"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8
OUR CHALLENGE TODAY!
One way or another we shall all die physically, but the significance of dying on the cross is this, the flesh dies, simply put, the flesh is submitted to, surrendered to, and made powerless to act on it's own! Yet the soul lives! The spirit lives! We are not our own to live any way that we choose, and the cross symbolizes a death and a new life that is yielded to living for Jesus! At the cross the only thing that continues to live is the soul, and the spirit, or good character of our person, in order to be used by God! In other words all that brought us pleasure in this sinful world is put to death, all that is sin in our life, and all that cannot and will not enter into the kingdom of God is nailed to the cross, and remains there even though we live. Our sin stays there nailed to the cross and we come away from the cross to live a new life of service to Jesus, never to live this life of sin again! As it is written, "Know ye not, that as so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" Romans 6:3 Being baptized into Christ Jesus means committing ourselves to a new life, a life lived for him, and for his purposes. This is the death of the "Sin-Man" he no longer lives! And this is the new life of the "God-Man" and he will live forever! Never to die, but forever to live with Jesus in eternity! So now one might say, "Jesus knew no sin, so why did he die the death of the cross?" The answer is here even in this same passage, " He Being Found In The Fashion As A Man" as a man he lived in this flesh, when Jesus came from heaven to the earth he became as a man in order to set the example for man, and here he gives to us the example of what must take place in order to live a life in the spirit and not after the worldly sins of the flesh! The fleshly desires of this world must be put away, must be nailed to the cross, and a commitment must be made to live for him! If not we all know the consequences, as it is written, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23 Sure there is many ways to die, as one popular TV show says, "1000 ways to die", but only through the cross can we live! We must nail sin to the cross and count it as crucified with Christ, so that we may count ourselves as risen and alive with him! "But as like Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4
The Christian Life is not for sissy’s as one Pastor put it!
The thought of today’s time is to be or desire anything hassle- free, commitment- free, easy and convenient in life. We find these thoughts are permeating our society and have been allowed to seep into our churches making them dead or ineffective. Our Lord has strategically placed us exactly where we are not for our convenience, not that we should be hassle- free or commitment- free, nor that we should merely have easy access to attend a morning worship service and afterwards happily go on our way. He has strategically planted our church in its present location to effectively cause Satan to fall. To loose the chains that hold His children in bondage and overcome the battle that Satan wages against God’s people. You might say; “cause Satan to fall?” I thought Satan had already fallen!
Now our topic is must be about our communities. Since Satan has fallen from heaven where is it that he fell to?
You might say what does this have to do with addiction recovery? The answer is, Satan is the addiction dealer! He is the one that is pushing the addictive pleasure so that the people of the world are destroyed before they find out about the good life in Jesus!
Read Luke 9:57- 62
Here we find Luke the beloved physician giving an account concerning Jesus and his disciples. First he starts by showing Jesus teaching the disciples about priority. When we follow Jesus there are priorities. You might say; “Preacher I have always had priorities, I just follow my heart and I know that my heart is good and therefore my priorities are straight. And so it was with a few other disciples.
57 “And as they were going along the road, someone said to him (Jesus) and said, “ I will follow you wherever you go.”
How many of us can say this today? “And Jesus said to him: Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head.”
This doesn’t sound too convenient or hassle-free too me so far. Jesus immediately says to another: “Follow me” Now this one says “Permit me first to go bury my father.” Can I do a few things that I want to do first Jesus? Jesus replies: “Let the dead bury the dead but as for you go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”
Often we say to Jesus I will follow you, but when asked to do something for him or for another we shrink back and seek to set the obligation in accordance with our terms. Beloved in those moments that we commit and we then reevaluate the commitment we show Jesus our terms in which we will do it, but he sets the terms beloved, not us.
The work of God is never done according to our terms, we can never say to him yes, but!! Yes we will go but when we are ready? Yes we will go whenever you call us is what we agree to, is it not? “Another said I will follow you Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home. But Jesus said to him, No one putting his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Again this walk is not set to your terms. If you say I will follow you there is no looking back. No turning aside to the former things. This is an exact commitment not determined by your terms, but rather by Gods terms. Now this seems to be very discomforting, certainly not convenient and not hassle- free. This takes commitment! But for Commitment there is great reward!
And here are the happy results! Now Jesus, after appointing 35 teams of 2 and dispatching them to various cities with instructions on how to go as we read in Luke 10:1-16, he watches for the results.
In pairs of two they went and to every city in which he directed them. They didn’t ask permission to take care of little things first, they didn’t delay the operations at all, and they just went as directed. They laid down their lives to obey their Lord. 70 Disciples denied themselves, they didn’t take anything for the journey, they didn’t make pit stops on the way, they didn’t take it as an opportunity to treat themselves to a lavish dinner, and instead they became like John the Baptist and entered into the cities where Jesus himself was going to go. They searched out for an inviting house or receptive people that would hear them and then they laid the groundwork, they planted the seeds, and then they reported back to Jesus with a great and mighty praise report!
Why is all of this necessary one might ask? Why can’t we just assemble behind these 4 walls and let God send them to us? Why can’t we just mind our own business, we believe in God and we attend services and we worship God and we help the Pastor and the Elders when we’re asked. Why do I have to go into the city or to my neighbors? Let me answer, Satan got kicked out of heaven with one third of the angels where did they go? When Jesus appointed 70 other disciples to send them to every city that he sent them to, what was his purpose?
The reason you have to go, the reason why you need to get out of your comfort zone and stop telling God your terms, the reason you need to look outside these four walls is there is a war right here in your neighborhood, right in your backyard, right in your city where your church is and that war is pressing in trying to take over. What happened when Jesus sent the 70 out and they returned? Well let’s hear the report:
“And the seventy returned with joy saying, Lord even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
And Jesus said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning!”
This is one of the happiest moments in the ministry of Jesus!
Jesus was expressing his joy, his excitement, and his celebration over their victory!
Satan was defeated in those areas, his assault against the cities was abandoned, and he fell that very day. Friends Satan is running wild all around us and he is going unchallenged. Is he being challenged in your city? What can you do about it?
Get together as teams and go out, as did the others that we read about. Follow Gods instructions; make it a point to give an hour or two every week to going into your neighborhood or city and shining your lights. Don’t let Satan go unchallenged anymore. Bible studies, bible readings, or even carrying your bibles around town for people to see sends a loud sound of victory. Be seen, be noticed, and be active. Put a smile on Jesus face.
You have the power! You can make a difference!
19. “Behold I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you!”
Team up Christians, find a partner and get busy, don’t be as some who find excuses.
Jesus will say to you! “I was watching Satan fall!” Jesus will smile and celebrate with you your victory!
We must realize that Satan is trying to destroy us and many others, and our addiction is what he is using to destroy us with. If we take the offensive approach we can change our life and be a part of changing the life of others before they are too far into their addiction to come out of it and live free from bondage.
EXCERPT FROM THE LEARNER III ADDICTION RECOVERY