Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

Do I have a love for God’s word?

Do I have a love for God’s word?

Broken Heart
Heart

The believer has an old nature that wants to keep him in bondage; “I will get free from these old sins!” the disciple says to himself. “I determine here and now that I will not do this any longer.”

Jesus needs to take control of my heart. I need to stay in God’s word. I must love what Jesus says to me.

  • What happens? He exerts all his willpower and energy, and for a time succeeds; but then when he least expects it, he falls again. His heart isn’t it and ground in God’s word.
  • Why? Because he tried to overcome his old nature with Law, and the Law cannot deliver us from the old nature.
  • When you move under the Law, you are only making the old nature stronger; because “the strength of sin is the Law” (1 Cor. 15:56). Instead of being a dynamo that gives us power to overcome, the Law is a magnet that draws out of us all kinds of sin and corruption.

The heart (inward man) may delight in the Law of God (Ps. 119:35), but the old nature delights in breaking the Law of God. No wonder the believer under Law becomes tired and discouraged, and eventually gives up! He is a captive, and his condition is “wretched.” (The Greek word indicates a person who is exhausted after a battle.) What could be more wretched than exerting all your energy to try to live a good life, only to discover that the best you do is still not good enough!

Is there any deliverance? Of course! “I thank God that there is Someone who shall deliver me—Jesus the Messiah, our Master!” Because the believer is united to The Messiah, he is dead to the Law and no longer under its authority. But he is alive to God and able to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit. The explanation of this victory is given in Romans 8.

By “the mind” Paul meant “the heart or inward man” (Rom. 7:22) as opposed to “the flesh” (Rom. 7:18). He amplified this thought in Romans 8:5–8. The old nature cannot do anything good. Everything the Bible says about the old nature is negative: “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18); “the flesh profited nothing” (John 6:63); “no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). If we depend on the energy of the flesh, we cannot serve God, please God, or do any good thing. But if we yield to the Holy Spirit, then we have the power needed to obey His will. The flesh will never serve the Law of God because the flesh is at war with God. But the Spirit can only obey the Law of God! Therefore, the secret of doing good is to yield to the Holy Spirit.

Paul hinted at this in the early verses of this chapter when he wrote, “That we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4). Just as we are dead to the old nature, so we are dead to the Law. But we are united to The Messiah and alive in The Messiah, and therefore can bring forth fruit unto God. It is our union with The Messiah that enables us to serve God acceptably. “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). That solved Paul’s problem in Romans 7:18: “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

My old nature knows no law and the new nature needs no law. Legalism makes a believer wretched because it grieves the new nature and aggravates the old nature! The legalist becomes a Pharisee whose outward actions are acceptable, but whose inward attitudes are despicable.

No wonder Jesus called them “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). How wretched can you get?

  • Romans 7:22 — 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.
  • Deuteronomy 4:9 — 9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
  • Psalm 37:31 — 31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
  • Psalm 119:11 — 11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
  • Psalm 119:30 — 30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.
  • Psalm 119:111 — 111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
  • Proverbs 6:21 — 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.
  • Jeremiah 15:16 — 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Master God of hosts.
  • Jeremiah 31:33 — 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Master, “I will put My law within them and on their heart, I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Is there a conflict between grace and the law?

Grace - 02
Grace

The purpose of the Law was, basically, to bring us to the Messiah. It is essential to start here. Once I understand the purpose of the law, I can move on.

What would I move on to? How about grace? That would be a good start.

With the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to the Messiah, so that we may be justified, that is, declared free of the guilt of missing God’s goal (aka sin) and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God by faith. (Galatians 3:24).

Did Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

Complete the law and prophets

Jesus continues His manifesto. I have a lot to learn here. Jesus is being clear, as He always is. This isn’t what I was thinking He would say.

Jesus begins this section by telling the disciples not for one moment to imagine that he had come to abolish the law and the prophets, i.e. the whole Old Testament or any part of it. The way in which Jesus phrases this negative statement suggests that some had indeed been thinking the very thought which he now contradicts.

What should our righteousness look like?

Heartfelt experience with Jesus

Jesus continues His manifesto (found in Matthew 5-7). There is a lot to learn here. Jesus is being clear, as He always is. This isn’t what I was thinking He would say.

Jesus begins this section by telling the disciples not for one moment to imagine that he had come to abolish the law and the prophets, i.e. the whole Old Testament or any part of it. The way in which Jesus phrases this negative statement suggests that some had indeed been thinking the very thought which he now contradicts.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Will we take Jesus seriously?

The religious scholars and the average Jewish person of Jesus time on earth thought they took “the Law”, what Moses wrote, very seriously. Jesus knew that Moses wrote about Him. He also knew they didn’t take that seriously and so discounted much of what Jesus had to say.

We read the Bible but do we always take it seriously? Jesus demands that we take the Bible and what He says seriously. It seems like more and more, some churches and the religious elite are discounting scripture and what Jesus says. We can’t do that.

It is a matter of life and death. God has a goal for us. We must take God seriously. God is God. His Word stands true for all time.

“If you won’t take seriously what Moses wrote, how can I expect you to take seriously what I speak?” ~Jesus 

John 5:45-47 (The Message Bible)
Moses and the ten commandments
Moses and the ten commandments

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Susan Pons Book – “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning…”

Have you read Susan Corbett Pons book “And There was Evening and There was Morning”? It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. Check out Susan’s book here.

