A Glorious Church without Spot or Wrinkle

What is Jesus looking for in His Church when He comes back? What is He expecting His Church to be doing?

“And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”  (Luke 19:11)

“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”  (Luke 19:12)

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  (Luke 19:13)

The word “occupy” literally means in the Greek to “busy oneself with, to trade.”

We are to be busy. We are to “occupy” until He comes.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, two angels appeared and spoke to the disciples.

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  (Act 1:11)

We are not to be standing and waiting, but in these last days we are to be walking with God and doing.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  (Matt. 25:21)

How can we hear those wonderful words when we stand before Him on that day? We shall hear those words by being found faithful over a few things.

The Bible teaches that there are three areas in our life in which the Lord has given us “talents” to trade with as we “occupy” until He comes; three areas in which to be found faithful.

These are the areas of faith, lifestyle, and works.

“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18:8)

The Bible tells us that these last days which we are living in shall be “perilous times.” It says that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:13)

There shall be “perplexity” and “distress of nations.” (Luke 21:25) Men’s hearts shall fail them because of fear “for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26)

There shall be a “strong delusion” upon the earth to believe a lie, that they “all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:12)

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  (Matt. 24:24)

Now, more than ever, in these last days, it is imperative that believers know and understand the written Word of God in order to not be “carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4:14)

There are and shall be many voices arise in these last days. No matter how pious, religious, respected, or prestigious the speaker, there is one thing believers must remember in order to not be deceived.

GOD NEVER CONTRADICTS HIMSELF.

No matter how miraculous the miracle, how vivid the vision, how powerful the preaching, or how real the dream, if it does not line up with the written Word of God then it is not from God.

It will take the faith of the Son of God to stand in these last days, not be deceived, and walk with God.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  (Gal. 2:20)

When the economy is failing, jobs are scarce, money is tight, and friends and family forsake you; when voices arise and the powers that be tell you that God has forgotten His people; it will take the faith of God to trust and not be afraid, and to wait upon the Lord.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  (Isa. 40:31)

“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”  (Psalm 37:9)

God gives the gift of faith to every believer when they accept Christ.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”  (Eph. 2:8)

It is the fruit or produce of the Holy Spirit who comes to live inside of you upon salvation.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”  (Gal. 5:22)

In the same way that fruit begins as a seed, so it is with faith.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  (Matt. 17:20)

God wants your seed of faith to be nurtured and grow. It is nurtured by hearing and the Word of God.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  (Rom. 10:17)

It does not require intelligence, a diploma, or a degree to understand the Word of God and have the faith that it will bring.

But it does require the Holy Spirit and belief that God is faithful.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  (1Cor. 2:14)

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  (1John 2:27)

If we are faithful to read and study the written Word of God, then God will be faithful to give us the understanding and the faith that we will need to walk in these last days.

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”  (1Tim. 4:13)

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  (Eph. 5:27)

Another area of our life in which God has given us talents to trade with or to be occupied with is the area of our lifestyle.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”  (1Peter 2:9)

The Bible tells us that we are a chosen generation. As the prophets of old prophesied of the coming of Christ and the Church age, they longed for the time yet to come which they prophesied of.

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:”  (1Peter 1:10)

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”  (1Peter 1:11)

The Holy Ghost would come upon them and fill the Old Testament prophets with the power to prophesy and do great works for God. They knew the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Prophecy but not as the Comforter whom Jesus said the Father would send.

The Bible teaches that they were men no different than us, with similar emotions and passions.

“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.”  (James 5:17)

Moses was a man prone to anger, and because of it he struck the rock in the wilderness after God had told him to speak to it for water. He was denied entrance into the Promised Land because of his disobedience. Elijah became depressed and hid in a cave. David lusted after another man’s wife and plotted her husband’s death. Elisha’s pride was hurt and he caused the death of taunting children.

They knew the power of God for miracles but not the power of the indwelling Spirit who changes men’s hearts and desires.

We long for their time and the glory that God received because of the power and miracles they performed. However, they longed for our time and the glory that God receives in a changed life.

We are a chosen generation. We have been given the indwelling Spirit of God who shall never leave us nor forsake us. We have been given the power to change our lives and be a holy people different than the rest of the world.

