Lesson 381 People of Promise 24 Righteous

So often in church we lapse into “religious talk” without ever really understanding what our words actually mean. We need to very clearly understand the definitions of the words that we use, sometimes so loosely. If we don’t know exactly what words mean, then they really have no meaning to us at all.

Righteous and righteousness are two of those “ambiguous” words. We sorta know what they mean, maybe. And maybe not. Yet, if we are not absolutely 100 percent certain of what they mean and how they apply to every one of God’s children, they we are missing out on all that God has for us.

The great example of “righteousness” that the Bible speaks of is the righteousness of Abraham, who was called God’s friend. That is not to say that Moses and David (the other two Old Testament people called God’s friend) were not righteous. They most certainly were. But they came after Abraham, and so, Abraham gets to be called the Father of Many Nations. He was the called this because he trusted God fully. God told him to pick up and leave his home and go to a new land, and so he did. He argued with God about Sodom and Gomorrah, and God not only listened to him, as a Friend would, but even agreed to Abraham’s stipulations. Then God told him he and Sarah would have a child, even though they were beyond child bearing years and Sarah had been barren all her life. Further, he was wiling to even sacrifice his own son, Isaac, at God’s request because he totally trusted God. By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God’s] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19).

Thus Abraham believed in and adhered to and trusted in and relied on God, and it was reckoned and placed to his account and credited as righteousness (as conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action) (Gal. 3:6). There’s a hint at the meaning of righteous and righteousness. Some define it as being in right standing with God. What it means is that God graces us (his children) with the same favor as He graces Jesus. Now, God will never see any of us as Messiah. That was Jesus’ job and He accomplished it perfectly. To Him and to Him only belongs the title of King of kings and Lord of lords. But what it does mean is that when we are “righteous” we are viewed by God as being without sin, totally clean and pure in His presence. We are in “right standing” in the sense that we are seen by God as being sinless. Not because of anything that we have done, but because of what Jesus did for us.

In His Last Will and Testament (John 17), Jesus notes that He is giving us the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one (John 17:22). That’s why we are so highly elevated. That’s why we get to be called “righteous” and be viewed by God as sinless and pure in His sight. Jesus bought and paid for it.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul goes into a long discussion of Father Abraham, noting his legacy and his righteous standing with God, and then notes, [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God] (Rom 4:24-25).

Being righteousness or living in a state of righteousness doesn’t mean just being a good person, or one who goes to church every Sunday and supports all the church activities. It doesn’t mean being pious and ready to preach the Gospel at the drop of hat, or shoe, or other garment. No, it means that you are clear and clean of all sin. And that only comes one way. You have to ask to be cleaned and you have to mean it with true sincerity from a heart that doesn’t want to go on sinning. A few mumbled words of apology and a half-hearted request for forgiveness just won’t do. You really must not want to sin and not want to live in sin. And the truth of it is, that God’s children really don’t want to sin nor live in sin. So, get yourself in a state of mind that is focused on the task at hand, go to God and admit any sins that you know you have committed. Do this with a heart that is repentant—has turned away from that act of sin—and ask God to please forgive you and wash you clean in the precious Blood of the Lamb (1John 1:7, 9).

Do this daily, hourly, if necessary. Don’t go asking God to forgive you as a daily “chant.” That’s nonsense. Asking for true forgiveness requires a heart that is repenting of sin. Now you might say on a daily basis, “Father I give you my life and my work. Thank You for helping me not to yield to temptation and for protecting me from the Evil One.” But when you do something that really stings you, then, right then, repent and ask for forgiveness.

For example, I grew up in a rural community where swearing was a “manly” thing. Kids weren’t allowed to swear, but once you got a bit older, then you could use all those words you learned as kids but weren’t allowed to use (at least in the presence of adults, who by the way, did use them). So, very occasionally, when I’ve hit my finger with the hammer at the end of a long hard day of building something, I might swear. But I don’t want to. I feel embarrassed that I bowed to that impulse. So, right then, I stop, apologize to God for allowing my lower nature to take over, ask Him to forgive me and to help me to overcome such impulses in the future.

I want to stay in a righteous state because The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working] (James 5:16b). For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), and His ears are attentive to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil [to oppose them, to frustrate, and defeat them] (1Peter 3:12).

When we are in right standing with God, we can burst right into the throne room and talk with God all we want. He will not only welcome us, but will listen attentively and even reply if we give Him a chance.

This enormous gift of making us righteous before God is a key to understanding who we really are in Christ Jesus, We are not second class citizens, standing off in the distance and watching enviously as Jesus gets to sit with God, talk to Him, and share everything with Him. We get to be right there with Jesus. In fact, Jesus made this possible, so He welcomes us with open arms, too. We’re not clothed in rags and smelling of the dung heap. We are dressed in royal purple and smell of the perfumes of Heaven. Through the righteousness that came to us through Jesus’s death and resurrection, we have power and authority in our lives, and we need to live confidently in the Truth of that.

