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Daily Bread - February 11, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 11 February 2017 12:11
1 John 1:9 - If we should confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to
forgive us of the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness .

This verse highlights the present tense condition of those washed in the
blood and made a new creation (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18). The
problem with those addressed in verses 8 and 10 is that they were unwilling
to recognize their sin, and therefore were unwilling to confess it. Some
like the Gnostics believed that they had advanced beyond the state of
sinfulness. There were also those that believed that their bodies sinned,
but that their spirits remained sinless. The secessionists believed that,
since they came to know Christ Jesus, there is no more need to ever repent,
because they were in a state of grace where sin no longer existed.

Unless a person acknowledges his sin and repents, he cannot be cleansed. In
the priestly manual, the book of Leviticus, a person had to be aware of his
sin and confess it while presenting his sin offering to atone for his sin.
The concept of confessing sin over the sin offering is well-established in
the hand-leaning rite. The High Priest, or the offerer, would lay his hands
upon the sin offering and confess their sins. This act of confession then
placed the sins of the people of Israel upon the offering. In the example
of Yom Kippur, the goat would bear all of the iniquities and be sent into
the wilderness (Leviticus 16:21-22). Jesus took our sins in his own body on
the cross and carried them away into death, thus paying the full price for
sin (1 Peter 2:24). However, after an individual has been crucified with
Christ and his sins blotted out, if that one sins, they are commanded to
confess their sins, so that Jesus may cleanse him once again. In fact,
according to the type in the Old Testament, it was not only the sinner who
became contaminated by his sin, but the altar, and in some instances even
the Holy of Holies itself (Leviticus 15:31; Numbers 19:13; Psalm 79:1;
Ezekiel 9:3, 10:18; Daniel 8:13-14, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11; Matthew 24:15; Mark
13:14; Acts 21:28; 1 Corinthians 3:17; Hebrews 9:23-24). Jesus, who ever
lives to make intercession for the saints, is in the presence of the Father
now to intercede for us (Romans 8:34).

It is the blood that cleanses from all sin (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14;
Hebrews 9:14, 22; Revelation 1:5). It only took one offering to take care
of the sins of man for all eternity, and that was the offering that Jesus
as the Lamb of God made at the cross 2,000 years ago (Romans 6:10; Hebrews
7:27, 9:13-14, 23-28, 10:1-2, 10-14; 1 Peter 3:18; Genesis 22:8; John 1:29,
36; Acts 8:32; Isaiah 53:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6-13, 7:10, 14,
12:11, 13:8). Even though this is the only scripture in the New Testament
that echoes back to the Old Testament hand-leaning rite, we have other
scriptures that relate the death of Jesus to the ritual that took place on
Yom Kippur. Hebrews chapter 9 compares the sacrifice of Jesus to that day.
Jesus is also referred to as the 'kapporet' ("Mercy Seat" or
"propitiation"), which is where the blood was applied on Yom Kippur (Romans
3:25). Thus we may understand that our sins today were laid upon Jesus,
even as they were laid upon the goat that was sent into the wilderness. And
Jesus, who stands before the Father as a Lamb that was slain, takes His
blood and applies it to our sin so that it is cleansed, and all
unrighteousness is removed.

The notion that we must continue to believe that we have sin once we have
been washed in the blood is not supported in scripture. The idea that we
would have faith that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin - yet
also that to be right with God, we must continue to believe it is still
there - makes no sense at all. Then, what is worse, are those who confess
that we will continue on in sin, because its rule and domination still
exists over our lives. Little has changed since the days of Paul with
respect to this issue, as so-called "believers" in his day were saying:
"Let us continue to sin so that grace may be abundant" (Romans 6:1-2).
Paul's response was roughly, "That's nuts!" The King James translated it
far more eloquently (albeit at the expense of accuracy) saying, "God
forbid."

One of the great ironies is the use of 1 John 1:8 & 10 to support both the
notion that God expects us to sin every day, and the conclusion that if we
are not sinning, then we are not of God. Of the entire New Testament,
John's first epistle is by far the most forceful in proclaiming that sin
should not exist in the life of anyone who has been born of God. John
writes his epistle to the church because of the deceivers who were telling
the people that they could never be free from sin (1 John 2:26). He starts
off the epistle saying that anyone who walks in darkness has no communion
with God (1 John 1:6). He makes it obvious that darkness is the realm that
belongs to Satan, just as the realm of light belongs to God (1 John 2:9).
In other words, darkness is that place of sin and death. We are rather to
walk in the light just like Jesus walks in the light - a place where we
need not stumble (Psalm 119:165; 1 John 1:7, 2:10-11; 2 Peter 1:10; Jude
1:24).

