Articles

Let Jesus Restore You

I’ve encountered a lot of resistance to the Gospel message over the years. I used to resist it myself before Jesus was really introduced to me. And in mostly every instance, it boils down to one single thing… the unwillingness of the person to let Jesus restore them. And I’m choosing my words very carefully here. You see, there usually is no argument that a restoration needs to happen… most people accept that, but where they have difficulty (and where I also had difficulty myself) was in recognizing who the active agent of that restoration actually is. Again, most people are not willing to simply let Jesus restore them, they usually want to be restored by some other means or method – usually themselves.

This is nothing new however, it has been going on since the beginning in the Garden of Eden; and a lot of people are stuck in the spiritual mud with this mentality that they must achieve restoration some other way before presenting themselves to God. The reasons for this are sometimes fear, and sometimes pride.

The prideful ones want to try and impress God: They want to have a Tada! Moment where they can say to God something along the lines of “Here I am, all nice and clean for you! Aren’t you proud of what I did?”

And the fearful ones are too afraid to approach God at all because they know that they are dirty and are afraid of His reaction.

Both of these are mentioned in scripture, and I have personally lived on both sides of the aisle myself as well. What I want to share with you today is how to truly handle both of these situations, and find real peace with God, not through your own efforts, but by letting Jesus truly restore you.

Enjoying the Relationship With God

When you hear the phrase “relationship with God”, what comes to your mind? Modern Christianity has latched onto this phrase as the cool thing to say, the trending topic if you will… but what does it mean exactly? How does a person go about having a relationship with God? What does that look like and how does that work?
I have encountered people who use that term “relationship with God”, and I have asked them, “so tell me about that relationship…” and they typically adopt a blank expression on their faces, like a deer in headlights, because they had honestly never thought about what it means themselves. Others have reverted to the typical “well, I read my Bible every day and attend church regularly.”

It’s not surprising really, because Christianity today has largely replaced a genuine relationship with God, for little more than typically Christian duties. Going to church, regular Bible reading, giving some percentage of income. And as long we check-off those boxes every week, we feel as though we have done something worthwhile… we are a “good Christian”. And let me tell you, I am not pointing any fingers here, because I was the exact same way, with the very same mentality. Until one day, when I realized that even though I was checking every single one of those boxes, I was still dead inside – there was no relationship with God at all. I had substituted a real relationship with a real and personal God, for a pseudo relationship fabricated by works and services. I didn’t know any better because no-one ever told me any different. But inside, God was calling…

What I want to share with you today, is how to have and enjoy a real and genuine relationship with a real and personal God. It is possible to have, and it’s what He actually wants. It’s what Jesus actually came to restore, but most people have been shoehorned onto the treadmill of mere Christian religion instead of true relationship… and they feel the same emptiness that I did, but because of fear, and peer-pressure from those around them, and the burden of all the things that we feel we must do each week, all these things combine to make it very difficult to pull out of the trap of “religious life” and the autopilot of the day, and take a step back to honestly ask the question: do I even really know who God is? Have we even spoken recently? I had to ask myself those questions… and I had to honestly answer “no” to both of them before I woke up and decided that what I was doing wasn’t worth my time anymore. I wanted a genuine relationship with God, and all of the other religious stuff, was just getting in the way. So today, if what I am describing sounds familiar to you, this study will set you free from that today.

The Last Adam and Who You Really Are

People often ask me why I talk so much about our identity in Christ. I have been asked on more than one occasion, why I don’t talk about something “more relevant”… and each time I respond the exact same way: I say, Sir / Ma’am, there is nothing more relevant than the Gospel of Jesus Christ; there is nothing more relevant than the truth of what He has done and of who we are in Him. That is the very truth that makes us free.

Now there have been some I have said that to, that had their eyes opened, and suddenly realized what I was saying – and there have been others I have said that to, that have snickered and became offended and went off in search of whatever trending topic was going on for that week, but the truth remains, that a vast majority of Christians in the world today are still living weak and powerless lives, with more defeats than victories, and it’s all because of a simple lack of understanding regarding the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s all due to ignorance of what Jesus has really done, and who we are in Him; and so that is what I want to share with you today.

Giving Thanks to God

Have you ever given or received a Thank You note, or a card? It’s a simple way to express your gratitude and appreciation for something, or just someone being there for you. Maybe you just simply told someone face-to-face “Hey, thanks for being my friend.” or “Thanks for helping out.” A simple thank you can go a long way and mean a lot to someone. It can create a sense of closeness and strengthen the bonds of friendship, and simply let the person know that you value them.

There are many believers who want to thank God, genuinely, but they don’t know how to… or worse they have been taught the wrong ideas on how to thank Him (typically through legalism or a works-mindset), which leads the person into a deep pit of bondage, all stemming from a simple desire to express thankfulness. So the desire can be quite innocent, but can lead to great destruction.

