THE WORLD (KOSMOS)! WHAT IS IT OR WHO ARE THEY?

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SPOTLIGHT:

On a casual usage of the term world, most consider it to be a term describing either the planet earth, or the population of humans upon the earth and all other aspects of this worlds system. But in this article I will seek to argue scripturally that the term “world” a translation from the Greek term Kosmos, has to be interpreted according to how God uses the term in Holy scripture by focusing on the context and subject matter being spoken of by God!

Setting aside habits, traditions, bias, or perhaps just our very loose way of using our English language in a more neutral manner is hard to do many times. But it must be done. Usage of our English grammar along with the actual meaning of a term in Greek is a essential procedure in getting the right thought, doctrine and theological meaning of a portion of scripture one is studying.

To study this appropriately we need to find a portion of the word of God which will be very helpful in showing how one can be easily influenced away from Biblical teachings using just a normal thought process we all have as we use the English term World! Let’s examine the term in the Bible which is found in John 3:16. Most of us are familiar with that verse of scripture and have heard certain explanations since childhood which usually stays with us into our adult age. It reads:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”

As we look at and consider the term ‘world’, we must remember that the term “Kosmos” (world) is NOT used with a uniform significance in the New Testament. It is used in quite a few different ways. I will give a few examples to show this:

  1. Kosmos is used of the Universe as a whole. – Acts 17:24 – “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”
  2. Kosmos is used of the earth. – John 13:1; Ephesians 1:4, etc.! “When Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart OUT OF THIS WORLD unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.” —- Depart out of this world signifies THIS EARTH. Also: “According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” – Signifies before the earth was created – compare Job 38:4.
  3. Kosmos is used of the world-system. John 12:31,’Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out — compare Matt. 4:8 and 1 John 5:19.
  4. Kosmos is used of the WHOLE HUMAN RACE. Romans 3: 19 – “Now we know that what things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that EVERY mouth may be stopped and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God.”
  5. Kosmos is used of Humanity MINUS BELIEVERS: John 15:18 and Romans 3:6. “If the WORLD hate you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” – Believers do not HATE Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of Un-Believers in contrast from believers who love Christ. Also, note: “God forbid: for then how shall God JUDGE the WORLD.” Here is another passage where “the world” CANNOT mean “you, me, and everybody.” For Believers WILL NOT be Judged by God – See John 5:24. So this is the world of unbelievers HE is speaking about.
  6. KOSMOS is used of Gentiles in Contrast from Jews: Romans 11:12, reads, “Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the Riches of the World, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the Riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israels) fulness.” Note: The first clause is DEFINED by the latter clause. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it EXCLUDES Israel.
  7. Kosmos is used of believers ONLY: John 1:29; 3:16, 17, 6:33; 12:47; 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. I leave these verses for you to turn to and see what they say. Be careful and note exactly WHAT IS SAID AND PREDICATED OF ‘THE WORLD’ IN EACH PLACE.

So it is seen that Kosmos has at least 7 clear defined different meanings in the N.T.! So study of context, noting also what is predicated of the world in each passage, and note this, as one studies all scripture on any or all words!

TAKEAWAY:

The principle subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us WHAT moved God to GIVE His only begotten Son. That was HIS great LOVE. The second clause informs us FOR WHOM GOD GAVE HIS SON, and that is for WHOEVER or better EVERY ONE who believes. While the last clause makes known WHY God gave His Son (His purpose), and that is, that EVERYONE that believes should not perish but have everlasting life.”

This verse has to do with God’s world of believers or God’s elect ones. In contrast to “the world of the ungodly unbelievers” – 2 Peter 2:5.

In 1 Peter 1:1, Peter is writing this letter to a particular people. It states “……I am writing to God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE….”. Note verse 2: “God the Father…..Knew you and chose you long ago, and HIS Spirit has MADE you Holy.

Verse 21, states, “……through Christ YOU have COME TO TRUST in God, it is because of Christ we have come to trust and then obedience takes place not because of us! Because of HIM and HIS work, i.e., His calling, drawing, opening up our eyes, heart, ears and spiritual abilities to engage in calling upon Him, repenting, having faith in Him, and walking with Him. In other words the NEW BIRTH HAD TO TAKE PLACE BEFORE ANY OF THE OTHER TAKES PLACE. A NEW ABILITY HAD TO BE GIVEN TO A LOST SIN BOUND PERSON AND ONE WHO LIVES IN DARKNESS AND UNDER THE CHAINS OF SATAN’S BONDAGE.

BOTTOM TAKE OUT LINE:

Christ Jesus was sent into the world (all meanings here because He came to the earth, lived in the world system, presented Himself to pagans and people of faith, etc.!) Scripture reveals to us HE came to LIVE a holy, sacred, righteous life without sin, and to be taken and killed on a Cross by the pagan unbelieving world of humans both Jews and Gentiles, and shed His blood on that Cross actually paying the penalty for HIS PEOPLE’S SINS, ACTUALLY ATONING FOR THEIR SINS AND NO ONE ELSE’S!

POINT: No one else’s because if It were for all people then ALL people would be saved and forgiven for all of their sins the biggest one being UNBELIEF! But, we know the Bible doesn’t teach that at all. People do go to hell, and people do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have to pay for their own sin and punishment in hell and eventually the lake of fire. So, the Atonement was for the Lost Sheep, some were alive and followers at that moment, others had passed away in history past, and others in the future who will be saved and forgiven are included in this work of blood shedding and death on the Cross.

Also, Christ arose. If he had not risen from the dead we would all still be in our sins and nothing we are teaching and saying has any value ever. He arose, and now HE is seated at the Right Hand of God the Father making intercession for each of HIS SHEEP on a 24/7 basis throughout the rest of history. He also sent back the Holy Spirit to take His place in the actual body of the believers revealing and guiding them in their faith. Now, we are looking for His return to complete the following: Resurrect our bodies from the grave (all who have passed away), translate Christians into a new spiritual body if He comes in the air and we are still here, and then glorify all of us. Also, He will burn up the heavens above us and the earth beneath us and make it all new without any curse, sin, or evil or decay. Also, a New City will come down from heaven prepared for us in order for us to Live with HIM on planet earth which has been restored to perfection along with us. That is our hope today!! Maranatha!!

P.S. A thorough study of the teachings of scripture on Complete Depravity of the human from conception due to Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden is an essential doctrine that goes along with the teaching of this article due to its implications on ‘all’ humanity. Also, a study of the Definite Atonement made by Christ for HIS people is essential! Complete depravity does not mean a human being engages in the full extent the fallen nature and its fruits of sin, but it does mean people are as bad off as they could possible be until Jesus Christ saves them. Definite atonement does mean that Christ and His blood shedding and Cross work was not done with “hoping’ someone may be saved or with the idea that one could decide and make a personal choice to take it or leave it, as if it was a product on a market shelf. It does mean the blood did do what it was shed to do and His payment was made for actual sin and sins of HIS people and they WILL be forgiven and set free from the wrath and punishment they deserve. The Blood work did its work for His people and that is definite and cannot be otherwise. What God does He does perfectly and without any error and also without making happen what He desired it to accomplish.


WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR SALVATION?

