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Born Again

Sunday May 18, 2008

Sunday May 18, 2008

Welcome to Partake Words In Scripture Explained.
The word for today is Born Again!
Jesus says these words: "I tell you the truth, no once can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3v3)
Each person has something in common with every other person that has ever lived. They have been born physically! Of course they only know the time and date of their physical birth, because somebody told them. They also had no say in whether they wanted to be born physically or not!
Just as each person has a physical body, each person also has a spirit. Now the spirit is our spiritual system, which is seen in our consciousness of God and in our faith and conscience. A spiritual birth is required in order to give a spiritual life, just as a physical birth gives physical life. Each person is made up of a physical body and an internal spirit. That is why Jesus says that in order to be one of His followers you need to be “born again”. This phrase can also be translated “born from above”. It is also something that you cannot do by yourself, as it is only a work of God, that you can be “born again” or “born from above”. When you are physically born, your spirit has cataracts on, so that you are alienated from God. However by submitting yourself to Jesus, your spiritual cataracts fall off, and then you are “born again”. However, unlike your physical birth, you need to say to God you want to “born again”, live for Him and have that spiritual birth. Now, you may or may not know the exact time and date of when this took place, but be assured, one day your Heavenly Father will tell you!!
As a result of being “born again”, you are now: ·
washed by rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3v5) ·
a new creation (2 Corinthians 5v17) ·
a new person created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness in a lifelong process of regeneration. (Ephesians 4v24; Colossians 5v17) ·
now truly alive, not just physically but also now spiritually (Ephesians 2v5)
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Father God

Thursday Jun 12, 2008

Thursday Jun 12, 2008

Partake - Words In Scripture Explained – God the Father

Welcome to Partake WISE. The word for today is Father God

The vast majority of all people, to some extent, have had an earthly father. Your father may never have shown you love, consideration or friendship. On the other hand, your relationship with your father may have been everything you could hope and desire for in a father-child relationship. Either way, cast aside all thoughts of your earthly father, as we consider together God the Father.

The defining function of God the Father is that He is the Almighty who intervenes, sustains and provides for all things. God the Father is a perfect father.

The Father of All Creation

As all of humanity is made in the image of God, the Fatherhood of God must apply to all humanity. God is the Father of our Spirits (Hebrews 12v9). God as Father wants everyone to be in His kingdom (Luke18v16). By calling him Father that means that God is a personal God! He loves all of His creation and He sustains it! He wants them in a relationship with Him!

The Father of Jesus Christ

From when Jesus as a twelve year old proclaimed he was about His Father’s business, to His teaching on prayer when He said to call God, Father; to the agonising prayer of John 17 and in His final words on the cross, Jesus cried out “Father God, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23v46). The words Jesus spoke were those He heard from the Father. The actions Jesus did were those He saw the Father doing (John 5v19).

The Father of Christian Disciples

For the Christian Disciple, God is Father because Jesus Christ was the Son of God (Romans 8v17; Hebrews 2v17). Christian Disciples have been adopted as heirs and as children (John 1v12). The Christian Disciple is to partake of the Father’s nature (2 Peter 1v3-4)! God the Father both cares for His children (Matthew 6v32) and disciplines His children (Hebrews 12v6-8). Above all, Christian Disciples can never be separated from the love of God the Father (Romans 8v39).

Two books I can recommend on Father God are:

"The Father Heart of God" by Floyd McClung
“From the Father’s Heart” by Charles Slagle

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Old and New Nature

Saturday Jun 14, 2008

Saturday Jun 14, 2008

Partake - Words In Scripture Explained – Old Nature & New Nature


Welcome to Partake WISE. The word for today is “old and new nature”…


Old clothing!

I wonder if you have ever had a favourite piece of clothing, say a coat, a shirt or a dress. It was so comfortable and cosy that you wore it seemingly every day. Then one day you realised that this coat was dirty and smelled badly. It was infested with fleas, mites and disease-ridden bacteria. It was filthy and needed washing. It was no longer fit to be worn yet you still wanted to wear it because it is so comfortable. But you couldn’t wear it, because it was only fit for burning and burying.

Swapping old for new!

That is the same for the Christian Disciple in regards to the old sinful nature that each person is born with. This old nature is in conflict with God, because it is self-centred and self-pleasing. When you became a Christian Disciple, you gained a new nature that is both God pleasing and God centred. When Jesus died on the cross, it was for your old sinful nature as well as your sins! Your baptism in water symbolizes your old inherent sinful nature as being buried with Jesus Christ (Romans 6v6) and you are raised to live a new life with a new nature (Romans 6v4)!

Why have this new nature?

Now that you are a Christian Disciple, and have a new nature, you are no longer separated from Him because of your old nature. You have a new nature and God has taken care of your past and He no longer holds your sin against you!

