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The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Listening Ears

Listening Ears

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Listening Ears

Doris Waldrop Mincks
Doris Waldrop Mincks

How many times have I said to my children and grandchildren, "Did you hear what I said?" or "Do you hear me?" It is normal to want to be heard. Little children especially have a difficult time being heard, and they are often ignored. Even in adult conversations, I have had times when I felt like I was not heard.

To be more effective in communicating, I have learned to listen when people are talking.   Proverbs 4:1,2 is an excellent example of true communication:

"Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding."

Do I listen to learn from the person I am with, or do I want to inform?  If I am truly listening, my facial expression should show interest in what is being said, giving the person my full attention.  Am I listening to understand what the person is saying?

"He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame."

As I give my full attention to the person talking, am I willing to hear their story, experiences, and to know how he or she is feeling? This type of communication is called "empathy".  I am trying to understand their experiences or feelings.

As I have learned to listen to God through His instructions in the Bible, it has helped me to listen to people.

Jesus' words in Luke 10:16:

"He who listens to You listens to Me; he who rejects You rejects Me;"
Proverbs 1:33 —"but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease; without fear of harm."
James 1:22 —"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.   Do what it says."

Thought to Ponder: As I listen to God's voice, am I willing to act on what He says? As God speaks to me through His Word, am I then willing to listen to those people God brings into my path?

As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

Christian Maturity

Christian Maturity

Christian Maturity

Sanctification is the term that theologians use for the daily life of the maturing Christian.  There are two realms involved and both involve the Lord Jesus Christ.  These represent the reciprocal indwelling of Jesus Christ.

1.  Indwelt by Jesus Christ. 

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:10b, 23)

You have Jesus living within you in order for Him to direct you as the father directed Him.

Thomas’ question to Jesus

“Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:5)

Jesus’ answer

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”  (John 14:6-7)

Philip’s question to Jesus

“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” (John 14:8)

Jesus’ answer

“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father”  (John 14:9)

1.  I do not take the initiative, but My father dwelling Me does the works (10b).

2.  Believe that I am in the Father and that He is in Me (11a).

3.  Or believe in the works themselves that I do (11b).

4.  I go to My Father and the works that I did, you will do also and greater works (12-14).

5.  I will give you another helper to abide with and in you (15-18).

6.  You will behold Me, but the world will not see Me (19a).

7.  I live, you will live also (19b).

8.  You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I am in you (20).

9.  You love Me and I will disclose Myself to you (21).

Judas’ question to Jesus

“Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14:22)

Jesus’ answer

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.…the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.   But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.  I go away, and I will come to you.  If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:23-28)

2.  Dwelling in Jesus Christ.

“[you] Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and put on (clothed in Christ) the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph 4:23-4)

Jesus’ promise to you and His disciples

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.…I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

“"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.…the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)

Jesus’ prayer for you and His disciples

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21 NASB)

Jesus expresses His confidence in you and His disciples in spite of you occasional doubts.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:6-8)

Jesus give to you Himself and His glory so that you and all other Christians may be one!

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17: 22-23)

Sanctification is both the indwelling of Jesus Christ in the Christian and the dwelling of the Christian in Jesus.  This is truly a win-win relationship where Jesus is our “all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years.

http://shepherdinggrace.org

Can You Trust God With Your Stress

Can You Trust God With Your Stress

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Doris Waldrop Mincks
Doris Waldrop Mincks

We know that King David was often "distressed", the word for stress in the Bible. We all experience stress at certain times, and it is not always harmful. It can strengthen us or alert us to impending danger. However, we tend to put harmful stress on ourselves by excessive worry and fear.

Psalm 4:2-"Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."
Psalm 18:6-"In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help."

David sought the Lord in his distress, and asked for help. God heard and answered David's prayer, and he was able to praise God even in the midst of his circumstances.

Change is one of the constants in life, but it also creates stress. Learning to adapt to the many changes that our daily life brings is not easy. In addition to change, three other causes of stress are conflicts, criticisms, and crises. As we learn to accept the trials that are inevitable in life, we can with God's help begin to grow through them.

King David is a prime example of one who struggled with stress and anxiety—a common symptom of depression, but recognizing his own inadequacy, sought God's help.

Psalm 38:10-"My heart pounds, my strength fails me; light has gone from my eyes."

