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Loyal
Friday, June 23, 2017, 7:51 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To My Beloved.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4:17-24 (NASB).

No Longer (vv. 17-19)

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Our walk is how we live our lives day in and day out. It is what we think, do, say and believe, as well as it entails our attitudes, perceptions, philosophies, values and morals. It is also our habits - rituals, traditions and practices. Our walk is not to be like that of the ungodly. We are not supposed to think like this sinful world, nor adopt their attitudes, values and practices. When we were blinded by sin’s deceitfulness, we walked in that way. We were under the power and influence of the evil one. But, now that we have been saved from our sins, that old way of living should no longer be a part of our lives.

It is futile (useless, fruitless) to live like the ungodly. When we were in slavery to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. The outcome of those things is death (See: Ro. 6:1-23). We can’t serve two masters. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). We can’t live in the world of sin and follow Jesus Christ with our lives, too. These are in opposition to each other. In other words, you can’t walk left and walk right at the same time. They don’t parallel each other. Evil does not coexist with righteousness.

We also can’t walk in darkness and in the light at the same time. And, if we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), yet claim to have fellowship with God, we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). If we walk in darkness (in the flesh), we will die in our sins, i.e. we will lose our lives for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25). And, if we make a practice of sinning, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God (Gal. 5:19-21). We can’t be open to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, in doing what he says, and in following his lead, if we are steeped in sinful rebellion against God, have our ears closed, and if we refuse to listen to what is truth, just because it doesn’t fit our lifestyles.

When we close our ears to the truth, and we choose to go our own way, instead, because we want to hold on to our sin, then we harden our hearts against the Spirit’s voice, and his promptings, and we end up becoming unfeeling and insensitive to the Word of God speaking to our hearts. We do this through a continual practice of resisting the Spirit’s voice, and giving in to willful sin time and time again. The more of this sinful world that we adopt into our lives and put into practice, the greater we become desensitized (numb) both to evil, and to the Holy Spirit’s conviction and urgings.

When an individual gets to the point of hardening his heart, via resisting the Holy Spirit, and choosing sin over God, as a regular practice of his life, it naturally flows that such individuals would then give themselves over to sensuality and the practice of every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. And, then, to top it off, they alter the gospel of Jesus Christ to fit their lustful and impure lifestyles so that they don’t feel guilty for their lifestyles of sin. And, this is why so many people today are preaching and teaching a half-truth diluted gospel message, so that they can continue in their sin, and still claim heaven as their eternal destiny.

So, what are some of these impure and sensual practices? They are not limited to just what is sexual in nature, but they include whatever is fleshly (worldly, unspiritual, ungodly). They include gossip, overeating (gluttony), self-indulgence in worldly pleasure, and being engrossed in the culture of our societies; lying, cheating, stealing, filthy language, and idolatry, as well as the viewing of pornography, watching sexually charged TV shows or movies, and extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), etc. And, it is not just the personal involvement with these sins which is wrong, but it is allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, and/or to give approval to these sinful practices in other people’s lives, which is what we do when we watch them.

Be Renewed (vv. 20-24)

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

So, what is the crux of the whole matter here? It is that, if we have been taught the truth that is in Christ Jesus, we did not learn Christ in the way of free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, while claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. That is a false grace gospel.

The truth that is in Christ Jesus, which Jesus and his NT apostles taught, is that, with regard to our former way of living for sin and self, we are to lay it aside, reject it, and put it off. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. Daily we take up our cross and follow (obey) Christ. Daily we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh so that we might walk in the Spirit and no longer gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Jn. 6:35-66).

Our old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, should no longer be in control over our lives. We should no longer be enslaved (addicted) to our sinful passions and desires. Jesus Christ set us free from all that through his death on a cross, and via his resurrection from the dead. He delivered us out of slavery to sin so that we could become bond-slaves of his righteousness. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Ro. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).

Instead of still groveling around in the mud (filth, lewdness, immorality), we should be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. This is the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, but we have to cooperate with that work via submission and obedience to our Lord, and to His Word. We must choose to leave our old lives of sin behind us to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives (Acts 26:16-18; Jn. 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:13-16). And, we must willingly put out of our lives what is corrupting our minds and our lifestyles, and put on what is wholesome, pure and righteous.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we are born again (born spiritually) of the Spirit of God, our old lives are put to death with Christ so that we might live our new lives, which are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our new lives are not supposed to be like our old lives, only maybe just slightly cleaned up. They are to be radically different! It is as if we were traveling west, and then we decided to travel east, instead. So, we do a U-turn, and we go the opposite direction. This is what takes place when we repent of our sins and when we choose to walk in obedience to our Lord. Our new lives are to be like Jesus.

