Month: February 2018

Stand firm in the peace which is from God

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Be encouraged, stand firm in the peace which is from God

Peace would be one of the few universal needs acknowledged by almost all of mankind. The desire for peace instills most individuals and nations, yet it proves to be one of the most difficult to obtain. So many internal and external factors come into play in the quest for it. Globally, spiritual peace also proves to be desirable yet difficult to achieve.

Stand firm in the peace which is from God

Why is this? Because of two instinctive failings; First, mankind struggles to accurately define peace. Second, mankind looks in all the wrong places for it, and usually they’re looking for the wrong thing anyway (Due to reason number one).

However, for the believer in Jesus Christ, they can say; “we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). This profound statement by the apostle Paul satisfies both aspects of our question. First, peace is understood as a restored and tranquil relationship with God. Second, this relationship with God can only be discovered through faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross of Calvary in your place. Paul said this peace grows out of Jesus justifying the believer. That is, Jesus acquits the repentant sinner from ultimate guilt of sin; He then declares the repentant sinner to be right before God.

Paul further explains this peace to the Colossians; “But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence” (Colossians 1:22 GNB). WOW! God has made you his friends.” The enormity of this God given gift is magnified by the preceding verse; “At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought” (Colossians 1:21 GNB).

Christ is the peace answer

So, peace is quantified by the friendship nature of the relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. This relationship is only possible through trust in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Yet, knowing this is still not enough! Faith must be actual, real, and consciously exercised in order to translate belief into loving obedience. Peace is therefore with God and from God, to be enjoyed by the believer. No other way, no other religion, no other philosophy promises such supreme peace.

Therefore, we find ultimate eternal peace with God in Christ, He is our peace! No wonder Paul says that the praying, thankful Christian has “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (and) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Once this unique relationship is sealed (Eph 1:13), the friend of God lives with a totally different outlook on life. Now, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the believer understands that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Living for righteousness instead of for self and sin changes the Christian’s perspective totally.

Since Christ is our peace, living out His righteousness is primary. Righteous living is the Christian’s vehicle for expressing authentic faith; because “the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever” (Isaiah 32:17). I suspect everyone would like to live with peace, quietness and trust permeating their lives nonstop.

Today Christian friend, be encouraged to stand firm in the peace which is from God. Pass it on. The Lord will be pleased and the recipient will get the blessing.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

Stand firm in the peace which is from God

Stand firm in the peace which is from God

You were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation

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Be encouraged, you were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation

“Now that we are reconciled… we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10b-11). This is not simply a theoretical change, nor is it only a future transition towards closeness with God. No reconciliation has already been accomplished, and believers have already received 100% of it in their relationship with the Lord.  Therefore, reconciliation is to have two very practical impacts upon the Christian life.

You were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation

The first is explained by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; …entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”

Your life-time job

By default, every believer upon receiving salvation is appointed to the office of ‘Reconciling Ambassador.’ Believers were not interviewed, nor did they have to sign an employment agreement. No, they were instantaneously assigned to this public service on behalf of Almighty God the moment they received Christ as Lord and Saviour. The ministry of reconciliation is not an optional extra in your walk of faith, it’s an inherent component of your new identity in Christ.

The repentant sinner now has a story to tell the world. They now have an ‘out of this world’ driving force within; “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV). This love doesn’t settle with silent or secret faith, it has an irresistible urge to live and speak out the new life of Christ

The second inescapable result of being reconciled to God is that you will want your relationships to experience the sweetness of Christ-like reconciliation. Paul captured the essence of this reality in 2 Corinthians 13:11; Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you”. God’s children are those who go above and beyond the normal human boundaries of relational unity. It’s blue-printed into a believer’s spiritual DNA.

Paul understood the difficulty and even pain of this relational reconciliation well. When he first wrote to the stumbling Christians in Corinth he used his own life as an example. “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat [Conciliate]…” (1 Corinthians 4:12-13). Paul had both feet realistically on the ground. His emotions had been overtaken by the power of reconciliation. This was evidenced by the extraordinary efforts made to see damaged relationships reconciled as an expression of divine reconciliation.

It looks like love

Reconciliation looks like love, it forgives even when not apologized to, it overlooks irritations, and it never makes demands, not ever. Enjoyable marriages are fuel by reconciliation as are healthy work place relationships. Church fellowship accompanied by willing acts of service are ignited by reconciliation. Every relationship needs the blessing of obedient Christian reconciliation.

Be encouraged Christian friend, your life-long employment as Christ’s ambassador gives you time and opportunity to reclaim damaged relationships for God’s glory. Yes, great humility will be needed. Yes, intense pray will be the filling station of Christ’s love to motivate you to accomplish this uncomfortable assignment. Yes, time bathing in God’s Word will be necessary to acquire the inner wisdom and fear of God to energise such a Christ centered activity.  But reconciliation must be experienced by those around us, through us, and even at our expense just as it was at Christ’s expense.

 Be encouraged, you were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

You were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation

You were reconciled for the ministry of reconciliation

Reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life

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Be encourage, you were reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life

In Romans 5:8 the apostle Paul hangs this astounding backdrop; “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Paul proceeds to explain the unseen details of what Christ accomplished for those who believe in Him. God’s love was alive and active before time itself, and He expressed it by loving those who were incapable of receiving His love. His love was proactive, knowable, and focused. But most of all, His love was pure, unselfish, and sacrificial for the benefit of those who would not want to be recipients of His love.

Reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life

Now comes the most amazing truths. God accomplished through Jesus Christ what sinners could not, and would not want to do. Listen as Paul explains; “We have now been justified by his (Jesus) blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9). Christ’s death saves believers from the inescapable wrath of God. Christ took your place, as your substitute on the cross to satisfy God the Father’s judgement against your sin (1Pe 2:24).

Christ reconciled you at the greatest cost

That being accomplished, Paul expands on Christ’s breathtaking work at Calvary; “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10a). For you, this is 2000 year old history. Yet for Christ, the cross of Calvary is an eternally present work which is equally relevant and sufficient to save you today as it ever was and shall ever be.

Now, when you put faith in Jesus, you were reconciled and changed in Christ. This change came about through the exchange of your sin for Christ’s righteousness. This exchange could only have taken place through Christ’s death which justified you from your death penalty for your sin. That is, you were acquitted from guilt and declared right before God through belief in the death of Christ. WOW! This specific belief is what makes you a Christian.

For believers; “now that we are reconciled… we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10b-11). In Christ, it’s a done deal. Nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away from Christ’s work of justification and reconciliation. What a spectacular theological synchronicity; justification and reconciliation. The repentant sinner is now submersed by faith into Christ’s accomplished work, there is nothing more for the believer to do as Christ has done it all.

Christ reconciled you with purpose

Christian, rejoice in the cross; if for no other reason than you are presently reconciled in Christ, restored, regenerated, and rebirthed through His resurrection. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:10-11). This gives liberation from guilt of repented past sin. This liberation sets those who receive Christ (John 1:12) free from blind enslavement to sin. The past is forgiven, washed away into God’s forgetfulness (Psalm 103:12) and buried with Christ. And there the rotting corpse of your past life must stay so that you can live Christ’s resurrected life with no turning back.

Today, I encourage you to live aware that you were reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life. Find some other believer and build them up with this profound truth. Remind some child of God that faith in Christ is not worthless; it’s not a waste of time or effort, and it’s not without impact for God’s glory through your life.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

Reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life

Reconciled by Christ’s death for the regeneration of your life

Does Your Church Have the Holy Spirit?

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Romans 8:9 says that anyone who does not have the Spirit does not belong to Christ. So, according to biblical definitions, to ask if a church has the Holy Spirit is to ask whether or not they’re Christian. Now, I know that people who ask this aren’t necessarily bringing into question the salvation of the congregants within any given church. But, what they are doing is hijacking Biblical language to suit their traditions.

According to the words of God, if someone does not have the Spirit, they are not Christian.

To walk in the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with how ecstatic a church service is. It simply means that we have been set free from our slavery to sin and death.  That we no longer focus on our carnal desires, but desire to live a life that pleases God.

Yours in Christ,
Bevin.

Remember Christ and remind others of Him

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I encourage you to remember Christ and remind others of Him

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…” (2 Timothy 2:8) which is the very heart beat of Christian faith (Rom 10:9-10). With all the distractions and busyness of life we need to implement routines which assist us in focusing our thoughts on Christ. We need to set Bible reading times, routine times for prayer and meditation, times for listening to God’s Word being taught, and just time out to think and reason through life’s issues in a biblical arena.

Remember Christ and remind others of Him

Remembering fights neglect

Neglecting conscious thoughts of Christ simply fuels the human capacity to totally neglect Christ. The world, selfishness, others, and even Satan, have an arsenal of replacement thoughts and activities ready to distract you. Fleshly passions, love for possessions, lust for power and money, the cravings for entertainment, accompanied by the many demands of life can quickly lure you away from Christ being central as Lord. Isn’t this just the truth of it?

The writer of Hebrews understood life well, presenting this remedy; “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). Listen up people; give The Lord Jesus Christ your attention!

Focus your inner senses on Jesus. Recognise that Christ was and remains the initiator and completer of your spiritual life, beginning with salvation. Acknowledge the Lord’s astounding accomplishments on the cross of Calvary on your behalf. Proclaim the supreme authority that Jesus Christ has as He presently reigns from heaven. Think upon it, believe it, live it!

Remembering is shameless

It’s shamefully easy to compartmentalise Jesus Christ in your thoughts to a place where He becomes nothing more than a superstition which you think you have made peace with. This always results with inactivity and indifference towards Christ as personal Lord and Saviour. The enemies of God love this style of thinking, because it always leads you to nothing other than separation from God with its damning consequences.

Likewise, it’s all too easy to have the right thoughts of Christ, yet keep them to yourself at the peril of others. Silence of Christ is the hater of souls. Silence puts self first, promoting comfort, ease and popularity as supremely important.

Now, if you remember Christ as risen, alive, and supreme in your life, you won’t be able to contain this life changing reality. Consequently, there are 2 ways in which you can remind others of Christ, both are of equal importance, and neither should get preference over the other. First, remind others of Christ by living Christ as your personal Lord, no compromise. Secondly, remind others of Christ by speaking well of Him, no shame!

Remembering looks forward

Remember also, as the angels reminded the disciples, that “Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Lord’s return is a certainty awaiting the Father’s command. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Maranatha!

Be encouraged Christian, remember Christ and remind others of Him also. Forward this encouragement to someone else to share the blessing.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

Remember Christ and remind others of Him

Remember Christ and remind others of Him

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