A Change of Garments

December 2, 2014

Colossians 3:1-7
1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection,evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

A Change of Garments

So much our faith and the way that we walk in it has to do with a new mindset and way that we view our purpose and being. Before we knew Christ in a personal relationship we were given over to our own unbridled passions and will. We allowed our desires, our passion and flesh to have dominion over us. We lived for the moment and fulfilled the desires of our unregulated and undisciplined body.
When we came into Christ we were still in this same body with all of its same needs and wants, but inwardly something had changed and been transformed. As we came into Christ, we came into the revelation that life was no longer about us, but about Him. We became identified with Him, both in His death and in His resurrection. We realized that the old man of the flesh isn’t to rule and have its way any longer and so we identified it with Christ on the Cross and we crucified the flesh with its inordinate affections and lust. On the other hand we beheld the new creation that we had become in Christ and we identified with His resurrection in a new and incorruptible life.
Colossians 3 is simply a reminder of what has taken place in our hearts and lives. It is a call to action and direction in our life and living unto Christ. We are putting on His robes of righteousness through faith while we are putting off the garment of this former man through a continual putting to death and discarding of that garment defiled by sin and desires that are a stench to the Heavenly Father. We do this through our union and reliance upon the Holy Spirit. We are identified now with the Son. We are dead to that old man and our life is hid with Christ in God. We are incorporated into His life and family. With that adoption should come a new nature which is in the likeness of the One whom has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. As we set our mind, our affection and our purpose on Christ in all that we do we will find that the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Take hold of who you are in Christ and live accordingly out of His life and unto His glory. You will experience that change of garments.

Blessings,
#kent

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Are You Putting Me On?

Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Let’s talk further of our spiritual wardrobe and how we are to clothe our whole man. The Word says that when we were baptized or immersed into Christ we have put on Christ. The struggle isn’t that we don’t have Christ, the struggle is with our thinking and old ways of behavior that must be transformed to the mind of Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Just as we choose each day which clothes we are going to wear, we make choices, either knowingly or unknowingly, about our mindset and how we are going to think and act. It can be all too easy to fall back into the rut of our former way of thinking and behavior because we fail to acknowledge who we are, how we should think, and consequently how we should act. We fail to come into union and alignment with the Holy Spirit on a constant basis to enable us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.
There is an active decision going on each day in us to press into and follow after Christ. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to give ourselves daily to renewing our minds; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are continually to pursue and put on that mind of Christ that walks by faith in our Father and not by the sight of natural things. This is a way contrary to our natural thinking and our former behavior. It is an area we must give ourselves too as we seek to come into concert with the Holy Spirit within us. Colossians 3:8-15 continues to give us further insight into the direction of this exchange and transformation, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
And above all these things [put on] charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” The word is exhorting us to make right choices about our spiritual wardrobe. It is the reflection of who we really are in Christ. When Paul exhorts women about their outward apparel in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” he is simply saying let the outward man reflect the inward man. What we are inwardly should show forth in who we are outwardly.
Our spiritual man is not just about an attitude or way of thinking, it is also an armor and protection against the powers and influences of darkness that are ever there to tempt us, distract us, and undermine our authority in Christ. Romans 13:12 tells us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul goes on in this passage to explain the different parts of the armor and their spiritual application to us. We are not dressing to go to the mall; we are dressing for battle and spiritual warfare. If we fail to see the significance of our spiritual garments and wardrobe, then we are going to find our selves in those old sweaty garments of the flesh and spiritual defeat. Those aren’t the garments of heavenly attire. How does our Father want us to dress? ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14).”

