I believe there can be many occasions in this life when we walk through this valley of the shadow: occasions of bereavement, loneliness, sickness, persecution, discouragement. The Lord does not promise that we will not walk through this kind of valley. But He does promise to be with us.
What tremendous conﬁdence David had! What absolute security! “I shall not lack.” There will never arise a need in my life for which I shall not have the supply, no matter what the need may be. What was the secret of David’s assurance? Is it possible for you and me to share that assurance? David’s secret is very simple, very clear: “The LORD is my shepherd.”
How good it is to know that you have access to the counsel of the Lord! When you have come to the end of your own ability, when you have reasoned everything out and it still makes no sense, when you find yourself at an impasse in your life and you do not know which way to turn, remember that the Lord is the Wonderful Counselor! Go to Him. Commit your problem to Him.
And the words of the LORD are ﬂawless, like silver reﬁned in a furnace of clay, puriﬁed seven times. PSALM 12:6 Do you perhaps wonder at that statement, knowing that these words have come to us through human agents, men who were weak and fallible, and who made many mistakes? To answer this question, David presents us with a vivid picture...
When we look up at the vastness of the heavens and consider their millions of galaxies, our earthly globe seems just a tiny speck of dust in the totality of the universe. Confronted by this vastness, we feel small and insignificant, weak and helpless. And yet, David assures us, God is interested in us. He cares for us. In fact, we are the objects of His special attention.
David was sure of one thing: God blesses the righteous. We need to be no less sure. Today many sources to which we looked for security and certainty have failed us. Trusted political and ﬁnancial institutions are crumbling around us. But there is one thing in life that is still sure: God blesses the righteous. This simple, unchanging fact has important practical implications for the way we live.
One of the beautiful revelations of Scripture is that sleep is a gift of God for those He loves. David found himself under tremendous pressures, surrounded by enemies on every side, his very life threatened. He speaks of “tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.” Yet in the midst of it all he knows the blessedness of untroubled, restful sleep. He gives two reasons...
I want to point out an important thing that many Christians overlook. Most of God's promises are conditional! In other words, in most cases, but not in all cases, when God gives a promise He says to His people, "If you will do so-and-so, then I will do so-and-so." But we have no right to claim the promise unless we first meet the condition.
The ultimate purpose of existence is to glorify God and God has so arranged the promises He's given us that every time we appropriate those promises in faith, we glorify God. The more we appropriate God's promises, the more we glorify Him! You see really, there are two alternatives before us: Unbelief, that robs God of His glory; or faith, that gives God the glory due to Him.
God has given you tremendous promises in Christ. His provision is in His promises. But remember your part, your responsibility: First of all, you have got to be prepared to fight. FIGHT! Secondly, you have to set your feet on what you claim to be your inheritance. SET YOUR FEET!
The story of Joshua and Israelites entering their inheritance, the Promised Land, applies to us as a very clear and practical way to entering our inheritance. You see, when you were born again and became God's child legally, from then onwards you were heir to all that God has. But there's an "if" that follows and we need to read it carefully.
When God says, "I give," that settles it. However, there is a difference between the legal right and the experiential possession of what God has promised us. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, their first two successes came through miracles, but after that, they had to place their feet actually on the ground that they were claiming.
According to Peter, God has given us his very great and precious promises, and everything we need is contained in them. God’s provision for you is in these promises. In order to receive Gods provision, you have to know His promises and how to move in and possess them. So let’s see how God's people Israel entered into the inheritance that God had promised for them.
Everything we need is contained in the promises of God. That explains why, on the one hand, God says He has given us everything and on the other hand, so many Christians are obviously lacking things they need. The answer is they haven't discovered where God's provision is. God's provision is in His promises. Logically therefore, in order to receive your provision, you have to know the promises of
Peter says God's divine power has given us everything we need for life. What an astonishing statement! He does not say that God will give us, it says God has already given us everything we need. God has already supplied all our needs. Lay hold of that fact because if you miss that, then you are not going to be able to understand the nature of God's provision. God has already given us everything
The Holy Spirit plays a special role in enabling us to claim our inheritance in Christ. But what is the actual form in which our inheritance comes to us? The key passage for understanding this is found in the second epistle of 2 Peter 1:2-4.
Rebekah's relationship to the servant was essential to her destiny in God. And equally so for you and me as believers in Jesus Christ. It is our relationship to the Holy Spirit that is going to determine our destiny. If we snub the Holy Spirit we cannot enter into our destiny. He is the helper sent to enable us to claim and receive our inheritance.
In Genesis 24, Abraham’s servant sets out to find a bride for Isaac. In this parable, Rebekah is a picture of the Church and of the response the Church has to make to the Holy Spirit in order to qualify to be the Bride of Christ. Let’s consider seven aspects about Rebekah's response and their significance for you us as a believer in Jesus.