I have been a Christian over 60 years. I have seen it all and I see an endemic problem that captures the mind and hearts of people, whether lost or professing believers. What is that? It is the idea that humans have the ability to rise up out of our jail cell, the home of our fallen nature, and defy the head of our family Satan, when we are lost and without Christ and God!

To even think we can by our own power and abilities rise up and shake off the power of Satan over us and make God save us is astounding, especially since the Word of God states otherwise.

An illustration which hopefully can create what the Bible teaches about the status of a human being from conception is as follows:

Human beings since the fall of Adam and Eve, are conceived in sin. That means they are as bad off spiritually as they can be, even though they may not act out in the worst way possible for being in such a state because God in HIS grace keeps them back from being as bad as they can be. Think of it this way; a person who is lost is NOT like a person floating on the water about to sink and drown and all we have to do is throw them a rope of hope so they can save their life. This is NOT a good illustration at all but in fact, an absolute false illustration of ones spiritual reality as a sinner on this earth. What would be more correct would be this: a person lost and without Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, is not floating on a sea of water and drowning, but rather, he or she is on the bottom of the sea or lake, dead, drowned, not alive at all. They are bound by sin, controlled by sin, in darkness, separated from God and spiritually dead, in the family of Satan, and locked in chains and bondage in his jailhouse and doing his bidding! That is where people are until the Commander in Chief of Heaven’s Armies comes and rescues them!

The facts are that God in the Garden of Eden told Adam that if they ate of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would die! They did. They died spiritually, meaning God was no longer their God and Lord and Master and they fell into darkness, the bondage of sin and Satan and immediately became members of Satan’s kingdom.

Immediately, they became cognizant of their sin, and God became someone whom they feared and sought to hide from. As we think on that scene, we see Adam and Eve hiding, recognizing something was wrong. They knew they were naked and they felt shame, and so worked hard to escape and hide from God, because they could “hear” God walking in the Garden.

Man today, knows there is a power above, but will not come toward Him, but rather, seeks to hide from Him and do his own thing which is to continue in sin and let Satan lead him. God states so clearly through the prophets and also through the Apostle Paul, that “No man seeks after God” (Romans 3:11; Psalm 14:1-3). That is a fact period! God said it so it is! No man seeks God!

Humans, consist of a soul/spirit and heart (innermost being of mankind) and a mind. Man has desires, wants, and, lusts as part of their DNA. Adam and Eve desires were holy and right until they sinned in the Garden of Eden and those good desires and wants and wishes turned into sinful desires and wants and wishes. Man’s entire being was corrupted by sin. We call it depravity and that depravity was total and not partial.

So, the above brings us to a discussion of the human will. I acknowledge this is a hot topic. But, it really is so simple if we put aside our emotions and think logically. What comes first? I contend our desires, our wants, our wishes, our lusts are the dictators which motivate the “will” to function, in order to carry out our desire, wants, and wishes. So, whatever our nature asks for our “will” will carry it out. Unbelievers act out of their sinful nature. They do nothing for the glory of God. The only things that may restrain them are their conscience, fears, culture, or the consequences of sin. So, those things control their will. For the believer, from the moment of salvation God starts changing our want tos and our desires through the Holy Spirit and the word of God. So, when temptations and sin rises up in us we call on the Spirit to give us strength to resist.

In other words, the will of man is NOT free and in control. It is our human desires that control our wills. The will obeys our desires, which can be good or bad. They can be holy or sinful. The strongest desire will control our will. It is not the other way around. The will doesn’t sit back and search out what it wants to do and then act, but rather, it is in bondage to whatever is the strongest thing that is presented to it. It will be either God’s will or the power of the flesh and sin. Our sinful nature is always seeking to express itself, but through the power of Christ within us we overcome it. That is why Martin Luther stated, “The Will is in bondage” for it is bound either by the power of the flesh and sin or by the power of the word of God.

Also, the word teaches that Spiritual truths cannot be understood by an unbeliever. If they should read the word of God, they cannot understand the spiritual meaning of it. Without the Holy Spirit in them they cannot be taught Biblical truths and facts and understand them. It is all foolishness and something strange to them.

So, how does a person become a Christ follower and be saved from the wrath and judgment of God? What has to take place? Who starts the process and makes it happen? Is it the person who lives in bondage to sin? Is it the person who lives in darkness with no spiritual understanding? Is it the man or woman who figures it all out and knows how to be saved by doing some human work, like walking an aisle, raising your hand, signing a card? Is it the person “making” God come down to him and save him and forgive him of his sins?

God says NO! No man seeks after God. That is what God says!

So, how does it come about? Romans 9 and many other places throughout the Word tell us that GOD HIMSELF GRANTS MAN FORGIVENESS AND REPENTANCE AND FAITH. Faith comes through God bringing His word, the Gospel, to a person, which then produces the New Birth. That is, LIFE is given to the DEAD soul and spirit of a person. Then, due to God’s First Cause work of the New Birth, that person is enabled to choose Christ, call on Christ, believe and trust in Christ, repent of his or her sins, and ask forgiveness, and submit and worship Christ. Without God coming to us, and calling, drawing, and opening our hearts and minds and souls and spirits, making us ALIVE to God, we would NEVER come to Him. The Gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.

We would NEVER even desire to know Christ Jesus. So, it is BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE, BY CHRIST ALONE, FOR THE GLORY OF GOD ALONE, WE ARE SAVED AND FORGIVEN AND FOLLOW JESUS.

It is all about God and Christ and the Holy Spirit doing their work in a wicked, evil, sinning unbeliever. Yes, we make a choice to follow Jesus, but He gives us the ability to make that choice. Our choice was first a divine work from God upon our dead innermost being which enabled in us a desire for Jesus.

Also, our choice was a guaranteed choice. When God through the Holy Spirit takes out our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-27), so that we may know Him there is no way a guilty sinner is going to say, “No God, don’t do that. I don’t want to redeemed and spend eternity in Heaven with You. I will resist the Holy Spirit’s drawing. Not going to happen!

A crude example is this: Your vehicle may have a battery and a fuel tank, but if the battery has no power and is dead, and there is no gasoline in the fuel tank, it will NEVER start. It won’t respond no matter how many times you try to start it. You have to have gas in the tank and electricity in the battery or it won’t work ever! God has to place within us the power and ability to repent, trust in and believe and have holy faith or it will never take place.

God is a choosing God!! He could save all mankind if He so chose to do so. But He didn’t. Someone will say that this is because man makes the choice to be saved or not and not God. But, I hope we have seen that can’t be true.
And you can’t use 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” because then that would make humans more powerful than God. It would mean God is wishing for people to be saved and they are having none of it. This would mean God is not God! For the Bible teaches there is NOTHING that GOD can’t do.

Besides, that would be taking that verse out of context and misinterpreting it. Who is Peter writing to? The same people he wrote to in 1 Peter, the elect exiles. In 2 Peter, he tells them to make their calling and election sure. He is writing to saved people, the elect, they are the “you” and “any” and “all” of verse 9.

Here is another point. When Adam and Eve sinned they died spiritually AND BOTH WERE CONSIGNED TO THE WRATH OF GOD IMMEDIDATELY. God performed a sacrifice so He could pass over their sin until Jesus’ once for all sacrifice was made. AND SO VERY CHILD BORN TO THEM DOWN THROUGH TIME UNTIL THIS VERY DAY IS IN THE SAME SITUATION!

