The Struggle Is Real

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #22

Paul tells us in Romans 7:23 that the law of sin is in our flesh and body and it is warring against our mind. I want to point out the struggle that Paul is talking about because we are broken up into three parts. Our body is our five senses and the Bible calls it the flesh or the outer man or the natural man. Our mind is our reasoning power driven by our will, intellect, emotions and memory. Then there is our spirit. Paul is saying sin still resides in our flesh and left unchecked our body will always want to gratify itself. This leaves our mind in the middle of this struggle. Our body tells us to do this or that which is wrong and when our mind agrees, it is sin.

Now, on the other side we have our spirit telling us not go forward and this is the law of God or the Word of God. As Christians, this is the daily struggle we have because we know the Word of God tells us one thing and Satan or our flesh tells us another thing. There is a tug-of-war going on between the two voices for control of the mind and we must learn how to overcome this struggle. Let’s look at the Garden of Gethsemane because this is where Jesus struggled.

In His soulish realm Jesus was in agony because he knew He was about to be crucified. Jesus wrote the Psalm that tells us He roared in pain on the cross and His bones were out of joint. He wrote about His shame and the crown of thorns and the false accusation made of Him. The Son of God knew all this because He wrote about it, then confronted with it He said, “…Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). In His body, Jesus was sweating great drops of blood because His mind was in agony, but His Spirit fought against His mind and Jesus obeyed the Father.

On a much smaller scale we have the same daily struggles because we are confronted with opportunities to sin all the time. We are confronted in our body, the world system, Satan, and even our friends and families sometimes tell us to do things that are not God’s will leaving us with decision to make in our mind. While our spirit is saved and alive to God, our mind can still take us with one single word from complete happiness and obedience to God, into great depression and disobedience. This is because our minds are all over the place and the struggle now is for the salvation of the mind and the soul.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

The Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #21

I want to expand the predominate ministry of the Holy Spirit from last week’s blog because we can’t embrace the promises of God that were given to Jesus and passed onto us unless we know them fully in our hearts and activate our faith by walking in them. This is how important it is to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His continual tutoring in our lives. We must allow Him to teach us because in the Bible the Holy Spirit shows us the things of Jesus Christ.

In other words, it is a shame when we don’t walk in the promises that Jesus paid for with His precious blood. It would be like have the ability to enjoy something that you own, but you forgot or never knew it was yours and consequently you never use it. Revelation of the Word is the key purpose of the Holy Spirit and it is our job to cooperate in this relationship with Him. We place ourselves in the position to receive revelation when we open our Bible or go to a teaching on the Scripture or by attending Church. This is how we open ourselves up and allow the Spirit of God to declare, reveal and show us things to come.

In 1 Corinthians 2:9-13 we learn it is not natural for man to know the things of God, but God reveals things to man through His Spirit. This tells us that it is not natural for man to know the things of God, but God reveals things through His Spirit. It is our spirit through His Spirit that He reveals the things that He has for us. The natural man cannot know the things of God because they are foolishness to him because they are spiritually discerned. The new birth gave us righteousness and a born-again spirit. This is so the Holy Spirit can live in us and we can embrace and know all the things that are given to us. Salvation brings us to a place where the penalty of sin that resided in us at birth was paid for by the blood of Jesus. The Holy Spirit reveals the Son of God to us so we are able to engage our faith in Him and embrace Him as our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

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The Beneficiaries of Truth

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #20

In Matthew 12:40 we read, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” And, when Jesus was on the cross He said to one of the malefactors that today he would be with Him in paradise. This tells us He went into the earth because He said it. Jesus goes into the earth and He preaches, but He does not preach about salvation, instead He calls out to a specific group of people during the time of Noah. This is when His soul and spirit are separated from His body because when Jesus gave up the ghost He did not cease to exist. No one ever ceases to exist. We die physically and have a funeral on earth and are buried in the ground but we all live eternally. I want you to understand the Spirit and soul of Jesus is now raised up and reunited with His body.

