Jesus Christ is Lord of All

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Unity # 23: Their Lord

Unity # 23: Their LoRd:
Theme Song: Stronger
AUDIO of This Letter:

Dear Father,
     You are the Lord. You have highly exalted Your Son and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, may my beloved and I, just as we have obeyed to some degree in Your grace prior to this day, work out our salvation with fear and trembling; for it is You who works in us, both to will and to work for Your good pleasure. Please renew my mind by Your Spirit that I may remember what Your Spirit has taught me in the recent days. Grant us the desires of our hearts according to Your will, not our will, but Yours be done. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the Flesh.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Dear Beloved,

          In last week’s letter we discussed the one way that all true believers walk in. Though they may stumble and stray, the Shepherd’s loving discipline keeps them on this narrow path until the end that they may receive the promise of eternal Life. This week’s letter is about the Nature of God as the Lord, or Kyrios (κύριος) in the Greek and Jehovah in the Old Testament. The Greek word for Lord is defined as he to whom a person belongs about which he has power of deciding, the master, the one who has control of a person, and the title of honor expressive of respect and reverence. God spoke to Moses saying that He is the Lord; He had appeared to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by His Name, Lord, He now made Himself known to Moses (Ex 6:2-3). King David prophesied that the Lord said to his Lord, “Sit at My right Hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus who was crucified (Acts 2:34-36).

