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Daily Bread - May 8, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 08 May 2017 10:53
John 15:7 - If you dwell in me, and my words dwell in you, then you may ask
what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

Dwelling in Christ Jesus

The Greek word 'menein' is the same word that is translated 'remain, abide,
dwell, or stay'. We are to let Christ dwell in our hearts by faith, and we
are to dwell in Him by faith (Ephesians 3:17). Dwelling in Christ is an
ongoing commitment to the fact that He is our Redeemer Who paid the price
for our salvation. We, therefore, refuse to doubt His love and commitment
to us; and we refuse to doubt our love and commitment to Him. Dwelling in
Christ is, in fact, a relationship word. It is a relationship of the
highest order, because dwelling in Christ speaks of our identity in Him.
Being in Christ means "that as He is in this world, so are we", and "for
me, to live is Christ" (1 John 4:17; Philippians 1:21). In the Gospel of
John, we observe how that it was through the relationship that Jesus had
with His Father that he did the mighty miracles displayed in His earthly
ministry (John 11:41, 6:11, 5:19-23). Through our relationship with Jesus,
we are able to "ask what we desire, and it shall be done."

The junction where the works of Christ, the Word of God, and the power of
faith which produces the miraculous life of Christ is the point where we
submit to the truth of "I no longer live". To live in Christ Jesus, we
commit to live by Him. In this commitment, we turn our lives over to Him in
a dedication to doing the things that He does, and in a recognition that
without Him we can do nothing. Now, this has nothing to do with washing
dishes or working on your car; rather, this is about fulfilling the Great
Commission. If we are going to do the works that He did, and greater works,
then we are going to have to live the same life of obedience that He lived.

The act of dwelling in Christ Jesus is a consecration of our will to do His
will. Dwelling in Christ Jesus is a commitment to obey Him in all things.
It is a surrender to believe that He has given us His life -with all of the
benefits and authority thereof. It is the continuous commitment to follow
Him, and to be as He is in this world (1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 4:17). The only
way that we can follow Jesus is to know -and then do- what His Word tells
us to do. Following Jesus is a refusal to live for ourselves, and instead
to live as living epistles (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23; John 5:30, 15:5; 2
Corinthians 3:3). Dwelling in Christ is a daily consecration to live the
life of Christ that was freely given to us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15;
Galatians 2:20). We dwell in Christ because His Word dwells in us; we have
believed and accepted everything that He has said we are! We allow the Word
of Christ Jesus to dwell in us because we hear it, read it, think on it,
and do it (Colossians 3:16; Luke 6:47-48; Luke 11:28; James 1:22-24;
Matthew 12:50; John 14:23-24; John 15:10). If we say we know Him and dwell
in Him, but do not keep His sayings, then we are living a false life. Yet,
if we simply obey Him and do His Word, then we will find ourselves in a
love relationship that results in receiving all that Father has bestowed
upon those who will walk with Him!

If we dwell in Christ Jesus, and His Word dwells in us, then we will
receive whatever we ask (John 15:16; 1 John 3:22). Jesus reveals how easy
it is to receive the answer to your request: He simply tells us to ask.
Jesus tells us seven times in John chapters 14 through 16 to "ask". The
kind of prayer that we are to pray is an asking prayer -a prayer that
expects God to do the impossible! Elijah prayed asking God to stop the
rain, and it did not rain for three and a half years; then when he asked
God to cause it to rain, it was so (James 5:17-18). James said, "You have
not, because you ask not." Jesus said, "Everyone who asks shall receive,"
and, "All things, whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall
receive" (Luke 11:9-10; Matthew 21:22). How simple can it be? Jesus reduces
the impossible to nothing more than a basic request if we will walk in
obedience to Him by allowing His Word to determine all that we think,
speak, and do.
 
Daily Bread - May 6, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 06 May 2017 10:06
1 John 3:6 - Everyone who abides in Him does not sin; everyone that sins
has not seen Him nor known Him.