We have been given the power to resist temptation and put away sin.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”  (Rom. 6:12)

We have been given power over addictions and habits.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  (Gal. 5:1)

We have been given power over our carnal lusts.

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  (Rom. 8:13)

We have been given power over our emotions.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”  (Eph. 4:26)

You are the chosen generation that knows the salvation of God and has His indwelling Spirit. He has chosen you to be kings and priests with Him. He has also called you to be a holy nation.

We know a nation’s location because of its geographical borders. The borders may be rivers, or mountain ranges, or lines marked by signposts. Whatever they may be, they separate that particular nation from all others.

The border that separates our nation from all others is the godly and holy lifestyle which the Holy Spirit empowers us to live.

When the rest of the world sees us have peace and faith in the midst of perilous times, when filthy language and cursings fill their daily conversation but they hear us refrain from sinning with our tongue and speaking evil, when they feel the need to escape by yielding to every carnal desire, yet they see us hold fast to our faith and refuse to partake of things contrary to our beliefs;

Then God is glorified among them and they have hope that there is a better way.

They see not a hypocritical Church that says one thing on Sunday but lives in the same manner as they do on Monday. They see a “glorious church” not having “spot or wrinkle”.

This is the Church that Jesus is coming back for to be His Bride.

The Bible tells us clearly what God considers to be sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us as to what is right or wrong.

It is time for us to make a decision and a commitment to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit, to choose the right over the wrong, and the godly over the worldly in everything we do.

Next: How to Work the Works of God

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The End of the World

As Jesus and His disciples passed by the temple, they pointed out to Him its grandeur, but Jesus replied by saying that all the stones of the temple would be cast down.

They responded by asking Jesus three questions.

The first question was, “when shall these things be?” referring to the destruction of the temple.

The second question was, “ what shall be the sign of thy coming?”

The answer Jesus gave to the disciple’s third question, “what shall be the sign…of the end of the world?” revolves around a prophecy given in the Book of Daniel.

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”  (Dan. 12:11)

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”  (Matt. 24:15)

Jesus went on to explain that after the “abomination of desolation” would stand in the holy place, there would be a short period of time and then the end of the world would come.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  (Matt. 24:21)

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”  (Matt. 24:22)

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”  (Matt. 24:29)

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”  (Matt. 24:30)

This is a description of the third coming: the coming of Jesus as the Conqueror, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; the time of the end of the world.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  (Rev. 21:1)

The single event that “triggers” this time period which separates the coming of Jesus as the Bridegroom and the coming of Jesus as the Conqueror is the “abomination that maketh desolate.”

The Apostle Paul gives greater detail of this event, and in doing so explains two things which must occur before the time of “great tribulation” and the “day of Christ”:

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”  (2Thess. 2:3)

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  (2Thess. 2:4)

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”  (2Thess. 2:5)

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”  (2Thess. 2:6)

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”  (2Thess. 2:7)

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”  (2Thess. 2:8)

The Bible teaches that in the last days there is coming a man upon the earth who will be the epitome of evil. Even as Jesus Christ is referred to as the “fullness of the Godhead bodily”, this man will be so full of Satan that he is referred to as the “Antichrist.”

He is also called the Beast, the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the abomination of desolation.

The Bible teaches that when he is revealed he will go into the Temple in Jerusalem, remove the daily sacrifice, enter into the Holy place, sit down and declare that he is God.

The Roman Empire had become so oppressive against the Church in the days of the Apostle Paul, that some in the Church believed they were living during this time of The Great Tribulation.

They believed that the saints coming out of their graves after the resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 27:52) was the Resurrection, that Caesar was the Antichrist, and that the Roman Empire was the kingdom of the Beast.

The Apostle Paul wrote to them in 2 Thessalonians explaining that this was not so. Caesar could not be the Antichrist because two things were yet to happen before the Antichrist could be revealed.

These two things are still yet to happen as of the writing of this book.

They are that “He who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way”, and the Antichrist must sit in “the temple of God shewing himself that he is God.”

Since the Temple of God was destroyed in circa 70 A.D. by the Roman armies, it has never been rebuilt.

One of the events that must happen before “the man of sin” can remove the daily sacrifice, sit in the Holy place, declare himself to be God, and be revealed as the Antichrist is that the Temple must be rebuilt and the sacrifice be reinstituted.