     As we continue, may God help us to understand what it means that Christ is our Lord, for I feel that many, even among us, do not understand what it means that Christ is our Lord, and yet the great fathers of the faith, have known and lived with Christ as their Lord. Their great faith was not an act of their own human will, but an act of the all-powerful control of God over their souls. As Stephen was stoned he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Acts 7:59). As Paul was halted by Divinity on the road to Damascus he said, “Who are You, Lord?” to which Christ answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Peter said, “We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are” (Acts 15:11). Paul and Silas told the Jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Paul said in the latter part of his life “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24) and he told his fellow believers “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). Paul commanded the Romans to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom 13:14). Dear saints, the Truth that Christ is our Lord can be viewed as having two components. The first component is our response of reverence and obedience to Christ as our Lord. Because He is our Lord, we ought to revere Him and to submit to Him in everything as our Master. God tells us that there is no agreement between the temple of God and idols. For we are the temple of the living God. God Almighty tells us that He will dwell in us and walk among us. He will be our God, and we shall be His people. He commands us to come out from their midst and be separate and to not touch what is unclean. He will welcome us. He will be a Father to us, and we shall be sons and daughters to Him. (2 Cor 6:16-18) In the first component, we obey these commands out of reverence for God. We are His bondservant and there is for us but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. The first component of the Truth that Christ is our Lord is that we strive to obey Him because He is the most venerable Master to us. The second component is the power, faithfulness, and love of the Lord by which He controls absolutely everything in our lives. The willing obedience and reverence which characterize the first component are actually implanted and worked in us by our Lord. Because He is the Lord, He has the power and authority to cause us to obey and honor Him as Lord. The control of the Lord gave us the initial faith and regeneration of our souls. In the exercise of His will, He brought us forth by the Word of Truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures (Jam 1:18). For we have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Pet 1:23-25). Our Lord has power to transform us and to cause us to obey Him. He gathered us out from the evil in the world and brought us into His Kingdom. He sprinkled the clean Water of His Word on us and we have been cleansed of all our filthiness and idols. He has given us a new heart and a new spirit. He has removed the heart of stone from our flesh and given us a heart of flesh. He has put His Spirit within us and causes us to walk in His statutes, and we will be careful to observe His ordinances. (Ez 36:24-27) The Lord’s Word spreads rapidly and is glorified, and we are rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect us from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning the saints, that they will follow Christ’s commands. The Lord directs our hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess 3:1-5) For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Cor 5:14-15). The Lord causes us to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, so that He may establish our hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints. (1 Thess 3:12-13). Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal Covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equips us in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20-21) Indeed Christ was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we live with Him because of the power of God directed towards us. For we are confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-6) The Lord Jesus Christ confirms us to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1:7-9). The God of peace sanctifies us entirely and makes our spirit, soul, and body to be persevered complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls us, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thess 5:23-24) As the doxology of Jude says, “24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. JudeDear saints, this second component is the power and authority of our Lord to effect obedience, love, fruit, and progressive sanctification in all believers. By this Nature of our Lord, no one can snatch us from the Father’s Hand. No created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:39).
     The omnipotent Lord refuses to leave any of His children in a life a continual unrepentant sin. For we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in us, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in us. (Rom 8:9-11). When we believe in the Gospel of our salvation, we believe in Christ as the Savior, the Messiah, the One who saves us from our sins and from the wrath of God. And yet many have not believed in Christ as the Lord, the One who will surely keep them firm in faith until the end, the One who will induce the bearing of fruit, the One who will sanctify us, the One who will give us the heart to know and obey Him, the One who will direct our hearts to love one another, the One who will cause us to obey His commands… We know that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Rom 10:9). To confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord is not only to proclaim that He is our Master and the One whom we Honor, but it is to declare our inner belief that He will control our lives, confirm our standing, and grant us the perseverance of the saints. Remember the story of the Centurion who told Jesus, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the Word and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave “Do this” and he does it.” When Jesus heard the centurion, He marveled at him, and said that in all Israel he had not found someone with such great faith. (Luke 7:6-10) Jesus clearly taught on the cost of discipleship. This discipleship is not an option for the believer, but a reality in every saved person’s post-regenerate life. He said that if anyone comes to Him, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be His disciple. And whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Him cannot be His disciple. For which one of us, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule his inability to finish building the tower. Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand. Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of us can be His disciples if we do not give up all our own possessions. You see, dear saints, justification is a gift of grace, based on the finished work of Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. And yet, Jesus gave us the call of discipleship involving giving up everything and standing firm in faith until the end in order to be saved. So, today you may say that you believe in the grace of God by which you will be spared on the Day of Judgment. But how do we deal with the standards of discipleship? How can any of us muster the strength and purpose to abide by such seemingly impossible standards? Shall we put them aside, and consider them beneficial options which are not a part of every true believer’s life? By no means! For to do so would be to deny Jesus as Lord. When we trust in Christ as Lord, we are trusting that the One who calls us is faithful to bring to pass our perseverance and progressive sanctification. To believe in Christ as Savior is to believe that our sins are forgiven in His Name. And to believe in Him as Lord is to trust that He will fulfill all terms of discipleship within us. We may oft be brought to despair at our failings, but may we continue to trust in Him as Lord, the One who will rescue us from everything that hinders our ongoing faith and conformance into the Image of Christ. For we were continually straying like sheep, but now we have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Pet 3:25). We must test ourselves to see if we are in the faith and to examine ourselves. If we truly are children of God, because Christ is our Lord, we will recognize that Jesus Christ is in us. We will not fail this test, if indeed we are truly regenerated unto salvation. Now we pray to God that we will do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that we may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the Truth, but only for the Truth. (2 Cor 13:5-8)

     Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 6:23). This grace and peace are from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:3) We have the spirit of faith; we believe therefore we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with all the saints. For all things are for our sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:13-18)

