August 22, 1999
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
First, we have the new creation in Christ.
Adam was created in the image of his Creator from the dust of the ground. It was that breath of God that made Adam in the image and likeness of God. And that breath of God is likened to the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. Just as sure as it took the breath of God into Adam to make that lifeless lump of clay live in the image of God, it takes the new birth, or the breath of the Holy Spirit, to make fallen man alive again into the image of God.
Second, we see the new purpose in Christ.
The purpose of salvation is not to miss hell, though that is certainly a good benefit.
The word of God speaks clearly many times: God's divine purpose of salvation is to form us into the image of our Creator. Just as sure as Adam was formed in the image of his Creator, we also are to be formed into the image of our Creator, Jesus Christ. This was a purpose for the Lord Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to us when he went back to be with the Father.
We are commanded to be reconciled to God --- that is, be converted through faith in Christ. Conversion restores man to willing submission to God's daily guidance of his life. It must be our settled purpose and the intention of our hearts that we will do nothing, plan nothing nor think anything but so far as we believe it is the will of God. And that determination will be seen by the time we spend in God's word, and the following actions.
First, new creation in Christ.
Second, new purpose in Christ.
Third, new rest in Christ.
We cannot say we believe in the Lord unless we believe that he alone is infinite love, goodness, life, wisdom and direction for our lives. And that means that we must have the inner confidence that God's will for our lives is designed in his infinite LOVE, LIFE, WISDOM and GOODNESS.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Therefore, we must be as thankful and pleased with everything that happens in our lives as though we ourselves chose it. What more can we ask out of life than for our own lives to be guided by God's infinite LOVE, WISDOM and GOODNESS?
When we allow ourselves to have anxieties, fears and complaints, we do one of two things:
DENY God's wisdom and love and goodness
Or we confess that we are out of his will.
Jude 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude tells us that the Lord shall come:
1) to execute judgment upon all. Though Jude is speaking primarily of the wicked, it includes ALL men, small and great:
Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Most people live as though there were no judgment to come. Every person will be judged by Christ himself according to that individual's actions in following the leading of the Spirit according to the word of God.
What was your goal this last week? Was it to allow the Spirit of God to lead you in everything you did?
Well, yes it was!
Let me ask you again: How much time did you spend in God's word seeking the Spirit's direction?
2) to convince all
Clearly, the Lord will condemn no one without just cause. There
will be no excuse nor apology in that day. He is the only RIGHTEOUS
JUDGE, and he will pass righteous judgment.
He will convince all the ungodly of both their actions and speech that are against Christ. We many times speak harshly against others, but actually it is Christ we are speaking against.
Note v. 15, the word UNGODLY is used four times. Who are the ungodly ones spoken so harshly against, v. 16? They are the murmurers and complainers; the ones who walk after their own lusts. In other words, things do not go the way that is pleasing to their own personal desires, so they murmur and complain against the Lord.
Notice v. 19: murmuring and complaining is a sign of not having the Spirit of God.
Lori was thought to have symptoms of MS some time ago. Since then, the worse of the fears have proved to be true. Paul was telling us yesterday morning of the side effects of the treatments to keep MS from developing so fast. And they are not at all pleasant.
MURMURING AND COMPLAINING
1) it starts in the heart. The outward appearance may be all smiles and a good spirit, but the heart says, "Why me, Lord?"
2) the answer against murmuring and complaining is found in v. 21, Keep yourselves in the love of God. That is, remember that God is infinite love and that he guides his wiling children in that love.
FIRST, we are a new person in Christ. God loved us enough that he sent his only Son to die for us.
SECOND, God's divine purpose of salvation is to form us into the image of our Creator. Our conversion, or reconciliation, means our attitude toward God was CONVERTED. Faith in Christ, conversion, restores man to willing submission to God's daily guidance of his life. We must purpose in our hearts that we will do nothing, plan nothing nor think anything but so far as we believe it is the will of God.
As we, to the best of our knowledge and by God's grace, then go about our lives as we believe the Spirit of God would have us do, then we have new rest in Christ. We are confident that his divine love for those who are his will only allow the things that are pleasing to him to come their way. We must be confident that his loving divine providence is directing our every step.
Let me remind you: The Spirit of God leads us through the word of God. He speaks to our hearts and impresses us in the way we should walk as we learn of Christ, the Word of God.
So, when we murmur, complain and worry, we are denying the Lord's love for his own, or we are confessing we are out to the will of the Lord.
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (See also Ps. 37:7-11, Heb. 10:35-39.)
Hebrews 10:36 tells us that impatience means we lack confidence that we are in the will of the Lord.
The normal attitude of the Christian is to be continually thankful to the Lord in every situation, confident that our infinite God works all things work together for the good of those who are sincerely trying to do his will as best they understand it.
It is not real trust in our loving Heavenly Father when we are only able to thank God in happiness and prosperity and not in calamities and sufferings. Thanking God only in the good times is like saying that we do not believe God created everything because we did not see him do it. Faith means we believe what God says regardless of what our natural senses tell us.
Nothing happens by chance to the trusting, obedient Child of God, no more than the world created itself by chance. Therefore, we can,
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore. We are to 17 Pray without ceasing. And 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Otherwise, we will 19 Quench ... the Spirit. (That is, do not put out the fire of the Spirit who gives the inner enthusiasm and ability to please God.)
We can rejoice and give thanks to God not because we can analyze everything that comes into our lives. We can rejoice because in child-like faith we are confident we are doing his will the best we know and that the infinite God, in his love, wisdom and goodness is directing our lives.
If we really believe that God is love, then we cannot be too much resigned to his divine will in our lives. We cannot rest too much in the fact that he is directing our paths.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
One of the worse evils we can do is to doubt God's loving goodness toward those who to the best of their knowledge are trusting in the Lord with all their hearts.
We have trusted Christ to redeem us from our rebellion against God in salvation. How foolish of us to refuse to trust Christ in our daily walk to redeem us from our rebellion against God. We lean to our own understanding instead of trusting him and thanking him for daily conforming us to the divine image of Christ our Creator.
It must be our settled purpose and intention of our hearts that we will do nothing, plan nothing nor think anythingbut so far as we have reason to believe it is the will of God.
Rejecting God's will for our own will is the worse of rebellions. Gospel salvation restores man to willing submission to all of God's designs for his life, which is what Adam failed to do.
Worry and anxiety for the obedient child of God is rebellion against God. We say then that a person can be reconciled to God and at the same time hide in his heart rebellion against God.