daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 05 March 2010 10:22
1 Peter 4:1 - Seeing that Christ suffered for us in the flesh, also equip
your thinking: for he who suffers in the flesh has ceased from sin.

When we think of the sufferings of Christ, we must recognize two important
points. First, that we are to give ourselves to the same sufferings of
Christ; and secondly, that the consequence is a sinless life. The most
important thing that we must be aware of is that suffering in the flesh is a
result of no longer living after the will and strong desires of men, but
living only for the will of God. Our own self-interest and self reliance
will only bring us to trouble. If we are to find ourselves living only in
the things of the kingdom, then we must be willing to fully surrender
ourselves to the will of the Father. The Lord desires to bring us to a place
where we rely on Him and trust in Him, and have no confidence in our own
human abilities (Philippians 3:3).

God is not calling us to some life of affliction; He is calling us to a life
of holiness. And if we are to live lives of holiness and purity, then we are
going to run up against a great deal of opposition, from both devils and
men. Therefore if we are going to follow Jesus, we will endure many of the
things that He suffered. He suffered being tempted, and so we will suffer in
the temptation as well; if we have committed ourselves to inheriting a crown
of life (Hebrews 2:18; James 1:12; Revelation 3:21). One of the radical
points of the sufferings of Christ was that He learned obedience by the
things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Of course unlike Christ, we fail too
many times; whereas He passed the test every time. Yet it is God's will that
we learn to walk in the overcoming power of the life of Jesus, and submit
ourselves to perfect obedience.

For this to become a reality, we must allow the same mind that was in Christ
Jesus to also be in us: who made himself of no reputation, but humbled
Himself unto death - even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5; Galatians
2:20; Galatians 5:24). The testimony of Jesus was that He lived with the
commitment to fulfill all the Father's desire, thus: “To do your will Oh
God” (Hebrews 10:7; Psalm 40:7-8). For our sakes, Jesus was tempted in every
way that we are tempted, so that we might receive the power and authority to
overcome temptation wherever we may face it (James 1:12). Jesus also
suffered in a way that goes far beyond any of the sufferings that we have to
endure, in that He died upon a Roman cross for all of our sins. Many in the
first century church suffered violent persecutions; especially Paul, who
lists all of the trouble that He endured as an Apostle and Teacher (2
Corinthians 11:23-30; 2 Timothy 1:12). Yet Paul remained confident, as we
may also, that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the
glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 04 March 2010 17:58
Ephesians 2:2 - According to that which you once walked; in the age of this
world, according to the ruler the authority of the atmosphere: the spirit
that now works in the sons of disobedience.

The "spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience" is the demonic
realm; which has dominated men since the day that Adam sinned. The spirit
that now works in the sons of disobedience is also the god of this world,
that blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). This is the same
power which Paul spoke of in Romans as "the motions of sins," and "sin that
dwells in me" (Romans 7:17); the power of sin entered into the world through
Adam's transgression, and then passed upon all men (Romans 5:12).

Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil; and for all those
who will believe in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, this power and
dominion of the Satanic realm has been destroyed (1 John 3:5; John 12:31;
Hebrews 2:14). Jesus conquered Satan - and now the church is commissioned to
enforce His conquest.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 12:07
Matthew 17:6 - And hearing this the disciples fell upon the ground, being
greatly afraid.

One of the amazing things about the great encounters with God is how
suddenly they come. Although these encounters are also gone just as
suddenly, their impact lasts forever. Peter, James, and John were convinced
of who Jesus was above all others, yet the encounter with God that they had
experienced took them to a whole new realm of revelation and certainty.
Jesus had done more miracles than anyone else; but there was still room to
believe that He could have been the Messiah, who was in the ranks of the
prophets. But when this encounter unfolded before their eyes, there was no
more room for uncertainty; for Jesus was not only revealed in His eternal
glory before their eyes, but the voice of Almighty God declared: “This is my
beloved Son!” Furthermore, both Moses and Elijah - the two greatest prophets
of the Old Testament - stood there to witness that Jesus was both Messiah
and God (Hebrews 1:1-5).

The encounter with the heavenly majesty and glory of Jesus began to reveal
some of the uncertainties that were left in the thoughts of the most loving
and faithful of all the Lord’s servants. The things that had been whispered
by the Pharisees and held in their thoughts would finally come out (Matthew
17:10-12). The encounters that Father has in store for those who will
faithfully and diligently seek Him will bring the revelation and insight
that we need to be those whom He has called us to be. It will dissolve the
doubts and uncertainties, and bring light and truth to our lives of faith.
Each time we encounter the greatness of God and are allowed to look deeper
into the things of the Spirit, we lift up our eyes and see no one except
Jesus himself alone; for both the Father and the Holy Spirit have devoted
themselves to glorifying and honoring Him (John 8:54; John 12:28; John
14:13; John 15:26; John 16:12-15; John 17:1,5).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 13:31
2 John 1:10 - If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do
not receive him into your house; and do not say to him "Be well."

The early church practiced a segregation from those who did not teach the
doctrine of Christ. We are to fellowship with those that walk in the Light
as He is in the Light (1 John 1:7). We all have to recognize that those we
fellowship with will have an impact on our lives. Yet probably one of the
biggest concerns here was to help those in the church to have a defense
against following all the ideas and doctrines of men that were floating
around. It was important to both John and Paul that things that were
contrary to the doctrine and nature of Christ not be allowed to be
identified with His church. This would help to prevent a misrepresentation
of the gospel, as well as an acceptance of things that would lead people
away - or even create a stumbling block before one of the little ones in the
church, who might be led away thinking that the wrong person was a
trustworthy representative of Christ.

Paul also told the Thessalonians not to fellowship with brethren for far
less offenses: “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that
man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not
as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). Also,
concerning certain sins that were practiced, Paul said: “Purge out therefore
the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even
Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). If a person
did not love Jesus, then Paul told the Corinthians to let him be accursed:
“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha”
(1 Corinthians 16:22). Finally, Paul said to Titus: “A man that is an
heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that
is such is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:10-11).
If a man is called a brother - and is a fornicator or covetous, or an
idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - we are commanded
not to eat with such a person (1 Corinthians 5:9,11). It is one thing to
reach out to people who do not know the Lord, but it is altogether a
different thing to be identified with such people. Although God loves the
world so much that He sent Jesus to die for them, He is not a friend to the
world. Friendship with the world is an act of hostility against God (James
4:4).
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Monday, 01 March 2010 13:55
Ephesians 1:23 - Who is his body: the fullness of Him that fills all in all.

The church is able to be the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ - because of
the fullness of the Holy Spirit that has been given. The Greek word
'pleroma' designates that which is filled up and overflowing. This same word
is used in John 1:16, which declares of all the saints: "And of His fullness
have all we received." It is also used of the believer in Ephesians 3:19,
"That you may be filled with all of the fullness of God." And again in
Ephesians 4:13, "Come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ." All fullness dwells in Christ; and Christ dwells in us (Colossians
1:19, 1 John 4:4; 1 John 3:24; John 14:23).

Those who would relegate the function of the Holy Spirit (and the measure
that was given to the apostles) solely to the first century church have no
basis to do so. In fact, scriptures such as these emphasize that the same
revelation and measure of the Spirit is available to all for all time (John
14:16; John 16:13-15; Colossians 1:26-27; Galatians 3:14; Luke 11:13; Acts
2:39; Acts 11:15-16; Acts 15:8-9).
 
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