Earlier we learned that the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies and take the blood of an innocent sacrifice into the presence of God on behalf of the people. This was required for temporary atonement of sin, but God is now satisfied with the Holy and blameless sacrifice of Jesus and the temporary atonement for sin is no longer required. Jesus ascended into heaven and presented His blood before God, not for Himself, but for us because we are in covenant relationship with Him. This was the original plan that whoever had faith in Jesus, and what God did through Him, now has the ability to be made righteous before Him.

When Jesus comes back He sends out the twelve in John 20:18-23 but before they left He breathed on them and it was the breath of the new birth. The last time God breathed on someone was Adam and he became a living soul, but when Jesus breathed on the twelve they became a living spirit and are now alive to God. The Spirit of God came into them at this point. In the Old Testament righteousness had to be “accounted” to Abraham and David and when they died they could not go into the presence of God, but in the New Covenant we are made righteous because Jesus accomplished this for us on the cross.

Today, the Holy Spirit guides us in revelation knowledge and through His Word. We place ourselves in position to receive when we go to Church and our pastor speaks words that are inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is then that the Holy Spirit in us and in Him works together with our spirit to give us revelation so we can act in faith and bear fruit in our life. The Holy Spirit guides us in truth and whatever He hears the Father speak; He will speak to us. The predominant ministry of the Holy Spirit is to declare and reveals things of God to us, but we cannot walk in what we don’t know and we can’t live out what we don’t understand. We must the things of God fully in our heart and activate our faith in order to walk in them.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

 

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Remorse Is Not Repentance

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #19

We need to be sober and serious about our salvation because it is not an easy thing to receive just by knowing in our mind that Jesus Christ is Lord. We have to know it in our heart and live it daily in our lives. We learned that someone can lose their salvation, but I don’t want you to think it can be lost overnight or it can easily slip away from you. No, losing your salvation is something that happens over time. It is you walking away from the things of God and choosing to live without God in your life. However, once we are spiritually connected to Christ it is difficult to lose our salvation if we continue to pursue Jesus because He is always pursuing us.

We have been studying Judas in this series and we find him to be a very interesting character in Scripture. Judas walked with Jesus during His three plus years of ministry and he witnessed His teachings and miracles. Judas and Peter saw God working through His Son and Judas acted like a disciple, but there was a fundamental difference in Judas because he never elevated Jesus to the position of Lord and Savior. I want us to try and get into the mind of Judas and understand his thought process because when he took the thirty pieces of silver it was not to hand Jesus over to be crucified. It was a payment for information on the whereabouts of Jesus and an opportunity to apprehend Him without causing a riot because most of the time Jesus was surrounded by a multitude of people. Judas had no idea they were going to condemn and crucify Jesus. We learn in Mark 14:44 that Judas said, “…seize Him and lead Him away safely.”

We read in Matthew 27:3, “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing the He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’.” This tells us Judas had great remorse. In fact he tried to undo things by throwing the money down before the high priests and telling them he didn’t want the money. Although he felt great remorse something inside of him, in his heart, had not changed.

You see, we can say we are sorry for our sins and we can be remorseful, but salvation doesn’t come through actions; it comes through faith and faith is followed by our actions. Judas never took that leap of faith, even though he tried to make things right with the high priest he never tried to make things right with God. In the end, Judas hung himself and oddly enough the high priest took the thirty pieces of silver and bought a potter’s field, the field of blood, and used it as a cemetery. This is where Judas is buried he bought his own cemetery.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

 

 

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A Harsher Judgment

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #18

Many people who attend Church have a difficult time understanding the term, “once saved, always saved.” This is because they believe once you have salvation you cannot lose it, but they are in error and I will show you in Scripture where we find the truth. The Church is all over the place on this subject, but those who believe they cannot lose their salvation are really saying there is no expectation on them from God to live a godly life or enhance His kingdom. They believe once they raise their hand and repeat a prayer someone else gave them they are saved, but that is not the case.

