Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

They did not Love their Lives so Much as to Shrink from Death

Dear Father,
     We praise You for choosing to live in us through Your Holy Spirit. Please consume us with Yourself so that our faith is unwavering and so our love may abound. In this way You will make us bolder in the days to come.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

Theme Song: I Will Glory in My Redeemer

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
   “Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God,
   and the authority of His Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
   who accuses them before our God day and night,
   has been hurled down.
11 They overcame him
   by the blood of the Lamb
   and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
   as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
   and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
   because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
   because he knows that his time is short.” Rev 12

Condemnation and Confidence

     As we seek to obey Him in His command to preach His Gospel to every creature and to walk by faith rather than sight, we have felt deprived of confidence and boldness. We have felt despair, fear, uncertainty, and ultimately condemnation. We have felt condemnation because we have not understood the full weight of our sin and the full removal of our guilt and shame at the cross. The extent to which we had not comprehended His atonement for our sin was the extent to which we had given the devil a foothold. The accuser of the brethren stands night and day to accuse the beloved of the King. 

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
   “Now have come the salvation and the power and the Kingdom of our God,
   and the authority of His Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
   who accuses them before our God day and night,
   has been hurled down. Rev 12

     Our perceived condemnation had resulted in our fear and uncertainty in the works of our hands and the words of our mouths. We were gripped with fear when there was nothing to fear. Our minds and hearts were tossed and blown about, when their was one who held the immortal part of us securely in His grasp. The weight of our sin was in the back of our hearts and minds, constantly weighing us down, causing us to second-guess our every noble desire and every Spirit-led purpose. The devil tortured our minds with past and present guilt, fear of judgment and wrath, and Spiritual anguish. The confident boldness that the apostles affirmed was far from us and in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.

    But God is calling His church to awaken from their slumber. He tells her to awaken from her nightmare of condemnation. Indeed she had felt as though the shroud of darkness that covers the godless had been over her. But God knows that His hovering Spirit had blown like wind to remove the shroud by the power of His Word, spoken as with the sound of rushing waters. Do you hear the sound? Do you hear the rushing waters? Surely His Spirit and Word are lifting the shroud that the bride may see and behold her salvation.

On this mountain He will destroy
   the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations; Is 25

     In our feelings of condemnation, we had shrunk back in fear. But now He calls us to remember that the wrath of Himself is removed from us. He calls us to constantly claim His grace and His victory at the cross. With every fear that we acknowledge to be within us, we know that we have not understood that our condemnation is removed. But when our hearts are free from condemnation, this is when His insurmountable boldness flows from within us.

21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.23 And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. I John 3

    He is not pleased with us who shrink back in fear and He calls as sin "everything that does not come from faith". His call to us is to have faith in what Christ has done to save us from our sins. We remember His promise that "nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ". Have we not often asked of Him, "Father I know that neither death, life, angels, demons, past, present, height, depth, nor any other created thing can separate me from Your love. But what about my sin? For surely it is my sin which makes me feel separated from Your love and less so this list of created things." And His merciful response is "Dear child, the reason why this promise is true is because Your sin has been forgiven. That is the underlying premise for this promise of Mine; because My Son has made atonement for your sin, My love is forever upon you and in you. Have faith and do not doubt!"

37 For in just a very little while,
   “He who is coming will come and will not delay.
 38 But My righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
   I will not be pleased with him.”

 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Heb 10

     He calls us to do everything out of faith with the complete belief in the forgiveness of our sins. Much of our fear of man is due to our lack of understanding that our sins have been forgiven. And not only that our intentional moral depravity has been forgiven, but that our earthly weaknesses have been covered by the blood of the Lamb. Surely, there are weaknesses in our earthly capacities that cause us to fear man and to be wanting of boldness, but His grace and the bestowments of His own glorious righteousness say, "You are clean because of the Word I have spoken to You".

I have sinned.
I do not condemn You. Go and sin no more.
I cannot walk.
Your sin is forgiven. Pick up Your mat and go.
I cannot work.
To the one who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.
I am in physical need.
I am Your Sovereign Provider.
The assemblies have heaped accusations on me.
I have chosen, loved, and sanctified You.
My sins have overtaken me and I cannot see.
I have blotted out your sin, removed your blindness, and continue to reveal the Truth to you in My Word.
My past efforts have been in vain.
I am able to do immeasurably more than all you would ask of think according to My power that is at work within you.

     Have faith, dear family, that the full price of your sin has been paid for. His judgment has passed from you. Take each step in faith. Do not give the evil forces victory in your uncertainty in self and in the fallen world. Fix your eyes on Him. This setting of the mind on Him is a conscious act that you must deliberately take all the time. Even as you go through your daily routines, you are sanctifying your every step and word when you put your complete faith in Him. Deep boldness will come to you. Deep confidence in beholding the King as you walk. BEHOLD THE KING AS YOU WALK. As you walk.

11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the Glory of that which lasts!
 12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 2 Cor 3

Love and Confidence

     Our sincere unhindered unconditional Agape for our family in Christ and for our neighbors in the world will support our unwavering confidence. Indeed much of our fear had been because in our hearts we knew that we did not possess that love which our Savior had commanded us to show to our family and neighbors. We had heard of this love, but we rightly understood in our subconscious hearts that we did not have this kind of love for the people we came across. This understanding had hindered our sharing of the Words and Agape of the Gospel, for we felt that we were unable to deliver the true love or that our hearts could not sustain the love for more than a short period of time or that we could not make the potential sacrifices on behalf of that love which was commanded of us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I John 4

     Love is something that we must hold as our goal above all other aspirations. Indeed the goal of our faith and our pursuit of His glory is that we may know His love and love His bride. Love is the fulfillment of the law and the greatest virtue that God has equated to His very self. What is the goal of your pursuit of God, His Word, His fillings of the Spirit...what do we truly seek. We seek His love. We seek to know His Agape and for that power to obey His command to love Him and our neighbors. May our primary request of Him be to know His love and to show His love. There is no greater request for surely these items result in the glorification of our Triune God through the salvation and pleasure of His beloved.

     As we consistently pursue the command of love, He will grant us the ever-increasing understanding of His own love and the pouring of this love in and out from us to others. In the process of comprehending His love, we are denying ourselves and casting away that very earthly honor or pleasure that we had sought. Indeed all of the fears associated with our former carnal desires are removed and our confidence grows.

1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 2 Cor 3

     The love that He gives to us for one another will grant us the boldness and the confidence to speak and to labor on behalf of His endeared souls who dwell among us. May our hearts ever say, "My sin is atoned for in Christ. My weaknesses are covered in the grace of Christ. And I love you, forever and ever in Christ. I have no earthly fear for I have been granted eternal Life in knowing Christ and the certain hope of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb."

When we behold the glory of the Lord and the advance of His Kingdom, no earthly force can oppress us, no evil spirit can torment us, no fleshly object can be exalted before our eyes. 

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