The story of how God found a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son is a parable of God finding a bride for Jesus Christ, His only Son. In this story, I see the unnamed servant as the Holy Spirit's self-portrait. I think perhaps it' is the clearest portrait in all Scripture of who the Holy Spirit is and what He does. And it always blesses me that the Holy Spirit is so modest and unassuming that He never...
According to God’s Word, we are his heirs, through our faith in Christ. John 16:13-14 says it is the Holy Spirit who leads us into the land of God's promises, the land of our inheritance. Let us study more fully the part that the Holy Spirit plays in bringing us into our inheritance in Christ.
According to in Galatians 3:14, "… in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles." Through your faith in Jesus Christ, you enter into the blessing of Abraham. But what exactly is covered by this blessing?
Jesus, through His death on the cross, has made redemption from the curse of the broken law possible for both the Jewish people and also for us, who are Gentiles, in the inheritance of Abraham. Through your faith in Christ, God now makes available to you, too, the blessing of Abraham.
2 Corinthians 9:8 says: God is able to make all grace abound to you, that in all ways having all sufficiency in all things you may have abundance for every good deed..." In the original Greek, that statement is amazing. The word "abound" occurs twice, the word "all" occurs five times in that one verse. And all that it says, this is what Jesus had obtained for us. He exhausted the poverty curse...
I was preaching in the country of New Zealand and I was teaching on God's financial provision for His people. I had my note outline prepared and I was following through with it, but while I was speaking from my note outline, inwardly in my mind I was seeing something I'd never seen before. I was seeing a mental picture of Jesus as He hung there on the cross atoning for our sins. And as I unfolded
Jesus was not ‘rich’ in the sense of having a large bank account or possessions. But He certainly had abundance. He was able to feed about twelve thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. That is not poverty. He was never worried. He was never under pressure. He never panicked. He never doubted that His Father’s goodness would supply everything He needed. And the Father never failed Him.
Think about it: the God who created the universe desires to bless His people! A startling statement – and it is true! This blessing is our heritage through our faith in Jesus Christ. We have already looked at the blessings that Christ has made available in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm. Now we will study the blessings that are available to us in the material realm.
I am grateful for the work of physicians, psychiatrists and others, but there is only one person in the universe who can say, "I make an entire man well! I can deal with all his problems: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical" - and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at what Jesus says in John 7:23, answering His critics for healing a man on the Sabbath.
Why was Jesus able to heal all who were sick? Because in the eternal purposes of God, He was to bear our infirmities and carry away our diseases. And because the cross, in a certain sense, is eternal, although it had not yet been fulfilled, in God's sight it was already accomplished. From the foundation of the world, Jesus was the Lamb that was slain. And so, God identified with the ministry of
Deuteronomy 28 is a special chapter in the Bible. It offers a list of both curses and blessings that God promises to pour out on people. The decisive factor is whether or not they listen to His voice. I want to encourage you to read verse 59 and check and see whether you're living in the curses or the blessings.
In the previous days, we looked at the spiritual blessings that God wants to give us. But our heritage in Christ contains so much more! So let us look now at the physical area. What are the physical benefits that Jesus has purchased for us when He died on the cross on our behalf?
God wants to bless you with a deep, settled inward peace. "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NAS) What beautiful words, "we have peace with God." No longer are we guilty. No longer do we fear that somehow we are not pleasing God. We have peace with God.
The simple pathway to God's blessings is to hear and obey His voice, but the inevitable end of not hearing and obeying God's voice is being cursed as described in Deuteronomy 28. The curses in the spiritual realm (the inner realm, the realm of our inner personality) which result from disobedience to God are listed by Moses.
Our whole destiny for well-being or for disaster is settled by the voice that we listen to. Listening to the voice of the Lord and obeying what He says will bring blessing. But not listening to the voice of the Lord will bring many curses. The great spiritual danger that confronts so many professing Christians is that they have become insensitive to the voice of God. They may continue in their
On the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the curses that were due to our disobedience (these curses cover the whole area of the kingdom of darkness) that, in turn, we might enter into the blessings that Jesus earned by His obedience. It is vitally important to understand the decisive difference between earning the blessings and earning the curses.
Disobedience against God always brings a curse. On the other hand, when you walk in obedience, you don't have to pursue the blessings of God. The blessings of God simply overtake you. Blessing naturally results from obedience to God.
All through the history of the human race, sin and disobedience against God have always brought a curse. We find the universal guilt of humanity in Isaiah 53, where the prophet says: Each of us turned to his own way ... Not all of us have committed all of the specific sins. Not all have committed murder or adultery or other such sins. But there is one problem of which we are all guilty, each of
This series of devotionals is designed to help you discover your spiritual heritage as an heir of God’s Kingdom. In that light, today’s Scripture is very important. Isaiah 53 describes a divine exchange that can change the course of your life. On the cross, Jesus took the evil due to us that you and I might receive the good due to Him. Let's praise Him for it today!
