Are we growing?

not just born again

Change, these days are a bit hard to accept especially since those changes are without option. Having control to a change is not always an option that we have. Some changes in our lives take more effort then other.   There is a saying that change comes from the heart, and when it speaks about the heart it refers to the spirit. There are people whose spirit is broken (pro25:28), and therefore cannot change; they are like a city without walls. 

John 3:3-5

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Nicodemus could not understand the concept of being born again. His ideas for this concept were literal, and to him there was no other way. In order to see the kingdom of God, Jesus said one had to be born again. One does not have die to see the kingdom, but be reborn giving reference to a change of spirit. The word “see” in this text is in reference to being aware of the kingdom of God. 

But, what is the kingdom of God? It refers to Christ’s rule, and Nicodemus was looking at Christ as a great teacher and not God himself. Later, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter into God’s kingdom he  had to be born of water and spirit (Jhn3:5). And, by water and spirit Jesus was referring to having a humble heart and a willingness to a complete change.  

Now, in order to have a complete change the stage goes from having to be reborn to becoming like a child. And, this we see when the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God(Mt18:3). To “become” like a little child refers to change from being born again, to now a more mature being. Paul writes to the church in Colossians that they need to continue to grow and be rooted in Christ (Co2:6-7, 1Pt2:2-3). 

Jesus expected Nicodemus to know the spiritual context that he was referring to when he spoke to him about being reborn, and because of his immaturity he could not continue to speak concerning the spiritual things (Jhn3:12). Maturity in Chris is vital in these days and age.  We need to be mature in Christ proficient in the use of the word of God, and not babes (He5:12-13).

 

 

 

Ambassadors of Christ Church

Galatians 5:22-24

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

SUBHEADING

LIving without laws

The push to live without laws is on the up rise. We see more and more people reacting defiantly towards those who enforce the laws, such as the police. The bible calls it the spirit of lawlessness. Paul spoke of the day of the Lord and that it will not come until this spirit is manifested (2The2:4). The bible tells us that Jesus Christ is coming like a thief in the night, when no one expects him (1The5:2-3). We are expect to keep watch for the coming of Christ, else we will stay behind as in the parable of the 12 virgins (Mat25:10-13).  

Keeping watchful in times like these where we see so many signs is important for our redemption. Now, wanting to live with out laws where no one bothers you is tempting, and seems intriguing. And, we can live without laws according to Galatians. 

There those who want to live lawless are fighting a losing battle, because the law is here to stay. There is a law for everything that is against human nature. We were not created to be evil and engage in bad works. We were created to please God according to Revelation 4:11. Galatians outlines a list of sample deeds that have laws against them. But, there is a smaller list that does not have laws against them. I mean we have never received a ticket for loving someone. Paul tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Ro13:10). He tells us that God’s peace will rule in our hearts through Christ Jesus (Phil4:7).     

 There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, we can exercise them without thinking that we are going to be penalized. When we practice these things we do not have to be as the proverbs describes the heathen looking behind his shoulder.(pro28:1). Paul tells us that we have been release from the law to the new way of the Spirit (Ro7:6).  

 

The Remnant

2 Kings 19:29-31

29 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:

“This year you will eat what grows by itself,
    and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
    plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
    will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
    and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

After all has been said and done what remains standing is important

The last man standing is what declares a victory. During a boxing match if the losing opponent continues to get up with his arms in fighting position the fight will continue. It is when the arms go down that a fight is stopped and a declaration of victory is made. During the time when the people of God were in a war with the Amalekites, if Moses’ arms dropped the people began to lose the fight so Moses needed to keep his arm raised all the time (Ex17:11). And, usually in a battle there is a small group of soldiers that will push to win the battle no matter the cost, kind of like the six marines who pressed to raise the flag at Iwo Jima. Isaiah said that like in the battle of Median where every soldiers boot and garments were rolled in blood and what was going to be left was as said in verse 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is9:6). The remnant of the battle is glorious. The fact that Christ remain alone steadfast in winning the battle for us is astronomical (1Cor15:57).

The promise to Hezekiah that the victory was going to come came with a sign, that a remnant was going to rise after the third year. Such remnant was going to be rooted below and was to bare much fruit. Now, the reason why a remnant comes about is because they are deeply rooted in the cause, and no matter what storm comes their way they will stand. Now, in order to bare fruits (Jh15:8) one needs to be rooted. Take for instance John the baptist, in Matthew 11:7 Jesus describes him as a reed battered by the desert, but rooted and unmovable. We have gone through so much this year. Many have had no other choice but to entertain themselves; after netflix, hulu and Facebook has been over exhausted, church services. And, have become somewhat rooted in Christ, but the real test to see if you are rooted is when the country opens will you continue to seek Christ; or was it because you had nothing else to do. See, we need to be counted as that band of survival that was promised to Hezekiah that would be rooted. Jeremiah says that when you trust in the Lord you will be like a tree rooted who bares much fruit (Jer17:7-8).

 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

 

Receiving bad news is not welcoming to anyone at any circumstances. Especially, getting news that is close to home, is devastating and no one wants to be a part of it. Let’s face it, no one was expecting the world wide out break of the covid19, and certainly no one was expecting the racial tension to get out of control. The fact is everyone is at home minding their own business and is not looking for a fight; at least for the most part. When the storm is coming it just appears with out warning signs and everyone has to react. Just like when the the apostle Paul was being delivered to the court in Italy and they set sail after his warning not to sail. That they noticed a soft wind perfect for sailing and when they set sail a hurricane swiped them with fierce winds (Act27:14-15). Luckily, God was with Paul and assured him that no one would be lost. The day seemed calm, but the unexpected happened; the hurricane hit. No one is expecting the storm to come. Peter tells us that we should not be surprised of the fiery trials that come our way (1Pt4:12-15) as something strange. He tells us to rejoice, because his glory is going to appear during those times. When those unexpected hard times come, they are the perfect moments for his glory to appear and so we need to engage in worshiping him. 

2 Chronicles 20:21-22

21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of hisc] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

King Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel had one of those unexpected moments where a gigantic storm came their way. An army of immeasurable size was coming against them. They were warned that three kings with a host of men to many to count were headed the way to take over their lives. Such event spread fear to everyone including the king. That the only thing that the king could think of was to pray. The last couple of months America has changed the statistics of anti-prayer to a praying country. And, one thing is for sure that when we fear and trust the Lord then battles that come our way become his battles; as he said to the King (2Chr20:15). In the story of David and Goliath, David tells the giant that he was going to cut him to pieces so that every one will know that the battle belongs to the Lord (1Sam17:47).  He tells him that this battle does not require spears or sword as it is told to Zerubbabel(Zac4:6) that is is not by might or power, but by his spirit. And, the prophet tells king Jehoshaphat not to be afraid but to go out into battle. 

What is interesting in this account is that after the word of the Lord came a spirit of worship arose and the leaders of the tribes of the Kohathites and Korahites began to worship the Lord aloud. In fact, the day of the battle the king sends out men dressed in splendid to worship the Lord in front as they go into the battle field. And, what happens in verse 22 was that as they came in worship the armies that came against them began to kill each other to the point of annihilation, because the battle really belongs to the Lord.