Amen Kelly, this was powerful and wonderful!
God has discovered to my heart the "riches of His grace" and "how great His love is" for me. To think that He would send His Son to die in my place, to pay for all my sins, to right all my wrongs is very humbling and makes me very grateful. The cross of Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit has rescued me from a lifetime of sin and is sanctifying me daily. The gospel is the most powerful message this world has ever heard, it has changed my heart and my life.
Posts made by Mike Cleveland
RE: Heart change
@Eric-Mockaitis Hi Eric, I appreciate your reply, and loved your thougths here brother! I'm so glad you are receiving what God's Word says about you and your future, believing it over the lies the enemy would try to sell you.
When it comes to Hebrews 3:1, what, specifically are we to focus our thoughts on about Jesus? When it says "therefore", I see the following 4 things based on what was previously taught:
1. His love in taking on a body, to die, so as to break the power of Satan in our lives:
Hebrews 2:14 (NIV) Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil —
2. The freedom we have because He was crucified:
Hebrews 2:15 (NIV) and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
3. That through His death He has made atonement for our sins:
Hebrews 2:16-17 (NIV) For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
4. His suffering temptation and crucifixion, as the grounds, or basis for Him helping us when we are tempted.
Hebrews 2:18 (NIV) Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Eric, fix your thoughts on Jesus who took a human body so He could die to break Satan's power in your life. Think of Him dying to purchase your forgiveness and freedom, your pardon and power to live differently. Dwell on the atonement that He made, as the Lamb of God who has taken away your sin. Consider often His suffering when Satan tempted, His suffering when God laid your sins on Him, His suffering nails and a crown of thorns, His suffering when His soul was made an offering for sin, His suffering when God's wrath lay heavy on Him and He became Ichabod for you.
See Him raised and lifted up to die, and yourself in Him. See the sign above His head as recording your name and crimes committed. See His death as your death, His burial as the burial of your sins and His resurrection as the beginning of your new life. Fix your thoughts on Jesus!
RE: Heart change
@Eric-Mockaitis Hi Eric, thank you for letting us know of your role and your experience and enjoyment of the sermon by Tim Keller.
Yes, I've experienced the dehydration you refer to, the dryness of soul, the emptiness; almost like I'm a mixture of the Tinman with no heart, the lion with no courage and the scarecrow with no brain, and all the while trying to minister to others from this spot of total emptiness and powerlessness.
It's a common experience, as you know. This dual life has been the cause of believers crying out for rescue:
Romans 7:21-24 (NIV) So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
When we find ourselves in this situation, we remind ourselves of the good news of Jesus entering the darkness to rescue us, of Jesus' receiving condemnation and punishment in our place to free us, of Jesus' loving sacrifice of atonement and powerful resurrection from the dead, and our deliverance through Him:
Romans 7:25 (NIV) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
We should contemplate deeply this rescue and deliverance finished by Christ. We should dwell long and often on His blood that atones for our every sin, on His wounds which heal us, His death that frees us. We should endeavor to see Him suffering capital punishment for us, hanging on a tree under the condemnation and wrath of God, taking the curse of the Law for us, and purchasing the blessing of the Holy Spirit for us.
Can you see Him now, Eric? Hanging on a cross so that you can stand in the judgment? Can you see Him being punished in your place? Do you see He is taking your guilt and shame so that you can be free from condemnation? Do you see His heart has been pierced in order to mend your broken heart? Do you see Him being crushed for your iniquities?
He has gone to the cross willingly for you, Eric, and not just willingly but it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the cross for you. He became the man of sorrows that you could experience the joy of pardon and complete forgiveness.
Then He rose on the third day, in powerful resurrection from death to life, and so your payment has been made by the Son and accepted by the Father, and you are now accepted in the Beloved Son, Jesus.
If you can see Jesus undergoing punishment and being made your sacrifice of atonement as He hangs on the cross, then you need to go further and see yourself hanging with Him. You were in Christ on the cross, paying for sin, and you have been crucified with Christ. Your old man has been impaled on a tree and has suffered death for sin, and has been buried with Christ. Your identity as being impure, as continually falling, as one powerless before the enemy, is now completely dead. It does not exist.
Instead, you have risen with Christ as a new man to a new life. You are alive from the dead, learning now how to walk by the Spirit so that you don't gratify the lusts of the flesh. Halting and stumbling, yes, tripping occasionally, but learning the value of fixing your eyes on Jesus, of trusting His finished work as your finished sin, and of looking away from your performance to His performance for your right standing with God.
Eric you've seen this before, probably preached on it, but consider again this passage:
Hebrews 3:1 (NIV) Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
We are told to fix our thoughts on Jesus. Not on our sin, our failures, our shortcomings, but on Jesus. We are to look beyond our performance and fixate on Jesus.
