ZOE - Life as God Would Have It
"For let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16 The message for the church this hour is this...to let our lives come into divine order. To have our lives line up with and live in agreement to the Word of God. "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. I Peter 4:17 There has been a lot of emphasis on this scripture from those who are calling the church to holiness by exposing the religious sins of the church. But I believe this is a call to us as the individual as well - for the church is comprised of the individuals. As God continues to clean up the leadership and doctrines of the church, we need to do our part and make sure our lives can stand up to the same scrutiny of the Word as well.
In this, the greatest hour of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we cry out to the Throne of God for revival - for the salvation of the world, for God's glory to cover the earth, the Lord would remind us, that we have been given the keys to the Kingdom. We already have everything needful to usher in the glory of God, for the bridegroom comes in the glory! It is by our unity, our love and our joy that the unrighteous shall see the truth of the God we serve. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34,35
Christians, we must be different! We must let our lives reflect our victory. For the truth is, which of our friends and relatives want what we have (to be a Christian), unless they can see some evidence that it is beneficial - not just as a spiritual benefit, but in the world we live in now! Most people in our world are concerned about the here and now, more than they are about eternity. And as the days abound with more and more wickedness, for our own sake, we must grow and mature to the place where the "perils and destruction on every side" have little affect on our families.
Very few of us in the Body of Church have learned to actually live in the Body of Christ - where His Kingdom is, where He rules as the Prince of Peace. We want to, and we love the times we get a glimpse of or even visit the Kingdom. But our Father desires that we live there. He has appointed us to be Kings and Priests in this Kingdom. This Kingdom is here on earth, not after the second coming - not after we die and go to heaven. To literally live in the Kingdom of God - to partake daily in the benefits of His Righteousness, His Peace and His Joy. No matter what the circumstances of life bring our way, no matter what the opportunity to sin, we remain stable and fixed in the lifestyle whereby we have been conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus. This only comes as we yield to and submit to the Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to expose each of us to ourselves through praying in the Holy Ghost, meditating in His Word, prayer and fasting.
"...the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." II Corinthians 4:16,17
"And do not be conformed to this world, (to act like the world acts, to respond the way the world responds, to live like the world lives) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2
We will be purged of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit as we seek God. For the Holy Spirit was given to us to come along side us, to help us, to lead us and guide us into all truth. "Then Jesus said...if you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31,32 And the Holy Spirit, as He leads us into all truth, even the truth about ourselves, does it without condemnation - but reveals the truth, as an act of His love, mercy and grace, to us in a way that sets us totally free!
Our desire must be to allow the Spirit of God to prepare us as the pure and holy bride of Christ. To be cleansed, not only from the obvious deeds of sin, but to be cleansed from compromise, from excuses and from complacency. To be doers of the Word and not forgetful hearers only. To allow the sharp edge of God's Word to cut away at the rough places in our characters.
God's Word promises us that He will be coming for a "Glorious church, not having any spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5: 27 The Lord does not admonish us to do or be anything that is beyond our ability to do or become. Whatever He tells us in His Word, there is the power available to bring that Word into manifestation. II Peter 3:14 also instructs us "...be eager to be found by Him (at His coming) without spot or blemish and at peace (in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts)."
How do we accomplish this seemingly overwhelming goal? It is only by seeking first His Kingdom - His righteousness, His peace and His joy! To be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus. To be like Jesus and learn from the things that we suffer, just as He did. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs - heir of God and joint heir with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Romans 8:16,17 Dying to our flesh (mortification of the flesh) hurts! To be internally cleaned means allowing the Holy Spirit to scrub and polish us, creating friction that our body, mind and emotions don't enjoy. It's only by employing the fruits of the Spirit that we are able to get through this process and endure it with joy!
To be found without spot or blemish is a portion of the salvation, of the redemption that Christ provided for us when He gave His life for ours. We must walk in the fullness of the revelation of His grace and the redemption that we have obtained through His precious blood that was shed for us, not only for the forgiveness of our sins, but to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. "You must know that you were redeemed from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from our forefathers...you were purchased with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a sacrificial lamb without blemish or spot." I Peter 1:18,19.
The prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus, as our Savior and Redeemer, in the 53rd chapter, verse 5, "He was wounded for our transgressions (sins), He was bruised for our iniquities. (wickedness of character) The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed."
In Matthew 8:17, as the apostle is writing of the fulfilled prophecy concerning Jesus, he quotes this passage in Isaiah as "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness." When we understand that the words infirmity and iniquity are both translated to mean the same thing, we can stand on God's Word that the work has already been done, to accomplish the fulfillment of that promise. Receive it as done by grace, through faith. Receive it the same as you received the truth of God's word concerning your salvation, by grace, through faith. You believed that Jesus bore your sins, so you don't bear your sins. Believe that Jesus bore your iniquities, and you don't have to bear them anymore!
The word infirmity means "weak of mind, will or character" according to Webster's Dictionary. Those flaws in our personalities and those awful character weaknesses. He took our place for the weaknesses of character, just as much as He took our place for sin, just as much as He took our place for sickness! Glory to God!! If we try to cleanse ourselves from our weaknesses, we will only be able to go so far before our will power gives up. All of us have tried to change - New Years resolutions being a good example, but none of us possess the discipline to really conquer all the internal wrongs - whether it be an "inherited" hot temper or an insecurity as a result of a hurt from our past. It is by RESTING in God and by receiving His grace, (God's ability to do in us what we are unable to do for ourselves) and releasing our faith to EXPECT God to come to our aid, that the true and lifelong changes come.
When we allow Him to take hold together with us against these, then we have learned to operate with God - to flow with His spirit and to allow Him to change us into the image of His character and His moral attributes. These are holiness, righteousness, justice, goodness, love, grace, mercy and truth.
The gifts of sanctification (being set apart for a sacred purpose) and consecration (to be freed from the consequences of sin) are ours as gifts of grace. We did not earn them and we cannot do anything to merit them. Our part is to make the choice to live according to the Spirit that dwells within us. To put to death our lower nature and to truly be alive to the nature of Christ. "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13
When our hearts cry out for more and more of the things of God - and when we come to the place where we cannot go one more day with our own agenda and our own goals; and we willingly give up our lives in exchange for the life He has planned for us, - it is here that the Holy Spirit answers our cry and helps us. This is where the Holy Spirit comes into His temple, which is within each of us, so that His train can fill every space that's been made available to Him, with His Glory!! Where we have been swept out and cleansed, by exercising faith in God's Word that tells us who we really are, His Glory will come and fill us to overflowing. It is the Glory that manifests the great joy - it is the Glory - the anointing that destroys every yoke of bondage. It is the Glory that calls out to the Father of our glorious position in His body. "Not having any spot, or wrinkle or any such thing, but that (we are) holy and without blemish."
"He who testifies to these things says 'surely I AM coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" Revelation 22:20
The Lord has given us a list in the Word, for us to measure our lives by. If we endeavor to allow the Holy Spirit to take first place, then these are the fruits that we will be bearing. And our behavior will be seen by all around us. When we apply these admonishments to our lives and adapt our will to His will, our behavior will be like Christ's and people around us will see the difference and want what we have! All that the following scriptures instruct us in, is summed up in the words 'love and unity'. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another." John 13:35
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peacefully with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written 'vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:9-21
As we make a choice before God to live this way, we will find rich rewards in doing so.