The Essence of the Gospel and Love

At first, the title of today’s study might seem a bit disjointed, the essence of the Gospel and love. You might wonder if it wouldn’t be better to split these into two separate studies. Well, I thought about it, but the more that I explored each, I came to realize that the two cannot truly be separated; they are integral to one another. Without Love, there is no Gospel, and without the Gospel there is no Love. A surprising number of people today do not understand the basic foundation, the basic central core and essence of the Gospel message… all they really know, is that this guy Jesus, at some place and some time, died by crucifixion, and that for some reason He did it for them. (They may also include that He died for their sins).

What I have found is that for most people, these have become empty statements, lacking substance, lacking the essence of God’s Love and their personal identity in Christ. It’s one thing to say with your mouth that Jesus died for your sins – but it’s quite another to apply that reality to your life and to live from that place every single day. To take the fact that Christ has made you a completely new creation, and to apply it personally, and to make that identity completely yours, is the true essence of the Gospel. A fact that has been largely watered-down and even lost in many Christian circles today.

Your Conscience is Cleansed in Christ

One of the most misunderstood areas of our psyche, from a Biblical standpoint, is our conscience. This was an area that I was affected in for a number of years, because I heard and believed the lie, and it led me down a very dark path, which served to place an artificial barrier between myself and God and ministered condemnation and death to not only my soul, but my physical body as well.

This extremely destructive lie, was that I had to be constantly aware of and conscious of my sin; to do otherwise would mean that I would have a seared conscience – which I was told meant that I would not be able to “feel bad” about my sin any longer, and God would give me over to destruction. The only remedy for this was to constantly remind myself of sin and constantly be aware of my sin and keep myself from ever forgetting it.

Many people have heard this same lie and believed it like I have, and if that describes you today, then you are going to be very glad that you are reading this today, because this is not only totally backwards from the truth, and quite wrong, but it is also very damaging to our relationship with God, and has kept people bound in chains, sometimes for their entire lives. However the truth will make us free, and that is what I want to share with you today… the truth regarding your conscience.

The Spirit’s Role in Your Life

What role does the Holy Spirit of God have in your life? I have asked this question to a lot of people over the years, and I have heard a lot of different answers. Some people say that the Spirit of God tells us when we sin. Others say along a similar line, that the Spirit is our conscience, telling us wrong from right, good from evil. And of-course there are others still who just plain have no idea what the Spirit is for, or if the Spirit of God even exists today at all.

What I want to share with you today, is what the Bible says about the Spirit’s Role in our life today, and how the Spirit of God interacts with us. Jesus said that it would be better for us when He departed, because He would give us another Comforter, that being His Spirit – and He didn’t leave us guessing about who this Comforter was or what role the Spirit would have. So we shouldn’t be hesitant to look at it.

Living in Truth and Love

It’s no secret that the body of Christ is divided today. There are all manner of sects, churches and ministries to fit any particular tribe, taste or temperament that exists. There are even entire ministries dedicated to specific topics and categories. Personally I think that there should only be one category: Christ and His Finished Work – and from that, everything else will flow and every problem solved. Now, not surprisingly, when I mention this, some people get put-off and offended… they think that it is narrow-minded to say that the finished work of Christ can solve every problem, and when they tell me that, I typically respond by telling them that they have a very limited view of what He accomplished.

Sometimes that statement makes them curious and they want to know more; and sometimes it offends them even deeper – especially if they have been a believer for many years. Yet regardless of how long someone has been a believer, that doesn’t change the fact that there are countless people who have not been properly shown what the finished work of Christ actually accomplished, and so they have a dim view of what Jesus has really done for them.

How Jesus Makes You Free

One famous statement made by Jesus is found in John 8:32, where He says “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Now these words spoken by Jesus have been repeated and re-used for all kinds of things. It is quoted in churches all across the world, but what is it really saying? What are we free from? How are we made free?

I have spoken with many people who recite the words that they have been made free, but are still very much bound. I have lived that way myself for many years! It happens because of sheer ignorance a lot of times… So what I want to share with you today, is the truth about the truth… the truth that Jesus spoke of, the truth that will actually make you free – and everything that means. So today, you can say that you are free, and actually know what it is that you are saying. So that you can truly be free, and not just be reciting empty words. You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Your Righteousness is Not An Illusion

How many times have you heard the phrase “we are sinners saved by grace”? It’s a common phrase in Christian communities. And most people agree with it. Another one is “God sees you in Christ”… that is a very true statement; God does indeed see you in Christ today. However what I want to share with you is why He sees you in Christ, and the totality of what that statement means. Because we have started to accept a distorted, lesser view of who we are and what we have in Christ Jesus today, than what is actually true, and God wants us to see all of who He has made us to be.

You see, most believers have this idea that they are actually still a sinner, still dirty, still unclean, but that because of what Jesus did on the cross, that God can somehow “look passed” all of that filthiness and see you clean, as if your cleanliness was some kind of trick or fraud or just an illusion. That is not the truth however, your righteousness is not just a mere illusion, and we will see why today.