All humans are conceived in SIN and are under wrath and condemnation from God the Father. So, it is NOT just when they begin to think about things and make choices whether good or bad, but rather the opposite. They are born sinners.

That means that unless some outside source comes to their rescue they will have to be eventually sent to hell and the lake for eternal punishment. We were there in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. We all were represented by Adam. In other words, Adam acted on our behalf, and if we had been there we would have done the same thing he did. So, we need a helper, a savior, a God who will come and rescue us. That is what the Gospel does.

It is Jesus who sees dead people at the bottom of the sea of sin and comes to the rescue. He says to us, “LIVE” and we come alive. We are forgiven and made into the Children of God and we follow Jesus our Lord and Savior because of God’s choice and power not our own. A key verse of Scripture states, “11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

In all this, we must address the justice of God. The holiness of God demands justice upon the whole human race for their rebellion. We are cosmic traitors. All people should be sent to hell for our rebellion. EVERY LAST ONE OF US DESERVES THE eternal punishment! The angels who fell have no Savior and they are consigned to the Lake of Fire.

But, GOD chose to save some humans, His supreme creation, made in His image. He has forgiven us and saved us from His own wrath and has given us to His Son Jesus as a love gift (John 17) and we are now called the sons of God, children of God, joint heirs of everything with Christ Jesus, new creations, priests of God, holy people and a holy nation.

THE ONLY question I am left with is, why me. I don’t deserve to be forgiven by a holy God. I am no better than anyone else. I am a sinner like all of us. Why save me? Nothing in me merits salvation. Why me and why all of us who are saved? Why not all? Why didn’t He save everyone? I can’t answer that. No one can answer that question. God acts according to His own good pleasure (Ephesians 1). His secret will covers the question. But, because we know His revealed will, we know what He wants us to know.

Romans 9 and Isaiah 64:8 tell us God is the Potter and we are the clay, and He says He does what He wishes and wills with those whom He has created. In doing so, HE CANNOT BE CHARGED WITH A WRONG. FOR THE LOST ARE JUSTLY CONDEMNED FOR THEIR SIN AND REBELLION, AND THOSE HE CHOOSES TO SAVE HAVE THEIR SINS PLACED ON JESUS WHO PAID FOR THEIR CRIME AGAINST GOD AND SO THEY GO FREE. THIS IS ALSO JUST AND HOLY FOR GOD CAN SHOW MERCY TO WHOM HE CHOOSES TO SHOW MERCY AND CAN’T BE CHARGED WITH WRONGDOING.

A human judge, or President, or ruler of a nation can make a decision and let someone be set free from jail or even a death sentence if they wish to do so. It is called mercy. He or she doesn’t do that for all criminals, but sometimes mercy is shown to some. If they can do that and be correct and right, God certainly can, but remember Jesus paid our price we owed for our sinful rebellion by shedding His blood and paying the price by dying for us, in that way we can be shown mercy.

God then transfers Jesus’ holy righteousness to our account making us acceptable to God.

THIS IS THE GOD WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH AND HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT IN WHAT HE DOES. HIS WAYS OR NOT OUR WAYS AND HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS. SO BOW TO HIM AND REPENT OF CHALLENGING HIM AND HIS WORKS!

Don’t even think of saying that’s not fair, because we don’t want God to be fair! If he was fair, He would sentence all of us to hell and the Lake of Fire, because we deserve it. So God shows love, compassion, mercy and unmerited favor (Grace) to unworthy sinners whom He calls, draws, and brings to the Light granting them the ability to believe in Jesus and call upon Him for salvation.

Thank God we had our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world, for if it were not done by Him, we all would perish. Thank God for these wonderful truths rather than call Him into question about anything! We are from the dust of the earth and only mortals, HE is GOD, so let God be God and quit trying to be God by thinking for Him!!

Our pride takes us all to destruction, so let it not be rising up in indignation, but rather, let us humble ourselves in thankful submission for our great God who loved us enough to die for us and rise from the dead giving us eternal life.

All my words can be substantiated by reading the Book of Romans, the Gospel of John, the book of Galatians, the book of Ephesians, the book of Genesis, and the book of Revelation. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you light to see God’s truth in His word. He will answer that prayer.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALONE AND NOT MAN!

EVERYONE HAS A THEOLOGY OR DOCTRINE!

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SPOTLIGHT:

Everyone in the body of Christ has a theology and a doctrine. We all do! It is certain! So, to pretend we do not have a theology or a doctrine or teaching that we believe is right would be hypocritical.

Doctrine and theology is what the Bible is all about. Paul the Apostle stated to Timothy these words:”Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” – 2 Timothy 4: 1-4

It sounds good perhaps to say, I don’t care what men say or write. I only depend upon the word of God and pay no attention to what a man may say! Now that sounds real pious, but that is NOT what the Holy Spirit told Timothy the the Apostle Paul in the above verses. God raises up prophets and teachers and ministers who are to preach and teach and write the whole counsel of God to the people of God so that they will grow spiritually and be directed by the word of God properly. God has faithful called and chosen ministers who do this and it is wise to follow them and grow in the word as God instructed us.

We all know the word is inspired of God, and we are to teach that word to others and it doesn’t leave its inspired status when a minister preaches and teaches it.

So, how do we know who is right and who is wrong when we hear different interpretations of the Scriptures?

Well, the Bereans searched the scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul was teaching was actually taught in the word of God! Check out the word in proper context and use proper hermeneutical rules of interpretation. We do not have the actual Mss in Greek, so we use the reliable English translations for our spiritual words from God to us. That means then we must pay attention to proper grammar, the verb tenses, the adjectives, the nouns, and then we must know what actual words mean.

For instance, when God uses the term Israel throughout the Bible, we must remember there are 4 meanings of the term Israel used in the Bible. If one doesn’t know the different meanings and just uses the meaning they have heard most often, which most likely is Israel as a nation of Jews, they will interpret the scriptures incorrectly. You can’t interpret the Bible correctly if you get that one word wrong!

Now, this is what I mean. God gave four Seeds to Abraham which are translated as Israel throughout scripture. These 4 seeds are:

1. Abrahams natural seed: All of Abraham’s physical children.

2. Abraham’s special seed: The Nation of Israel.

3. Abraham’s spiritual seed: All of those through history saved by grace through faith, Jew or Gentile, which make up the body of Christ redeemed by the atoning blood of Christ which places them both into ONE body!,

4. The major SEED singular: Christ Jesus the Savior and Messiah and He is the Israel of God, the Lord from Glory!

So, these truths impact Bible doctrines. Like for instance: who is in the body of Christ, how did they get there, also passages relating to the Doctrines of Grace and Eschatology.

We all need to speed more time studying and meditating on the proper interpretation of the Scriptures.

For instance, did you know the English word for Church, is not a proper rendering of the Greek word ecclesia or ekklesia, which means called out ones. Called out by God reflecting the new birth.

The church is not a building, not a denomination, not something you can join by just signing up.

To be a member of the “called out ones” a person has to have a spiritual work done exclusively by God. He has to change the formerly dead spiritual human who is walking around like a Zombie, to a live born again saint destined for Heaven.

