MPGC29- HOW TO TAKE WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN-Part 1
Why is it that most men and women still live their lives in sin and apart from God? How is it that even Christians still find themselves powerless over one or two sins that seem to hold them hostage? The answer lies with us. When we are ignorant of what is available we don't know what we can claim.
Recently in the United States there have been many natural disasters -- floods, hurricanes and drought. The government set up a plan of disaster relief for anyone affected by these devastating situations. But in the statistics that followed these disasters only a small percentage of people ever came to receive the help that was in place for them.
Perhaps in being overwhelmed with day to day living they did not read the newspaper or listen to the radio or television. Therefore they didn't hear about what was available. If their neighbors were absorbed in their own troubles they might not have passed along the news even if they did know it.
Therefore, those most in need, never went down to the office to fill out the proper forms and talk with the official ready to help them. They just started to try and sort things out on their own with the few resources left to them.
That is a little like what man faces today. They don't read the Bible (God's Word) or study to know what God says is available to them. On the whole man is ignorant that life is not supposed to be this way. It is not the life God originally created for us.
Sadly, even the church today often ignores the message of the Cross and so its members are not much different from everyone else. They are ignorant of God's plan to restore them to Himself and their rightful place in the world.
The Cross represents the entire plan of God to give man back what they lost and restore him to the original creation. This plan was implemented apart from us having any say in it. It was all done for us. But, it remains for us to carefully consider each area of restoration and how we can claim it for our own.
Satan, the enemy of our souls, keeps unbelievers in the dark by making what Jesus did at Calvary seem foolish and weak. Satan loves to keep the Christian Church in the dark by their focus on anything else but the Cross. He loves all the sermons and books on prosperity, and how to deal with (fill in the blank) . These self help techniques will keep Christians occupied for a lifetime so that they never do find victory and freedom in their lives.
There is only one way to come into all that Jesus has done for you. FIRST, you need to study so that you'll know what's available. As you find out (through revelation) you'll need to act on that knowledge by doing what is needed to appropriate it.
Then, you walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).The Christian experience is opposite to how we normally operate here on earth. Usually we see something, then we believe it and finally we act on it. Not so with God's way. First we believe what he says and then we act on it. Only then will we see our lives changing and being restored.
Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart so that you can walk out of your spiritual poverty and into the glorious freedom and purpose that He made you for.
How To Take What Jesus Has Done for You and Make it Your Own-Part 1
Day 1- Every man's position before appropriating Jesus' death and resurrection is that of a slave to sin and to satan.
John 8:34 / Romans 6:16 / 2 Timothy 2:26
What does this slavery look like in our lives?
Day 2- We are slaves to how we feel. We are angry about something and therefore we argue, scream, and blame. We are sad about something and therefore fall into depression, lay in bed all day, eat comfort foods and generally feel we can't go on. We feel our rights have been violated and therefore we rise up like a snake ready to fight like mad. These are reactions that don't happen just once but all the time when that feeling comes. The second half of this verse sums it up for us.
2 Peter 2:19b
Day 3- We are slaves to how we think. We think negative thoughts about ourselves and therefore fall into poor self esteem, self pity and false humility. We think lustful thoughts and then we act it out in reality or in our minds. We think hateful, suspicious thoughts and therefore we act out towards others in a hateful manner. We think others are better than us and therefore we are jealous towards them and make life miserable for that person.
In today's computer world they talk about the hard drive or memory that has become corrupted. In a similar way sin has corrupted the mind of man.
It causes us to live in the futility of our thinking.
Ephesians 4:17-18 / Romans 8:7
Day 4- We are slaves to what we see. We see a pretty lady or a handsome man and think lustful thoughts. We see injustice around us and we get depressed. We see the latest gadgets and we must have them. This is how sin began in the first place. Eve considered for too long what she saw and the rest is history.
Day 5- We can be slaves to what we smell. We smell a certain food cooking and hungry or not we have to eat. We smell a certain perfume and it might lead us to thinking lustful thoughts. Slavery to our appetites leads to a life lacking in self control. What is a life lacking in self control compared to?
NOTE: A city with broken down walls means that it is wide open for the enemy. And so Satan and his demons have an open door into a life that is a slave to their senses.
Day 6- We can be slaves to what we own. We have the money and therefore we must spend it on ourselves. We have technology devices but those aren't enough. We must have the latest and best that's out. We own a house and therefore we spend all our money making it just the way we want. What ought we to be doing?
Day 7- We can be slaves to people when we depend on them rather than God and feel we must have their approval for us to feel good about ourselves. God has some sharp warnings about this......
Isaiah 31:1 / Jeremiah 17:5
.....and a clear command.
Day 8- The slavery to these things comes in when we don't just respond once to a prompting but over and over and over. We can't seem to stop reacting to the stimulus the way that we do. It has become automatic -- a habit.
We hate that we blow up when something doesn't go our way. We hate that we always overeat when we go to a certain restaurant. We hate that we lie to make ourselves look good. BUT -- WE CAN'T SEEM TO STOP! This is the slavery that we face. We want to do the right thing but we can't. Paul articulates this slavery that every man faces.
Notice in verse 17 that there are two players -- there is "I" and there is the "sin living within me." This player called "sin living in me" is the "nothing good living in me" that Paul speaks of in verse 18. The Bible refers to this "sin living in me" as "the flesh" or "the old nature", "the body of sin" or "the old self".
Day 9- If a splinter is lodged in your finger you know that it is not "you" but it's the "nothing good dwelling in you". Sin is a little like a bee biting your leg. It's the bee "sin" that is causing the pain. Therefore you should beat on the bee not yourself. I believe that is what Paul is saying in this verse.
The real you and me wants to serve God but this second player called "sin in me" keeps us as slaves to sin. We want to do what is right but we don't. Paul calls this a "law".