God's War Against Sin - Part 2

It does not matter where we turn in the Scripture, God's judgment against
sin and disobedience is the focus. His plan to rid the world of sin and its
iniquity, and to create a new heaven and a new earth in which only
righteousness exists, is revealed in every generation of man. Whether we
look at the Gospels or the Epistles, the doctrine of God and his judgment
against sin and disobedience is found.

Peter had a radical testimony regarding the doctrine of holiness and a life
purified from all sin. He demanded that everyone who had received the
divine nature give all diligence to making their calling and election sure.
He demanded that diligent attention be given to faith, virtue, knowledge,
self control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and divine love (2
Peter 1:4-11). In His doctrine of holiness, he placed the same demand that
God had placed upon the children of Israel in the first covenant, saying,
"Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16, 3:10-15). Peter made it a
requirement that God's people be obedient to the Word of God if salvation
were to be a reality in their lives (2 Peter 1:19-21). Yet, the testimony
of John was even that much more intense. For John, sin was removed by the
redemption that is Christ Jesus, and could not exist in those who were born
of Him (1 John 1:6, 9, 2:1, 4, 6, 10, 13-14, 15-17, 29, 3:3, 5-10, 24, 4:4,
5:18).

God, Who worked for us the miracle of salvation, demands that we now become
obedient children who walk in the Spirit and live by His Word. Are you
willing to risk your eternity in order to continue in sin while still
expecting to be acceptable to God? A man may say, "Well, I believe in the
love and mercy of God." Well, that is good. However, as soon as someone
teaches or believes that they can continue in sin, then die in the practice
of sin and still be called righteous, holy, and acceptable by God, that is
heresy. There is nothing in the Bible which suggests that will be the case.
Instead, God reveals exactly the opposite: God commands all men everywhere
to turn from their sin and live in righteousness and godliness (Acts
17:30-31; Titus 2:11-15). He brought to pass the miracle of salvation
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and now
demands righteousness and true holiness in our lives (Titus 3:3-7;
Ephesians 4:20-24; Luke 1:74-75; Matthew 5:48; 1Peter 1:15-16; Romans
12:1-2).
 
Daily Bread - May 5, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 05 May 2017 08:13
1 John 3:6 - Everyone who abides in Him does not sin; everyone that sins
has not seen Him nor known Him.

God's War Against Sin - Part 1

The one thing that God's people should be more interested in than anything
else is the ability to live free from sin. After all, it is sin that
started the whole problem in the first place. It is sin that brought about
death and destruction (Romans 5:12-19). Jesus Christ, the eternal God, came
into the world to destroy sin -and He did not fail. He suffered on the
cross so that we would be cut off from sin and be empowered to live unto
righteousness. Sin is the spirit of disobedience. It is the foremost enemy
of God and man. If we will harken unto the voice of God, then we will count
sin as the enemy of our souls, and realize that God has given us everything
that we need to defeat spiritual wickedness and every fleshly lust that
wars against our souls.

There is nothing that offends and grieves the heart of our Heavenly Father
more than sin. Sin carries with it the absolute penalty of death -as much
now as ever before. Therefore, we must learn to effectively deal with sin
at every point that we encounter it. There are those who talk of sin's
great power, and tell us that we must sin everyday. The power of sin is
blown up to be greater than the power of the cross, the Word, and the Holy
Spirit. Spiritual wickedness is by inference given greater authority than
the strength of the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10-11; 1
Corinthians 10:13). Theologians and preachers alike will tell us that there
is still something about our nature that needs to be fixed before we can
consistently say no to sin and the demonic influences that inspire it. When
they attempt to explain just what needs to be fixed and how it will be
fixed, they are found tripping over scriptures and contradicting what
Christ Jesus said He finished at Calvary.

