Are You Getting Closer to Jesus

Spiritual Growth and Assurance

Book of 1 John Chapter 2:1-14

Have you noticed how many lessons we see about spiritual growth? If we are not growing spiritually every day, we are not just at a standstill, we are actually going backwards.

Last week our lesson was about being cleansed from sin and once we are cleansed from sin, then we need to grow spiritually in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Remember because of Adam and Eve we had lost fellowship with God! That fellowship can be restored because of the work of Christ Jesus!

As long as we are in these bodies of flesh made from the dust of this sinful world, we will remain sinners. God knows this and through the Cross, when Jesus died the veil of the Temple was rent in to and Jesus made a way for us to enter into the throne room of God, where we can humbly go before the Lord and ask Him to forgive us of our daily sins.

We are to do our best to refrain from sin, but this is impossible while we are in this sinful flesh!

What else has the Lord done for us? He went back to Heaven to be our advocate!

*1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

We know that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter while we live on this earth, but in Heaven while we are still alive, we have an Advocate and this Advocate is the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Holy Spirit is here pleading our case to God while we are still in these bodies of flesh and in Heaven’s courtroom the Lord Jesus Christ is doing the exact same thing!

As an Advocate, the Lord Jesus pleads our cause to God the Father, defending us when we do things out of ignorance to God’s Laws.

Sometimes we may intentionally do foolish things and we can be forgiven of those also, but we will still suffer for those sins!

Jesus is our Owner and He stands in our place before God the Father when we fail Him!

Remember God is not a mean and hateful God, His name is Love.

Jesus is not guilty of anything, yet He stands in our place because when we are washed in His blood then we are also innocent of sin and pardoned of our past life and Born Again into new Life!

Jesus is the only person who can represent us before God the Father, there is no other in Heaven and certainly no one upon this earth!

For whom does Jesus plead? He pleads for His children. All those who have accepted Him as their personal Savior.

We are the little children because compared to all the people in the world, the true Christian is among the smaller group!

Jesus does not plead our innocence.
Jesus does not plead our good works.
Jesus does not plead our goodness.
Jesus does not plead our righteousness.

Jesus pleads His own righteousness as our Owner!

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How is this possible?

*1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

It is because of the shed blood of Jesus that we are at peace with God, and that peace can never be changed to wrath because of the sacrifice of God’s Dear Son!

Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Propitiation means the death of the Lord Jesus Christ was the payment that satisfied God the Father and made appeasement for all our sins. Not just those who accept this truth but the sin of this entire world past, present, and future!

It is the “Blood of Jesus that has reconciled us to our Holy God!

The Lord Jesus Christ has removed every barrier that was once between us and God the Father!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning of every promise of God!

God the Father required blood to be sacrificed for all our sin!

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Not just any blood would do! It took the pure, undefiled, sinless, blood of the Lamb of God to wash away our sins!

Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb” for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

God provided Himself to be the Lamb that was to wash us from all our sin!

By the sin of Adam, we were cut off from God!

God sacrificed Himself so that we could be saved!

This is the meaning of propitiation. A debt that none of us had the ability to pay, had to be paid by God Himself!

It was God the Father who had to be appeased.
It was God the Son who provided that appeasement.
Jesus Christ covered our sins with His own blood so our sin would be forever out of sight of God the Father.

The only “type” of propitiation in the Bible is the “Mercy Seat of God.

Heb 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
Heb 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Because of the work of Jesus Christ, we can now go before the Lord and claim that “Mercy”!

Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

If we know all these things, we should be keeping the commandments of God!

*1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

How do we know we love God? We keep His commandments without questioning them!

How do we show God that we love Him, by being obedient to the things He has said!

We must walk in this world as true believers, being obedient to the Word of God.

We must go before the Lord everyday as sinners, to be washed from the sin and filth of this world that we are in contact with every day.

We are justified when we truthfully ask Jesus to come into our heart, but we are still sinners saved only by His “Grace” until He comes to take us home!

