Saved Completely

Hebrews 7:25 – Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He ever lives to make intercession for them.

Because of preaching that a person may have sat under, some believers have doubt of whether they have truly been saved. The lie that the enemy tells Christians is uncertainty.

Here is what happens at the miracle of salvation. First, someone talked to us about the gospel of Christ. This could have been in church or been a one on one and then a revelation about Christ came and we responded. We believed and received. Instantaneously we received Jesus and became a new creation in Christ Jesus. Old things passed away and all things became new.

However, God didn’t just stop there, He cleansed us of all our sin. Then He imputed His own righteousness into us. We became the righteousness of God in Christ. In right standing with God, accepted before God in the beloved. He made this so, not us.

So here is the question many have: If I didn’t do anything to obtain this salvation, because Jesus did it all, is there now something I have to do to secure it? If I did nothing, how could I now do something to secure my salvation?

Then after all this of cleansing our sin and giving us His righteousness, He sends the Holy Spirit, His Spirit, to live in our mortal bodies! Our body became the temple of the Holy Spirit. And as a group, we became the Body of Christ in whom He lives. The Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God.

God also sent His Holy Spirit as a pledge, downpayment of things already accomplished, and the performance of every promise that God has ever made concerning us for the future! Wow!

But God didn’t stop there, He’s got everything covered as far as we are concerned. He knows us and He knows we can “blow it” sometimes. But Jesus became our Hig Priest which means 24/7, for eternity Jesus is interceding before God for us! And He didn’t stop there, He fulfilled every requirement of the law and in fulfilling the law, He established a new covenant based upon better promises. The covenant is between God and His Son and we are a part of it. We are allowed to enjoy the benefits! Here are 7 things that show us our salvation is finished and complete:

(1) The Promise of the Scriptures

Romans, Chapter 8, starts out with “There is therefore now no condemnation…” and ends with, “nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Too many people, Christians, have been told that when they sin after becoming a Christian, that now God is separated from us. According to Scripture, that’s not true.

In John chapter 10, verses 27-29, Jesus makes a statement while He is talking to the Pharisees and tells them that this is not so for you, the Pharisees, but it is true for them, His sheep. John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (Verse 28) “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Verse 29) “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (Verse 30) “I and My Father are one.” We are as safe and secure as the hands of God can make us. The Promise of the Scriptures.

(2) The Perfection of the Sacrifice

Hebrews 10:14 – For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. There never needs to be another offering given, because Jesus was the perfect offering for sin. 

Sometimes people ask: “Can a true believer lose their salvation? 1 John 2:1 – My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

He doesn’t want us to sin, but if we do we can go to our Advocate the Father. This is why Jesus is our High Priest forever. We go to Him because He knows we were going to sin again before we ever do it! Romans 4:8 – “Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” 

(3) The Perseverance of the Spirit

Too many have been taught through the years that it’s up to the believer to “Hold on to God!” That’s not how it works. There is no such things as “Perseverance of the Saints.” Has any of us obtained perfection in living this Christian life? Nope! The Holy Spirit preserves us! Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begin a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Jesus is the One that perfects it, not us.

(4) The Position of the Saints

Everyone is either in these tow position: we are either in Adam or we are in Christ! We either know Jesus or we don’t. We are either spiritually alive or spiritually dead. “In Adam” all die. “In Christ” all are made alive! The position of the saints is that we are in Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. We are sealed!

(5) The Present Tense of Salvation

John 5:24 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Eternal life is the only kind of life that exists, spiritual life. Before we knew Jesus we were dead in our trespasses and sin, no spiritual life. John 11:26 – “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” You have eternal life now! We are as saved now as we’re going to be in heaven.

(6) The Prayers of the Savior

Hebrews 7:25 – …since He ever lives to make intercession for them. Jesus is our Advocate, all the time! Our salvation and the security of our salvation is not based on the quality of commitment to Him. It’s based on the quality of His commitment to us. It’s not up to us to keep our salvation. Our salvation security is based on Christ’s obedience.

(7) The Power of Sovereignty

1 Peter 1:3-5 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (Verse 4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (Verse 5) who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

We are protected by that same creative power of God! We are saved and protected by All-Mighty God from the moment we believe. Christians need to stop doubting the miracle of what Jesus did for us when He died and rose again for our salvation!

 

 

 

 

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It’s All About the Heart

Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, that you be not judged. (Verse 2) “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. This is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is obviously addressing the attitudes of the heart. Judgments come from the heart.