God calls them. God draws them to Himself through the word and the Holy Spirit and creates a New Creature who is alive unto God so they can immediately know and call upon Christ and confess Him openly as their Lord and God and Savior.

Christ alone builds His called out body and doesn’t teach we are to build His body. For His body is a spiritual reality not a physical reality. Believers may live in human bodies, but we are spiritual beings.

So, I hope you can see from these examples how important it is to teach and preach to others the word of God properly.

EXILES ON PLANET EARTH WITH EXPECTATIONS FOR THE PROMISED LAND-NEW JERUSALEM THE CITY OF GOD!

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THE PROMISE OF GOD ALSO INCLUDED A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH! THE CITY OF GOD!

SPOTLIGHT:

1 PETER 1:1; 1 Peter 2:9;

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside AS ALIENS, …….”But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Notice that Peter reveals to the saints that after salvation they are no longer to be considered citizens of this world, but rather aliens, residing in a country that they no longer can consider their home. In another place, Paul the Apostle I believe stated we are as saints to be “looking for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.” A reflection on what Abraham, a friend of God, was doing throughout his lifetime!

I fear to many of us have become acclimated to this world system so much we do not feel like aliens at all. Do we long for and become excited every day about our new home in glory which is to come? Do we long for that place? Paul surely did, and so should we!

OLD TESTAMENT PROMISE TO GOD’S PEOPLE ALSO RELATES TO THE GOSPEL AND OUR POSITION IN CHRIST JESUS!

JEREMIAH 28: 7-14

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will have welfare.”

This promise was to Israel specifically. However, the Gospel brings each saint of God into God’s promises to all of His children living as aliens on this planet today and tomorrow and always! He continues:

Verse 11; “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortune and from all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.”

God has great plans for us, our welfare, our protection during our stay here on earth, even though we go through trials and tribulations, and difficulties He promised to be WITH US all the way. Right there in the middle of the dark pot of evil. We will and we do pray, and we are promised He will hear our prayers, and eventually remove us from this cursed planet to our heavenly home, or He will come back and translate us into His glory and we will dwell with HIM on planet earth totally restored to perfection in the New city of God, New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21: 1-3; 10-11;

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is No longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.”

John goes on through Chapter 21 of Revelation to describe that city in more detail. This is where we are ultimately going to be one day and very soon really!

As pilgrims here we need to guard our hearts and minds. We don’t want to be inflicted with a mental destination syndrome! When we have a mental destination syndrome our focus and attention is always geared toward the ‘here and now’ and ‘what can I get out of it all, including relationships, our marriage, our children, our job, our Church and its members and leadership, etc.!

If we keep a ‘down here’ mental destination attitude we will NEVER be satisfied, never be happy, always discouraged.

People will disappoint us. Job, fun, houses, and cars will disappoint us. Name it, all will eventually disappoint us.

Only Christ will never disappoint us. He always keep His promises. He provides, through the Spirit, the proper heart and mind set. Through the Spirit, we will keep our spirit, soul and heart set upon the heavenly city of God and the presence of God in our life daily.

So, as we wake up each morning, let us seriously remember and contemplate the New Jerusalem. In spite of the troublesome times we are in with plagues, riots, war, terrorism, hate, chaos, confusion, crime, murder, robberies, destruction of property, and the outworking of immorality and evil of all types, we have a place prepared for us with Jesus and He will keep His promise to us.

Pray for His Kingdom to come and also pray for the welfare of our City, our State, and our Nation where we live in exile today, for in its welfare we will have welfare.

SONG: NEW JERUSALEM – THE HOPPERS

IDENTIFYING MARKS OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN!

SPOTLIGHT: CULTURES REFLECT VARIOUS AND DIVERSE WAYS OF LIFE IN TERMS OF EVERYTHING FROM BUILDINGS, VEHICLES, HOMES, DRESS, AND APPROACHES TO LIFE !

Christian culture affects our way of life over all. It is and can be identified in our outward demonstrations of life events, our actions in government, how we design buildings, and how we handle economics.

Peter the Apostle of Jesus Christ our God mentions in I Peter 2 that we are a chosen nation of people. Nations reflect a primary style of living which is called a culture and that means the people are distinctively identified by not only their skin color, but the outward manifestations of things one sees in their domains.

Inward ideas and belief systems do affect many things outwardly. For instance, a Christ follower may show a more conservative approach to outward dress. That is, their dress will be more modest than the non- believers, or at least it should be!! Buildings used for worship are distinctively recognized as Christian. Many times there are outward symbols such as a Cross. Secular buildings may have signs indicating what goes on inside of them.

Cultures can be studied in human history. For instance, the culture of the Corinthians in the time of Christ and Paul the Apostle was noted for its immorality, especially sexual deviations, and idol worship. Then there are certain tribes or racial groups on various islands around the globe were people practiced head hunting and would kill and eat the human bodies they had slain.

I noted one tribe that practiced cannibalism, but also, practiced honesty and were very careful not to steal someone else’s property.

The Roman Empire eventually had a reputation which identified them with much immorality, so much so, it actually contributed to their total downfall.

I refer to all of this because I wish to share with you how throughout history God allows tribes, nations, and individuals to progress more and more into evil and sin, or He may bring certain tribes and cultures to faith in Himself and His Son Jesus Christ changing their entire way of life and culture.

In the United States there has been times when we were collapsing spiritually and morally. Church buildings were empty, worship of God was on a low level. Bars and sordid and crude entertainment was prominent, drunkenness and prostitution was high. Our nation was in deep trouble. But, God chose to bring people back to worship and changed the entire nation and we called that period of time “The Great Awakening” reflecting how people turned to God through Jesus Christ and began worshipping Him. Bars and houses of ill repute were closed down and Church buildings begin filling up with people worshipping God. They took their faith seriously and it changed the culture.

Remember this, we cannot, no matter how strong our desire to do so, in our own power change the culture to a righteous and holy one. Only God Himself can do that by changing the hearts, souls and spirits of the people. He has to do it!! A nation can become more religious, but that will only be outward, but the innermost part of the culture’s citizens will be rotten to the core. They will be basically hypocrites, or moral deists without Christ. This is spoken of in the scriptures as, “those who have a form of Godliness but deny the power of God”!

This world is not paradise. You and I can’t make it into a paradise. Often when I ask others how they are doing, I hear, “Having another wonderful day in paradise”! Well, that’s not so! No paradise here. Paradise is coming, but it will only come when Jesus comes back and makes a new heavens and a new earth! But while we are here the culture will always be changing.

It either gets better or worse . And without the influence of true, Biblical Christianity it will get worse.

DISCOVERY:

True chosen Christ Followers, are those who realize their culture is different. Different than the one they were in prior to being called by Christ into His Kingdom and the new culture of God!

Inclusion in this new culture means there is going to be radical changes in the Christian’s life. Changes so different and so dynamic others can’t miss them.

God, for our good and His glory, has chosen to keep us in this broken-down sinful world. He has chosen to use the hardships of this world to complete our transformation into the image of Christ. He does not leave us helpless or alone either. He is not somewhere up there or far away from us. He is actually in us, with us and directing us.

