examples and mentors to help us walk into a greater dimension of faith and faithfulness to the Lord. We walk into it by the power of Christ in us and the identification that we have died to the weakness of the Law, which is our sinful flesh. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. We have the finished work of Christ behind us. We have a commission of Christ to bring Him into our entire world. The Law and the Prophets live on. They along with the apostles have become the foundation of our faith. What is it that God is building? Ephesians 2:19-22 declares, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We are God’s lively stones built upon this foundation to be the holy temple of the Lord. This is that place where God chooses to make His abode. Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them and we a part of that fulfillment as we abide in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Water into Wine

July 15, 2013

Water into Wine

John 2:5-10
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare [it]. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: [but] thou hast kept the good wine until now.

There is a truth here in the first miracle of Christ where He turns the water into wine that goes beyond just the outward event and story. It is a story about the transformation that He is doing in you and I. There were six water pots of stone. Six being the number of man. It is in man that Christ does His transforming work. These stone jars were for the purpose of ceremonial purification. They could only serve to clean the outward man through religious means and ceremonial ways. The day came when Jesus came and said fill the pots with water. The Spirit of God moving over the waters brings about a transformation through the blood of Christ to produce a new wine. A New Covenant relationship where as we abide in the Vine (John 15:4), Christ, we bear the fruit of the Vine (John 15:5). John 3:5-7, Jesus is explaining the new birth to Nicodemus and he says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The water is the natural state that was in the stone jars. There was nothing unusual about it or supernatural. It was the Spirit of God moving through Christ Jesus that did a supernatural thing to that water. It transformed its natural state of water into wine. There is a supernatural event that occurs in us when we are born again. When Jesus shared the Lord’s Supper with His disciple, He took the cup of wine and declared, ”
This cup [is] the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:20).” It was the wine that was symbolic of the blood of Christ that transforms this natural into the supernatural, that causes us to be born not only of the natural as in the water, but also of the spirit as seen in the blood or the wine.
God has saved the best for last. In these last days Christ shed His blood upon that cross that by faith in that blood we might me be transformed into a new creation in Christ Jesus. As that new creation we become like that water that was transformed into wine. It is not like the former wine that produced carnal results, but it is the finest and the best wine of a new testament. It has been saved for the last and manifested in the lives of His people that are bringing to the table the best of what God has to offer. Christ is the bridegroom and you are his best because you are blessed with a transformed life that is being conformed to His nature. You are the wine that is being offered to a world that has only known the wine of lust and drunkenness. You bring the joy and the life of Christ to that world. When they drink of the same life that is in us they too, can become partakers of the transforming power of Christ.

Blessings,
kent

The Golden Rule

August 31, 2012

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

The Golden Rule


One of the most detrimental, selfish and skewed ways for us to live as human beings is to only see life from our point of view and only how it benefits us.  A young toddler or child is normally this way.  That is all that they know.  They know what they want and they do whatever works to get it.  Maturity and correction should teach them that life is not all about “me”.  Unfortunately for many of us as adults we still hold on a lot to this mentality.
There is an old saying that you need to walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins to understand where they are coming from.  I believe that goes hand in hand with what the Lord is teaching us here.  We may not be able to fully experience what somebody else is experiencing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to have empathy and sympathy in an effort to understand and imagine if we were in their situation.  When we are willing to weigh the needs, concerns and care we have for others in the same way that we do for ourselves, then we are beginning to move in a direction of loving our neighbor as ourselves.  When we are actively asking ourselves as we deal with others in business and personally, how would I want this person or business to treat me in this situation?  Am I being fair and reasonable or am I only focused on getting my way?  Human relationships can be complex and difficult at times.  We certainly can’t control how another treats us, but we can make the decision of how we respond or choose to treat another.  The Lord is teaching us throughout the New Testament to be proactive in our choices of how we respond and treat others.
In Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus teaches, “”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. 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemy 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.  What Jesus is telling us to do here goes against the grain of our natural reasoning and response, but He is telling us to have a love that exceeds that of the world.  There are many good people in the world doing good things, but if we just love those who love us then what is that more than the rest of the world is doing?  Christ’s love is that of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails…”
The golden rule is such a powerful principle that if we all lived by it we would all have one another’s interest at heart and not just our own.  While we are blessing someone else, some else is blessing us.  We are watching one another’s backs and having the same care and concern for others as we have for ourselves.  It is a simple principle, but one we soon forget, neglect or fail to practice.  It is hard for us to excel and get ahead using this principle, but then that should tell us something about that mentality in the light of God’s purpose and plan for us.  God tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.  Like we have said before, the greatest principle we can learn from life is that true fulfilling life is not that found in the getting, but in the giving.      Let us remember and practice this simple principle, because upon it hangs the sum of the Law and the Prophets.

Blessings,
kent

The Atmosphere of Heaven

February 3, 2012

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Atmosphere of Heaven


As we come into a greater revelation and unfolding of our identity in Christ one of the things we should find is that it brings us into the atmosphere of the kingdom of heaven.  In that place of identity, unity and oneness with Father we experience His presence and those qualities and attributes in our lives that characterize our heavenly estate.
We walk in righteousness because we are in Christ who has become our righteousness.  It is not in our righteousness or goodness that we boast, but rather the righteousness that comes by faith.  Paul said it so eloquently in Philippians 3:7-9, “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.”  When we are willing to lose those things we once counted valuable and significant to gain Christ then it is because we want to be enveloped in His identity and not our own.  In that place we no longer operate out of the law of righteousness, but rather we operate out of the faith of righteousness which takes on the righteousness that is not only of Him, but found “in Him”.
In that place of His presence there is perfect peace.  It is not that peace like we find in the world.  It is the peace that our life is hid with Christ in God.  It is the peace that our lives are sold out to Him so that we live out of the blood covenant of the New Testament that has been established with us through Christ.  Our dependency, our reliance, our provision, our peace is no longer based on this world or in its circumstance, because Christ is our peace.  We know that because He is in us and we in Him we can weather any storm and even if we were to perish physically it wouldn’t move us out of that place of peace.  Jesus tells His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  You can imagine how incomprehensible it must have been for the persecutors of Christ’s body to see the perfect peace of those believers when all there earthly belongings were ravished and destroyed and they willing laid down their own lives also.  You can’t have that if you are operating out of the world’s peace, because it is circumstantial and conditional.  God’s peace comes out of the rest that we found in Him through faith in His faithfulness.
The last attribute of the kingdom it speaks here of is joy.  In Psalms 16:9-11 David declares this observation of Spirit, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.  11You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  The greatest joy we have in Christ is that which Romans 8 declares to us that nothing in heaven or earth can separate us from the love of Christ, not even death.  We have such security in Him that we know that because He was raised to incorruptible life; we shall be raised up also.  The greatest fear of the world is death and yet for the believer it can only release us more fully into His presence, but it can never take Christ away from us.   Even as we abide in the presence of the Lord on earth and as live out of and walk by the Spirit, we experience the joy of His presence.  In Philippians 3:1 Paul writes, “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.”  Rejoicing safeguards our faith, because we can have righteousness, peace and joy in every circumstance.  We see our lives through the eyes of faith and we have such confidence no matter what befalls us.  God is still upon His throne and we are there next to Him in Christ.  Finally Paul goes on to write in Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
You see, when we can get a revelation of living out of the kingdom of heaven now as we walk in the Spirit, then we can enjoy and partake of heaven’s benefits.  It is as we walk in the Spirit that we walk in the heavens and we bring heaven in to the earth.  Righteousness, peace and joy are that atmosphere and the fragrance of it should rest upon us who walk in that faith and confidence of Him.

Blessings,
kent

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