We are all slaves of Satan by nature, but some of us are respectable sinners, and some of us are less respectable sinners. There is really no ultimate difference between the respectable and the non-respectable sinners. What happened when Jesus came to earth was that He walked into Satan's slave market, saw us there for sale, and paid the price to buy us out of Satan's dominion...
The power of Satan is real. It's not an imagination, it's not a theological fantasy, but Satan is a real being with real power who really dominates those who are alienated from God. In order to enter God's kingdom, you have first of all to be delivered from the power of Satan. This deliverance has been made possible only through the death of Jesus on our behalf.
When people are in the dark, they can't see their real condition. And that is true of the people who are under Satan's domain; they are in the dark and they cannot see their true condition. We need a light to come into the darkness and reveal to us our true condition. God's purpose through the gospel is to deliver us from that bondage of darkness and of Satan and to bring us into our inheritance.
The New Testament tells us all that has been made available to us through the death of Jesus on our behalf. It reveals our inheritance. Unfortunately, many Christians have never yet discovered what their real inheritance is or how to gain it. They are like a man who is an heir to a tremendous fortune but has never taken the steps to find out what his inheritance is, or to claim it.
It is the will of God that the testimony of Jesus and the message of the gospel be accompanied by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s will. We are not to think of spiritual gifts as toys but rather as tools. And, without the tools, we’re not equipped to do our job, to fulfil our function.
Paul never listed which are the greatest and which are the least gifts, so I have come to this conclusion: For me, the greater gifts are those which enable me to function to the optimum in the particular place in the body in which God has set me. Therefore, what might be a greater gift for me might not be so great a gift for you. Never divorce gifts from function, which is what God wants you to be
God’s purpose for you is that you grow up, that you don’t remain a little spiritual infant. The process of growing up leads you into the completed body of Christ. Paul gives a picture of the body in Ephesians 4:15 and 16: … but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that...
God gave Ezekiel a vision of dry bones. I believe that in many, many ways many sections of the Church have been like those dry bones, just scattered lying around, cut off, not really finding the life of the body, not really in a right relationship with one another. We will never be useful and effective in the kingdom of God until we allow ourselves to be united with the other bones and then...
When the Spirit of God renews your mind, you come to realize that you are just one member, incomplete on your own, incapable of functioning on your own as God intends you to function and that in order to be complete and to function in accordance with God’s purpose and God’s place, you have to become a member in a body.
One of the distinctive marks of the renewed mind, is that it is not looking for opportunities to rule but to serve. It’s not looking for opportunities to get but to give. It patterns life on the example of Jesus who did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life.
I want to show you the marks of the renewed mind and, as I go through these marks you’d find it helpful to check on your own mind. Try to see how far your mind has been renewed and if there are areas perhaps where it still needs to be renewed.
You have a life to lose and then a life to find. If you are really going to find the fullness of God’s plan for your life, you have to ask yourself, “Am I willing to let that old soul‑life go? Am I willing to stop thinking in those old ways, ‘I want,’ ‘I think,’ ‘I feel’? Am I willing to let God change me within by renewing my mind?” That’s a decision you have to make.
When you present your body, strange though it may seem, a change takes place in your mind. You begin to think in a different way. God says your mind is renewed. And then, when your mind is renewed, you prove (you find out for yourself) what the will of God is.
The first thing that God asks is that we present this body of ours to Him, a living sacrifice. You might say, “Well, I thought the body wasn’t so important, that it was really the soul that was important." But God is very practical. You see, if there’s a glass of water standing on the table and I would say to you, “Please hand me that glass.” What am I getting? I’m getting the vessel and its...
Jesus said, “Follow Me. I have a new plan for you. I’ve got something for you that you would never have thought of yourself.” He said to those first humble fishermen at the Sea of Galilee, “I’ll make you something different. Not just ordinary fishers but fishers of men.” It’s not what you ARE that matters, it’s what Jesus will make of you.
How many times you and I have said, “If only I could start all over again. I’ve made a mess of the past, I regret so many things I’ve said and done.” The good news of the gospel is that you can start all over again. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
Today, I’ll begin to share with you on a very important and practical theme, “How to Find God’s Plan for Your Life.” Perhaps you’ve never understood that God has a plan for your life, a plan which comprehends every area of your life, one which makes full provision for all your needs —but He has.