Our lives must be centered around the fact that we know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

God lives in the Spiritual world that surrounds us.

We live in the physical world separated from our Holy God.

God the Father sent God the Son into this physical world, so that we to can one day be a part of that Spiritual world with Him!

There is no one upon this earth that has ever crossed over into the world of God except the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

To know the Lord in truth is to have fellowship with Him and His Father!

To not keep His commandments is to still walk in the darkness of this world!

Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 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.
Joh 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

In order to know God we must accept His Son and keep His commandments!

We must believe what Jesus says!

As far as God the Father is concerned, if we reject His Son then we have rejected Him and continue to hold onto the lies of the Devil who has lied from the beginning of his existence!

So how do we know if we love the Lord? We keep His commandments. It’s just that simple!

The more we walk with the Lord the more we show God that we love Him!

It is impossible to say we love God and then reject His commandments.

America is full of those people today reject the truth of God, but say they are one of His children.

The Holy Spirit says they are all liars!

Mar 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

We must be obedient to “all” the Word of God if we say we love Him!

*1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Some would say from the last passage that all we need do is just keep the 10 commandments and that would be a great start, but the Holy Ghost says, do not be mistaken we must keep all the Word of God!

Without this obedience then the act of love is not in us.

Most people always get the word love wrong. Love is an action word!

The only way to love God is to get nearer to Him!

We must study Him.
We must learn all about Him.
We must know His will for us.
We must know His nature.
We must know His desires.
We must know His wants.
We must know His thoughts.
We must know how He behaves.

These things should be the same for anyone who says they love someone!

God shows us all these things about Him, just so we can get up close and personal with Him!

In the end this is the most important decision we will ever make!

Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

When we declare that we are a child of God, then we need to be measured by God’s standards! That standard is Jesus Christ!

That word “ought” says, every child of God is obligated to live according to the written Word of God!

That word “ought” says, we will willingly live as God says to live.

Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

These are things that we know and accept because we love the Lord!

God has had this same message since the time of Adam and Eve!

*1Jn 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

As the church, our salvation is not bound up in the laws of Moses or we would say the 613 commandments given to the Jews.

The Word of God does teach us that all the Word of God is to be used for our instructions on living, rightly divided!

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

What we should know is that all the Word of God is our love letter, and this is where the Apostle John is leading us.

There are some Old Testament laws that that never change even in the New Testament and this what John is talking about.

Lev 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

The Lord Jesus Christ simplified all those old laws and any new law!

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

It is this love that will allow us to grow in “Grace” and “Knowledge” of our God!

*1Jn 2:8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

What we need to understand is that, Jesus gave that word “love” a new meaning:

Jesus said not only love your brothers and sisters in Christ and in family, but also love your enemies!
Jesus said to not only love good people, but also bad people!
Jesus said not just love the righteous, but also to love the sinner!
Jesus said not only love those you accept, but also those you reject!

Jesus said if we are striving for perfection then this is the meaning of love we should understand!

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

It is hatred that will lead us back into darkness!

*1Jn 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jn 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
1Jn 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

How do we grow in Christ?

It takes faith, so we must believe in His works for our salvation!
We follow Christ in believer’s baptism.
We join a Bible believing Church.
We join Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
We study the Words of Christ.
We pray with Christ.
We live for Christ.
We tell others about Christ.

But then, if for some reason we allow hate to reenter into our heart for someone then once again we are walking in darkness!

We must not allow this to happen!

We must walk in the love of God every day!

God is love, the more we interact with God, the more our love will grow.

The more our love grows, the more we will object to hatred.

1Th 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
1Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

So if we want to be unblameable when the Lord returns, then we need to be walking in the love of Jesus Christ!

When we walk in hatred we are walking in blindness, and in reality, we do not know where we are going.

Whenever we walk into a group of people, that hatred will walk in front of us and immediately cause division. This walk is not of God!

Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Eph 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

We must never walk like the world walks, in blind hatred!

*1Jn 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
1Jn 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

The Holy Ghost begins His caution by writing to everyone in the Church.