We have been given the faith and the grace to confess our sins, and as a
result, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1
John 1:9). Again, "unrighteousness" is a synonym for sin, and once a person
is cleansed from unrighteousness, sin is no longer present. There are those
who go on to argue that this scripture implies the continuous activity of
sin, and the continuous need to confess so that they can be cleansed. Yet
John says in the next verse that he was writing to them so that they should
never sin (1 John 2:1). Then he further emphasizes the "never" by saying,
"If we sin," not "When we sin." Therefore, those who have deduced such a
foreign doctrine are in grave danger and jeopardy of their own souls, and
of those before whom they cast a stumbling block.

John continues on, making an even greater argument against sin and its
power. He says that Jesus was manifested to take away our sin, and that
anyone who sins has not seen Him nor known Him (1 John 3:6). He goes on to
say that those who sin are of the devil (1 John 3:8). This is true,
primarily because one must participate with a demon spirit to sin. John
even says it with stronger words saying, "Everyone who is born of God does
not sin," and even says, "He cannot sin" (1 John 3:9). We have Christ Jesus
dwelling in us, and have overcome the wicked one, with all of his sin and
lust (1 John 4:4, 5:4-5; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:27). This
important point and reoccurring theme throughout John's first epistle is
brought to a conclusion at the end of the epistle when he says, "We know
that everyone who is begotten of God does not sin, but the one begotten of
God keeps himself, and the evil one cannot touch him" (1 John 5:18). Those
Jews who would have refused to acknowledge that they had sin, and refused
to acknowledge that they were in need of a savior - because they believed
that the Law was all that they needed - were not of God, and had not been
born of God, nor cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:8, 10; John 8:24,
39, 9:41; Luke 18:11).

We are called to keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus, and if we say
that we know Him, yet do not keep His commandments, John says that we are a
liar (1 John 2:4; John 14:15, 15:10). What many today call "legalism," John
called proof of salvation (1 John 2:5, 5:3). Legalism is trusting in the
Law of Moses for salvation. It is not legalism to be an obedient child of
God who walks in holiness and godliness. Those who have been born of God
and have matured like young men in God have conquered the evil one (1 John
2:13). The Word of God abides in them, and they abide in Christ Jesus, and
Satan and his sin have no power over them (1 John 2:14; John 15:1-6; Romans
6:1-13). Those who have the love of the Father in them have overcome the
world with its lust of the flesh, its lust of the eye, and its pride of
life (1 John 2:15-17). The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit
through the conduct of our lives that we are born of God. Therefore, if we
walk in righteousness, then we are the children of God; but if not, we are
the children of the devil (1 John 3:7-10; John 8:40-41, 44). The anointing
that we have received from Him teaches us that we are to abide in Christ
Jesus, and walk in righteousness even as He is righteous (1 John 2:27, 29,
3:7, 4:17). We are to be pure even as He is pure (1 John 3:3). We are those
who keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His
sight (1 John 3:22). As many as are led by the Holy Spirit - they are the
sons of God, and the Holy Spirit will not lead you into sin (Romans 8:14;
Galatians 5:16).

God cannot treat sin as though it does not exist unless it has actually
been destroyed. The eternal and unchanging purification agent of the blood
of Jesus makes it as effective to destroy sin today as the first day that
the offering was made 2000 years ago. When the blood of Jesus is applied by
faith, it removes both the power of sin and the contamination that the sin
imparted to the individual.
 
Daily Bread - February 10, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 10 February 2017 08:35
1 John 1:8 - If we should say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the
truth is not in us.

This verse highlights the present tense condition of those who have not
been born again and washed with the waters of regeneration (Titus 3:5). The
most important aspect of the next three verses is to underscore the need
for Christ Jesus and the provision that has been given to cleanse us from
our sins. If we are brought into the family of God and have the fellowship
of walking in His life and light, then we have the cleansing blood that has
washed us from our sins. Before we come to Christ Jesus, we are all sinners
yoked by sin and death and are in need of forgiveness and cleansing. The
next verse highlights that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just
to forgive us of our sins. Also, the preceding verse revealed that the
blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. Although the initial state is one
of sinfulness, the result of God's great salvation is one of purity and
holiness.

