Approaching God Properly

When you approach God, what demeanor do you typically have? What attitude is forefront in your mind when you draw near to Him? For many people, it’s still an attitude of unworthiness, and a mixture of guilt and shame, sometimes under a cloak of religiosity.

Others approach him trying to stand on their own merit, relying on their own works, and sacrifices that they have made, thinking that such things earn spiritual points with God, and favor with Him based on their performance.

And these may seem as though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they are both actually rooted in the exact same error: approaching God on the basis of yourself, and your own performance. It’s a very easy trap to fall into; we naturally want to stand in our own performance – and the world we live in generally promotes this idea of self-reliance, self-work, earning your own way. However when it comes to God, and spiritual identity, standing in yourself is not only wrong, it is deadly!

Today we will be examining what it means to approach God properly, and how it has a profound impact on your relationship, your union with Christ.

Receiving Divine Power

Divine power. Supernatural ability. Going beyond human strength, human limits. Being something more. For years we have been infatuated with the idea of having power – even from the very beginning. It’s one of the reasons we like super-heroes… because they have strength and abilities beyond regular humans.

If we are being honest, “regular” human beings are rather weak on their own. Relying on devices and machines to accomplish most of our advanced tasks… not even the strongest among the animals when compared strength for strength and speed for speed.

Yet we have access to something that these others do not have, we have access to divine power which would actually put our favorite comic book heroes to shame – the kind of power that makes evil forces run and hide in terror. It has been given to us by God Himself.

This probably sounds to good to be true, and you’re doubting it in your mind right now… but I’m going to prove it in scripture, and by the end of this study today, you’re going to realize just how strong you truly are, and how to receive divine power; not just a nice thought or a warm fuzzy feeling – but real and effectual power that makes a difference.

Know That You Are Completely Clean Forever

One of the biggest hindrances (if not the only hindrance) to intimacy with God, is sin. Almost every single believer, and even most non-believers know this to be true. With that said, what is to be done about it?

This is where most people tend to branch-off into different directions regarding the solution to the sin problem. Some people set-out on a grand life-long quest to try and rid-themselves of wrong behaviors, wrong thoughts, and to “clean themselves” up, always reaching but never truly attaining perfection.
Others become so confused and intimidated by the whole problem that they become discouraged and defeated and just shut-down on the whole thing.
Still others accept their sin and decide that since they can’t do anything about it anyway, they might as well indulge it all the way.

But are any of these ways correct?

Must we live a defeated and striving life here on this earth dominated by sin and beaten-down with sin-consciousness?

Today in this study, we are going to answer that question, and through the finished work of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Grace, you will be able to have assurance, and confidence in your position from this day onward.

Understanding the Sheep and the Goats

The sheep and the goats is one of the most striking and the most controversial statements made by Jesus regarding the final judgment. It is a time when the genuine believers (the sheep) will be separated from the non-believers (the goats).

Now over the years, this has caused a lot of fear and confusion, as I have heard people express to me their fear that they might be a goat and not know it. After all, what exactly is a goat, and how do we tell a goat from a sheep in the spiritual sense? There are some who say that a genuine sheep will be the hardest worker for God, while a goat will slack-off on their spiritual duties and responsibilities.

Is that true?
If so, how do we know when we’ve worked hard enough to merit sheep-hood? And afterwards, can we fall back to being a goat?

In order to have any real assurance and security, these questions must be answered – and thankfully, God hasn’t left us wondering about the answers; Jesus spoke plainly about them.
This is what we will be examining today in this study, and by seeing this, you will not need to be confused or afraid about the sheep and the goats any longer.

Transformed By the Renewing of Your Mind

Ask any number of believers whose image they should have, and most people will readily answer “Jesus of-course!”; and it’s true the Father desires us to have the very image of His Son Jesus (and it benefits us as well). Yet have you ever stopped to consider how exactly we accomplish this goal? How is it that we are to have the very image and nature of Christ Jesus?

This is where people start to diverge and different camps are entrenched. Many will say that some form of works are required, some traditions, some legalism, or certain other types of sacrifices are required (be it fasting, or tithing, or any number of things).