We are not only made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, but we must live righteously. He not only purifies us and makes us holy, but we must walk in holiness. And, holiness means we live our lives separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. Too many people who call themselves Christians reject this teaching by their lifestyles, because they are still practicing sin and they are entertaining sin in their minds and by the things they choose daily to take into their minds, and many are convinced that Satan still has power over their lives, and that they can’t say “No” to sin, but that is a lie! Jesus set us free! We just need to live like we are truly free, if truly we are in Christ Jesus by faith in him. And, we do this in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.

To My Beloved / An Original Work / November 14, 2011

Based off I Pet. 5:6-9; Eph. 6:10-20; Jms. 4:4-10

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Put on His full armor in your fight
Against the enemy of your souls,
And resist him with all your might.
Take up the shield of your faith within you.
Salvation’s helmet – you put it on.
Put on the belt of truth,
And walk in the Spirit,
And you’ll not be ashamed.
Love your Lord Jesus; call His Name.

Call on your Lord and Savior, Jesus, and
Make Him Lord and King of your hearts.
Obey all of His teachings He has given
To you to follow in all His ways.
Repent of your sins. Return to your God.
Follow Him where’er He leads you now.
Humble yourselves in full
Surrender to His will
For your lives today.
Bow before Him, and humbly pray.

Be strong in the grace of Christ, and
Obey your Lord in ev’rything, always
Keeping His teachings in your hearts near you.
Walk with Christ in ev’ry way.
Resist the devil. He will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and He’ll be near you.
Wash your hands you sinners
And double minded.
Weep and wail o’er sin.
With Christ, your new lives begin.

 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

If a person is or wants to be a devil [or to act like one] then he along with the Pharisees who prayed aloud in order to receive men's praises already has his reward. Perhaps some of those Pharisees started out hot on fire for God, but they moved toward the lukewarm hoping to be able to get [or so they thought] the best of both worlds. But that is not how God sees it:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:15-16

The one who tries to straddle the fence is viewed by God as worse than the one who has always been cold. The unbeliever remains cold, but he still has hope, if he will reach out and take hold of it. The one who has tasted the goodness of God and then looks effectively back to the garlic and leeks of Egypt is the lukewarm one who God will spit out of His mouth with no more hope. Have we tasted of the salvation of God when He led out of Egypt? Have we wearied of well doing and looked back at earlier days before we knew God?

God help us all!
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love

If a person is or wants to be a devil [or to act like one] then he along with the Pharisees who prayed aloud in order to receive men's praises already has his reward. Perhaps some of those Pharisees started out hot on fire for God, but they moved toward the lukewarm hoping to be able to get [or so they thought] the best of both worlds. But that is not how God sees it:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." Rev 3:15-16

The one who tries to straddle the fence is viewed by God as worse than the one who has always been cold. The unbeliever remains cold, but he still has hope, if he will reach out and take hold of it. The one who has tasted the goodness of God and then looks effectively back to the garlic and leeks of Egypt is the lukewarm one who God will spit out of His mouth with no more hope. Have we tasted of the salvation of God when He led out of Egypt? Have we wearied of well doing and looked back at earlier days before we knew God?

God help us all!
Thank you so much for sharing this @amadeus2 . Interesting wording that you used here, as it was similar in some ways to what the Lord gave me in today's devotional time with him: Strength to Help
 
Loyal
Thank you so much for sharing this @amadeus2 . Interesting wording that you used here, as it was similar in some ways to what the Lord gave me in today's devotional time with him: Strength to Help
When God is putting words in our mouths and we are being used by Him it would be strange if they were not similar.

Some people have trouble understanding God in the OT, but as we begin to understand His Ways, we come to realize that He was the same God then that He is now:

"For I am the LORD, I change not; ..." Mal 3:6
 
Loyal
When God is putting words in our mouths and we are being used by Him it would be strange if they were not similar.

Some people have trouble understanding God in the OT, but as we begin to understand His Ways, we come to realize that He was the same God then that He is now:

"For I am the LORD, I change not; ..." Mal 3:6
Amen! I am so thankful he does not change like shifting shadows.
 
Loyal
Heb 13:8; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jas 1:17; Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Mal 3:6 "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
 
Active
Help, I heard someone in the church I went to last Sunday say God is always changing and I thought of that verse.

He was like the worship leader and I'm wondering if he just made an error and meant something else...or is he totally off track?

Hes a sports guy and I think sometimes that he worships sport more than God. You know how some people are totally devoted to sport and its like their whole life and if they win they thank God. Yesterday nz won the americas cup, a yachting race. Its like a HUGE deal and the news people were all saying nz is on the world stage. Im like..what, theres a world stage?