 

Lesson 380 People of Promise 23 The Name

As a king or queen, our primary claim to authority is the Name of Jesus, as we rule our lives under the guidance of the Word of the King of kings. After Peter and John brought healing to the crippled man at the gate to the temple, they were dragged before the authorities and questioned intently. They told the story of the healing and said, Let it be known and understood by all of you, and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, [but] Whom God raised from the dead, in Him and by means of Him this man is standing here before you well and sound in body (Acts 4:10). And then they went on to say, And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

There is salvation through no other name under heaven except the name of Jesus. His is the only name that will bring forgiveness and redemption, because He is the only One Who paid the price for that redemption. Calling upon the name of Muhammad, Buddha, or any of the millions of Hindu gods, or anyone else, will not bring salvation. Only the Name of Jesus will open the door into the Great Kingdom of Love and Light.

Furthermore, Jesus not only wrote His Last Will and Testament (see John 17), and died to put it in place (Heb. 9:16-17), but then He rose from the dead and became the Mediator of that will (1Tim. 2:5). What this means is that Jesus has complete control. Not partial control, but complete control. And when we operate in His Name, we operate in His complete control.

Jesus has been given the name that is above every other name and all things have been put under His feet (into his control) (Eph. 1:21-23). When you stand in the Name of Jesus, you stand in all power and authority. See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah). For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And youare in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power] (Col. 2:8-10).

But we don’t just chant the name of Jesus as if it were a verbal talisman that somehow brings “magical” powers into play. No, we clearly need to understand who we are relative to Who Jesus is, and use His name in accordance with that relationship. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:5-11).

Jesus didn’t “earn His stripes” by being haughty and arrogant. He had to humble Himself under the Father’s desires. He was obedient even unto death on the cross. And it was those stripes that were laid on Him, and the cruel butchery that He endured on the cross that makes His Name the name at which every knee will bow and ever tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. When we use the Name above every name, Satan and his minions must listen, and they must obey. There is no need to shout His Name at the Evil One, no need to get all “up-ity,” no need to act arrogant. We simply say the Name of Jesus in confidence and with full assurance that His Name is our badge of authority.

It is crucial that we understand that when we pray, when we command Satan and his minions, when we give thanks, whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him (Col. 3:17). Read those words again. Whatever we do—that’s means everything—we are to do it in the Name of Jesus. Don’t pray and then just say “Amen.” Amen simply means, “so let it be.” Well, so letting it be under your authority is no authority at all. But, putting something under the authority of the Name of the King of kings and Lord of lords, in dependence upon Him, is saying something. The name of Jesus should be on our lips all day, every day, as we praise Him, give thanks, pray for others, and pray for needs that we have.

Lesson 379 People of Promise 22 The Word part two

In the Old Testament, only three types of offices were anointed by God for His service: Priests, Prophets, and Kings. The Priests handled the sacrifices, the Prophets handled the Word, and the King guided the nation. In the New Testament, every believer is anointed to be a priest, a prophet, and a king in their own life, and operate under the authority of the Blood, the Word, and the Name. As prophets, we handle the Word of God. We are to (1) Think the Word, (2) Speak the Word, (3) Pray the Word, and (4) Live the Word.

Thinking the Word is to think like God. True, He did tell us, My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). However, neither in this passage nor in any other in the Bible does God say we can’t think His thoughts. In fact, quite the contrary. He even gave us the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16) so that we can, indeed, think His thoughts and use them to help us make the right decisions (you will recall at this point, Deut. 30:19, of course).

The usual problem we have with thinking God’s thoughts is that we don’t know them. The Bible is a collection of God’s thoughts, and the more one reads the Word, the more familiar God’s way of thinking becomes to us. There are several reading “styles” that one can employ. The old, “read a chapter a day” routine is OK for a first pass through the Bible, but as New Testament people, we really need to meditate the Word, and not just read through as fast as possible in order to satisfy our “read a chapter a day” routine (and feeing very pious because we are “reading the Word”). Meditating the Word is really, really thinking about the true meaning of the Word—thinking about what it says, while at the same time really learning about it, too. Read, think, explore what commentaries say, ask God to help you understand clearly, continually be on the alter for information that will help you know exactly what God is saying. Jesus told us that If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free (John 8:31b-32). To abide in His teachings is to live in them and to know them in intimate detail, detail that we get by reading, studying, meditating and memorizing the Word.