There is a parallel passage in Luke, but there are sentences in-between the first and the last sentence: Luke 6:37 – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Verse 38) “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Nowhere in this passage does it mention money. Giving is a heart issue. Jesus used farming terms that people were familiar with back then. God had told the Jews to leave the four corners of their fields to the poor. When the poor took a basket to glean the fields, they would put the product in the basket, press it down, shake it and add more and repeat. And would put so much in that some would run over the top. That’s what came to mind when Jesus used these terms.

Whatever we give, we will get more back. Jesus is literally talking about “judging,” “condemning,” and or “forgiving.” When we read Scripture, keep it in the context it was written. Too many use this passage for getting people to give money so they will get more back. That’s wrong because He is not talking about money. Giving or forgiving is so much more than money.

If we give judgment, judgment will be given back to us, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over will men give judgment to us. If you are a condemning person, you will receive condemnation back. But if you are a forgiving person and give love and compassion, then that is what you will receive back, good measure, pressed down and running over.

I watch this in the news media every day. The despicable things that are said by our so-called leaders in Washington. They condemn and judge our president as if he is the worse human being on the planet. They have no idea that the hate-filled speech is going to come back on them, pressed down, shaken, and running over!

The root word for “forgive” is “give!” And “for” means in favor of. So if you forgive, it means you are in favor of giving. However, if a person is not in favor of giving, they have a difficult time with “for-giving.”

I can’t stress this enough: Jesus is not talking about money, although that could be included, the issue is, “Are you for giving, are you in favor of forgiving? This is a matter of the heart.

Look how God deals with giving: Deuteronomy 15:7, 8 – “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of your gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, (Verse 8) “but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” So how do we get to the point of giving like God does?

We have to deal with a selfish heart.

Deuteronomy 15:9 – “Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it becomes sin among you.

Selfishness produces sin! God had emplamented in Israel that every seven years all debt was canceled. So He’s saying not to let the thought that if you lend close to or in that seventh year and they can’t pay it back in that same year, come into your heart. God calls that a “wicked thought.” It will come in the mind, but He says don’t let it get in your heart and become sin.

When we do something to help another, do we expect anything in return? Us giving to others is not for God’s sake, it’s for ours. Giving will deal with selfishness and greed in our lives and we will never be happy if we are a selfish, greedy person. If we are willing to give to others then we are more than likely not going to be judging or condemn them.

Have you ever had to deal with a stingy, selfish, or greedy person? They are never happy. It seems they are always complaining about something. What’s the one thing every parent has to teach their child? Sharing! Is our God a giving God? Yes, He is and when we become born again, we are to be like our Father.

I haven’t strayed from the topic of judging and condemning. The fact of the matter is, if a person is always judging and condemning, there is a good chance that they are not a giving person!

Luke 6:30 – “Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. (Verse 31) “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. (Verse 32) “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. (Verse 33) “And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

(Verse 34) “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. (Verse 35) “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Verse 36) “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

God is kind to the unthankful and evil, and that was all of us before we were born again. The Bible says, “While we were sinners Christ died for us!” God sent His Son before we were thankful of anything, unthankful and evil. So that statement is absolutely true that Jesus made.

If we are grateful, we will develop a grateful heart.

Deuteronomy 15:15 – “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.”

God commanded them to be generous. He wanted them to remember a time back in Egypt that they didn’t own anything! If we will remember a time when we didn’t have much, but as the years passed and the Lord began to bless us, we are to begin blessing others.

Let’s not ever forget where we came from; where God has brought us from; what God has delivered us from, and if we will remember that, we will become the most generous, non-judging people on earth. We will become like our Father in heaven who gave it all for us to spend eternity with Him!

If we are grateful for what God has done and given us then we know He is our source. Don’t fret about the good you do for others because the reward comes from the Father!

 

The Happy Life

Acts 20:35 – “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The Greek word for blessed is “Makarios,” meaning “Happy.” A happy life is a blessed life. A blessed life is not about “stuff!” It is not about “give to get.” When a person develops an attitude of giving, we are the most like God.

Luke 19:1 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (Verse 2) Now behold, there was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. (Verse 3) And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd for he was of short stature. (Verse 4) So he ran ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.