We fight the old with the new!

As a Christian Disciple, you have a new spiritual nature to help you fight the struggle against sin and disobedience against God who is now your King and master! Moreover, He has put His Spirit within you, and the more you allow Him to control you, the stronger your new nature becomes. Your old nature is gone, burned and buried. Continue living as if you are always putting on your new nature like a new coat, so that as His disciple, you are living a life worthy of His Holy Name.

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WISE - Covenant

Friday Jul 04, 2008

Friday Jul 04, 2008

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Covenant
Gday and welcome to Words In Scripture Explored! The word for today is Covenant.
Look at your money! On British money are the words "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of five [ten/twenty/fifty] pounds. In fact you can even take old British banknotes to the Bank and cash them in for modern money! Promises!! That’s what a covenant is – a promise between two parties.
Covenants in the Bible
Covenants were common in all kinds of life, and not just between God and humanity. For instance where a powerful nation had taken over a weaker nation, a covenant was in place to give benefits from the powerful nation to the weaker nation, such as protection as well as sanctions if the weaker nation rebelled.
About God’s Covenants
Each covenant between God and humanity showed God promising to do something and commands for mankind to follow! When an Old Testament covenant ended in failure, it was always due to mankind’s inability to obey God! Such as when Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thereby breaking the covenant made with God. The Edenic Covenant was therefore terminated and now God needed to make another covenant with Adam (Genesis 3v14-21). In the Old Testament we have six covenants between God and humanity: Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, and the Davidic. They all had several things about them:

God always took the initiative.
God always gave His solemn promise to fulfil His promise.
God always waited for a free response from humanity, without coercion or force.
New Covenant
As a Christian Disciple today, you are living under the the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31v31-34)
Four features of this covenant are: God transforming you; God being your God and you being His; God living inside you and leading you; your sins are forgiven and removed
This new covenant is sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His blood ensures the truth of this New Covenant. There is no other way for this New Covenant to be sealed except through Jesus’ blood alone. This New Covenant finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a righteous life conforming to God's holy character.
Whenever you celebrate Communion or the Lord’s Supper, you celebrate this New Covenant between God and yourself, for it symbolizes this New Covenant, which guarantees salvation! So go tell somebody else today about how God will make them new, forgive them, live inside them, and transform them, if only they come to Him in repentance.
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WISE - Faith

Friday Jul 11, 2008

Friday Jul 11, 2008


Faith
People always say that faith is blind!  However the Bible says that faith is a total confidence in God’s faithfulness, which leads to reliance, trust and total obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6).  We see this faith in the Godly obedience of those around us and from the Bible and church history.
Faith in Salvation
For salvation, faith is a voluntary change of mind and heart in the sinner in which the person turns to God, relying on and accepting His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Mind - recognition of your need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on your behalf and your need of forgiveness.
Emotional (Heart) – your personal assent to the gospel.  You ask yourself, “What must I do to be saved?” and then you agree to make salvation a part of your life.
Will - Personal trust in Jesus Christ.
Now as a follower of Jesus, you are to continue having faith in Him.  Four things at least you are to have faith in Him for:
By faith - He is praying for you
Jesus Christ is making intercessions for His followers (Romans 8:34).  He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows your troubles now.  He feels your cares and knows what you are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).
By faith - He will come to you
Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone!  King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned.  However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him.  Jesus always comes to you through difficult times, although He may not come in the time you think He should come, because He knows when you need Him most.
By faith - He will help you grow
When the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33), the purpose of this incident was to show that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present.  Peter wrote later on in his life, “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12).
By faith, He will see you through
At the same event, Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him.  This must have encouraged the other disciples, for upon seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him.  Whatever troubles you are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus will see you through.
By faith, you have salvation. By faith Jesus is praying, will come to you, grow you and help you through troubles.  By being obedient to God, you are showing others your salvation and showing that faith, is not blind, but active!
 
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WISE - Angel

Friday Jul 18, 2008

Friday Jul 18, 2008

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Angel
Gday and welcome to WISE! The word for today is Angel.
Lorna Byrne claims in a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, that for her, “seeing angels is natural”…
Bookshops are filled with books on Angels!  But we must beware, for not all angels are good!  We know from the Bible that there are good angels and bad angels. 
 
Angels
 
From the Bible, we know that angels are created beings (Psalm 148v2-5) possibly created before humanity (Job38v7). We know that angels carry God’s message (Luke 1)
 
Hebrews 1v14 tells us that they serve humans who are inheriting salvation! They appear in human form, as in Abraham’s visitor (Genesis). Whilst they are genderless, they invariably when appearing to people have masculine names such as Michael and Gabriel. They do not die (Luke 20v36), or  marry (Mark 12v25). 
Being personal and intelligent, they communicate with humans.  They have a will (2 Peter 2v4), are separate from humanity (1 Corinthians 6v3) and powerful yet also finite.  There are large companies of angels (Revelation 5v11), which are organized into ranks!  For example: Michael the archangel (Jude 9) and legions of angels (Matthew 26v53).
 
