Christ in you…the Spirit’s Work

Spirit's Work

Sunday 03/15/20

Series: Do we Really Believe?

Message – Christ in you..the Spirit’s Work

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Christ in you..the Spirit’s Work

Last week we learned that Jesus has been made unto us Wisdom from God…and righteousness, sanctification & redemption.

What this means to us is this:

  • As the wisdom of God – Jesus IS the revelation to the world and THAT revelation is that union with God as a human is possible and that LIFE is found only in Jesus. THIS IS GOD’S TESTIMONY and WISDOM.
  • As our righteousness – Jesus becomes our RIGHT-THINKING.
  • As our sanctification – He is the source of all truth which brings light into our darkness – enabling us to separate from the world and it’s lies and separate ourselves TO God in His truth – which sets us free!
  • As our redemption – He is our purchase price and the source of our glorification. When He becomes fully formed within us – we will have fully cashed in on the redemption that He is for, to and in us!

ALL of this is made possible by the Holy Spirit’s work within. It is His role it is to form Christ in you and making you a letter to the world (ministry)

“We are Christ’s letter written by the Holy Spirit…known and read by all men!” – 2Cor. 3:2,3

We are going to build on these truths again this week.

Let’s go back to Romans 8:5,6 which is where we left off!

“(5) For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. (6) For the mind-set of the flesh is death, [meaning “the pursuit of fleshly ends IS separation from God”] but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” 

I told you that the words “ARE ACCORDING TO the flesh”…means that the flesh is the governing principle of their lives!

That’s why you have difficult passages like… 

  • Heb. 12:16, “… fornicator or profane person like Esau…” 
  • Or Eph. 5:5, “no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” 

Philippians 3:18-19 describes this condition. 

“(18)  For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  (19) Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things,”

The words focused on mean are devoted to

This same word is translated as set your affections on in Col. 3:2

As such it is connected ‘in spirit’ to the phraseWhoever wants to be the friend of the world as is stated in James 4:4, which gives even more clarity still in that intent is mentioned in James. 

For the words, Whoever wants to be is emphatic in the Greek and means, “firmly determined to be

Again, this also veils our eyes in the reading and comprehension of the scriptures… Our ability to see and understand truth

“(7) For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.  (8) Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.”

One of the things this means is that even the ABILITY to believe is removed from them. Faith pleases God because it shows a Moses heart. One that seeks after Him and desires to know Him. So it stands to reason that those whose minds are set on the flesh cannot please Him! They are not seeking LIFE (union with God), but rather, things of self-interest (which leads to further separation). 

Jesus made a rather startling statement about faith which touches on this and I think it is something which gets glazed over in modern Christianity – but it is of paramount importance!

He said, “How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.” ~ John 5:44  

Our focus on things of the world, veils our eyes from the person and glory of God in Christ – crippling His work of forming Christ in us and disabling us from truly trusting Him.

This began as a suggested way of thinking in the garden. The devil suggested to Eve that there was another line of thinking which was equally valid to consider. Perhaps happiness, contentment, fulfillment and self-value can be found outside of union and agreement with God (life & peace). 

Eve took the thought, considered it and tested it’s validity. She found nothing but fear, emptiness, discontentment and a bottomless pit within her which was her identity & value which were now empty for it was made for the infinite God Who had now been evicted from it. 

The aching emptiness left her grasping for control and outside approval – two things which are the most contrary to faith in the universe.

THIS is what Jesus was addressing. Our constant seeking for approval from the “things in the box“, leaves us unable to trust the One Who exists outside of the box…is the One holding the box and is in fact it’s owner and Creator.

This is all the world knows and we become like the world when we validate their value system by thinking as they do. It is the Spirit’s work within that causes us to see and believe differently than the world!

Can you also see why it is such a huge misstep to invite the World into our gatherings! 

This is why the Holy Spirit has been sent to us. The Spirit’s work is invaluable and 100% necessary in the life of every believer! 

We have been given a new heart, but we need the constant reminder of a way of thinking and being which even now, regardless of how long we’ve been born again – we largely find foreign. 

We need the Spirit’s work of constant encouragement (grace) to trust in what our flesh cannot see – to abandon ourselves to God – the wild Lion Aslon, Who is all good but is NOT always safe for the flesh. 