(Verse 5) And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Verse 6) So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. (Verse 7) But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

(Verse 8) Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Verse 9) And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham; (Verse 10) “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Zacchaeus tells Jesus that he is going to give half of his possessions and property to the poor and if he had mistreated or cheated anyone, then he would restore it four times what he took. That’s an amazing statement for someone to make. That was the “action” of giving. And restoring fourfold reveals his attitude.

The Action of Giving

God giving is the “action” of the Bible! God gave His Son and Jesus gave His life! And if you are born again, you gave your life to Christ. All through the Bible, giving is the action.

Matthew 6:19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (treasures means riches) (Verse 20) “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Verse 21) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Be honest: Where is your treasure? Where are most of your treasures? Is it in your home, stocks, or property? According to Jesus, that’s where your heart is. Don’t quote this verse backward as I heard a lot of people do. It doesn’t say,, “Where your heart is…” It plainly says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our hearts will follow our treasure. If we would like for our heart to be in the kingdom, put the treasure there! If we invest in a stock, we will keep track of it, often. We will want to know how well it’s doing. The heart will follow the treasure.

But Jesus made this statement: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” He didn’t tell us that because God needs our treasure. He said it to benefit us! That must mean that when we get to heaven, we’re going to need it “for ourselves.” This goes back to: “In heaven, we will have responsibilities.” We will need resources to live throughout eternity.

What are we building up and investing in while here on earth that is just going to be left for someone else? Zacchaeus met Jesus and immediately gets a kingdom perspective.

There is an Attitude of Giving

Luke 19:6 – So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.

Matthew 10:8 – “…Freely you have received, freely give.” We can hear the joy in Zacchaeus’ voice when he says, “Look, Lord,…’ He’s really excited for what he’s about to give. He received joyfully and now he can give joyfully.

If a person struggles in the area of giving, they actually struggle in the area of receiving. If a person has difficulty giving joyfully, they have difficulty receiving joyfully. If someone has a hard time giving freely, they have a hard time receiving freely.

If a person feels like what they receive from God by earning it, they will feel like their the one that has to protect it. Look: Even if you work hard to have what you have, it’s God’s blessings on your work!

In 2 Corinthians Chapter 8, Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about giving. But 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are actually about “Grace.”

2 Corinthians 8:7 – But as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also. We give freely because freely we receive, and we give because of love.

2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. That should be our attitude when we give.

A “Happy life” begins by God speaking to us, God changing our life like He changed Zacchaeus’ life, and then us responding in our action and our attitude toward giving!

 

 

Giving Thanks

Giving thanks is a large part of expressing our love to God.

Luke 17:11 – Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. (Verse 12) Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.

(Verse 13) And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Verse 14) So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go show yourselves to the priest.” And so it was as they went, they were cleansed. (Verse 15) Now one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,

(Verse 16) and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. (Verse 17) So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? (Verse 18) “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (It appears the nine were Jews and only one Samaritan, which the Jews hated.) And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Made well or made whole – Greek word – Sozo. So what caused this one man to return and express his love and gratitude?

Gratitude produces worship.

This man, with a loud voice, glorified God. Something happened in this man’s heart to cause him to fall down at Jesus’ feet and worship Him. Because he had gratitude in his heart he had to worship. Gratitude will produce worship.

Was this appropriate for this man to fall down at Jesus’ feet? Yes, but is it Scriptural? Does Scripture condone “shouting?” Is it Scriptual to fall down on one’s face?

In the Hebrew, there are ten words meaning praise, but seven are dominant in the Old Testament: (1) Todah: A thanksgiving choir. (2) Barak: To kneel in thanksgiving. (3) Tehillah: To sing a song of thanksgiving. (4) Halah: To give thanks by being clamorously foolish. (5) Yadah: To give thanks with extended hands. (6) Zamar: To give thanks with a musical instrument. (7) Shabach: To give thanks in a loud voice.

So yes, according to the Hebrew translation: praise is to shout; raise or extend hands, to kneel; to sing to the Lord in worship. Psalm 100:4 has four of these Hebrew words out of these seven.

Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (Todah – a thanksgiving choir), and into His courts with praise (Tehillah – singing praises). Be thankful (Yadah – extend your hands) to Him, and bless (Barak – bow before) His name.

Paraphrased – Enter into HIs gates with a thanksgiving choir, and into His courts with singing praises. Be thankful by extending your hands to Him, and bless Him by bowing before His name.