Speaking the Word does not mean that we are to go around talking in 16th century English, thoroughly saturated in “thee’s” and “thou’s.” Neither are we to act “piously,” putting people on the defensive against our “Godly ways.” Certainly not if we are interested in helping others to find Christ. To “speak the Word,” simply means that we are always ready to help others to go beyond their usually meniscal understanding of a life lived in God through Jesus Christ. In fact, we are instructed to set Christ apart in our hearts, acknowledging Him as Lord, Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully (1Peter 3:15b). Notice the courteously and respectfully aspect of giving an account. We are not to put others down, but to simply explain why we have the hope in Christ that we do have. To do this, one must be able to quote from God’s Word because faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself) (Rom. 10:17).

Praying the Word is a great strategy for praying perfectly. When we pray in our own awkward way (and God loves it), the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance (Rom. 8:26). He does not have to do this when we pray God’s Word because the Holy Spirit guided the writing of the Word (2Tim. 3:16). Thus we can pray perfectly when we pray God’s Word in line with the activities that we are involved in with Him, or concerning promises that He has made to us in His Word. For example, you might pray, “Father, You said in Matt. 16:19 that I have the right to bind whatever is already bound in Heaven and loose whatever is already loosed in Heaven. So, in the Name of Jesus I bind this jealously in me and loose Your love and joy in its place.” God loves that kind of praying.

All well and good, We can assemble RSMM, and be “feelin’ good.” But until we add the “A” to the end we will not have a complete resume. RSMMA = Read, Study, Meditate, Memorize, and Act. It’s the acting part that is hard. Oh sure, reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing all take time and effort and can even be difficult to do well. But now, let’s see you really live the Word. Let’s see you really forgive your enemies. Let’s see you really pour out food and supplies on your enemies. Let’s see you really resist every temptation. Let’s see you burn in your heart for Christ Jesus, and be every ready to speak the Truth in Love. Let’s see you really live in full obedience to God’s Word. This is where the rubber meets the road. All the rest of the RSMMA is just a series of mental gymnastics. The Act part is the Reality Show. It’s the doing. Foras the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead (James 2:26).

If we really believe what God has said in His Word, then we will act on it. And always in a way that reflects His love and concern for us, and those we come in contact with. We can’t reflect Christ to the world if we act just like everyone else in the world. Get your RSMMA complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 378 People of Promise 21 The Word

In English, we often use one word to designate two or more concepts that may or may not be related. “A bear ran through the woods, but I could not bear to shoot it,” is a good example. The English word, “word,” likewise has several meanings (1) it could mean an actual word, whether noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunctive, article. It might mean someone’s promise: “She gave me her word.” It might mean a heated conversation: “We had words.” It might mean a rumor, “Word has it….” And other meanings. It is necessary in our conversations to clearly understand the context of the use of our words in order to clearly discern what the speaker is saying.

The Greeks overcame the possible ambiguity of meaning by having a different word for each meaning of a word. There were seven words for “love” for example, two of which are used in the New Testament: Agape and Philos. Likewise, there are two Greek words for “word” used in the New Testament: Logos and Rhema. They have very different meanings, but meanings that are actually related. Logos designates the essence of the thing described by the word and often applies to nouns. John opens with the affirmative statement, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was With God, and the Word was God. This does not mean that God is the word “God” nor is He the word, “Word.” What it means is that in the beginning Christ was the fullness of God as much as God is the fullness of God, as much as the Holy Spirit is the fullness of God.

In this sense, Logos is meant to designate the very essence of God. When God told Moses, “I Am that I Am,” He was saying that He was complete, whole, and fully One. He was saying that His essence is that He has always been, is now, and always will be. He was saying that there is none other like Him, and none other above Him. Those are the implications in the word, Logos.

         Rhema, on the other hand designates the actual “words” in written or spoken form. We could say that the Bible is the Rhema of the Logos (2Tim. 3:16). Actually, we do say that: the Bible is often referred to as “God’s Word.” However, in this sense, the Bible is not just a written document, it also embodies the Logos of God. For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

God’s Word is alive, meaning that it does, indeed, bring life to those who will make it a part of themselves. Romans 12:2 tells us Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. That renewal comes when we build our RSMMA (pronounced: “ress em may”); that is as we Read, Study, Meditate, Memorize, and Act on God’s Word).

But here’s the thing, God’s Word is of no real use unless we allow it to live in us. It is on no value if we don’t get the words in us and utilize them to help us, as priests, prophets, and kings, to direct our lives. It is of no value unless it causes us to act. As a child, I received all the appropriate pins for Bible verse memorization. What that taught me was how to memorize, and that was a good thing. What it taught me about God was nothing, and that was not a good thing. Memorization, as a mind trick, is of no value if the memorized information is not utilized. There are plenty of people that have great memorization skills, that could easily memorize the needed information to build a computer, but who would never utilize that information to actually build one.

