Classic Christianity – A New Heart for a New Year Part 2 (1-22-19)
You may have heard it said that there is no man greater than the laws of the land. There is mercy apart from the law absolutely, but under the law you better carry that out otherwise you lost it. That is not a popular stance today, and people are called bigots for such a stance.
So what do we read from God’s word to live a new life? Can you really live the Christian life? As a believer, do you struggle in the flesh? Do you fail at times? Yes, we all do. Do you fear calling someone in the body of Christ for help when you struggle? Why not? Are you afraid of being judged? What then is the purpose of the body of Christ? If Christ judges us in the flesh no more, neither should any other believer? Bob explains the role of the body of Christ in encouraging and helping one another.
Now, are you dead in your trespasses and sins, unsaved and lost? What are you dependent on for life? Can alcohol or drugs make you happy? A temporary happiness at best, but with undesirable repercussions. How about joy? Where does that come from? Do you really need alcohol to deaden your mind to the struggles of this life? How about a new life in Christ that renews your mind with no repercussions but rather a full and fulfilling life as well?
So whatever your struggle is in the flesh, Jesus Christ is the answer!
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The desires of the flesh and the Spirit are always in conflict with each other. So we are instructed in God’s word to be made new in the attitude of our minds. How are you going to be made new? By changing your actions? No, but by changing your mind. On outward actions, many times one cannot tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. That should not be, but sadly such is the case. In Muslim countries you can see good behavior. You can get your hands cut off if you steal something for such is the strict laws in such Muslim countries. Outward action is one thing, but inward thoughts and attitudes are another. Those attitudes can change your actions but do not ever think actions cannot be duplicated.
Is it really true in the final analysis, how many people really know what you are like? Your spouse and kids know you but outside them, no one really knows you. Can we not become performers if even for just a short while? Do you see why God wants to change the attitudes of your hearts? The outward can be faked.
We are to be made new in the attitudes of our hearts because the outward can be faked. You do not know somebody until you are married. Have you heard this, “I thought I knew him.” Have you heard the response, “But you did not live with him.” And, living together is not the same.
So until attitudes changed, nothing is changed. So, do you have a new self to put on? Have you been created to be like God? What do you mean, you ask?
Think of what Jesus spoke to those who were lost. Do you have the Holy Spirit living in you?
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
You were born of mom and dad, but created of God when born again. Is it true that man is created in the image of God? No. According to Genesis 5, man is created in the image of man. God created only two people in the image of God. From those two people, Adam and Eve, all other men were born in the image of man. In Genesis we read that Seth was born in the likeness of his parents (Genesis 5:1-3). Before Seth was born, Adam and Eve had sinned, and therefore sin entered the world through those born in Adam and so all sinned (Romans 5:12). That is why all men born in Adam are said to be spiritually dead. What did Adam and Eve have before they sinned? They had the Spirit of the living God in them (Genesis 2:7).
1 When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
So when you and I are born again, a spiritual new birth, we you have become a new creation. Jesus used the phrase “born again” when speaking with Nicodemus in John 3.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto you, you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Physical birth came from mom and dad. Spiritual birth came from God, called a new creation. We have not been born but created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. What does that mean?
If I am created to be like God, how can you be like God since God is spirit. How am I going to be like a spirit? But He says we are going to be like God in true righteousness. Do we have any righteousness of our own? No! So, if I am going to have true righteousness, where does that righteousness have to come from? From him.
1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
So I have been recreated by God to live in his righteousness and in his holiness. How are you righteous and holy in the sight of God? Are you righteous in the sight of God? Yes, because He gave you His righteousness.
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy
How many of you are made complete in the sight of God?
How many of you are made holy in the sight of God?
Is holiness predicated on how you act or how you look? No. How many of you have tried to make yourselves holy by looking strange? Like a holiness church that forbids cutting hair, that it makes them so ugly to go to the beach that the tide won’t even come in. We have to realize that that is not what holiness is. You and I are set apart because of the change of attitudes in our minds. Should that thinking result in different behavior? Yes, of course! Does that take time to work itself out? Yes it does! We are in the process of continually being renewed in the newness of attitude of our minds. We will be in that process until the day we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. Does God want you to know all the ramifications of your inheritance? In other words, you have an inheritance from God. What is the inheritance? He made you holy and He already set you apart. If he set you apart can you make yourself more apart? No! Can you make yourself less righteous? No! Why? Because it was never yours to begin with. If he gave you life can you get more life? or less life? No! You are in Him, you have been raised from the dead and you are secure in Him, and when you die you are absent from the body and present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:13-15
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
2 Corinthians 5:8
8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Three leaders met and the topic of death was discussed. Hugh Downs was among them and he was petrified of death, for he did not know where he was going when he died. Even though he heard the message concerning Jesus Christ, he still did not believe. Larry King live of the Larry King Live show had many spiritual leaders as guests on his show. He admires them but he is lost. He would rather put faith in how knowledgeable he is. No matter how knowledgeable you are, can you answer the question: “Do you know where you would go when you die?” If you are not prepared to die, then you are not prepared for living. If you are afraid of dying, then you are afraid of living. Not until you settle that issue, that you are in Christ not because of what you do or think but because of what Jesus Christ did, and received His offer of salvation. You came to Christ admitting you are a mess and let Jesus clean you up. God is telling you, if you are a lost person, that you have hearts of stone and that He will give you a heart of flesh. The motive is God’s love. Those who are saved have responded to that love. Because of that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will be in the presence of the Lord, seeing Him as He really is. None of us likes the process of death, but for the born again, there is no fear of death. Death is just simply going to a better place to live and to live with Him forever. While there, I am just waiting for others among my family and friends to be with Him. Since you are prepared to die, then you are prepared to live, just because of being saved in Christ Jesus. There is no fear of death for those in Christ Jesus and no one can explain that but it is true.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
So we are to put off the old self, no need to think like a lost person, and put on the new self, to be made new in the attitudes of our minds, to be created to be like God in all righteousness and holiness.
