Â Â Â Â Â It's always a good time to give ourselves a spiritual check-up, making sure we are living uprightly and our lives are pleasing to the Lord.
Â Â Â Â Â This recent word by John Belt will help us all partake in a good healthy check-up as we are called to be set apart unto Him.
Â Â Â Â Â I encourage you as we've entered into a new season, let's prepare ourselves and be those set apart vessels for Him and all He wants to pour "through" us. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
1 Timothy 4:1-3, "Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."
Keeping the Faith
In the book of Acts it was the beginning of the last days because Peter mentions it when he quotes the book of Joel (Acts 2:14-21). There are awesome things happening where the knowledge of the glory of the Lord is covering the earth (Habakkuk 2:14). There are sad things in these days as well that are taking place. Paul says in 1 Timothy that people will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, among other things. In doing this, Paul clearly states that some people will "depart from the faith" through these actions. Jesus also makes it abundantly clear that just because someone does something in "His name," does not mean that He (Jesus) knows that person.
What Is Lawlessness?
Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
In this passage, Jesus not only doesn't know them but is very upset with their "lawlessness." What does the law do? It reveals sin â€“ the sin in our hearts. It defines things. It creates boundaries. In Romans chapter 7 Paul shares that apart from the law he would not have an awareness of sin (Romans 7:7). Sin is defined by the law. Although the law does not bring salvation, it is good. In the inner man, Paul delighted in the law of God.
Romans 7:12, 22, "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good...For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man."
In Matthew 7:21-23, for those who told the Lord all they had done in His name, it was not this random mishap or mistake that Jesus addresses in their lives â€“ it was a practice of lawlessness and sin. In other words, sin was a normal routine and habit that had been embraced even though they had been out and about doing "the ministry."
Are Grace and Holiness Contrary?
What about the grace of God? The primary reason why God's grace is amazing is because it has the power to transform a person from a lifestyle of sin to living a life that glorifies Jesus, abides in the Holy Spirit and therefore demonstrates righteousness and holiness. This is shown and revealed by a life manifesting the law of God from the inside out, a life with boundaries being separated from sin in daily living.
Ephesians 4:20-24, "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Photo via Unsplash)
The first name of the Holy Spirit is "Holy." This is clear, with no mysteries here. Holiness is beautiful. It is part of our life of worship to God. Just as the psalmist David wrote from the depths of His intimacy with God, our life of devotion must be just as real and vibrant, as we have the fullness of His Spirit in Christ.
Therefore, the standard does not go down BUT UP! Why? Because we have been entrusted with a greater measure of His Spirit and power, not only to live a supernatural life but to emanate a life of holiness that reflects God's nature in fullness.
1 Chronicles 16:29: "Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!"
In the book of Revelation you will notice that when the four living creatures worship God, they hit on one theme over and over again, saying, "HOLY! HOLY! HOLY!"
Revelation 4:6-8, "Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
"'Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!'"
This is not a passing theme but an eternal theme of the nature of God; it's something we must pay attention to. Mary of Bethany got this. She understood that sitting at the feet of Jesus was not time lost but time gained, while Martha was just being a busybody.
Jesus tells Martha that the "one thing" which Mary was doing would not be taken away (Luke 10:42). It would not be taken because it was of eternal value. She was spending time in the presence of Jesus, absorbing His words and nature because she recognized the value of just hanging out with Him.
Paul constantly makes pleas for the people of God to live holy lives without compromise â€“ also saying that he who rejects a life of holiness rejects God, who has given His Holy Spirit. (Photo via Unsplash)
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, "For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit."
4 Ways to Keep in Step With the Spirit
We've been called to live by the Holy Spirit. But how do we do that? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
Here is a place to start.
1. Recognize what sin is. You have to realize what sin is, otherwise you won't know what needs to change. What is fornication? What is adultery? Read the Bible. Ignorance is not bliss. Download the Bible onto your phone. Do a word search. Find out what is pleasing and displeasing to God.
2. Repent of sin. All sin is simply doing the wrong things. Once you figure out what you are doing wrong, then repent and change your direction.
3. Ask Jesus to Be LORD over your life. This is beyond just getting a Savior, which He is. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. Surrender your life to Him.
4. Begin to change your surroundings and habits. As a new creation in Christ your way of living has to change with it. Ask God to convict you and show you the stuff in your life that needs to be changed; this includes relationships, habits and other things that affect your walk with God.