Likewise, unless we allow (Deut. 30:19) the Word of God to actually live in us, nothing in our lives will be any different. Jesus was very clear in telling the Twelve that He did nothing, and said nothing, unless the father clearly told Him what to do and what to say (John 5:19, 30). We have the mind of Christ in us (1Cor. 2:16) so that we can think God’s thoughts, not so that we can think about the things of the world. But this Mind in us cannot think unless it has something to think about, which of course is God’s Word as He has given it to us in the Bible. We need to build our RSMMA so that the Mind of Christ in us can help us to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 18). Furthermore, we cannot act on what we do not know! We need to clearly understand what God is saying to us so that we can accurately act on it.

The authority of a king is his word. He is the authority, and what he says goes. For the word of a king is authority and power, and who can say to him, What are you doing? (Ecc. 8:4). Well, we are kings in our own lives (Rom. 5:17, Rev. 5:10), and we have the right to rule in our lives. But how will we rule if we have no idea of the laws by which we are to rule? Shall we simply make up the rules as we go along. Hardly. We have been given a highly detailed instruction manual that clearly tells us how to rule in our lives. If we are ignorant of what it says, then we are ignored by the Evil One. We must actually be able to use the Sword of the Spirit against Satan and his minions.

And that Sword is the Word of God; the Rhema Word of God (Eph. 6:17). That is, it is God’s Word spoken though our mouths that cuts the Evil One to the core. Not merely thought, but actually said in an audible voice. Other words simply slide off him. There is a line from “My Fair Lady” that I love, which perfectly describes Satan: “Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way across the floor.” Certainly as good a line as anything that Shakespeare ever wrote. Our worldly words slide off his oily hide like the proverbial water off a duck’s back, but the Word of God cuts deep. Knowing and using God’s Word enables us to stand, and having done all to stand, to stand (Eph. 6:13).

Peter, who was hand picked by Jesus as one of the Twelve (Mark 3:16), and gave the great sermon that launched the Church (Acts 2:14-41), boldly made this statement We were not following cleverly devised stories when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (grandeur, authority of sovereign power). For when He was invested with honor and glory from God the Father and a voice was borne to Him by the [splendid] Majestic Glory [in the bright cloud that overshadowed Him, saying], This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased and delight, We [actually] heard this voice borne out of heaven, for we were together with Him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts. [Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so—it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit (2Peter 1:16-21). God’s Word is a more sure witness than all the personal experiences that Peter had with Jesus. That is a rather astounding statement, but true. It is true because God’s Word is unchanging and inalterable. It is also eternal.

Put God’s Word in you; it is your strength and your Sword. When you need to escape from Satan’s grasp, haul out the Word and slice away all the cloying garbage that he is dumping on you (1Cor. 10:13).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 376 People of Promise 20 Ever-Cleansing Blood

After the first murder, God asked Cain where Abel was, and Cain noted with a now often quoted reply, ”Am I my brother’s keeper?”And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground (Gen. 4:10). God did not say, “Your brother’s body is crying to Me,” nor did He say, “Your brother’s soul is crying out to me,” nor did He say, “Your brother’s spirit is crying out to me.” He said, “Your brother’s blood cries out to me.” So why is Abel’s blood crying out? Because the life is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). In other words, God was saying that Abel’s life was calling out to Him.

When Adam bowed his knee to Satan, allowing Satan to become the god of this world (2Cor. 4:4), Adam introduced death into the perfect system in which God had placed him. This occurred because the covenant that God had established with Adam specified that death was the penalty for breaking the covenant (Gen. 2:17). But God, in His infinite mercy, allowed humans to substitute the life of an innocent animal in place of the life of a human. For the life (the animal soul) is in the blood, and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life [which it represents] (Lev. 17:11). This is why Paul wrote, The wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

And this is the norm throughout the Old Testament. Sin—rebellion against the terms of Gods Covenant with humans—required the death of an innocent animal, and they were slaughtered by the millions. The [old] first covenant (God’s will) was not inaugurated and ratified and put in force without the shedding of blood. For when every command of the Law had been read out by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of slain calves and goats, together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled both the Book (the roll of the Law and covenant) itself and all the people, Saying these words: This is the blood that seals and ratifies the agreement (the testament, the covenant) which God commanded [me to deliver to] you. And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and all the [sacred] vessels and appliances used in [divine] worship. [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins (Heb. 9:18-22).

Just because God had plans to write a New Covenant with humanity did not mean that the Old Covenant was made null and void. In fact, it is just as significant now as when it was written. However, we have a new way to live out the terms of the Old Covenant because Jesus came and fulfilled all the requirements of that Covenant (Luke 22:37, Rom. 10:14). And because He did, He could be the perfect blood sacrifice for the rebellion of all humankind, all the way back to Adam and all the way forward into the Eternal Kingdom (Heb. 10:22). And, all—anyone—that asks in true sincerity to become a member of God’s Kingdom of Love and Light, to be “saved” (from the sentence of death and into eternal life), will be granted that request (Rom. 10:13). And once a person becomes God’s child, that person fulfills the Law (the terms of the Old Covenant) through Christ because that person becomes a part of Christ (Gal. 2:20).

