The Faith-Driven Life

How do you know your faith is real?

Faith in Christ can be determined by what we call the Faith Triangle.

The only true faith is the reality of living “in Christ” and “Christ in us” (Romans 8:9-11).
It is the supernatural working of His Spirit.

Faith does not come by our imagination or our efforts.
We cannot conjure up a life of faith.
We cannot just say, “I believe what Jesus said.”

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

He said, “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

As we read and hear His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of our need for a new life in Christ. His Spirit brings conviction of sin with the power to turn us from our sin in faith and repentance to obedience of faith.

The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God as we cry, “Abba, Father” ~ the cry of a new, separate life in Christ (Romans 8:15-16)

This is the beginning. Let’s look at the simple plan of God’s work in His children.

There are three facets of being “In Christ” and proof of  “new birth”: Faith, repentance, and obedience.

Faith and repentance are God’s dual work in the heart and life of the believer.

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 20:21

“I came … to call … sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

Jesus’ “call” upon our lives and our response constitutes the dual work of faith. When we “come” to Him, we turn from our own way. Repentance indicates “turning” in a new direction, forsaking our own will and way for the new life “in Christ.”

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” John 6:44, 65

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation:
2 Corinthians 7:10

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” Hebrews 6:1

Obedience is always connected to faith. It is the continual proving of our faith.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Jesus confronted those who called Him Lord.”

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46”

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:2

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul explicitly proclaims the purpose of his letter to the Romans in Romans 1:5 and 16:26 ~ “for obedience to the faith” and “for the obedience of faith.” (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans)

He was expressing the result of the “power of the gospel unto salvation” (Romans 1:16)

“By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Romans 1:5

“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Romans 16:26

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;1 Peter 1:15

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Faith as prescribed by the Lord before His return to the Father in Acts 1:8 is presented in a nutshell in Acts 26:20

“but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (ESV)

Faithfulness is the state of those who remain faithful through this life until the next. Those who live by “faith in Christ” will overcome and be with Him forever.

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

Dear heavenly Father, you have called us by the Spirit to live a new life of faith in your Son. As you have turned us by His calling, drawn us to Him, and keep us in Him, we pray for the continual power of your Holy Spirit to lead us in obedience of faith. Show us your ways. Teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and the abundant life that is ours in Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty King (Part 3)

In this last part of this last chapter of Beyond a Mere Christianity, we will look at how God has designed the other side of His arrows. Again we see Faith in Christ as the center ~ the heart of every Christian. We begin our relationship with Him as He has planned ~ for us to know Him, hear, see, fear, and love Him. This brings us to the point of obedience. Living by faith, we obey, serve, worship, praise, pray, and proclaim His kingdom in power.

Some of these chapters have been more than a normal post but necessary for this book. There is much here of God’s Word that you may possibly only scan but hopefully, a quote will speak to your heart and you can keep them all for future reference.

From the center of living by faith in Christ, we will follow the design in the Conclusion to what it means to LIVE Beyond a Mere Christianity.

LIVING BY FAITH

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Corinthians 5:7

And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.” Galatians 3:12

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

OBEY

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:18

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel i7:27

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7

In four verses, Paul speaks in his letter to the Romans of obedience to and of faith (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans).

 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship,
for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
Romans 1:5

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” Romans 6:16-17

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Romans 16:26

 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Exodus 19:5;Zechariah 6:15;Acts 5:32;1 Peter 1:22

SERVE

“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11

“Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.”
Psalm 100:2

“Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.” Psalm 101:6

“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,” Luke 1:74

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:2

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6

“For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” Romans 14:18

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:24

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” Hebrews 12:28

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:” Revelation 22:3

 WORSHIP

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalm 45:11

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psalm 138:2

“God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” John 9:31

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:4

PRAISE

 “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13

While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2

“I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.” Psalm 7:17

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalm 18:49

“Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength:
so will we sing and praise thy power.”
Psalm 21:1

