DO NOT BE SURPRISED!

No temptation comes but that which is “Common” to man! It’s not strange or unusual for the Christian to be tempted, it’s common. Peter said it like this, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange things were happening to you.”

The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the prince of this world. If Satan is the “god of this world” and we live in his camp, wouldn’t that mean he has a right to shoot at us? Sometimes his shots are not so obvious. Sometimes they are a bit more subtle. They come in the form of accusation and condemnation. He fires at us with thoughts and feelings of not measuring up or never succeeding, not being good enough, etc. This is where we need to know the Person who is the Truth, Jesus.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” He also said, “A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Did you notice what Jesus did not say? He did not say His sheep will not hear the voice of strangers, He said they will not follow. This is a big point to see right here.

As Christians we are freed from sin and the power of the evil one. This is our inheritance in Christ but this doesn’t mean the “evil one” simply leaves us alone. No! He has been evicted but he isn’t all that happy about it.

God condemned sin in the flesh! He did not condemn the flesh. This is yet another important distinction to be made. Sin was and is the problem not the flesh. Jesus said, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” He didn’t say the flesh, in itself, is sinful. Especially since Mr. Sin himself has been evicted! He has been condemned or arrested but he still shouts at us from behind the bars. The good news is we don’t have to take what he’s pushing! When he yells out his lies we answer with truth and the truth is Jesus.

In Him we have died to sin.
In Him we have died to the law.
In Him we have been raised to walk in newness of life.
In Him we are new creatures.
In Him we have been reconciled to God.
In Him we are forgiven.
In Him we are complete.
In Him we are righteous.
In Him we are seated in heavenly places.
In Him we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
In Him we are holy and blameless.
In Him we partake of His divine nature.

When the devil shouts lies, we listen to the still small voice from within us that tells us the truth.

Although he may accuse us night and day, we don’t have to take it anymore! “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

Louie

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THE CROSS MEANS MORE THAN THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS

The blood shed, and death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, did way more than just wash away our sins. If you look closely you will discover it also severed our union with the “god of this world” and joined us to the One True God.

God told Adam not to eat of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” He said, “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” Of course we know he did eat and yet he didn’t seem to have died because immediately he saw that he was naked and ran to hide. So what really happened that day? There is a sense in which the Serpent was truthful, he said, “The day you eat of this your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” It seems Adam’s eyes were opened that day but being opened to this world they were actually closed to the Spirit realm. This is why later on in chapter 3 of the Gospel of John we read where Jesus is telling Nicodemus “unless you are born-again you cannot see the kingdom.”

While Adam, and subsequently all of us born from him, were born with our eyes open to this world we were born blind to the kingdom from which we fell. This of course is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin. His birth bypassed the blind, sinfulness passed down by our earthly fathers. This is also a clue as to what our new birth is all about because we too must be born from a virgin womb, or should I say born from above, but that’s a subject for another time.

What is the root cause of this blindness we have all inherited? The root cause of disobedience to God is unbelief. The Apostle Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” According to Ephesians 2:1&2 we all were dead in trespasses and sins, we all used to live according to the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. In other words, Adam not only disobeyed God he actually joined himself to a deceiving spirit which he then passed on to all that would come after him. 1 John 4 calls it the “spirit of error.” It is this spirit which has blinded us, and our union with this spirit is what is severed at the cross of Calvary for those of us who have been born-again by placing our faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Now we can look at what baptism is really all about.

In Romans 6 we find out real baptism isn’t about water at all it’s about being baptized into a person. Those of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. If we have been joined with him in His death then we are also joined with him in His burial and resurrection. You see on the cross Jesus became sin. He, being sinless, took sin into Himself and died. His body was truly dead which is evidenced by His being buried for three days. A spirit needs a body so when Jesus, and us in him, died, the “god of this world” had to go out. The “Good News” is that after those three days God raised Him back up, and us in Him, by His very own Holy Spirit. So now we are no longer a slave to “Sin” or the “god of this world” the “spirit of error.” The cross breaks our union with the one in order to join us to the other and this is what really happened at the cross.