As long as we’re under the influence of the spirit of this world we will cultivate a kind of wisdom which is of this world. But when we come under the Spirit of God and allow Him to teach us and guide us, we receive a totally different kind of wisdom which appears foolish to the people who are under the influence of the spirit of this world. But that wisdom of God comes only through the cross,,,
If you want to be led by the Holy Spirit, you should know that the way the Holy Spirit directs us is often totally contrary to natural reason or wisdom. So much of the church is bowing before the altar of wisdom of this world but God has made that foolish. I think the strongest fortress of pride in natural man is that which comes through the cultivation of his own intellect. We have to come to
There was a great move of God in the year 1904 in the little country of Wales and the man whom God used as an instrument to bring about this tremendous revival was named Evan Roberts. But his brother recorded later that months before the revival broke out—they were of a poor family, they shared the same bed—he said night after night his brother would be writhing and groaning in his sleep ...
Another form om supernatural prayer can be found in 1 Corinthians 14:14–15, where Paul is speaking about praying in an unknown tongue, entirely supernatural, possible only through the Holy Spirit. When Paul says, “I will pray with my spirit,” or “sing with my spirit,” he means, “I’ll pray words given me by the Holy Spirit in an unknown tongue, words that I do not understand.”
So often we don’t know what to pray or when to pray, but the Holy Spirit wants to help you. Isn’t that amazing? Therefore, in the coming days I want to give you four examples of different kinds of prayers that the Holy Spirit can give. The first is prayer based directly on God’s Word. We take a promise of God and we turn it back to God and we say, “God, do what you’ve promised to do.”
There is no limit that we can set with our minds or our understanding as to what God can do in answer to our prayer. But the effectiveness of prayer is according to the power that works within us. It’s the power within us that makes our prayer effective. What is that power? Well, Paul has already made it clear in Romans 8—it’s the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do you always know what to pray for in any given situation? Well, there is good news. The Holy Spirit will help you. Paul says the Spirit himself "intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” the real key to successful praying is to allow the Holy Spirit to keep up a continual prayer meeting within you. That can go on even when we’re not praying with our minds or with our mouths.
The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to be united in a kind of marriage union with the resurrected Christ. According to whom we are united, we will bring forth the fruit of the union. If we are still married to the flesh we will bring forth what Paul calls the “deeds of the flesh.” But once we’re set free from that union and once we’re married to the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit, then...
Many people, including Christians, are trusting in their own carnal strength to become righteousness. However, there is a positive alternative to legalism, made possible through the Holy Spirit: direct, personal union with Christ.
In your opinion, what is the commonest hindrance to being led by the Holy Spirit? It is legalism, religious legalism. Legalism is seeking to achieve righteousness with God by keeping a set of rules. But, Christianity is not a set of rules. Christianity is primarily a relationship with a person.
God is not impressed by the wisdom of this world. God is also not impressed by human strength and if you want real divine strength and power, first of all, you have to become weak by the standards of this world. God’s power is only fully revealed in man’s weakness. As long as man has his own strength and has it all together, there’s no room for God. Grace begins where human ability ends.
I studied contemporary philosophy—what was contemporary in those days. The real exciting thing in those days was what they call linguistic philosophy. And I sat at the feet of the best known of all the professors, But today all that’s out of date. It’s completely changed. So if I had based my faith on that kind of wisdom, today I’d have no basis for it. Your faith has got to be based on the power
The Holy Spirit is your divine source of power and wisdom, but the way the Holy Spirit directs us is often totally contrary to natural reason or wisdom. The challenge therefore is: are you willing to yield to His guidance? Paul states this paradox very clearly in 1 Corinthians 2:12– 14: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the
In 1 Corinthians 14:14–15 Paul is speaking about praying in an unknown tongue, entirely supernatural, possible only through the Holy Spirit, and he says this: For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with
The effectiveness of prayer is according to the power that works within us. Therefore, we have to learn how to cultivate the Holy Spirit, how to understand the Holy Spirit, how to yield to the Holy Spirit, how to let Him guide us and empower us in our prayers. Therefore, I want to give you some examples of different kinds of prayers that the Holy Spirit can give.
There is no limit that we can set with our minds or our understanding as to what God can do in answer to our prayer. But the effectiveness of prayer is according to the power that works within us. It’s the power within us that makes our prayer effective.
Prayer is a vital part of Christian life, but you may have experienced yourself that it can be hard at the same time. Therefore, let’s look at the role the Holy Spirit plays in your prayer life. Actually, theHoly Spirit is the only source of effective prayer. Any prayer that does not come by the Holy Spirit is not an effective prayer. It will not accomplish anything and it is not acceptable to God
The apostle James in his epistle tells us very clearly that one of the functions of God’s Word is to be a mirror, which does not reveal to us our external appearance but reveals to us our inner nature and being. While we are looking in the mirror of the Holy Spirit and seeing what we are really like within, the Holy Spirit works on us to transform us into the image of what we should be...
The Holy Spirit was the author of all Scripture. No matter who was the human writer, the Holy Spirit was the one who gave the Word, who breathed it into the writer so that the authority behind all Scripture is the authority of the author and the author is the Holy Spirit. But consider God’s wonderful provision for us: He has given us the author to interpret for us!