These little children are all the Saints of God, but here John means the Babes in Christ.

The first thing we realize upon our salvation our sins have been forgiven!

Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

In the Church there should also be Spiritual Fathers not just the old saints of God, who are mature in the things of God. These are those who have known God and have been faithful to the Word of God since their salvation day.

In the Church we always have a need for the young men who will be the Church, when the old Saints have passed on to glory and they need to grow in the “Meat of the Word” because they have overcome that wicked Satan!

In the Church there are the little children and even they must be taught the truth of the Scriptures.

Do not ever be fooled, a small child can understand the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of Creation!

Spiritual growth is required for all age groups and though these things mention males they are also writing for Spiritual mothers and the young ladies in the Church.

Not many Churches would survive without Christian ladies!

The intent is that we must all become rich in the knowledge of God!

2Pe_3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

*1Jn 2:14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

God is a Spirit and if we are created in God’s image, then we must be a spirit also!

If this were not so, we could have no communication with Him!

It is in our spiritual strength that we must grow!

Our flesh is only a tabernacle we will discard one day!

This is the difference between mankind and the animal world!

We must grow spiritually to get closer to God!

John is now reaching out to those who have grown in the Lord.

These fathers are those who have deep and rich knowledge of and have grown daily from the day of their salvation.

It is these who know that the best they can do to avoid sin and they will sometimes fail, but the Lord Jesus will still defend us before God, but they cannot use this as an excuse to sin more!

There is at no point in our lives that we can let our guard down!

We must know for sure where our strength comes from!

Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Our young men must become strong in the Lord and they must hold God’s Word above the things in the world!

Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

We must not only overcome the wicked one (the Devil), we must live as overcomers!

We must listen to the Holy Spirit who is the power behind the Church!

Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Rev 3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev 3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

If we are to grow in the “Grace” and “Knowledge” of the Lord, we must listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching us, and use His information to grow in Christ!

We must love the Lord far above any love we have for this world!

Amen

Let’s Pray!

Growing in Christ

The Blessing of Spiritual Maturity

Book of Ephesians 4:1-13

That word maturity means being in a complete state.

An example would be that an apple is not mature until it has completed the ripening process.

We must work toward becoming “mature Christians”.

Today in our lesson we could say that Paul was not only imprisoned for his own sake, but he was imprisoned for our sakes.

If Paul had not been imprisoned, he would have never taken the time to write all these epistles to the Church.

We may also think that it was just by accident that we have the job we have but this is not true.

After our salvation our own home will be our first missionary field and our job the next place to share the Word of God.

In our lessons so far, the Apostle Paul has laid out the Doctrine of Salvation. This doctrine is our only means of being in harmony with God.

The Word of God is never complete in our lives, no matter how much we learn, until we have made application of it to our daily walk!

The lessons we have learned so far have been:

The eternal plan of God for Christian believers.
The great blessings of God.
The work of God’s mercy and the gift of God’s “Grace”.
Our reconciliation and peace becoming a child of God.
The true Church, the Body of Christ, our Heavenly Citizenship.

Note: none of these things have been given to us as theories but as actual fact!

Now we can take what we have learned and make application to our lives to grow in God’s “grace”.

The bottom line, we owe God much more than we could ever pay and He would chastise us if we tried to work toward trying to pay Him for what He has already done.

There are no works to be saved and there are no works to keep us saved.

A true gift is never to be repaid!

God works according to His great love and it is in this same manner He expects us to live and work!

So, let’s begin.

*****Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

We must understand that the Apostle Paul was not imprisoned to perform some great act in Rome, or to Caesar, or even to the Roman people.

The Apostle Paul was imprisoned for his sake, and our sake, and for the sake of the “Gospel”!

We know that we are all to be witnesses, (missionaries) once we become a child of God.

We should also understand that God will have some specific calling just for each of us and He will equip us for that calling!

God has already honored us as much as we can be honored. One day soon we will actually get to sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven.

There are many promises of God, that we have not seen yet but we know we will get to see them.

