Enter the kingdom

God is righteous and heaven is for the righteousness; therefore everybody in heaven must be righteous. Under the law people had to be righteous to enter paradise. Under Grace, people still have to be righteous to enter heaven.  There is no change.  In fact Jesus said except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees you could never enter the kingdom of heaven.

The only thing that has changed is how we become righteous; how it is obtained.    We can now be righteous before God by faith.  It is not a lesser righteousness, but a different means to being right before God.

Jesus is the righteousness of God and if you have Jesus you have righteousness.   God demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Rom 3:26 

 God is not indifferent to sin in fact He is holy and must condemn sin. This is the reason Jesus was punished for our unrighteousness. Now our faith in the Savior is accounted for righteousness.  Our faith justifies us – or declares us to be as if we had never sinned.

Friend, it doesn’t mean we are righteous in our self nor is it legal fiction where God says we are righteousness when we are not. But we are actually righteous in Christ or because Christ is within us, we truly are righteous.

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God’s word

The Word of God is our final and only and completely sufficient guidebook of how man is to live, but it is more than a guide book, it is the means by which Gods Spirit changes us. The Bible says it contains everything required to make a man of God thoroughly furnished for every good work.

In the garden Adam walked with God in the evening. He was one heart and one thought with God. But the serpent came and said Has God really said, you shall not die?”  Satan’s tactic in the world today and has been for history, is to get us to doubt that God has given sufficient guidance and that we need to make some decisions about our life for yourself.  You can decide what is right for you.  The original sin was the desire to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, instead of just obeying God.   The devil said “You should have the right to decide what is right; surely you are an intelligent person; the Bible is too restrictive and too ancient to be relevant today, but for true believers the Word of God is unchanging and non negotiable. It was given to be the foundation of all our theology and thinking; it is therefore Satan greatest target of attack.

Friends, the Word of God is not subject to the shifts of time or the puny critique of man’s reason.  It is not subject to trends, cultures or customs; it is the Word of God.

Wisdom of God

The town was exceedingly cultured and every four years they held the Isthmus games.  The greatest prize was for rhetoric, not running and every four the came early to practice. These speakers were always young, handsome well-dressed, highly educated males.   In those times they were like film stars league stars rolled into one and they could really wow the crowd. Many of them were trained in Alexandria University of rhetoric.  So to this town Paul comes probably during the time of the games when hundreds of thousands of people dwelt in tents. Paul was a tent maker who along with Apollo gained some converts and gathered them together as a church.

Of course just like all other Corinthians, they were divided and contentious having their own favourite speakers and comparing Paul and Apollo’s as preachers.  Paul says everything about what you think is wrong.   Paul says it pleases God that through the foolish message of the cross to save people and the message was foolish to the Greeks and the Romans.

Roman gods were powerful vindictive and larger-than-life. The idea of a god that could be crucified was ridiculous and actually scandalous. The Romans at time never talked about crucifixion.  It was the worst taboo subject and they never wished that on the worst enemy as it was not about pain but about shame.

Paul said it was a miracle you believed the gospel.  It was a ridiculous message to you; I was a ridiculous speaker to you, so it is a proof of Gods power at work!

Friend it was the power of God that saved them and it is the power of God that still saves us.

Sanctification

The town of Corinth was exceedingly wealthy. Many ships were dragged across the Isthmus to save the trip around the coast. There were many sailors many tradesmen business people.  And t was exceedingly corrupt.   The immorality of Corinth is legendary. Greek /Roman culture makes desperate housewives looked like a deacon’s meeting.

To the believers in this town Paul writes you are sanctified.   To be sanctified means to be made a saint. Originally meant set something apart for God so in the temples pots and vessels were sanctified. For us it is really begin set apart for God and his purpose and becoming more like Jesus we want that So God is sanctifying us right now justified sanctified glorified.

Corinthian people were completely given over to every vice they wanted. In fact pottery pieces and inscriptions say that the motto of the Greeks/Romans in current was “All things lawful!”   Everything was okay; do what you want, if it feels good, but Paul writes to say that we are sanctified to God so we don’t do what we feel like doing but what will serve Gods purpose best.

