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What is Zion

What is Zion

The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:14)

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, …….. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18, 22-24)

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (1 Peter 2:6)

“What is Zion? What is Mount Zion? What is the biblical meaning of Zion?”

Psalm 87:2-3 says, “The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God.” Occurring over 150 times in the Bible, the word “Zion” essentially means “fortification.” In the Bible, Zion is both the city of David and the city of God. As the Bible progresses, the word “Zion” transitions from referring primarily to a physical city to having a more spiritual meaning.
The first mention of the word “Zion” in the Bible is 2 Samuel 5:7:

“Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.” “Zion,” therefore, was originally the name of the ancient Jebusite fortress in the city of Jerusalem. “Zion” came to stand not only for the fortress but also for city in which the fortress stood.

After David captured “the stronghold of Zion,” Zion was then called “the City of David” (1 Kings 8:1; 1 Chronicles 11:5; 2 Chronicles 5:2).
When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, “Zion” expanded in meaning to include the temple and the area surrounding it (Psalms 2:6; 48:2, 11-12; 132:13). “Zion” was eventually used as a name for the city of Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the people of Israel as a whole (Isaiah 40:9; Jeremiah 31:12; Zechariah 9:13).
The most important use of the word “Zion” is in a theological sense. “Zion” is used figuratively of Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). The spiritual meaning of “Zion” is continued in the New Testament, where it is given the Christian meaning of God’s spiritual kingdom, the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1). Peter refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).

Coming to Mount Zion

by Ray Stedman

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, …….. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18, 22-24)

The writer is here speaking of that which motivates us in the Christian life. We are not to be driven by fear. Not by the Law with its demands upon us, Do this, or else. Not by self-effort, not by the gritted teeth and the clenched fist and a determination that we are going to serve God. If we serve because we are afraid, as the Law frightened Israel in the terrible scene on Mt. Sinai, we will lose something from God.

It is not fear that is our motive; it is fullness, it is what God has given us.

You have come not to this Mount Sinai, but to Mount Zion, the place of grace; and to the new Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come under a new government. And to angels. Angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who are to be the heirs of salvation, i.e., Christians. And to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven.

This is those who are born in Christ, sharing his life with our names written in heaven. And to God, the judge of all, whether they are Christians or not. And to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

These are the Old Testament saints, men and women of God who lived in the days when the promise was given before the cross, who looked forward by faith and who are waiting now for us. And to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. A mediator is not someone up in heaven somewhere, in some distant reach of space; he is an indwelling Christ. He is available to us. He is right here to be our strength, our righteousness, our wisdom, whatever we need.

When Abel’s blood was shed it cried out for vengeance, as the book of Genesis tells us, but Jesus’ blood did not speak of vengeance — it speaks of access, of vindication, of the fact there is no problem between us and God that is not settled by his blood. There is no longer any question of guilt. We can come completely accepted in the Beloved.

Thus, with all this on our side there is no need to fail, is there? That is the point he is making. Certainly it gets rough, certainly it gets discouraging, surely there are times when the pressures are intense, but have you reckoned on your resources? Have you forgotten them?

Have we entered Mt. Zion, where joy and freedom from fear is our spiritual heritage? Is our worship and our works motivated by God’s grace, and His love which casts out fear ?

Gracious Father, we are so grateful that by grace you have led us to Mount Zion. Now help us to stand strong, and to be yours in every circumstance of life.

Grace

 Grace

“Charis”, the new testament word for grace is translated to mean favour, benefit, gift, joy, pleasure and thanks. Grace comes from God as He grants favour and blessing on us – it is unmerited favour; a constant and unchangeable power; an embodiment of God’s transcendence, omnipotence and love in our lives – It reaches into eternity beyond our limits and boundaries.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Psalm 145:17)

But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (Romans 5:15)

This grace is the free gift we need:

TO OBEY GOD’S WILL
By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name. (Romans 1:5)

FOR SALVATION OF OUR SOUL FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)

TO COME BEFORE GOD
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Grace 21stcrh

This grace is readily available through the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ:

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:2-3, KJV, emphasis added).
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7)

To cut it all short, Grace is:

THE FAVOUR OF GOD THAT GIVES US ACCESS TO THE POWER OF GOD FOR EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS.

GOD’S ABILITY WORKING IN US, TO HELP US DO WHAT WE CANNOT DO OURSELVES.

GOD’S PROVISION FOR OUR WEAK PLACES; HIS PROVISION FOR OUR  ‘Achilles heel’

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. (Philippians 3:10)

O lord teach us how to appropriately lay aside our human ability (or even, inability as the case may be), so that we may be able to experience Your power in our life; that power that is the GRACE OF GOD.

