Are we just looking Real?
Revelation 3:17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
“Knowest not”! How could that be?
Because they are hiding,…covering themselves with external works ; therefore they can not see they are empty inside…..
They talk of what they have, before men……Jesus speaks of what they are to Him.
The gospel of God only saves…if we have it in our experience. If we have been born again.
Paul tells of those that…
2 Timothy 3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Ever learning, but never really acquiring the experience of this truth. Never having it in present possession.
They knew something about it, and worked at learning facts about it,…..but never subjected themselves to Christ Jesus, to get the experience of those facts,….into themselves.
Head knowledge will lead to a mental agreement of certain facts, but it is the apprehending of those same facts in our experience that will save us and set us free.
2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:…”
If our lives do not show the power we profess, then we are denying the power of Christ somewhere in our lives….for Jesus will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
We may have the “form”, we may look real,……but still deny the power He wants to give us, through subjection to Him.
If we are Christians we have come to see ourselves as lost, in need of a Savior….
Without hope in this present world.
Then we have come to believe, and receive Christ Jesus,……Whom to know aright is to have Eternal life….being born again by the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9)
This is to experience Justification.
We are made “not guilty” before a Holy God, because of what Christ Jesus did on His cross….taking all our sin and guilt and penalty on Him.
And more, in Christ,…..we are given a righteous standing before God.
But justification is only half of the life of a Christian. The other half is Sanctification.
Justification deals with our guilt. Sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians.
Justification is once for all….but sanctification is day by day, minute by minute, in the experiences of our life.
In sanctification, the cross must do it’s work….not Christ’s cross, but my cross.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Our cross is anything of God’s Will to us, that cuts across our will,…anything we can say “no” to.
For it is, “If any man will”.
We “resist”, when we refuse to yield to Him and His Will.
But when we deny ourselves, and take up our cross, then we are willing with God.
By denying ourselves, we can come to the place where we no longer resist His Will in anything. We obey because we want to please Him.
It is not sinless perfection,….nor instant obedience….but final obedience.
We will to do God’s Will….no matter what.
(I want to take a minute and explain: “resist”. It means to stand against or oppose. It is where we are saying,……..I will not do this, or I will not do this, Your way.
We may not like what God wants us to do, or be afraid of doing it….but when we refuse, for any reason, we are resisting His Holy Spirit. [Acts 7:51])
The cross deals with our will….making it willing. For God works within us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13), if we will deny ourselves and yield to the Holy Spirit.
And when our will is yielded to Christ’s Will, our will becomes a real powerhouse.
Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
But then God deals with our “life”. Our self-life, our character, our habits. Not necessarily bad things….just “my” things.
Most of us will get rid of the “bad” things of our life, pretty easily….but the “good” things….or the habits that do no harm (we think)…..are ours….we can keep them.
Jesus Christ came to save us to the uttermost. He saves us from the guilt of sin, and the power of sin;…..then He sets us free in all the areas of our life.
(Sometimes we forget this was always Christ’s Ministry…….offering it when He was here, though rejected……..and it continues to be His ministry, by His Holy Spirit, in all who belong to Him.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”)
He deals with every facet of our personality and life, and makes it His.
When He does, we are freed from everything which has a hold on us, in anyway.
Sometimes we never realize how strong an influence an idea we have,…..our habits,…..or our plans have on us.
Not “bad” in themselves….but the Lord wants to free us from their influence,…..to have spiritual liberty in Him.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
As we have said, the Lord Jesus usually starts with some strongpoint…..some “stronghold of reason” that we have in our makeup….that we have acquired by some experience, and which must be brought into subjection to Christ…
And it is by the insistence of the Holy Spirit, pulling down these strongholds.
(I “learned” at an early age…..if anyone was going to defend me….it was going to be me.
No one else was going to.
But when I became a Christian, the Lord began to deal with me about this attitude.
It was not “bad”,…..but it hindered my growth in Christ, for I could not trust Him fully.
I tried and tried to let it go.
But…..finally I came to Christ Jesus….and He showed me what had happened to make me this way. And I forgave.
Denying myself, then became easier. Trusting Christ became a real joy….and I had liberty….real freedom from myself, here.)
Than we cast down imaginations….past, and future.
Of what could have been,…..or might yet be.
Than the Holy Spirit deals with every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
Anything that would cast doubt on the Truth of what God has said to us.
All of this is by the power of the Holy Spirit within us,…..and us cooperating with Him.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
We must yield, but it is His power in us, that gives us the victory and liberty of Spirit….bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
True liberty is freedom from sin, and freedom from ourselves.
There is a lightness of spirit, and a wholeness beyond measure, when we yield our everything to Christ, and His Holy Spirit within.
May we all have it.