Jerusalem today is a divided city between Jew and Muslim, with the Temple mount occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock.

What could possibly happen that would be of such cataclysmic proportions as to upset the balance of power and embolden the Jews to rebuild the Temple of God in the place of the Muslim temple?

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”  (2Thess. 2:7)

There is only one power in the earth today that is able to hold back the powers of darkness and prohibit the enemy of God from performing his will at any time.

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”  (Luke 10:19)

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

It is the power of the Holy Spirit that God has put in His Church, and until the Church is taken out of the way, that Wicked cannot be revealed.

There have been men in the past such as Adolf Hitler, filled with evil, who thought they could make the prophecies come to pass, destroy the chosen people of God, conquer the world, and assume the position of the antichrist.

However, as long as the Church is in the world to have faith, believe God, pray, and resist the devil, the Evil One is paralyzed and limited as to what he can do.

The Bible tells of a time when a worldwide miraculous event shall occur. In one single moment every true believer in Jesus Christ will rise up to meet the Lord in the air, and every born-again Christian will disappear from the face of the earth.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  (1Cor. 15:52)

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”  (1Thess. 4:16)

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  (1Thess. 4:17)

Trumpets were used in the Old Testament not only for battle, but to assemble the congregation, to announce the feast, and to declare the changing of the season.

This is the last trump that shall sound, the last assembling of the congregation, the last call to the feast.

This is the end of the season, the end of the Church Age, and the gathering of the believers in Christ to meet the Lord in the air.

This is the next great event in God’s plan that we the Church are to be looking for.

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”  (Heb. 9:28)

Then shall the Holy Spirit who indwells the believers that make up the Church be “taken out of the way”, and the Scripture can be fulfilled:

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  (Rev. 12:12)

What is Jesus looking for in His Church when He comes back? What is He expecting His Church to be doing?

Next: A Church without Spot or Wrinkle

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The King is Coming!

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,”  (2Tim. 3:1-3)

“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  (2Tim. 3:4-5)

These Scriptures describe the condition of society just before the coming of Christ. The Bible is filled with prophesies that pertain to the coming of Christ. As a matter of fact, the Spirit of God through David declared that the entire Bible was actually given by God for the sole purpose of directing men to Christ and His coming.

“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,”  (Psalm 40:6-7)

Jesus Christ is such the complete fulfillment of Scripture, that the Bible even calls Him the Word.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:14)

It is God’s desire that in every Bible story, in every account of the tabernacle, in every jot and tittle of the Mosaic Law, in every Biblical record of the history of Israel, and in every prophecy, we would see Jesus, His fulfillment, and His coming.

If one were to categorize these prophecies of His coming, it would be evident that there are three distinct and different descriptions.

There are the prophecies pertaining to His coming as the suffering Messiah, our Redeemer.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)

Next there are the prophesies of His coming as the Bridegroom who goes away to prepare a place, but then returns for His Church, the Bride.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:3)

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”  (Matt. 25:6)

Finally, there are the prophesies of His coming as the conquering King of Kings and the Lord of Lords at the end of the world.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”  (Rev. 19:11)

“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”  (Rev. 19:13-14)

“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  (Rev. 19:16)

Most of the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus did not understand these three comings. They were hoping and looking for the conquering hero to rid them of the Roman Empire, so they missed the coming of the suffering Redeemer, the Lamb of God.

Then there were those during the time of the early Church, who because of false teaching that had entered in, said that the resurrection was past. They preached that the Bridegroom had already come for His Bride, thereby causing their followers to lose faith and believe they had missed the marriage supper of the Lamb.

“Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”  (2Tim. 2:18)

It is important that we as believers know the times that we are living in so that we will have faith concerning His return and not be caught unaware when Jesus comes back.

Some are quick to say, “I’ve heard of Jesus coming my whole life but He hasn’t come yet, so I don’t even think about that.”

However the Bible says:

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”  (Matt. 24:44)

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”  (Heb. 9:28)

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”  (Matt. 25:6)

Our salvation, our hope, our faith is based upon the fact that we believe  the Redeemer of all mankind, the Savior of the world, our suffering Messiah has already come and gave His life a ransom for all.