The Lord Jesus is right now building a perfect world that we will be a part of. throughout eternity.

We have nothing else to do until He gets ready but one thing and that is to walk worthy of the calling of God!

We are in an honored position and we need to be walking according to the honor God has given us!

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

When we join the ranks of men such as the Apostle Paul we must remember, the message of Jesus Christ and the “gospel” are the only hope for all humanity!

This is Holy stuff!
This is Heavenly stuff!
This is Serious stuff!
Jesus Christ is the only hope for all humanity for eternal life.

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

No matter our calling we are all to carry the same message!

So how are we to walk?

*****Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

The most important characteristic of all God’s children is “Faith”. “Faith” in the salvation message and “faith” in the One who gave us this message!

“Faith” in the truth!

When we begin our walk for the Lord we must remember a child taking their first steps and know that we cannot walk with the Lord without holding on to His hand.

Before our walk begins, we must decide then, that our walk will please the Lord.

After “faith” we must be free of pride. As one preacher use to say, we need to get out of God’s way. We cannot exalt ourselves and please God!

We can be sure where there is “lowliness” (a lack of pride), there will also be “meekness”.

Meekness is humility, submitting to the Divine will of God. We could also say, gentleness.

Next, we see that word “patience” that drives so many crazy, but we must be patient in love toward one another and patient with that one we are trying to lead to the Lord.

2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

So, we have “faith”, loss of pride, humility, and patience so far.

What can be next?

*****Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

It is because every Christian is endowed with the Holy Spirit that we can, and we should be in unity, all having the same mind of Christ.

This is a far reach from what the church is today but, this is because the Church has forgotten how to walk worthy of the Lord.

This passage says, we must endeavor to keep unity of the Spirit and we fail miserably in this trait of how to walk worthy of the Lord!

We must know that each person is precious in the sight of God.

If even one soul goes to Hell, then God has lost a very valuable and precious soul.

Why will God judge the Church first? It will be because there is no unity in the church, which means there is no peace in the church, even though we all carry the same Holy Spirit!

This is not a problem with the Holy Spirit, this is a problem that is in that gap between our ears and a cold, cold heart!

To endeavor, is to do our best to walk in the ways of Jesus.

There is no One else in the Scriptures that has the words of life! There is no other means of salvation period!

The modern-day church is trying its best to remove the Lord Jesus who is the corner stone, the foundation of the Church.

What are they thinking?

What did Jesus pray to His Father?

Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

It is the Holy Spirit that unites us to Jesus Christ and when we go against the Words of Christ, we will quench the Holy Spirit!

1Co 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

To be saved is to show that first sign of faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ and this faith must remain with us all our days asking God to grow our faith!

*****Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

There are many so-called denominations !”But only those who have named the Lord Jesus Christ as their very personal Savior” comprise the true Church!

***There is only “One Body” of Christ!

When any person in any denomination, places his or her trust in Jesus Christ, God does certain things.

**First there is a new birth, they are “Born Again”.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This takes place by the Holy Spirit.

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

In many places it seems that there must be some sign that the Holy Spirit lives within the believer but there is truly only one way to tell.

Jas_2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

1Pe_2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

As believers we must do the works that Jesus gave us to do! This is the only way the world will know that we belong to Christ Jesus and full of the Holy Spirit.

**God makes a new creature, we become something brand new.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

**God places His Divine nature inside the believer.

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

**God places His Holy Spirit in of us that have “faith”.

1Co 6:19 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?
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

**God then causes each of us to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

**God places us in His Church.

1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

There is only “One” body “the Body of Christ”.

The body of believers that understand these things of God, will be in unity!

***There is only “One” Spirit.

The “Body of Christ” will all have the same Holy Spirit(Holy Ghost).

The Spirit of God will separate us from the world and place us in the family of God!

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

It is God’s Holy Spirit that decides where we will be placed in the “Body of Christ”.
It is the Holy Spirit that calls us out of this lost world.
It is the Holy Spirit that gives the gifts to us to be able to do the work, the Lord has given to the Church.