Everyone doesn’t express or worship the same way. But one of the main reasons that some people don’t express their love to God in worship is because many people grew up in a “dysfunctional family.” Many people grew up in a family that did not express love for each other. Some never heard their mother or father say, “I love you.” Or some will say that they were never hugged.

However, once you become a believer, you have a new family! You have been adopted into the family of God. You are not in a dysfunctional family anymore! Our Father is not dysfunctional. So don’t use that as an excuse not to express your love for the Father. He is worthy and deserving of all our praise! Everyone will not be the same in their expression of love and worship, but at some gesture, they have to express how they feel about God. So, what will produce gratitude?

Miracles produce gratitude.

Luke 17:15 – And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God.

Leprosy is a disease that many thought for years, caused the flesh to rot away. But they discovered in the 1950s that leprosy causes the nerve endings to deaden and they can’t feel pain. So what was actually happening, people would harm themselves and their flesh would get a sore and they didn’t know it because they couldn’t feel it. They also found that these open wounds that people had, at night when they slept, rats came in and would eat the flesh, but they couldn’t feel it. In Jesus’ day, there was no cure.

If you were a leper in Jesus’ day, no one would hire you because it was contagious and couldn’t be around other people. They had to keep a certain distance from every person. They were complete outcasts. If someone came close to them, they had to shout out “Leper!,” “Unclean!”

Can you imagine having to shout “Unclean” when someone approached you? But the same way this man was healed, we received healing from our past through faith in Jesus Christ. So if you had leprosy in Jesus’ day, and received healing, would you express your gratitude and love to the One who healed you?

As believers, we all have a reason to express our love and gratitude to the Lord! If just half the people that stand around us during worship knew what Jesus delivered us from, we would never care what any of them thought when we raise our hands or bow down in worship of our Deliverer!

Is it still appropriate ten, twenty, or even thirty years later after Jesus cleans us up to fall down and worship the King? Yes, because we owe those past years for deliverance to the One who restored what the enemy had stolen.

So my next question is if gratitude produces worship and miracles produce gratitude, what produces miracles?

Obedience produces miracles.

Luke 17:14 – So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

They could have stood there and argued that they were not to show themselves to the priest until they were healed, but instead, they started walking and were healed. This is all through the Bible. Look at Moses at the Red Sea. God told him to lift up his arms, and he did, and the sea parted. Look at what took place when Josuha gets right up to the promised land and the Jordan is at flood stage. The Lord told him to put his foot in the water and God parted the water for them to cross. The instructions that God gives is not always the same. When God speaks, we oby, when we obey there is a miracle, and when there’s a miracle we are grateful and when we are grateful, then we worship.

Keep in mind: When you see a passage in the Bible and want to understand it, read the passage before it and after it. So look at the passages before Luke 17:14 and look how they tie into the one we just read:

Luke 17:1 – Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! (Verse 2) “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (Jesus is first talking to the “offender,” but then he speaks to the “offended.”)

(Verse 3) “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him: and if he repents, forgive him. (Verse 4) “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

(Verse 5) And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

This is what Jesus was saying to them: “You are going to get offended, everyone does, but when you do get offended, I want you to forgive them if he repents. Then if the same person does the same offense on the same day seven times, I still want you to forgive them, but He says “If they repent!”

My question is; Why when pastors preach on forgiveness of offenses they don’t say what Jesus really said which is “Rebuke them and if they repent, forgive them?” The disciples thought this might be impossible for them to do, like us, so they told Jesus to “increase” their faith. But Jesus said to them:

(Verse 6) So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Verse 7) “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? (Verse 8) “But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?

(Verse 9) “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. (Verse 10) “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ “

I will be honest, I never understood exactly what Jesus was saying until I had it explained to me by a wonderful man of God.

Jesus is talking about obedience. It’s not about how much faith a person has. He gives the illustration of the faith as small as a mustard seed. And the servant obeys because it’s his duty to obey what is commanded of him. Putting it bluntly: You don’t need more faith to forgive, you need to do what you’re told to do – obey His commandments. Let’s not forget that Jesus is our Master, He’s our Lord and we need to obey Him.

Now back to the lepers – They holler at Jesus, “Have mercy on us!” Now He’s going to show the disciples what happens when they obey. And as the lepers went, they were healed and the disciples saw that because they obeyed, they were healed.

