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Thursday, July 21, 2011

real conversion

North Korean Christians make the decision when they come to faith that one day they will die for Christ.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Romans Study #28 Romans 8:28-39

Romans Bible Study # 28
Romans 8:28-39

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASB


Romans 8:28That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29-30God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31-39So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. The Message

A massive amount of divine energy is needed to bring the promise of Romans 8:28 to pass. “God causes” is more massive than we could ever wrap our minds around. To quote Jerry, “God is always painting on a canvas bigger than we can see.” So tempting in the middle of the latest trial to rise up and question God. To pout and go off to self-pity land and commit some sin to “get back” at Him. I have actually done that. How incredibly stupid. What should we do? Focus on the truth, “God, You promise to cause all things to work together for Good, (be very, very aware, it does not say your good, it just says good. You are not the center of the universe, He is, and He knows what is ultimately good.) and so You are busy working right now and ultimately this is good. I can’t see it, I don’t know how, but I trust You and the Holy Spirit who is right now praying for me, and Jesus who is right now interceding for me. All the power of heaven is causing this to work together for the good!”

The promise is not to everyone. Ah Oh. We must all come to terms with this truth. All men fall short. All men deserve hell. So the fact that God has worked to overcome this and to make a way and has chosen some to reflect the amazing grace that He has shown, is a grace, is mercy. No one would be foolish enough to proclaim that he just chose to love God. No, before love appeared in our hearts, there was only stony disobedience and rebellion and pride. God chose us and called us and brought us in, revealing His Son to us, on the cross. We would not want this promise to rest only on our love, because our love is fickle and “all too human.” No, we need this promise to rest on a far stronger, far better foundation, “being called according to His purpose." This love in fact, flows out or our being called.
John Piper has some scriptures that speak of this “security.”

“Jude 1:1, "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, loved by God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:8, "[God] will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
In other words, God will confirm you to the end because he called you. That is what God’s faithfulness means. God called you according to his purpose to save you, and God always does what he purposes to do. That is his faithfulness.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."
God is faithful. Therefore, if he called you, he will keep you.” Piper

June 25th Oswald Chambers. RECEIVING ONE'S SELF IN THE FIRES OF SORROW
"What shall I say? Father, save me, from this hour? But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name." John 12:27-29 (R.V.)

My attitude as a saint to sorrow and difficulty is not to ask that they may be prevented, but to ask that I may preserve the self God created me to be through every fire of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself in the fire of sorrow, He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to receive ourselves in its fires. If we try and evade sorrow, refuse to lay our account with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life; it is no use saying sorrow ought not to be. Sin and sorrow and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness, but it does not always make a man better. Suffering either gives me my self or it destroys my self. You cannot receive your self in success, you lose your head; you cannot receive your self in monotony, you grouse. The way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be so is another matter, but that it is so is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You always know the man who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, you are certain you can go to him in trouble and find that he has ample leisure for you. If a man has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, he has no time for you. If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.

Foreknew, predestined, God is before all, we are objects of His love, His sovereign choice. His love, His choosing is our foundation. “Conformed to the image of His Son” and Barth adds that “the image to which they are conformed is the death of Jesus. Philippians 3:10 “ that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”
He goes on to explain this, “When, like Job or Paul, men proclaim the death of Jesus; when they are able to rejoice in tribulation as their glory and salvation; when in their distress, in spite of it and because of it, they shine forth as lights in the world, then is fulfilled in them the occurrence of divine fore-ordination, and God operates in them and through them.” It is not a thing or action that we choose but something that He creates in us, it is the unobservable, but very real sonship.

Predestined, called, justified, glorified, all past tense, all “done” works.

If God is for us... what else matters.

Paul argues from the top down, the greatest height of love was shown in the giving up of His Son, all else is ours, because all else is less than that.

Many charges can be brought, Stephen was martyred due to false charges, but none of these charges will “stick”, because God is the ultimate One who decides which charges stick. So again the argument is from the top down, God says no charge will stick and so that is the end of the story. Barth says these things are too great to speak about AND too great to be silent about!!

Jesus intercedes for us. Perfect God who has our ultimate good in mind, intercedes for us.

35 We are subject to all of these things and none of them separate us from His love. It is a thorough list of 7 things including “sword,” which is to say the beheading, that tradition says, is how Paul died.
We can go through each of these verses and ask, What is the grace of God in this verse for us?
Ultimately no one has the power to be against you... so that offensive person
is not... there is no need for revenge or pay back or even taking offense.