But he was able to say:

Psalm 38:15-"I wait for you, O Lord, you will answer, O Lord my God."
Psalm 94:18-"When I said, My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me."
Psalm 94:18-"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

Thought to ponder:

Do you have the confident expectation that, like David, God will help you through the stresses of life?  You can!

Food for thought:

"In the last resort it is highly improbable that there could ever be a therapy which gets rid of all difficulties.  Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health." Carl Jung
As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

Romans 8:6 - The Mind Set on the Spirit

Romans 8:6 - The Mind Set on the Spirit

Romans 8:6 — The Mind Set on the Spirit is Life and Peace

The elements of truth, morality, and piety scattered throughout ancient heathenism, may be ascribed to three sources.  In the first place, man, even in his fallen state, retains some traces of the divine image, a knowledge of God,67 however weak, a moral sense or conscience,68 and a longing for union with the Godhead, for truth and for righteousness.69  In this view we may, with Tertullian, call the beautiful and true sentences of a Socrates, a Plato, an Aristotle, of Pindar, Sophocles, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, Plutarch, "the testimonies of a soul constitutionally Christian,"70 of a nature predestined to Christianity.  Secondly, some account must be made of traditions and recollections, however faint, coming down from the general primal revelations to Adam and Noah. But the third and most important source of the heathen anticipations of truth is the all-ruling providence of God, who has never left himself without a witness.  Particularly must we consider, with the ancient Greek fathers, the influence of the divine Logos before his incarnation,71 who was the tutor of mankind, the original light of reason, shining in the darkness and lighting every man, the sower scattering i the soil of heathendom the seeds of truth, beauty, and virtue.72  (Phillip Schaff)

67 Rom. 1:19, το–ῒ –ͅϊγνωστὸντοῦ θεοῦ. Comp, my annotations on Lange in loc.
68 Rom. 2:14, 15. Comp. Lange in loc.
69 Comp. Acts 17:3, 27, 28, and my remarks on the altar to the θεὸς ἄγνωστος in the History of the Apost. Church. § 73, p. 269 sqq.
70 Testimonia animae naturaliter Christianae.
71 Λόγος ἄσαρκος , Λόγος σπερματικός .
72 Comp. John 1:4, 5, 9, 10.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, (NASB)

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (KJV)

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (NLT)

For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, (NET)

Watchmen Nee calls this phenomenon the "latent power of the soul."  "For the mind set on the flesh is death" Romans 8:6a NASB  This is the "reprobate" mindset that prevents us from distinguishing the Gospel of Christ from the 99.9% pure Gospel of Satan.  The former bringing a life of liberty (deliverance from the oppression of sin) versus a life of freedom.  Which is why we are to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling."

o  gar  fronema  tos  sarkos  thanatos,  to  de  fronema  tos  pneumatos  zoo  kai  eirene

The Greek (transliterated above) helps us capture the idea (fronema  tos  sarkos  thanatos) mind of flesh death — (fronema  tos  pneumatos  zoo  kai  eirene) mind of spirit life and peace.

Because of this "latent power of the soul," we will be deceived into thinking that we are walking in the light when we are actually walking in the darkness of our own making.  We become oblivious to the fact that as we do this we are acting as a double agent perhaps even a terrorist.  For in allowing the flesh to assert itself we will serve the purposes of the enemy of our soul with great zeal while the true Gospel languishes.  We presuppose that the carnal Christian is one who is struggling with sin.  However, the carnal Christian is actually the one who is serving in the power of the flesh!  For over 200 years the American arrogance has believed that we are blessed because of something we have done.  The reality is that we are blessed in spite of what we have done.  Grace is not, cannot, and will not, dependant upon the works of man.  But the sarkos thanatos will always think so!  The Emperor Constantine said, "everybody into the pool," and sarkos thanatos said, "God is working."  The church parking lot has 15,000 cars in it while the pastor preaches, "God wants you to have the best parking space," and sarkos thanatos said, "God is good!"  We have created Christ in our own image and think we are blessed.  When the Anti-Christ rises we won't even notice because we wont' know the difference!  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God reprised.