     Dear saints, I believe that the Holy Spirit is teaching the Bride of Christ though-out the world about the promises of the New Covenant: justification, progressive sanctification, and soon our final glorification, all of which are granted to every believer by grace through the work of Christ. The heresy of the modern day church is a false doctrine which teaches that not all believers are increasingly conformed to the Image of Christ, that not all Christians continue to bear fruit, and that not all Christians respond positively to the Father’s discipline. Based on the Scriptures we have discussed in this letter and many others, this heresy denies that Jesus is Lord. The heresy says that the believer has power to choose to live a Godly life, but that it is possible for him to remain in a state of complete unrepentant rebellious sin with no growth in holiness until death and still be saved on the Day of Judgment. This heresy denies that Christ is Lord and thus states that He does not have power and desire to effect obedience and love in His Bride. Upon further examination of the Scriptures, You will find that this heresy slanders the character of our God, treats as unholy the blood of the Covenant, tramples underfoot the Son of God, and insults the Spirit of grace. For no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit and no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed” (1 Cor 12:3). Paul told Timothy that if anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicious, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that Godliness is a means of gain. (1 Tim 6:3-5) False prophets have arisen among the modern day churches who secretly introduce this destructive heresy, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the Way of Truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit some among us with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Pet 2:1-3) Dear saints, regardless of which church you attend, examine carefully the recently written doctrinal documents of your church, and see if this doctrine has been secretly introduced. May the Spirit of our anointing give you true discernment. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit”, and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire”. (2 Pet 2:20-22) Dear saints, sheep do not return to their vomit or wallow in the mire. Those who do so were never sheep to begin with, but rather dogs or sows. We must follow Christ’s example, and observe those such as the apostle Paul who walk according to the pattern of Truth. For many walk, of whom Paul often told us, and told us even weeping, as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their appetite, and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Phil 3:17-21)

       To confess that Jesus is Lord is to proclaim that He, in His own power and by His own righteous Arm to the glory of His Name, will justify, progressively sanctify, refine, discipline, produce fruit within, transform with ever-increasing glory, conform to the Image of Christ, and eternally glorify each person of His Bride. To deny any portion of these Scriptural Truths of the Nature of our Lord is to deny that He is Lord in His fullness. Furthermore, when the regenerate hear of this sovereignty of our Lord’s Covenant, they will not become lax unto carnality but will see that His divine power has given them everything pertaining to life and Godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. The Lord and Savior has granted His children His precious and magnificent promises so that by them they may become partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Those who are regenerate respond to their true belief in Christ as Lord and Savior by, applying all diligence, in their faith supplying, moral excellence, in their moral excellence, knowledge, and in their knowledge, self-control, and in their self-control, perseverance, and in their perseverance, Godliness, and in their Godliness, brotherly kindness, and in their brotherly kindness, love. These qualities are granted in increasing measure to the saints that they may be rendered neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who lack these qualities are blind or short-sighted, having forgotten their purification from former sins. That is, if one does not have these qualities, he is not believing the Gospel, at least temporarily. Because Christ is the Lord of His children, they cannot continue in such a state of disbelief and will be drawn back irresistibly and repeatedly to the throne of grace. Those who do continue in such a state of disbelief without repentance until death are damned. Therefore, dear saints, we must be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing us; for as long as we practice these things, we will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to us. (2 Peter 1:1-11) The zeal, pursuit, and devotion of the souls of the regenerate in response to their belief in the sovereignty of the Lord’s Covenant shows that they truly are the children of God.

Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love. (Eph 6:24)

Excellents Messages:
The Impossibility of the Christian Life Sermon by Paul Washer 66 min
Gospel, Grace, Glory Conference 2013 Messages (including Washer and Baucham)

Love in Christ,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Unity # 22: One Way

Unity # 22: One Way
Theme Song: Press On

Dear Father,
     Oh, the depth of the riches both of Your wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable are Your judgments and unfathomable are Your ways! (Rom 11:33) How can we keep our way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. (Ps 119:9) Thank You for Your Word. We have chosen the faithful way; we have placed Your ordinances before us (Ps 119:30). Enlarge our hearts so that we may run in the way of Your commandments (Ps 119:32). May we consider our ways and turn our feet to Your Testimonies (Ps 119:59). Jesus, You have made the Way, You are the Way, and knowing You is all along Your Way. Yes, this Way is eternal Life. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the Flesh.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,

Dear Beloved,

     In last week’s letter, we spoke of divine restoration, the act of the Trinity to bring about repentance when we have strayed, to restore our fellowship with Christ, and to produce the ongoing bearing of fruit and conformance into His Image. Though we often stray, He has never stopped doing good to us, and thus, the harvest of His restoration more than makes up for what we seemed to have lost. Thus, in spite of all our failures, we are all surely being progressively sanctified and transformed into His Image with ever-increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