A Review of Foresight of The Master Planner So far

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

A Review of Foresight of The Master Planner So far

 

In our journey through the book of Romans We have overall looked at:

The Eternal purpose of God

PLAN A  (The Glory of God)Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

PLAN A1 (The Gospel of Christ)In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

These, in essence (to some extent) capture what Apostle Paul was saying in Romans 1:1-3

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.”

all we have done so far is deal with Romans 1:1-3, as it is important to establish the credentials of this Jesus that we will be referring to in our study of the book of Romans;

In our last 4 posts on this series FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER, we looked at the first of three questions asked to see if Jesus is the “Saviour” and “liberator” of mankind; we took a look at the question, IS JESUS MORE THAN MAN? we looked at Jesus as the Son of (M)man and also Jesus as the Son of God, where we looked at the essence or reality of His nature – the essential nature or reality of Jesus Christ, in which the divine and the human are believed to be combined – How it is possible for Him to be God and man at the same time?

We then continued with our look at the first in our classifications of who Jesus Christ is with regards to His Nature, His Pre-Existence and how He fits into the eternal purpose of the Master Planner. Then we went on to look at the question – IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD?

In our look at the question – IS JESUS EQUAL WITH GOD? We examined how the Father rewarded his Son for His obedience even unto death;obedience unto death that was the end result of His emptying Himself in His deity, and then in humbling Himself in His humanity: We then compared this with The Difference Between Actual Suffering & Having A Mind To Suffer. We saw that:

One – All who serve God need to possess an additional characteristic – that of having a mind to suffer
Two – Yet, let it be clearly known here that being willing to suffer is not the same thing as suffering itself.
Three – Here we see the dilemma in the Lord’s service. Sometimes, for example, in the work which God has called us to do, we find ourselves in physical need because He seemingly has not provided sufficiently for us. What shall we do amidst such trial?
Four – How much of a mind to suffer must we posses? The demand of the Scripture is: “faithful unto death”

At this point, we had to take a pause in our dealing with the series FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER to have a look at a picture of the suffering of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the mini-series Maintaining a Healthy Fear of God – “While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.”

In looking at the first stanza of the hymn, Trust and Obey by John Henry Sammis as part of this mini-series In the posts, we have looked at God’s good will, His original plan of His eternal purpose Ultimately being, PLAN A  (The Glory of God)– We saw that it is safe to say that His good will, His eternal purpose, is a plan to ultimately, bring us to His Glory, with provision made for perceived blunders we will make along the way – this provision being The Gospel of Christ Jesus. We then started on this Journey of Regeneration– God’s Provisions & Man’s Acts. We then looked at what God has received from the death of Jesus Christ irrespective of a sinner believing and trusting in Jesus or not PropitiationIt Is Finished; before that, Redemption then Justification – You Are Not Guilty!!!! Says God as part of God’s Regeneration of man.

We then had a look at the work of the Holy Spirit in this eternal purpose of God especially the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of man. We looked at this from the perspective of the specific activities of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of man – His activities in the eternal Purpose of God and in His bringing life to man’s deadened conscience through quickening of the human spirit.
The Holy Spirit & Regeneration of Man. How God, According To His Will By The Holy Spirit:

Part 1 – Confirms Man As A Sinner The Components of Man (Body, Soul & Spirit); Heart of Man; SELF & The Heart of Man; Conviction in unregenerate Man; What is the law? (At Salvation); The law & Grace?
Part 2 – Removes His Sins and Their Consequences The purpose conviction of sin is CHANGE OF HEART; CHANGE OF HEART! in unregenerate man as a result of conviction?; Product of conviction in an un-regenerated man; The purpose of conviction of sin is to change the heart; Grace From Cross At Calvary; Regeneration of the spirit (Quickening); A Quickened Heart (At Salvation).

We then looked at Christian conversion – Repentance In Christian Conversion; The importance of having a Good Conscience: Useful Heart and finally the place of Faith In Christian Conversion.

ALL PRESENTATIONS Gospel ofChrist JesusCLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE ALL PLAN A1 (The Gospel of Christ) PRESENTATIONS

So we have overall looked at PLAN A  (The Glory of God)  & PLAN A1 (The Gospel of Christ), we will now continue with PLAN A2 (Back on Track)

In PLAN A2 (Back on Track) we will  have a look at Christian Transformation; Glory and The proving of Faith; Freedom from the dominion of indwelling sin  (This involves: Freedom from Sin, Sanctification mainly dis-positional); growth in life;  building up and maturing.

 PLAN A2 (Back on Track)

 

That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-12 emphasis added)

 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:4)

 

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

 

 

 

 

First Begotten Son is God Part 1

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 1

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)So far in this series of examining the book of Romans (early part of chapter 1), we have been looking at the eternal purpose of God – “The glory of God” (Romans 3:23); and “The glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). We have also looked at His plan for us and how we have (through Adam) “temporarily deviated” from the path of this plan. In our last post we looked at the consequences of Adam’s original sin (in Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life).So, up to this point in our analogy of this eternal purpose, we have looked at PLAN A as described in Ephesians 1:3-6 (Please bare in mind that it was always Plan A from the beginning and so it will be for eternity); and the bridge to PLAN 1, We will now, in this post start taking a look at the “only Begotten Son” the “Tree of Life” through whom we have divine life. What a wonderful foresight the Master Planner has, to perceive that Adam’s choice could only count for disobedience and had a contingency:

eternal purpose Plan A1 fin

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PLAN A1 – The Gospel of Christ – “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”. (Ephesians 1:7-9)

“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4)

Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God. Man consists of 3 components: BODY (seat of our world-consciousness, and represents the functions of our senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc: SOUL (seat of our self-consciousness and represents the functions of our will, intellect and emotions: Lastly SPIRIT (seat of our God-consciousness and represents the functions of our conscience, intuition and communion).