The subject of sin is the foremost subject of Scripture. The Bible focuses
from cover cover on how hideous sin is to God, and what He will do to
destroy it and redeem men from its power. Sin is so evil to God that He
made a Hell to contain it. If we agree with God, then we should feel the
same way about it, too. When we begin in Genesis in the first few chapters,
we discover that the wages of sin is death. God made it clear to Adam that
disobedience to His will would only result in death. Then, when Adam
disobeyed, the earth and all mankind suffered the consequences. Death
entered into the world by sin, and the dominion and reign of it came upon
all men (Genesis 3:6-23; Ephesians 2:2; Romans 5:12-19). As soon as man
disobeyed and opened the door to death through sin, God made an immediate
plan for the overthrow of sin. He made plans for the redemption of men by
bringing forth Christ Jesus, the seed of a woman, Who would crush the head
of serpent (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 1:18; Galatians 4:4; Revelation 12:9).
Then, when we come to the last prophet and book of the Old Testament,
Malachi, we still hear of God's testimony against sin and His pronouncement
of judgment against it: "'For behold the day comes that shall burn as an
oven, and all the proud, yes, and all who do wickedly shall be stubble, and
the day that comes shall burn them up,' says the Lord of hosts, 'So that it
shall leave them neither root nor branch'" (Malachi 4:1). God's war on sin
will not come to an end until the last enemy, Death, is destroyed (1
Corinthians 15:25-26).

God's war against sin and His commitment to its destruction is personified
in Christ Jesus. The introduction to the the New Covenant begins by
announcing the birth of the Redeemer, the seed of the woman, "that will
save His people from their sin" (Matthew 1:21; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14; 2
Timothy 1:10). Zachariah, the father of the prophet John, upon hearing of
the ministry of his son and the coming of the Messiah, said: "Blessed be
the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed His people," and
"that He would grant unto us that we, being delivered out of the hand of
our enemies, might serve Him without fear: in holiness and and
righteousness" (Luke 1:68, 74-75). Then at the end of the Bible in
Revelation 22, the final judgment on sin is pronounced: "He that is
unrighteous let him be unrighteous still, and he that is filthy let him be
filthy still, and he that is righteous let him be righteous still, and he
that is holy let him be holy still" (Revelation 22:11). All those who died
in their sins were cast out of God's presence and into the lake of fire,
which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).
 
Daily Bread - May 4, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 04 May 2017 09:31
1 John 3:5 - And we know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and
in Him is no sin.

The incarnate, divine Word was revealed to take away sin by His birth,
public ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. Adam's failure to obey God
resulted in man's downfall and destruction; but through the obedience of
Jesus Christ, all men can be set free. Through Adam everyone died, but
through Jesus all who will believe are made alive. Because of Adam's
disobedience, all mankind became disobedient; but through the obedience of
Christ Jesus, all who believe are made obedient. Through Adam's sin, all
men became sinners; but through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, all who
will believe are made righteous (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

The only place that men can find freedom from the dominion of sin, and
power to live in the purity and splendor of God's Holiness, is in Christ
Jesus. Being "in Christ" is an expression of the relationship that we have
been given through His salvation. Instead of continuing to live our own
life of defeat and failure, we now live a victorious life in Him. John also
refers to this place of purity and glory as being "in the Light as He is in
the Light" (1 John 1:7). It is His presence that results in purity and the
power to live holy. Purity and holiness belong to all who are willing to
abide in Christ, which is emphasized in the next verse: "Everyone who
abides in Him has no sin, everyone that sins has not seen Him nor known
Him" (1 John 3:6). The first thing to understand is God's commitment to
forgive us, to train us, and to establish us. There is an abundant mercy
with God that was expressed in amazing ways as He dealt with a rebellious
people in the Old Testament. How much more now in this time of great grace?
God has given us the blood of Jesus to cleanse us, and the Holy Spirit to
empower and teach us. He has given us by His own power everything that we
need to walk in His glory and purity (2 Peter 1:3). God is devoted to
establishing us in all of His love for righteousness and hatred of evil.
All we have to do is be committed to learning.

