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[05/03/16]   Understanding New Birth - Part 12

2 Corinth 5:16 “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer”. NKJV

As new creations, we must learn how not to see man and the world from the outside. Man sees his fellow man from the flesh/outside. Recall the discussion God had with Samuel at Jesse’s house. Samuel saw Eliab and other sons of Jesse as potential kings. God told him that He doesn’t look at man that way. God looks at the inner man (the spirit and soul of man).

The reason is pretty simple. As the maker of all men, He knows that if He is to bring about any change in man, it must be from inside out. What matters to God is the condition of your spirit and soul.

The danger of seeing men and life from the outside is that you will make judgments based on what you see. For example, if a man does good works, you may be quick to conclude that he/she is a new creation, and vice versa. This has become the common practice in the body of Christ. We often make our judgments from what we see in the outside.

You may say how else do you want me to make my judgment? Shouldn’t I observe with my eyes? Of course you must of necessity observe attitudes and behaviours of men. But you must not make your conclusions by them alone. Trust the Holy Spirit to reveal the real person in the inside to you.

As a man in search of a spouse, as a manager of people, as a business man, as a leader etc, please learn to see the inner man and the hidden things of life. Satan knows how to transform into a messenger of light. But he cannot deceive all men. He will only deceive carnal and simple men.

There are genuine Christians in fake congregations i.e. churches not founded on Christ but seems to be on the outside. There are genuine Christians in the wrong marriage relationship. There are genuine and trustworthy business men who fall prey to fraudsters.

I know you are asking the question “how do I know the genuine ones”? You must depend solely on the Holy Spirit to lead you. Your experiences are valuable but don’t lean solely on them. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will direct you by leading you to make sound judgments based on past experiences. Some other times He will not. It is His prerogative on how to lead us.

I remember persuading my colleagues and house mates to pay for the rent of a house that was owing electricity bill to the tune of one year rent. When we inspected the house, PHCN had disconnected the building from power. We asked the Landlord when he will make payment and connect the house back to power, he answered that when the tenant pays him 2 years rent. Funny isn’t it? What guarantee did we have that he will clear the debt when we pay? Just his word. You know how risky it is to commit to such a thing especially when you know very little about the character of a person.

You see, from the moment we stepped into that house for inspection, I had the inner witness that this was the place we were going to stay. So when these unfavourable conditions came up, it didn’t discourage me because I still had peace. The testimony is that the three of us that took up that 3 bedroom apartment left our current job to bigger paying jobs in one year. We paid for two years rent but none of us stayed for up to a year. God told me that house was Rehoboth (a place of increase and enlargement) for us. It didn’t look like it but His word was fulfilled with time.

Not too long ago, a very close friend shared a business opportunity with me. I was willing to invest in it. From the outside, it looked good and profitable so I told my friend that I was in. I prayed about it and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me. It was right until my money was available that the Holy Spirit told me not to invest again. The Holy Spirit told me that the opportunity will not yield.

I didn’t know how to share this change of decision with my friend. I decided that I was lending him the money and not investing anymore. He agreed to pay back in due time. He paid this money back in piecemeal and over a protracted period. The money lost its value in my hands. The opportunity also never yielded result. The truth is that I had no business investing or lending my money to that project. I took a sentimental decision and was just lucky to get my money back though with less value.

You can always trust Him because He sees the tomorrow you can’t see. Please practice seeing man and opportunities from the inside. Don’t be quick to condemn a man because of his/her failings, neither should you be quick to exalt another because of their good works. As a child of God, you can function like your Father. Paul in our opening verse said he no longer saw Jesus in the flesh but in the spirit. We are the ones who see Jesus as the Saviour of the whole world and not a good and great man who lived and died. We believe He resurrected from the dead because we have witnesses to this truth. Just like Him, we will one day resurrect from the dead to reign with Him.

This series continues in part 13, thank you for your time and enjoy God’s blessings.

[04/25/16]   Understanding New Birth - Part 11

Luke 24:49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”. NKJV

I want to share with you how to live the victorious life in Christ. You must be empowered by God to be able to experience victory over sinful habits. From our opening verse, Jesus warned His disciples about setting out without receiving power. While He spoke with them, He breathe the Holy Spirit over them but they were yet to be baptized with the same Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

At new birth, God’s Spirit comes and dwells in our bodies. But there’s His ministry in us and through us that can only be effected after He has come upon us (filled us with power from on high).

John 7:39 “But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”.

John 14:16 “And I’ll pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Hi, for He dwells with you and will be in you”.

