Faith in the shed expiatory blood of Jesus is what saves us. That faith is what justifys us. We can’t boast in our ability or inability to keep the law...but our boasting can come in this...That Jesus did it all for all mankind. But this is the key...to believe that Jesus did it ALL for all mankind.
So, what DID Jesus do for us?
First, He paid the penalty for our sins. If we only receive His gift of eternal life, we can be assured that we have been forgiven by God of all that we have done against God, and against mankind.
Secondly, He paved the Way for us to walk in victory over sin.
Romans 6:14 tells us that because of Jesus’ wonderful
sacrifice, sin has no more dominion over us. The Word of God says that God
will make a way out of all our temptations (1 Cor. 10:13).
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.(KJV)
Now, because Jesus has made the Way to resist temptation, we are obligated to walk in that arena of victory. No longer do we have a right to point our fingers at God, and blame Him, because He made us this way...Instead, we need to raise our hands to Him and Praise Him because He has given us the victory!
Not only do I have no right to blame God for my failures, but I also cannot boast in my abilities, because it all comes from Him.
Thirdly, He made us able to serve Him in whatever capacity He has called us to. And He HAS called us to serve. Some Christians allow their physical, financial, or their educational circumstances to convince them that they cannot serve Him. But the Word says:
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Fourth, He gave us authority. I want to expound a little on this authority which He has given us.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.(KJV)
In this verse, Jesus tells the disciples that He gave
them AUTHORITY (gr.exousia) over all the POWER
(dunamis) of the enemy.
The enemy has the power to kill, steal and destroy, and he is very successful at what he does. The Bible says he is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. A lion is a powerful creature, and a fearsome adversary. He is nothing that any person would wish to stumble across, if they were unarmed. Yet, there are so many people who are devoured by that lion because they ARE unarmed. Those who are in the world, and who have not been born again of the Spirit of God, are unarmed. People’s lives everywhere are being destroyed because they are held captive by Satan, and they are powerless to defend themselves.
Even those who are armed,
are in danger of being devoured by that lion, if they are not proficient in
the use of their weaponry.
Christians are being destroyed and having their goods stolen by the god of this age because they do not know how to use the weapons they have been given. They are like children who say “I am going to get rid of this lion,” and they grab a powerful weapon, but they haven’t learned to use it. They go out, and are destroyed because of their ignorance.
The Word of God says “My people perish for lack of Knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). But why do they lack knowledge? Hosea isn’t talking about worldly knowledge...he is speaking of the knowledge of the things of God. The People of God had actually rejected the knowledge of the things of God,and had gone on to embrace the things of the world, rather than the things of God. I meet Christians every where who do not read the Bible on a regular basis. And almost without exception, each of these Christians are consumed with problems in their lives because they have rejected the knowledge of the things of God. As with anything, reading the Bible takes discipline.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (KJV)
The soldier goes through months of intensive training,
and only after he has learned to become proficient in the use of his weapons
and military strategy, is he ready to go into battle. The Word of God is our
weapon. In Ephesians 6, it is called our sword. Just keeping the Bible on
a shelf or on our tables does not equip us for the warfare any more than the
soldier who keeps his rifle slung on his back in the middle of a battle.
5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.
7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.
8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;
9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.
10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.
11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.
12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.
13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.
14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.
CHRISTIANS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE WARFARE THEY ARE ENGAGED IN, AND THEY NEED TO GROW IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE THINGS OF GOD.
In the book of Acts, there is a story of some exorcists who were equipped with a powerful weapon, the NAME OF JESUS. They took it upon themselves to cast out a devil from a man who had been posessed. The Word of God tells us that the man, driven by the evil spirit, leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. There had been seven of them, and the one man overcame them all. (Acts 19:13-16).
Just knowing of the power of the NAME OF JESUS IS NOT ENOUGH. A person needs to understand how to use that power. The Word of God says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. People say they hear voices from God to take other people’s lives, or to destroy buildings, or to sue one another...It is Satan who comes to kill, steal or destroy.
2 Cor 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
In Ephesians, 6:13-17, The Christian is instructed
to take unto himself the full armour of God, that he may be able to withstand
the enemy in the evil day.
First, we need to be clothed in TRUTH. Jesus said
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but through
me.” (John 14:6). You can have your clothes in your hand, but until you put
them on, you aren’t covered. A lot of Christians are not walking in the Truth
of God. They possess the Truth, but they haven’t clothed themselves with it.
They compromise their walk with the Lord, saying “I know that the Word says
this, but...” As long as they are walking in compromise, they have not clothed
themselves with the Truth. This opens them up to the wiles of the enemy.
Just recently I had a brother in the Lord call me and ask me for my opinion as to a car he was about to buy. He said it is a 1997, beautiful condition, and still under warranty. They were going for a payment plan where it would be paid for in seven years. He asked me what I thought. I told him that the Word of God says to owe no man anything but to love one another...Debt nails our foot down, and hinders us from being able to serve the Lord in the fulness of how we would otherwise be able to serve Him.
I told him that I felt like he was opening his life up to the devourer, going for something that looks nice, rather than getting something he could afford. I have never spent more than eight hundred dollars on a vehicle...As long as it gets me to point A from point B, I am satisfied. We need to understand that the things of this world are merely tools to be used for the furtherance of the gospel.
BUT HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I NEED TO SAY THAT GOD IS NOT GOING TO CONDEMN A CHRISTIAN FOR GOING INTO DEBT...DEBT LIMITS WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR SERVICE TO GOD.
Too many Christians have fallen for the lie that Eve fell for in the Garden. She saw the fruit, that it was good to eat...The truth is, we can’t afford to allow ourselves to be driven by the lust of our eyes. As long as we are, we can’t be clothed in the Truth.