Many people today as well as in the time of John would say that they do not
need the blood of Jesus to cleanse them from sin. In fact, there have been
many different cultures that regarded their immorality as virtue instead of
sin. There are also those who trust in their own good deeds and religious
beliefs, like the Jews, who would argue that they do not need Jesus to set
them free because they have Abraham and the Law for their righteousness
(John 5:39-40, 8:33). Therefore, Jesus said because they claim to
understand the ways of redemption, and yet they refuse to see their sin and
need for Him, their sin remains (John 9:41, 8:24). However, it is so easy
to be set free from sin - that is what Christ Jesus came to do! Through Him
we receive the abundant life. All we must do is call on His name, and He
will wash us and cleanse us.

Everyone who has the truth abiding in them would admit that sin is the
evidence that all are in need of redemption. Therefore, those who have
received God's testimony recognize their sin and reach out to Him to be
cleansed from their sin. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, has come to
prosecute and convince all of sin. Those who have listened to the Spirit of
God have felt His conviction and reproof, because He has come to convince
the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). John
continues to develop this idea, so that by the third chapter he has
convinced us all that anyone who continues in sin is shown to be of the
devil. As he already said, "if we walk in darkness, we have no fellowship
with God." For now, a contrast is being made between those who only say
they know God, and those who, in fact, do know Him.

In verses, 6, 8, and 10, there is the "if we say" clause:
6 - If we say we have communion with Him, and we walk in darkness (sin), we
lie and do not the truth.
8 - If we should say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.
10 - If we say we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar.
However, those who indeed know Him are qualified in verses 7 and 9, and 1
John 2:1, as those who have been cleansed from their sin, and empowered to
live free from sin (John 8:36). God is faithful and just to cleanse us from
all unrighteous, thus making us righteous. The redemption that in in Christ
Jesus has both cleansed and sanctified us. We are now those cleansed,
regenerated, and called saints (Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 1:2). This is not
to say that we cannot sin, but as John will state, "If we sin, He will
forgive us if we repent."
 
Daily Bread - February 9, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 09 February 2017 12:14
John 10:10 - The thief does not come except that he may steal, slaughter,
and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The abundant life is an extraordinary life as the Greek word 'perissos'
indicates (1 John 3:24, 4:13, 5:12; Galatians 2:20; John 14:23, 17:21). The
contrast is so great between the life in God and the life without the
Spirit that its compared to life and death (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14).
Whereas, before we were under the law of sin and death, now we are under
the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). The
life that is in Christ Jesus is the life that Father intended all men to
have when He created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 1:4, 2:10, 4:23;
Colossians 3:10). It is a life that not only reveals His glory, but enjoys
all of His goodness (John 17:22, 1:16; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22;
Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Romans 15:13, 14:17).

This life in Christ Jesus is one of enjoying the ways of the Living God; a
life that lasts forever and complete with divine love, joy unspeakable, and
peace that passes understanding (1 Peter 1:8; Philippians 4:7; John 13:34,
15:12; Ephesians 3:18-20). All of these glorious expressions of life flow
out of us like rivers of living water (John 7:38; Isa 43:20, 44:3, 58:11).
This life of God is filled with the righteousness and the holiness of God
(Galatians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 14:17). The abundant life in
Christ Jesus is eternal life, which is not only a duration of time, but a
quality of life. Eternal life is not only for the future, but something
that God's people possess now; and it is this very life that is a light to
the world and the salt of the earth (1 John 1:2, 3:15, 5:11,13, 5:20; John
3:15, 6:54, 17:3; Romans 5:21, 6:23; 1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 5:13,14).

