2/3/14 – “HOW TO RELATE TO YOUR PASTOR”

Pastor

Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, …

One of the greatest gifts that Jesus gives us to grow us up and help us become the man or woman of God He called us to be is the gift of a pastor. Here in Ephesians Paul is telling us about the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ as He ascended into heaven. They are what we call the five-fold ministry gifts. Of those five gifts the one that is called to speak into your life each and every week is the gift of a pastor. What many believers don’t know is that you don’t need to find a church to attend; you need to find the shepherd, the gift of a pastor that Jesus gave you.

To deny the need for a pastor is to reject one of the most valuable gifts Jesus gave to the body of Christ. I hear many Christians who say they don’t need to go to church, but in fact by making such a statement you are going against what God has provided for you. Every believer who sits at home each and every Sunday thinking they don’t need a shepherd, they are rejecting a gift that Jesus provided for their life. Once you find the pastor not the church that Jesus has for you, you must then realize satan will do everything he can to tear you away from that gift. Why? Because that pastor has a gift on their life that Jesus imparted to them to speak into your life and help you become a powerful believer in Christ.

For anyone who thinks that finding a shepherd and being a part of a local body is not important, they have chosen to live life on their terms and reject something that God provided for us all to be a part of. This week I want to share with you from my pastor Dr. Mark T. Barclay’s book seven powerful truths about how to relate to your pastor. You can buy a copy here: “How To Relate To Your Pastor”. Learning to do so will help you get all God has out of this gift for your life.

1. RECEIVE YOUR PASTOR AS A GIFT FROM GOD

As I have already been sharing with you not recognizing your pastor as a gift, but only looking to him as just another believer means you won’t receive what he has to add to your life. No pastor is any better than any other believer. We are all created the same, but we do not all have the same gifts and callings. When Jesus came to His own hometown He could only heal a few sick people because they did not respect the gift that God has sent to them. When we don’t recognize our pastor as a gift from God, we to are not fully receiving all of what we should, and it is that much easier for the devil to pull you away from this gift from God. But if you recognize who your pastor is and you then receive them as a gift from Jesus, you won’t allow the devil to take this gift away from you by leading you away. If you want to be blessed by the Lord, you must receive your pastor as a gift from God.

2. GET TO KNOW YOUR PASTOR
1 Th. 5:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, …

The second key in relating to your pastor is to get to know them. The word “recognize” here is actually translated to get to know. In getting to know your pastor you are simply learning from their example. Paul himself said imitate me as I imitate Christ. You don’t have to spend personal time with your pastor to do this. You can do so by listening carefully as they teach in how they apply God’s Word to their life for they are to set an example for you. You can get to know them by attending special meetings they do, not just regular services. One of the best opportunities in getting to know your pastor is staying up with these other opportunities to come and learn and glean from them. Your pastor should live what he preaches and as you get to know him it will help you to follow Christ.

3. ESTEEM HIM HIGHLY IN LOVE
1 Th. 5:13 We ask you to love them and think very highly of them because of the work they are doing.

To esteem your pastor highly does not mean to worship him nor put him on a pedestal, but to honor them for the work they do. Their work is you. They work to help you grow with God, learn how to walk in the light of God’s kingdom, and learn how to become a part of God’s work on earth. When you no longer esteem them highly you will not honor this gift Christ has given you. If you love your pastor then you will show the same unconditional love toward him that God has shown you. When you honor God’s gifts given to you it is always going to be to your benefit.

4. PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR
2 Th. 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
2 Th. 3:2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

Why should we pray for our pastors, so that the Word of the Lord my run swiftly and therefore have not only a greater impact on our lives, but on the lives of others as well. When a pastor has a church family that knows how to pray effectively and they are praying for their pastor, they are going to have a much more powerful impact on their church family and the world. Pray they are delivered from unreasonable and wicked men who don’t have faith. They will only be a pawn of the enemy to hinder the work your pastor does. Every pastor knows it takes the whole body of Christ to accomplish what God has called us to do and walk in the victory He has for us. That is why your pastor prays for you and so should we pray for our pastors.

5. CONTRIBUTE TO HIS SUPPORT
Gal. 6:6 Let him who receives instruction in the Word [of God] share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his support].

For years the devil has done everything he can to try and keep ministers poor. There are unfortunately those who have used the ministry as a means of personal gain, which Paul warned us about, but that does not mean we should just take from our pastor’s and do nothing to provide for them. It is a sad statistic today that only 2.8 percent of Christians tithe. Going to church and being blessed by what God has given your pastor to help you be a disciple of Christ and not honoring God’s Word by giving to the work he does would be like going to your grocery store, loading up your cart, but not expecting to pay for anything. Not contributing to your pastor’s support is hurting you more than it hurts him. As you give Jesus said it would then be given to you. You reap what you sow. You sow only to your flesh you reap corruption, but when you sow to your spiritual development you reap life.

6. FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR
Heb. 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Your pastor is an example of faith and patience, which is how we obtain God’s promises. How often do you see your pastor missing church? When there are corporate prayer times at church follow his example go and pray with him. A pastor who is walking in obedience to God does not do these things because he has to, but because he has learned what faith and patience are all about. We are to walk by faith not by our carnal fleshly desires, and following our pastor will help us to do so.

7. OBEY YOUR PASTOR’S TEACHINGS
1 Cor. 11:2  I am so glad, dear friends, that you always keep me in your thoughts and you are following the Christian teaching I passed on to you.

As your pastor teaches the Word of God you should apply what you are being taught because as they hear from God and preach the Word, you are going to be blessed. James tells us that those who are not just hearers of the Word but doers, they will be blessed in what they do. You should not just come to church as a religious duty to think you “paid your dues” for the week. You should come with a heart to know God better and apply everything you are learning. Church is not a place to just hear sermons it is a place to connect with God, grow as a disciple of Christ as you apply what you are taught, and become a part of the work God is doing in the earth.

When you learn how to relate properly to your pastor you are going to grow in God and see God work in your life. Without a shepherd scripture teaches you will in fact remain a baby Christian, immature, and tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Having a shepherd is not watching your favorite preacher on T.V., but being connected with that gift Christ has given you. Saying you don’t need a pastor is telling Jesus you don’t want this very valuable gift God has given to you. In John 10 we are told how to find our pastor. We will know when we hear his voice. Our spirit will bear witness with us when we find that gift Jesus has for our life. Through that gift the Lord will help us to grow, mature, and become a disciple of Christ.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/27/14 – “DEVELOPING YOUR SPIRIT MAN”

draft_lens21363676module168898682photo_79c64928914ea7d946f77

1 Cor. 3:1 HOWEVER, BRETHREN, I could not talk to you as to spiritual [men], but as to nonspiritual [men of the flesh, in whom the carnal nature predominates], as to mere infants [in the new life] in Christ [unable to talk yet!]

One of the most important truths to walking out what God desires for us is an area that is not talked about often enough, but is in fact a must for believers if they want to mature and no longer be ruled by their old fleshly nature. Man is a three part being. Man is a spirit who posses a soul and lives in a body. We are not a soul nor are we a body, we are a spirit being. Most of the time when we refer to ourselves in the first person we are referring to our soul or our body. Once born again our spirit man becomes brand new, recreated in the very image and likeness of God. If you want to mature as a believer you must learn to develop who you really are, your spirit man.

Man has learned how to develop the body through exercise and diet. Man has learned how to develop the soul through study and education, but the one area we have had little understanding in is how to develop our spirit man. Paul addressing the Corinthian church reveals that they were still fleshly, carnal, nonspiritual Christians. They were still being dominated by their carnal nature. Because of this he could not speak to them as to spiritual men and women of God, which simply refers to being dominated by their spirit man within. The more we develop our spirit man, the less carnal and immature we will be. One who is spiritual is also tuned in to the Spirit of God within them, following God’s leading for their life.

Just as it takes discipline to develop the body and the mind, there are also spiritual disciplines necessary to develop our spirit man. This week I want to share with you some of the key elements that scripture reveals of how we can develop our spirit and become spirit ruled instead of carnally ruled. Just being born again does not obviously deliver you from being carnally ruled for if it did this would not have been an issue for the Corinthians. So let’s dig in to the things that we can do to develop our spirit and become spirit ruled Christians.

1. BECOME SPIRIT CONSCIOUS.
Eph. 4:23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.

The first key to developing your spirit man is to become spirit conscious. We must renew our minds through the Word of God to do so. You will see throughout the New Testament that most of the references where the writers refer to themselves in the first person they are referring to their spirit, not the soul or the body. When someone says they are depressed, they are referring to their soul. When they say they are sick, they are referring to their body not their spirit man. To renew your mind to become more spirit conscious you need to find scriptures that reveal the real you, your spirit man within. As you do you will begin to see a whole new picture of who you really are.

One such scripture can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul declares that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new. The words for new creation actually refer to something that did not previously exist. When you become born again, in that instant you put your faith in Christ, there is a supernatural event that takes place within. God replaces your old spirit man with a brand new spirit.