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Psalm 42:5

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” Psalm 51:15

In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word.” Psalm 56:10

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” Psalm 57:7

Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” Psalm 66:2

“But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” Psalm 71:14

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 106:1

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3

“He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 147:20

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;” Psalm 149:6

“O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Ephesians 1:6

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” 1 Peter 2:9

PRAY

“And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.” Numbers 11:2

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” 2 Chronicles 7:1

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” Luke 11:2

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” Luke 18:1

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” John 9:31

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:18

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

“Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” 1 Timothy 2:1

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:15

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” Jude 20

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:4


PROCLAIM

 “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”Exodus 34:6

“Declare his glory among the heathen;
his marvellous works among all nations.”
1 Chronicles 16:24

They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.” Psalm 22:31

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.” Psalm 73:28

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.” Psalm 145:6

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” Proverbs 14:25

“I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:12

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.” Isaiah 48:6

Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob.” Isaiah 48:20

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:8

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” Acts 15:4

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27

“For thou shalt be his witness unto all men
of what thou hast seen and heard.”
Acts 22:15

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” 1 Corinthians 15:1

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” Ephesians 6:19

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 2 John 1:5

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” 1 John 5:9

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10

Conclusion of a Mere Christianity will be our next post. Please pray for two of our WordPress bloggers whose witness shall be added to this book.

Dear Father, full of mercy and truth, thank you for saving us to be your own children. Fill us with your Spirit and increase our knowledge and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us hear, see, fear, and love you to the point of obeying your Holy Word. Instruct and equip us to serve you, worship, praise, pray and proclaim your kingdom in power. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty King

As I post this last chapter, it is with a sense that I have not done justice to the truth and power of God’s Word. I cannot do any more than I have done, but remembering Andrew Murray’s words in the Foreward of his book Waiting on God, I quote these words, “I send these out with the prayer that He who uses the feeble may give a blessing with them.”

In three previous chapters of Beyond a Mere Christianity, there have been references to books by authors I read years ago. Each one left an impression, and from these, I have offered a challenge for us as God’s children to go beyond what they wrote to search further into His Word.

God was speaking through them to witness of His kingdom and His salvation through Christ, His Son. They are dead and though they still speak through their books, God is still speaking through all His children today. We have nothing new since He spoke through His Son but each of us is called to witness of more that He reveals in His Word.

No person has all revelation but we each bring something to the feet of our Master for His anointing. It is the same faith, same Lord, same Father, same Spirit, and the same baptism through the person and work of Jesus Christ. But we never stop learning or growing. We continue to search His Word, to pray for more than the average knowledge of our Lord ~ with which some are satisfied.

The title for this final chapter is based on two different ideas ~ the first is explained as we take a statement from a sermon and the second from the texts of Psalm 127:4 and Isaiah 49:2.

By reference to this sermon, we want to see the degree from which and to which, God calls us as His children.

On July 8, 1741, this sermon was delivered by Jonathan Edwards in Enfield, Connecticut. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is perhaps the most well-known and most moving of sermons ever preached in America. (Instead of listening to an audio, please read it. Edwards was not an eloquent speaker but known for simply speaking word for word from his written documents.)

Let us consider these select words from His text.

The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction.

Our thoughts from this part of the sermon are focused on God’s bow and arrow ready for his enemies. We find in the Old Testament such references

In response to the rebellion of His people, Moses records the words of the Lord.

“And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.”
Deuteronomy 32:21-23

And upon His enemies are these words from the Psalmist.

“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.” Psalm 45:5

At the end of his sermon, Edwards spoke the following words during which many were wailing and crying out for salvation.

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God.
Read here the background and effect of this sermon.

In every generation, upon hearing the gospel, we, as His people have conviction by the power of His Holy Spirit that brings us to repentance and faith.

I like to say that His arrows pierce our hearts and make us tremble at His Word so that we fall prostrate at His feet in need of a Savior. He knows how to stop us in our tracks and turn us to Himself. He has the power to make His enemies not only His footstool but to make them His servants.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psalm 110:3 

We see the promises of God’s deliverance recorded in the Psalms and the Prophets.

“The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.” Zechariah 9:1, 14 (See Zechariah 9  for the full impact of this promise of deliverance.)

God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of the universe, has turned us from His wrath by sending us a King ~ the King of kings ~ to capture our hearts and turn us to Him. We are no longer His enemies but servants of the Most High God. He has made us His children and heirs to His kingdom.