Now, in our last post Called to God’s Kingdom – Part 2 ALL HAVE SINNED, Watchman Nee in his book The Normal Christian Life touched on Adam’s Choice The Reason For The Cross, where he said:

Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thereby took up independent ground. In doing so he became (as man is now in his own eyes) a fully developed’ man. He could command a knowledge; he could decide for himself; he could go on or stop. From then on he was “wise” (Genesis 3:6). But the consequence for him was death rather than life, because the choice he had made involved complicity with Satan and brought him therefore under the judgment of God. That is why access to the tree of life had thereafter to be forbidden to him.

Complicity with Satan!! Someone would say!

Yes, complicity of soul and spirit, complicity that made his soul and it’s inherent power susceptible to manipulation by Satan; a complicity that set the soul at loggerheads with his spirit: In other words, a complicity that sets the functions of his will, intellect and emotions against the functions of his conscience, intuition and communion with God.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”. (John 4:24)

The reason for this complicity Jessie Penn-Lewis articulates in chapter 7of  SOUL AND SPIRIT where she wrote:

Why can it be said that the world-conflict is becoming a question of “forces of psuche” (or soul) versus the “forces of pneuma” (or spirit). To get light on the causes underlying this, we must again go back to the Eden tragedy and see what the Fall of Adam meant, and the serpent’s objective, which is nearing its climax at the present hour. For we have not clearly understood how deep and tragic were the results of the Fall, nor what Adam carried with him into his fallen condition, nor realized that the God-given powers which Adam possessed in his sinless state lay open afterwards to the tempter.
The gilded bait held out to Eve in the temptation was “Ye shall be as God” (Genesis 3: 5). This was God’s very purpose for the sinless pair before they fell. It seems that the word ” likeness ” in Genesis 1:26 signifies to “become like”, indicating that the wonderful potentialities breathed into Adam constituting the image of God, were meant to be developed in a process which would ” end in man being like his Creator in dominion and rule over all things. How tragic, then, that God Who alone could rightly develop and guide the use of these powers, should be shut outside the wonderful being He had created, and more terrible still that the very potentialities inherent in Him should now lie open to the hand of His enemy.
Adam here (obviously not considering that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom Psalms 111:10) chose to align himself with God’s enemy by the decision he made to develop the functions of his will, intellect and emotions “APART FROM GOD” at the expense of developing the functions of his conscience, intuition and communion with God. Let us quickly look at what the dictionary tells us about these words compared with what the word of God says:

BODY

The physical structure and material substance of an animal or plant, living or dead: The trunk or main mass of a thing: the body of a tree: Anatomy, the physical structure of a human being or animal, not including the head, limbs, and tail; trunk; torso.

Flesh:
The body, esp. as distinguished from the spirit or soul: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak: The physical or animal nature of humankind as distinguished from its moral or spiritual nature: the needs of the flesh: Humankind.

Compare with: Matt. 26:41; Luke 3:6; John 6:63; Acts 2:26; Rom. 6:19; Rom. 7:5; Rom. 7:18; Rom. 7:25; Rom. 8:1-5; 5-13; 8.23; Rom. 13:14; 1Cor. 1:29; 1Cor. 5:5; I Cor. 15.22, 23, 42-44, 51-56; 2Cor. 1:12; 2Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 4:11; 2Cor. 7:1; 2Cor. 10:3; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3.20-21; Col:2:13; 1 Thess. 4.14-18; 1Pet. 4:2; John 2:16.

SOUL

The principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.

Will:
The faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: The freedom of the will: Power of choosing one’s own actions: The act or process of using or asserting one’s choice: Wish or desire: Purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; wilfulness: Volition.

Compare with: Ps.27:12; Psa. 41:2; Ezek.16:27; Deut. 21:14; Psa. 35:25; Num. 30:2; I Chron. 22:19; Jer. 44:14; Job 6:7; Job 7:15.Intellect:
The power or faculty of the mind by which one knows or understands, as distinguished from that by which one feels and that by which one wills; The understanding: The faculty of thinking and acquiring knowledge: Capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge, esp. of a high or complex order: Mental capacity: A particular mind or intelligence, esp. of a high order: A person possessing a great capacity for thought and knowledge: Minds collectively, as of a number of persons or the persons themselves.
Compare with: Ezek. 24:25; Prov. 19:2; Psa. 13:2; Psa. 139:14; Lam. 3:20; Prov. 2:10; Prov. 3:21-22; Prov. 24:14.Emotion: 
An affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness: Any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc: Any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes, as increased heartbeat or respiration, and often overt manifestation, as crying or shaking: An instance of this: Something that causes such a reaction: the powerful emotion of a great symphony.
Compare with:
Affection- Song 1:7; Luke 1:46; Job 33:20; 2 Sam. 5:8; Zech. 11:8; Deut. 6:5; Job 10:1; Psa. 107:18.
Desire – Deut. 14:26; 1 Sam. 20:4; Psa. 84:2; Psa. 42:1; Is. 26:9.
Feeling & Sensing- Luke 2:35; I Sam. 30:6; 2 Kings 4:27; Judges 10:16; Job 19:2; Is. 61:10; Psa. 86:4; Psa. 107:5; Psa. 116:7; Psa. 119:20; Prov. 16:24; Is. 55:2; Jonah 2:7; Matt, 26:38; John 12:27; 2 Peter 2:8.

