God’s Mysterious Plan
NLT 1 Cor 2;9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen , no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.
God has great stuff planned for those who love [those who seek & obey] him. Our part is not easy especially if we are walking in pride. We are to step aside and let God lead us. I’ve tried to explain this in Let God Lead
We need to be willing to carry our cross in this life, to seek the Holy Spirit, to find and carry out our assignment, but there are great rewards both in this life and the next. This is a not a ticket to easy street. There will be trials and suffering in this life, there will be loads to carry, but the even the short term rewards are great. The promises of the forgiveness of sin and right standing with God [sons & heirs], the Joy of the Lord, peace that passes understanding, the help of Jesus, support in times of need the promise of transformation thru the participatory gathering. These are all great promises, but before we dig into those we need to look at a very stern warning.
The Lukewarm Laodicean Church Warning
NLT Rev 3;14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit [YLT vomit] you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. 22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
Many agree that today’s western churches are characterized by the Laodicean Church. This church, to avoid being vomited from Christ’s mouth, must change [see vs 21]. Each believer must be diligent, turning from indifference, hearing Jesus knocking outside the church, and personally letting him into their hearts. Stuff That Matters To God
Forgiveness of sin
NLT Col 2;11 When you came to Christ , you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ , for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
Sons of God
NLT Gal 4;3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came . We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. 4 But when the right time came , God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Joy of the Lord, ‘Faith Brings Joy’
NLT Rom 5;1 1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. 6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Peace That Passes Understanding
NLT 2 Peter 1;11 This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. 2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. Growing in Faith 3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
NLT Phil 4;4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Two Types Of Wisdom
The Help of Jesus.
NLT Heb 4;15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Promised transformation thru the participatory gathering;
AMP Eph 4;12His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), 13[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. 14So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.
The gathering command [1 Cor 14] gives us clear simple rules to attain this “oneness in faith”, and to “comprehend the full and accurate knowledge of the Son”. This gather places the Holy Spirit clearly in charge of the gathering. Two or three tongues speakers are allowed but only if there is an interpreter. 2 or 3 folks should preach (never just one). Everyone should share something, a prayer, a verse, a revelation. There is an appeal for women not to take authority, and then we come to these verses;
AMP 1 Cor 14;37 If anyone thinks and claims that he is a prophet [filled with and governed by the Holy Spirit of God and inspired to interpret the divine will and purpose in preaching or teaching] or has any other spiritual endowment, let him understand (recognize and acknowledge) that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 38 But if anyone disregards or does not recognize [that it is a command of the Lord], he is disregarded and not recognized [he is one whom God knows not]. 39 So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying (on being inspired to preach and teach and to interpret God’s will and purpose), and do not forbid or hinder speaking in [unknown] tongues. 40 But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.
Preachers [& folks with any spiritual gift] must understand this is a command of the Lord.
We are not even allowed to recognize teachers who don’t follow this. Certainly we can not follow a leader who continues to ignore this.
So where do we start? We start with Faith. This verses show how faith leads us to obedience.
NLT Rom 4;13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.
Clearly Abraham’s promise was based on a right relationship with God that comes by faith, not on obedience. This indicates it is probably faith that leads to obedience.
CEV Rom 5;21 By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. 2 Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand. So we are happy, as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. 3 But that’s not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. 4 And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope 5 that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love. 6 Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful.
It sounds like the sequence is
1 Christ died for us
2 He introduces us to God’s grace
3 We take our stand in/on that Grace – Faith
4 As we suffer w/ Christ we learn endurance
5 Endurance builds our character
6 Character gives us hope & confidence in the Holy Spirit
7 As we grow in Christ and in the Holy Spirit we no longer think about obedience. Our thoughts naturally focus on seeking and following Christ.
The Bible shows us real rewards if we follow Jesus in this life. Don’t miss out because most today’s organized churches have fallen from their call. Don’t believe what you hear from today’s pulpits. Look thru the Bible. Find a group of authentic seekers striving to (Eph 4) “attain oneness in the faith and…. the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.
May God Guide You Into His Perfect Will For You