     This week’s letter is about the one Way which all of the true saints walk in. Our God is pleased with those who walk in this Way. He is the Rock; His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He (Deut 32:4). His eyes are on the faithful of the land that they may dwell with Him; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to Him (Ps 101:6). God tells us to do homage to His Son, that He not become angry, and we perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Ps 2:12). The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but God loves the one who pursues righteousness (Prov 15:9). When King David gave his charge to his son Solomon, he said that the Lord would carry out His promise concerning him. God had told him that if his sons are careful of their way, to walk before Him in Truth with all their heart and soul, he would not lack a man on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:4). After King Solomon finished building the temple of the Lord, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. Solomon prayed for the people saying that when the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against God, and they pray towards this place and confess His Name and turn from their sin when He afflicts them, then may God hear in heaven and forgive the sin of His servants and of His people Israel, and, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk and send rain on His land, which He has given to His people as an inheritance. (1 Kings 8:35-36) God proclaims, “Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!” (Ps 81:13) King David says, “Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes!” (Ps 119:5) The people of God wait for the Lord and keep His way. He exalts them to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off they will see it. (Ps 37:34) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life (Prov 16:17). Those who are wise and discerning understand and know that the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressor will stumble in them (Hos 14:9). They make straight paths for their feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed (Heb 12:13). Those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize. We must run in such a way that we may win. We exercise this self-control to receive an imperishable reward. Therefore we run in such a way, as not without aim; we box in such a way, as not beating the air, but we discipline our body and make it our slave, so that, after we have preached to others, we ourselves will not be disqualified. (1 Cor 9:24-27) Dear saints, the Lord tells us, “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death” (Jer 21:8). He tells us “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls” (Jer 6:16).

     For there is a way that leads to death. This is the way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Prov 16:25). Jesus tells us to enter through the narrow door; for many, will seek to enter and not be able to (Luke 13:23-24) and to enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it, for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matt 7:13-14).We at one time were as those who walked in this way of death. We were as the greedy dogs which are not satisfied, the shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the last one (Is 56:11). Jesus gave us the parable of the wedding feast of the king for his son to describe the wicked ways of mankind. They paid no attention and went on their way, one to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized the king’s slaves, mistreated, and killed them. Prior to his conversion, Paul was like those who mistreated God’s servants. If Paul found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he bound them and brought them to Jerusalem to kill them (Acts 9:2) The slaves eventually followed the king’s instructions to invite those on the main highways, both good and evil, and the wedding hall was indeed filled with dinner guests. (Matt 22:1-10) Dear saints, we have followed His invitation to belong to the Way.

     In God’s New Covenant, He promises to give us one Way. He has gathered us out of all the wicked slavery that we remained in under His anger, wrath, and great indignation; and He has brought us to Himself and made us to dwell in safety. He calls us His people and He declares that He will be our God. He gives us one heart and one way, that we may fear Him always, for our own good and the good of our children after us. He has made an everlasting Covenant with us that He will not turn away from us, to do us good; and He will put the fear of Himself in our hearts so that we will not turn away from Him. He will rejoice over us to do us good and will faithfully plant us in the land of Himself with all His Heart and Soul. (Jer 32:37-41). We will ask for the way to Zion, turn our faces in its direction, and come that we may join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting Covenant that will not be forgotten (Jer 50:5). This Covenant was established by Jesus Christ, preceded by John the Baptist referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the Way of the Lord, make His paths straight!” (Matt 3:3) and “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You” (Matt 11:10). Jesus tells us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Him. God has raised up His Servant Jesus and sent Him to bless us by turning every one of us from our wicked ways (Acts 3:26). There is a Highway of Holiness for us to walk upon; yes, this is the narrow way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, nor will any vicious beast go up on it; these will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Is 35:8-10)