God’s Angels constantly rejoice at God’s work (Revelation 5v11-12); and at a sinner’s conversion (Luke 15v10).
 
Bad Angels
 
Bad angels are often referred to as demons.  The Bible says that some angels rebelled against God and were put out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28). Their leader is satan who has established his kingdom on earth, and is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  They know Jesus and His authority and also know their eternal fate is destruction and torment (Matthew 8v29-31).  Because of this, they want to take as many humans with them as possible.  So they tempt humans to disobey God (Genesis 3); possess people (Mark 5) and give inspiration to false teachers (Galatians 1v8).  They seek to hinder God’s program and hatefully oppose all God’s of work and God’s people (Mark 4:15; Job 2:4-5).
How can we know the difference between good angels and bad angels?  We listen to what they are telling us.  If what they say is bringing all glory to God and to Jesus Christ, and they are always giving the glory to God, then they must be from God.  If everything they say or do doesn’t match this standard, then they cannot be from God.
Finally, the job of spreading the Gospel is not for angels.  It is for Christian Disciples to do as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28v18-20).  God obviously thinks it is a much more efficient and effective method, than getting angels to do it!  That method involves you – going to tell somebody else the glorious message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
 
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WISE - Fellowship

Saturday Jul 26, 2008

Saturday Jul 26, 2008

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Fellowship
G’day and welcome to WISE.  The word for today is “fellowship”.
I meet people who tell me they are Christians, but don’t want to go to a church anymore.  But by not doing so, they are missing out on perhaps one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian: fellowship.  One of the great things about belonging to a church is the act of fellowship, which results from walking with one another (1 John 1v7).  God has created us for fellowship and Jesus Christ has redeemed us so that we can have this fellowship together (Colossians 1v3-5). 
What is fellowship? This is rooted in the words koinōnia and koinōneō, which is a mutual sharing together, and not merely a mutual association.  Fellowship is both in having fellowship and giving fellowship. 
Why fellowship? When Christian disciples fellowship with each other, God is glorified as a result (Romans 15v7).  It is as a collective body that the Church fellowship grows in grace and maturity together, overcoming by grace, the weaknesses of each individual member (Ephesians 4vv12-16).  You are commanded to continue meeting others for fellowship, so that mutual encouragement “toward love and good deeds” can take place (Hebrews 10v25)! By this you can live a consistent godly life, particularly if sins are confessed to each other (James 5v16)! 
Victory is also seen in the eyes of a fellowship, rather than singular individuality (1 Corinthians 15v57; 1 John 5v4).  Whilst God deals with us as individuals, it is through fellowship that God strengthens you, for you are supported, healed and compensated by other Christians.  These are all very good reasons why Christians need to find a Church to attend!
How do we fellowship?  Biblical fellowship sees the church having common purpose (Psalm 133v1-3), belief (Acts 2v42), hope (Hebrews 11v39-40) and needs (2 Corinthians 8vv1-15).  Just as Christians have fellowship with the Father (1 John 1v3), Jesus (1 Corinthians 1v9) and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2v1), so do they have with each other (1 John 1v7).  The things a fellowship shares are, but not limited to, possessions (2 Corinthians 8v4), sufferings (Philippians 3v10) and the Gospel (Galatians 2v9; Philippians 1v5). By participating in His suffering and having fellowship with Jesus through his own sufferings, Paul was able to enter a deeper relationship with Jesus.
How have you enjoyed fellowship this week and how will you enjoy it in the week to come?
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WISE - Holy Spirit