He blesses us every day, and He has us right where He wants us to be. That means your marriage, your job, your local congregation of fellow believers, your family, and your friends and acquaintances, will NEVER be the paradise you want them to be in this world. If you are expecting that from them you will be highly disappointed.

We live in this world system, but as pilgrims, aliens, migrants from another unseen world and culture which is totally foreign to this one, but God has given us a place in that unseen culture and kingdom which is eternal paradise beyond our wildest dreams. Jesus said:

In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you but I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2.

As we face hardships in this world, we must remember that GRACE has purchased us a ticket for the paradise above with Him which is to come. He will keep His promise. He kept His promise to the world to come the first time, to die and rise from the dead paying the penalty for our sins, so we can escape the judgment and wrath of the Father, and He promised to go back to Heaven and send the Holy Spirit to His chosen ones and He did!

So, He will return! Are you ready for Him? Do you really know Him and His culture? Are you finding that He is more satisfying than this world system and all it has to offer? If not why not? Come to Him and find life, satisfaction, contentment, hope and assurance that ONLY HE can give, for He is God! He loves His own and will always provide for them since they are HIS family!! Amen!

AMAZEMENT OR FAITH?

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SPOTLIGHT: When we see such majestic things before our very eyes, is it just amazement that takes place or do we realize this all was created by the God of the Universe and it is by FAITH in HIM we are amazed? There is a difference between amazement and faith. God isn’t just interested in creating a mind boggling experience, HE is after our obedience.

NOTE THE DIFFERENCES CONCERNING FAITH AND EXPERIENCE!

Paul David Tripp noted the following:

  • You can be amazed by the grand sweep of the redemptive story in Scripture and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the labyrinthine logic of the theology of the Word of God and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the great worship music you participate in every Sunday and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the love of your small group and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the wonderful biblical preaching and teaching that you hear and not be living by faith.
  • You can be amazed by the grace of the cross of Jesus and not be living by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please HIM; for He that comes to God must believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Faith! Let’s examine that again!

Examine Galatians 5:4-5: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”

Notice how God is telling us that FAITH is the key. Keeping the law and looking to it to make us righteous will not ever work. Keeping rules, being religious is not going to cut it!!

FAITH is the key. Hebrews makes much of this for us. And, it is NOT just a learned or perhaps a mental assent to some doctrines and teachings either.

FAITH IS A LIVING, VITAL, ACTIVE, POWERFUL TRUST, CONFIDENCE, RELIANCE UPON, DEPENDENCY UPON, AND JUST PLAIN TOTAL BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST AS MY HOPE, MY RIGHTEOUSNESS, MY LIFE, MY ALL IN ALL.

Trying to change our sinful habits and heart attitudes with just plain old determination of the mind and thoughts is called “Moral Deism”. We use special programs and courses to make things work.

IT WON’T WORK! WHY? FAITH COMES FROM OUTSIDE OF US AND INTO US BY GOD HIMSELF, AS HE AND HIS WORD by the Holy Spirit, CALLS US TO HIMSELF AND THE GOSPEL MESSAGE.

That is why it is called being “born again” or the “new birth” or the “new creation.” We can’t make such spiritual and miraculous things like that just happen through our will power. It really is a relationship that takes place between the sinner and God! And when I say God, I mean the Triune God, the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit which is ONE God existing in three divine beings totally unified and never separated for one moment, and co-substantial and co-equal in all things.

This relationship is established by the presence of God coming to reside in our very innermost being (Heart, Soul, Spirit, the very core of our being). Our body, is the place that the “sin” abides and it is called the Flesh (Sarx or Sin). We, the new person created by God through His word and Spirit, are separated now from that Flesh. But, that flesh still gives us many problems as it uses the Law of God to condemn us, shame us, make us feel guilty, seeks to undermine the work of God in us, and also makes us insecure and causes us to think we may not even be saved because we sin against our Lord God at times.

But, we know Justification has taken place via Grace, because we receive the Holy Spirit and HE makes sure HE establishes that relationship with our spirit and confirms we are the sons of God. Also, we have received Christ Himself and the Father who comes and dwells within us, and we in God! It is an on-going vital relationship. It never ceases or stops. Even our stumbling into sin will not stop the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Sin, Satan and the System of this world can never take away what God has ordained and accomplished in our lives. We are secure in HIM! He keeps us. We do not keep ourselves for we are not able to do so!!

His is not satisfied with the wonder and amazement we have in our minds. He is not going to let it all stop there. He moves on to establishing His life-altering rule in our hearts, our souls and our spirits as He conforms us into the image of His Son. He matures us into His design for His children in this life and the next. From regeneration to glorification, it is ALL about HIM and HIS work in us!! Amen!

THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!

THE BOOK OF ROMANS, GALATIANS, COLOSSIANS AND THE GOSPEL OF JOHN ARE GREAT BOOKS TO STUDY CONCERNING THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE

David is prominent in the Old Testament, especially the book of Psalms. I love David and God’s teachings to him! He said in Psalm 32 the following:

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty”.

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat! Finally, I confessed all my sins to you, and stopped trying to HIDE my guilt. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the Lord, and you forgave me! ALL my guilt is gone! Therefore, let the godly pray to you while there is STILL TIME, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. For you are My Hiding Place; You protect me from trouble, You surround me with songs of victory!”

Hallelujah what a Savior! Amen!”

Was David a sinner? No, he wasn”t. David was a Saint! Does David sin after being saved by God’s grace, Yes! Why? He still lives in a body that has sin dwelling in it called the Flesh! David had a new heart, a new soul and a new spirit. God saved Him by His grace.

Yet, David had many personal sins during his lifetime. The fact is, salvation is FROM the penalty of sin, but sin still dwells in our flesh. That part of us is not born again! We struggle with sin. We do not wish to sin!

In the Garden of Eden when God called Adam and Eve to account for their sin, what took place? GOD came and found them. God came and called them. God killed a Lamb and shed its blood and took its skin and put it over their bodies to cover their nakedness.

One of the lessons for us in this is God is the one who grants mercy and grace. He did so through the shed blood of an animal which pointed to the Lamb of God (Jesus) who was to come and shed His blood for His peoples’ sin. Adam and Eve did not even blink an eye. They didn’t do anything. They were worked ON by God alone for His glory alone!!

The same today. God calls. God grants us faith and repentance. God grants us mercy, grace, and a new birth, covering us in Christ’s blood. He puts us into Christ and into eternal life never remembering or holding us accountable any longer for any sin whether it is past, present or future.

David was saved, redeemed, justified by faith, regenerated (made alive unto God), had God in his daily life, had the Holy Spirit, for no one can be saved and not have the Holy Spirit abiding within them!

In other words, we get a new identity. Sinners are turned into Saints.

In no way am I advocating sinless perfection. Our flesh or our fallen or old man, which ever phrase you prefer, still produces sin. When we do, we bring those sins to the light and confess them, but not in the sense that they have NOT already been forgiven. Jesus died ONCE for those sins (past, present, and future). No re-crucifying Jesus again, and again and again by acting like you haven’t been forgiven. You have. The O.T. High Priests had to sacrifice the lambs daily, but Jesus sacrifice was once. It is finished. We have been born again. We are new creations.

Paul called us Saints. Peter called us Saints.

Even though we are new creations, we still live in unregenerate, fallen bodies and sin dwells in them.