The promise of the Spirit is for the Church (Body of Christ) and not the world. These verses are referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. An unregenerate man is regarded as the world in the bible; at new birth, he/she receives the Spirit and qualifies as a member of the Body of Christ (the Church). Now, he/she needs power to function in this new life he/she has received. This power only comes after he/she is baptized with the same Spirit.

A new creation that is yet to be baptized with the Holy Spirit will struggle with many things. There’s power in our will and determination. If this power was enough to lead the glorious life in Christ, Jesus would have said so. However, He warned His disciples about going into the world without being endued with power from on high.

The righteousness (right standing before God) we have in Christ is a gift. This righteousness is the sure foundation. We lay upon this foundation our obedience to the moral laws of God. God knows that in order for His children to succeed in obeying Him, they need help. His Spirit is that help.

As a new creation, I have struggled with ungodly habits and addictions. Things I’m not proud of. I struggled to be free from some these unholy acts by my will power. All these while, I had received power through the Spirit’s baptism. But I didn’t know how to engage this power for victory.

It is one thing to receive power and it is another thing to engage that power for results. The Spirit in you is your Helper; He’s the greater One that gives you the advantage in life. He sees everything about your life. He’s willing to help you all the way. But you must know how to engage His help. You must know that victory over the world doesn’t come easy.

We are admonished to watch and pray. What that means is that after praying, be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. Dedicate as much time to watching as to praying. If you believe He has heard, then wait earnestly for His answers. He will show you how to break the power of the devil over every ungodly addictions and habits (trust me on that).

If you are at peace with how your life is, trust me, God’s Spirit won’t interfere. Like I said in the previous part, He’s the Helper and not the controller. I do not know what area of your life you are ashamed of as a new creation. I sure know how you can come out of every shameful place. That help is in the person of the Holy Spirit (the Helper). The things He will teach you and bring to your remembrance is in the Word of God. That is His tool; a very effective tool.

We receive the initial baptism of the Spirit by faith. Recognize Jesus as the baptizer and ask Him to baptize you. When you have done this in prayer, believe that you have been baptized because you have. Jesus is always ready to fill members of His body with the Spirit of God. If you are not yet filled with Him, you can go ahead now and receive Him in fullness.

We will share more on the leading of the Spirit in Part 12. Thank you for your time and enjoy God’s blessings.

[04/20/16]   Understanding New Birth - Part 10

James 1:21 “So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that He plants in your hearts, which is able to save your soul”. (Paraphrased) NKJV/GNT

Our calling comes with responsibilities. We, the first fruits of salvation, have been called to lead a holy life. The kingdom of God is alive in us and we must give expression to it. To live a holy life is to live a separated life. When you were born again, you became a new creation; and that in itself ought to let you know that there is a difference in your new life.

1 Corinth 6:9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves (cheats, swindlers), nor covetous (greedy graspers), nor drunkards, nor revilers (foul mouthed slanderers), nor extortioners (robbers) will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God”. Paraphrased (NKJV/AMP)

This is one of my favourite scriptures. Please pay attention to “the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom”. That isn’t you if you are born again. Also turn your attention to verse 11 that says “such were some of you”.

All the sinful and shameful acts mentioned in those verses are contained in the “such”. Meaning, these titles can’t be identified with you any longer. Your new title in Christ is “the righteous”. Don’t let the Devil rob you of your new identity in Christ.

Ungodly acts will not leave one spontaneously at new birth because these conducts are embedded in your soul (emotions, will, thoughts). Remember, at new birth, nothing changed in your soul and body. This is why our opening verse (James 1:21) shows us how to get rid of every work of unrighteousness. God’s word is the deliverance to every work of the flesh. The implanted and in-grafted word of God in your spirit is what delivers your soul and body from excessive carnality.

There’s salvation in God’s word from the lifestyle of the world. The word of God has the power to transform our mind and make it conform to His kingdom way of life. I’m a testimony to God’s saving grace in His word. I know you are a testimony too.

When we, new creations, don’t conform to the Word of God, it only goes to show that we are yet to work the Word of God in that area of our life we are failing in. As an undergraduate I inculcated the habit of smoking cigarettes. I was quite a user. I remember rushing to school on a particular day because I was late for examination. Upon settling down, a friend sitting beside me, told me that I smelled good and different. She said that she couldn’t recall the day I didn’t come to school not reeking of tobacco smell. I knew she was right because I smoked before I left home for school virtually every day. And I smoked all day, especially after a meal and when I sat out with friends in the evenings.