Monday Jul 28, 2008

Monday Jul 28, 2008

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Holy Spirit
G’day and welcome to WISE! The word for today is God the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is one of the three persons of the Trinity. As such we do not refer to the Spirit as “it” or “that”, but rather Him! Wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present because they are one (John 14v18-23).
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and His relationship with you as a Christian Disciple?
1. Glorify Christ: His prime role is that He will glorify Jesus Christ the Son of God (John 16v13-14). He does this by testifying (John 15v26) and witnessing for (Acts 1v8) Jesus Christ.
2. The Paraclete – Comforter: He stands alongside (John 14v16) and lives in all believers (John 16v7).
3. Declares God’s Word: For you, the Holy Spirit interprets and illuminates the Bible, as you submit to Him and the Bible (John 16v12-15; 1 Corinthians 2v10-16)!
4. Convicts: The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16v8)
5. Salvation: As Christian Disciple, you are born of the Holy Spirit (John 3v3-8). For without the Holy Spirit, nobody can be a Christian Disciple (Romans 8v9; Gal 2v20; Colossians 1v25-27)
6. Sealing / Ownership: The Holy Spirit indwelling you is assured proof of you being God’s possession (2 Corinthians 1v22; Ephesians 1v3), for the Holy Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing your future redemption, salvation and inheritance (Ephesians 1v13; 2 Corinthians 1v22).
7. Filling: This speaks of the Holy Spirit’s control or domination of your life. The imperative here is that we are to be filled, and go on being filled (Ephesians 5v18).
8. Sanctification: As you walk, live in, and are led by the Holy Spirit, you are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 7-18), (Galatians. 5v16; Romans 8v13).
9. Baptism: While this Holy Spirit baptism usually occurs at your conversion, it does sometimes after afterwards! The Biblical accounts show both of these occurrences. As Billy Graham once said “I don’t care how you get Him – get Him!”
10. Service: The Holy Spirit equips you for service by giving you spiritual gifts and working in you to will and to act according to His purpose (Philippians 2v13).
Finally, how is the Spirit seen? The Spirit’s work is in greatest evidence, where people’s lives become more holy and more like Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12v3; 2 Corinthians 13v7). Look back on your life and see how the Holy Spirit has been working in and transforming you since your conversion. Then ask Him to reveal to you the areas you still need transforming.
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WISE - Serving

Thursday Jul 31, 2008

Thursday Jul 31, 2008

Words In Scripture Explored
Serving

As Christian Disciples, we are called to a life of serving God and other people. You are not alone, but part of a larger body where each member is called to perform a serving function. By serving others as a Christian Disciple, it shows unity and solidarity to those outside of the church who frequently accuse the church of infighting and “devouring one another”.
Serving
The Christian life is to be dynamic and active. The word “servant” is key in Scripture and is used at least 500 times in its various forms. When a Christian Disciple serves, God’s honour is released, and shows Jesus Christ’s beauty and glory, to those being served and to those watching. That is to be your motive for service. Serving is never to be about what you and I can get out of it. When that is the motive, God is not glorified. God’s glory and the total supremacy of Jesus over all things, is to be the goal in the life of all Christian Disciples.
Spiritual Growth Comes From Serving
If you desire to grow spiritually, then serve! For spiritual growth comes from serving rather than you being served. This is because what you give in service of God and others, your faith grows and Jesus Christ gives back even more to you. Jesus speaking in Matthew 25v15-30 tells of the rewards for faithful service and the penalties for being faithless. When you serve others, it is a sign of your trust and faith in God.
Serving Reflects Jesus Christ’s Life
By serving, we reflect in some small way the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ, who came to serve and give his very life for others (Mark 10v45). As a Christian Disciple, you are In serving others fulfilling the command that Jesus gave to love God and love others. Showing love and serving others achieves this aim of total obedience to Jesus.
Salvation is not through Your Service!
However a warning! Don’t be led into the trap of thinking that your service will lead to your salvation, as some will say. It will not! The only reason you have salvation, is because of the service of Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully human. Your acts of service would never be able to pay that price, but your acts of service will help point others to Jesus, who paid the price for your salvation and others. So as you go from here, go to serve others and by doing so, you will also be showing your service to Jesus Christ your Master. Thank you.
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WISE - Redemption

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored –Redemption
 
For some of us the only time we see or hear the word redemption is on a supermarket or magazine coupon, which unless used for its specific purpose, has a redemption value of 0.001p. In the Old Testament, the idea of a redeemer is found in the story of Ruth and Boaz, which climaxes with “So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel” (Ruth4v13-14).  That baby was Obed, the grandfather of David, an ancestor of Jesus Christ.  Redemption was also a familiar word in New Testament times, because its main use was to refer to the buying back of a slave - the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom.  A slave had no possessions of their own to sell in order to buy their freedom – they would always be dependent on somebody else to do that.
God’s Idea of Redemption
All humans are born into slavery to sin and alienation from God. Furthermore, no human is able to do anything to escape this slavery and alienation by them self.  Redemption means that God has paid the price (1 Peter 1:18-19) so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) on the cross at Calvary. As Christian Disciples, we are bought at a price, and we have a new position before God! We are bought out of slavery to sin, into glorious freedom where we are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:19); slaves to Christ (Romans 6:22). We are also Jesus Christ’s personal possession, for as Paul writes in (1 Corinthians 6v19-20 “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.”
Our Responsibility
But it is the humans’ responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – He leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals. For as one of the Church Fathers, Augustine, wrote: “For no one is redeemed except through unmerited mercy, and no one is condemned except through merited judgement.” Redemption is not just about looking back to the cross.  It also means we are to live a life worthy of the cost paid by Jesus Christ.  That means we are to actively live a life of total dependence upon, and total obedience to, God.  That is the best way to show you have accepted God’s offer of redemption – a life being transformed into the very image of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
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