SPIRIT

The principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul; Excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigour, courage, firmness of intent, etc.; mettle: That’s the spirit; The incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.

Conscience:
The inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience: The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual: An inhibiting sense of what is prudent: I’d eat another piece of pie but my conscience would bother me: Knowledge shows what is right or wrong, but it is the conscience that approves of what is right and disapproves of what is contrary to it.

Compare with: Deut. 2:30; Psa. 34:18; Psa. 51:10; John 13:21; Acts 17:16; Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 5:3; 2 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:7Intuition:
Direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension: A fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way: A keen and quick insight: The quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight: An immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object; any object or truth so discerned; pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge: The ability of the native speaker to make linguistic judgments, as of the grammaticality, ambiguity, equivalence, or nonequivalence of sentences, deriving from the speaker’s native-language competence.
Compare with: Matt. 26:41; Mark 2:8; Mark 8:12; John 11:33; Acts 18:5; Acts 18:25; Acts 20:22; 1 Cor. 2:11; I Cor. 16:18; 2 Cor. 7:13Communion:
Interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication: communion with nature: The act of sharing, or holding in common; participation: Worship
Compare with: Luke 1:47; John 4:23; Rom. 1:9; Rom. 7:6; Rom. 8:15; Rom. 8:16; I Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 14:15; I Cor. 14:16; Rev. 21:10.

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These three elements of man each have their own distinct level of supremacy; The spirit is highest in supremacy and the body is lowest, in other words, our SPIRIT, God-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our conscience, intuition and communion) should at all times, have supremacy over our BODY, world-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc): and the balance between these two is facilitated by our SOUL, self-consciousness (as represented by the functions of our will, intellect and emotions)

Now at any point in time, the spirit being most supreme should also have control over the soul which acts more or less as the middleman between it (spirit) and body; it is the communicator of authority from the Holy Spirit from man’s spirit to His body.

So if at any point in time the soul is compromised, as in complicity that made Adams soul and it’s inherent power susceptible to manipulation by Satan; then the result is the abnormality of the soul being totally subjected to and being at ease with the dictates of the flesh (body).

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. (Galatians 5:16-25)

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting”. (Galatians 6:8).

After the fall, Adam only had the capacity to sow to the flesh, the functions of his will, intellect and emotions became totally subjected to and at the “beck and call” of his flesh – world-consciousness (as represented by the functions of his senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, pain, balance, thirst, and hunger etc) and this definitely meant he then has to “of the flesh reap corruption”; because he failed to heed the waning given to him by God in Genesis 2:17:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”

The death spoken of here by God is not physical death, but death of the spirit; it refers to a spirit separated from God; a spirit in darkness that needs the light of God to be regenerated, to come alive again – less than an empty battery that needs to be recharged to be of any use but one that needs to be born afresh. It refers to a spirit that needs fresh Life from above breathed into it. King David gave us a clue in Psalms 36:9 about the source of this fresh Light and Life:

“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light”.

John also points us in the same direction:

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. (John 1:9-12)

Yes!! Because, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. (John 3:6) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (born not of the intensions of the first Adam with ulterior motives characterised by the irregularity of the functions of his will, intellect and emotions; totally subjected to and at the “beck and call” of his flesh) but –

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God: And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. (John 1:13-14).

That’s right! “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” Jesus, The Only Begotten Son of God came in the form of man to right the wrongs of Adam’s choice. Now this is the crux; there is always that lingering thought in the inner recess of the mind that questions this idea of Jesus being The Son of God.

Being brought up as a Muslim, this was one of the hurdles I had to cross; a great number of professing “Christians” have also passively bypassed their own personal opinions on the matter. Charles Spurgeon in GOD’S WORD NOT TO BE REFUSED touched on this:

But there are some who do hear, and have a very intelligent idea of what they hear, but who actually refuse to believe it. For divers reasons best known to themselves they reject the testimony of the incarnate God. They hear that God the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and he hath borne testimony that whosoever believeth in him is not condemned. They know but they will not believe in him. They will give you first one excuse, and then another, but all the excuses put together will never mitigate the fact that they do not believe the testimony of God concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, and so they “refuse him that speaketh.” How many, how many here are by their unbelief refusing the Christ that speaks out of heaven?
Some are even offended at the gospel, as in Christ’s day. When he came to a tender point in his preaching they went back and walked no more with him. Such there are to be found in our assemblies. The gospel galls them; there is some point that touches their prejudices, something that touches their favourite sin, and they are vexed and irritable. They ought to be angry–angry with their sin–but they are angry with Christ instead. They ought to denounce themselves, and patiently seek mercy, but this is not palatable to them; they would rather denounce the preacher, or denounce the preacher’s Master.
In our next post, we will continue our deliberation on this subject of Jesus being the only begotten Son of God.