     In order to be saved, we must remain on the narrow path. We must continue in the one Way. Yet, in the abundance of His grace He guards our way and keeps us on His path. Our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel is the Lord our God who teaches us to profit in the heavenly realms, and He leads us in the way we should go (Is 48:17). We are saved by His grace alone. By His grace we are enabled to stay in the straight way. He guards the paths of justice, for in His justice He has forgiven us, promised to conform us into the Image of His Son, and given us eternal Life in knowing Christ. He preserves the way of His Godly ones. (Prov 2:8) His righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner (Prov 13:6). The way of the righteous is smooth; He is the Upright One who makes the paths of the righteous level (Is 26:7). The Lord longs to be gracious to us, and waits on high to have compassion on us. The Lord is a God of justice and how blessed are all those who long for Him. We will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to us at the sound of our cry; when He hears it, He will answer us. Although the Lord has given us the bread of privation and the water of oppression, He, our Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but our eyes will behold our Teacher. Our ears will hear a word behind us, “This is the way, walk in it” whenever we turn to the right or to the left. And we will defile our graven images overlaid with silver, and our molten images plated with gold. We will scatter them as an impure thing and say to them “Be gone!” (Is 30:18-22) He restores our soul; He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Ps 23:3). All the paths of the Lord are loving-kindness and Truth to those who keep His Covenant and His Testimonies (Ps 25:10). He leads the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know He will guide them. He will make darkness into Light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things He will do, and He will not leave them undone (Ps 42:16). For He has made known to us the ways of life and made us full of gladness in His Presence (Acts 2:28).  He is leading us, even now, by a straight way, to go to an inhabited city which has foundations whose Builder and Architect is God (Ps 107:7, Heb 11:10). Righteousness has gone before our Savior and He makes His own Footsteps into a Way for us. We follow Him as we walk in His Footsteps. We are like King David who asked God to establish his footsteps in His Word, and to not let any iniquity have dominion over him (Ps 119:133). We have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example for us to follow in His steps (1 Pet 2:21). The apostle Peter tells us that they did not follow cleverly devised tales when they made known to us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16).

     With regard to the other saints, we are not to judge one another in an angry and carnal way, but rather determine not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way (Rom 14:13). We must be like Samuel who said, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way” (1 Sam 12:23). We are to take care, dear saints, that there not be in any of us an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But we are to encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today so that none of us will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end. Today if we hear His Voice, we must not harden our hearts. (Heb 3:12-15). Therefore we must urge one another, by the mercies of God, to present our bodies as living and holy sacrifices, acceptable to God, which is our Spiritual service of worship. And we must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:1-2)

“With weeping they will come,
And by supplication I will lead them;
I will make them walk by streams of waters,
On a straight path in which they will not stumble;
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn.”
10 Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
And declare in the coastlands afar off,
And say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him
And keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.”
11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob
And redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. Jer 31

Excellent Messages:

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unity # 21: Restoration of the Regenerate

 Unity # 21: Restoration of the Regenerate
Theme Song: Let Faith Arise 

Dear Father,
Have I made You the Lord of my life? No, I did not. You are our Lord and in Your Lordship You cause us to acknowledge that You are Lord more and more. You are Lord of my heart, Lord of my dear saint-friends, and Lord of Your bride. Thank You that in every generation You are perfecting the love and the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the souls of Your people. You teach us together and lead us in one heart, one way, and one mind. For we are all driven by the Mind of your Son, the Firstborn of all creation. Please revive us, restore us, and give us Your strength. Purify our hearts to see Your glory in Your divine restoration. Jesus Christ is Lord and He has come in the flesh.
In Jesus Christ's Name,

Dear Beloved,
One the main themes in this series of unity letters is the work of the Spirit who inhabits our being to effect increasing measuring of holiness and the ongoing bearing of fruit in our lives. To continue in ongoing unrepentant sin is in awful contradiction to our new natures made to be like Christ in true righteousness and holiness. So what happens when we fall? What has happened to you when you strayed from God at some point after being regenerated? What is happening to your lingering strongholds and weaknesses? We who know the Good Shepherd are witnesses of His divine restoration preceded by the conviction of the Spirit, the Fatherly discipline, and the witness of our faithful Lord Jesus Christ who has offered His own blood, the Blood of the Covenant. A righteous man falls seven times and rises again (Prov 24:16). Oh, what a glorious restoration the Trinity brings about in the lives of the true children when they have fallen. This restoration happens in His beautiful time and way. The Hebrew Word for restoration means “to bring back”. This restoration results in renewed sweet fellowship with Christ. 