Rom 8:6 
For to be carnally minded - Margin, “The minding of the flesh.” The sense is, that to follow the inclinations of the flesh, or the corrupt propensities of our nature, leads us to condemnation and death. The expression is one of great energy, and shows that it not only leads to death, or leads to misery, but that it is death itself; there is woe and condemnation in the very act and purpose of being supremely devoted to the corrupt passions, Its only tendency is condemnation and despair. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Sin is no longer at all a law. This deliverance, to one who loves holiness, who loves God, is a profound and immense subject of joy. The passage does not say that the flesh is changed — quite the contrary; one would not speak of the law of a thing which no longer existed. We have to contend with it, but it is no more a law; neither can it bring us under death in our conscience. (Dr. John Darby)

Whatever the flesh savors, that brings about death: and whatever the Spirit savors, that is conducive to joy and everlasting life. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

"Then I realized that God allows people to continue in their sinful ways so he can test them.  That way they can see for themselves that they are no better than animals." (Ecclesiastes 3:18 NLT)

 

Christian Unity

This writer is often asked “Why are there so many church divisions and denominations?”  there is no easy answer to this honest question.

The lack of unity is based upon the diversity of mankind and the desire to be independent and in control as Adam and Eve chose.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
(Gen 3:4-5 NASB)

Additional confusion has developed when Christian leaders fail to look to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church for His will and direction as in Israel and the time of the Judges.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 NASB)

Christian leaders and their followers tend to be prideful over their unique and “true” interpretation of the Scripture, traditions, lifestyle and goals.  Because of these distinctives they look down on those who do not hold them and separate from associating with them.  They warn their followers not to associate with others who do not hold to the same teaching for fear of losing them.

Attempts for Organizational Unity

Over the years some denominations and church organizations have sought to join together, but were unable to reconcile practices regarding the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and the meaning, time and mode of Baptism.  Differences of church government (Pastor led, elder rule or congregational) at times were also divisive.  Jesus said regarding Biblical salvation:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  (John 14:6 NASB)

Most Christian churches and organizations believe that there is only one way to gain salvation and that is through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  However, even understanding  the biblical nature of salvation divides.  Must a Christian be a member of a certain church to be saved?  Can one loose their salvation and then regain it by repentance?  Or is a Christian’s salvation secure in Christ and cannot be lost?  Jesus prayed:

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  (John 17:22-23 NASB)

Even in the early church there were  divisions regarding leaders.

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.  Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided?  Paul was not crucified for you, was he?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1Corinthians 1:11-13 NASB)

The Apostle Paul expresses his understanding of Christian unity.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:1-6 NASB)

Examples of Unity Among Individual Christians

This writer was a missionary to the US military stationed in  the Philippines.  We ministered to men and women from about 50 different church backgrounds plus many who were unchurched or unsaved.  Our focus was upon Jesus Christ, salvation, bible study and the Christian’s daily life in Christ Jesus.

Rarely were the various church differnces brought up or condemned because of our oneness and focus on Christ.

Who are you to judge the servant of another?  To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  (Rom 14:4 NASB)

Daily Life and Christian Unity

Jesus promised that wherever you go He will always be with you.

For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b NASB)

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.  (John 16:24 NASB)

Since the Lord Jesus Christ dwells within you by His Holy Spirit, it is fitting while talking with other Christians indwelt with Him, to give credit and praise to Jesus for all of the factors of your life and whatever your circumstances may be.

It is always appropriate to pray with other believers.  You may pray for Christ’s provision for whatever their needs may be.  You can praise Him for His grace, provision and protection.  You can thank Him for His love and care.

“Making” a Disciple Takes Time

To make a disciple-making disciple requires that someone pours their life with Jesus into another person, until that person looks only to Jesus.

Modern life in the developed world has changed much from the first century but the principle that Jesus illustrates is still the same.  Those who are called to love and serve God must be disciples by others who have gone before them.  New believers must see what it looks like when someone puts God first.  They must watch others as they strive to put God first in all things.  They must observe what it ooks like when another man lives by and obeys the Holy Scriptures.  And they must be in a relationship of trust such that they can ask honest questions.

My first real encounter with this discipling pattern of Jesus, in an intentional way, came when I was taken under the wing of a wise old pastor who lives thousands of miles away form me.  He suggested we talk each week for an hour by phone.  At first we just got to know one another, and he answered some of my pressing questions.  But as time went on I realized that he and I were in a different relationship than any I had had before.  He wanted me to only seek for Jesus’ affirmation.  He only wanted for me what God wanted for me.

