Present Yourself Properly

Anyone who visits here, or has listened to me teach before, has probably heard me mention our identity in Christ. I speak about our identity more than any other topic, simply because it is so very vital to understanding our relationship with Jesus Christ. Nearly every day, I end up meeting someone, or having a discussion with someone who fails to understand the reality of who they truly are in Jesus, and who He has made them to be. This literally breaks my heart to see people in such a state, because I know the pain of living that way far too well. I was stuck in that same spot for many years, and there was no one around to help me through it.

So whenever I encounter someone who needs to know this truth, I don’t hesitate to share it with them – and so I end-up talking about it quite a lot here as well in our studies. Yet I don’t always explain exactly why it is true. Most of the time, I mention it in passing, or as an aside to whatever topic we may be studying in-particular, and this sometimes leaves people wondering where exactly I am getting it from, or if I just made it up!

In light of this, today I want to share with you, how we are to truly see ourselves in Christ Jesus, and why it is true. And by seeing this, it is my wish (and God’s wish) for you to stand on the solid foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, for you.

Psalm 51, Jesus, and Your Relationship

If you’ve read any of our previous studies, you know that I talk a lot about your identity in Christ, your foundation in Him, your Relationship with God. I talk about those things so often because without these things, you really have nothing but dead religion. Without these things: without your identity, without your relationship, without your foundation on Jesus Christ, it’s all just empty ritual, empty tradition, and ultimately an empty existence.

I had one person ask me once: Why don’t you teach something more relevant? And I had to respond and say that there is nothing more relevant than the finished work of Jesus Christ, and who you are in Him. I have discussions with people all of the time, who claim to be Christian’s, who say that they are believers, but they have no real relationship with God; they have no foundation, or realization of their identity… and these same people are living defeated lives… they are down all of the time, and they spend more time talking about how the enemy is beating them down rather than the victory that Jesus has won.

And please understand, I am not pointing fingers at those people, I’m not judging or ridiculing them at all – that’s not what Jesus called me to do… my purpose in mentioning their situation, is to highlight an issue that needs to be addressed… the lack of this foundation, identity and relationship in and through Jesus, is hurting people and destroying lives.

So what I want to share with you today, is more on this foundation. So that you will be able to live in the confidence, joy and peace of Jesus Christ every single day.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

The Restoration of Your Image

Let me begin straight-away by telling you that I used to be a very fearful, introverted an angry person. I used to have all kinds of negative, thoughts, negative feelings and negative emotions. I used to let those things define me, define who I was, and define my future as well. However while I was too blind to see it back then all those years ago; none of that was true, that was not truly who I was, and my destiny in Christ was far greater than those petty things.

Since then, I have learned that my experiences are not all that unique. There are a lot of people still living by their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and allowing those things to direct and define their existence. However, I want to share with you today that just as myself, your destiny is far greater than those things. Your destiny is to have your image restored to the way that God intended. To be lifted out of whatever pit you may find yourself in and to be dusted off and cleaned-up – not through your own works or self-efforts, or painful suffering and endurance as all of the man-made religions of the world tend to portray… but by the glory of Christ and the power of His Spirit. This is what we will be studying today.

The Power of Love

God is Love. A lot of people have that sign hanging in their homes, or as a sticker on their car, some even have it tattooed on their body. But do you know that there is great power, even divine power in love? We often don’t stop to think of the implications of that statement that God is Love; and not just any kind of love, but divine love. You see the world has greatly corrupted the idea of love… some see it as synonymous with sexual intercourse, while others see it as something cruel and hurtful. However divine love is not like our corrupted human ideas of love. Divine love is so much more, and so much better, and so very powerful

The Bible says that we can have all knowledge, all wisdom, and all understanding, but if we do not have love, we are empty… we are noise without substance, and what we will be studying today, is the power of divine love. Because there are many who think that love is weak, but in reality, it is the strongest and greatest of all.

Remember the Love of God Always

When you hear the word “God” spoken, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it is terms like “all powerful”, “ruler”, “judge”, “creator” and it is certainly true that God is indeed all of these things. Yet He is so much more. One of the more popular cliché statements used in our current culture is that Christianity is not about religion, but about relationship… and while that is absolutely true, for many of us, the truth of that statement is lost in our daily lives.

For many people the relationship with God does not progress beyond the basic “Christian behaviors” and rituals that most people perform because it is what they think a good Christian is supposed to do. I’ve spoken with people time and time again who are not actually living out of a true relationship with Jesus, but out of rituals and traditions that are empty and unfulfilling. And they flounder around – many of them their entire life, searching for something that they don’t even know exactly what, because they can sense something is missing but they have not made the connection, that what is missing is the foundation of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what we will be studying today.

Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice

God is great. God is mighty. God is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the Creator and Ruler of all. Naturally for anyone who believes, it is easy to proclaim that God is all of these things, and just as naturally we want to give Him all honor and praise which is rightfully His. The question then must be asked, how exactly do we honor God? What is the measuring line by which an offering is measured? By what standards do we judge what is offered to Almighty God?

I have found in my time that many people who like to tout the perfect holiness and awesomeness of God, really don’t give much thought to what they offer Him. It’s an amazing double-standard that a perfect holy God seems to have no trouble accepting flawed offerings. They say “Oh well, just do your best, that’s all God requires.” Really?? Is that what the Bible truly says? In reality my friends, (and if you have glanced up at the title), there is only one truly acceptable offering to God – only one which meets His perfect standard; Jesus. This is what we will be studying today.

Rejoice in the Deliverance of God

Often times when experiencing a negative situation, we are told to rejoice. Rejoice! Rejoice! Just Rejoice and everything will be okay. Yet that’s very difficult to do if we do not see that we have any reason to rejoice. If we don’t see why we can rejoice it simply sounds like mindless pretend joy – a “fake it till you make it” mentality… just fluff. Even worse, if we express those sentiments to our believing brothers and sisters, they will look at us funny, as if we don’t have enough faith or we don’t trust God enough.

The Bible though, does not leave us lacking any real and substantial reasons why we can rejoice however. In-fact it goes into extensive details about precisely that – because God understands the feelings and emotions that we have, and He does not disregard them. He foreknew the scenario that I just described, about needing to see the reason why we can rejoice. And this is what we will be looking at today.

Feed on Jesus Continually

If you’ve ever been to a church service before, you have probably heard the old analogy preached “how often do you eat? More than once, right? So you should feed your spirit more than once as well.” This is an often-used statement which highlights the importance of continual spiritual feeding – it’s also a good analogy, quite Biblical in-fact… however the Bible does not stop there. The scriptures are very clear about what – or I should say who we are to continually feed on.

What we will be studying today, is what exactly the scriptures say about feeding on Jesus, how this feeding occurs and how feeding continually on Jesus benefits us. God does not leave any of these details out, because He wants us to know and receive all that He has given to us. So if your spirit has been hungry, or even if you don’t realize that it has been, come, taste and see that the LORD is good, and let’s feed on Jesus 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.