Meanwhile:
Heavenly Father, in the light of Your countenance is life; and You favour is like the cloud of the latter rain (Prov. 16:15); we pray that You will let this rain of Your unadulterated Word and The Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; of grace and mercy through Him and Salvation by Him countinue to fall bountifully and mightily upon our world: And daily bring Holy spirit inspired conviction and repentance upon our heart – Amen
 Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

First Begotten Son is God Part 2

FORESIGHT OF THE MASTER PLANNER

First Begotten Son is God Part 2

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1-7)

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. John1:1.
  In the next few posts we will be looking at who our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is; is he just a guru? Just a prophet? Great teacher? etc.
  The name Jesus has caused more debate, confrontation and disagreement that any other name in the history of mankind. In a world that seldom wants that name of Jesus mentioned, even now in some “Christian” circles, it is very important that we touch on the reason for such hostility to a Name. Is the hostility and “political incorrectness” because of perceived blasphemy on His behalf or is it that the Name just jolts some raw nerves in people when it is mentioned:
  “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”. (Phil. 2:9-11)
Why has the name “Jesus Christ” caused more debate, confrontation and disagreement than any other name in history? Some now even argue that He did not mention anything about Himself being God in the Bible; and those who think He did just “disapprove” of this claim outrightly.
  When God appeared to Moses in the land of Midian, for his assignment regarding the freedom of the children of Israel from Pharaoh in Egypt, as described in Exodus 3:2,3
 “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt”. (See Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Hebrews 12:29).
O Lord, even when we go through the fire, just like the bush in Midian; may we come out intact and may the only thing consumed be the works of the enemy in our lives – Amen
  “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God”. (Exodus 3:6)
God calmed Moses down at this point and gave him instructions on what He (God) wanted after which Moses reluctantly agreed:
  “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations”. (Exodus 3:13-15)
 I won’t dwell too much on this story in this post, but what I want to draw out from it is the identity of that “Angel of the LORD” in verse 2 of the chapter. This same divine manifestation of the “Angel of the LORD” who appeared to different people in the old testament (Genesis 16:7-12; 21:17-18; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1-4; 5:23; 6:11-24; 13:3-22; 2 Samuel 24:16; Zechariah 1:12; 3:1; 12:8) and these instances were described as situations where the people involved had “seen the Lord”.
 Can it be said that Jesus is this “Angel of the LORD”? As bible records show that the manifestation of angels ceased after Jesus’ assumption of human form or nature.
 We can also see from His claim of “being before Abraham” (who is meant to be his human ancestral forefather) and the Jews where of course very quick to challenge this (this funny confrontaion of the Jews reminds me of “The Speakers Corner” in Hyde Park Central London) –
 “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am”. (John 8:57-58).
 What the Jews did not realise was their neglect of the prophesies they had been given about the credentials of the Messiah to come, for example, that given by Micah:
 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2)  We will have a detailed look at this in our next post.
 This claim as well as those He made to John after His resurrection,
 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty“. (Rev. 1:8. See also Rev. 1:17; 21:6; 22:13).
 When He appeared to John in the book of Revelation:
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne”. (Rev. 1:4)
  Apostle Paul also adds:
  “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen”. (1Tm. 6:14-16).
  Compare this verse to:
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
  These claims here point to Jesus’ immutability like other eternal attributes of God as we discussed in earlier posts He alone is God; And He is God alone. Parts 1&2 are claims that form the backbone of the Christian believe; where these attributes cannot be substantiated then it will be impossible to answer the questions being ask today like the Jews asked Jesus when He was alive:
Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God?
If Jesus is God, how could he die?
If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today?
Is Jesus Christ’s character consistent with his high claims?
How do we know that Christ really rose from the dead?
How do we know that Jesus was the Messiah?
What messianic prophecies did Christ fulfill?
Could Christ have sinned?
How can one God be three persons?
  Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians observed:
“Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”. 1Cor. 15:11-19
  Like I said in our last post, being brought up as a Muslim, which as oxymoronic as it may sound, is an advantage because it gave me the opportunity to “question what I say I believe” (as a Christian); so many confessing Christians have taken this for granted and in the process might have given up the opportunity of experiencing that special touch of the Lord, His special presence that accompanies the moment of realisation of what Apostle Paul described above in 1Cor. 15:11-19. This is not say that we only seek to know him intellectually (as some do) but it also makes us have an experiential knowledge of Him (as a large number of Christians today tend to only concentrate on); we should try to balance these two aspects of our fellowship with Him..
John W. Peterson in the hymn Heaven Came Down, wrote:
  Heaven came down and glory filled my soul
When at the cross my Saviour made me whole
My sins were washed away
And my night was turned to day
When heaven came down and glory filled my soul
  O, what a wonderful, wonderful day
Day I will never forget
When I was wandering in darkness away
Jesus my Saviour I met
O, what a tender compassionate Friend
He met the need of my heart
Shadows dispelling with joy I am telling
He made all the darkness depart
  O, what a wonderful, wonderful day, Yeah, today
And O, what a glorious, glorious day
The day You came, came to save me
O, what a wonderful, wonderful day
The day You came and You saved me
I still remember that day at the Golf course in Hanwell, London when after so much searching (I had been to Church and tried other religions) I cheekily asked the question “You this Jesus, If you are real; and really rose up from the dead, show me” there and then on that bench “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul” that moment was like what the Jesus described in Matthew 13:44:
  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field”.
It was that moment and the fellowship I had with the Lord in the weeks after (as I played over and over again, the Don Moen tape I was given by sister until the sound from the tape faded) that convinced me that “this Jesus stuff is worth pursuing” and that grace of readiness to give up all if need be to follow Him was and is still being supplied. I am not here trying to say that this a doctrine and should cast iron, be the experience of all Christians, but in today’s Christianity of “name it and claim it” as if God is some fruit machine where you put in a coin and then it vomits a “Jackpot of coins”; it is possible to go through the motions, speak the “christianeeze” language and never get to know the One whom it is all about.
  Now, these claims about who Christ really is has been a bone of contention even when He was here on earth and definitely more than 2000 years after. These claims, He Himself made during His time on earth and at such instances the Jews were very much ready to lynch Him. Some of such occasions are highlighted in these verses:
 “I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto `whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him (John 10:30-38).
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-17).
“But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death” (Mark 14:61-64).
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” (John 14:6-7).
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:14 -17).
“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15, 30).
  How is it even possible that Jesus Christ, who was born some six months AFTER John could yet be BEFORE John? These highlighted phrases point out some answers to claims by Christianity about Jesus. To understand some of these questions that accompany these biblical claims we will consider who Jesus is with regards to:
His Nature
His Pre-Existence
How He fit into the eternal purpose of the Master Planner
In our Next post we will have a closer look at His Nature meanwhile:
Heavenly Father we pray that You will multiply your glorious riches in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ unto us and fill us with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; so that we be able to step back and meditate on this words of Apostle Paul:
“Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable”. 1Cor. 15:11-19

