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2 Samuel 12:9-13 – “Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ ” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.”
Brokenness is our humble response to God’s conviction of our sins. Once broken, we find ourselves responding in humility and complete repentance. We are actually agreeing with God and saying, “Yes, Lord, You’re right . . . I have sinned. All of my heart is yours and I’ll keep
nothing from you.”
Being broken also means the walls of sin protecting the parts of our hearts we refuse to surrender to God are torn apart and destroyed. When we choose to yield to the Lover of our souls, He gives us a promise. Isaiah 57:15 declares: “For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
God often uses people to convict us. When Samuel rebuked Saul because of his disobedience against God, Saul tried to justify his actions and remained unbroken (1 Sam. 15:19-21). In contrast, David, when Nathan confronted him concerning his sin, responded humbly with brokenness and repentant, and made no excuses for himself (2 Sam. 12:9-13).
Brokenness also involves giving-up our personal rights and selfish interests to God. We actually make God the custodian of our rights. In Galatians 2:20, we find: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Friends, being broken mean, we are to DIE TO SELF; to live by faith in Jesus, not to live by sight. The following chart may help our hearts see clearer:.
Brokenness is painful, costly and difficult. It is no surprise that most people resist being broken. The ONLY MOTIVE that can compel us to die to self is the CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST. In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul states: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”
In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see a crushed and broken Jesus, yet steadfastly obedient to the Father’s will. Let us also realize that God, our Father, broke His own heart when He ignored His only Beloved Son’s appeal for relief, if possible, from the cup of wrath that He was about to drink.
Let our prayer be for the Holy Spirit to have a monopoly over every aspect of our lives, and that no walls of sin or hard-heartedness remain in our hearts.
Save the Date! Deliverance Meeting 2014: Break Every Chain, June 14th, 2014, Atlanta, Georgia
“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
If Jesus’ interactions with the Jewish leaders could be described as combustible, then Matthew 12 is when the match was lit. In relentlessly caustic terms, Jesus heaped scorn on them for their wicked attitudes. They had “condemned the guiltless” (Matt 12:7) of violating the Sabbath, “went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matt 12:14) for His miraculous healing on the Sabbath, and accused Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub (Matt 12:24). They were a “brood of vipers” (Matt 12:34). Jesus asked how they, “being evil”, could speak good things (Matt 12:34). He labeled them “an evil and adulterous generation” (Matt 12:39) for seeking a sign from Him. In this context, Jesus utters a confusing and misunderstood little parable about an unclean spirit and its journey and applies it to “this wicked generation” (Matt 12:45). It holds an important lesson for us.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none” (Matt 12:43). Jesus speaks from the point of view of a demon evicted from its home. He has been displaced, and is obviously unhappy about it. He travels, “seeking rest, and finds none”—a miserable, unsatisfied existence. “Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order” (Matt 12:44). The unclean spirit attempts to again possess the man who was his home—and finds the man more than willing to have him back! Not only is he allowed entry, but the house is empty, swept, and put in order—ready for demon habitation! “Then he goes and take with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matt 12:45). Finding his home far better than he left it, he decides to bring seven worse spirits so they can all live together and torment this man. Truly does Jesus say, “The last state of that man is worse than the first”? Christ makes the application: “So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Matt 12:45).
God is willing to bless us and give deliverance — as He allowed the demon to be cast out of the man — yet those blessings do not insulate us from further problems. The demon came back and tormented the man again. The Jews of Jesus’ day were allowed to see His glory, benefit from His miracles, rejoice in His teaching, and learn from His example. Yet all this did not make them holy — that was a decision they had to make. If “this generation” was unwilling to truly change, after all the blessings Jesus brought, it would have been better for Him not to come. “The last state” of rejecting God’s Son would be “worse than the first”.
God expects true reform from sin. John came preaching, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt 3:8), and Jesus demanded “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). God will take away our sins—He will cast out the demons, so to speak—but still expects us to make changes in our lives. And this is the key: change is not something God can do for us! We must fill up our house rather than leaving it empty, swept, and put in order ready for sin to return. We must keep our hands busy in good things so that sin does not return in greater measure. But when we accept God’s blessings without accepting our responsibility to change, it will be said of us: “the last state of that man is worse than the first”.