Saints, a very high price was paid for our salvation. It was the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and this is not something to be taken lightly. It’s not something to be abused or taken for granted. The soberness of salvation is that we believe to the end of our lives, to our very last breath, that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. I want to look at 2 Peter were people had salvation, but the Bible makes it very clear in the end they lost their salvation.

Paul is speaking about teachers and leaders in 2 Peter 2:18 who speak swelling words of emptiness and allure others through the lusts of the flesh. Their message is driven by physical things like wealth which is from the flesh, not the spirit. We learn there are teachers who speak fleshly words instead of spiritual words, and they allure those who have escaped the corruption in the world through knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So we are not talking about baby Christians because these people actually grew and matured which led them away from the world. They grew into adulthood in their faith, but they left and went back into the world. They denied their faith and God’s commandment when they started living like the fallen world.

You see, it’s not the action of sin where we lose our salvation; it is a lack of faith in who Jesus is. It’s removing Him from who He is as your Lord and Savior by your own fleshly actions. Do you see that? The Bible makes this very clear. In fact, Paul tells us, “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (Verse 21). We have to stop and ask: How can it be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness? It is better not to have known because the Bible tells us that knowing the Word of God and leaving it will result in a harsher or worse punishment.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

 

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The Vine and the Branches

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #17

Jesus does a lot of rich teaching in John 15:13-17 concerning the Holy Spirit because He is about to leave and the disciples will soon transition into the Church Age. This is when the Holy Spirit takes over, but in the middle of His teaching Jesus tells us He is the true vine and God is the vine dresser. This takes us back to covenant language because every branch “in Him” is a branch connected to the true vine. Jesus is the vine and He is the life source for the branches. God is the vine dresser or the gardener who prunes the branches which are you and I.

Every branch on the vine must produce fruit through actions of faith in doing the Word of God. The seed of faith is planted in our hearts but the fruit is the action. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, meekness and kindness and these are the actions we do outwardly based on the Word that we have inwardly. Jesus said that every branch in Him that is not fruitful or doing His work will be cut away from the vine.

We are to abide in Christ which means to live permanently in relationship with Him and this is the only way we can bear fruit. When someone does not abide in Christ it means they left the vine, they vacated the relationship. I want you to see in John 15:12 that we are commanded to love one another just as God loves us. Jesus is saying that He is the life source and if you are in Me, engaged in Me, then you have to be fruitful. Make sure you understand this because it is what Jesus is saying. If you are in Me then you have to be fruitful. You have to be doing My Word. He also says that if you abide in Me then you have to do my Word.

Let’s look at the word “if” and what happens “if not” well, it says that if you don’t abide in Me or you’re not fruitful then you’re going to be cut off as a branch. What does this mean? What is God’s job? God is the gardener and He prunes us so that we produce more fruit. What is God doing by pruning us? God is cutting us back so that we can become more fruitful. When you look at this picture of fruitfulness the Bible is telling us, very clearly, that if you have a true relationship with Jesus Christ then whatever His Word says, we have to act upon it. Otherwise, we don’t have a relationship with Him. We read the same thing in Matthew 7 and John 15, but John 15 goes further in saying that we have to go from fruitful to more fruit to much fruit. This is so that we grow as we go.

Pruning cuts away the fruitful areas and this means the ways in which we identify ourselves and how we are identified by others. This pruning forces us to go through a dry and barren period, but underneath you are growing back by faith. This is clinging and pushing into God. His Word tells us that through suffering we grow and establish ourselves because God brings about circumstances in our lives that force us to turn to Him and His Word. This is so He can reveal Himself to us during the dry period because essentially they are growing periods.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

 

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You Must Be Born Again

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #16

We read in John 3:1-8 that Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and tells Him that he knows He is from God. In other words, Nicodemus knows that Jesus is not an impostor. Then Jesus throws him a curve ball and tells him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Verse 5). This is thrown out to Nicodemus and he begins to question how a man can be born again. He is thinking of a fleshly birth and how can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb. But Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Verse 6). This means the born-again experience is the new birth of our human spirit. It is born again, not born anew.