Don't settle for less than God's best for your life. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to seek God, worship Jesus, read the Word and welcome the Holy Spirit. Holiness is not an option but a requirement that comes from living in intimacy with God.
Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."
His Perfection Revealed in You
Holiness is not some religious outward appearance but an effortless outflow of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you. Not to say that the Holy Spirit may need to change the way you look and dress outwardly, i.e. modesty (1 Timothy 2:9). We are the "temples" of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
God's presence used to be connected to the Ark of the Covenant. Now, because of the Blood of Jesus Christ, He dwells in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
You don't have to be perfect. That is not what holiness is about. Yet you have a choice to welcome the Holy Spirit, who is perfect, to come dwell inside of you. It is the Holy Spirit who will change the way you live from the inside out.
What you do have is a choice. You have to choose to be filled with the Spirit continually. That is why Paul encouraged God's people to let the communion of the Holy Spirit be with them.
2 Corinthians 13:14, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen."
Intimacy with God has the power to change your life. Like Mary of Bethany, you have to make the choice to spend time developing your relationship with God. (Photo via Unsplash)
It would be superficial if I said, "I know so and so," but never spent any time with that person or ignored what they had to say â€“ never listening.
His words are a big part of our intimacy with Him as well. If we ignore His commands we cannot be His disciples (John 8:31-32). He has to be our Teacher, even the Holy Spirit, and we have to follow His instructions.
1 Corinthians 2:13, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
The Purpose of God's Grace
The grace of God enables you to live after the Holy Spirit, not after the lusts of your flesh. The grace of God empowers you to follow Jesus. The grace of God causes you to overcome in righteousness.
The grace of God is not a scrub brush to use after you sin so that you can go right back into it. There is no godly sorrow or fear in that way of thinking. That is double-minded living. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and godly fear is normal for those who follow Jesus (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). This does not mean you won't make a mistake, but it means rejecting a lifestyle of sin. It means you've changed the overall direction of your life, not living in presumption of God's grace but seeing God's grace as empowerment to live a life pleasing to Him.
The writer of the book of Hebrews states, "In your struggle against sin, you haven't resisted yet to the point of shedding blood," reminding us that Jesus is the standard (Hebrews 12:4). Have grace to serve the Lord with godly fear.
Hebrews 12:25, 28-29, "See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on Earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven...Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."
Jude 1:3-4, "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Take notice that lewd living is not endorsed by God. Also take note that grace does not empower it. His grace comes to us giving us a heart of repentance from sin so that we can renunciate sin, surrender to God and be cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ, which then enables us to experience the grace of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hearing His Voice and Abiding in Him
God loves everyone but He does not love sin or the sinful lifestyle. Jesus gave His life for the entire world but not everyone comes to Him. (Photo via Pixabay)
God's Spirit empowers us to live a godly life, not a self-consumed life that feeds the flesh (sinful nature) its lusts and desires. People who have a form of religion but deny the power of God to live like Christ are deceived (2 Timothy 3:5).
1 John 2:15-17, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world â€“ the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life â€“ is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
Malachi 3:6, "For I am the Lord, I do not change..."
Our God is a consuming fire. He has not changed. John 3:16 is one of the most amazing and recognized verses about the salvation that Jesus gives. Yet we don't want to miss what He continues to say in the following verses.
John 3:19-21, "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
This is why our relationship with God is to be continual and abiding. God calls us to ABIDE in Him, ABIDE in His words, ABIDE in His Spirit and ABIDE in the secret place of His presence. Make sure you are not hearing just what you want to hear.
2 Timothy 4:3-4, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
God is for us. He works with us, where we are, to bring us along with Him. The main thing is that we choose to cooperate with Him, heed what He says and live after His Spirit. Your actions will speak that you are heading His direction. Give your whole heart to Him as you live a life set apart in holiness for His purposes. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
John and Brandi Belt
John and Brandi BeltÂ are the leaders of Belt Ministries. The heart of their message is that God's greatest desire is to indwell His people with His presence. They believe that man was created to be inhabited by God through His Spirit. With a sincere devotion to God through the Holy Spirit, people can live in a place of overflow in His presence. This overflow translates into touching the lives of others through living encounters with God. When John and Brandi minister, the intimate presence of God is manifest â€“ being accompanied with demonstrations of God's power to heal, revive, and restore.
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