He makes us thrive in enemy territory, defending us, even as He makes us arrows. We are His quiver ~ His arrows against His and our enemies.

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:4-5

Such is our Father in heaven whose family on earth lives in defense of His kingdom.

 “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;” Isaiah 49:2

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The Process by Which He Establishes His Army and His Weapons

Through His Word, He reveals Himself and births us into His kingdom, making us soldiers of the cross of Christ, His Son ~ the Mighty King who rules His kingdom. His Word is our manual for training.

His Holy Spirit continues to lead us to know our Master and King, to hear His voice, see Him,  fear Him, love Him, obey Him, worship and serve Him, praise Him and pray to Him, to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ in power and to live for Him.

By His mercy and by His covenant with us, He calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices ~ no longer conformed to this world, its god and its standards but transformed by the renewing of our minds by His own Word and Spirit (Romans 12:1-2).

We survive victoriously and thrive in this wilderness so that the enemy knows who and where we are ~ as we live without fear and always ready to defend the faith He alone gives (Jude).

He uses us to make known His name, His kingdom, and His will to others who will follow in His train.

As arrows designed for His purpose in the hands of our Mighty King, His power is wielded in us wherever and whenever He chooses. Each of the following topics forms the shape of an arrow. Starting with KNOW, we continue to the point ~ OBEY ~ and come to the point PROCLAIM.

Living by Faith in Christ is the shaft that the King uses to drive the arrow forward in our obedience to hit the mark.

We will look at references to Know, Hear, See, Fear, Love, and Obey. In Part 2, we will look at references to Serve, Worship, Praise, Pray, Proclaim His Name and Live by faith in Him.

Rather than my commenting on these references, it would be good for us to meditate on each of these (there are actually many more than we have used). We need to establish time for one of these each day to build our repertoire of His manual.

KNOW

“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, 
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Matthew 28:18 “

“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:22

‘According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” 2 Peter 1:3

“Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” Psalm 106:8

And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 9:24

 “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

 Known by His Shepherds and His Sheep

“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15

 “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4

 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14

 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

 “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:” Philippians 3:8Deuteronomy 4:39; Nahum 1:7; Psalm 67:2;Proverbs 22:21;Isaiah 43:10;

HEAR

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

 “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

“While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:15

“When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 13:18

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15

 “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17

 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5

 “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.” Mark 4:24

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” Luke 6:27  

“Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” Luke 8:18

 “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Luke 8:21

 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28

 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27

 “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37

 “And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:42

SEE “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth.” Acts 22:14

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:16-17

FEAR

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” Isaiah 51:7

 “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:5

 “know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14

 “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;” Isaiah 11:2

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19:17

LOVE

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Psalm 91:14

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37

“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:5

 “Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that he loved us, and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:10

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;” Philippians 1:9

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14

“Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7

In the next and last post of this chapter, we will look at the power of living by faith in Jesus Christ that brings about obedience to our Master and King. We will see the effects of  living in obedience as we serve, worship, praise, pray and proclaim the name of Christ.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to bring us captive to Christ, that we may be free to serve and worship you without fear of our enemies. Shape us as your arrows as you are conforming us to the image of your dear Son. In Jesus’ precious name, I pray, Amen.
Fran

Image: Pixabay

Going Up To Jerusalem

imageGoing Up To Jerusalem is related to our last post, Going Up To The Feast. The last Feast that Jesus and His disciples attended in Jerusalem was an example set for us as His disciples who follow Him now.

We, too, are being led by the Spirit of Christ, continually “going up to Jerusalem” — the new Jerusalem.

Each day we have the mind of Christ, learning to set aside our own desires, to follow Him sacrificially; in every circumstance remembering our goal, why we are here and where we are going.

Each Lord’s Day is a practice session and preparation for the wedding feast and the eternal glory to which Christ is leading us.