The belief that Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried, resurrected, and ascended into heaven is the very core of our being “born again” and without which we are eternally lost.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9)

By raising Jesus from the dead, God not only confirmed that every word Jesus said about Himself is true, but that every word He spoke concerning all things is true.

If we believe that Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God came the first time, then we must believe His promise that He is coming back again.

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  (Acts 1:11)

The only question that remains is which return are we anticipating? The return of a Bridegroom or that of a Conqueror?

 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.”  (Matt. 24:1)

“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”  (Matt. 24:2)

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”  (Matt. 24:3)

As Jesus and His disciples passed by the temple, they pointed out to Him its grandeur, but Jesus replied by saying that all the stones of the temple would be cast down.

They responded by asking Jesus three questions.

The first question was, “when shall these things be?” referring to the destruction of the temple.

Jesus went on to prophesy of events they would see happen in their generation and that there would be “wars and rumors of wars,” but “…the end is not yet.” (Matt. 24:6)

History tells us that after the Crucifixion of Jesus in circa 30 A.D., there were rebellions and wars amongst the Roman Empire until finally in circa 70 A.D. the Roman army took over Jerusalem and destroyed Herod’s Temple, even tearing apart every stone to retrieve the gold between them, thus fulfilling the prophetic answer to “when shall these things be?”

The second question was, “ what shall be the sign of thy coming?”

Jesus prophetic answer to this question was a long description of a time period filled with nations and kingdoms rising up against each other. He described famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes which He called the “beginning of sorrows.”

He told of a time of false prophets, persecutions, and betrayal. He spoke of afflictions, deceptions, and that “iniquity would abound.” He said that because of these things many believer’s love would “wax cold,” however; Jesus also said:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  (Matt. 24:13)

He then gave the greatest sign that answers the second question the disciples asked, “what shall be the sign of thy coming?”

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”  (Matt. 24:14)

This long description that depicts an age of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, and persecutions aptly describes the time since the destruction of the temple until now, culminating to our time in which iniquity abounds and the “love of many” has “waxed cold.”

This day and age that we are now living in has seen the rise of unlimited internet access and satellite communications. Now like never before has the gospel through these mediums reached every corner of the earth and been “preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”

We are seeing the fulfillment of Jesus prophetic answer to this second question, “what shall be the sign of thy coming?”

We are the generation that is in anticipation of the return of the Bridegroom.

Next: The End of the World

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The Victory Over the Flesh

The world and the fool (the sinful nature) work together to cause us to depart from the plan, work, or answer that the Lord has directed us to seek for. Satan and his associates want us to give up on God or at least question what we have heard from God just before God’s promised blessing comes.

The carnal man’s advice always leads to the answer that the world has and away from God’s answer.

“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.”  (Prov. 17:24)

But God says:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  (James 1:5)

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”  (James 1:6)

“For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”  (James 1:7)

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  (James 3:17)

Since the beginning of the early Christian Church there have been many different doctrines and beliefs as to what it means to “walk in the Spirit”.

The same holds true today.

Satan does not want us to discover how to walk in the Spirit.

At the very most he would like to see us fall in our Christian walk, give up, and turn from the faith.

At the very least he would like to see us continuously stumble and falter so that our faith will be weak and ineffectual.

Before we establish our belief as to what it is to “walk in the Spirit”, let us see what it is not.

First, “walking in the Spirit” is not how we dress or how we look. Although how we dress and look might reflect the way we think, it will in no way empower us or create in us the ability to “walk in the Spirit”.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  (1Sam. 16:7)

Walking in the Spirit is not being so “heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.”

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”  (Matt. 5:13)

It is not belonging to a certain Church, or denomination, or group. It is not how many times a day we pray, or fast, or read our Bible, or attend service.

What is “walking in the Spirit?”

First and foremost, walking in the Spirit is a choice.

It is the determination to reject the world and the flesh and choose what we know to be God’s will according to His Word.

It is then allowing and trusting in the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in that righteous choice.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  (Gal. 5:16)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”  (Gal. 5:17)

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”  (Gal. 5:18)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Gal. 5:19)

“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,” (Gal. 5:20)

“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (Gal. 5:21)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Gal. 5:22)

“Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Gal. 5:23)

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  (Gal. 5:24)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  (Gal. 5:25)

God is not going to pick up our feet and move them so that we are miraculously “walking in the Spirit”.

