Touching lives with the truth of God's Word.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006


God's purpose with regard to the liberty of the believer in Christ is summed up in Galatians 5:13. "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Here is an admonition so simple that no believer can misunderstand it, so comprehensive, that it covers the whole range of the believer's behavior toward his fellow brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
God intended that the Christian life should be dynamic, that we should sit under the teaching of the Word of God, understand and apply its meaning and implications, and serve God and fellow believers. If we would stop and consider the fact that God has entrusted us with liberty, and freedom as full grown sons, while yet beset by temptation and sin. If we would contemplate the infinite love and the infinite cost involved in bestowing this liberty upon us. If we would stop and reflect on the truth that this liberty and freedom was given to us in Christ Jesus; (as those who have been crucified, buried and raised with Him, to walk in newness of life)--if we would take the time to consider all of this, it becomes evident that the only right use of liberty is as the Scripture says; "but through love serve one another."
Child of God, it is important to remember that we are to exercise our liberty in a lifestyle of usefulness for others, to stand fast in our God given liberty, and to heed the exhortation: Take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak (1 Corinthians 8:9).
Paul reminded the Corinthians in his letter to them that he had the right as an apostle to live well and to expect them to care for his needs so that he might "forbear working." He reminded them that they owed him their financial support (1 Corinthians 9:1-14). But he also wrote to these same Corinthians "Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ....For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more" (1 Corinthians 9:12-19).
Referring again to the use of his liberty in Christ, Paul says: "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth" (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). We have been set at liberty, not that we might indulge in the gratification of our own desires, but that we might serve others. Scripture says: "it is more blessed to give than to receive."
Thank God, we have been called unto liberty. Through Christ we can breathe the air of freedom, but to fully enjoy this freedom we must take care not to use it as an occasion to serve self, but rather as the means by which, in love, we may serve one another. You thank about that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Believer's Relationship With The Holy Spirit

And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4
The Holy Spirit appeared on the day of Pentecost, accompanied by extraordinary manifestations of His presence. It is important to understand that these manifestations were "sign" oriented, not "character" oriented. The text does not say that after being filled with the Holy Spirit, they manifested great patience, kindness, gentleness, ect. (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit). Rather, it says they immediately began speaking in other tongues. May I say, that is how the unbelievers who heard them knew that something supernatural had taken place.
After the Book of Acts, the whole concept of being filled with the Spirit drops out of sight, except for one mention in Ephesians 5:18. In that passage, Paul is talking about surrendering to the influence of the Spirit, not to the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. So what am I saying? Just this...we need not ask God to fill us with the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit indwells all believers in Christ. Paul wrote, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body...whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free...and have all been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). The apostle John wrote, "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit" (1 John 4:13). Christian believers everywhere are filled with the Spirit.
Child of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit is a source of great assurance. In fact, "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His" (Romans 8:9). We know we belong to Christ because His Spirit dwells in us. You think about that.