Susan Pons grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. Prior to her marriage, she performed professionally on stage and dinner theaters. The mother of four and grandmother of six, she and her husband, Larry, direct Christian Training Center, International, a ministry dedicated to the restoration of families. She has loved her life.

Check out Susan’s book here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Learn more here.

Am I pretending to be righteous just because I am acting legally?

The Law

The Law

Jesus challenges us to look at whether meeting the “letter of the law” means we are living right in God. God’s right way of living has nothing to do with “not doing” things but has everything to do with loving Him and others every day.

Following the letter of the law is really a not so subtle form of selfishness. We justify not doing things by the fact that “we go to church” or “we tithe” or “we pray”.

We can avoid loving the homeless because of our other religious activities. I take comfort in following the rules and regulations. Is my rule keeping really going to help me?

Jesus exposes that approach as a sham. Jesus is clear. I can have no doubt about it at all.

God’s goal for us is to stop pretending with our religious behavior and live in a right relationship with him. It is all about our relationship with God and with everyone else we know and meet. It is all about love.

May I be right in Him doing His right things everyday.

Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure. 

Matthew 5:31 The Message (MSG)



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Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

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What is Christian freedom?

The Bible states emphatically  that believers are free in the Messiah Jesus:

“It is for freedom that the Messiah has set us free” (Galatians 5:1).

Before Jesus died on a cross, God’s people lived under a detailed system of laws that served as a moral compass to guide their lives. The Law, while powerless to grant salvation or produce true freedom, nevertheless pointed the way to Jesus.

Through His sacrificial death, Jesus fulfilled the Law, setting believers free from the law of missing God’s goal [aka sin] and death. God’s laws are now written in our hearts through the Spirit of God, and we are free to follow and serve Jesus in ways that please and glorify Him. In a nutshell, this is the definition of Christian freedom.

An important aspect of Christian freedom is our responsibility not to return to living under the Law. The apostle Paul compared this to slavery:

“Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1)

Continuing to live under the Law after salvation is merely a legalistic form of religion. We cannot earn righteousness through the Law; rather, the Law’s purpose was to define our sin and show our need of a Savior.

Christian freedom involves living not under the burdensome obligations of the Law but under God’s grace:

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14)

In the Messiah, we are free from the Law’s oppressive system, we are free from the penalty of sin, and we are free from the power of sin.

Christian freedom is not a license to sin. We are free in the Messiah but not free to live however we want, indulging the flesh:

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13, NLT)

Believers aren’t free to sin, but free to live holy lives in the Messiah.

Christian freedom is one of the many paradoxes of the Christian faith. True freedom means willingly becoming a slave to Christ, and this happens through relationship with Him.

In Romans 6, Paul explains that, when a believer accepts Jesus, he or she is baptized by the Spirit into the Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection. At that moment, the believer ceases to be a slave to sin and becomes a slave of righteousness:

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17–18, ESV)

Only Christians know true freedom:

“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36)

  • But what does Christian freedom look like in a practical sense?
  • What are we free to do and not do?
  • What can we watch on TV?
  • What can we eat and drink?
  • What can we wear to the beach?
  • What about smoking and drinking?
  • Are there limits to Christian freedom?

In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul gives a practical illustration of Christian freedom:

“‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:23–24, NIV).

In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul mentions members who were attending meals in pagan temples, just as they had done before receiving Jesus as the Messiah. They felt free to continue participating because they thought these festivals were merely a normal part of the social culture. They didn’t see their actions as pagan worship.

Paul laid out several warnings, reminding the Corinthians of Israel’s dangerous flirtation with idolatry in the Old Testament. Then he handled the practical concern of eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

“Everything is permissible,” the Corinthians were saying. True, Paul says; Christians have a great deal of freedom in the Messiah. However, not everything is beneficial or constructive. Our freedom in Jesus must be balanced by a desire to build up and benefit others. When deciding how to exercise our Christian freedom, we ought to seek the good of others before our own good.

In Judaism, restrictions were placed on purchasing meats in the market. Jews could only buy and eat kosher meats. Paul said believers were free in Christ to buy and eat any meat. However, if the issue of meat sacrificed to idols came up, believers were to follow a higher law. Love is what limits Christian freedom.

A little later in the chapter, Paul wrote about eating meat as a guest in someone’s home. Christians are free to eat whatever they are served without questions of conscience. But, if someone brings up that the meat has been offered to an idol, it is better not to eat it for the sake of the person who raised the issue of conscience. While believers have freedom to eat the meat, they are compelled to consider what’s best for those who are observing their behavior.

Romans 14:1–13 raises a key determiner in understanding the limits of Christian freedom. In the passage, Paul again brings up the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols and also observing certain holy days. Some of the believers felt freedom in the Messiah in these areas while others did not. Their differing perspectives were causing quarrels and disunity. Paul emphasized that unity and love in the body of Jesus are more important than anyone’s personal convictions or Christian liberty:

“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:13)

Essentially, Paul’s message to the New Testament believers and to us today is this: even if we believe we are right and have Christian freedom in an area, if our actions will cause another brother or sister to stumble in his or her faith, we are to refrain out of love.

Paul spoke again of the matter in 1 Corinthians 8:7–9:

“Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

The issue in New Testament times was eating meat offered to idols; today there are other “gray areas” that arise in our Christian walk. Romans 14:1 calls these “disputable matters,” areas where the Bible does not give clear-cut guidelines on whether a behavior is sin. When we are faced with gray areas, we can rely on two guiding principles to regulate our Christian freedom: let love for others compel us not to cause anyone to stumble, and let our desire to glorify God be our all-encompassing motive.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.