God’s Awesome Power

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God’s Awesome Power

John 18:6 “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

It is evident that it was the power of God that made these six hundred men fall backwards to the ground, but why did it happen when He said, “I am he”?

In this verse, and also in verse eight, the word “he” is italicized. That means that the word “he” was not in the original text but was added by the translators to make the sentence grammatically correct. This serves a useful purpose and is very helpful in most cases. However, the translators put these additions in italics so that we could be aware of what the text literally said.

In this instance, Jesus literally said, “I am.” Since Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, His statement of “I am,” carried just as much weight as when He expressed it to Mose, Exodus 3:14. This is nothing less than the Almighty God releasing His glory through the powerful statement, “I AM.” No wonder these men were knocked to the ground.

This graphically illustrates how Jesus could have easily defended Himself against any size army that would come to take His life. As He said in John 10:18, “No man taketh it (i.e. His life) from me, but I lay it down of myself. …”

There are many instances recorded in scripture where people fell to the ground as a result of being in God’s presence. The same thing still happens today. Just as some people faint when they experience fear, when they experience the awesome presence of God, they become weak, and lose strength in their physical body

Learn The Word By Doing It

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Learn The Word By Doing It

Matthew 26:55 “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.”

The four gospels refer to Jesus teaching 43 times, preaching 19 times, and preaching and teaching in the same verse, six times. This indicates that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Teaching is the basic building block for making disciples. Jesus was making disciples, not just converts.

The Greek word for “disciple” literally means “a learner,” and indicates “learning by endeavor” or what we would call “on-the-job training.” Jesus said in John 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” Anyone who meets this criterion is Jesus’ disciple.

“Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus wants us to “count the cost.” It is definitely a commitment.

What the Lord has started in you, He will also continue and complete. That is not to say that your success will be automatic; we have to cooperate with what God is wanting to do in our lives. Our faithfulness may always be suspect, but God’s faithfulness is never in question. It is always God’s will to continue and complete the good work He began in us.

The “Old Man” Is Dead

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The “Old Man” Is Dead

Mark 14:41 “And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

It is not our individual acts of sin that make us a sinner. It is our sin nature that makes us commit individual acts of sin. Adam’s one sin produced a sin nature in all men that in turn, caused each person to commit individual acts of sin. Jesus not only dealt with the original sin that contaminated the human race, but He also dealt with each individual act of sin.

Anyone who is trying to obtain righteousness through their actions is totally missing the point. Believers are made righteous through faith in Christ, independent of their actions. It’s the same way that everyone was made a sinner: through Adam’s one sin, not through our individual sins.

At salvation, our old man, Romans 6:6, or sin nature died, but the tendency to sin remains in the thoughts and emotions that the old man left behind. No longer does the Christian have a sin nature that compels him to sin, but he must simply deal with renewing his mind.

Sin ruled like a king through condemnation to bring death upon everyone.

Condemnation is like the general of sin that enforces its power. Likewise, God’s grace now rules like a king through righteousness to bring all who are in Christ into eternal life. Righteousness is the general of grace who defends us against all the wiles of the devil.

Remove guilt or condemnation and sin loses its strength to rule, 1 Corinthians 15:56. Remove the knowledge of righteousness by faith, and grace loses its power to release eternal life into our daily lives.

Walk In The Light

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Walk In The Light

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

How do you walk in the Spirit? The way you do this is through living by, conducting your actions according to, and following the leading of the Word of God as quickened to you by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God agree perfectly because the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the written Word of God.

Denying the flesh will not result in walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit will result in denying the flesh. This may seem like a subtle difference to some, but the difference is truly profound. As a whole, false religions teach that as we overcome our flesh, there is a noticeable increase in the presence and power of God in our lives. That was what the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the legalistic Jews of Paul’s day taught. Just the opposite is true. As we experience more of the presence and power of the Spirit of God, then the influence of the flesh is diminished. Victory must come in this order. We don’t walk in the Spirit as a result of overcoming the flesh, rather overcoming the flesh is the result of walking in the Spirit.

It’s similar to how you fill a dark room with light. You don’t shovel out the darkness and then light appears. No! You simply turn on the light and the darkness flees. Much of religion preaches to stop sinning (get rid of the darkness) and then the Holy Spirit will come and empower you (the light will come). That’s not the way it works. Man can no more get rid of the power of the flesh on his own than he can get rid of the power of darkness without light. We have to receive the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by grace and then the union with the Holy Spirit breaks the power of the flesh. The key to breaking the dominion of the flesh is to appropriate the power of the Spirit through faith, while the flesh is still causing us problems. Those who are waiting for the Spirit to manifest after they have subdued the flesh, will wait as long as the man who is trying to get rid of the darkness so the light will appear.

 

Choose To Focus On All That Is Good

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Choose To Focus On All That Is Good

Mark 14:38 “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Temptation is linked directly to what we think upon, Hebrews 11:15. Temptation has to be entered into. We can avoid temptation by avoiding thoughts that generate temptation, Proverbs 23:7. Since it is impossible to not think, we cannot just try to reject the negative thoughts in this world, but we must choose to think on the positive truths of God. This is where prayer comes in.

In prayer, we have our minds stayed upon God and therefore, are not receptive to thoughts that conceive temptation. Temptation or sin must be conceived, James 1:14-15. In the physical realm, the easiest way to avoid an unwanted birth is to avoid conception, so it is in the spiritual world.

It is easier to avoid being tempted by being in constant communion with God, than it is to overcome temptation once it has been conceived.