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 4:17-24
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dressing with Your True Identity

A young boy had grown up into manhood in poverty. He had never had enough to eat. He only had dirty rags for clothes to wear and was dirty and smelly from lack of hygiene. He was always looked down upon by others. When given the opportunity he would always take and horde whatever he could get because of his constant want. He learned to talk rough and hold his own in world. He even sometimes would steal when no one was looking. He had no father, no real mentor or example but the world and the school of hard knocks to teach him how to survive. All he had was an orphan spirit.
This young man would travel by catching freight trains and bummed around the country. One day he encountered a man in which he saw such love as he had never seen before and when this man looked upon him, he didn’t see him with disdain and judgement, but with love and compassion. This man took the young man to his home. He offered to adopt this young man and provide him with the opportunity for education. He offered to feed, cloth and house him, but even more importantly to bring him into relationship as a member of his family and home. The young man was overwhelmed by the man’s generosity and had such feelings of unworthiness to be brought into such a home and adopted as a son.
One of the first things the man to taught him was to bath and use proper hygiene. He gave him cleaned and pressed suits and garments to wear and began to educate him as an investment banker.
While the young man was very grateful for all that this generous patriarch offered him, he was still prone to want to put on the old dirty rags and go hang out around the railroad tracks and the slum areas. When he did he would tend to hang around the old crowd, drinking and cursing and living his old life.
His new found father set him down one day and shared with him that he could not maintain two identities. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Every day you have to get up and dress with the identity of who you truly are. If you don’t acknowledge daily your true identity and dress accordingly you will soon find yourself slipping back into the identity of who you were, not who you are. That former life has to be gone with all of its attitudes and ways. It represents the antithesis or direct contradiction of what you now are. The old filthy rags have to be burned and your back turned to that former way of life. Even more importantly is to start your day dressing in the identity of who you now are and confessing what you now have. That old way only brought you misery and destruction, but “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).” “Be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It is in the attitude of the mind that battles are fought and won or lost. The former ways have no place now in who you are, but only you can daily dress your attitudes with the identity of who you truly are.
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. (1 John 4:17).”

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

The Crossroads of Life and Death

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

We have discussed how Adam’s sin and fall brought all of mankind into a state of spiritual death and separation from God and the tree of Life. Not only was it manifested in spiritual separation, but also the spirit of death worked to bring corruption and decay to all of creation. That spirit of death is at work in every creature from the time that they are born till the time that it consummates in the cessation of physical life.
When we come to the cross of Jesus Christ, we come to a crossroad and intersection of Life and Death. It is a place and a valley of decision that leads us to a turning point in our lives where we believe in Christ and pass from death to Life or we continue down the road to spiritual death. Jesus Christ stands as a doorway to Life and faith is the key to enter in. When we make the choice to enter into Him a couple of things should happen. When we enter the Master’s door and come into His house we need to remove our outer garment of the body of sin. We hang it there on the cross where Jesus died, as we identify with His death. Where we have now come too, that outer garment of self is but a hindrance and unacceptable apparel in the house where we now abide. Not only do we take off the outer garment or our former self-centered ways, but also we remove our shoes, for now we are standing on Holy ground. We no longer walk in those former ways that we walked in when we walked down the pathway of death. Now, instead we have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel wherein we carry and communicate the life of God to all men. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15).”
When we come into the Father’s house through our faith in Christ, the blood of Jesus has washed us from the filth and stain of sin and death. In the place of our garment of sinful flesh, we are given the spiritual garments of the righteousness of Christ. In these garments we now have right standing and restored fellowship with the Father. When He now beholds us, He no longer sees the sinful man or woman that we were. He sees the righteousness of His Son, because His blood has washed us clean of all unrighteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Also at the door we are given a white turban upon our heads called the mind of Christ. Along with this cleansed body we are given a new mind as it exhorts us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Clothed with spiritual apparel and now abiding in the place Christ has prepared for us we begin living in the Life He has given us. Formerly we did not discern between life and death. All we knew was the natural dimension of life and death. Now at the juncture where we have made a right turn into the way of Life we begin to choose the ways of Life. More than a right and wrong issue of our moral choosing, our life in Christ becomes choices of life and death. We know that His Word and His Spirit are Life. The spirit of the world is selling death and calling it life. In as much as our eyes are open to the Spirit of Life and godliness we perceive the lie, rejecting it and make our choices for Life. Proverbs 23:7 warns us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he.” It is warning us that things and people are not always as they appear on the surface. The truth is in their heart. What is in our hearts today? Are we feeding from the tree of Life? Many of us are still planting the seeds of death and bearing it’s fruit in our lives because we are not choosing and living in the Life we proclaim to have. We are experiencing spiritual defeat and we wonder why? What are we continually abiding in? What is the focus of our lives? Which tree are we feeding off of, the tree of Life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The Lord doesn’t want us to be double minded in our living and our choices. He has called us to abide in the Spirit of Life and to choose Life and not death. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)”