My life in the institutional church had not been like that.  Though many in authority would have said otherwise, the general relationship I had with my ecclesiastical superiors was all about organizational accountability and performance.  ...In my forty-four years of ordained ministry, I was never called to talk for an hour about my life and ministry as a disciple of Jesus.

A disciple-making disciple cares about those he is discipling.  He prays for them, and loves them, and gives himself to them.  All he knows of the Lord he shares with them.  And perhaps the most important thing he gives them is time.

Jon Shuler, NAMS Network, September 27, 2016 (excerpted).

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

 

Romans 8:5 - The Man Is as the Mind Is

Romans 8:5 - The Man Is as the Mind Is

Romans 8:5 — The Man Is as the Mind Is

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (NASB)

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (KJV)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. (NLT)

For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. (NET)

Col 3:1  Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (NET)

The words “carnally minded” are to phronēma tēs sarkos (το φρονημα της σαρκος), literally, “the mind of the flesh.”

The words “spiritually minded” are to phronēma tou pneumatos (το φρονημα του πνευματος), literally, “the mind possessed by the Spirit,” thus a mind controlled or dominated by the Holy Spirit. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader)

The mind (8:5–11; cf. 7:22–23; 8:5–7) is allowed to have its way in the Spirit. There is an absolute separation between being in the flesh and in the Spirit. In this section the potency of life in the Spirit is stressed, not the details of how such a life comes about.  (Tyndale concise Bible commentary)

It is our sinful nature that tries to make our mind focus on our fleshly desires, which will lead to only one end and that is death.  However, the indwelling Spirit tries to take illuminate the reality of our flesh (sinful desires) and then lead us to life.  If we are focused on our own sinful pleasures we will have set a course for death.  If we focus on Christ and His righteousness, then we will sail a course pleasing to the Spirit.  I suppose the reality is that our flesh is NOT interested in making a good decision here.  Our place of departure then must be the honest recognition that we cannot choose rightly apart from the Spirit's power.  We must confess then our inability in order to gain the victory.

This deliverance from the law of sin and death is not a mere experience (it will produce precious experiences); it is a divine operation, known by faith in His operation who raised up from the dead, known in all its power by its accomplishment in Jesus, in the efficacy of which we participate by faith. The difficulty of receiving it is that we find our experience clashing with it. That Christ has put away my sins, and that God has loved me, is a matter of simple faith through grace. That I am dead is apt to find itself contradicted in my heart….The passage does not say that the flesh is changed — quite the contrary; one would not speak of the law of a thing which no longer existed. We have to contend with it, but it is no more a law; neither can it bring us under death in our conscience. (Dr. John Darby)

By looking to our minds. How may we know whether we are after the flesh or after the Spirit? By examining what we mind, the things of the flesh or the things of the spirit. Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honor, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh, which unregenerate people mind. The favor of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. The man is as the mind is….Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls?  (Matthew Henry)

Romans 8:4 - The Law of Love

Romans 8:4 - The Law of Love

Romans 8:4 — The Law of Love Written Upon Our Hearts

Thus satisfaction was made to Divine justice, and the way of salvation opened for the sinner.  By the Spirit the law of love is written upon the heart, and though the righteousness of the law is not fulfilled by us, yet, blessed be God, it is fulfilled in us; there is that in all true believers, which answers the intention of the law. (Matthew Henry)

The very substance of the law of God might be fulfilled, or that same which the law requires, that we may be found just before God: for if with our justification there is joined that sanctification which is imputed to us, we are just, according to the perfect form which the Lord requires. (5) He returns to that which he said, that the sanctification which is begun in us is a sure testimony of our engrafting into Christ, which is a most plentiful fruit of a godly and honest life. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  (NASB)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (KJV)

He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. (NLT)

so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (NET)

Here we could contrast the "breath of life" from man's creation in Genesis to his recreation by the "Breath" pneuma Spirit.  We see the two laws of life represented here, the law of the flesh (sarka) and the law of the Spirit (pneuma) and how we should accordingly walk (kata paripateo).  The new life in Christ Jesus is a new Breath or new Spirit.  The "righteous requirement" dikaioma (NET) of the law is completely fulfilled in Christ so that is no longer is over us but rather the Spirit then gives us the energy and the desire to live the will of God and thus is the wind beneath our wings.