Paul admonishes the Philippian believers to reflect and meditate upon eight positive principles of thinking that will lead to a victorious Christian life, Philippians 4:8. These are things that are “true,” that is: honorable, truthful and upright. Things that are “honest,” that is: honorable, truthful, genuine, not characterized by deception or fraud. Things that are “just,” that is: in accordance with what is right, or right conduct; any circumstance, fact or deed that is right. Things that are “pure,” free from defilement or impurity.

Things that are “lovely,” pleasing, agreeable, inspiring love or affection. A “good report,” that is: a saying or report that is positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive. “Virtue,” which is moral excellence, righteousness and goodness. “Praise,” or what is praiseworthy; expressing one’s esteem of a person and his virtues. We need to focus on the good in every area of our lives. Recognizing God’s hand in even the smallest things will bring peace and keep our hearts and minds following hard after the Lord.

His Fathomless Pain

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His Fathomless Pain

Luke 22:44 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

It is interesting that Luke is the only one of the gospel writers to mention that Jesus’ sweat was as great drops of blood. This is probably because Luke was a physician, Colossians 4:14, and therefore, this had special significance to him.

There have been documented cases of people actually sweating drops of blood under extreme emotional pressure. This might explain why Luke is the only writer to mention the angel strengthening Jesus. Just as when Jesus encountered Satan during His forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness and the angels ministered unto Him, Mark 1:13, so here, He needed supernatural strength to endure His sufferings.

The use of the words “as it were” might also mean that the sweat of Jesus was only comparable to blood in consistency or size, but it certainly underscores the effect Jesus’ agony had on His physical body.

Jesus’ sufferings for us were more than just physical. In the garden, before He suffered physically, He suffered emotionally, almost to the point of death. As Luke records, an angel had to come and give Him strength or the emotional struggle alone would have killed Him.

All that Jesus did was motivated solely by love. It was for the joy that was set before Him that He endured going to the cross. He didn’t do what He did to save us out of pity or a sense of obligation as our Creator. He did it because He loves us.

~He Is Our “ABBA”

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He Is Our “Abba”

Mark 14:36 “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

Although God was referred to as our Father in the Old Testament, Jesus’ frequent use of this title brought a whole new understanding of our relationship with God. Jesus referred to God as His Father, and He spoke of God as being our Father as well. This infuriated the religious Jews of Jesus’ day who considered it blasphemy to call God their Father, because they understood that to mean they were equal with God.

We are instructed to call God our Father, revealing the kind, gentle, loving nature of our God. The term “Abba” is an affectionate term that a young child calls his father, which corresponds to our term “daddy.” It is a term used to express intimacy and affectionate fondness. It removes the idea of God as a strict judge and carries the image of Him as a loving Father who cares, understands, and is our best friend. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:…”, 1 John 3:1.

We are sons of God by adoption. Jesus was the Son of God by nature. As Jesus said to the Jews, ye are of your Father the devil, John 8:44; Ephesians 2:3.

However, Jesus purchased us and made us adopted sons of God.

We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. To think that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is, and has, is beyond comprehension.

 

Seek The will Of God

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Seek The Will Of God

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to be made an offering for the sins of the world. This is true because He prophesied His death and resurrection many times before. However, because of His unique relationship with God, Jesus was asking God to accomplish His will some other way, but at the same time affirming His commitment to do His Father’s will and not His own.

He was not at a loss to know God’s will and therefore, left this time of prayer trusting that whatever the Father deemed best for Him would happen.

He knew, when He began praying what the Father’s will was and He knew at the close of His prayer, that God’s will could not be accomplished any other way.

For us to pray, “Lord, if it be thy will” in response to a promise that God has given us is nothing but unbelief and is not even remotely related to what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the foundational principles of answered prayer is that we must believe that we receive when we pray, Mark 11:24. There is no way that we can fulfill that condition if we don’t know God’s will in that situation. Praying, “if it be thy will” takes us out of the active position of believing and puts us in the passive position of waiting and letting circumstances rule our lives. If we are seeking direction in an area where God’s will is not already expressed through His Word, then we should pray James 1:5, and ask for wisdom. Then we can believe that we receive when we pray, and with that knowledge continue our prayer in faith.

We should not be ignorant but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

The only appropriate time to pray, “If it be thy will” is when we are dedicating ourselves to the service of God, regardless of where or what that may be.

Fill Up With God

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Fill Up With God

John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God’s love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. “God is love”, 1 John 4:8.

God’s love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God’s love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.

In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated “know” in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge. The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.

Since a true revelation of God’s love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God’s love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God’s love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

One In Spirit

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One In Spirit

John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

 

Jesus is praying for all believers to be one as He and the Father are one.

This goes far beyond what many promote as unity today. Paul besought the Corinthians to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”, 1 Corinthians 1:10. This is God’s standard of unity.

This oneness among believers is what Jesus said would cause the world to know that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has. The only way that Christ’s body will be one as the Father and Jesus are One is through God’s kind of love. No wonder Satan tries to get believers to go at each others’ throats. We spend billions of dollars a year on evangelism through television, radio, conventions and crusades, yet, the world is not evangelized because the body of Christ is not united in love.

There is very little unity among believers today. This has occured over thousands of years and it probably won’t be fixed over night. We must strive towards unity but not be overwhelmed by the problem. All Christians have already been joined to each other through the body of Christ, and God the Father sees us all as His children. All divisions among Christians are made by man, not God. For a brief period of time, the church enjoyed unity on earth. Regardless of what strife and division has occurred, all believers are still one in Christ and will live in perfect oneness throughout eternity. We are now one in Spirit. We just need to experience that unity here on earth.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”, Matthew 6:10.