In God's eternal covenant spoken through Jeremiah He promises to not stop doing good to His people. He will put the fear of Himself in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Him. He will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in the land of Himself with all His heart and with all His soul. (Jer 32:40-41) In the same way, we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called to His purpose. Those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the Image of His Son so that He would be the Firstborn among many brethren. And these whom He predestined He also called and these whom He called He also justified. And these whom He justified He also glorified. (Rom 8:28-30) So even though we sin and stray for a time as believers, we must remember that God has never stopped doing good to us because the curse and penalty for our sin has been removed. He will indeed remove whatever hinders our
fellowship with Him and ongoing belief in the Gospel. In the process of that refinement, we will see His glory and will experience a double portion of His greatness. As God says, "Return to the stronghold O prisoners who have the hope. This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you(Zech 9:12)". The Lord will be zealous for His Kingdom among His people and will have pity on His people. He will answer and speak to them Words of restoration. He will send them the blessings of knowing Christ and will remove the power of sin from their lives. He tells them not to fear, but to be glad in the Lord their God. He promises that He has given them the early rain, the living Water of His Word, for their vindication. They will again bear fruit. The desolation of the Fatherly discipline will be removed and He will make up for the creeping, stripping, and gnawing locust-eaten years. They will have an abundance in the Body and Blood of Christ. We will praise the Name of our God who has dealt wonderfully with us and we will never be put to shame. Thus we will know that He is in the midst of His people. He has poured His promised Holy Spirit on us that we may prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions of what is portrayed in the all-sufficient Word of God. (Joel 2:18-19) 

What happens when we have strayed? God tells the Israelites, “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, 2 and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3 then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper Deut 30" Dear saints, God tells us to you and multiply you more than your fathers.humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God that He may exalt us at the proper time, casting all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us. We must of sober spirit and on the alert for our adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We must resist him, standing firm in our faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by our brethren here in the world. After we have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory in Christ will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)
The fruit of His divine restoration is far greater than everything we feel we may have lost. Why? Because remember that He never stops doing good to His children and He is working everything for their good that they may have the increasing knowledge of Christ. And remember that knowing Christ is eternal life. For this reason James tells us to consider it all joy when we encounter various trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result so that we may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. In this we greatly rejoice even though now for a while, if necessary, we have been distressed by various trial so that the proof of our faith being more precious than gold which is perishable even when tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory ,and honor, at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And though we have not seen Him, we love Him. And though we do not see Him now, we believe in Him,. We rejoice greatly with joy inexpressible and full of glory obtaining as the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our soul. (1 Peter 1:6-9) 

Divine restoration of our souls when we have gone astray is a work of God to move our hearts to repentance to the throne of grace so that we may continue to bear fruit unto His glory. God tells us to return though we have been faithless. We will return willingly and yet it is His spirit who causes us to do so because God remains faithful to His covenant with His people. He will not look on us with anger for He is gracious. We must only acknowledge our iniquity, that we have transgressed against the Lord our God, and have scattered our favors to the strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed His Voice. He tells us to return though we have been faithless children for He is a Master to us. (Jer 3:12-14) And He will bring us back to sweet fellowship with Himself. He is our good Shepherd and by His rod of discipline we will no longer walk in the stubbornness of our wicked behavior. 

Dear saints, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin. And we ought not to forget the exhortation which addresses us as sons that we, as children of God, should not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord nor faint when we are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives. God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful. But for those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore we should strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble and make straight paths for our feet. So that the limb which is lame may not be out of joint but rather healed. (Heb 12) God heals our former faithlessness. We come to Him because He is the Lord our God. Surely the hills of our idolatry are a deception, a tumult on the mountains. Surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of His people. (Jer 3:22-23) God has heard our grief. He has chastised us and we are chastised as an untrained calf. He will bring us back that we may be restored for He is the Lord our God. (Jer 31:18) Jeremiah speaks of God's divine restoration: " 10 “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into Jer 29” If we return to God, He restores us. We will stand before Him and if we exile. extract the preciousness of Christ from the worthless world, we will be His spokespeople. The people of the world may turn to us, but we must not turn to them. (Jer 15:19) 