If we follow we will die, but if we die we will live. If however, we continue to believe the lie of the flesh and live grasping lives where we seek to secure our own validation, safety & fulfillment…in laying hold of what we believe to be life… we will truly die.

Jesus said it this way, 

Mark 8:34-38,  “(34)Then calling to Him the crowd and also His disciples, He said to them, “If any one is desirous of following me, let him ignore self and take up his cross, and so be my follower.  (35) For whoever is bent on securing his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, will secure it. (36) Why, what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  (37) For what could a man give to buy back his life? (38) Every one, however, who has been ashamed of me and of my teachings in this faithless and sinful age, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

So continuing on in Romans 8…picking back up in verse 9

“(9) You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  (10) Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” 

Remember that RIGHTEOUSNESS is directly connected to HOW YOU THINK. Isaiah 55:7-11, “Let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts;  Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

We learned last week that the truth of Jesus is what sanctifies us – sets us apart for His purposes in us. His words are truth, Spirit & LIFE!

This is why Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ – it IS the POWER of God unto salvation. 

So continuing on in Rom. 8

“(11) And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He Who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit Who lives in you.

But this too is understood as a conditional statement which is predicated upon the following actions:

“(12) So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, (13) for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Earlier in this letter of Romans, Paul wrote in chapter 6 verses 5&6, “(5) For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, (6) knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be rendered inoperative, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

Three phrases are here in verses 12-13:

  1. By the Spirit – NOT by diligence of flesh effort apart from God as acting FOR Him, but by the Spirit’s work within…working in union WITH Him.
  2. YOU put to death – It is not FOR it is WITH the Spirit. Again, it is the Spirit’s work within the heart which ENABLES us to crucify the carnal  ways of our flesh.
  3. DEEDS of the body – it’s inclinations towards sin

How do we do this? 

Spirit's Work

IF we are going to LIVE, we MUST hear them by the Holy Spirit! This is another of the Spirit’s work within. He causes us to understand and have eyes to see the WORD as He really is TO US. He IS the Wisdom of God, our righteousness, sanctification and redemption!

“(14) All those HABITUALLY led by God’s Spirit are God’s MATURE sons.” 

I’ve told you this before but this verse is repeatedly translated poorly – in fact, the impression it gives is down right INCORRECT. 

Paul did NOT say, if you are God’s child you are led by the Spirit. Well, what about times when I’m NOT led?

No the words “led” and “sons” are VERY important words.

The word “led” is in the continuous present (present imperative tense) and therefore means a continuous action. It should be therefore translated as “habitually led”.

The word “sons” is the word “huios” which means a mature son whose character and actions are LIKE his father! 

So, a proof of maturity in Christ is to be Christ-like and being Christ-like requires being habitually led by the Spirit.

This again points back to our KEY verse, “We are Christ’s letter written by the Spirit of God.” We are the Spirit’s work!

“(15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by Whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  

I don’t know other people’s experiences… but mine (being experiences and therefore NOT on par with scripture and are therefore not the proverbial “bar”), but my experience with this was quite literal. 

I came to the Lord in genuine salvation at the ripe old age of 5. Yet, I never felt comfortable calling God “daddy”… (much of which was rooted in a misunderstanding of my earthly father and his love). So – the words “papa…daddy” in reference to God seemed to wear about as natural as a pair of wet socks…that is, until the Holy Spirit empowered me to surrender to His love first during my encounter. When I did – I found myself saying “Daddy” in worship and it actually caught me off guard. 

It was like a dam which had held back oceans of living water broke down and that appellation for God came flooding out of my heart and for the first time – the words fit in my mouth like they belonged there!

The Holy Spirit was writing upon my heart the words of Jesus, through me crying out “Daddy, Papa”.

“(16) The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, (17) and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Summary of thoughts:

  • God’s word as seen through the veil of the flesh is condemnation.
  • God’s word as seen through Jesus by the Spirit is restoration.
  • The Spirit’s Law is intimacy and union with God in and through Jesus!
  • We walk in THAT law, by how we hear and how we hear is determined by how we think…what we SET our minds upon!

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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