We confess those sins to the Lord and to each other when need be, but those sins are forgiven. David confessed his sins to the Lord, but David also knew he was forgiven.

The Word teaches us not to hide our sins, but to bring them to the Lord, to the light, and confess them. As a Saint, hiding such sin brings guilt, shame, and difficulties in our lives, until we confess openly we have failed the Lord.

But, remember always, those sins are already forgiven. When we confess them we are agreeing with God that we need to seek to slay sin, stop sin, and walk in the Spirit with Him!

We don’t we start begging God to forgive us of our wretchedness. We confess and thank Him that He has hidden them under His blood and never to be remembered again. The idea of being laden down with sin and failures, and thinking we are wretched, terrible, awful sinful wicked people is to “smear” God and His message and Jesus’ finished work done for us on the cross. We are not under wrath, not under condemnation, not under shame and disgrace, not under sin’s power, not under Satan’s control. We are not to be depressed, or shamed, or feel lost because we sinned.

Let us agree with God that we are His righteous saints. His righteousness had been IMPUTED to our account. He lives within us and we are in Him and He in us.

The Scriptures tell us God’s heavy hand of discipline was on David until he confessed his sins.God didn’t leave him when he sinned. God didn’t leave him when he did not confess. Instead He made sure David did confess. God was always with David, as He is with us. If we try to hide our sins and not confess them, He will make a way for us to do so.

David could have been perfectly obedient for a 1000 years, but that would have not made him a bit better in the site of God than He was after confessing, for he already had ALL of his sins forgiven, PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.

Yes, David was disciplined by the Lord. Yes, he grieved the Holy Spirit. Yes, there were consequences for his sins, especially within his own family.

But, knowing we are not under condemnation and all our sins have already been forgiven at the Cross spurs us on to serve Jesus even more and love Him even more. This is AMAZING GRACE.

Christ is in us, and we are in Him. We Abide in Christ and He abides in us! He always LOVES us, with never a lapse in that LOVE! He never leaves us and He in fact, keeps us in the faith. We can’t go in and out of fellowship with God, for He is always there.

Do you believe the word of God on this?

Lamar Carnes – A fellow believer in the journey of life on planet earth! Praise be unto God (the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost)! Amen! Selah! Maranatha!

The Holy Triune God from Heaven Sent a Savior!!!

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Where will we find an anchor and a hiding place as we go through life’s journey?

Life is filled with many mysteries!

There are things we just can’t figure out!

In fact, we simply aren’t able to understand and make sense of our life here on planet earth! Working to figure things out will only frustrate us and we will never find inner peace and rest. We can work day and night to figure it all out and end up exhausted.

Peace and rest is only found in the wisdom and grace of the ONE who has it all figured out and rules it all for His glory and our good.

We must trust God our Father, our Creator, and our Lord! And we can only come to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, the God/Man. God the Father chose him to be the Mediator between us and himself.

Jesus Christ paid the debt we owed God for being a sinner and rebel against Him!

Christ came in the flesh and lived a perfect life of absolute righteousness among men.

He was ordained by God to go to the cross and be crucified, a method of punishment which would require the shedding of His blood. Atonement could only be made by the shedding of blood, in order to make those whom God chose and called (those who believe and trust in Jesus), spiritually perfect in Christ.

Jesus died in our place and imputed his penal substitutionary death to us.
To prove this was an acceptable sacrifice, Jesus rose from the grave and ascended back to heaven from where he had come, to be His people’s High Priest, making intercession for us every moment of every day.

He is where we find rest, peace, purpose, value, contentment, joy, satisfaction and assurance that all is well.

Nothing in this world will ever provide this for us. It will absolutely fail us every time we go seeking for peace and purpose in our created world.

May He grant all who read this everlasting life as they come to Him as He calls, confessing and repenting of their sin, and in humility crying out to God for forgiveness. God then gives us salvation and peace, creating a new heart in us and making us part of His forever family!

Salvation comes by faith alone, in Christ alone, by Grace alone, for the Glory of God alone. It is not by works of righteousness we do, but by God alone do we find salvation and the reason and purpose for life.

The world today is out of order.  It is under a curse.  Mankind is a fallen creature in sin, except for those redeemed by Jesus Christ the Lord from Glory! 

1 John 2: 15-17 reads; “Do not love the world or the things in the world….” and the rest of the verses speak of how it is diseased and in spiritual darkness.

The world tomorrow will be different.  All things will be made “new” and the “old” will pass away and be burned up! 

The Bible is the meta-narrative all about the Lord Jesus Christ, the Commander in Chief of Heaven’s Armies and the Savior of His people whom He planned before creation to save from destruction and hell and punishment. 

Throughout the articles written in our site, you can find a hiding place of rest, peace, assurance, contentment, and joy in Christ Jesus.

IN AND OUT! ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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Introduction:

One of the most clear and important verses in the word of God on the matter of sin and the new birth results is found in the book of Hebrews 10: 1-7, 12-14. As you read these verses notice how the new birth in contrast to the Old Covenant works produces in each Christian a absolute all time new result which did not exist under the Old Covenant. Careful ponder and think of this as you read.

The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were NEVER able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshippers would have been perfected ONCE FOR ALL TIME, AND THEIR FEELINGS OF GUILT WOULD HAVE DISAPPEARED. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins!! That is why when Christ came into the world, he said to God,

YOU did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I SAID, “Look, I have come to do your will O God! – as it is written about me in the Scriptures.”……..

But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for ALL TIME. ……..For by that ONE OFFERING HE FOREVER MADE PERFECT THOSE WHO ARE BEING MADE HOLY.”

I contend that this ONE TIME sacrifice cleared the ACCOUNT of Sinners who trust in Jesus for the REST of their life on earth and also into Eternity with God and Christ. I contend that this ONE TIME offering of Jesus’ body and blood shedding, and Resurrection, REMOVED OUR GUILT AS THESE VERSES SAY FROM THE MOMENT OF REGENERATION THROUGHOUT ETERNITY.

I contend if we don’t recognize this we are not maturing correct in the faith, and do not have a proper understanding of the Gospel of GRACE. We must see, that when sin is allowed to function in our Fallen Natural body of flesh and the SARX (Flesh) where it resides is the thing that sins and our Redeemed Regenerated (Always Alive in Christ and full of the Spirit of God person for we are IN HIM also) is pure, holy, sanctified, and free from Guilt. The New Covenant shows this whereas in the Old Covenant days we do find those facts shown in various New Covenant words of prophecy, but the Old Covenant works did not produce such. That is why we have to be careful of our interpretation a lot of times as we bring them over into our teachings and preachings.

Again, remember we are recognizing from experience and from scripture that our old nature and body has NOT been regenerated and purified and made holy in the sense of the new person and new heart, soul and spirit of man has been by Christ. That is where the struggle exists, and the fight goes on, as the Holy Spirit, and the New Man or Saved person together are to be seen as Mortifying Sin that seeks to rise up and express itself in our faculties. Faculties that have not been regenerated yet! We still have a natural fallen posture in the body where sin dwells, but in the NEW Man that sin is not existing for it has been Born Again and is IN CHRIST THE SEED AS BOTH PAUL AND JOHN THE APOSTLES SO STATED.