Friend, sanctification is just living in a way that doesn’t offend other believers or stumble non believers in any way.

 

 

Suffering of the Cross

It was necessary for the Messiah to die, but he couldn’t die in a painless way. He needed to suffer for our salvation. It was an essential part of Jesus’ ministry, and an essential part of the gospel.  Jesus had predicted his own suffering and death, even his death on a cross.   For the transgression of my people he was stricken…. Though he had done no violence … it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer … the Lord makes his life a guilt offering…. He will bear their iniquities…. He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

The cross allowed for suffering. Jesus even refused to speed up or dull the suffering with wine. On the cross he took the curse upon himself that was upon mankind   Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. He was made sin for us and bore our curses so we could be righteous and blessed

Since we failed to keep the law perfectly, we fell under its curse and we all deserved death. Jesus, being sinless, did not need to die, but he willingly died for us. The righteous died for the unrighteous. He received death so that we might receive life.

Friend, it is through the cross that we can be given the blessing promised to Abraham.   It is through the cross that we are reconciled to God. It is through the cross that God forgives our sins, taking away the written note of debt that was against us. Thank God for the One on the Cross!

ALTAR Call

While Israel was languishing in Egypt’s as slaves, they lost much of their understanding of God. God began to teach his people how to approach Him.  “An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you”. Exodus 20:24.   For hundreds of years they bought their sacrifices of worship to the altar at Moses Tabernacle.

This altar was only a type of the final altar, Jesus.  His final blood sacrifice for us, reveals completely Gods fullest mercy toward us.  Today we still have an altar that God has placed his name upon. “We have an altar they have no right to eat Hebrews 13. Speaking of Jesus Christ the ultimate altar.  God said everyplace that he recorded his Name on the altar, He would meet with them there.

The altar was the place where God was going to meet with mankind and Jesus is the only place we can meet with God.

Jesus is the final place of slaughter and the final altar. He is the only “place” that God will come to bless mankind.

Jesus is the altar as he alone is named with the name of God.

Altars were the place that God revealed himself to mankind and we can surely see that Jesus was God revealing Himself to us.  Today we come to our altar Jesus, to offer worship to our Father God.  When we came to the altar, we are not coming to a raised part of the stage or to some shiny table but we are coming to Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness, life, healing and blessing. He is the blood stained altar!

By him or through him (through Jesus our altar) we can offer to God our spiritual sacrifices (Heb.13.15).

Friend, He is the place God has recorded His name. He is the only place to meet with God and as we come to Him, He promises to meet us there.

Love is all you need

Moses climbed the rugged mountain to meet with God.  On the mountain he received the 10 Commandments and other laws as they are recorded in the Pentateuch. The high water mark of the law was the simple command to love God with all our might and our neighbour as ourselves.  This is still the essence of Gods law and illustrates the goal our spiritual growth as the people of God.

In fact the first five books of the Bible or the Pentateuch, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, are a illustration the processes of growth, that God takes us when we follow Him.

Genesis, is the beginning, and explains how God called men from Noah to Abraham. It is about Election; God calling His people, the first privilege we experience, being called by the father to Jesus.

Exodus illustrates deliverance and coming out of Egypt. God’s people are brought out of the old into a new beginning. It illustrates how we are redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb.

Leviticus informs the redeemed slaves, how to live with a holy God, as they approached His sanctuary: Sanctification is about we gain a new way of thinking about God, along with a changed lifestyle.

Numbers deals with how God trained his people from a mob or rabble into the army of God through discipline and learning to follow the cloud of His presence.

Finally Deuteronomy repeats to the second generation all the requirements they were to obey after the old generation had died off. Their obedience would bring the blessing and victory as they entered into their inheritance.

These truths formed the basis for the teaching of the early church doctrine about how we are called, regeneration, justified and sanctified to be made ready to enter fully in our inheritance, who is Christ.