Too many think too often about the offenses done to them and keep unforgiveness in their hearts. And when they need a miracle from the Lord, they won’t be obedient because of what someone else did to them. Well, guess what? That unforgiveness in a person’s heart just might be the thing that is stopping them from seeing their miracle and if no miracle takes place then they are not grateful for what He has done, and if they are not grateful, then they won’t worship!

Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should, but if we will simply obey, they’ll be a lot better than if we don’t.

Are things so common and available nowadays that we just aren’t as thankful as we were before we had anything? I don’t even take my food for granted. Everything I have is because the Lord gave it to me.

Gratitude will cause us to worship and obedience will bring a miracle!!

 

 

God’s Greatest Desire

What is God’s greatest desire?

God made us from Him.

When God wanted something, He spoke to what He wanted it to come out of or to come from. So when God wanted something He spoke to whatever He was making to be sustained by and to return to. God created some things and He made some things.

According to the theological definition of create, we really don’t create, as humans, that is. We only make. The theological definition of create is: To form something out of nothing. In other words, God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. To make something is to make something else. That is all we do.

If we make a vase out of clay, we did not speak it into existence, we made it out of something else. So God created some things and He made some things. He made some things from something and that’s very important for us to understand.

Genesis 1:11 – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit trees that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. God did not say, “Let there be trees!” He was making them, forming them from dirt. He was speaking to the earth, and when He spoke to the earth, the earth listened. He told the earth to “bring forth.” God wanted plants to come from dirt, be sustained by dirt, and to return to the dirt.

Genesis 1:20 – Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”

Genesis 1:24 – Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind:… Sustained by the dirt that produces the food and goes back to the dirt when they die. 

This is all-important because of verse 26. When God wanted man, He spoke to Himself! Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”… We came from “God!” We are sustained by God and return back to God.

Don’t misunderstand: God made our bodies from the dirt, is sustained by dirt and goes back to dirt, but our spirit came from God, is sustained by God and goes back to God.

What would happen if a plant said to the dirt, “I’m pulling out and I’m going to go make it on my own!”” It would die. Man said to God, “I’m pulling out!” God said, “The day you do you’ll die!” Adam’s body didn’t die immediately because his body came from dirt, but his spirit died and his spirit affected his body. Same with us. Adam began to physically die as well. Look at this Scripture: Ephesians 2:1 – And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,… 

John 10:10 – … “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Don’t just focus on the second part of that verse. Jesus came that we might have “Life!” We are dead without Him! God made us from Him.

God made us like Him.

God made a replica of Himself. God made Adam in His image after His likeness. No sin in the world at that point. Adam walks like God, talks like God and thinks like God, never had an impure thought. And then Adam has a desire of his own:

Genesis 2:20 – So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam, there was not found a helper comparable to him.

Adam was looking for a helper or the Bible wouldn’t have mentioned it. Adam was looking for a companion. Why would the Bible say “There was not found,: if he wasn’t looking?

The Hebrew word used for “formed” man is “squeezed.” The Hebrew word used for “formed” woman is “fashioned.” The word “woman” in Hebrew means “Out of man.” So God made a woman out of man.

But how did God know that the only thing that would satisfy Adam’s heart’s desire was a bride? God knew because He’s had the same desire! Make sense? God’s greatest desire is “You!”

God made us to love Him.

The church, the believers, are the Bride of Christ! Adam and Eve, a marriage, and Christ and the church, His Bride. God’s greatest desire is not to be worshipped, it’s to be loved. To love and be loved, but worship is a pathway to express our love to God.

God is a giver, that’s His nature. So God cannot receive without giving. If it comes in, it’s going to go back out. If we touch God, He touches us back. This is why it’s so important to make a connection to God.

When a person goes to a service at the house of God and says that they didn’t get anything out of it, it’s because they made no effort to give anything. If we’ll touch God in worship, He’ll touch us in worship. Worship is simply expressing our love to the One we are married to.

God has a “heart-cry” throughout the whole Bible and here are just a few Scriptures:

Exodus 6:7 – “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.”

Leviticus 26:12 – “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”

Jeremiah 7:23 – “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.’ “

Jeremiah 11:4 – “So shall you be My people, and I will be your God.”

Jerimiah 24:7 – “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”

Jeremiah 31:33 – “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 

Ezekiel 14:11 – “that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be profaned anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God, says the LORD God.”

Ezekiel 36:28 – “Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your Fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”

Hosea 2:23 – “Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ” (God was talking about the Gentiles.)