This was the great secret that God kept hidden until it was the perfect time to let all heaven and earth know. The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints), To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory (Col. 1:26-27). It was by Jesus’ blood that peace came between God and man (Col. 1:20); that was the great hidden secret: The Blood of the Lamb would bring peace.

Under the Old Testament, blood was poured out on the alter day after endless day. But blood sacrifices were permanently done away with when Christ took His blood into the Heavenly Temple and poured it out on the Heavenly Altar. When [that appointed time came] when Christ (the Messiah) appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come. [Then] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with [human] hands, that is, not a part of this material creation, He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven], not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption (an everlasting release for us). For if [the mere] sprinkling of unholy and defiled persons with blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a burnt heifer is sufficient for the purification of the body, How much more surely shall the blood of Christ, Who by virtue of [His] eternal Spirit [His own preexistent divine personality] has offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the [ever] living God? [Christ, the Messiah] is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an [entirely] new agreement (testament, covenant), so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance—since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the [old] first agreement (Heb. 9:11-15).

His Blood is always available to cleanse us from all our sins (acts of rebellion against God’s Covenant with us), and it never fails to cleanse us when we ask in true sincerity with a real desire to not just be cleaned but to stand against those things that cause us to sin. But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations] (1John 1:7).

All of God’s children need to very clearly understand that they are God’s children because of Jesus’ shed blood—He gave his life for us. His blood will ever protect us against the wiles of the Wicked One. When we sin and are asking for forgiveness, we need to “plead the blood.” As in, plead in a trial. Jesus’ blood is our vindication. It sets us free from the law of sin and death. In the Old Covenant the blood of animals merely covered the word “Guilty.” But in the New Covenant, the Blood of the Lamb expunges the word “Guilty” and writes “Innocent” in its place. Never forget this. For example, if you need cleansed from the sin of telling a lie, tell God you are sorry and that you want to be forgiven. Then you can say, “Please wash me in the Blood of the lamb so that I might stand before You totally cleansed and righteous in Your sight.”

In addition, as priests we can sprinkle the Blood of the Lamb on ourselves, members of our family, our property, finances, in fact, all aspects of our lives (spirit, soul, body, finances, and social life) for their purification and protection against the wiles of Satan (see Heb. 9: 18-22 above).

The Blood of the Lamb is more than just a figure of speech or some mystical ointment that we “sorta” understand. No, it is real; it was poured out on the cross and placed on the great high altar in Heaven once for all time. Rely on it; it your pass to freedom and eternal life in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 376 People of Promise 19 Sitting

If you want to sit, sit where God has given you a place to sit. God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (Eph. 2:4-6).

God has given us joint seating with Jesus in the heavenly sphere. That alone is rather astounding, but it’s not just “someplace” in the Heavenly Sphere, and it’s not just “anyplace” in the Heavenly Sphere. If then, you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). We are seated in Christ Jesus directly at the right hand of the One and True Living God. This is why the writer of Hebrews encouraged all Christians to be Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2).

We sit at the right hand of God because the right hand is the hand of power. In other words, we sit in the position of ultimate power. We need to clearly understand this and to operate in it because it is this power that allows us to avoid the wiles of the wicked one. For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning (Heb. 4:15). That is why God has seated us at His right hand in Christ Jesus. For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently (1Cor. 10:13).

We are able to bear up because we are no longer the old worldly person we used to be, we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, bearing His likeness and strength in our inner beings (Gal. 2:20, 2Cor. 5:17). We do not have to sit in the counsel of the ungodly, listening to their ways that are inspired by lust, self-conceit, selfishness, pride, jealousy, hatred, anger, and all the other motivating forces of the Evil One. We sit in the very presence of God—all the time. Not just on Sunday morning, not just when we feel “holy,” not just when we pray. We are in God’s presence eternally, starting the very second that we yield our will to His and make Christ the Lord of our lives. We need to constantly be aware of His presence and His desires and blessing for us.

To sit at the right hand of God is not only to sit in the place of supreme power, but to sit in the seat of forgiveness, holiness (separated for God’s purposes), righteousness, grace, Agape love, and all the other marvelous attributes of God. Many Christians live their entire earthly life and never function in all that God has for them, simply because they do not know all that God has for them. The starting point for this understanding is to realize where God has put us in His Kingdom and what all that entails.

We grasp all that God has for us via hope activated by faith, since faithis the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses] (Heb. 11:1). We must absolutely stand on the fact that we are God’s heirs and coheirs of Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:17), and we must absolutely act like God’s heirs and coheirs of Christ Jesus. When we sit in the counsel of the Most High, we should not act like people that don’t know God. Quite the contrary, we must be and act exactly like who we really are.

