Monday, October 20, 2014

The Power of Christ

Colossians 2:8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

I wasn’t able to attend our denominational conference this year, but was able to watch the conference keynote speaker - Pastor Bryan Loritts of Fellowship Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee via the taped broadcasts on the internet, and I’m glad that I did. He parallels salvation through Jesus to the American “Emancipation Proclamation” in that the Sinner is a slave to their sin and the Believer has been set free by Christ. Besides “original sin”, we are guilty of “voluntary sins” that we commit. Whether one a day, week or month (and that  being generous since sin are committed in thoughts, words and actions), if we added them up over a lifetime, it’s a problem when the requirement is zero. And eternity is at sake! But, we can find freedom from our sin in Christ Jesus. By the power of Christ alone; not earn, bought or deserved. Why? The love and grace of God Almighty.  

Ephesians 2:4-9 “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Pastor Loritts warns: Don’t be taken captive by empty and deceptive philosophy: Jesus plus something is “nothing”, but Jesus plus nothing is “everything”. The work of our church’s pastors is to grow people from immaturity to maturity with patience, and sound biblical counsel, teaching and preaching. They true have the duty of watching over souls. God bless our clergy. Philosophy is based upon the love of wisdom to form our worldview of life and living. But, instead of our focus being upon human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world, the heart and center direct all to Jesus, who has the power to heal and transform.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

There are three hollow philosophies prevalent today in our society, which are deceptive and take people captive. (1) Individualism – which states that the world revolves around me and my desires; centered in pride and focuses on the unholy trinity of “me, myself, and I”. (2) Hedonism – which states that I exist for the pursuit of personal pleasure and works to transform the image of God’s Battleship into a luxury Cruise Ship. A Cruise Ship exists for comfort and enjoyment, while a Battleship exists for the “Mission” – God’s mission. (3) Materialism – which states that the one with the most toys at the end wins and is centered on what we have or what we don’t have … yet. It is a simple case of “You have stuff and the stuff has you”. None of these philosophies satisfies because they are truly empty. The Lord wants us to have a life philosophy; just the “right” one. To the Believer, Jesus is our all and our everything because: (1) Jesus is God, (2) Jesus saved you, (3) Jesus has forgiven you – blotted out, expunged and obliterated our sins, and (4) Jesus has triumphed over our enemies by His power. Do we need any more reason? Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. Let us rejoice!

Psalm 113 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.

In Christ, Brian

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