Secret to receiving Christ's power...

Started by Bryan, March 14, 2015, 08:38:48 PM

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Bryan

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

With all the talk and discussion about how rich and blessed we are in the Church, I thought it would be a good idea to bring it back to reality.

What in scripture is explicitly tied to "Receiving Christ's power?"

Obedience is one.

John 14:15-17
15 "If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Faith is another

Galatians 3:5
So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Weakness is a third (Dare I say least talked about one)
2 Corinthians 12:9
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Weakness is not physical weakness. Paul is not saying the secret to receiving Christ's power is to be sick or ill or the opposite of physically strong, aka weakling.

2 Corinthians 12:10 describes what Paul is referencing.

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.

Weaknesses in this scriptural context is weakness of the flesh. The flesh does not want to be insulted, nor persecuted. It hates difficulties and hardship. But yet the secret to receiving Christ's power is to be weak.

This isn't me saying, "Go out and get yourself persecuted so you 'con' your way into God's blessing." No...

2 Timothy 3:12
everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

EVERYONE...

who wants to live...

A GODLY LIFE...

will be...

PERSECUTED.

Harsh words... but why? Because Christians are to be different from all others. We are to be separate!

2 Corinthians 6:14-17
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

"I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people."
17 Therefore,

"Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you."

The biggest problem with most "in the church" in this day is the idea that the church has to be relevant in order to reach the lost. We conform to them in order to persuade them into the church. We use passages like 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 to justify such actions as though scripture contradicts itself.

We are to be in the world, not of the world.

1 John 2:15-17
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

If ANYONE....

loves THE WORLD...

love for THE FATHER is not in them.

Pretty cut and dry there.

But it doesn't end there, for "whoever does the will of God lives forever."

What is God's will?

1 Thessalonians 4:3, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified..."
2 Timothy 1:9, "He has saved us and called us to a holy life..."

HOLINESS

That is God's will for you and me, all who call upon the name of the Lord.

Holiness is not living as we like, saying a little prayer when we decide we are sorry enough, and repeating. Holiness is completely cutting off the pleasures and desires of the flesh in order to grow in godliness. The two are opposed to each other and you cannot be in both at the same time.

Galatians 5:16-17
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

So we are to cast off and even crucify the flesh if we want to belong to Jesus.

Galatians 5:24-25
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Now what is "the flesh"?

Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The key to understanding what "IN the flesh" means is found in verse 21...

"Those who live like this..."

Paul is not saying that those who commit even a single act of fleshly indulgence will be excluded from God's Kingdom. Rather, those who live (as a constant act or course of life) in the flesh will not inherit God's Kingdom.

But Why? The very nature of God's Kingdom is the realm of where he is in control. He is in charge. He is King and Lord. Those in God's Kingdom are by implication expected to obey God in his commands and instructions.

By faith we are granted entrance into God's Kingdom and receive the sign of his Kingdom, the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13-14, 2:8-9; 1 John 3:23-24). By obedience to the Spirit we grow in holiness and are continually sanctified (Galatians 5:16-18; Hebrews 10:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:2). As we cooperate with the Spirit in His work, we experience more of Christ's power.

Acts 5:32
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

So if we are to experience more of Christ's power in our lives, we must cast off our flesh and crucify it. It is a painful process for sure, but a necessary one if we are to really know what God has in store for us as His children.

Let me close with this word of warning from Jesus himself:

To those who deem themselves rich and blessed in Christ with no need for a message like this I quote Revelation 3:15-17.

"15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." So be zealous and REPENT...

Christians should (and are expected to) REPENT and be holy!
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.  He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

DiscipleHeLovesToo


Luk 13:1-5 KJV
(1)  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
(2)  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
(3)  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
(4)  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
(5) I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.


Jesus clearly says that it was not the multitude of transgressions of the law that caused the Galileans to perish. He also says that it was not the multitude of transgressions of the law that caused the the 18 upon whom the tower in Siloam fell that cause them to perish.


He went out of his way to emphasize that it was not the excessive amount of transgressions of the law that caused these people to perish; and then he says "except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish".


Repent of what?


Obviously, he did not mean that we are required to keep all points of the law without exception; no one in a flesh body can do this, "...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin... There is none righteous, no, not one."


Obviously, he did not mean that we are required to minimize our transgressions of the law, as he clearly says that those who were slain by Pilot and those who were slain when the tower fell on them did not die because they were sinners above all men.


So how can minimizing transgressions of the law make us holy in God's sight? "If we offend in 1 point, we are guilty of all" (James 2:10); so holiness is not the result of minimizing transgressions of the law, but rather it is the result of completely eliminating all transgressions of the law. There are 2 ways that we can do this: by our own strength and understanding (which the Scriptures clearly say is impossible for us), or by placing faith in God's grace that by the atonement of Jesus all of our transgressions of the law are blotted out in God's sight. Once we have chosen the latter, we 'should have no more conscious of sin'(Heb 10:2); which is to say 'we should have no more focus on sin'. The 'blood of Christ' 'purges our focus from dead works to serve the living God ' (striving to obey the multitude of God's laws by our own strength and understanding) (Heb9:14)


There is only one way to be holy in God's sight: and that way is to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit, using God's law that the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance as confirmation of that leading; because as we do this, we not only maintain focus on God, but as a consequence of fellowship with God as we follow his leading; and as we follow his leading more effectively, our transgressions of his law occur less frequently - as he will never lead us to transgress his law - and our outwardly evident holiness will increase not as a result of our focus on our own performance (focus on self), but as a result of being led by God through fellowship.


When we focus on trying to remember and apply the multitude of God's law according to our own strength and understanding, we focus on our own performance instead of God's leading; our relationship is with self and not with God. We depend on our own intellect in order to apply the multitude of God's law correctly in each situation when we focus on keeping God's law - and we increase our knowledge of sin, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin"(Rom 3:20), 'and the strength of sin is the law' 1Cor 15:56). Trying to achieve holiness by minimizing one's transgressions of the law is a formula for failure; because as we focus on the law instead of the lawgiver, we increase in the knowledge of sin rather than the knowledge of God; and we actually strengthen sin against us.


What Jesus was telling us to repent of was focus on God's law instead of God's leading.


Yes, holiness is very important; but not as a means to know God, but rather as a result of knowing him; holiness is a fruit of relationship with God, not a root.


Yes, Christian should repent- of trying to apply the multitude of God's law correctly in any situation according to their own strength and understanding, and instead strive to be led by God; because it is only by consequence of striving to be led by God that we can be holy in his sight, not by our performance.



Mar 10:17-31 KJV
(17)  And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
(18)  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
(19)  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
(20)  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
(21)  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
(22)  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
(23)  And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
(24)  And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
(25)  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
(26)  And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?
(27)  And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
(28)  Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
(29)  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
(30)  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
(31)  But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.



Many have used verse 21 above to teach that prosperity is not the will of God for his people; but verse 29 reveals what God would do for this man if he gave away everything to the poor: he would receive a hundredfold what he gave; and he told him how to recognize when prosperity is from God: because it would come with persecutions, not that persecutions would be the result of prosperity, but that persecutions would be the result of what the man did with his prosperity. Money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is the root of all evil.


So is the love of outward holiness somehow different? Indeed, what you love is ultimately revealed by what you focus on.
Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

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