AN EXPRESSION OF ANOTHER

Satanism defined is: the worship of Satan. But listening to those who claim to be Satanist you might discover somewhat of a different definition. Many Satanists will tell you they don’t worship a being known as satan at all. In fact, they will tell you Satanism is really the idea that you are your own independent person, in charge of your own life and destiny. You don’t have any allegiance to anyone at all. In fact, many even think of themselves as the truly enlightened ones and everyone else as the ones who are deceived.

If you look at what the Bible says about Satan you will discover something very interesting. According to Isaiah 14, the one most know as Lucifer, Satan’s name before he rebelled, wanted and believed he could be greater than God. He declared, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!” So you see, he thought he could do a better job at being God than God Himself.

So when you look at the record of the fall of man as recorded in Genesis, you discover man’s very separation from God was caused by this very same mind and attitude. The Serpent told our first parents, “The day you eat of this fruit you will be as God.” So, the root cause of mankind’s fall and separation from God took place when man believed the lie that they could be “like God.” Then and there the spirit and mind of Satan moved into mankind and the fall had begun!

According to Ephesians 2:2, “We all lived according to this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

Did you catch the phrase, “according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit now working “IN” the sons of disobedience?” The prince of the power of the air is referring to Satan and this clearly tells us he was the spirit working in us before we came to Christ. Wouldn’t that mean we all thought we could run our own lives and know better than even God? Wouldn’t that make us all Satanist before knowing Christ? Doesn’t that mean we were an expression of Satan?

The “Good News” though is, “Even when we were dead/separated from God, He made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5-6).

So, on the cross, along with Christ, we died too! (Romans 6:2-11). That means, through the operation of the cross, our union with the “Prince of the power of the air” has been severed. We have been freed from this deceptive “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6) and joined to the “Holy Spirit of truth” (1 John 4:6). We no longer have to live in the lie that we can be “like” God. No!! In fact, we can now be content to be the branch to His vine, the vessel for His treasure, the temple for His Spirit and the body for His head. We can be what God created us to be and that’s in union with Him and a visible expression of He who is invisible, right here on the earth.

Advertisements

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

IF YOU COULD SEE INSIDE INSTEAD

Reading in Matthew this morning about Herod and John the Baptist I noticed an interesting contrast between the two. Herod issued a decree to have all the male children under two years old killed. He had been told by the Magi, or wise-men, a King had been born and he wanted to put a stop to anyone growing up as a rival to his throne. This sounds like quite a drastic measure to me but it really just goes to show us the depths a fallen man will go to in order to maintain his authority.

Sometimes I think we don’t really understand how far we have fallen. Most of us see ourselves as not that bad, but in some cases it seems mankind’s fall landed us in a position not too far above the animal kingdom. Have you ever watched any of those nature shows, especially the one’s about lions? You’ll see a male lion find a female to mate with and then he sets out to make sure there aren’t any other males in the territory. His whole drive and motivation in life is to eat and procreate and anything that gets in the way of that is in danger of being snuffed out.

So think with me for a minute. Herod, being the King, would have probably looked pretty prestigious if you saw him in his robes and his lavish living quarters; yet if you looked at him on the inside you would have thought him a beast. He was behaving exactly the way a male lion would act in that he was going around killing anyone he perceived to be a threat to his throne. I don’t know about you but this sounds pretty beastly to me. It seems Herod is a perfect example of fallen man’s attempts at greatness apart from the Spirit of God. John the Baptist, on the other hand, is a different story.

As we are introduced to John the Baptist we learn right away he’s a godly man. He is in the wilderness preaching repentance and baptizing people who confess their sins. We also learn something else about him, his appearance.  “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” If you were looking at John the Baptist you would have thought him the beast instead of Herod, at least as far as appearance was concerned.

In the fall of man we became focused on the outer man while God is looking to the inner.  Jesus told the religious leaders of his day, those who looked good on the outside, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean…You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Let me finish by quoting the Apostle Paul. “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.” There is one more thing to think about though. Whatever is on the inside of a person will eventually be revealed. Herod looked good on the outside but the murderous intentions of his heart were manifested when he commanded mass murder. In the same way John the Baptist looked rough on the outside but his heart for God came out through his humble and sacrificial attitude.

Louie

BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

Today I thought I would share an insight from the life of Joseph that lit up for me this morning. The life and times of Joseph, as recorded in Genesis, has so many parallels to the life of Jesus Christ. One is revealed at the end of Genesis with Joseph saying, “You thought evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” This is quite an amazing thing for Joseph to point out to his manipulative brothers but that last part is the kicker “to save much people alive.”

Joseph was sold into slavery as a result of evil intentions on the part of his brothers. You see they were jealous of him and carried out their dastardly deed in order to remove him from their lives. Little did they know their act of betrayal would actually save them one day, but let’s get to the point. Since God is sovereign he knows the end from the beginning and thankfully he loves us. He worked this whole thing out, the mistreatment of Joseph by his own brothers, so in the end they could be saved. God pre-planned for Joseph to be in a position to provide and save the very people that sold him out in the first place. Amazing!

If you look in Revelation 13:8 you will see where Jesus Christ is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” In other words the provision for our salvation was in place long before the fall of man in the Garden. “Oh the depth and riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” You see while the fall of man was tragic, apparently it never caught God off guard. In fact one could argue the fall is part of the plan. After all the result of the fall brought sorrow into the lives of Adam and Eve, sorrow in childbearing for her and sorrow in providing food for him. You see this sorrow is actually a gift from God because without it we would never come to see our need of him and the true purpose and plan God has for us.

God’s plan of “making man in his image and giving them dominion over all he created” still applies. He hasn’t changed his ultimate plan for us in that he still plans for us to reign over his creation. The fall, as it were, is really just one aspect of his plan. If we had never attempted to run things our own way we never would come to the conclusion his way is the only way. God knows we have to learn the wrong way before we will go the right way. So he went into this whole human project with full knowledge of what it was going to take for us to get it and still thought it worthwhile. Isn’t it great to know the fall didn’t catch him off guard? God really does work all things out for our good. He is so patient with us not wanting any to perish but for all to come to repentance and faith in him.

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