~ In His Grip
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16
One of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture includes a few choice words Jesus spoke after His Ascension. We find them in Revelation 3:15-16: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Without going into great detail, let me suggest that what Jesus was demanding did not have to do with extremes in dedication (although He does want us to be extremely zealous) as much as it addresses His demand that His followers refuse to conform to the ungodly values and trends that are peppered throughout society.
If you take a chilled Coke and plant it on the table for a few hours, it will approach room temperature. If you take a steaming cup of coffee and leave it out for a few hours, it conforms to room temperature or imbalance in Growth in Christ. And that is the issue at hand: conforming to the world.
On one hand, the human tendency to follow the herd is a great asset. We are all better off because we live in a society within a developed culture, and much of this advancement can be traced to a cooperative spirit and teamwork. But, on the other hand, following the herd can sway us the wrong way if the herd is out of tune with God’s desired will.
If we follow Christ, sometimes society will ostracize us, misrepresent us, and mock us. Jesus told His disciples in John 15:19, “you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” We see this demonstrated clearly today in Islamic, Hindu, and Communist societies.
In time, we can easily spoil our spiritual appetites and dismiss our primary identity as Christians. Perhaps a second job prevents us from attending church or reading the Word. Maybe we get wrapped up with hobbies or interests that absorb our Sundays. Or maybe we become movie addicts, watching questionable films and renting DVD after DVD. Yet we are not as dumb as we pretend to be: we know that the law of displacement will go into effect. If I am doing something, that means I am not doing something else. I would suggest that nine times out of ten, becoming lukewarm is a choice. It is an attitude/priority issue.
John warns us in 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
The Biblical balance requires us to monitor ourselves, repent and compare our behavior and attitudes to God’s Word and seek him; we can follow the trends of society that do not run contrary to Scripture.
~ In His Grip
Do you want to be delivered?
Baptism and communion are the two ordinances that Christ gave the church. While both of them are symbolic to some extent, both have profound spiritual significance in terms of benefits and consequences.
We learn from 1 Corinthians 11:29, 30 that by taking communion in an unworthy manner, we eat and drink damnation onto ourselves, not discerning the Lord’s body. Paul went on to say that was the reason many in the church were weak and sickly, and many were dead. The elements (bread and juice) are symbolic, in that they represent the Body and The Blood of Jesus. Communion itself however, obviously, has great spiritual significance.
The same is true of Baptism. Unfortunately, Baptism has been reduced to a mere symbolic act. It is widely taught in many denominations that Baptism is “a public demonstration of faith”. While it can be, in and of itself, that is the one thing the Bible doesn’t say about baptism. Our lives are to be (lived as) a “public demonstration of faith”.
My main contention to Baptism being reduced to a “symbolic act” is Jesus Christ was not inclined to accept or espouse Symbolism over Substance. HE sought a repentant and contrite heart as opposed to honoring HIM with one’s lips while their heart was far from them.
It is difficult for me to imagine, that Christ Jesus, who railed against “religion”, or the rituals and traditions of men (with Pharisees etc) would instruct us to perform a “ritualistic” or symbolic act if that is all there was to it.
This bad Christianity going around prefers symbolism over substance. So many “Christians” prefer a symbolic salvation that puts their name on Heaven’s roll but their natures are still undegenerated and bound by sin. Whatever happened to the literal transforming power of the Cross that turns a deadbeat into a hard worker, a thief into an honest man, a drunk or drug addict into a sober, responsible person? Whatever happened to “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have past away, behold all things become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Symbolism over substance, lip service over life service, name tag over nature change, taco shell over hamburger meat… however you look at it, it all comes down to a bad Christianity. It is void of true sincerity and godly living. The sweet fragrance of a holy life devoted to a living Christ is replaced by the stench of dead formalism and hypocritical churchgoing. Hypocrisy itself can be defined as symbolism over substance.
The real substance of the Christian Values and Jesus Teaching is explained away by liberal theologians and false teachers, Pharisees who will stand in judgment for their “smooth sayings” and damnable heresies. They may not blatantly deny but they subtly imply any real or substantial power in the Cross. But folks, did you know that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was actually and literally to destroy the works of sin in your life? Read the whole chapter of 1 John 3. Also, when you read Matthew 1:21, you will find these words: “His name shall be called Jesus for He will save his people FROM their sins”- not IN their sins! Do you really think that God would send His son Jesus to die such a painful death for just symbolism? I think not. . .
~ Class dismissed . . .