The testimony is that I quit smoking shortly after graduating from the university. I was desirous of quitting after I became born again. I tried to by my will power; I succeeded a few times and failed a few times also. But after receiving the baptism of the Spirit, I received power to live victoriously.

You can argue that tobacco smoking isn’t a sin against God and you are just right. But it is a sin against your body. We must honour our body and treat it with respect because it is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God. Will you desecrate God’s temple? So why would you treat His temple, your body, with levity. You don’t find new creations congregate and engage in tobacco smoking. Such habit brings you in company with people who cannot edify your spirit.

Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. NKJV

Can you see that? What I couldn’t do by will power, I did by co-operating with the Spirit of God in me. He will show you how to successfully conquer controlling powers and ungodly addictions. I know what I’m talking about because I’m a witness to this. Any habit or lifestyle that you are not proud of can leave you. Sin cannot have dominion over you for you are not under the law but under grace (Rom 6:14).

The truth is that the Holy Spirit is a Helper and not a Controller. As a new creation, if you decide to continue in some sinful acts, you sure will and God will not stop you. The moment you decide that you need help, you can access His throne of mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16).

We’ll have to stop here and continue on the subject of righteousness in part 11. Thank you for your time as always while you enjoy God’s blessings.

[04/18/16]   Understanding New Birth - Part 9

2 Corinth 5:18 “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation”. NKJV

Through the sacrifice of the Son of God, man has been adopted into God’s family. New creations are now partakers of the divine nature of their Father. This isn’t a promise that will be fulfilled at the end of this age. It is a present hour reality.

Rom 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”. NKJV

The verses we just read explain a whole lot. The good-news of the gospel isn’t just that our sins have been forgiven but that we have been reconciled back to God. Our sins were taken away for a reason. And that reason is no other than God being so desirous of having a more robust relationship with man (the object of His love).

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life”. NKJV

Everlasting or eternal life is the exact kind of life that is at work in God. Jesus stated clearly that He has come that we may have life and in abundance of it. Don’t you for one second assume that the abundance there means long life; no way!!!

Abundant life is superfluous life i.e. the God kind of life. This is the higher life; a life where you are in command of the supernatural. A natural man receives natural things only because he can’t decipher spiritual things for they don’t make sense to him. However, the spiritual man receives spiritual things and runs with them.

You must come to the knowledge that God is interested in your everyday life. He desires to be a part of it. This is what it means to be in Christ. In Him we have the ability to live by the Spirit every day. God wants to make you a success in life. He wants you to be victorious in life. The first step to this greatness is new birth. Without new birth, no man can enter into God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom isn’t the same thing as the kingdom of Heaven. The kingdom of God has come down and is here on earth. Ever since the Spirit of God was sent down to the earth as the Helper, Comforter, Teacher and Standby, God’s kingdom was established on earth.

It doesn’t make sense to be in Christ and not experience the kingdom of God. There's a proverb that one doesn’t have soap in his/her eyes and is stranded in the river. When I say God is interested in every bit of your life, I mean every little bit. If anything bothers you, then take it to Him in prayer.

He has said it repeatedly that we should cast all our cares upon Him for He cares. He doesn’t want us to be anxious for anything, but by prayer, supplication and thanksgiving, we should make our requests known to Him and His peace shall garrison our hearts and minds. Jesus called out to all who are heavy laden with the vicissitudes of life to come to Him and find rest for their souls.

Recall that when Jesus gave up His spirit, the curtain or veil that separated the Holy of Holiest from the inner court ripped into two from the top to bottom. What was the significance of this sign? The Jewish man made no mistake of the significance of this sign because they knew exactly what it signified.

That sign signifies that God doesn’t have need for intermediaries like Moses, prophets, priests etc, in order to relate with man anymore. He has set up His resting place in the spirit of a new creation. Eph 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ”. 18 “For through Him (Jesus) we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit to the Father”.

Now that you are in Christ, you have been reconciled back to God; therefore, develop a healthy relationship with Him. The Spirit of God given freely to us at new birth has a ministry in us. He makes all things new. You see God in a different light now.

The gift of righteousness (right standing before God) and eternal life (the God kind of life) is poured out to us in full measure that we might benefit from it. You must know that the Holy Spirit in you is to your advantage. By working together with Him, you can manifest His fruit and gifts. With the help of the Spirit, we can change many things in the place of prayer.

In part 10, I’ll share on how a new creation can live the victorious life by the Spirit. Thank you for your time and enjoy God’s blessings.

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