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.

Righteousness, Apart From the Law

We all want to improve. It’s natural to want to be better, do better, achieve greater things. This natural desire drive us to constantly strive farther, higher, to reach beyond perceived limits. It has fueled the creation of new inventions and discoveries, and caused us to explore new ground and even beyond our planet.

There is one area though, where this natural desire can get us into trouble… and that is the area of our spiritual identity. Because we tend to judge our standing and our progress by our performance; by the things that we achieve, or how good we are doing presently. And when we seem to have failed, our natural reaction is to become depressed, discouraged, even angry, and then clench our fist even tighter and declare “This time I’ll do better!” – and we get ourselves into a vicious cycle of determination, failing, guilt, and then back to determination. And it repeats over and over again.

What I want to share with you today, is how to break that cycle. Many people are deceived into thinking that if they just try hard enough, or focus more, they can get out of it themselves… but that is actually part of the trap. The way out doesn’t come by your strength, effort or force of will, but through knowing the truth of Jesus Christ that makes you free. As you see this truth, you will finally be able to break out of this performance-driven cycle, and be free to live and love, through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

How Jesus Changes Your Heart

As believers, we hear a lot about God in our heart; and I often speak a lot about God changing us from the inside, but it occurs to me that we haven’t studied how that actually happens, (at least we haven’t for a while); and this is another aspect of our identity that is vital to our proper understanding and of who God is, and living through the relationship with Him.

So since this question comes up quite often, today I’m going to share with you, how exactly God changes a person from the inside; how exactly a right relationship with Him, actually effects your heart, in the best possible way. And by seeing this truth, you will understand how “religion” has greatly sold your personal relationship with God very short… and how Jesus has done a much greater work than what you can possibly imagine, and He loves you more than you have ever thought possible.

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.

Taking Up Your Cross in the New Covenant

A phrase which makes a lot of people uneasy, is when Jesus said to “Take up your cross”. It makes people uneasy because the cross is an instrument of torturous suffering, terrible pain and an agonizing death. It is certainly not a pleasant image to have in our mind, and it generally doesn’t fill us with peace or confidence to have this image imprinted on us either. This situation is exasperated further when religious teachers use this phrase as a way to hammer legalistic, performance-driven ideas into our brain either; as is often the case in many churches today.

So today in this study, we will be examining this phrase from the perspective of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and what this statement means for us today. Jesus obviously said it for a reason, and it wasn’t to frighten or intimidate people – He knew what He was doing and He knew what He would do for us. As we see the truth of Christ in this area, it will free us from the irrational fear that this statement causes due to lack of understanding of what Jesus truly said.

The Message of Jeremiah for Today

If you have read the book of Jeremiah before, or heard a sermon preached from it, the book probably seemed very legalistic. Such was the situation of the Old Covenant prophets – after all, they were still under the Old Covenant, and the Law of Moses was their life. Jeremiah’s message to the nation was to stop thinking that you are safe when you are committing so many terrible sins; he was warning the people of the coming judgment for not holding to their covenant obligations. A very serious and important message, and to be fair, he was actually doing the nation a favor, because that was their covenant, and by warning them to change he was giving them an opportunity to avoid punishment.

Sadly though, many believers today when they read the book of Jeremiah (or any Old Covenant prophet) and when such things are preached from pulpits, they are usually expounded upon as if the Old Covenant were still in-effect, striking the people with judgment and warnings to avoid committing sinful acts to avoid punishment, as if Jesus did not suffer punishment and finish His work on the cross. Jeremiah still carries a message for today, though it is a message that can only be seen in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ; and this is what we will be studying today.

Justified Freely: The Gift of Jesus to You

Once someone said to me: “James, I just don’t understand God.” I responded “in what way?” Because there are some aspects of God which we will never understand while still under the confines of our human brain. However there are some aspects of God which we are not only made to understand, but it is vital that we do so,. This man replied, “I don’t understand how God can still love me when I sin.”

At this point I realized that this man was struggling with something that all of us at one point have wrestled with, and many believers are still battling with this very same thought. Many still do not understand that marvelous work which Jesus Christ has done for them. Even in the church, there are a great number of people who profess Christ with their mouth, and claim to have received the gift, but they have not even started to unwrap it. So in this study today, we will be examining the gift of justification which Jesus Christ has freely given to each and every one of us, and how seeing this truth, can bring peace to any lingering doubt about where you stand in Christ today.

The Ministry of Grace and Peace

Did you know that you have a ministry? Whether you are an ordained minister or not, regardless of your age, education, ethnicity or background, a ministry has been given to you, and for you. It is a ministry first and foremost for you to receive personally in your own life, and then it is a ministry to share with others. Many people do not realize that this ministry is for them, assuming that it is only for the super-spiritual or special holy men, but the Bible makes it clear that this ministry is for everyone.

Today in this study, we are going to be examining this ministry; what it is, how we receive it, and then how we are to share it, because even though the Bible says that it is ours, if we do not know that we have it or what it is, it doesn’t do us any good.