Also when he gets us up to worship he likes us to get excited like we are at a rugby match spectators. Is that ok? Next sunday no doubt they are going to mention the yacht race It and people will be happier than usual. Last Week the lions came and it was also a huge deal. Lions as in the lions rugby team, not real lions. Apparently we beat the lions.

Is it ok to use sport as a way to worship God? Or sports analogies like saying God is a referee?

Although one lady I know said she used to be a netball referee once cos they needed one for school and she hated it because she got so much abuse from the parents on the sidelines!!
 
Loyal
Help, I heard someone in the church I went to last Sunday say God is always changing and I thought of that verse.

He was like the worship leader and I'm wondering if he just made an error and meant something else...or is he totally off track?

Hes a sports guy and I think sometimes that he worships sport more than God. You know how some people are totally devoted to sport and its like their whole life and if they win they thank God. Yesterday nz won the americas cup, a yachting race. Its like a HUGE deal and the news people were all saying nz is on the world stage. Im like..what, theres a world stage?

Also when he gets us up to worship he likes us to get excited like we are at a rugby match spectators. Is that ok? Next sunday no doubt they are going to mention the yacht race It and people will be happier than usual. Last Week the lions came and it was also a huge deal. Lions as in the lions rugby team, not real lions. Apparently we beat the lions.

Is it ok to use sport as a way to worship God? Or sports analogies like saying God is a referee?

Although one lady I know said she used to be a netball referee once cos they needed one for school and she hated it because she got so much abuse from the parents on the sidelines!!
Well, we can reject the lies with the truth by knowing God and his Word, and that God is never changing. Now, this is not to say that his covenants with humans are all the same. Although there are many similarities between the old and new covenant, and even though there are many spiritual parallels between the two, the new is different from the old. But, that doesn't mean God has changed. I think people sometimes confuse the change from the old to the new covenant with God changing, but God doesn't change.

With regard to sermon illustrations, Jesus spoke in parables often, and he used things that the people of his time understood, such as farming, sowing and planting, etc. So there is nothing inherently wrong with the use of parables in order to make practical application of biblical truth to today. Yet, many have overly secularized their sermons in order to connect with the people and it becomes more about entertaining and pleasing people than it is about being filled with the Spirit of God and preaching God-inspired messages meant to convict and change hearts, rather than tickle itching ears and give them what their flesh desires.
 
Loyal
No, God really does not change, but we do. The question to ask of ourselves is whether we are becoming more like Him or not?

However while God does not change, our perception of Him needs to be changing. Even believers may not yet fully understand this. We are all to be growing more like and closer to our Lord:

The Apostle expresses our continuing change in one verse although it can be seen and understood throughout the scriptures:

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." I Cor 13:12

And then again another writer wrote this:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
" I John 3:2
 
Loyal
No, God really does not change, but we do. The question to ask of ourselves is whether we are becoming more like Him or not?

However while God does not change, our perception of Him needs to be changing. Even believers may not yet fully understand this. We are all to be growing more like and closer to our Lord:

The Apostle expresses our continuing change in one verse although it can be seen and understood throughout the scriptures:

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." I Cor 13:12

And then again another writer wrote this:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
" I John 3:2
Thanks @amadeus2
 
Loyal
Hmm maybe he meant how God is always doing new things. Maybe I misheard.
In a sense, yes, God is always doing new things, but as a result of how you and I, the believers are interacting with Him. The Word of God is also unchanging. When we do the right thing, the blessing we receive is not something new that God just now made up. He is just doing what He always said that He would do.

One difficult example for people to understand in the OT is when the word, "repent" is used as the verb and "God" is used as the subject of the sentence as for example:

"And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." Ex 32:14

God did not repent as a man repents, for to repent means to change. What happened is men did something which invoked upon man what God had already promised, what He has already spoken [His Word]. Some of God's promises can be and are quite negative [curses]. We will cause those curses to come upon us according to our failures: that is, according to our NOT doing it as God had already said that we should do it.

The following verse, I believe, clarifies this with the subject of the sentence being the pronoun, "it":

"And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." Gen 6:6

What is the antecedent [the noun it stands in place of] of the word "it"? Read the previous verse:

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Gen 6:5

"The wickedness of man" would seem to be the antecedent.

And then the curse:

"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." Gen
6:7

The judgment or curse is our according to what we did or did not do and/or according to what we have or have not done. God did not change His rules. Man brought into play against himself a negative rule [curse] that was already in place. God spoke His Word before we existed [if the word "before" means anything to a timeless God]. But God is always fair to you and me. He understands only too well that we are subject to time as He is not. Both curses and blessings can and do apply to you and to me.
 
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