Faith · Uncategorized

Today At Covenant…Promise vs. Reality

This morning at Covenant Church our Pastor was visiting elsewhere and our message was brought by a former intern, Jonathan Allotey. It was such a neat experience to be inspired by a new voice. Jonathan is a great young pastor who is from Ghana in west Africa. Passion drenched every word spoken today and my prayer is that it affected everyone in a huge way as it did me.

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Our church is currently reading through Romans 6 in a series entitled No Longer Slaves. Today’s main passage came from Romans 6:4-8.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—  because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Three obvious questions come from having read this passage:

  1. What does it mean to be dead to sin?
  2. How do we die to sin?
  3. Is dying to sin the end?

The answers to these questions can be found in multiple letters written by Paul to churches in Rome, Corinth, and Colosse.

In Romans 6:3 Paul uses an illustration to describe the change that takes place when we die to sin and accept salvation.

 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

When we received Christ we identified with his death in that we died to ourselves. The old life we lived was done and we were no longer ruled by sin. Christ became our master. And a man can only serve Christ or sin. Therefore, sin lost its hold on us and we became dead to sin by accepting Christ’s salvation.

Jesus paid the full price for our sins to make us free much like the indentured servants of the 18th century who traveled from England and worked in America for a certain number of years in order to pay for their freedom. The only difference with this illustration is that Jesus did the work for our freedom. We didn’t have to pay a thing. And now, as a Christian who has accepted the salvation we are made dead to sin, but alive in Christ.

In Ezekiel 36:25-28, the prophet tells of how God would make his people new.

 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.  I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.  I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.

In this passage in Ezekiel God reveals his plan for salvation. Once we become children of God he cleanses us from our sin. He separates the sin from us and frees us from the grip of sin. God also gives us a new heart. He replaces our hearts of stone with a heart of flesh which is sensitive to the Word and promptings of God. The Spirit is also given to us to guide us through a life of obedience. The Spirit gives us the power to be slaves to Christ.

In his letter to the church in Corinth Paul explains that we are new creations the moment we accept Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

This passage states that once we accept Christ we are brand new. We are no longer ruled by sin! This is a not a future promise, rather it is a present  reality. In a culture where feelings reign supreme it’s hard to feel like being new is truth. Some days we don’t feel new. We struggle with sin and at times feel bound to it. But whether or not we feel it is true or not God’s Word is always true. When God says we are no longer slaves that is true. It’s our reality. Now.

So now that we know the truth how do we apply it to our lives? Colossians 3:1-2 explains exactly how to apply our freedom from sin.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

The things we should set our hearts and minds on are things like God’s truth (found in scripture) and loving others. We are free from sin so that we may live the way God designed us to:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13)

If you have accepted Christ stop living in a state of promise and realize God’s truth is reality. Stop waiting around for feelings, but claim God’s Word in your life today. Whether or not you feel it or not you are a new creation. Sin has no power in your life that you don’t allow it to have. The Spirit has all the power of God and it lives within you. You are equipped to break the bondage of sin. You are a new creation!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Faith · Uncategorized

Seek Truth

As I stated earlier in the week, my church is participating in a 21-day fast to kick off the new year. The purpose of the fast is to pray for the church and specifically each of our roles within the body of the church. I’m on day 3 and already God is speaking to me. As part of my fasting season I’ve decided to wake up 20 minutes earlier each of the twenty-one days to read the WORD and pray. I’m currently working my way through the book of John.

This morning I read John 4.

One thing that stands out to me from this text is verse 23 when Jesus says that, “true worshipers will worship in Spirit and Truth.” A few months ago I heard a sermon about this passage, but it was a good reminder that our response to God should first of all be a spiritual response, but that we cannot neglect the intellectual response. If we aren’t in the WORD consistently then it is really hard to worship God in truth. Truth has to be digested in order to be understood. And there is no revelation of truth where there is no seeking of truth.

In Jeremiah 29:13 scripture says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

This season of fasting is all about seeking God’s will for me. I find myself in a place of transition within my places of service and I am using this time to call out to God for direction. As I seek the roles that God has established for me I am reminded that I will find his will when I worship Him in Spirit and truth. When I pick up my Bible and read. When I quiet myself and listen. When I let the study of scripture replace my desire for other things. When I allow myself to personally and emotionally respond to the Truth that God has given me in scripture. That is when I will hear from him.

I’m already loving this 21-day journey and I look forward to all that I will learn and see through this time of revival in the life of my church.

Some encouragement for fasting:

John 4:14– but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

John 14:34-My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

During this time may His WORD be your water and His WILL your food. Sacrifice your desires and replace them with these.

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