Dear God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for our calling to follow in obedience of faith, that we may always be “going up” and anticipating our destination. Let us praise you and rejoice always in you for such a great salvation and calling in Christ. Let us always be able to answer any who ask us the reason for our hope. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Radical Mercy

What is a reasonable response to the pouring out of God’s mercy upon this human race? The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans brings us through eleven chapters and shows us how God, by His own grace, evokes a sacrifice from us. We have learned that the power of the gospel is able to effectually bring about the obedience of faith in those to whom God reveals Himself and His Word, those whom He has chosen.31118_000_011_08

Just as Abraham, by believing God’s word, in obedience offered his only son as a sacrifice, so, we, sought by His mercy, cannot resist but willingly, offer our own bodies as living sacrifices. This is the power of the gospel that he mentioned in chapter one ~ God’s own power, through His Word and Spirit ~ to save a people for Himself and His eternal kingdom that is being prepared for those of His household of faith.

He has spoken of justification, through the only just one, who is the justifier. In chapter eleven, He ends His presentation of God’s work through Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit’s working through His mercy.

Being that it is all of His mercy and none of our own work we come to chapter twelve to find what obedience of faith looks like. From beginning to end, this was his purpose for writing; to show that it is God’s work of mercy and grace that effectually brings the power of obedience in the life of His people. (Romans 11:30-31)

Radical Response
Now that His mercy is revealed, we are called to respond. The command is two-fold ~ a negative and a positive. Where there is a negative, it is so He will be revealed as working the positive.

“Do not be conformed to this world.” This is what we were being, naturally. The negative is what we normally do. From the time of birth into this world, we are being conformed to it. Here, then is where we see the difference that His power of the gospel makes.

 “But, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He does not command something that is not possible. His commands are promises of what He will do.

By His mercy, we are brought from being conformed to the world naturally, to being transformed supernaturally, by the renewing of our minds. How? Through the same power of His Word and Spirit as He saves us in faith, and calls us to obedience in Christ. The gospel that justifies us is the same gospel that sanctifies us and is preparing us for His glory ~ the same power that will bring us to glorification.

As the power of the gospel has worked to justify us, this is our only reasonable worship in response to His great mercy. This is the work of His Spirit in our hearts, through the power of His Word and Spirit. imagesIt corresponds to the work in every heart that is turned to Christ. To offer our bodies as living sacrifices is the offset of His sacrifice for us. He died for us that we may live for Him.

Just reading the effects of the gospel in the heart and life, we see the description of a true believer. The people of faith have a radical change take place, so radical that to read the characteristics makes one know that such a new life is beyond our own doing. (Romans 12:9-21)

Each of us, with whatever measure of grace He gives, brings it together with all others, as one body of Christ, so that we are offering what He has separated unto Himself, in obedience and sanctification, willfully becoming that noble vessel for His use. We lose ourselves and become one with His people wherever He calls us to serve and worship Him. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is totally different than any other religion on earth. Unlike other religions that take other lives and die in the process, themselves, Christ enables us to live victoriously and to seek to save others.

Mercy begets mercy.

Father, we are not our own. You have bought us with the price of your precious Son, Jesus Christ.  Enable us to daily offer to you what you have sanctified for yourself, so that you may reveal the power of the gospel to others.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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No Condemnation ~ ~ ~ ~

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 In chapter eight of Romans we see the proof of the power of the gospel to deliver us from the condemnation of the old law, which was written on stone, and to bring in the new law which is written on the mind and in the heart by the Holy Spirit. We are no longer under the law of sin and death, living in the state of, and a slave to sin, but lifted by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ to a state of righteousness in Christ. This new law is a new life in Christ, powered by His Holy Spirit, that enables us to turn from walking after the flesh ~ obedience to our own desires and rebellion against God. This new life of the Spirit in Christ gives us His power, in our struggle against the flesh, to desire to please Him and walk as Christ walked in obedience. This new law now governs and enforces, so as to enable us more and more to mortify the deeds of the flesh. This is the obedience of faith that Paul speaks of in chapters one and sixteen.

Romans 8:1-18
This is one of the strongest passages in the New Testament that describes the new, and true life, of the believer. Though not yet perfect we have a relationship to God, as Father, through Jesus Christ ~ no more wrath; all sin is pardoned and we are reconciled to God.   There is now no condemnation ~

1.  To those who are in Christ Jesus
2.  Who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit

There is proof through the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He has brought us from the depths of our depraved state of sin and death, to be joint heirs of His kingdom. We no longer desire to do our own will; but the indwelling Spirit of Christ leads us more and more in obedience to His revealed will through His word. This is what Peter was speaking of when he said, “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But, grow in the grace and knowledge of our our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17-18

We are the sons of God, having received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba, Father,” His Spirit bearing witness with ours that we are His children, born of His Spirit for faith and obedience.