We are all members of one body. We are part of the body of Christ. That is what happened in the spiritual birth, the Spirit of God came to live in us and placed us in the true body of Christ. The church is not on the corner of walk and don’t walk and many such places called church can be made of saved and unsaved. The true church is the Ecclesia, meaning the called out ones, and is only composed of born again believers. Only the true Ecclesia is joined with Jesus at the head and joined down here with the body. That is the only church He is dealing with. Church is not called Baptist or Presbyterian or Plymouth Brethren. Church is in relationship with Jesus Christ. There are born again believers all over world that are saved just like you, with the same experience of coming to the Lord, with no fear of death. Regardless of nationality, color or creed, we are one in Christ. Believers gather together locally, as in the church at Ephesus or the church at Philippi. Not a bunch of churches all over Phillipi but where the local believers met together. Just one group of born again believers. Not just nice people, with activities for children, or something to do, but have Christ living in and through them.
We learn something of the life of the first church after Christ rose from the death from the book of Acts.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
The believers met daily for the Apostle’s teaching, for fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Unless you are in a local community with other like-minded believers, not something easy to do. These things are done in a local community. Not huge communities, not huge in nature. That is what church was like. The church was not an activity center or denomination or place to go to get entertained. No, the church was a place to learn, to get your mind renewed, to be about learning more about God and the new life He has given you. The church in those days was about studying the scriptures.
Because we are a part of the body of Christ, we are to be honest and speak truthfully to one another. The reason that we should speak truth to one another is because we belong to one another. We would not think of lying to another part of the body. The nose is not lying to you when it says it is itching, and would not even think of doing so. No, the whole body knows it is itching because the nose told you so. Is there fear in telling the truth? If I tell the truth, do you think this person might not love and accept you? Sadly, oftentimes what is called church today is the last place you go if you have a serious sin problem. People have called Bob when they have had a sin problem because they know they will not be judged for it. God is not judging so neither should we. The last place to find condemnation and judgment is the body of Christ. So what do we do? We lie because we are afraid of being judged. We lie by saying everything is great when it is not. Such a tragedy. So enamored of being socially accepted that we do not want anybody to know we have some failures. We all have failures because of the desires of the flesh. One person’s desire in the flesh may be strong in one area and someone else in another. We do not all struggle with the same thing.
Bob relates a time when a lady named Liz called him for help concerning her husband Sid. As a married couple they both had their struggles with alcohol since college. Liz came to know Christ and was living free but was bothered that he husband was not free, for he had heard the same gospel message, and she loved him and wanted him to be free. So she called Bob for help concerning her husband for Sid was often drunk. Bob prayed and asked the Lord for understanding and was puzzled concerning Sid. So he went over to their house to talk to Sid to discern where he was at in his thinking.
Sid said, “Do you know why I got drunk? Do you know what my boss and secretary are doing? They are in a motel some place.” Bob said, “They are probably sitting in that hotel saying you know what old Sid is doing, he is getting drunk. You are getting hung up what they are doing, drunk as a skunk and they are doing what they are doing and they are not drunk, probably criticizing what you are doing? So which sin is worse? Did you accept Jesus the God or Jesus the man?” Sid said, “What do you mean?” Bob said, “Did you accept the Lord Jesus Christ who walked on the face of the earth who performed miracles, who made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, or did you receive the living Christ who was raised from the dead today and seated at the right hand of God as God ready to give you life? Did you come to Christ for forgiveness or did you come to him for life?” Sid said he came to him for forgiveness, to Jesus the man. Bob said, “Are you ready tonight to accept Jesus as God for life?” Sid got on his knees and accepted Jesus for life, stopped drinking that night and never drank again in his life for the Holy Spirit took residence in him and changed him from within.
What was wrong with Sid? Did he have a drinking problem? No. No one has a drinking or drug problem but a heart problem. It is not what a man puts in his mouth or in his veins that defiles a man but what proceeds out of his heart. What comes from within a man’s heart is what defiles a man.
11 Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
17 Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.
19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts — murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
All of these things are a misplaced dependency. We are dependent on those things to do for us what only Christ can do for us. There comes a time when you say, “I don’t need alcohol to deaden my mind anymore. I can depend on Jesus to renew my mind. I do not need alcohol to make me bold. I can depend on Christ to make me humble. I do not need these things to make me happy. No, I can have Jesus to give me joy and joy is better than happiness.” The Holy Spirit changes the hearts of men, from within. Salvation is a heart change. It is coming to the Lord saying you no longer want to be controlled by such things, doing my own things and thinking my own thoughts, but to be controlled by the Spirit of God.
When Jesus hung on the cross, he said this to those who nailed him there.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus took upon the sins of the world, to take away the cause of death, which is sin, in order to be raised from the dead to give you eternal life, with His righteousness, so you may live a new life in Him.
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