1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

***There is only One Hope for each of us that believe.

Every Christian has the same hope, which is the day the Lord Jesus comes to redeem His purchased possession.

We do not live a life of uncertainty, once we are saved.

In Heaven we will live a life of love, and peace, and joy!

We will live a life of perfection, because each one of us will then be perfect.

It will be a perfect love, a perfect peace, and a perfect joy and this will last throughout a perfect eternity!

We are at peace because we know that this “One” Hope is a reality!

We will all live in harmony with the Lord!

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Tit 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

***There is only “One Lord”!

Just so we all know; the true Church consist of only those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in “faith”!

Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God is very serious about this thing:

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

The will of our Father is for every human being to steer away from sin and steer toward God and His Words.

Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Mat 21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

This is one of the best descriptions of repentance in the Bible!

***There is only “One Faith”

This one truly breaks the world up! There is only “one faith”, not two faiths, not many faiths, that leads to God’s presence and it is the faith we have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

All those who place their trust in false religion need to give the Lord the chance to show them the truth!

***There is only “One Baptism”.

It is true that all believers have given public witness to their faith by submitting to water Baptism as commanded by the Lord.

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Water Baptism means we are identifying ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, in His death, His burial, and His resurrection and His Church.

Even the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, to be our example!

Water baptism is to be an outward sign of an inward change!

Note: Water baptism does not produce a spiritual change!

Water baptism is not a method of salvation!

**Then there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many

This baptism of the Holy Spirit will come only in the “Church Age” and He the power behind the local church and the universal church!

Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit unites us with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

We should note that this work of the Holy Spirit takes place at the very moment of salvation, but it is a continuous work until God calls us home!

1Th 4:7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1Th 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

All these things are true because there is only One God, who is the Father of us all!

***One God, who is our Father if we trust in His promises.

Joh 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

God is the Father who presides over all His child by the Lord Jesus Christ and indwelled by the Holy Spirit!

These things being true (and they are) then all those who worship some other being are not following the “Only God”!

We could also say our Father is the giver of gifts!

*****Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us “is given grace” according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Big faith, much “grace”, Little faith, little “grace” and the same goes for blessings!

When you become a Christian (like Christ) you have already received so many gifts from our Father that we are truly blessed even if He did nothing else for us.

If He was just God like so many say, He would not care for what happens on this world but to the Christian, He is our Father!

Gal_4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

These gifts of the Spirit do not mean a natural ability or a talent that you are born with but even these will be increased if they are used to promote the “Gospel”!

These are gifts that build up each of us that are Christian. We all have received a very personal gift by the Holy Spirit, to carry out the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!

It should be obvious the Lord Jesus Christ provides us the “grace” to use gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This “grace” means the strength, the motivation, the concern, the love, and the power to use these gifts.

There is not one Christian that God finds not to be useful!

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

We must understand that the Lord Jesus had to ascend back to the right hand of God for the Church to move forward!

Joh_16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

*****Eph 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Eph 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

When the Lord ascended back to Heaven, witnessed by at least 120 people, it was Christ’s declaration that even the grave could not hold Him!

We, who were once enslaved by Satan, are set free only because Our Lord triumphed over all His enemies, (Satan, sin, death)!

In these times of the Lord, a conquering king would lead those he conquered out of that city chained one to another.

These slaves, along with the riches of that nation, would be given to other high-ranking citizens, at their return from victory.

Psa 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Psa 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

As believers who once were in bondage to Satan, we are now owned by the Lord Jesus Christ but as belonging to the Lord, He provides wonderful gifts for every one of us!

One of our greatest gifts is, freedom!

Joh_8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Notice not set free as releasing on the side of the road and could be captured again but “made” free never to be in bondage again!

The Lord has given to us, along with our freedom, a great future, a purpose for our life.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the giver of “life”!

This life can only come if we are willing to face death!

Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luk 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Before the Lord ascended, He had to go to that grave.

Psa 139:15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Psa 63:9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

All the riches and the power of the God in Heaven or earth could not pay our sin debt, the Lord Jesus had to die to pay that debt that we could not pay!