Is this statement true? Is it Biblical? Did God really teach this: The statement I speak of is this: “You are sometimes in the Spirit and sometimes in the flesh”!

Let’s examine this statement and see what God has to say about it all! Notice this scripture verse:

Romans 8:9 – “However, you are NOT IN THE FLESH BUT IN THE SPIRIT, IF INDEED THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELLS IN YOU! But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”

Should just end it there for that is the total answer period! The Statement that is currently being taught all over the kingdom of God today is wrong! It is amazing how folks can’t understand clear words and very easy to read words from scripture. But, spiritual truths are not understand by the lost that is for sure, and weaker brothers and sisters in the faith have to learn to undo a lot of the things they get today from all sources except the very word of God in scriptures.

I. DO WE SOMETIMES THINK WE ARE IN THE FLESH AND SOMETIMES IN THE SPIRIT?

What is taking place in the scripture is that God is showing us the difference between a lost person and a saved person. A lost person is always in the FLESH dead to God and spiritual matters, but alive to sin totally. All that a lost person does is sin! No holy acts, no righteousness, no real good deeds valued by God as good, for all he or she does is for self and sin.

Sinners set their minds and hearts on fleshly carnal things all the time. It is 24/7! All self centered. Not God centered ever! All have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God.

Believers however are those who set their minds upon things of the Spirit. Notice Romans 8:5:

“For those who ARE according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who ARE according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

These words describe our identity and our position right now this very minute. We are one or the other. Notice what walking and being in the Spirit looks like in Romans 8: 8-9;

…and those who are in the flesh CANNOT PLEASE GOD. However, YOU ARE NOT IN THE FLESH BUT IN THE SPIRIT, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if ANYONE does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does NOT BELONG TO HIM.”

There is no “in and out” deal going on here. We are one or the other! No middle ground! Our LOCATION is in the Spirit, and I might say also, in the Lord Jesus and in the Father also.

LET’S NOTE HOW THIS DESCRIPTION IS REVEALED TO US IN THE BIBLE:

BEFORE SALVATION: AFTER SALVATION: SCRIPTURES:

In the flesh In the Spirit Romans 8:9

In Adam In Christ 1 Cor. 15:22

A slave to sin A slave to righteousness Rom. 6:17-18

In dark kingdom In His kingdom of light Col. 1:13

Dead to God Alive to God Eph. 2:1,5

Romans 8:6 reads, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE.”

The reality about this we are aliens in this world and on this planet now. The fleshly lusts war against us, not with us – 1 Peter 2:11. Our old man the flesh is still there in the flesh and bones, and it is called the flesh and is carnal. Sin dwells there but NOT in the NEW BORN creation for it is now in Christ Jesus and is imputed with Christ holiness and is pure and holy and sanctified now! IN CHRIST and IN GOD the Father and IN the HOLY SPIRIT.

II. NO GOING IN THE DOOR AND OUT OF THE DOOR! OUR REDEEMED SOUL/SPIRIT AND HEART ARE NOW REDEEMED AND HOLY, BUT THE FLESH IS STILL DEAD IN SIN UNTIL IT GOES BACK TO THE DUST AND IS RESURRECTED OR TRANSLATED IF CHRIST COMES WHILE WE ARE STILL ALIVE ON EARTH.

This is how we are now in our bodies here on planet earth. We have conflict and struggles because of that diametrically different state or identity we have. The flesh struggles against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. That is why Paul could say in Romans 8 when he desires to do right sin is always present and he doesn’t always conduct right and holy things, but he said it was SIN doing it and not him because He was a lover of God and a redeemed soul and spirit living in that Eternal Life posture right then at those moments in time. God was in him and he was in God. God cannot sin and will not allow His new creature be tainted with sin either in that sense. But we are allowed to see and in our mind allow sin to operate from time to time in the flesh which is still unregenerated. Our new man is regenerated and that means has Eternal Everlasting HOLY life forever.

A prayer: Father, thank you for saving me, changing me, making me a new creature or creation and thank you for my new identity and new spiritual location in your Spirit. Thank you that you will NEVER leave me, nor I leave you for you KEEP me from falling and will present me faultless before your throne and even now our Lord Jesus you are my advocate before the Father regarding your atonement for all of my past, present and future sins committed in my body. Remind me to set my MIND on YOUR Spirit, because I have new life and a totally new identity now in Your Spirit. In Jesus Name, Amen!

JOSEPH!

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JOSEPH, GOD’S MAN FOR THE TIME. A MAN WHO HAD A COAT MADE OF MANY DIFFERENT COLORS! FOLLOW HIS LIFE AND SEE HOW GOD USED HIM FOR GOD’S OWN GLORY AND THE FUTURE ‘SEED’ PROMISED EVEN JESUS OUR LORD THE MESSIAH! – WRITTEN BY: BOBBIE J. CARNES –

Week 4 (February 1st)
Cultivate Your Character: The Example of Joseph

Introduction

Our study is on cultivating a character like Joseph’s. To cultivate means to develop by education or training or to foster. So, if we want our character developed like Joseph’s we must be willing to be educated and trained as he was – by God.

That’s the kicker! He didn’t develop himself. He didn’t go to self-help seminars. He didn’t read Christian books and follow the latest popular Christian teacher. God was his teacher. And how does God develop people?

Psalms 119:67, Job 36:15, Ps. 119:124

God’s classroom is life. Joseph was an excellent student. He viewed his situations as full of providential blessings (Gen.39:8-9; 45:5, 7-8; 50:19).

Let me give you the first and greatest single characteristic of Joseph. It was his absolute faithfulness to God under all circumstances, and it is through this that God worked to exalt him so highly. And it was through this that all his other godly character traits developed.

We will see as we go through Scripture a pattern in Joseph’s life (39:21-23, 39: 2, 3, 5)

The Lord is with Joseph

Gives him favor with the authority over him

He prospers Joseph and causes him to succeed in whatever he does.

Joseph did faithfully and to his best ability whatever God gave him to do and God prospered him. That is the pattern we will see in his dealings with Potiphar, the Jailor and Pharaoh.
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Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 10:31 that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Joseph did all for the glory of God.

The authorities over Joseph saw the visible, tangible occurrences of God’s blessings on all that Joseph did and praised God because of him. Because God favored Joseph, they favored him and trusted him.

Whatever Joseph did, he didn’t neglect the interests of his masters and he worked hard to be sure those interests were furthered. He understood authority. He respected authority. He worked hard on behalf of others. There was nothing lackadaisical about Joseph.

There are two steps to success that can be seen in Joseph’s life:

Please God and seek His blessing. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Do it over a long period of time.( Forget instant gratification)

Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery. He was 30 when Pharaoh promoted him to Prime Minister (41:46). Thus it took 13 years for the full measure of God’s blessings to Joseph to be recognized. Advancement doesn’t always come quickly. Normally success takes time. Joseph was patient (Hint: another characteristic.)

Joseph’s story is covered in 13 chapters in Genesis. We are going to look at as many of Joseph’s character traits as we can in our time together.