Friend, to come to the full stature of Jesus Christ means to be whole hearted disciple but mostly means to be fully loving of people and God; even in that order. John said we can’t say we love God till we love your brother and sister. 1 John 4.21

How do we grow

Jesus said to the disciples “Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin yet they grow and are beautiful. All growth depends upon God.  The Christian life is not a life of self-help or self-improvement but is about receiving the benefits of God’s grace.  Growth happens when you and learn to receive more grace from God.
The early church had only the Old Testament for a bible and found in its pages explanation and illustrations of the truth they had experienced.

The 6 men of Genesis illustrate the work of God in us to bring us to His image and spiritual growth.

Adam of course is a clear picture and cause of the sin we all share.

Noah is a picture of regeneration, where new life begins out of the old.  God saved him from being destroyed with the old creation and he begins a new life with those He brings forth into a new life

Abraham is the illustration of Justification by faith. He shows us that Gods way of putting man right with Himself, is by an unusual manner; faith. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.

Isaac illustrates sonship, where the son becomes the apple of Fathers eye. Isaac is truly blessed; he has no needs, everything is provided for.  He is loved by God and even in time of famine he is blessed. He is the favoured one, the special boy, the beloved son. That is you and me.  We are Gods sons and daughters. To as many as received Him, He gave the power to become the sons of God. That is a picture of supernatural living because he’s blessed by Father.

Jacob’s life reflects the process of sanctification.  Jacob was a trickster he was a schemer. Faith is living without scheming; it’s living in a way that just trusts God. His life was all about him but God changed him and wrestled with him till he walked with a limp.

Friends, all growth and the dealings of God in our life, are to bring us to a walk of dependence upon God where our self strength is broken and we limp on our own feet. Ultimately growth must come about though a work of God.

Free But Warned

The garden looked pristine and beautiful and Adam and Eve walked slowly through the trees, looking at all God had given them.  God said “I have made it all for you but don’t touch the one tree in the midst of the garden, or you will die”.

God gives us freedom but He is not irresponsible. He shouts and cries out wisdom in the streets and in our lives.

If you do somethings it will kill you. If you do other things you will end up in bondage so don’t commit adultery, don’t steal and don’t worship false Gods

You are free to choose but often the way that seems right to a man is the way to death.  Often men choose to do things that will hurt themselves or other then when there  are consequences, wished that God had of stepped in to avoid it happening.

Why doesn’t He step in and stop the young man from crashing off the road while drunk.   Why doesn’t He step in and stop people from their free choice and their harmful actions.  If someone is drunk He doesn’t take the keys but He has already said don’t be drunk.  Why doesn’t he stop the teenager from getting pregnant? He has already said do not fornicate.

Friend God gives His intervention up front by way of warning.  If we fail to heed them He will not interfere with our choices.

 

 

Reconciled

The guilty thief is pronounced not guilty and runs free from the court room. On the streets no one knew the judge was the thief’s father. But the boy didn’t return home.  Sad-Free but reconciled.

We are not just freed and forgiven, we are reconciled to God.  If we were only justified that would still leave us in dirty clothes cowering and uncertain although perhaps thankful for the goodness of the judge because He declares us holy and blameless.  God is no longer a judge but He is our father and reconciliation is a family term. So we can talk to him relate to him share with him. He is your father.

Not only are we reconciled to God but we are reconciled to men of Eph 2: 16 the Jews and Gentiles the most difficult people ever to get on together are now made one through the cross that are due a Gentile can become brothers any of us can become brothers and sisters through the cross.

The Cross was the most shameful thing to happen to a person.    They would die naked.   It was the pits  –  they would cheer gladiators on the way to die. But never a crucified person. Now Paul was the opposite of the sophist and young rhetoricians of his day. He was old, dressed badly, poor and couldn’t speak that well.   He said it is a miracle that the Corinthians listened or heard but it was God!   Paul said for them to believe on the gospel is a miracle. I came with  a ridiculous message, looking ridiculous to you but you changed it was a work of God.

Friend, the gospel is the power of God. it was then and it is now.