These verses provide
massive security for
merciful service through
many sufferings J. Piper

Suffering that could/will make the “love of many grow cold.”
Matthew 24:12
Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
That’s the “agape” of many will grow cold, I have often puzzled over that verse... so a proper understanding and revelation of these verses to our hearts is key. Key because the times of trouble are real and we need a real foundation of belief in our life to get us through.

This little section of Ephesians fits in nicely here. Eph. 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

This is all too glorious for us to comprehend, so we join with Paul and pray that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to know these amazing truths.

Our next time together we will read Romans 9-11 because it is one cohesive thought and needs to be considered as a whole, before we start to break it down. Right now I will share what I believe the gracious God revealed to me about how Romans 8 leads into this next section, as Paul continues to build systematically his argument, his teaching, in this amazing book.

Romans 8 finishes with the amazing section that a whole list of things that can happen to us, DO NOT separate us from His love. Then Paul says the love that God has put in him for Israel, leads him to be willing for the ultimate being 'cut off' from God, if it would mean their salvation. Then he describes the great mystery of the ages, how God elected a nation, how He allowed that nation to turn from Him and kill their Messiah, how He turned that death into salvation for the gentiles (and believing Jews), and how ,now, the call to the church is to be willing for the whole list of things from Romans 8 to happen to them as they reach out with supernatural magnanimity to a people who are being extremely persecuted (beyond the Nazi time) in the last days. Our reaching out to them means our loss, our being associated with them means, like Corrie ten Booms' family, we may be hunted down and killed with them, but that knowledge does not stop us from loving because NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. In showing that kind of supernatural love, we prepare the hearts of ‘Israel’ to receive the return of the “one whom they had pierced.”
Only God in His grace and mercy could reveal that to my mind, and heart I am so grateful to Him

Romans 8 leads into Romans 9

I love it when a simple truth is also a deep amazing revelation.
Example:
Romans 8 leads to Romans 9.

Romans 8 finishes with the amazing section that a whole list of things that can happen to us, DO NOT separate us from His love. Then Paul says the love that God has put in him for Israel, leads him to be willing for the ultimate being 'cut off' from God, if it would mean their salvation. Then he describes the great mystery of the ages, how God elected a nation, how He allowed that nation to turn from Him and kill their Messiah, how He turned that death into salvation for the gentiles (and believing Jews), and how ,now, the call to the church is to be willing for the whole list of things from Romans 8 to happen to them as they reach out with supernatural magnanimity to a people who are being extremely persecuted (beyond the Nazi time) in the last days. Our reaching out to them means our loss, our being associated with them means, like Corrie ten Booms' family, we may be hunted down and killed with them, but that knowledge does not stop us from loving because NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. In showing that kind of supernatural love, we prepare the hearts of ‘Israel’ to receive the return of the “one whom they had pierced.”
Only God in His grace and mercy could reveal that to my mind, and heart I am so grateful to Him

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Psalm 102:12-14 "spiritual self-seeking"

12 But You, O LORD, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion;
For it is time to be gracious to her,
For the appointed time has come.
14 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones
And feel pity for her dust.

God is waiting for the attitude of the church to be one of compassion. When Israel is being crushed, the church rises up to join the Lord in a heart of compassion for this humbled people.

In the midst of a message explaining this, Art Katz, went into a "Spirit-led" rant against the "spiritual self-seeking" of a people who even in the guise of "wanting more of God" are actually seeking for an increase in themselves. The subtlety of pride is exposed by this. It is a deep thing. One that I have come to acknowledge was very present in me, as i went from conference to conference, seeking a "touch" or a "word" that would set me up as one of the 'ones' with power and anointing.

Here is his rant, as best as I could transcribe it. Speaking to people at a place where they had gone, (outwardly) for more of God, but underneath....

"because He (God) has waited for you to come to this condition. You hard Americans, you callow, shallow, evangelical charismatics who are rooted in self-centeredness, with an overlay of seeming spirituality but your self-interest is the predominant factor that is the center of your being and moving, even coming to a place like this to learn ministry and how to obtain...It's Deep! and it is the wrong principle, its the wrong center, the right center is an identification with God, in those things that are contrary to self-interest, even spiritual self-interest and it shows itself in a way that beggars the mind and stupifies the imagination that a gentile would be so identified with Jews in their ultimate depravity of distress and judgment, that they would take it upon themselves as being appropriate to themselves. It is not from a distance that you cluck your tongue 'too bad about those Jews' you are with them in it, you are not just having mercy about the dust, YOU"RE IN THE DUST and when God sees that He can now deliver Israel, because the issue of Israel has produced in you that quality of divine character which is at the heart of God Himself, and is the very genius of deity, which is compassion!" ART Katz