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

Called to God’s Kingdom – Part 2

 Foresight of The Master Planner

Called to God’s Kingdom – Part 2

ALL HAVE SINNED

 “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory”. (1Thes. 2:12)

Why Redemption? Why PLAN A1

PLAN AThe Glory of God – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

PLAN A1 – The Gospel of Christ – In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

PLAN A2 – Back on Track – That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-12 emphasis added)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come” (Rom. 5:12-14).So far we have touched on God’s foresight and provision for Adam’s deviation from the path of glory set before him, I would like us to briefly look at the circumstances that surrounded Adam’s fall and will do this by looking at a section of Watchman Nee’s The Normal Christian Life: The Choice That Confronted Adam

God planted a great number of trees in the Garden of Eden, but “in the midst of the garden”–that is, in a place of special prominence–He planted two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was created innocent; he had no knowledge of good and evil. Think of a grown man, say thirty years old, who has no sense of right or wrong, no power to differentiate between the two! Would you not say such a man was undeveloped? Well, that is exactly what Adam was.
And God brings him into the garden and says to him, in effect, Now the garden is full of trees, full of fruits, and of the fruit of every tree you may eat freely. But in the very midst of the garden is one tree called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”; you must not eat of that, for in the day that you do so you will surely die.
But remember, the name of the other tree close by is Life.’ What, then, is the meaning of these two trees? Adam was, so to speak, created morally neutral–neither sinful nor holy, but innocent–and God put those two trees there so that he might exercise free choice. He could choose the tree of life, or he could choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.Now the knowledge of good and evil, though forbidden to Adam, is not wrong in itself. Without it however Adam is in a sense limited in that he cannot decide for himself on moral issues. Judgment of right and wrong resides not in him but in God, and Adam’s only course when faced with any question is to refer it to Jehovah God. Thus you have a life in the garden which is totally dependent on God.
These two trees, then, typify two deep principles; they represent two planes of life, the Divine and the human. The “tree of life” is God Himself, for God is life. He is the highest form of life, and He is also the source and goal of life. And the fruit: what is that? It is our Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot eat the tree but you can eat the fruit. No one is able to receive God as God, but we can receive the Lord Jesus. The fruit is the edible part, the receivable part of the tree. So–may I say it reverently?–the Lord Jesus is really God in a receivable form. God in Christ we can receive.

If Adam should take of the tree of life, he would partake of the life of God and thus become a ‘son’ of God, in the sense of having in him a life that derived from God. There you would have God’s life in union with man: a race of men having the life of God in them and living in constant dependence upon God for that life. If on the other hand Adam should turn the other way and take the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then he would develop his own manhood along natural lines apart from God. Reaching a peak of attainment as a self-sufficient being, he would have the power in himself to form independent judgment, but he would have no life from God.

So this was the alternative that lay before him. Choosing the way of the Spirit, the way of obedience, he could become a son’ of God, living in dependence upon God for his life; or, taking the natural course, he could put the finishing touch to himself, as it were, by becoming a self-dependent being, judging and acting apart from God. The history of humanity is the outcome of the choice he made.

