Christ Is Alive In Us

Christ Is Alive In Us

 John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

 When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He was not referring to the whole plan of salvation as being completed. He still had to descend into the lower parts of the earth and lead the captives out, Ephesians 4:8-9, as well as come back from the dead and ascend to the Father to make intercession for us, Hebrews 7:25.

Paul made it very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:14 and 17, that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins.

Why is the resurrection so important? The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity different from religion because we are dealing with a real, live person, not just principles. Christianity is fellowship with a real person who is alive.

Also, forgiveness of sins is not obtained by a doctrine, but by Christ Himself. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He can not give salvation to us. However, He did rise from the dead and now He lives forever to make intercession for us, Hebrews 7:25.
It is Christ living in us that gives us power to live a victorious life. If there was no resurrection, there would be no power.
The resurrected life of Jesus is the guarantee of our physical regeneration.

Because Jesus conquered death, the fear and sting of death have been removed for us. This produces great comfort for those who believe.

So, faith in the present ministry of Jesus is essential to true Christianity, and would be impossible if Jesus was not alive. Without Jesus being alive, Christianity would be just another dead religion.

Where’s Your Focus?

Where’s Your Focus?

 

Matthew 27:4 “Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.”

 

These Jews, who had courted Judas’ favor to obtain his cooperation in arresting Jesus, cared nothing for Judas. They had simply used him. The devil’s crowd may flatter as long as they can use you, but you can be assured that when there is no longer anything in it for them, they will forsake you just as the chief priests did Judas.

The serpent didn’t come to Eve in the garden threatening to bite her if she didn’t eat of the forbidden fruit. Instead, he came with deception, presenting himself as being concerned for her welfare. Satan’s greatest weapon is deceit.

Just as a football player, a boxer, or military man’s success depends partly on how well he knows his opponent(s), so believers must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Jesus stripped Satan of all his authority, Matthew 28:18. The power that Satan uses against us now, is deception. Those who ascribe other powers to him have already fallen prey to one of his lies. The devil deceives us and uses our own power and authority against us. The thing that makes deception so deadly is that those who are deceived don’t know it. Once they realize they are deceived, they aren’t deceived any more.

The best defense against the devil is to be so God-centered that you give no place to Satan. People who are very sensitive to the devil’s presence usually are so at the expense of being sensitive to the Lord’s presence. David said, “If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.”, Psalm 139:8. Anytime Satan’s oppression is present, God’s presence is there too, Hebrews 13:5. It’s just a matter of where our focus is. Focusing on the devil is a trick of the devil. Choose to focus on God.

Jesus Freed Us From Sin

Jesus Freed Us From Sin

 

Luke 23:18 “And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:”

 

What happened to Barabbas is a picture of what happens when a person is born again. Barabbas was guilty; Jesus was innocent. Yet Jesus suffered the death that Barabbas should have experienced, and Barabbas went free.

Likewise, we were all guilty, Romans 3:23, and condemned to death, Romans 6:23, yet Jesus suffered our punishment so that we may go free, 2 Corinthians 21. Just as Barabbas didn’t ask for this substitution, so “God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, Romans 5:8.

Barabbas was freed, but he had to choose whether or not to accept this new start and remain free, or go back to his old ways and come under the judgment of Rome again. Likewise, we have all been freed through the substitutionary death of Jesus, but we have to choose whether to accept our freedom by putting faith in Jesus or to reject it, by denying Him.

Our death to sin and resurrection to life with Christ, is already a reality in our spirits but will only become a physical reality when we know and believe it. In the same way that Jesus died unto sin once, and death no longer has dominion over Him, the person who recognizes their death with Christ unto sin, will not allow sin to rule over him anymore. Any Christian who is struggling with sin has not recognized that they are dead unto sin.

One In Spirit

One In Spirit

 

Matthew 27:18 “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.”

 

Many problems arise from envy. James said, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”, James 3:16. Envy and strife go hand in hand and open the door to the devil to do anything he desires, in our life. Some people would never give place to the devil through confessing the wrong things, yet through envy, they give the enemy freedom to do his worst. God’s kind of love is not envious or jealous because it doesn’t seek it’s own, but seeks the welfare of others. Envy is an indication of self-centeredness.

The Apostle Paul had some opponents who were just like many people who sow strife today. They are against everything and critical of the way those in authority handle things. They make big statements about what they would do if they were in authority, but it’s all talk. They haven’t proven themselves successful in managing even the smallest things, yet they want to be put in charge of big things, just based on their talk. This is not the system of advancement that Jesus advocates, Matthew 25:21.

The Lord has united every born-again Christian by baptizing us all into the body of Christ. This is already a reality. Like it or not, want it or not, every Christian is completely one in spirit with every other Christian.

Failure to function as one, in our relationships with other believers means someone is not flowing in the Spirit. Our flesh is the part of us that gets in strife with other believers. As we operate in the Spirit more and more, we will come more and more into unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Religious Pride Brings Disension

Religious Pride Brings Dissension

 Mark 15:10 “For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.”

 The Jews were God’s chosen people and therefore, God’s representatives on earth. Yet, they lied and condemned an innocent man to death. Pilate could see that their real motivation for wanting Jesus dead was envy. They were doing all their religious works to be seen of men, and were upset that Jesus was getting more recognition than they were. If these Jews would have thought about what type of witness they were giving, even they would have known that their actions were not inspired by God.