The thief is anything that would steal the word of faith from the hearts
and lives of God's people, which can encompass everything from salvation to
all of God's provisions (Matthew 13:18-23). False religions, the opinions
of men, and threatening circumstances which would attempt to turn our
confidence away from those things provided for us in Christ Jesus, are
categorically, the thief. The thief steals, slaughters, and destroys. The
thief can manifest as the false religions that deceive men from hearing the
words of God and receiving Christ Jesus as Savior (Matthew 23:15). It can
be those grievous wolves that come with the doctrines of men and of devils,
that lie against the truth, and prevent God's people from walking in the
many blessings that belong to His children (2 Tim 2:17; Acts 20:29; Jude
1:4; Mark 9:14-17). The thief can also be the deceptive works of
circumstances and adversity that cause the child of God to give up and walk
away from the truth that is in Christ Jesus (Mark 4:38; Hebrews 10:35; 1
Tim. 1:19, 5:12). All we must do is follow the Good Shepherd Who will
protect us from the adversary (John 10:7-15).
 
Daily Bread - February 8, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 08:42
Isaiah 66:2 - For all these my hand has made, and all of these have been,
declares YHWH. But to this I will look, to the humble and contrite spirit
and trembling at my word.


Father made known the kind of disposition that is essential if a person
wants to have a relationship with Him. Men have learned how to live lives
of deceit. Their relationships with one another are not rooted in love, but
in selfish motivations. God has invited us into a relationship with
himself, but He will not tolerate the impure motives and lies that men have
been governed by. When we respond to God's call to fellowship, He provides
us with the Spirit of truth and takes away the dark and stony heart of
deception (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Hebrews 10:15-17). When we behold the glory
and power of God, we can do nothing less than fall down in humility and
thanksgiving for His loving kindness towards us. If we will take up such a
life of truth that produces humility and neediness, then God will come and
be our Helper and Eternal Friend.

The Lord does not want to be honored with mere flattery and superficiality.
He is not impressed with fashionable architecture and gold plated things.
If He is going to dwell anywhere, it is going to be in a place where there
is truth and purity. God does not want to be housed, He wants to be loved
(Deuteronomy 6:5; John 14:23). Men become so wrapped up in their religious
practices that they loose sight of the reality of God, and Who He is.
Steven addressing the leaders of Israel (who were blinded by their
tradition) quoted the first potion of this passage just before he was
stoned (Acts 7:49-50).

God dwells in the highest place of glory above all things. He is not there
in arrogance and domination, but in humility and purity. Those who are
going to know God and inhabit eternity with Him must also take upon
themselves the form of a servant and be clothed with humility (Isaiah
57:15; Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 1:44). Greatness in the kingdom of men arises
out of greed and domination, but greatness in the Kingdom of God is found
in humility and servitude. Jesus made it clear that those who love Him and
keep His Word will be loved of the Father, and that They will come and make
there dwelling with them (John 14:23). If the actual Person of God and the
uncompromising position of His Word does not become a reality to us, then
we will never humble ourselves before the Most High and truly be His
obedient servants.
 
Daily Bread - February 7, 2017
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 07 February 2017 08:51
Ephesians 5:1 - Be then imitators of God as loving children.

God's nature is divine in every way. Everything about Him is good, lovely,
and wonderful; and we are graced with the privilege of being taught to be
like Him (Matthew 5:48; James 1:17; John 16:13-15; 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy
3:12; Hebrews 8:10-11; 2 Peter 1:3, 6-7). We are commanded to imitate God,
walk in the Spirit, and follow Jesus (Ephesians 5:1; Galatians 5:25;
Matthew 10:38). The concept of 'mimetai' (to mimic or imitate) goes beyond
the idea of being God's friend or follower - it calls for us to act exactly
like God. If we are going to act like God, we must be trained to function
in His nature and ways.

God made all of this possible: He changed our hearts and spirits to be like
His, and He sent the Holy Spirit to teach us and train us (John 6:45; 1
Thessalonians 4:9; Jeremiah 31:34). We should be eager to learn and mature!
The anointing that we have received reveals the things of God's divine
nature to us, and our response should be a hunger and thirst for more (1
John 2:27; Matthew 5:6). As we listen to the Holy Spirit and respond to
Him, we become increasingly sensitive to His voice and instruction. Along
with sensitivity, comes humility and meekness; and these make us even more
pliable and cooperative (Matthew 11:29; Philippians 2:5-7). God the Holy
Spirit will not do anything outside of love and humility; and if we are
going to connect with Him, then we must learn to only give place to His
divine disposition.