Adam’s Choice The Reason For The Cross

Adam chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and thereby took up independent ground. In doing so he became (as man is now in his own eyes) a fully developed’ man. He could command a knowledge; he could decide for himself; he could go on or stop. From then on he was “wise” (Genesis 3:6). But the consequence for his was death rather than life, because the choice he had made involved complicity with Satan and brought him therefore under the judgment of God. That is why access to the tree of life had thereafter to be forbidden to him.

Two planes of life had been set before Adam: that of Divine life in dependence upon God, and that of human life with its independent’ resources. Adam’s choice of the latter was sin, because thereby he allied himself with Satan to thwart the eternal purpose of God. He did so by choosing to develop his manhood–to become perhaps a very fine man, even by his standards a perfect’ man–apart from God. But the end was death, because he had not in him the Divine life necessary to realize God’s purpose in his being, but had chosen to become instead an independent’ agent of the Enemy. Thus in Adam we all become sinners, equally dominated by Satan, equally subject to the law of sin and death, and equally deserving of the wrath of God.

From this we see the Divine reason for the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We see too the Divine reason for true consecrationfor reckoning ourselves to be dead unto sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus, and for presenting ourselves unto Him as alive from the dead. We must all go to the Cross, because what is in us by nature is a self-life, subject to the law of sin. Adam chose a self-life rather than a Divine life; so God had to gather up all that was in Adam and do away with it. Our old man’ has been crucified. God has put us all in Christ and crucified Him as the last Adam, and thus all that is of Adam has passed away.

Then Christ arose in new form; with a body still, but in the Spirit’, no longer in the flesh’. “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). The Lord Jesus now has a resurrected body, a spiritual body, a glorious body, and since He is no longer in the flesh He can now be received by all. “He that eateth me, he also shall live because of me”, said Jesus (John 6:57). The Jews revolted at the thought of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, but of course they could not receive Him then because He was still literally in the flesh. Now that He is in the Spirit every one of us can receive Him, and it is by partaking of His resurrection life that we are constituted children of God. “As many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God… which were born… of God.” (John 1:12, 13).

God is not out to reform our life. It is not His thought to bring it to a certain stage of refinement, for it is on a totally wrong plane. On that plane He cannot now bring man to glory. He must have a new man; one born anew, born of God. Regeneration and justification go together.

He That Hath The Son Hath The Life

There are various planes of life. Human life lies between the life of the lower animals and the life of God. We cannot bridge the gulf that divides us from the plane above or the plane below, and the distance that separates us from the life of God is vastly greater than that which separates us from the life of the lower animals.

In China one day I called on a Christian leader who was sick in bed, and whom, for the sake of this story, I shall call Mr. Wong’ (though that was not his real name). He was a very learned man, a Doctor of Philosophy, and one esteemed throughout the whole of China for his high moral principles, and he had long been engaged in Christian work. But he did not believe in the need for regeneration; he only proclaimed a social gospel.

When I called on Mr. Wong his pet dog was by his bedside, and after speaking with him of the things of God and of the nature of His work in us, I pointed to the dog and inquired his name. He told me he was called Fido. Is Fido his Christian name or his surname?’ I asked (using the common Chinese terms for personal name’ and family name’). Oh, that is just his name’, he said. Do you mean that is just his Christian name? Can I call him Fido Wong?’ I continued. Certainly not!’ came the emphatic reply. But he lives in your family’, I protested,

Why don’t you call him Fido Wong?’ Then, indicating his two daughters, I asked Are your daughters not called Miss Wong?’ Yes!’ Well then, why cannot I call your dog Master Wong?’ The Doctor laughed, and I went on: Do you see what I am getting at? Your daughters were born into your family and they bear your name because you have communicated your life to them. Your dog may be an intelligent dog, a well-behaved dog, and altogether a most remarkable dog; but the question is not, Is he a good or a bad dog? It is merely, Is he a dog? He does not need to be bad to be disqualified from being a member of your family; he only needs to be a dog.

The same principle applies to you in your relationship to God. The question is not whether you are a bad man or a good man, more or less, but simply, Are you a man? If your life is on a lower plane than that of God’s life, then you cannot belong to the Divine family. Throughout your life your aim in preaching has been to turn bad men into good men; but men as such, whether good or bad, can have no vital relationship with God. Our only hope as men is to receive the Son of God, and when we do so His life in us will constitute us sons of God.’ The Doctor saw the truth, and that day he became a member of God’s family by receiving the Son of God into his heart.

What we today possess in Christ is more than Adam lost. Adam was only a developed man. He remained on that plane, and never possessed the life of God. But we who receive the Son of God not only receive the forgiveness of sins; we receive also the Divine life which was represented in the garden by the tree of life. By the new birth we receive something Adam never had; we possess what he missed.