If we will remain in agreement and submission to Christ Jesus -consecrated
to His ways and to the Holy Spirit- there will be no sin. Why? Because
Christ Jesus will never lead us into the realms of the demonic. He has
brought heaven into our lives and given us a life far superior to the one
that is ruled by the lust of this world (1 John 2:15-17). The same is true
of being lead by the Holy Spirit. We know that all who are lead by the
Spirit are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). If a person is always in
submission to the Holy Spirit, then they will never be lead to do anything
contrary to the will of God. A similar concept is found in 1 John 3:9,
which includes agreement and submission to the Word of God resulting in a
realm of absolute purity. Being "in Christ" is a message that is delivered
many times by the Apostle Paul: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature" (2 Corinthians 5:17). The fact that the benefits of salvation are
only received through our willingness to be "in Christ" is communicated in
many verses of scripture throughout the New Testament: Romans 8:1, 2, 39,
12:5, 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30, 15:18, 22; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 2:14, 17;
Galatians 3:28, 6:15; Ephesians 1:3, 10, 2:6, 10; Colossians 1:28.

If we will walk in the light as He is in the light, we have the blood of
Jesus that is our cleansing. We have a fellowship and a communion with Him
that is entirely found in the blood of Jesus and the bread of Heaven, which
is His body. We have been given the best of things to live by through the
sacrifice of our Savior. If we sin, He is our Intercessor, our Advocate,
Who is faithful and just to cleanse us. He works with us until the only
legitimate response to His love is established in our lives -perfect
obedience!
 
Daily Bread - May 3, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 08:13
1 Corinthians 12:13 - For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been
all made to drink into one Spirit.

Baptized into the Body of Christ - Part 3

The baptism of the Holy Spirit that took place when Pentecost had fully
come was an event that should set the pace for every meeting. If Pentecost
does not describe what the church is supposed to look like, and what we are
supposed to expect in the assembly, then what does? The baptism in the Holy
Spirit is not something that is supposed to take place once in our lives
and then be set aside for special occasions -it should instead occur again
and again! Being filled with the Spirit is the same as being baptized by
the Spirit in the New Testament. This point is verified in the first two
chapters of Acts. Jesus told the hundred and twenty that would end up being
there on the Day of Pentecost that they would be baptized in the Spirit;
and when that day came, the Scripture says they were all filled with the
Spirit (Acts 1:5, 2:4).

It is a reproach that Christ Jesus is allowed to be misrepresented by
sinful and sorrowful men. In so doing, we present to the world that the
life of the flesh is the life of the Spirit, and that the fallen nature of
men is the example of being born again. With our sad and sorrowful faces
and our songs that are far less than spiritual and supernatural, we deny
the power of God. We walk all over the anointing and give no place to the
Holy Spirit, and wonder why the sick are not healed and the captives not
set free. How long will we pretend? How long we will make excuses for our
lack of power and the expression of Jesus' ministry -Who healed all who
were sick and diseased and set those tormented of devils free (Matthew
4:23-24; Acts 10:38)? This kind of laborers, ones that do exactly what
Jesus did, are the kind that God is looking for; and it is only by being
yielded to the Holy Spirit that this can happen (Matthew 9:34-36; Romans
15:19; Luke 4:18; Acts 26:18).

Instead, however, we bow to the peer pressures of men and make the things
of Heaven, earthly; and we make the workings of the Spirit less excellent
than the workings of disciplined men. God filled us with the wellspring of
the Spirit so that we could worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24,
7:37-39); but instead, we would rather sing the popular songs of our
religion. We have been given the rivers of the Spirit so that we might pray
with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18; Romans
8:26-27), but we would rather pray a prayer of the mind and human
understanding. We have been given the life of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20;
Colossians 1:27), but we are too in love with our own.
 
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