I gave this brother my advice, and he hemmed and hawed, and more or less told me he was going to get it anyway...That’s not to say he is not a brother...He has the liberty to do that...but because of his debt, he will be unable to go when the LORD says go. Too many Christians walk in compromise with the Word of God, which says not to seek after the treasures on earth, where moth and rust corrupts, but to seek treasures in heaven, where moth and rust can’t corrupt, and where thieves cannot break through and steal (Matt 6:19-21).
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
So many wrestle with the scriptures, to justify their
greed and covetousness. And they end up being rendered powerless, because
they have not learned how to handle the weapon which they were given.
Some say “I know the Word of God says not to divorce, but my husband or wife is hindering me from the ministry.”
Some say “I know the Word of God says drunkards won’t inherit the Kingdom of God, but after all, I’m just a human...”
Some say “I know the Word of God says not to owe any man anything, but...”
Some say “I know the Word of God says that in the last days people would be covetous, but...”
The victory that overcomes
the world is our Faith (1Jn.5:4).
Faith is ACTING ON ONE’S BELIEF. IT IS LIVING WHAT YOU BELIEVE.
In the World, people put their faith in friends, in drugs, in sexual fulfillment, in status, in power, in “success”, in wealth, thinking that in these things they can find fulfillment and peace. But TRUE peace and TRUE fulfillment comes from WALKING IN OBEDIENCE to Christ alone, Who is the TRUTH, and who can (and does) meet our every need, if we just give our all to Him. He gave His all to us; what hinders us from giving our ALL to Him?
Too many Christians walk in compromise to the Word of God, and as a result, they are not clothed with TRUTH.
They seek for worldly success, rather than success in obeying God. Worldly success is not wrong, if it truly comes from God...Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy man. But what he had was invested for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
Too many Christians are like the rich young leader who would not give up his possessions for the Kingdom of God. They say “God has not called me to do that...” Maybe that’s true...or maybe it’s just that they want to hold on to them. Are they in debt? Are they concerned about thieves breaking through and stealing their possessions? Or are they using their talents and resources for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom?
Above all things, we need to be clothed with TRUTH. If we are going to possess the Authority over the power of the enemy, we need to stop compromising, and begin to examine ourselves. I have no right to justify my sin and the things I do which are outside the Will of God. If I want to walk in the Authority the Lord intends for me to walk in, I will walk in uncompromised obedience to His Word, and when I fail, I will acknowledge my failure, and repent, and continue to walk clothed in His Truth.
Too many Christians are walking through this world, naked, and destitute, being devoured by the enemy, because of their compromise of the Truth.
The next article of the Christian’s armor is the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate of righteousness is not our own righteousness,
but the righteousness of Christ. If we walk in our own righteousness, or in
our own self sufficiency, or trust in our own works to get ourselves by, or
we lean on our own understanding in a matter, rather than relying on God’s
guidance in our lives, we open ourselves up to attack from the enemy.
The Word of God says that the heart is decietful above all things...We need to understand that without Christ, we are actually nothing. All that we are, that could be called “good” is because of God.
Again, this goes back to my study of Romans 2:1 concerning judgementalism. Many people get puffed up with pride because of what God has done in their hearts, and act as if it were they themselves who had been responsible for where they are...Legalism, Judgementalism, Pride, Self Righteousness, all come from those who do not understand or have forgotten where Jesus had brought them from.
The Christian who looks with disdain on the begger, the drunkard, the prostitute, the murderer or the thief is not walking in the righteousness of Christ. In the same fashion, the Christian who despises the rich, the successful and the materialist, is not walking in the righteousness of Christ. Those who put on the breastplate of righteousness walk in true humility, as the sinner who was beside the Pharisee, and who smote his breast and cried out “LORD, HAVE MERCY UPON ME, A SINNER”.
TOO MANY CHRISTIANS ARE RELYING ON THEIR OWN SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS TO GET THEM THROUGH, AND SATAN DEVOURS THEM, THROUGH THEIR PRIDE AND THEIR LEGALISM, WHICH BREEDS GUILT, DESPAIR, AND ANGUISH.
So many Christians live their lives as if they are
ashamed of the fact they are Christians. Our feet must be so equipped with
the gospel, that everywhere we go, we are more than willing to declare the
Love and the Life of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who bridged the gap between
man and God. It is Jesus who saved us from our sins. It is Jesus who gives
us victory. It is only Jesus who can bring true peace to mankind.
Too many Christians are just content to keep Jesus in the confines of the building they go to worship at. The command of Jesus was to “GO YE...”
Because we are hesitant to proclaim Jesus for whatever reason, the enemy has a door through which he can discourage us, or hinder us from furthering God’s Kingdom. I have often preached that Satan has a viable presence throughout this world...Christians also need to make a viable presence to the world. How will anyone know of the Peace which passes all understanding, unless they are told of the Prince of Peace? We need to realize that we are ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. An ambassador represents his country, and his ruler. There is POWER in the NAME OF JESUS...but so often Christians are hesitant to speak the NAME OF JESUS, unless it is in the confines of the church. Where ever we do this, we are subject to ridicule and sometimes persecution...but this should not deter us. There is an enemy of our souls, and he wants to silence the NAME OF JESUS anyway he can.
DO WE REALLY BELIEVE IN JESUS? WHEREVER OUR FEET TAKE US THROUGHOUT THE DAY, SPEAKING THE NAME OF JESUS SHOULD BE JUST AS NATURAL AS IF WE WERE SPEAKING OF OUR SPOUSE OR OUR FRIENDS. AS LONG AS WE ARE HESITANT ABOUT SPEAKING HIS NAME, WE WILL NOT WALK IN THE VICTORY CHRIST HAS CALLED US TO.