I our next post we shall look at the “only Begotten Son” the “Tree of Life” through whom we have divine life. What a wonderful foresight the Master Planner has, to percieve that Adam’s choice could only count for disobedience. for now we pray:

Holy Spirit, help us in our realisation of, or analysis of “being in Christ Jesus,” to look more to that wondrous secret work of The Father by which we were united to Christ.. Quicken our mind to see that, at the back of our turning, and believing, and accepting of Christ, there was God’s almighty power doing its work–inspiring our will, taking possession of us, and carrying out its own purpose of love in planting us into Christ Jesus. Help us to enter into the divine side of the work of salvation, where we learn to praise and to worship with new exultation, and to rejoice more than ever in the divineness of that salvation we have been made partaker of. So that at each step we review, the song will come, “This is the Lord’s doing”–Divine Omnipotence working.

Meanwhile, seek to be set free from God’s wrath today and seek the righteousness that really counts:

Most Importantly!!!!!

 You might say – “Why do I have to know and experience this Jesus you are going on about?” Here is why, when and how you can get to know Him.

Admit your spiritual need.

We all are sinners: nobody likes that title “SINNER”, but the bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.

What is the result of sin?

In Romans 6:23 we read “The wages of sin is death…” in other words, every sin is another step towards death. One thing that we need to remember is that God never sends anyone to hell; one can send himself there by rejecting the truth.

Since we can never measure up to God’s standards by our own strength; God has reached out to mankind.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. It is Jesus, after all, who is the source of life’s greatest high.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17).

What must a person do to accept this gift?

Simply receive it! Matthew 11:28 states –“come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…for my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks, seeking entrance into your life to give you peace, change you for the best. John 1:12 says: “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God”.

If you haven’t already received Christ as your Saviour, don’t put it off another day! Take time right now to reflect on the state of your life, how does Romans 3:23 apply to you? Ask God to empower you to see the true state of your heart – “The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) then when enabled, invite Jesus into your life. Confess your sins. Receive His forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. You could pray something like this:

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for giving me eternal life. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases You, for whatever time You give me here on earth. I look forward to living forever in Heaven with You. Amen.

The incredible greatness of His power

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The incredible greatness of His power

“I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of His power to us who believe Him.” Ephesians 1:19

 The work of God on the soul, is a work of sovereign and omnipotent power! See what a mighty power was put forth in turning us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; and how it was the outstretched arm of Omnipotence alone, which could deliver us from the power of darkness and bring us into the eternal heavenly kingdom! Consider the difficulties which grace has to overcome, in the “quickening” of a dead soul into spiritual life. View the depths of the fall.

Contemplate—the death of the soul in trespasses and sins—the thorough alienation from the life of God—the darkness, blindness, and ignorance of the understanding—the perverseness of the will—the hardness of the conscience—and the depravity of the affections!

View the soul’s obduracy, stubbornness and obstinacy—its pride, unbelief, infidelity and self-righteousness; its passionate love to, habitual practice of, and long imprisonment to sin. Consider its strong prejudices against everything godly and holy! Contemplate the desperate, implacable enmity of the carnal mind against God Himself—its firm and deep rooted love to the world, in all its varied shapes and forms—and remember also how all its hopes, happiness, and prospects are bound up in the things of time and sense! O what a complicated mass of difficulties, do all these foes form in their firm combination, like a compact, well armed, thoroughly trained army—against any power which would seek to dislodge them from their position!

Add to this—all the power, malice, and deceitful arts of Satan, as the strong armed man—keeping the palace night and day, and yielding to none but the stronger than he! Consider, too, the sacrifices which must often be made by one who is to live godly in Christ Jesus—the tenderest ties, perhaps, to be broken—the lucrative prospects which have to be abandoned— old friends to be renounced—family connections to be given up— position in life to be lost—shame and contempt to be entailed on oneself!

Viewing, then, a soul dead in sin, with all these difficulties and obstacles in their complicated array, must we not pronounce that to be a mighty act of power which, in spite of all these apparently invincible hindrances, lifts it up and out of them all, into a new and spiritual life? So fully and thoroughly is this fruit and effect of omnipotent power, and of omnipotent power alone, that it is spoken of in the word as—a new and heavenly birth—a new creation—a resurrection—all which terms imply a putting forth of a divine power, as distinct from and independent of any creature effort.

Contemplate also, the mighty power of God in “maintaining” divine life in our soul. We have to see and feel—what mountains of difficulty—what seas of temptation—what winds and storms of error—what assaults and snares of Satan—what floods of vileness and ungodliness within and without—strong lusts and passions— what secret slips and falls—what backslidings and departures from the living God—what long seasons of darkness, barrenness, and death—what opposition of the flesh to the strait and narrow way—what crafty hypocrites, pretended friends, false professors—all striving to throw down or entangle our steps! Consider also, what helplessness, inability, and miserable impotency in ourselves to all that is good—and what headlong proneness to all that is evil. We have also to ponder over what we have been and what we still are, since we professed to fear God— and how, when left to ourselves, we have done nothing but sin against and provoke God to His face! And thus as read over article by article, this long dark catalogue, still to have a sweet persuasion that the life of God is in our soul—we realize, believe, an feel, and bless God for His surpassing, super-abounding grace, in maintaining this divine life in our soul. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!”

J.C. Philpot