Then he brings us to the crux of the whole matter. The power of the gospel in our obedience of faith will prove itself in our suffering for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

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It seems almost ironic that we come into this world under the death penalty, the wrath of God pronounced on the world because of sin.  Then He brings His people, by the power of the gospel, from under His wrath to experience the wrath of the world.  But, there is a difference ~ a great difference!  Those who do not receive the good news of Christ continue under His condemnation here and for eternity.  The power of the gospel, even through our suffering for the gospel, propels us forward and upward, onward and homeward to the glory that awaits us in Christ.

Many have a great testimony of faith until it comes to obedience in times of suffering for Christ. But, for true believers here again we see Paul’s contrasting. As with the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ over and above man’s sin, there is the glory that we are promised in Christ over and above what we may suffer for the gospel, for righteousness, and His name’s sake.

How do we describe this suffering? Is this always in persecution or does this include the working of the Holy Spirit in us for our sanctification? Is it easy to give up this life for a life in obedience to our Lord and Savior? How do you interpret this suffering in relation to the gospel and walking and being led by the Spirit?

Abba Father, fill us with your Spirit, to know the power of Christ in us; that we may witness to this new law in our hearts and lives as we strive in obedience of faith, and struggle against any remaining sins. By your goodness, bring us to repentance and joy in Christ; the freedom promised to us in the precious gospel that is proclaimed in this and every generation; until you have gathered all into the fold.   In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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O, Wretched Man That I Am ~ ~ ~ ~

What a joy to be on the edge of my seat, as I hear God’s word expounded every Lord’s Day.  Hopefully you are as enthralled, so as to go deeper with me as I note the main things of Romans 7. Wading through Paul’s struggle brings us to see the victory of the gospel in the life of the believer (chapter 8).

We believe that Paul is not speaking of the unregenerate man, but of himself and the experience of the gospel in his own life;  “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”  Only the regenerate man can delight in the law of God. Some say that chapters six and seven are parenthetical, but it seems to us that it is simply a flowing of Paul’s teaching from the beginning of his letter. If we look back we see in chapter one the purpose of his letter; to bring nations of believers to obedience of faith.

Also, in chapter one we find two most important concepts. The power of the gospel is set up so as to override everything else that he will say, including the second thing, which is the extreme depravity of man. The purpose and power of the gospel, is to bring man out of his depravity and the condemnation that is ours through the written law of the old covenant. We will see in chapter eight the power of the gospel through the Holy Spirit working within man for his deliverance.

The law and the gospel are God’s tools, His means, to bring man to a knowledge of himself; to see first his depravity, and his need for Christ. But the gospel, in itself is a new commandment that the Holy Spirit brings to us; the gospel is different. It does not kill, but brings to life that which is dead.

imagesTwo Concepts in Accord
From the beginning Paul shows the two concepts; the gospel and our depravity, at two ends of the spectrum; and yet, as he presents them together we see how the gospel rules and overrules, and also, makes a cord of the two. In chapter seven he first expresses the freedom that the gospel brings; and then he presents the picture of the struggle that is still within him; the struggle between the former law of sin that brings death and the new law that is bringing him through and out to freedom. Sanctification is the part of salvation through which we continue until our life ceases on this earth. Paul expresses this war between the flesh and the Spirit in his letter to the Galations. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (5:17)

The gospel is powerful to deliver us from the power of sin, but it is not a one-shot inoculation that makes us perfect instantly; except as God, our Father sees us in Christ, the only perfect one. And this is what Paul is bringing us to see from chapter seven into chapter eight. (Later this week.)

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me
from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me
free from the law of sin and death.”

Roman 7:24, 25; 8:2

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Dear Father, thank you for a powerful gospel, your word of power upholding all things in Christ, so that you no longer see our sins, but us in Christ, covered by His blood and righteousness.  Bring your gospel to bear today upon us mightily, leading us in obedience of faith.  Enable us, in Christ, to overcome the desires of the flesh.  Let the authority of your word be commanded  in us by the power of your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.