(Phil 2:13) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.  (NLT)

To walk after the flesh is to obey the dictates of the flesh; to walk after the Spirit is to obey its dictates. It dwells in the believer to help him, but its dictates are found in the "words of the Holy Spirit." (Peoples New Testament)

Not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (mē kata sarka alla kata pneuma). The two laws of life (kata sarka in 7:7-24, kata pneuma Romans 8:1-11).  (Robertson's Word Pictures)

Gal 5:22-24  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. (NLT)

Eph 5:26-27  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word.  He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. (NLT)

Col 1:22  Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. (NLT)

Heb 12:23  You have come to the assembly of God's firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven.  You have come to God Himself, who is the judge over all things.  You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. (NLT)

1Jn 3:2  Dear friends, we are already God's children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. (NLT)

Jud 1:24  Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. (NLT)

Martyrs for Christ

Martyrs for Christ

There was a time when Christians in the United States thought little of martyrdom.  There were not many believers in America killed for their faith.  If some were, most often the news media failed to report it.

However, our world has now changed greatly.  ISIS, fellows citizens and other anti-Christian groups are attempting to destroy Christianity and take over the world including the United States.

You know through television, social media and the internet that thousands of Christians around the world are being killed each year because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their refusal to deny their allegiance to Him for the sake of saving their own life or the lives of their loved ones.

This anti-God movement began in the Garden of Eden when the serpent [Satan] said to Adam and Eve that they did not need God any more, but could be like Him knowing the difference of good and evil.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

To be like god or to be your own god and in control of your life and the lives of others continues to be attractive to most people even today.

When non-Christian leaders are in positions of power they often perceive that Christians are a threat to the advancement of their ideology, goals and godless agendas because they follow Jesus Christ the perfect leader of all creation.  Consequently Christians must be silenced or eliminated.

Jesus warned His disciples regarding powerful godless leaders:

“But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them...Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and the children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by all because of My name...” (Mark 13:9, 12-13a)

In the midst of Jesus’ warning He promises the presence and aid of His Holy Spirit to those persecuted.

“When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”  (Mark 13:11)

Stephen, the first Christian Martyr

This writer believes that Stephen was a prototype of all Christian martyrs.

“Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.  But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.  But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking [according to Jesus’ promise, the Holy Spirit spoke through him].

“Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.” And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council. They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law; for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.” And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.”  (Acts 6:8–15)

“But they [The council] cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:57–60)

Christian Martyrs Today face the same anger and violence against them as did Stephen.  The persecution maybe different, but the reality of hatred is the same.

Anti-Christian rhetoric is now commonly heard in the political arena.  Many have all made terroristic statements against Christians.

Alex Newman in The New American Magazine, April 8, 2013 writes ...the “Department of Defense was caught training U.S. troops that Catholics, orthodox Jews, and evangelical Christians are to be considered “religious extremists,” even equating the major religions (representing more than half of Americans) with truly violent groups such as al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, and Hamas.” (https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/15028-christians-are-extremists-like-al-qaeda-u-s-army-taught-troops)

Had the President declared martial law to combat terrorism you could be, as a Christian declared an enemy of the state and subject to arrest, jail time or even death.

Until Supreme Court Justices who support the Constitution are appointed, this negative sentiment against you and your Christian beliefs will continue and grow.  Where and to whom may you turn for help?

Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples says that persecution of His followers is normative.

““But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.” (Matthew 10:17–19)

The often tested King David confidently declares:

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Remember, “He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13)

The Apostle Paul adds:

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

Jesus is Your Comfort and Peace in times of testing and trials.  You need not fear regarding future persecution and martyrdom because the Lord Jesus Christ,

“…Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”” (Hebrews 13:5b)

Praise the Lord!

About the author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

Romans 8:3 - What the Law Could Not Do

Romans 8:3 - What the Law Could Not Do

Romans 8:3

He does not use an argument here, but expounds the mystery of sanctification, which is imputed to us: because, he says, the power of the law was not such (and that by reason of the corruption of our nature) that it could make man pure and perfect, and because it rather kindled the flame of sin than put it out and extinguish it, therefore God clothed his Son with flesh just like our sinful flesh, in which he utterly abolished our corruption, that being accounted thoroughly pure and without fault in him, apprehended and laid hold of by faith, we might be found to fully have the singular perfection which the law requires, and therefore that there might be no condemnation in us. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (NASB)