We should remember that we are God’s witnesses on earth, or as Paul said, “We are epistles… known and read of all men”, 2 Corinthians 3:2. Judging our actions in the light of, “What kind of witness will this give to others?” will help us discern whether or not we are being led of God.

The chief priests had deceived themselves and other religious people into believing that they were condemning Jesus for godly reasons, but even an ungodly ruler like Pilate could see through their lies. Religious bondage blinds people to the truth even more than sin does.

These rulers wanted to retain their power and authority, so they fought against the power and authority of Jesus. This is still the same today. Men use doctrinal issues to disguise the real issue. The truth is that, “Only by pride cometh contention…”, Proverbs 13:10. People who love to have the preeminence, 3 John 9, are usually the instigators of persecution.

Pilate Violates The Truth

Pilate Violates The Truth

 

Matthew 27:17 “Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, ‘Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ'”?

 

Although Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, he looked for some diplomatic way to release Jesus that would not cause him to lose popularity with the Jewish leaders. This is why he sent Jesus to Herod. He hoped that Herod would pass judgment on Jesus and save him the trouble.

When that scheme failed, Pilate drew on an old custom of releasing a prisoner to the people at the feast. He gave them a choice between Jesus, who he knew was innocent, and Barabbas, who was a murderer. Pilate thought that the crowd would certainly choose Jesus. However, through the insistence of the chief priests and scribes, the people chose Barabbas to be released.

Pilate was now out of ideas as to how to let Jesus go, and still save face with the Jews, so he condemned Jesus to death. Pilate violated what he knew to be true in his heart because of a fear of men, Proverbs 29:25, and what he thought they might do to him. Without the chief priests’ cooperation, he ran the risk of unrest among the Jews, and possible punishment by Caesar for failing to govern well.

As it turned out, Pilate was deposed anyway, just a few years later by Tiberius Caesar, and died in exile in Gaul in A.D. 41. At the most, Pilate gained a five-year extension of his troubled rule, and damned his soul in the process. What a person compromises to keep, he’ll lose. Sin is never worth the price.

Jesus The Name Above Names

Jesus The Name Above Names

 

Luke 23:9 “Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.”

 

Not only does Jesus’ refusal to defend Himself show His humility, but His refraining from venting His wrath against the man who senselessly killed His friend who was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Matthew 11:11, also displays His humble nature.

Because of Christ’s humility and obedience to the Father, God gave Him a name that is above every name in heaven, earth and under the earth. There is no exemption for anyone or anything from coming under the Lordship of Jesus. He is Lord of ALL.

Jesus has not only been exalted above every “being” that has a name, but He is also highly exalted above anything else that can be named. If you can put a name on it, Jesus is above it. Sickness, poverty, depression, anger – everything has to bow its knee to the Lordship of Jesus.

Every knee of men, angels, and demons will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. Those who have denied His existence will bow in worship. Those who have spent their lives rebelling His authority will finally bow in submission.

Every being from all ages will ultimately bow and worship Jesus. If we bow our knee to His Lordship now, we will enjoy a wonderful life here on earth, and an eternity in His blessings hereafter. Those who deny His rightful claim to the Lordship of their lives will suffer for it in this life as well as in the next. They still will have to bow their knee to His authority, so there is nothing to gain and everything to lose if they refuse to make Jesus Lord of their life.

The Sword Is The Word

The Sword Is The Word

 

John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

 

Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, in the hearts of men – not physical; therefore, our fight as Christians must not be with carnal weapons but with spiritual weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Spiritual forces cannot be defeated with human weapons.

When we are being attacked for being a part of Christ’s kingdom, we must fight with spiritual weapons. Our warfare is not against people, but against the spiritual powers that operate behind the scenes through people. We must realize who the real enemy is and fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord has given us.

We often think that anger will put a person in his place. But “the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God”, James 1:20. Anger displayed against people puts us right into the hand of the devil. The way to overcome the spiritual powers that come against us through people is to turn the other cheek, Matthew 5:39. That makes the demons flee in terror.

One of the main weapons the Apostle Paul speaks of is the Gospel, which is the Sword of the Spirit, (the Word of God). It’s the Word backed by God’s Spirit that can pull down and crush the strongholds of Satan.

Every Christian is at war. There is a perpetual struggle against Satan and his kingdom from which there are no “leaves” or “discharges.” Our enemy goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8. Those who resist the devil will see him flee, James 4:7. The only ones whom he devours are those who don’t actively fight against him.

Choose To Love

Choose To Love

 

John 18:23 “Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”

 

God’s kind of love is not self-serving or self-seeking. Agape love will cause a person to lay down his life for another, John 15:13, because he has literally forgotten himself. Many times when heros are asked why they put themselves in jeopardy to save someone else, they reply that they didn’t even think about themselves. All they thought of was the danger to the other person. That’s God’s kind of love.

God’s type of love involves emotions many times, but it is not an emotion. It is an act of the will. We can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it and we can always conduct ourselves in a godly manner, when we feel God’s kind of love. God’s kind of love is a choice.

God’s kind of love is also the antidote to selfishness and pride. We cannot conquer self by focusing on self. The only way to win over self is to fall in love with God more than with ourself. It is in discovering God’s love that we lose self love.

Jesus didn’t feel some emotional sensation when He chose to die for us, but that was the greatest demonstration of God’s kind of love that the world has ever seen. He made a choice in spite of His emotions. Because He was consumed with God’s love, He acted properly, even when His emotions didn’t agree.

Jesus is the ultimate example of God’s kind of love.