The Bible teaches us that mankind is never his own. Part of the lie we have believed about ourselves is that we are independent beings living our own lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and once we really start to see the deeper meaning of the cross we’ll finally be set free to be who God always intended us to be.

Many are walking around in bondage to the enemy and don’t even know it yet. This is why Jesus told His disciples, which includes all of us, to “go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” God’s plan is to reunite His creation to His Son Jesus Christ. This is what being baptized into the Father, Son and Spirit really means. This means we are once again in union with God never to be severed again.

“He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Louie

CHRIST AND ANTICHRIST

When someone talks of Antichrist a picture of a particular man may come to mind. When you watch movies or listen to sermons about Antichrist it conjures up a visual of a one world dictator. While these ideas may very well be true, in reality the spirit of Antichrist has been in the world for a very long time. In fact we are all born into the spirit of Antichrist as a result of the fall of man.

All the way back to the Garden of Eden we see the Antichrist spirit. In fact this is the spirit that caused the fall of man. The Serpent enticed Adam, through his wife Eve, to partake of the forbidden tree. I want you to notice what he said, “In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So you see the spirit of Antichrist is really a spirit that is claiming to be God. In other words this spirit sets himself up as God in man.

The term Anti tends to sound like it means in opposition to and it does, but it also means “in place of.” So it isn’t just that this spirit is an adversary it is actually attempting to take God’s place. If we look back in Isaiah 14 we find the origin of this Antichrist spirit, and most believe this is referring to Lucifer, the one we now know as Satan. He said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Lucifer wasn’t content being a vessel, or servant of the Most High God, he actually thought he could be God.

Shortly after God created man this same Antichrist spirit went to work to gain access within man. I guess he thought this is the way I will be “Like” God. God designed man to be a vessel, or Temple, in which he would dwell; so Satan thought “If I can gain access into man I will be like God.” What a bold idea, take over God’s creation by infiltrating man. The big question was how he would get in.

Of course there is a great deal of mystery involved with these things, but it seems to me Adam was allured into this deceptive relationship under the promise of being like God, not because Adam wanted to replace God, rather because he longed to be godly, which sounds like a good thing on the surface. Adam loved God; so it was natural, in a way, for him to want to be like him. The problem with this line of thinking is Adam was never meant to be like God instead he was created to contain God.

We are told throughout the New Covenant man is a vessel, Temple, body and branch. So we were never meant to be “Like” God but rather to be the place he dwells. The problem occurred when the container was deceived into thinking he could be the contents. One of the best ways I have come to understand this is it’s as if man was designed to be a cup but was tricked into thinking he could be the coffee, or the Temple becomes convinced it can become like the Deity housed within.

When Adam joined Satan in his folly mankind fell. It wasn’t just that Adam disobeyed the rules he inadvertently allowed the spirit of Antichrist to take up residence with him. Adam had unwittingly opened himself up to the one who thought he would replace God as the Most High. This is why Jesus said of the devil “He is the father of lies.” There is no way Adam would have taken him up on this if it wasn’t presented to him in such a deceptive manner. If the truth be told the world at large still suffers from the blindness that was caused by this original deception.

In 2 Corinthians 4 we read “the god of this world (Satan) had blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” This blindness has led many, many church going, God lovers into the deception that they can be “like Jesus.” Once again the deception is very subtle. While the enemy is pushing believers to make themselves like the Most High, God is saying, “Let my Son shine through you.” You see our attempts, through self effort, to make ourselves more like Jesus is really just a deception. It is just more of the same lies from the enemy. Mankind was never meant to be “Like God” rather we were meant to be the Temple in which he lives.

Through Lucifer’s pride he wasn’t content to just be the vessel, he wanted to be the contents. It takes revelation from God himself to show us these things for without enlightenment from the Holy Spirit we are blind. The Good news is once you see it you’re life will never be the same. You will find the love, joy, peace and rest that has eluded you your whole life. You will begin to enjoy life as a vessel. The life Paul told us used to be a hidden mystery, but has now been revealed, which is Christ in you the hope of glory!

“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4b

Louie