He had to first be declared dead and buried in that borrowed tomb before He could show the power of God at His resurrection!

He had to fill all things!

Which means that Christ’s descent into the lower parts of the earth might mean more than just descending into Abrahams bosom!

The truth is the Lord Jesus Christ had to die and having gathered all the sin of this world past, present, and future, had to take that sin and also experience our hell that we could be saved!

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

And of all those that believe these things, Jesus has given us a new purpose!

*****Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For there to be a church, then there must be those who would begin the church.

We know the Holy Spirit gives great and wonderful gifts and these gifts will blend with those whom Christ Jesus has chosen!

There were only 12 Apostles that were specifically chosen by the Lord. The word “apostle” means “to send out”.

The qualifications to be an Apostle were such that they had to die out.
They had to have seen the Lord Jesus Christ.
For this reason, there can never be any more apostles.

There some who were Prophets, and these too had to die out because we now have the complete Word of God and there is no need for “Prophets”.

The Lord Jesus has specifically chosen every evangelist, and pastor and teacher since that time, so these must remain Divine appointments!

Just as prophets testifies of things to come, the evangelist testifies of things from the past and therefore they spread the “Gospel”.

In many ways the evangelist is like the missionary.

Act 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

We also see here that Philip had been one the first deacons as one of the seven.

Normally the Pastor was the shepherd of one flock and the teacher would help with this one flock.

The Pastor is to be pastor and teacher.
The teacher is not the same as the pastor.

What had Jesus told Peter and made sure he understood.

Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

We can notice how Peter passed this information on, in the places where he had begun a church.

1Pe 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

To be the shepherd of a local flock, is a special calling of God which will bring a specific reward.

1Pe 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Note the shepherd of the church was to feed his sheep even if he had to pick them up and carry them, if he tried to be like Christ.

Isa 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Always understanding that he was not the Chief Shepherd!

Psa 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The shepherd is to seek and save:

Mat 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Mat 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

To be a shepherd over a flock of God’s sheep is a very special calling!

It is the teachers job to instruct the believers in the Word of God!

It can be said that the teacher bears one of the largest responsibilities given by God and will have to give a strict account to God for his faithfulness to the Word of God!

Jas 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

In this passage a master is a teacher!

God commands the teacher to study the Word of God, be not ashamed of the Word of God and, rightly divide the Word of God.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In the end all these positions in the church have only one job.

*****Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

We can see that accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit in any of these 5 gifts, had a threefold purpose.

For perfecting that body of Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.

It is the job of the church to make disciples who will also go out and make disciples.

Not everyone, does God call for any one of these 5 positions, but the truth is:

Every child of God is to do the work of the apostle using the gifts God has given to them.
Every child of God is to do the work of the prophet daily proclaiming the Word of God.
Every child of God is to do the work of the evangelist in reaching out to the lost.
Every child of God is to do the work of the Pastor, caring for that flock that God has given to them.
Every child of God is to do the work of the teacher, teaching the truth of the Word of God to all those he knows.

This is the invisible power of God of God, at work in this world!

Isa_55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

If every house of God practiced these things the Church would be in unity of the faith.

If you want to measure the growth of the church, it is not in numbers but how these sheep are equipped to be local missionaries!

Spiritual growth is gradual, and some will grow at a faster pace than others and though this growth is silent, it is still the most effective force in this world when properly applied!

We live in a world where some think there should be a variety in the Church and some seek that variety, but the absolute truth is there is only one message from God, and only one Gospel of Jesus Christ!

The Church is the hospital for lost and broken souls, while also being the school for Heaven!

The Holy Spirit is the school bus, but sometimes He must be the emergency vehicle.

We should understand that the Apostle John said Jesus Christ was the Word of God.

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The closer we get to the Word of God the closer we get to perfection and the more we will resemble the Lord Jesus Christ who is already Perfect!

Jesus Christ is still our only model for the Christian life, though far too many have rejected this!

Amen

Let’s Pray!