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.

What Place Are You Praying In?

Many times, I have heard people say, “I have prayed and prayed, but nothing seemed to happen!”. They are expressing their honest frustration at the apparent lack of results – and that’s okay. If we are honest, we have been there before, we know how that feels, and it is okay to express those feelings. God is not upset when people share their heart, in-fact He would much rather have open honestly than religious pretense.

When I have talked with these people sharing these feelings, we eventually get down to one main thing though, and that is the place they are in. And most are shocked when I mention this… because they don’t expect it… they don’t see it coming. You see, people have all sorts of places that they actually are in every single day. We really should only have one, but we have many, and the scriptures have something to say about it, in regards to faith and prayer in Christ; and what it says, may surprise you.

Acknowledge the Finished Work in You

Have you ever seen one of those Television programs where a person who is generally thought to be unattractive is given a complete make-over? Before-hand, the person sees themselves as ugly, the person sees themselves as unappealing, they can’t even smile when thinking of themselves… then they have their make-over… afterwards their attitude complete changes, now they are grinning ear-to-ear, they see themselves as beautiful, they have self-esteem, their entire world has changed. It would be very strange for such a person after having received such a make-over to still regard themselves as ugly and unattractive, wouldn’t it?

Well, likewise, we as believers in Christ Jesus have received much more than a simple make-over. We have received a new nature that begins on the inside, and reaches the outside as well. Just as with the example of the person who received the television make-over, it would be just as strange for a believer in Christ, who has received an entire new nature and is a new creation to still see themselves as ugly and unattractive spiritually to God, after receiving such a divine change from the inside and on the outside as well, but many Christians are doing that very thing.

What I want to share with you today in this study, is what the Bible says about the new identity, the new nature, the new creation that you are, who performed it for you, and what your view and attitude of it should be. By seeing this truth, you will have a new appreciation for the finished work of Christ, and who you really are in Him today.

Your Eternal Choice

Choices, choices. We make hundreds of choices every single day: what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to say, how to spend our free-time. Many choices, all ours to make as we see fit. Those choices have an effect, the choices we make result in certain things happening, and certain outcomes. Some with negligible differences, and some with larger and longer influences – such as a marriage.

All of these though, utterly pale in comparison to one choice… one eternal choice. One choice that will affect your eternal destination. One choice that will determine your future for all-time and beyond. What I want to share with you today, is exactly what this choice entails – it may surprise you to learn that many people aren’t as sure as they might have thought – and to also show you that this same choice has been available from the beginning of creation. This choice has not changed over the years, as some think that it has. It is an eternal choice, in every sense of the word; both in its existence and in its effect.

Are You Trusting in the TEXT or in the PERSON?

It seems like a strange question at first: do you trust the text of scripture? If you are a believer the answer is of course, yes – and I’m sure this study is going to raise a few eyebrows. However I want to to share with you something that God has recently shared with me… and it is precisely the difference between trusting in the text of scripture versus trusting in the person that the text is speaking about. It seems almost like semantics or hair-splitting at first, however I believe that as you begin to see this difference and what it means, it will open-up new levels of belief on Jesus Christ, and security in Him.

It may surprise you to also learn that this idea did not originate with me… This distinction is not my invention, but it began with Jesus Himself. He was the one who first spoke of it, and with good reason… this is actually a fundamental issue of both faith and belief. And again it is my privilege to share this with you today.

True Fasting in God’s Eyes

Simply mention the word “fasting” and most people will conjure up images of giving up food, depriving oneself of something vital, or otherwise sacrificing something. The word “fasting” in secular usage has only the meaning of abstaining from food and/or drink, and that is what most Christians understand it to mean as well.

Furthermore, I have encountered many people that fast as a religious observance, because they are trying to “get God’s attention” – although not everyone will readily admit that. In our discussions, when I have asked them why they were fasting, it has always boiled down to the core of either wanting an answer to prayer or wanting to be closer to God – and while these may seem like holy and righteous reasons, I have had to tell them the honest truth, that nothing they could ever do, will ever make them closer to God than what Jesus did over 2,000 years ago on the cross. No sacrifice that we can make today, can ever make us closer to God than the one offered by His Son all those years ago. And most of these people were offended at that statement.

What I want to share with you today, is the portrait of true fasting. Not what man thinks fasting is, but instead what God says fasting is, and the type of fasting that He actually wants. And I believe that by the end of our study today, many chains will be broken, and many burdens lifted, because it is the truth of Jesus Christ that will make us free, and that includes His truth regarding fasting as well.

Don’t Let the Tares Spoil Your Harvest

A popular phrase, is that “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” It’s a bit simplistic. My mother managed to simplify it even further to “Don’t be a downer!”. And there is no place that this advice is needed more, than in the realm of the spirit. I remember one time when I was in a small group and we were having a time of prayer, specifically for healing; we were praying for a specific person who was sick and not able to attend that meeting, and it seemed as though a were achieving breakthroughs, but then as our prayer time came to an end, one lady spoke up and said “you know, my friend had those same exact symptoms and she died.”

As soon as those words were uttered, the atmosphere completely changed. The hearts of everyone became somber, and their spirits were all moved from “Yes God is a great Healer!” to “Well, maybe He doesn’t heal.” – all of the belief was sucked out of the room.

My friend, this is not always just blind ignorance. There is a deliberate strategy of the enemy at work here to sabotage the faith and belief of God’s children. Jesus spoke about this exact thing, He taught on it, and the disciples and apostles also warned against it. And today I want to share with you, what Jesus said about the wheat and the tares, and how to not let them spoil you from receiving everything that God has given to you.

Let Jesus Turn Your Water Into Wine

One of the most famous miracles performed by Jesus, is in-fact His first one recorded in the Bible; the turning of water into wine in John chapter 2. There have been countless sermons preached on this over the years, and debates have even been argued on whether the wine was actual wine or merely grape-juice – which as an aside, it must have been actual wine, because the master of the feast clearly called it the “best wine” and inquired about why it was not served first, which would not have made any sense if it was only grape-juice.

However this first miracle of Jesus, is also often misunderstood. There is some very interesting dialog had by Jesus during this scene, and it has some amazing truth which is also very informative for us today as well. This is what I want to share with you today… how to let Jesus turn your water into wine.