It’s important for us to see that they operated together in perfect harmony. Neither operated without the other. And that’s true in our lives today. God’s results are achieved in us by His Word and by His Spirit working together.
It’s the Spirit that must renew the mind. It’s not psychology, it’s not education, it’s the supernatural operation of the Spirit of God that renews our minds. You see, God renews us from within, religion renews from without, it’s preoccupied with externals. But God renews us from within. He renews our minds, the way we think. Our part is yielding to the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Not some of God’s love but all of God’s love. I always tell people who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, “You really don’t need to ask for more love, what you need to do is release the love that’s already been poured out in you. Our problem is not that we don’t have enough love, it’s that we don’t yield to the love that...
When we seek to imitate the methods of the world, when we covet the kind of success that the world esteems, we are actually turning away from the real source of true spiritual success, which is a spiritual power that’s of a totally different kind and can only come from the Holy Spirit. The message is supernatural, the power must be supernatural.
Sometimes we’d like to see God really turn loose and deal with the wicked and blast them into eternity, but God restrains Himself because that kind of power cannot accomplish the results He desires in you and me as God’s children which is God’s number one priority. God can deal with the wicked in due course but at the moment His priority is dealing with His children, He...
The entire ministry of Jesus, both His preaching and His ministry to the oppressed, the sick, the demon-possessed, was based on the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him. It’s a very significant fact that the New Testament does not record a single sermon Jesus preached or a single miracle He performed until the Holy Spirit came upon Him. He is our pattern.
Jesus was always sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He never scared Him off. The Spirit remained on Him. But what about you and me? Once Jesus has baptized us with the Holy Spirit, are we sensitive to Him the way Jesus was? Therefore, let’s consider briefly, the things that attract or repel the Spirit in our own lives.
Romans 8,13 tells us that it is God’s desire for us to be led by His Spirit. You’re in line with the Father’s heart! Today, let’s look at another aspect of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 3:17, Paul says: “Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” It’s not a set of rules, it’s not a kind of procedure, it’s not clapping your hands, or shouting...
I have sometimes summed up my view of church history in this way. Nineteen centuries of trying to find a system so safe we wouldn’t have to rely on the Holy Spirit. No system, no theology, no theory, no hierarchy, no human ministry can take the place of the Holy Spirit. He is indispensable. Therefore, we must cultivate a personal relationship with Him.
Jesus returned to His Father, but the Holy Spirit did not. He is still with you, to empower you with all you need to live a godly life, and to be a bold witness of Jesus Christ. The history of the book of Acts evidences that. The very moment the Holy Spirit came the disciples had a totally new concept of the work of Jesus, his authority, their own standing in God, and of the message they were...
You often hear Christians say something like this, “How wonderful it would have been to be on earth in the days when Jesus was personally present with his disciples. How much more we would have learned.” But Jesus says wonderful though that was, it’s much more wonderful now that he is in heaven and the Holy Spirit is on earth. He says it’s to your advantage; it’s in your best interest.
Until you learn to relate to the Holy Spirit as a person, nor an impersonal influence, nor a theological extraction, but as a person—a real person as God the Father and God the Son, as real a person as your husband or your wife, your father or your mother, your son or your daughter—until you learn to relate to the Holy Spirit in that way you will not succeed in being truly led by the Holy Spirit.
It is not God’s purpose for you to remain permanently children. God has a plan for you to grow up into mature sons. This is where you are again dependent on the Holy Spirit. Because, apart from the Holy Spirit, we cannot grow up, we cannot mature.
There are two essential roles that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives as God’s children. The first is that it is through Him that we become children of God. It’s through the Holy Spirit that we are born again, born from above and become members of God’s family. Jesus speaks about this in John 3:5–8.
Many times you do not get your prayer answered, not because you are praying wrong, but simply because you have to pray that wicked old prince out of the way. If you are not prepared to do it, you will not get the answer to your prayer. You have to pray through. You have to challenge Satan.
The great obstacle to a real movement of the Spirit of God lies in the reign of the invisible. Nothing happened until Daniel started to pray. It was Daniel’s prayers that got the angel through, not the angel that got Daniel through. Daniel got the angel through! If only God’s people would see that the issues are settled by us. They are not even settled by the angels.
The Old Testament gives you two examples that draw back the veil of the unseen spiritual realm that dominates and controls human affairs. I believe spiritual factors are absolutely decisive in world affairs, in national affairs and in personal affairs. There is never a breakthrough in the kingdom of God until these spiritual powers have been brought into subjection by prayer. When that happens...
There is an unseen kingdom that is above the level of this world, and it is the kingdom of darkness. It is a kingdom in total opposition and in complete unrelenting hatred towards God, all God’s purposes, and all God’s people. It is our business as Christians to bring this kingdom down. It cannot be done by presidents or generals, because they do not have the weapons.