But every pastor knows to look what the "therefore" is there for, so look at the previous statements made about Jesus in Hebrews chapter 2 verse 14-18, and consider these questions:
What thoughts, about Jesus, specifically, are we to focus on? What did Jesus accomplish for you? What is the basis of Jesus being able to help you when tempted? As you fix your thoughts on Jesus, how does this provide a river of living water to your soul?
When you have time, write back your thoughts.
I believe that your future will be one of great drenching in the Spirit of God and great fruitfulness in ministry as you begin to focus like a laser on the thirst Jesus experienced on the cross to quench yours, on the darkness Jesus endured on the cross to bring you into the light, on the rescue He made and the redemption price He paid to set you free and bring you to Himself:
Isaiah 35:6-7 (NIV) Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
RE: Heart change
Oh Eric, I almost forgot. If you have a chance, listen to this message. It helps to see how it takes a long time for the seed of grace, buried in our hearts at salvation, to rise up and bear real fruit. Listen to the amazing focus on the good news of Christ crucified for your sins and risen from the dead in this message:
RE: Heart change
Since there are no available mentors for me, I hope that it is okay to ask the question I would have asked of my mentor here. I have attempted a great many things to be free and none of them worked. And after submitting lesson 1, I understand why: my heart was bound and determined to gratify the lusts of my flesh, and I found ways to do it. So it has been made very clear, I need a heart change. I believe that I am saved, but have abused my relationship with Christ because of my rampant sexual bondage to lust. My question is then, does this mean I still need a new Spirit (Jeremiah 31) or simply that I have treated what I have as common and hence, repeatedly stumble? Is a portion of my heart hard or have I hardened the new heart I received at salvation through repeated sexual immorality?
Hi Eric, I'm glad to hear from you!
Yes, we can try anything in the world, every program of man, make determinations and vows, promise to quit and pray to stop, and nothing ever changes -- until God changes our hearts. Hence, the value of the message of the crucified Christ, the wounded and bleeding sacrifice of atonement (Romans 3:25).
If we are believers we do not need a new Spirit as we have the Holy Spirit. But we have quenched the Spirit through impurity, and though we don't need a new Spirit we need to begin walking by the Spirit, being energized again by the Spirit, following and keeping in step with the Spirit:
Galatians 5:25-26 (NIV) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The way that we walk by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit is by visiting the cross, much and often. Look how intimately the cross and the Spirit are connected, noting that this passage starts and end with the cross:
Galatians 3:1-5 (NIV) You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
What do you make of this passage Eric? Can you see that it was the message that clearly portrayed Christ as crucified that brought the Spirit of God and His miraculous power to the Galatians? And when this message was believed, the Spirit worked miracles among them?
It's a miracle when you and I are freed from impurity or any sin of the flesh. It is a miracle of the Spirit, and the Spirit energizes us and works in us when we come to the cross.
I hope this helps even a little. Feel free to follow up.
Purity Bootcamp Lesson 27
Here is a student of mine's answer to questions 8 and 9.
Question 8. Andy writes, "God does not want to destroy us but to help us. I see His love. I see the absolute necessity of someone to take our place. That Someone is Jesus. Death or payment of sin is a must. Jesus took our place!. I don't know that this happened but just think if the skins of the animal or animals were still warm and bloody. To feel the warm blood running down their skin,covering their nakedness or sin. The wonder of seeing the Lamb dying in their place. Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!!"
Question 9. Andy writes, "I am going to use a term that I am pretty sure was not used to glorify Christ but to blaspheme by a heavy metal band of years ago. So stick with me. "Sabbath bloody Sabbath." I can see the blood flowing down, I can feel the warmeth of the blood flowing over my body. I feel the cleansing that is taking place in my heart. Years of sin and degrading lust being washed away. Oh the rapture that fills my soul,lifted from the lowest hell to the highest heaven! I worked and worked until I was completely worn out and then I looked up and saw the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world was dying on a cross for me. I no longer have to try to work my way to freedom, all I have to do is look to Him and live. He is my freedom or my Sabbath Rest!! What a beautiful scene it is! Christ is my Sabbath bloody Sabbath!!"
RE: Lesson 8 Hearing the Message of the Cross -
Hearing the message of the cross is integral to my believing. I'm a forgetful person, and if I go too long without hearing and affirming my belief in the Gospel of Christ, it slips from my mind onto a back burner. It's not longer my center of attention and everything does not revolve around Jesus. So the advice "we must come often to the cross and believe the message." is priceless!
Kelly, this, too, would go good on Lesson 8, can you check with Victoria and ask if we can use her comment, first name only? Other people are challenged and encouraged to read this kind of thing!
RE: Purity Follow-up Lesson 57
@Bill-Miller Bill, this so blessed my heart to read, and it was so encouraging to see that the message of the cross is quenching his thirst. Amen!
Bill, would you check with him to see if we can use his comment on Lesson 57, first name only? I believe it would encourage many others as well.