No one is saying that being and acting exactly like who we are is easy. It is not. It is not because it requires our constant attention. The rush of the everyday work world, TV, advertising, etc., is constantly vying for our attention and efforts. Not that we shouldn’t work, not that we shouldn’t watch TV, not that we shouldn’t read magazines, novels, etc., but that we should always do so with the realization that we are God’s ambassadors (2Cor. 5:20) and what we do and say is always under the scrutiny of others. So if you watch 2 ½ men, Old Christine, and other programs that are directly based on sexual infidelity, or you can’t wait for Criminal Minds or C.S.I. to come on, or you like magazines and novels of questionable character, or you play along to get along at work, etc., then you really need to search yourself for your personal motivations and get them in line with who God has made you to be.

You are not to sit with the ungodly, but to rest always in the counsel of God. Then, you will not only enjoy all that He has for you., but you will be a guidepost to help others find their way out of the darkness and into the Kingdom of Love and Light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 375 People of Promise 18 Standing

In Psalm 1, David lists three activities that believers should not be participating in. Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity] (Ps. 1:1-3).

In the last lesson, we looked at the idea of not walking in the counsel of the ungodly, but rather walking in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. The second activity that David discusses follows naturally on the heels of walking (pun intended). First the person walks with the ungodly, then after tiring of the walk, they stop and stand around. David notes, “nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk.” At least walking is active, and there’s a chance that you can walk away from the ungodly. But when you stand in the path of the sinners, everyone you encounter is a sinner.

This is okay if you understand that your job is to preach the Gospel and represent Jesus to those who don’t know Christ. When we are truly aware of who we are, and what God has made available to us to help those who don’t know Christ, then we welcome the opportunity to be with the unsaved. I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people (1Cor. 5:9). So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor (2Cor. 6:17). Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether! (1Cor. 5:10).

In order for us to stand among the ungodly as ambassadors of the One and Only Living God (2Cor. 5:20), we need to stand in his strength and in the armor that He very specifically made for us.

Eph. 6:10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

Eph. 6:11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

Eph. 6:12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

Eph. 6:13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

Eph. 6:14 Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,

Eph. 6:15 And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.†

Eph. 6:16 Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].

Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.

Eph. 6:18 Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

If you have never actively and decisively (Deut. 30:19) put on the Armor of God, then do so, right now. And never take it off. Every day, thank God for the armor that He has given you, naming every part so that you are constantly and specifically reminded of what you are wearing and the importance of it in your life. I have re-arranged the naming of the armor so that I can start with my head and go right down to my toes, then hand to hand. Every day I give God thanks for His wondrous armor, like this: “Thank You, Father, for giving me Your armor to wear. I have on the Helmet of Salvation, the Breastplate or Righteousness, the Belt of Truth, and on my feet the Ready Gospel of Peace. In my left hand I am holding the Shield of Faith, and in my right hand, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of the Living God (spoken out), and overall I am wearing the covering of Praying in the Spirit.”

When you realize all that God has given you in terms of His armor, you can stand, stand, stand. Be unmovable in your armor, walking in the Spirit and standing in the pathway of the ungodly so they can see the Truth of the Living God in and on you, and hear God’s Word on your lips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 374 People of Promise 17 Walking

King David knew the Lord in a way that few others in the Old Testament did. He very clearly understood that we can become all God intends for us when we keep our focus on Him. Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather. But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity] (Ps. 1:1-3).

With the institution of the New Covenant, God’s relationship to humans changed. No longer does He live among us as He did in the Old Testament. He lives in us (1Cor. 6:19). With that change came the empowerment to fulfill King David’s advice to us. I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God) (Gal. 5:16). Now there is a promise, indeed. Walk in the Spirit not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, plans, and purposes).

Now note this, walking in the Spirit and not in the ways of the ungodly can put you at odds with the ungodly. Ungodly meaning those who have not made Christ their Lord and Savior. Perhaps the “crowd” wants to go to an “X” rated movie, or to the local “in” bar. That is certainly not walking in the Spirit, and you will have to say “no.” You may be mocked, or teased, or called a “Jesus Freak,” “Goodie Two Shoes,” etc., but you must stand against such activity. Do not do it with a “better that thou attitude,” or a haughty smile, or a long explanation of last Sunday’s sermon. Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another (Gal. 5:26). All you need to do is say, “No, I’m not going there,” or “No, I have other things to do,” and turn and leave. If you need, just ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you so that you can leave filled with His peace and joy.