Generally speaking, you can say that Christians get the kind of government they deserve. There is a time lag. It does not happen instantly. But by and large, Christians are responsible for the government they live under. If you would take less time to criticize and more time to pray, you would have less to criticize. Why are God’s people responsible? Because...
The Bible says: First of all in Christian activity—pray. The first topic for prayer is all those in authority. What are we to pray for? That we may lead a godly, quiet and peaceable life. Why are we to pray this way? Because that helps to propagate the gospel.
In 1 Timothy 2, Paul instructs us to pray for the government. What does he tell us to pray for? First, “for kings and all who are in authority.” Now my experience is that the majority of God’s people scarcely ever pray for those in authority, let alone praying for them first.
If you bypass prayer, you can have all sorts of plans, systems and programs, but you do not have the power to operate them. It is like having a building wired for electricity, but not connected to the generator. Nothing is going to work. The wires may be in good order and the light fixtures may be wonderful, but you are not going to get results, because there is no power. The powerhouse of the
What does it mean to seek God's face? A young man came to me seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I told him I could see him on Wednesday evening. He said he had to attend a prayer meeting that evening. I said, “I suppose that would be no good.” “Oh, no,” he said, “that would be okay. We pray from 8 to 9 o’clock.” That is a prayer meeting, but it is not seeking God’s face. When you seek
God has His spiritual program arranged in grades: grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4. Until you pass in grade 1, you will never get to grade 2. Do not think, “Lord, I couldn’t make it in grade 1, but I will make it in grade 2. Let me pass this one and I’ll make the next.” No, it will not work! The first step God requires is that we humble ourselves and you cannot leave it out.
Do you remember the story of Sodom? Abraham said to God, “If there are ten righteous men, will you spare the city?” And God said, “Yes.” But He could not spare the city because He could not find ten righteous men. I do not know how many men there were in Sodom, but I know that the same proportion still applies. Ten righteous men can save a city the size of Sodom. One hundred righteous men can
Look at the land in which we live. Does it need healing? There is only one answer. Yes! The fact that the land needs healing indicates that God’s people have failed to do what God told them they should do. The responsibility is with us—not with the drug addict, not with the prostitute, not with the man who never darkens the door of a church. The responsibility is with the people upon whom Christ’s
It’s time to take a fresh look at a ministry of the Church, and individual Christians, which is often very underrated: prayer for the government. One of the most basic mandates for the Christian is to pray 'for kings and all who are in authority.' (Timothy 2:2)God intends His Church to exercise a decisive influence for good in the affairs of the nations. Now, perhaps more than ever before, we nee
Before, you couldn't help yielding to sin. Now you have the choice. There's a power in you that's greater than sin. You've been liberated, you've been justified. But you still have to exercise your will. When sin comes, when temptation comes, you have to say a firm and final "NO! No I will not! I will not yield my body! I will not yield my members! I have been freed, I belong to Jesus. I'm living
In these last couple of days of this series, I'm going to conclude my messages on the theme of identification by giving you what I call the Romans Recipe. I use the word "recipe" deliberately. It suggests to us a housewife with her cookbook, planning to make a cake or something else to eat. I wish that we Christians could use the Bible in such a simple and practical way as a housewife uses her
We need to understand that Jesus has a ministry in heaven which is very important and is often overlooked. In heaven, Jesus is our High Priest. He represents us directly to God the Father, but He's the High Priest of our confession. He can only minister as High Priest on our behalf when we make the right confession with our mouths on earth. If we say the wrong thing or if we say nothing about our
Unbelief is a barrier to receiving all that Christ has made available for us. By listening to God’s Word, however, we can get faith. After we’ve received faith, we are now going to see how our faith must be expressed. It is very important to understand that it is not enough just to believe in your heart. You must express with your mouth what you believe in your heart.
An important barrier in practically applying the truths of our identification with Christ is unbelief. What then is the remedy for unbelief? It's contained in one brief verse of the epistle to the Romans, chapter 10 verse 17: “ Faith comes from hearing the message.” (NIV)
There are two great barriers in practically applying the truths of our identification with Christ: ignorance and unbelief. To overcome our ignorance, we need the Word of God, and give ourselves without reservation in letting God write the truths of His Word on our hearts. But it's not enough to know the truth. We must also believe the truth.
Anyone who takes away from the truths concerning the death of Jesus on the cross is taking away the key to knowledge and keeping God's people from their inheritance. How then can we enter into this knowledge? The answer is simple and practical. We must give ourselves to the study of God's Word.