2 Corinthians 6:16 – “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

All through the Bible, the theme is the same: God wants us to be His people and Him our God. His greatest desire is YOU! He’s worked out all of the details through His grace so that we simply say, “Yes!”

And all of our sins are washed away, as far as the east is from the west. He puts a new heart within us and a new spirit, and writes His law on our minds and hearts and gives us the ability to walk with Him to be His bride!

 

Satan’s Greatest Desire

If we understand what Satan’s greatest desire is, we can understand what warfare is all about. But, let’s start with:

What was Satan’s desire before his fall?

This is before the fall of man. This is when Satan was in heaven when his name was Lucifer and before the creation of the world. Satan made five “I will” statements and all of these statements have to do with being “lifted up,” being seen, being high.

Isaiah 14:12 – “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! (Verse 13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above all the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;

(Verse 14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Verse 15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

God listed what was Satan’s heart desire; exalted, lifted up, high, worshipped, and like God the Most High. What’s hard to believe is that this is the nature that we are born with. Yes, we are born with a sin nature like Adam, but Adam was not the original sinner, Lucifer was. And that nature is “Look at me!”

Before we come to Christ, the most important person in our lives is us. Even after we are born again, we still have some residue of that nature. Example: Who is the first person you look for in a group picture?

However, when we become born again, we become like Christ and Christ is always turning the attention onto the Father or the Holy Spirit. But when the Holy Spirit comes He testifies about Jesus and the Father lifts up the Son! The more we become like Christ the more we want to focus the attention on Jesus.

Isaiah 14:11 – “Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, and worms cover you.”

Isaiah 14 was a prophecy given to the king of Babylon, but we know that God is addressing Lucifer. God was speaking to the spirit behind the man. Remember when Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me Satn.”? Jesus was talking to the spirit behind the man.

Now, here’s a prophecy given to the prince of Tyre: Ezekiel 28:11 – Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (Verse 12) “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say  to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Verse 13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: (The king of Tyre was never in Eden, so we know this is talking about Satan, the spirit behind the man.) The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 

(Verse 14) “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. (Verse 15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. (Verse 16) “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”

The workmanship of your timbrels: Timbrels means a percussion instrument. And your “pipes,” wind instruments. Isaiah 14 says, “and your stringed instruments.” All musical instruments fall into one of these three categories. Lucifer was created with instruments in his body. He was to lead worship in heaven.

However, God then says Lucifer became violent by his “trading,” “merchandizing.” Merchandizing in Hebrew is when something is supposed to pass through one person’s hands and then to the rightful owner. But when the Scripture says “trading” in this verse, it was saying, “Lucifer kept some of the praise and worship for himself instead of it all passing to the rightful owner – God!”

That was Lucifer’s sin: He wanted to be worshipped. He felt like he deserved it and was entitled to it, but God said, “You’re out!” God did this so fast that Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning!”

Why? Because God is the only One worthy to be worshipped and Satan stole what didn’t belong to him! So Satan’s greatest desire was to be worshipped!

So what is Satan’s desire now?

Matthew 4:8 – Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the word and their glory. (Verse 9) And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Satan tries to get even the Son of God to worship him, so his desire is still the same – to be worshipped! Not only did Satan want Jesus to worship him, but he wanted Him to express it by falling down in front of him in an act of worship.

Worship is always expressed. Love is always expressed also. If we love someone, we express it. If people can express their excitement about a ballgame, they certainly can get excited about being saved from an eternal hell. Satan doesn’t want us to express our love for God or anyone else for that matter. Satan not only wants to be worshipped but he wants to stop every person on this earth from worshipping God!

What will be Satan’s greatest desire in the future?

Revelation 13:4 – So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

Go read the Song of Moses in Exodus 15, where Marium sings a song and these two lines are in it: “Who is like our God? Who is able to make war with HIm?” (Exodus 15:11) However, in the end, times, people are singing this about Satan.

Revelation 17:13 – “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. (Verse 14) “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called chosen and faithful.” 

In Lucifer’s description, the Bible says that he was covered with precious stones and precious stones reflect light. He was supposed to reflect the precious light to all of heaven.

Did you know we were created with instruments in our bodies? Stringed instruments – vocal cords. Wind instruments – wind passes through the vocal cords to make a sound. Percussion – we can clap with our hands. All these were created to worship the One True God! And the precious stones, we as the children of God are to reflect our precious King. God didn’t need Satan anymore to be a worship leader, He created man to worship Him!

 

What Is Church?