Further on we read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Verse 16). This means we are saved from harm or impending danger or loss. Then we read that the entire human race is born in condemnation, in guilt, and born separated from God. We are born unrighteous and destined for an eternity in hell. This is difficult for humanity to get their arms around, but it is the truth and this is why we have to look at the Bible for revelation because we can’t formulate in our minds what is right and what is wrong. God is basically saying that those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned already. Those who are ignorant of who He is or what His plan and purpose is for humanity are condemned, but those who believe in Him are not condemned.

Jesus told Nicodemus he must experience the rebirth of the spirit in order to move from guilt and condemnation over to justification and righteousness. As born-again Christians, we experience an awakening in our heart that Jesus Christ is real. We experience this revelation and we have the faith to act on the revealed Word, then our name is written in the Book of Life and we are saved from the second death. We are saved from the lake of fire and as a Christian we have to believe this because if we believe there is a God in heaven then we have to believe there is a hell.

Here are some questions that are huge debates in the Church today. First, how do I know that I am saved? Can I lose my salvation? Can someone be saved and then lose their salvation? How do I know my family is saved? How can I tell whether or not I am right with God? How can I tell when others are right with God? Christians have to answer these questions because if we leave it up to assumption and speculation then there is a huge, a great, possibility for error. So we have to look at what the Bible says should be happening in our lives in order for us to know if we have salvation. Again, it is with revelation knowledge, His Word, our faith, and our actions that give us a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

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Are You Sure?

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #15

When I first came into Christianity these verses in Matthew 7:21-23 scared me because we learn about a group of people who were saying, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesize in Your name? Didn’t we do many wonders in Your name? We did all this work for You, Lord.” Of course this is paraphrasing, but it tells me throughout their entire life they were deceived into thinking they had a relationship with Jesus Christ. They believed they were living in the sweet spot of Christianity, but when they found themselves face-to-face with Christ it was too late for them to get it right. Jesus told them He never knew them because they never had a relationship with Him.

How does this happen? How can someone believe they have it right when they don’t? Remember our lesson on covenant and grace and the substitutional work of Jesus Christ? Well, knowing all this, which one of us will tell God how great we were and point out all the things we did in His name? Not me, I will be thanking Jesus for all I have and everything He did for me! Now, let me ask, is it God’s desire that the whole world be saved? Yes, absolutely it is because God gave up His Son for the salvation of the world. But, who gets to be saved? Only those who have an open heart to receive the revelation of God’s Word and have the faith to walk in it will be saved.

The people in these passages never elevated Jesus to the position of Lord and Savior in their lives and this is the difference of believing in your head and believing in your heart. In their head they believed they were in right standing with God, but in last week’s blog we learned the women with the issue of blood got healed because in her heart she believed in Jesus. Although He was standing before her and she touched His robe, He did not participate in her healing. There are people who may have had miracles happen in their lifetime, but it was not their work or their fruit that brought them the healing; it was their faith in Jesus. I am sure when Judas went out, two-by-two with them, he saw miracles happened, but was he saved? No, he wasn’t saved any more than this group of people we just read about in Scripture were saved.

Listen, if you are sure of anything in your life – you have to be sure of this! You simply have to be sure because these people lived their whole life filling out forms in Church claiming to be Christians! They filled in answers to questions like, “Where do you attend Church and how do you serve in Church?” They replied, “Well, I’m on the prayer team and I work in the nursery and I go to the same Church that my parents have always attended.” Look Saints, all their life they thought they had it right! They were not sure, but what about you? Are you sure? The Bible tells us Jesus said, “I never knew you!”