Anytime you run up against the evil (ungodly—not of god) practices of this world, you will have to make the decision to stand for God and not allow the things of the ungodly to sway you and cause you to walk in the way of the ungodly. Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] (Gal. 5:25). Walking in the Spirit does not mean becoming a mystic. It is not some sugar-coated feeling that we are supposed to have toward others. It is not being borne away on the wings of goodness. It is downright effort and hard work on our part, because, as noted above (and probably a hundred times before) we have to make the conscious decision to do what is right and to deny that which is wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires (Gal. 5:24). True, we don’t have to do it in our own strength (Phil. 2:13), but we still have to point our toes, our nose, and the rest of our mind and body in the right direction, but once that is done, through Christ we have the strength to carry it out (Phil. 4:13).

And once we are turned in the correct direction, we can bear fruit. Notice this, we have to bear the fruit. God does not miraculously make fruit pop out on us. This takes effort. Fruit trees have to draw water and minerals from the soil, they have to carry out photosynthesis all season long, they have to expend energy to make the flowers that will eventually become the fruit, and then they have to pump all sorts of energy into the fruits. And further, they have to let the fruit mature all summer.  So, this is not an instantaneous process, but it is a process that depends up walking in the Spirit, and not walking in the “flesh” (our old, worldly, ungodly nature).

Botanically speaking, a fruit is a casing for a seed, and in God’s Word, seeds (lowercase) represent God’s words to us (Luke 8:11). So, as we bear fruit, God’s Word become manifest through our lives. We are literally living God’s Word when we bear His fruit, and others will most certainly see this Now, the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge] (Gal. 5:22-23).

Take David’s advice and get off the path of the ungodly. Strengthen yourself in the power of the Lord, and make your path straight and level (Heb. 12:12-13). Walk along that path hand in hand with the Spirit, and your life will bear His fruit and help sow God’s Word into the hearts of all who will really listen to and hear through the actions of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 373 People of Promise 16 Resurrected

This is Easter Sunday, and of course, it is the basis of all we believe about our Lord and Savior. As Christians, we clearly understand that Jesus did, in fact, rise from death. But, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded). We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised; And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is mere delusion [futile, fruitless], and you are still in your sins [under the control and penalty of sin]; And further, those who have died in [spiritual fellowship and union with] Christ have perished (are lost)! If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hope only in this life and that is all, then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied. But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come] (1Cor. 15:13).

Woe be it to those who would believe that Christ rose from the dead, if in fact, He did not rise. Likewise, woe be it to those who do not believe that Christ rose from the dead when, in fact, He did rise. There are only two choices: either He did or He didn’t. All of what we know and understand about Christ is of no value if He did not rise from the dead. All we know about Him is of eternal value if He did rise. C.S. Lewis noted that if the Bible is untrue, it is still great literature and should be read for that fact alone. If, however, the Bible is true, then it is of inestimable value and should not only be read, but studied in depth by all people.

So, we have a choice—don’t we somehow always get back to Deut. 30:19 and Josh. 24:15? Well, that’s what it’s all about. As his slaves, Satan blinds the minds of the people of the world so they can’t recognize the truth of God’s Word (2Cor. 4:4). That is why the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated (1Cor. 2:14).

One would think that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, even as He prophesied (Mark 9:31, John 2:19), would convince people of God’s Truth. But when Jesus was telling the story of the wealthy man who wanted God to send Lazarus to his brothers and warn them of unbelief, He (prophetically—GB) said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead (Luke 16:31). There are many reasons that people give why they choose not to believe in Christ, but those reasons are pointless, and they’re lies from the very pit of Hell.

Modern scholars like Lee Stroble and Josh McDowell, who have dug deep into all the evidence available—and there’s plenty of it—absolutely agree that Jesus did rise from the dead. We serve a living God, not the god of death and decay. When John saw the kingly Jesus in the book of Revelation, he writes, I fell at His feet as if dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, And the Ever-living One [I am living in the eternity of the eternities]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead) (Rev. 1:17-18).

Jesus certainly did conquer death, and because of that, has rule over it. When we accept Christ as Lord, we share in His death and resurrection. Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God] (Rom. 6:3-5).

This means, very clearly that our old mortal bodies will pass away, but each of us will receive a new, better, fully equipped, racing stripes firmly in place, able to leap over tall buildings at a single bound, body. It will not be subject to the lure of sin, and it will never die nor decay. We will live in God’s presence for all eternity, fully able to be everything that He has designed us to be. We don’t really understand all the details of this new, resurrected body, but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is (1John 3:2b). So it is with the resurrection of the dead. [The body] that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body] that is resurrected is imperishable (immune to decay, immortal) (1Cor. 15:42).

I’m not so excited that I get a new (perhaps more handsome) body (of course that will be great), but I am excited that I will have a body like the one the Jesus has! Not subject to sickness or disease, not harmed in any way, not subject to the wiles of sin. My, my, what a wonderful day that will be.