I believe there are two great barriers that commonly keep God's people from their inheritance, from entering into all God has provided for us through the death of Jesus. The first of these barriers is the barrier of ignorance. This problem already troubled God's people under the old covenant. Under the old covenant, too, God had made total provision for the needs of all His people that they
The death of Jesus was no accident. It was the fulfilment of the set purpose of God. What was God's set purpose in the death of Jesus? The essence is that the death of Jesus represented a divinely ordained exchange ‑ the expression of God's infinite grace and mercy to the human race. By this exchange, God made to meet together upon Jesus, on the cross, the rebellion of the whole human race, and
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. We already share His glory, but it can't be seen. It's in the unseen invisible world. But when Christ appears in visible glory, then our glory too will be manifested.
Today we begin to take a look at what I call God's secret hidden wisdom ‑ through which alone we can comprehend all that has been made ours through our identification with Jesus. This is really one of my favourite themes in the New Testament because before God revealed Himself to me I was a professional philosopher and I was seeking after the very thing that Paul speaks about here ‑ the wisdom of
Jesus' earthly ministry only lasted three and a half years. But His ministry as a King and a Priest has already lasted nearly two thousand years and is going to go on throughout eternity. And we're invited not only to share with Jesus His earthly ministry but through our identification with Him to enter the eternal heavenly ministry as kings and priests.
You are identified not only with the resurrection life and ministry of Jesus but also with His ascension life and ministry in heaven. When Jesus ascended to heaven and took His place on the throne with the Father, He entered into His two supreme unique and final ministries. He became King and Priest. And in this also, we are invited to identify ourselves with Jesus.
We are Christ's official representatives here on earth. On the resurrection Sunday evening Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." Just as Jesus was the personal representative of the Father on earth, so before He went back to the Father in heaven, He appointed His disciples to be His personal representatives on earth. They were related to
Jesus said, "Just as the Father sent Me, I'm sending you. In other words, the relationship that existed between the Father and Me will be the same relationship that exists between Me and you, My disciples." What does that mean? It means that exactly what was true of the relationship of Jesus to the Father should be true of us to Jesus. First of all, we do not speak our own words. We speak words
Let us look at the practical outworking of our identification with Jesus in our daily living as believers or as disciples. How does it affect the way we live? What kind of a person should we be? One of the most exciting and also challenging statements of the New Testament in this regard is found in John chapter 20, verses 19 ‑ 22.
In a natural birth, what part of the body comes forth first? We all know it’s the head. But when the head emerges, the body is going to follow. And so in this spiritual birth, out of death, Jesus, the head of the body emerged first. But what does that tell us? That we who are united with Him as our head will follow Him in that birth into that new order of creation. We'll follow Him into all that
One day I found myself in an elevator in a large hotel on the ground floor which was getting ready to go up. I looked at the buttons that selected the floor and I saw that there was a button which had a letter on it ‑ the letter "B." And I was inwardly asking myself, "Well, what does "B" stand for?" It was like immediately the Holy Spirit gave me an inward answer and He said this, "'B' stands for
Being baptized is being buried with Christ. It's being united with Him in His death and the scriptures give us the guarantee, if we are united with Him in burial, then we will also follow through with Him into resurrection, into a new life. So we're identified with Jesus, first in His burial and then in His resurrection. We go down into the water for burial. We come up out of the water for
Jesus said that He would be like Jonah. And as Jonah was three days in the belly of the fish, so He would be three days in the belly of the earth. That's a kind of pictorial presentation of the truth that Jesus would be raised on the third day. But the only place I know in the Old Testament where it's specifically stated, is in the prophet Hosea chapter 6, verses 1 and 2
We’ve seen that in every one of us lives a rebel. Jesus was actually identified with that rebel and then He paid the penalty for the rebel's sin. Our old, rebellious, fallen, incorrigible nature was put to death in Jesus. This is so vividly stated by Paul in Romans, chapter 6, verses 6 through 8: "For we know that our old self was crucified with him [that's with Jesus], so that the body of sin
Today we will begin to study the final aspect of the exchange, summed up in the words: from death to life. Jesus died our death that we might enter into his life.
The moment Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. What did that curtain of the temple represent? It represented the separation between a holy God and sinful man. But through the death of Jesus, He obtained for us, acceptance and the evidence of acceptance was the splitting of that curtain, and it was split, the Scripture carefully says, from top to bottom.
Jesus made possible this transition from rejection to acceptance because on the cross He bore our rejection. Actually, that was His ultimate agony. That was the thing that broke His heart and caused Him to die.
One aspect of this exchange is summed up in the phrase, from rejection to acceptance. Rejection is something which all of us experience at some time, but often we do not recognize it. Personally, I would say that rejection is the commonest emotional and spiritual problem and cause of suffering in our contemporary culture. Essentially, rejection is the feeling of being unwanted, unworthy...
Abundance is, to have more than you need so you're able to give and share with others. It's not for selfish ends; it's not to gratify materialism or selfishness, it's to enable us to enjoy the greater blessing of giving. So many Christians are just receivers, they never give. They miss that greater blessing.