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

 

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Faith Works By Itself

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #14

We’ve all read that faith without works or action is dead. So, let me give you an example of what this means. Say you have a glove on your hand and you move your fingers. You can see the glove move because of the action caused by your fingers, but when you take off the glove it can’t move on its own. The glove is dead. This is similar to what our bodies would be like if our soul and spirit left, we couldn’t produce any fruit. Faith has to be mixed with corresponding action in order to be alive and productive. We are saved through faith and our faith must be consistent with our actions because what we say will mean nothing if we don’t act upon it. The spiritual principal of faith means we must act on what God says in order to truly believe that God is God.

In Mark 5:25-35 we learn about a woman during a twelve year period of time who spent all her money on every sort of cure for her disorder, but things only grew worse until she heard about Jesus. This tells us she had a revelation about Him and what He was doing. Before we go any further, I want to stop and consider this woman for a moment because in the Old Testament the issue of blood was not supposed to be brought into a populated area. As a matter of fact, had she sat on a chair they would have taken it outside the camp to be cleansed by the priesthood because she would have defiled it or made it unclean. So her being in the midst of the crowd, in her condition, was a courageous act of faith. She had exhausted every known method at the time seeking a cure, but she heard about Jesus and wanted to see Him. She heard people were being healed and set free and that Jesus was the Messiah. In her heart, she felt if she could only press into Him and touch Him, she would be made whole. This is a confession of faith and she acted upon what she believed.

In these verses we learn that Jesus was not pro-active in her healing. He did not stop and pray to the Father in His name for healing upon the woman. No, it was her own belief of Jesus as the Healer that moved her to reach out and touch Him. Even against a death sentence her faith activated her to go after what she believed in. Then Jesus directly attributes her healing to her faith because He was not actively involved in the process. She instantly felt His healing but Jesus had no understanding of what was happening until power left Him and she was healed. This is very important to Believers because it tells us that our faith will work for us by itself!

Our faith works for us because it is a spiritual principal and our faith works alone. This places the burden of healing on us, not on God. In fact, if you were to take the healings from Jesus the dominate category would be people having faith in Him as the Healer and their faith making them whole. People are set free and made whole because of their faith. Where was the faith of this woman? Her faith was in Jesus because she heard of Him and knew He was the Healer.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian

Watchers of Truth - Are You Sure

By Faith

Are You Sure? Teaching Blog #13

Every student of faith is familiar with the eleventh chapter of Hebrews where we read in the first two verses, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” For believers, faith has to be acted upon otherwise it is not faith at all. Faith is not something tangible because we can’t see or touch it, but it is something hoped for in the future. There is no evidence of faith that our five senses can connect with, even still, we believe it is there because God’s Word tells us it is there.

Faith brings us back to the Book of Genesis in that God is the Creator of all things. Therefore, God and His Word have authority over everything we can see, touch, feel, smell or hear with our five senses. And even taking it a step further, we can include the unseen realms as well because God’s Word has preeminence and strength over everything He created. As Believers, this is the start of our faith, learning and believing that God is God.

In order for Biblical faith to work in our life we have to believe that His Word determines how we are to live. An example is the marriage covenant because God has authority over His creation; therefore, He has the authority to determine what marriage is. In other words, God determines what constitutes a marriage not us because what humanity does with God’s creation outside of His Word maybe abuse toward His creation. We learn in the Bible that Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham all did something because they were moved by God’s Word. They all changed their plans and directions in life in to be become who God wanted them to be, right?

It had never rained before on earth when God told Noah to build the ark, but God told him that floods were coming and to build an ark in order to save his family. Noah then dropped whatever his profession was at the time, he changed the plans and directions he had for his life in order to fulfill what God had spoken to him. Do you understand that Noah was moved by faith? It was the same thing with Abraham when God told him to leave his country and go to a distant land and God would show Abraham where He wanted him to travel. That is faith.

What would have happened if Noah didn’t build the ark or if Abraham hadn’t moved to a foreign land? What would have happened if Enoch didn’t walk with God? When we place God in the reverent spot of having authority over us, then whatever God speaks to us then we will obey if we truly believe in Him. This is what we read in Scripture as great examples of faith…for by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Be Blessed,

Sebastian