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (KJV)

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. (NLT)

For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (NET)

The law of Moses could not saves us, because of our sinful nature.  Why?  Because is was impossible!  (to adunaton tou nomou). Literally, “the impossibility of the law” (Robertson's Word Pictures)

(τὸ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου) Lit., the impossible (thing) of the law.  (Vincent's Word Studies)

So God did the impossible and sent His Son to die in our place.  He wore a flesh and blood container so that He could really be our kinsman redeemer.  This is important for us to comprehend in every fiber of our being because the latent power of the soul will daily raise its head to assert that we have done something for ourselves.  This battle will rage as long as blood pulses through our veins.  But as the spiritual man created new in Christ Jesus grows in His strength, the daily victory will become more apparent.  Let us not forget that it is by His stripes that we are healed (His stripes, our back).  The Apostle Peter encapsulates the thought:

"For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin" (1 Peter 4:1b NLT).

This is not to be confused with suffering the gravity of sin but rather suffering for the Gospel!  The question we must ask ourselves today is, "Are we finished with sin?"

Rom 3:20  For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. (NLT)

Act 13:39  Everyone who believes in Him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. (NLT)

Gal 3:21  Is there a conflict, then, between God's law and God's promises?  Absolutely not!  If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. (NLT)

Heb 7:18-19  Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.  For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (NLT)

Heb 10:14  For by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy. (NLT)

Joh 3:14-17  And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.  "For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. (NLT)

Gal 4:4-5  But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. (NLT)

1Jn 4:10-14  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.   Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.  And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.  Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. (NLT)

2Co 5:21  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

Gal 3:13  But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (NLT)

1Pe 2:24  He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. (NLT)

1Pe 4:1-2  So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too.  For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.  You won't spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. (NLT)

Romans 8:2 - The Law of the Spirit of Life

It is a glorious day in the life of the Christian when he or she realizes that God’s children are not under the Law, that God does not expect them to do “good works” in the power of the old nature. When the Christian understands that “there is no condemnation,” then he realizes that the indwelling Spirit pleases God and helps the believer to please Him. What a glorious salvation we have! “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage!” warns Paul in Gal. 5:1 (NKJV). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (NASB)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (KJV)

And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)

For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. (NET)

This verse thus becomes the answer to the culmination of the argument illuminated in chapter 7:  With the law of my mind, I try to obey the law of God, but the law of sin and death causes me to fail.  Here in verse 2 we see the new law now in effect, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" that has set us free from "the law of sin and death."  Where verse one reveals His redemptive purpose that pardons us from the just condemnation we deserved because of our sin, in verse 2 our utter deliverance from the oppression of sin becomes evident.  The problem for us is that our experience may clash with this truth until that day when our intimacy with Christ transforms our mind so that we can discover that we have been empowered with the ability to say yes to Christ and no to sin!  This is NOT natural but rather supernatural!  This is a daily journey as we give ourselves to the headship of the Shepherd.  This is an hourly journey as we relinquish our arrogant "I" to the Lordship of Christ.  It is a minute by minute journey as we submit ourselves to the will of the Father.

"Believers may be chastened of the Lord, but will not be condemned with the world." (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)

The Gospel of the grace of Christ, which is not only a law or rule of life, but affords that sovereign energy by which guilt is removed from the conscience, the power of sin broken, and its polluting influence removed from the heart.  The law was a spirit of death, by which those who were under it were bound down, because of their sin, to condemnation and death.  The Gospel proclaims Jesus the Savior; and what the law bound unto death, It looses unto life eternal. (Dr. Adam Clarke)

This deliverance from the law of sin and death is not a mere experience (it will produce precious experiences); it is a divine operation, known by faith in His operation who raised up from the dead, known in all its power by its accomplishment in Jesus, in the efficacy of which we participate by faith.  The difficulty of receiving it is that we find our experience clashing with it.  That Christ has put away my sins, and that God has loved me, is a matter of simple faith through grace.  That I am dead is apt to find itself contradicted in my heart. (Dr. John Clarke)

The law here is not a written law but a regulative principle which exercises a control over the life of the believer. This regulative control over his life is exercised by the Holy Spirit. This control is in the form of the energy given the believer both to desire and to do God’s will, this energy coming from the life that God is, which in the believer is given him by reason of his position in Christ Jesus. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)


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