Blessings,
kent

Transformed

September 24, 2012

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Transformed

The caterpillar is an earthen creature that eats, devours and destroys that it might live. It is fully consumed with self. Then a transformation comes about, a metamorphosis where an old nature dies that a new might live. Through this transformation of nature a butterfly emerges a new creature with a transformed nature that lives in heavenly places and lands upon the earth carrying life from one flower to the next. Its new nature is a life giver and the heavenly implications it can have on earth can impact nations with its butterfly effect. Such is a life transformed through power of Christ. God is calling us up higher into what He created us to be, not what we’ve been.
In Christ we have come into an exchange of natures and beings. While we may not look so different on the outside, we are a new creation within. Our appetites should be different, our desires, our vision, our goals, our life has just turned a corner at the cross of Jesus and we aren’t headed the same direction any more.
Sure life goes on and natural demands remain relatively the same, but how we look at them and how we approach life doesn’t. When we have fallen upon the Rock of Christ, old desires, old ways. that old nature is crushed. We are emerging into heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Our position has changed, our outlook has changed and our appetites are no longer to devour and satisfy the old self. It died with Christ on the cross at Calvary as we reckon it dead unto Him. It was buried with Him in that tomb and there, a transformation took place, that when He rose, we rose in newness of life; a new creation in Christ Jesus. When Jesus became sin for us, our sin, our old unregenerate self, our degenerated nature was nailed there with Him. We have become and are still becoming so identified with Him that we become partakers with Him through His suffering, death, burial and resurrection and now Ephesians 2:1-10 says, ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We were selfish caterpillars that have been transformed through Christ into life giving butterflies that are no longer earthbound in thought or deed, but are heavenward in nature and being.
Does the butterfly any longer want to go and chew the leaves of your tomato plant? No!!
His appetites have changed. Now he transfers pollen from one plant and flower to the next. He has become an instrument of life and not death. He lives to disperse and propagate life, no longer to devour it. It has been transformed, metamorphosed and everything about its nature is different than before. That is us in Christ.
Our lives are no longer unto ourselves, they are spiritual sacrifices lived and poured out unto Him who gave His holy unblemished life for us; that we may be well-pleasing unto Him. We live our lives as a worship unto Him. We don’t just worship Him with our mouths, but our heart, our heartbeat, our desires and our passion. What do we have to do with that former caterpillar state? That is no longer who we are or what we are about. We have been transformed into the sons and daughters of ALL MIGHTY GOD, OUR FATHER. Glory to God! We are now desiring to bring other caterpillars into this transforming experience so that they also may experience and participate in their heavenly estate.
It is a transformation that we can’t do or make happen in ourselves. ‘By grace are you saved through faith, it is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God lest anyone should boast. ‘ While we can’t make it happen, we know it happened because Father had a purpose in those He has separated out into Himself. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Those good works are not self works, they are the works that flow out of a life that is living in the Spirit of Christ. Those works are perpetuated and perfected as each day we come to Him anew, saying, “Father, here I am. Use me. I say yes to you. Use my life for Your glory and help me to live no longer unto who I am not, but live it into what I am in You. Let the world be different because I am in it and You are in me. Perfect me into your highest will, purpose and plan that I might the expression of Your grace into the lives of others. Thank you Father, be glorified through me even as You were through Your Son. Amen.”

Blessings,
kent

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