In our study we have divided Joseph’s life into four sections
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Betrayal –The Relationship between Joseph and His Brothers

Joseph’s Temptation

Joseph is Forgotten

Joseph is Reunited With His Family

Here is a preview of what Joseph is going to demonstrate for us:

  • the value of self-control in the temptation
  • patience and perseverance in times of trouble
  • honesty, strong work ethics
  • fear of God and faithfulness to God

Opening Question

You have all heard the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Faulty question. There are no good people.

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18).

As Christians we may ask, “Why do bad things happen to God’s people?Why did Joseph’s life contain so much harassment, temptation, affliction, and heartache? Why does mine? Lord what are you doing?

The Big Idea

Joseph acknowledges God’s sovereignty over the events in his life. God’s presence and steadfast love enabled Joseph to overcome all the difficulties he faced. He wasn’t overcome by his circumstances in life. His character grew and strengthened through his afflictions and setbacks.

Scripture Passage

1. Betrayal –The Relationship between Joseph and His Brothers

Gen. 37: 2-5, 8, 11

One day after his disclosures to his brothers about his dreams, they were tending their flocks out in the country and Jacob sent Joseph to check on them.

Gen. 37:14

When he got to Shechem, they weren’t there. Instead of going home, he wandered
around the countryside trying to find them. He wasn’t going home without a report for his father that his brothers were okay. But, when he found them they plotted his death, but Judah talked them into selling him to Ishmaelite traders.

Gen. 37:23-24 .

Later in 42:21 we are told how Joseph was feeling and how he reacted while his brothers were betraying him. Later, when Joseph, the Prime Minster, was giving his brothers a hard time about being spies, they decided God was punishing them for what they did to Joseph.

Gen.42:21.

But at the time, the brothers didn’t care how much Joseph begged.

Gen. 42:28, 36: 39:1

Discovery

What character traits did Joseph demonstrate in his response to his brother’s envy and hatred?

(Possible answers: concern for others – he searched for them, kindness – because he must have ignored a lot of unkind words and deeds, love – he loved his enemies, resisted the temptation to repay evil with evil)

Application

Jesus said in John 15:18: “”If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” This is the same situation that Joseph was in. If the world sees you as different: sees your good deeds, it shows up their ungodliness. They will hate you as Joseph’s brothers hated him. If you have not already, when you do run into this situation, how will you respond?

  1. The story continues: Joseph’s Temptation

Gen. 39: 2-12.

Because of her accusations, Potiphar unjustly threw Joseph in prison.

Discovery

What characteristics that you had identified in the previous section do you see developing in Joseph during this time of his life?

(Possible answers: work ethic, resisting temptation, loving his enemies, faithful)

What other characteristics do you see in this passage?

(Possible answers: Honesty, integrity, faithfulness, excellent work ethic)

What was Joseph’s response to temptation?

(Possible answers: flees, fear of sinning against God, doesn’t try to reason, doesn’t try to witness)

Joseph was able to fight off temptation because he had fixed one main truth in his mind? What was that truth?

(Possible answers: He knew God was omnipresent and omniscient. God knows everything Joseph did. He wouldn’t knowingly sin against God.)

Application

In your life, what work habits do you have that line up with Joseph’s?

What evidence do you find in your life that God is with you?

Joseph’s temptation came after his promotion. That’s when Satan knows we are most vulnerable. Have you experienced temptation after victory? How did you avoid it? What have you learned from Joseph’s life that will help you in the future?

Joseph was aware that God knew exactly what he was doing. We call that God’s omnipresent and omniscient. How can you insure that you are always aware that God’s eyes are upon you?

What do we learn from Joseph about how to resist temptation in our lives?

  1. Joseph is Forgotten

Gen.39: 21-23

Then God intervenes and turns the heart of Pharaoh (Proverbs 21:1) to be angry with the chief cupbearer and the chief baker and they are thrown into prison with Joseph. They each have a dream and Joseph interprets the dreams for them. The cup bearer will be restored to his former job in three days, but the poor baker will be dead. Pharaoh will execute him.

In verse 14 Joseph does a very human thing and asks the cupbearer:

Gen. 40:14.

He proclaims his innocence and asks the chief cup bearer for help, because Joseph knows he will live. Then on the third day as Joseph had said Pharaoh restored the chief cupbearer and killed the baker.

Sadly,

Gen. 40:23. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Then after two years God was ready for Joseph to be Prime Minister of Egypt, so he gave Pharaoh two dreams. None of the wise men of Egypt were able to interpret the dreams.

Finally, the chief cupbearer remembers.

Gen. 41:9-13

So, Pharaoh sent for Joseph and said he had been told Joseph could interpret his dreams.

Gen. 41:16. Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Joseph does not take credit for what God does. Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams. Joseph tells him the meaning: 7 years of plenty, 7 years of famine. Then Joseph continues:

Gen. 41:32. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about.

Joseph then goes on to give Pharaoh the plan to fix the problem and his proposal pleases Pharaoh and he makes Joseph Prime Minister, second in command of Egypt, so he can implement his plan.

Pharaoh recognizes Joseph enjoys God’s favor.

Gen.41:38 – 39

Pharaoh gave Joseph an Egyptian name and wife. He had two sons. The first born he named Manasseh.

Gen. 41:51 52

There were seven years of plenty and then the famine came.

Discovery

Describe how God worked in the circumstances of Joseph’s time in prison.

(Possible answers: See the pattern, The Lord was with Joseph, gave him favor with jailor, prosper Joseph and makes him succeed, makes Pharaoh jail the cup bearer and baker)

How did God use this time to further develop Joseph’s character and prepare him for the positon of Prime Minister?

(Possible answers: developed work ethic (even in jail), patience, reliance and trust in God, how to get along with various people)

What indications do you find in the above passage that Joseph gave up on God?
(Answer: None, of course.)

What indications do you find that Joseph stayed faithful?

(Possible answers: No whining, no despair, he worked hard, used his gifts for other’s good and God’s glory)

Application

The chief cupbearer forgot Joseph and so Joseph spent another 2 years in prison. If this happened to you how would you react?

What can you do now to prepare for times of waiting?

  1. Joseph is Reunited with His Family.

Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to get food. They didn’t recognize him, but Joseph recognized his brothers. After much testing, many trials, and a few trips between Canaan and Egypt, Joseph is convinced his brothers have repented of the evil they did to him.

Gen. 45: 1-3

So, Joseph tells them:

Gen. 45:5-8.

The brothers went back and got their father and all the clan and brought them to live in Egypt. After some years Jacob, Joseph’s father, dies and once again he must reassure his brothers of his forgiveness and God’s good purposes in all that happened.

Gen.50: 19 – 21

Discovery

What two things had to happen between Joseph and his brothers for this beautiful family reunion to happen?

(Possible Answers: The repentance of his brothers and Joseph’s forgiveness of them.)

What has Joseph learned through the last 13 years that allows him to so easily forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery?

(Possible answers: He saw the circumstances of his life as part of God’s plan, faith and trust in God)

How do you see God working in Joseph’s life to develop the character that made Pharaoh so impressed with him?

(Possible answers: Trails, afflictions, opportunities to prove himself, reliable and trustworthy, how to be patient)

Application

Forgiveness of someone who has wronged us can be a struggle, especially if they haven’t acknowledged their wrong. What can we learn from Joseph to help us with this struggle?

What is something you will do to develop a forgiving heart?

If you have wronged someone and have not repented, what is keeping you from it?