Something that is a law happens the same all the time. Gravity is called the "law of gravity" because every time you drop an object it falls to the ground. So it seems that every time we want to do the right thing we do the opposite.
THE OLD NATURE
Day 10- Our old nature follows the "law of sin and death" and it does so all the time. You cannot improve your old nature (which is man's natural tendency and the fallacy of self help books). The only way your new nature can come forth is if the old nature dies or as the Greek word puts it, "is made inoperative, totally useless and void."
Romans 6: 3,6
Perhaps it's like cancer cells in your body. You can't improve these cells. We use radiation and chemotherapy treatments to hopefully kill them. They may still be in your body but they have been made inoperative after the treatments.
Day 11- Reread this verse. What does it say happened to our old self or old nature?
This is one of those FACTS that is hard for us to understand. We may never fully understand how God could put all of humanity into His Son to destroy our old nature. It's truly a cosmic miracle that you and I have had our old nature destroyed in Christ. So, in a very real way when Jesus died we died and that opens the way for each of us to receive back God's Holy Spirit into our spirits so that we can be alive to God and lead new lives of freedom and joy.
Romans 6: 4-11 / 2 Timothy 2:11
Take these verses and make a list of the facts contained in them.
NOW, CLAIM WHAT IS YOURS!
Day 12- Once you know and believe these facts of what God has done for you, you have to claim them as your own. Here is how you do this.
Some of the best prayers are when you take God's actual words and pray them back to Him. With this verse you would pray something like this: "Lord, your word says that when Jesus died, he died to break the power of sin. I was put inside him even before I was born so that my old nature could be rendered inoperative. I now consider myself dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ." Amen
Day 13- Now, in the same way take these verses and rewrite them into prayers. Change the "we" to "I". Pray these often and soon these facts will be united with faith and they will then become reality. For these facts of your death with Christ will become your title deed to the new nature that God has for each of us.
Romans 6:1-11 / Galatians 2:20 / Galatians 5:24 / Colossians 2:20 / Colossians 3:3
MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE
As we have just learned , all men have been slaves to sin and Satan. Jesus entered into the slave market of humanity and bought us back from sin and death with his own life. He did this so that we could be free to live with God again as part of God's family. Did Jesus release us from our slavery so that we could be slaves to Him instead?
Day 14- Instead of forcing us to be slaves for him, Jesus turned the tables. He gave us our freedom.
With this freedom every man chooses one of three paths.
Day 15- The first choice is dependence.
Some choose to keep in the slave system (i.e. to sin and Satan) because they are ignorant that Christ has set them free and therefore this is all they know. They continue to let the old sin nature dominate them. They stay part of the world system (which is dominated and controlled by Satan and his demons) and keep tight control over their own life. They live the way they want to live -- independent of God. For those who choose this path, either due to ignorance or deliberate choice, what is sadly true?
Romans 8: 7-8
What is God's response?
And what were the effects in men's lives?
Romans 1: 29-32
Day 16- The second choice is the carnal life.
Others of us take our freedom and then try hard to live a good life. We are grateful that the Lord has set us free but we can also be miserable in that we never seem to work hard enough to become what we should be. Sadly, most of us that call ourselves Christian live in this camp. We have one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. All our struggling and trying to live right is just like the Jews trying to keep the law to get right with God. What don't they realize?
Romans 3:20 / Galatians 2:16
This group of people is working hard for something that they ALREADY have. For salvation is a gift God has given freely to us.
Titus 3:4-5 / Ephesians 2:8-9
And WHEN did He give us this gift of salvation?
Yes, that's right. It was "while we were yet sinners." We don't have to clean ourselves up before we come to Christ. He has done the cleansing work with his own blood.
Day 17- This group of people who accept what Christ has done but then try and work for it themselves are very miserable. In older translations of the Bible this group is referred to as "carnal man". (The Greek word for carnal meant "pertaining to the flesh, temporal, unregenerate"). These verses give us a description of those who are carnal.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
They live a powerless, frustrating life.
Romans 7:15,18-19, 24
If you are in this carnal camp -- struggling and trying to work hard to be good enough for God ----then stop right now and enter into the third choice.
Day 18- The third choice is to become a "spiritual man".
This group of people are so grateful to Jesus for all he has done that they choose to give up their freedom so that they can belong to Him. They become willing slaves -- choosing to obey His word instead of the lies that Satan and the world system feed them.
Romans 6: 16-22
Day 19- This group of people which the Bible refers to as "spiritual" men are most happy. Why?
Romans 8:1-2 , 10-11
They put God's concerns first and in return the Lord cares for them completely.
They are free from worry and care because as slaves to their Lord they have learned to hand all the cares of this life back to Him knowing that He can handle them.
1 Peter 5:7
In this study we have seen three things:
First -- we must know and accept the facts.
1. All men are slaves to sin and Satan before appropriating what Jesus has done for mankind through his death and resurrection.
2. It's the old nature, we were born with, that drives us into this slavery. We want to do right but it's inevitable that we act opposite of what we want to do.
3. This old nature follows "the law of sin and death". You cannot improve it. Our new nature can only come forth when the old one dies.
4. In a cosmic miracle God put all of mankind into His Son and when Jesus died, we (our old nature) died.
Second -- we each must claim what God has done in Christ as our own.
We do this best when we take what God's word says and pray it back to God. "Lord, your word says......"
(I encourage you to write out the verses in day 13 as your own prayers.)
Third -- we must make the right choice
If Christ has truly set us free then there is no one safer to commit your life to. Make a choice to belong to Jesus as His willing slave and let Him continue to live His life through yours.
Our next study will continue to look at how we appropriate what is ours in Christ.
Next Study: MPGC#30