Saturday, April 2, 2011
"CHRISTLIKENESS OF CHARACTER" Part 5
Good Afternoon to All!
As I said last night, I wanted to go ahead ans conclude my series on "Christlikeness of Character" today, so that later, I can also post the Bible Seed lesson.
We shall continue this series with "Peace" -- Peace Comes from God and is evidence of the rule of the Messiah--whose character as the "Prince of Peace" For unto us a child is born, for unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
Now in this last scripture, according to my Rainbow KJV Bible, we are talking about the Peace that comes through Salvation. That's what "saints" are. People who have been saved and sanctified through Christ. By sanctified, I mean "set apart" for a holy purpose. Those who have decided to live their lives for God. To be "in the world but not "of the world. We can live in the world but not adhere to what the world does. The "liberal thinking" accepting of all things and practices that we know are not of God. Practices that if we look them up in the Bible it would NOT line up with the Word of God. OOPS There went another rabbits trail! Sorry, I'll get back on track.
Peace.....Now The Messiah, whose character as the Prince of Peace" waits to instill the settledness of His own rule in our souls. Just as the saving power of His death and resurrection makes it possible for us to have peace with God. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (being reconciled to Him, Romans. 5:1), The indwelling of His life and character through the Holy Spirit's work in our lives is intended to help us learn to abide in the peace of God. Jesus said to His disciples, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid". (John 14:27)
Surrender to His will and submission to His Word will bring inner rest, as we allow the peace of God to "rule" in our hearts, that is to let God's peace act as umpire (1) over decisions that would trouble you, (2) overruling doubts that would disturb you, and (3) overthrowing the Adversary's lies that would defeat or deter you. Perfect peace peace is available when the heart and mind keep focused on God's promise, power, and presence. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (Col. 3:15),
Trust Him . Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.(Isaiah 26:3).
9. "Sacrifice" Before I start this topic, I would like to say a few words. Too many times have I heard people talk about Christians having to sacrifice too much to live for God. Having to "watch how we treat people, what we say, what we do, watch or listen to, and how we dress. Yes, if we wholeheartedly live according to God's word, to those of the "world" it may seem like a sacrifice, but to us it is not. We enjoy pleasing God. We realize what He has done for us so anything we do for Him is not a sacrifice.
As far as sacrificing time or money, they are not ours in the first place. He provided them to us. Yet as far as money goes, all He requires us to give Him is 10 percent of our increase. We get to keep 90 percent! Try doing that at the bank! LOL! Our time is borrowed from Him. We need to give time back to Him also. Really, the only thing we can give Him that He didn't give us in the first place is our sacrifice of Praise and Worship, and even then we get so much back. I know when I am standing at that altar singing for Him and praising His name with uplifted hands I get such a wonderful feeling inside.
The sacrifice of praise and worship sends up a sweet spiritual aroma like incense to God. I know He is there with me and in me. -- And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mark 8:34) Growing in the likeness of Christ requires that we be willing to lay down our lives and take up our cross daily. it regularly confronts the human insistence on our own will, way and wants. But even as Jesus laid down His life for us, He invites us to lay down ours for His. It is not an equal exchange. he died to do for us what we could never do for ourselves--to save us and give us eternal life.
When we sacrifice for Him, that opens the way for His life to reveal even more of the glory of His way and will--to discover new dimensions of eternal love and liberty that bring freedom form bondage to our self-life. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:15) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father. (18)
With everything that Christ has done for us, we should be willing to change our lives for Him and live for Him. We should be willing to give up the "ways of the world" and follow Him. As Paul said , "I die daily". He wasn't talking literally, although if it came to that I feel we should as that is exactly what Christ did for us. He was talking about changing his old ways. Living the way he should and following Christ's example. It is an on-going process.
None of us will ever be able to "measure up to Christ, but His likeness is attainable. After all we are made in God's image, are we not? His likeness does not mean a "replica"of Him. It means to be "like" Him. Not He Himself. We won't be able to attain His sinlessness. That is impossible for us as humans, but we can take on His characteristics, such as being kind to others, to be loving, and generous.
All we can do is to strive to do so and take on His attributes, even though we know we will fall sometimes. We just have to get back up, ask for forgiveness and not do the same thing again. This is what I call "falling toward God" instead of away from. Back to baptism. I get so frustrated when I hear people saying "water baptism" isn't necessary anymore, it is just symbolism. That really gets my dander up because that symbolism is required by God. Jesus got baptised in water and in Spirit and we are to follow His example. That water baptism is our sins being washed away by Jesus' blood. It is us being "buried with Christ" and reconciled to God, and receiving the Holy Spirit is required also. It is a promise from God.
He said in Acts 2:38, Repent, be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. It doesn't say you can, you might , or maybe, it says you SHALL.
The Bible also says that Jesus told Nicodemus unless He was born of the Water and of the Spirit, he could not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
Now, I know that was another rabbit trail, but baptism is SO VERY IMPORTANT. If I don't get that across to my readers, then I will have failed, and will be accountable to God. I don't want to get to heaven and have God look at me and say "Why didn't you push harder about the Baptism of Water and Spirit" you knew how important that was. You knew it was a "saved or not saved" issue.
Also, just a little food for thought here. As far as immersions versus sprinkling on the head. Now PLEASE DON'T GET ANGRY OR UPSET WITH ME FOR SAYING THIS. I feel it in the Holy Ghost that it needs to be said. When we are baptized in water, the purpose is to wash away our sins. Have you ever gotten clean by sprinkling water on yourself? Think of water baptism as a bath to cleanse you and wash away the sins ( like dirt) from your soul instead of the dirt on your body. Jesus was immersed in the water, John the Baptist did not sprinkle Him.
Matthew 3;16 says And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.
Ok, I'll get down off my soap box. As I said it's just food for thought.
This concludes this series of "Christlikeness of Character". I hope it helped someone.
Have a wonderful evening and May God Bless! I didn't realize how long this was going to be, so I will use this as my post tonight, and use the Bible Seed for another night. Thank you for being patient and again, God Bless.