God is not going to force us to choose that which is right over that which is wrong.

However, God will give us the “unction” to walk in the Spirit and have the victory over the flesh.

The word translated “unction” and the word translated “anointing” in the New Testament is the same Greek word. In the same way that the Lord anoints someone with the Holy Ghost and they are able to speak with tongues, lay hands on the sick, prophesy, or preach, the Lord will anoint us and give us the unction to walk in the Spirit.

The “anointing” is the ability and the “unction” is the “want to”.

Just as the Holy Spirit enables us to speak with tongues by laying the sounds or “heavenly language” upon our heart but we have to actually open our mouth and make the sound, God will bring to our remembrance His Word or direct us by His Spirit the right and holy thing to do but we must actually choose it and do it.

As the footwear commercial says, “Just do it!”

God will empower us once we make the choice, and in doing so, we will “walk in the Spirit” and have thevictory over the flesh”.

The Bible tells us:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  (Rom. 10:17)

It is our belief that the Scriptures we have read and the Scriptures we shall read will create in us the spiritual hearing to have faith to repent of all sin, receive forgiveness, crucify the flesh, reject worldliness, resist the devil, pick ourselves up, turn around, and walk in the Spirit to do the will of God.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”  (Prov. 24:16)

Next: The King is Coming!


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The Battle Against the Flesh

The second accomplice of the devil working with the world to prevent us from walking in the Spirit is the flesh.

Although we have been born again and our spirit has been born from above, the sin nature still exists in our flesh to draw us away from the things of God.

Jesus said:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  (John 3:6)

The carnal man or flesh nature is of the world but the new man or spiritual nature is from God.

“As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.”  (1Cor. 15:48)

Until Jesus returns, and as long as we are in this body, we will always have the flesh nature to contend with.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”  (1Cor. 15:50)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1Cor. 15:51)

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”  (1Cor. 15:52)

Although we cannot escape the flesh while we are upon this earth, the Bible teaches us that we can weaken the flesh until he is not able to prevail in our lives.

THIS IS THE KEY TO WALKING IN THE SPIRIT.

The devil uses the world to entice the carnal man, and the carnal man then tries to draw us toward the world and away from God. The carnal man feeds on the things of the world.

If we can recognize the deceitful debate that the carnal mind offers before we allow him to feed on the world, then we can starve him from the world and weaken him to the point that we treat him as dead.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col. 3:5)

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  (Rom. 8:13)

The word “mortify” literally means to “count as dead” or “cause to die by starvation or abstinence”.

As the carnal man weakens, the new man gets stronger.

By studying what the Bible has to say about the fool (the carnal man) and the wise (the spiritual man), we can learn to recognize the reasonings of the carnal man that is in our flesh and resist him before he has an opportunity to feed on the ways of the world.

“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”  (Psalm 14:1)

This is the basic nature and foundational belief of the flesh: that there is no God. From this stems all other subtle persuasions.

“Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.”  (Prov. 27:22)

The carnal man will never change. If you could take the sin nature and grind it in a mortar with a pestle, you could not grind this belief out of him.

Your faith in God and Christ resides in your new nature born of God. Your sinful nature in your flesh has not changed. He still says there is no God.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”  (Jer. 13:23)

That is why psychiatrists, psychologists, behaviorists, and others can never change an individual by themselves.

It takes God to change a person by giving them a new nature to join with the Holy Spirit and war against the old nature to subdue it. You cannot change the sinful nature of man.

The carnal man says that there is no God. There is no God to help you. There is no God to love you. There is no God to hear you. There is no God to care. And so on, and so on, and so on.

He will try to get you to choose any other solution for your problems instead of trusting God.

You cannot rationalize with the old nature, you cannot persuade the old nature, you cannot change the old nature.

As soon as you recognize the old nature is arguing against what you know to be right in your heart, the only answer is to resist and starve the old nature, fight him through the power of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God, turn and walk away.

The Bible tells in the Gospels that after the Holy Ghost descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted of the devil.

Each time He was tempted, He said “It is written.” Jesus didn’t argue, He didn’t debate, He didn’t justify, He simply said, “It is written” and then quoted the Word of God that was contrary to the temptation of the devil.