But as you can probably figure out from the title of today’s study, the scripture speaks of a different approach; one not based on works or efforts of ourselves, one not based on the traditions and sacrifices of men, but rather one based on the truth of Christ and His finished work on the cross. A solution based on the Gospel of Christ alone, apart from the works of man.

What the Finished Work Means For You

Why did Jesus die? It’s a simple question that will get you a myriad of different answers. There is also another question that follows along with it… since He died, what does that mean for you today? It’s amazing that something so simple and so foundational to this thing known as Christianity, can be so confused and so misunderstood. But answering these questions is essential to living the live that Christ truly wants us to live… and it may not be what you expect – it probably isn’t what you have been told or what you have believed.

You see, Jesus didn’t die just for your old identity to endure – for you to remain a “sinner” and just suffer here on the earth as a broken vessel hoping and waiting for everything to be made well one day when you finally go to Heaven.

No, Jesus died for your remove that old identity from you and to give you a completely new identity, and to place His Spirit back inside of you, to indwell you fully and to give you His righteousness and a proper place as a beloved child of God.

This is the truth that I want to share with you today, and as you receive this truth, you will be able to enjoy new levels of union with Christ and enjoy the new identity that you have in Him.

See Yourself the Way God Sees You

Anyone who has listened to these studies before, knows that our identity in Christ is my main topic… I speak on our identity as New Creations in Christ Jesus more than any other, because it is one of the most neglected aspects of life in Christ – and sadly it’s the foundation of it – it’s the very essence of what Jesus accomplished for you. He has allowed you to be “born again” He has completely regenerated you, from the inside out. And most people are unaware of it.

So I often speak about and study our identity. And today, I would like to show you a practical example in scripture, of this change taking place in the very father of faith, known as Abraham, back when he was just known as Abram. And as we see this happening, we can see how God changed his entire perspective, in the same way that we have studied in the past – and by seeing this you will have a better understanding of what it means to live your new identity in Christ Jesus today.

Beware the Bait-and-Switch

A very old scam with a long history, is called the “Bait-and-Switch”, were people are promised goods or services at a substantial discount, and then later come to find out that what they were promised is either not available, or not as good as was originally expected. The customers are then often highly-pressured to consider more expensive items instead of what they were originally promised.
In the United States, such actions are generally considered to be “false advertising” and many lawsuits have been filed over the years for such practices.

So it saddens me when I see people falling victim to the exact same type of bait-and-switch tactics in modern Christianity. There’s a lot of this going on today and most people don’t even realize that it’s happening to them. In many ways it happens very slowly and subtly, over a period of years, and it ruins people’s spiritual lives.

Well, the scriptures are not shy in warning about it, and so today I want to share with you some common bait-and-switch tactics in Christianity that I have come across, and how you can avoid them by knowing the truth of Jesus Christ.

Give Thanks In All Things

At one time or another, most of us have probably heard at least one sermon preached on the famous verse of 1st Thessalonians 5:18. This well-known verse says that we are supposed to “give thanks in all things.” It’s a tough pill to swallow for many people – not because the instruction itself is difficult, but rather because our interpretation of it makes it harder than it actually is.

You see, what I was taught long ago, and what many people still believe today, is that this famous verse says that we must “give thanks for all things”, when in-fact it doesn’t say that at all. And what I want to share with you today, is what this verse actually is saying, and why this in itself is a testament to Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.

God’s Standard Has Never Changed

One of the most often recurring objections to the Gospel message is that people say that it lowers God’s standard, or that God has somehow “gone soft” on sin. They say that the Gospel message of Grace is an affront to God’s holiness, and they say because of these things, that it must be a false message, and that the Gospel of Grace must therefore be rejected.

You may be surprised how often I hear these things, and whenever I hear them, I respond with a simple statement: that no, the Gospel doesn’t lower God’s standard, in-fact His standard has never changed.
This doesn’t negate the Gospel message in any way, in-fact it strengthens the Gospel message one-hundred fold.

What I want to share with you today, is how the fact that God’s unchanging and perfect standard is actually a testament to His marvelous grace, and how in Christ Jesus today, you don’t need to be afraid of His standard, but you can honestly rejoice in it.