What does God expect when we say, “We’re going to have church?” Or, “What should we expect when we attend church?” What does it mean to come to the house of God?

Genesis 28:10 – Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. (Verse 11) So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.

(Verse 12) Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Verse 13) And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac, the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.

(Verse 14) “Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the eath shall be blessed. (Verse 15) “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

(Verse 16) Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Verse 17) And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

(Verse 18) Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. (Verse 19) And he called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of that city had been Luz previously.

(Verse 20) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, (Verse 21) “so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. (Verse 22) “And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

This is the birth of the Church. Acts Chapter 2, is the birth of the New Testament church. This is the birth of the house of God. “Beth,” meaning “house,” and “el,” God.

Before all of this happened with Jacob, Luz was a good place to camp, stay overnight because it had fresh springs. Abraham had built an altar there years before, but it was still called Luz then. Bethel was the major crossroad, north, south, east, and west, to the promised land. Bethel is the second most mentioned city in the Bible, Jerusalem being the first. So why would Jacob call this place “The house of God?”

Church is a connection.

Church should be a place where we connect with God. If you don’t connect with God; if you just hear good music and good teaching and a person doesn’t connect with God then you haven’t been to church. Jacob connected with God.

There was a ladder set up where angels were ascending and descending. When Jesus was talking to Nathanael in the book of John, Jesus says this: John 1:51 – And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Every Israelite knew about Jacob’s ladder. Jesus was telling him, “I’m the ladder!” In other words: Jesus is the only way to get from earth to heaven. There is a connection that is made between heaven and earth and His name is Jesus! But again, why was that place where Jacob slept church? Genesis 28:16 – Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Jacob didn’t know the Lord was in the very place where he slept, but he knew it when he woke up! Chruch is becoming aware of the presence of God. Yes, God is everywhere, but what happens when we become aware of His presence? This can actually happen anywhere we are. All of a sudden we become aware that “God’s here!” Church should be about experiencing God.

Church is conversation.

Once a person connects with God, He wants to talk to you and He wants you to respond. God spoke to Jacob and Jacob spoke to God. When God told Moses to build the tabernacle, He said, “There I will meet with you.” That’s church!

There are several ways that God can speak to us and often does: (a) Correction – correction is not always a bad thing. God will place people in our lives to point us in the right direction and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Example: When God tells us that the relationship we are in is not going to take us where we want to go, we need to listen. It’s not going to get us to our destiny. God speaks correction in our lives for our good.

God will also speak: (b) Direction Which way do I go in this situation? Sometimes we have no idea. How many times do we just want to know, “Do I, or don’t I? God wants to tell us if we are willing to listen to direction. Example: Which job do I take; which house do I buy; what school is best for the kids and on and on. We will find out which direction to go once we connect with Him.

God will also speak: (c) Inspiration – This is when we know we are going in the right direction but just haven’t seen anything as of yet to confirm it. We keep going when we know that we know and God will confirm it in due time and it will give us the inspiration to keep going!

Church is a commitment

Jacob made a vow,  he made a commitment to God. We have to fulfill a commitment in order to get to the destiny God has for our lives. We keep going, not getting side-tracked. Jacob committed to giving God a tenth of everything that God gave him. The only one that we know of that had done this before, was Abraham. Where we are committed, we will make an investment.

Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words; Your heart will follow your treasure! So if we want our hearts to be after the things of God, put your treasure there and your heart will start to follow.

Luz means crooked or perverse. That’s exactly what Jacob was before his encounter with God. He had manipulated his father into giving him Esau’s blessing and so Jacob was running from his brother. Luz was forty miles from where Jacob started. Normally a person could travel twenty miles in a day but Jacob was on the run. The sun goes down and he has to camp.

Jacob makes that commitment to God and then goes and stays with his uncle for twenty years. Here’s what God says to him then: Genesis 31:13 – “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your kindred.”

In other words: “Go back and face your past.” On the way back he stops and tells the others to go on ahead and he has an encounter with God again. In that encounter, he actually wrestles with God. Jacob tells God, “I’m not going to let You go until you bless me.” Jacob wanted God to change him on the inside. God then touches Jacob’s hip. From then on Jacob would only be able to rely on the Lord’s strength, not his own. And God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning, “A person who struggles but God prevails.”

Church is a place we can go when we are struggling and make a connection with God and have a conversation all because He touches us we can fulfill the commitment we made to Him.