This was done for our example. This is how we defeat the flesh, the world, and the devil. “It is written.”

The flesh will try to persuade us that we have waited on God long enough. That it would be easier to just borrow the money, take out the loan, change jobs, move to another church, etc.

However, it is written:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  (Isa. 40:31)

The fool says that we are justified to be angry and hide hatred and unforgiveness in our hearts. The fool says that if we believe it to be true then it is alright to speak to the detriment of others.

“He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.”  (Prov. 10:18)

However, it is written:

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  (Matt. 6:15)

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” (Prov. 6:16)

“…A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:19)

The fool says to just try it this way and see if it works. Let’s just try living together before we get married. Let’s just try not declaring the cash on our taxes, no one will know. Let’s just try a drink. Let’s just try sex. Let’s just try drugs. Just one time.

“It is as sport (laughter) to a fool to do mischief (a bad plan): but a man of understanding hath wisdom.”  (Prov. 10:23)

However, it is written:

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:” (Prov. 6:16)

“…An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,”  (Prov. 6:18)

The fool says that it should be done your way. Your way is the best. Your way will work. You are smarter, stronger, better. Demand your rights. Stand your ground.

“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.”  (Prov. 14:16)

However, it is written:

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  (James 4:6)

The fool says that the Bible was written almost two thousand years ago. There is no way that it can apply to your life today.

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”  (Prov. 15:5)

However, it is written:

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  (Matt. 4:4)

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2Tim. 3:16)

The world and the fool (the sinful nature) work together to cause you to depart from the plan, work, or answer that the Lord has directed you to seek for. He wants you to give up on God or at least question what you have heard from God just before God’s promised blessing comes.

Next: The Victory Over the Flesh

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The Victory Over the World

The adulteress or strange woman that we read of in the Book of Proverbs represents the world. What the Book of Proverbs has to say about the immoral woman teaches us how the devil will use the world to draw us away from the path of righteousness and from walking in the Spirit.

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”  (Prov. 6:26)

Just as the adulteress is stalking the precious life, the world is stalking the Christian.

There are those who say “God is love. He will love me no matter what I do.” (1 John 4:8) This is true. God is love, and He will love you no matter what. However, it does matter what you do.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  (Gal. 6:7-8)

This worldly deception that “the flesh doesn’t matter” was a doctrine held by a cult of the early church called the Nicolaitanes. They believed that as long as you had accepted Christ then your spirit was right with God and it did not matter what you did with your flesh. God speaks in The Revelation concerning this doctrine:

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”  (Rev. 2:6)

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

By studying the scriptures in Proverbs concerning the harlot, we can further understand this deception of the world:

“And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”  (Prov. 7: 10-21)

Again we see, she “lieth in wait at every corner.” Satan uses the world to stalk the Christian. He will make sure that the world’s temptation will confront you face to face.

God told Cain: “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…”  (Gen. 4:7)

God wants us to know that as long as we are in the world we will always be confronted with temptation. We will always be faced with choosing the way of the Spirit or the way of the flesh.

The harlot says, “This day have I payed my vows.” In other words she is saying that she has already given God the sacrifice in advance for her sin, so everything is alright.

In the same way, the world says, “As long as you believe in God everything will be alright.”

While God says: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”  (James 2:19)

We know the devils will not spend eternity with God in heaven. It takes more than just believing in God.

The world says, “Go to Church, pay your tithe, give God his day and the rest of the week is yours.”

While God says:

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  (1Cor. 6:19-20)

It takes more than just one day a week.

God does not want a service. God desires a relationship. God wants you to “walk in the Spirit and fulfill not the lust of the flesh.”

And finally, the harlot says “the good man is not at home…he will come home at the time appointed.” In other words, “We have plenty of time. We don’t have to worry about being caught.”

The world today says, “I’ve heard about Jesus coming my whole life and he hasn’t come yet.” “No need to worry about that until it happens.”

The Bible says: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”  (James 4:14)

“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”  (Rom. 14:10)

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27)

Whether it be today, tomorrow, or years from now, when we die then that will be our time for the coming of Christ, because that is when we will see Him face to face.

And whether it is the day of the return of Christ to this earth or whether it is the day of our time to face death, “…of that day and hour knoweth no man”. (Matt. 24:36)

The world says, “God has more important things to worry about besides me.”

