Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Can one person change your life? Grace goes beyond our grasp.
Unfortunately, in our day and age, there are a lot of negative things we must learn that Christian leaders have misled most believers to believe that they can be built up spiritually by strenuous self-effort and self-discipline.
And this type of thinking leads to a path which is not only characterized by, but even ends up with, dependence upon self and human works as the basis for acceptance with God.
And so, the reason why our Lord would not trust those who end up trusting in the flesh or in their ability to conform to what they "think" God desires them to conform to.
And that's why I like the phrase, "the fruit of the Spirit"
Jer 17:5 tells us about the curse of man trusting in himself when it says, Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
Or as David said in PSA 62:9 says, "Men of low degree are only vanity, and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath."
Now, this supposed sequence in character-building is said to be simply that thoughts determine action, action determines character, and character determines destiny.
And many times, this type of message is taught by individuals with good intentions, however, there is little need for a Savior or the power of God in such a program of this improving self-development.
Notice the statement “but to us who are being saved,” the cross is the power of God that leads us to salvation which comes from the Greek word sozo which also means deliverance.
The cross and the doctrines that the cross provides for us is the information that we all need to be sozo or saved and delivered from the attacks that the kingdom of darkness makes upon each believer who follows our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Notice also that we are "being saved" or “being delivered,” in the present tense, and it is talking about what happens to the believer continually.
The present tense says that “being saved” is a habitual action by God the Holy Spirit that happens to all believers.
The passive voice says that we receive sozo or we are being saved or delivered by God the Holy Spirit who is doing all the work of delivering, we are doing nothing to receive this action of protection.
The participle says that protecting the believer is one of seven ministries of God the Holy Spirit to all believers, whether they agree with it or no, it doesn’t matter.
It does not mean that we are not saved and we are being saved, it means that every day we have the opportunity to be delivered or saved from ourselves.
However, Christian character is a divine production which is not to be achieved by self-effort but by the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
As one writer said, Galatians 5:22-23 is the shortest life of Christ ever written, for the fruit of the Spirit is the outliving of the in-living Christ.
"Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness but the possession and manifestation of nine graces: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Peace is integrity "within" toward self.
Goodness is integrity in expression toward man.
Temperance is integrity in expression toward God.
So, when accepted all together,
The nine-fold fruit of the Spirit presents a spiritual portrait of Christ.
This character is possible because of the believer's vital union to Christ and the fruit of the Spirit in those believers who have learned to rely on the indwelling power of God the Holy Spirit, (Gal 5:22-23).
That was all that we covered last time when we had the opportunity to experience fellowship with God the Holy Spirit.
- The second privilege of fellowship is based upon the fact that we can have fellowship with God the Father, not just praying to Him but also having fellowship with Him by means of conversation with Him, especially during the Church-age; Eph 3:14-21.
- And then thirdly, we can have fellowship with God the Son; 1CO 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
This fellowship is based upon the indwelling of our Lord Jesus Christ who is said to live His life through the believer who understands the benefit of Christ indwelling the believer and living the spiritual life through us.
Notice the preciseness of the phrase in GAL 2:20 It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.
Notice that we go through life and as we do, death works in us, while life works in others.
Soul sleep is taught by most of the cults and the Christian denominations who teach that when one dies they stay in the grave until the resurrection.
For example, 2CO 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
So, the three main reasons are:
- The importance of fellowship with God.
- The importance of fellowship with believers.
- The Disadvantages of Christian fellowship.
The purpose is that the Jews were the chosen race in the Old Testament but the gentiles could convert to Judaism anytime they desired to.
It is the spiritual life of Judaism that counts not whether or not the individual is from the race of the Jews.
JOH 1:13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.
Now, in this first miracle, our Lord is beginning to reveal to the Arab nations and places like Egypt, India, Ancient Rome, Asia, and the many different nations from Africa.
Our Lord was concentrating on those nations outside of Jerusalem in the ancient times especially like Greece, Turkey, Corinth, Thessalonians, Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, Colossae, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and last and probably even the real least, the lukewarm church we know as Laodicea.
In all these places and more, our Lord instructed Peter, Paul, and John to make sure that they claim to everyone that Allah is the god of the Arabs whose prophet is Muhammad and not Jesus Christ.
Our Lord and no one else including the many different gods that the Arabs claim to be prophets of the one true god whose prophet is Muhammad and whose name is Allah.
Arab’s claim that they have the one and only God says the prophet Muhammad who claims to be a prophet of which he is not.
Two verses emerge here; ACT 4:12 "And there is salvation or deliverance in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."
Or, as our Lord said in JOH 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
He is talking to Jews or gentiles called a chosen race;
These Jews or these gentiles are called a people for God's own possession.
And then the most important reason of why we are here as a new creature or a new creation is because of the fact that both the males and the females are a new spiritual species because of faith in TLJC.
This is so that that we may proclaim and announce to the revelations the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
The Arabs were the ones who were not content to be what the Jewish parents taught their children to be concerning the difference between what the Jews and all the gentiles.
They were very brutal to their own people and brutality does not always express itself in violence, but also in the vicious use of the tongue in slander, gossip, and maligning.
But when it takes precedence over your love for God, you will never reach spiritual adulthood and never have the pleasure of being occupied with Christ.
Obviously, fellowship with these categories of Christians would be detrimental to the spiritual life of the believer.
Whether fellowship is detrimental or wonderful does not depend upon the fellowship as such, but upon your ability for believers to discern virtue and integrity that comes from the justice and the righteousness of God.
This is when the fellowship one has but upon the ability to discern graciousness and virtue wherever it is.
Neither legalism nor lasciviousness are virtuous.
If you do not put God first, your relationship with people in any periphery will be a mess and will have no spiritual significance.
If you have fellowship with positive believers who have virtue, integrity, and who recognize the privacy of your priesthood, you can have a wonderful relationship with others where you will make some of the greatest friendships in this life.
The advantage to such friendships is that you are not depending on them; you're depending on the Lord.
When you are not depending on people and still have relationships with them, then you are at least in spiritual self-esteem.
You don't get upset when they turn nasty and sarcastic and turn sour, because you are depending on the Lord, and your fellowship with the Lord takes care of that.
Christian fellowship is nice to have if there is no legalism, antinomianism, or apostasy.
However, Christian fellowship cannot advance the believer in God's plan, purpose, or will for his life.
Your encouragement must come from inside of you.
If you get together with people in order to gain their approbation, to get something from them, or to be admired by them, you will be mixed-up for the rest of your life.