Being self-willed must have no place in our life. Jesus taught us to deny
ourselves and instead do only those things that the Father shows us to do
(John 5:19, 5:30, 8:28, 54, 12:49, 15:5; Mark 8:34). Recognizing yourself
is a challenging thing, but the Holy Spirit instructs us using both the
contrast of our lives to Jesus and the beauty of what He reveals to us
about the nature of God. If we are going to flow in the rivers of His
Spirit, then we must not flow with the things of ourself. When it is our
delight to do His will as the servants of the Lord, being self-willed
becomes that much more apparent to us. Living for ourselves, and after the
strong impulses of what we think and perceive, opposes our growth and
blessings in God. We can cry out all day long for more anointing and more
of this or that, but nothing will change until we are willing to do things
God's way. God is faithfully committed to our spiritual maturity, but we
must cooperate. If we walk in the love and humility of the Holy Spirit, we
will be thrilled with the glory and goodness of God's divine order. We will
gladly imitate God and all of His divine behavior, and follow those who
follow Jesus and flow in the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1;
Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9; Hebrews
13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:5). As we walk with God, we will develop an insatiable
appetite for more of Heaven!

Our adversary, Satan, lays the snares of pride and self-exaltation in our
way, and we must learn to recognize them. The pride of life must be cast
down, for it would pull us away from living like little children following
an admired and trusted leader. Many look down on someone who acts like
another person, but that is nai?ve - everybody acts like those who have
influenced them, beginning with their parents. In fact, it was as little
children that we developed much of our behavior. We learn more as little
children than at any other time in our life. It is also during those early
developmental years that we were more dependent upon leadership. It is a
good thing to be converted and become like a little child who is dependent
on God for everything - for out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, those
that must be totally dependent upon God, that strength has been ordained
(Psalm 8:2; Matthew 18:3; Luke 18:17).

We were converted and became like little children when we were born again.
We became as newborn babes so that we might be taught of God and grow up
into all His ways (Romans 8:15-16; 1 Peter 2:2). There is a great reward in
spiritual maturity, and we must not allow anything to draw us away from the
prize that is set before us (Philippians 3:14). An independent, rebellious,
and stubborn attitude that demands our own way should have no place in our
lives - it must be seen as a thief and a robber. We should rise up with a
holy indignation and violence against it, because it will indeed destroy
everything. There is no way that we can be a co-laborer with Christ Jesus
if we are not His devoted followers. If we will walk in the love and
humility of the Holy Ghost, we will learn to be ferociously loyal to God
and to those who belong to His Kingdom.

We have been anointed and established together with Christ Jesus. We are
called to come into the fullness of His maturity (2 Corinthians 1:21;
Ephesians 4:13). We have been given an unspeakable and amazing opportunity
to be taught by the Holy Ghost and live in all of God's glory. There could
be no greater opportunity afforded men than to have this call. Being
empowered to be imitators of God is greater than riches, fame, and all
other achievements that men so diligently give themselves to obtain. Why is
it that we remain so unbelieving and refuse to forsake everything else to
pursue this heavenly call? Can we truly believe that all God has is ours,
and yet remain lukewarm, slothful, and negligent? Would we not stand up
with ferocious loyalty and face all the great challenges that would attempt
to stop us and cast them down like thieves? If we could see that our God is
the one who lives in humility, would we not want to be just like Him? The
world makes pride and arrogance look strong; but the Most High, God
Almighty, has chosen the way of the lowly (Isaiah 57:15, 66:1-2; 1 Peter
5:5).

We have this amazing opportunity to mature into all the fullness of Jesus,
but somehow we fail to see much advancement in the ranks (Ephesians
4:12-13; John 14:12; Hebrews 5:12). The Lord is dedicated to building us up
and strengthening us so that we can function in all the riches of this
inheritance, but we must be willing to forsake our own way and fully
entrust our lives to Him (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 3:16, 20; Luke 12:32;
Matthew 16:25). We cannot fight our own battles anymore, defend our own
causes, or seek our own interests. We must recognize that it is not
necessarily faith that we need more of, but simple obedience. With a hunger
and thirst for more of the things of the kingdom, all these things in God
are ours! Don't make the mistake of making your calling in God anything
less than what it is - you are predestined to walk in the fullness of Jesus
(Romans 8:29). Commit yourself today to imitate God and behave just like
the Holy Ghost.
 
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