But Jesus says:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  (Luke 12:6-7)

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”  (Matt. 24:44)

The strange woman says, “…he is gone a long journey.”

This is symbolic of the Church Age. The time we are in now. The time before the second coming of Christ.

Jesus said, “…Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”  (Luke 18:8)

Jesus is coming for a people, a church “…not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  (Eph. 5:27)

The Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to running a race (Heb. 12:1). Are we running toward the world or toward the Lord?

If we are walking away from the world, then we are walking after the Spirit.

Next: The Battle Against the Flesh

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Overcoming the World

The adulteress or strange woman that we read of in the Book of Proverbs represents the world. What the Book of Proverbs has to say about the immoral woman teaches us how the devil will use the world to draw us away from the path of righteousness and from walking in the Spirit.

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”  (Prov. 6:26)

Just as the adulteress is stalking the precious life, the world is stalking the Christian.

“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”  (Prov. 7:4-5)

The world as the “adulteress” tries to establish a long time affair with the born again believer in order to cripple their spiritual walk. Sometimes this can be done by causing the Christian to lose hope because of being overtaken in a fault and continuously stumbling concerning a particular sin or weakness.

This affair can also be established by causing the believer to choose to continue in a worldly path or practice expecting that God will overlook it, not care about it, or even bless it even though it might not be “exactly the right thing to do”.

The world as the “strange woman” (or harlot, or whorish woman) on the other hand, tries to convince Christians through various deceitful and erroneous means that they must be misunderstanding what God actually has said or wants them to do because everything else seems to point to the opposite.

One Biblical example of this would be the serpent in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve that if she ate the forbidden fruit she would not “surely die”, when in reality her and Adam were separated from God and died spiritually.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”  (Gen. 3:6)

As Jesus said concerning Satan:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”  (John 8:44)

In the same way that Satan used the serpent, he uses the world.

Thus as the proverb says, the “strange woman…flattereth with her words.”

“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”  (Prov. 5:3-5)

Here the Bible is clear. If the deceit of the world is taken and followed without repentance, it will lead to destruction.

One example of this worldly deceit is in our modern day cultural acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

The Bible is very clear in both the Old and the New Testament that for a man to have a carnal relationship with a man and for a woman to have a carnal relationship with a woman is an abomination in the eyes of God.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…”  (Lev. 20:13)

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”  (Rom. 1:27)

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” (1Cor. 6:9)

The Bible tells us in the Book of 1 Timothy that there is such a thing as an “opposition of science”:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:” (1Tim. 6:20)

This simply means that when science is in opposition to the Word of God then it is a false science. Such is the case with many so called “scientific discoveries” in the world today.

When science makes the statement they have discovered that people are born with homosexual tendencies and that they cannot change, this is in direct opposition to God’s Word which states that homosexuality is a sin which is a choice to transgress the Word of God.

The gay and lesbian lifestyle is a sin; it is a choice to live in direct violation of the will of God. It is no different than fornication, or adultery, or telling a lie, or harboring unforgiveness.

It is a choice and a sin that needs to be repented of.

However, because of the “flattering words” of the world and the “opposition of science”, many people have declared that “I was born like this” or that “God made me this way” and so ignoring the Word of God continue in a lifestyle that will lead to destruction.

Thus encouraged by those who say you cannot choose your sexual preference because you were born one way or the other, young people are told today to “discover your own sexuality’’ and feel free to live an “alternate lifestyle” for this is your destiny.

Because of the deceptive lies of the “strange woman” (the world), what once was a youthful temptation to be resisted and overcome now becomes a walk after the flesh that leads to condemnation if unrepentant.

The escape from condemnation for believers has a contingency:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  (Rom. 8:1)

There are those who say “God is love. He will love me no matter what I do.” (1 John 4:8) This is true. God is love, and He will love you no matter what. However, it does matter what you do.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  (Gal. 6:7-8)

This worldly deception that “the flesh doesn’t matter” was a doctrine held by a cult of the early church called the Nicolaitanes. They believed that as long as you had accepted Christ then your spirit was right with God and it did not matter what you did with your flesh. God speaks in The Revelation concerning this doctrine:

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”  (Rev. 2:6)

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

Next: The Victory Over the World

Available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

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