As God's children, we should not stray. And if we do sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9) Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, we should arm ourselves also with the same purpose because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God. (1 Pet 4:1-2) In our straying may we weep and may our eyes stream down with water because we long to be with our Comforter, the One who restores our souls (Lam 1:16). May we call out to the Lord that we may be restored and to renew our days as of old (Lam 5:21). When we do not walk with Spirit, we are slaves. Yet, in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended loving kindness in the sight of others to give us reviving to raise up His house. (Ez 9:9) The God of hosts restores us, causes His Face to shine upon us, and we are saved (Ps 80:9). He restores to us the joy of His salvation and sustains us with a willing Spirit (Ps 51:12). The salvation of God's people has been achieved. When God restores His captive people, they are glad together and called the city of righteousness, the faithful city, the abode of righteousness, the holy hill (Jer 31:23, Is 1:26). He restores our soul. He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. (Ps 23:3) He sustains us on our sickbed. In our illness He restores us to health. As Hezekiah prayed when God restored Him from His lethal illness, O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live!Is 38:16". He restores the ones who are preserved in the Father's hands. He also makes us a light of the nations so that His salvation may reach the ends of the earth (Is 49:6). We shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free. We are no longer slaves to sin, but we are slaves to His righteousness. He sees our ways but He will heal us. He will lead us and restore comfort to us and to those who mourn because of us. (Is 57:18)
God restores us because He is faithful to the glory of His Name. When we are faithless during our straying, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13). Thus He restores us to Himself in His time. He restores the fortune of His people and has mercy on His whole house. He will be jealous for His holy Name. (Ez 39:25) Not only will there be certain restoration, but there is a harvest appointed for them when they are restored (Hos 6:11). They will rebuild the ruined cities and will live in them. They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine and make their gardens and eat their fruit. (Amos 9:14) When He brings us back and gathers us together, He will indeed give us praise and renown among the people of the earth when He restores our fortunes before our eyes (Zeph 3:20). What is our fortune? Our fortune is knowing Christ! The glory which the Father has given the Son, the Son has given to us so that we may be one just as the Trinity is One. Christ in us, and the Father in Christ, that we may be perfected in unity so that the world the world may know that the Father has sent Christ and has loved us even as He has loved the Son. (John 17:22-24) 

Dear saints, we must be on our guard. If our brother sins, we must rebuke him and if he repents we must forgive him. And if he sins against us seven times a day and returns to us seven times saying “”, we must forgive him because we have been I repentforgiven of our infinite debt (Luke 17:4). If anyone is caught in any trespass we who are spiritual should restore the one in a spirit of gentleness each one looking to ourselves so that we too will not be tempted. We must bear one another’s burdens and therefore fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2) Our prayers offered in faith will Lord-willing restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15) Christ restores the hearts of the father to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers so that He will not come and smite the land with a curse (Mal 4:6). The words of the prophets agree when they proclaim that Christ will rebuild the tabernacle which has fallen and rebuild its ruins. He will restore it so that the rest of mankind will seek the Lord and all the Gentiles who are called by His Name. The Lord has spoken and decreed these things known from long ago. (Acts 15:15-18)
Dear saints, because we have a righteous standing in Christ and His blood-bought robe of righteousness covers us, our Father treats us as righteous. So even when we have strayed, He never stopped showing us His goodness. For the blessings and bestowing of wisdom and love through His glorious restoration more than make up for what we feel that we were losing in the time of straying and the sorrow of His discipline. Thus, in spite of our failures He is progressively sanctifying us and conforming us into the Image of His Son. In all our afflictions He is afflicted and the Angel of His Presence saves us. In His love and mercy, He has redeemed us. And He lifts us and carries us all the days of old. (Is 63:9) He is the Lord of the Universe and the Lord of His Bride. 

Love in Christ,
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