It has all been made possible because my Big Brother, Christ Jesus, who was obedient to our Father, in all things, even to the point of bearing my guilt on the Cross of Calvary. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! (Phil 2:8). Our goal should be to be as much like Christ in this life as we can be. We should parrot Paul, who wrote, [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] (Phil 3:10). If then, you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1).

Easter is the day we celebrate all the Jesus did for us, and all that He has for us. It is not just a day to celebrate His resurrection, but ours too. It is a day to remember that we are to seek all that God has for us. We are to ready, study, meditate, memorize, and act on His promises. What a great day of excitement and joy Easter is for all who love Christ and fully understand all that He has done for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut out, fold, and tape and you have a 3 x5 memorization flip card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 372 People of Promise 15 Prophets

Prophets always seem to get the short end of the stick. I think this is because we only think of prophets as Old Testaments characters, clad in rough clothing and delivering withering messages of doom and destruction to a rebellious nation. And yes, God needed this type of prophet to speak to a “stiff necked” people that wanted their own way, and no one, not even the prophets, were going to turn them from their selfish desires. In fact, when the prophets delivered their rebukes from God, they were likely to be killed. That puts some pressure on a prophet, to be certain.

Then, too, God needed prophets who would give predictions about the coming of, and activities of, His Son, Jesus. We see these prophecies scattered throughout the Old Testament. They were given so that the people would recognize Jesus when he arrived. Some did, but others had made up their own minds about what the Messiah was going to do when He showed up. They thought He was coming as a conquering king to destroy the enemies of Israel and put Israel in the number one spot. But that’s simply because they wanted a conqueror of their enemies, and refused to look closely at the scriptures, which clearly indicate that the first arrival of the Messiah was to be one in which He conquered sin for us.

Well, Messiah has come, He has conquered sin, and He sits at the right hand of God (the hand of power) (Col. 3:1, 1Peter 3:22). Not only that, but Jesus prophesied of the end times, and then He gave a more full depth prophecy of the end times to John. So what’s the need of any more prophets? And yet, God has made every one of His children to be a prophet. And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams (Acts 2:17).

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16), our One and Only High Priest (Heb. 7:21), and the Great Prophet (Rev. 19:10). We are heirs of God, too, and coheirs of Jesus (Rom. 8:17), and so we are the underling kings, priests, and prophets. True, God has given some of His children the office of prophet, empowering them to speak to the Body with visions of future events. But that’s not the role of the prophetic nature that He has instilled in every one of His children.

The prophecy that belongs to every one of us is the ability to interpret God’s Word into our lives. That is, each of us has the God-given capability to prophesy the effect of God’s Word in our lives, and then the authority and power as a king to instill the Word in our lives, and the right as a priest to come directly into the throne room and give our Father praise and thanksgiving for all that He has done to help us instill His Word in us. What a wonderful God we serve.

Of course all this means that we have work to do, and responsibilities to carry out. This is the point where most of God’s children fall short. Some much shorter that others. We tend to fall into the, “Well I made it into heaven, so I’m safe and don’t need to do anything more” category. Ah, but what a mistake. We should all be shouting, “Lord, give me more, “ not “Ahh, I can take it easy now.” When we are born again, God puts His Agape love into us (Rom. 5:5), and if we will allow it to control our lives, it will push us into a life long, dynamic relationship with God. That’s because Agape makes us want to give to God the best we have without regard to the consequences to ourselves. It makes us become as selfless as our Big Brother, Jesus. It makes us want to read the Word on a daily basis in order to learn all that it has for us (2 Tim. 3:16, 2:15).

Furthermore, if we will allow the priest in us to have any sway, we will want to praise and worship God for all that He has done. We will want to know Him better. We will want to the a close to Him as we can possible be. We will want to tell Him everything and get His take on every event in our lives. We will want to depend upon Him 100%. As a prophet, we will want to read His Word in order to see what it prophesies about our lives so that we can live the way He intends. As kings, we will want to implement His prophecies into our everyday operations.

As the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness,(Heb. 3:7-8)But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him]. For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end (Heb. 3:13-14).

When we give ourselves to Him completely, He gives Himself to us completely. And when that happens, we have the necessary abilities to help others find their way out of darkness and into the Light of God’s Eternal Kingdom. We have the abilities to carry out what needs to be done.          As prophets, we have the ability to speak out the truth of God’s Word. When we speak to unbelievers under the power and authority of the Holy Spirit, we are in fact prophesying. We are telling them that if they receive all that God has made available to them, they will become His children with all the attendant blessings and responsibilities. We are also telling them that if they don’t they will remain in the kingdom of darkness.

We always need to be ready to operate in God’s Agape love as priests, prophets, and kings in order to bring our lives into alignment with God’s Word, and to help others find their way into the Kingdom of Love and Light.