Jesus was not 'rich' in the sense of having a large bank account or possessions. But He certainly had abundance. He was able to feed about twelve thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. That is not poverty. He was never worried. He was never under pressure. He never panicked.He never doubted that His Father's goodness would supply everything He needed. And the Father never failed Him.
On the cross, Jesus bore our spiritual burden, our sins, but He also bore the physical. By His wounds, you have been healed. Jesus endured the physical wounding of His body that He might be able to offer us physical healing for our bodies and it's significant that Peter places that in the perfect tense. It's a finished fact: by His wounds, you have been healed.
According to Deuternomomy 28 every kind of sickness and disease is part of the curse. Logically, therefore, if Jesus bore the curse for us, then he bore our sicknesses, both mental and physical, and sure enough, that's exactly what the Bible declares!
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, could it be that you are enduring curses instead of enjoying blessings? Could it be that you've never realized what Christ accomplished for you on the cross when he redeemed you from all the curses of the broken law and made open to you all the blessings of his obedience? I suggest to you to ponder and ask yourself that question.
Through Jesus, God is offering us an exchange between sin and righteousness. 2nd Corinthians 5:21: "God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us. so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (NIV)
"All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." (NIV) In other words, if you're relying on keeping the law to make you righteous, then you have to keep the entire law all the time, but if you fail in any point at any time, then you come under the curse which is due to those who
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (NIV) No condemnation, there's nothing held against us. We're not guilty on any charge, we are acquitted on all accounts. We don't appear before God trying to do our best or brushing up our own righteousness, but we're wrapped around with the robe of God's righteousness in Jesus.
I'm deeply impressed and touched by the phrase from Isaiah 53 that says, "yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer.” That's an astonishing statement because how could God take pleasure in that awful scene of suffering? And yet it was so. It was the Lord's will because that was the only way through that divinely ordained exchange by which Jesus became the guilt offering.
The Lord made the soul of Jesus on the cross a guilt offering. Now the word in Hebrew that's translated ‘guilt offering’ means both ‘guilt’ and ‘guilt offering’. It's one and the same word. To understand that we have to look at the picture of how sin offerings and guilt offerings were carried out under the Mosaic Law.
"Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him." Notice there isn't a man who hasn't sinned, because there is not such a man. But "blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him" We have to bear in mind that we have to be absolutely sincere, open and honest with God. It's not good trying to trick or fool God with mere external religious appearance.
The sacrifices that were offered under the Old Covenant could not finally take away sin. But in them, there was a remembrance of sins every year and each Day of Atonement for the Jewish people. Their sins were covered for one more year, but never finally dealt with. The only way that sin could finally be dealt with was by the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross where God demonstrated
Jesus was punished for our sins because he became our substitute. You see, man's sin and God's mercy together created a problem that only God Himself could solve. God longs to be merciful. He longs to forgive. But at the same time, justice is the very foundation of His throne, and God cannot do anything on any other basis but that of perfect justice. He cannot compromise his own justice to forgive
God brought His judgement upon Jesus, for us. Now, what is our part of the exchange, our rebellion and all its evil consequences that came upon Jesus? And what phrase or word can we use to describe that which God has made available to us on the basis of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?
The common basic guilt of the human race is rebellion. It's not that we've all committed certain specific sins like murder, adultery, or stealing. There may be many fine people by human standards who've never committed sins like that. But the one thing we've all done is we've all turned to our own way. But the Lord saved us!
Isaiah 53 verses 4, 5, and 6, are the very heart of the prophetic message about Jesus Christ. It says: "Surely he,". The Hebrew wording is such that all the emphasis is placed on the "he." ‑ "Surely he." In other words look away from yourself. There is no solution to your problems in yourself. Don't dwell on your problem, don't bend and bow beneath the burden of your guilt and all your problems.
Isaiah 53 gives with amazing accuracy the details of his death. It says "he was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death," but the remarkable fact is that in the original Hebrew the word wicked is in the plural but the word rich is singular. True enough in the record of the gospels, Jesus was crucified with the two thieves, the two wicked men, but then his tomb was the
Isaiah 53 emphasizes that the sufferings of Jesus on the cross so vividly described there were substitutionary ‑ it was not for his own sake. There's a form of speech in the Hebrew language here used which particularly emphasizes the "he". It places all the emphasizes on the "he,"‑ "He took all our infirmities," "he was pierced for transgressions, he was crushed for iniquities; the punishment that
What was the ultimate purpose for which Jesus became the Son of Man ‑ and why could God's purpose only be fulfilled in this way? Even the closest disciples of Jesus failed to understand this purpose until after his death and resurrection. Nevertheless, the whole plan of God was unfolded in amazing detail and accuracy by the prophet Isaiah 700 years before it was actually fulfilled in history.