This brand new spirit that comes into existence when one is saved is one spirit with the Lord. A born again spirit is one that has been recreated in the very image and likeness of God. The spirit man you used to be is no longer there. You become completely brand new on the inside. God’s very DNA now resides in your spirit man. You are instantly changed and now have all of the fruit of this new born again spirit within you. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are now residing in your new spirit man. If we develop our spirit man and become spirit ruled, these fruits will begin to manifest through our lives.

Another powerful verse to renew your minds to become more spirit conscious is found in Galatians 2:20. This scripture reveals that one who is born again has been crucified with Christ. This again is referring to our spirit man. Paul goes on to state in this scripture it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives is us, and the life we now live in the body we live by faith in the Son of God who loves us and gave His life for us. The old man is gone and the new man has come, made in the image of Christ Himself.

2. PRAY MUCH IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
1 Cor. 14:14 For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, …

Here in 1 Corinthians 14 we clearly see that when we pray in tongues it is our spirit man that is doing the praying. It is not coming from your soul, which is your mind, will, and emotions. It is your spirit man that is doing the praying as the Holy Spirit gives your spirit the utterance. Having the ability to pray in tongues is a result of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is clearly seen through the book of Acts as a separate experience from being born again. One becomes baptized in the Holy Spirit when they simply yield themselves fully unto the Holy Spirit and allow Him to come upon them.

It is easy to see why the devil has worked so hard to convince Christians to have nothing to do with begin baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a powerful part of our walk with God in which we become empowered to be a witness for Jesus Christ. One of the evidences that someone has received this in their life as revealed in scripture is praying in tongues. There are many benefits to praying in this supernatural language. One such benefit is that we are allowing our spirit man to do the praying and this helps us to become more dominated and aware of our spirit. When you pray in the spirit scripture reveals you are building yourself up as it edifies you personally. The you that is built up is your spirit man.

Praying in the spirit is the easiest way as a believer to instantly allow your spirit man to become the dominant part of your three part being. You are also praying in the perfect will of God when you pray in tongues. There has been a lot of misunderstanding about tongues in the church. When you carefully study 1 Corinthians 14 you will find that Paul states we should not speak to one another in tongues in church, but he does not say we should not pray in tongues. As a matter of fact he states we should pray in our understanding (natural language), and pray in the spirit as well. When you speak to someone in tongues, not praying to God in tongues, Paul states it should only be done if there is an interpretation given of what was being said in tongues to that person or persons. When we pray in the spirit we are speaking to God, not to man.

It is easy to understand why the devil has worked so hard to get Christians and even Christian leaders to have nothing to do with being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is a major part of what builds our spirit man, and remember; the more we develop our spirit the less carnal we will be. Satan loves for Christians to be carnally ruled because they are powerless against him and easily taken advantage of. If you want to develop your spirit man and you have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, just yield to the Spirit of God and ask the Lord to baptize you in His presence; and you can begin to pray in this new and powerful heavenly language.

3. WALK IN LOVE
Eph. 5:1 Imitate God, since you are the children he loves.
Eph. 5:2 Live in love as Christ also loved us. He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God.

God is a spirit and certainly therefore not carnally ruled because He is not carnal. We are to imitate Him as His children. We do so by walking in love just as Jesus walked in love. Walking in the love of God means we treat others the way we would want to be treated, no matter how they treat us. The very first fruit of our spirit is God’s love. When we choose to yield to the love of God we are yielding to our spirit man. As we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of our flesh. Our spirit man begins to dominate our entire being and we become more aware of who we really are.

As 1 Thessalonians 5:23 reveals, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. The more we learn to develop our spirit man; we will begin to see things as God sees them. We will become more conscious of the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our spirit. We will also no longer be a carnal Christian, ruled by our flesh but instead we will become mature believers, seeing the power of God working in and through us to fulfill His will by changing the lives of others. You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. Develop your spirit man and you will live a whole new life as a child of God.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/13/14 – “MASTERING YOUR MONEY”

bigpreview_You can't serve God and Money

Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

When it comes to money have you ever thought about this question: Are you master over money or is money a master over you? When it comes to money and Christians they don’t usually like anyone talking about money, but Jesus addresses this issue many times in scripture and He did so for several reasons, but the most important reason He did so is because of the above verse of scripture. Take a moment and read that verse again and think about what it is saying.

There is not doubt nor question about what Jesus is saying here. If money has become your master then you are not serving God for you cannot serve both God and money. One of the first things that religion has done to deal with this incorrectly is to claim that we should be poor, for Jesus even told a rich young ruler to go and sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and come follow Him. But Jesus was dealing with what had become a god to him, and Jesus also declared that when you give it shall be given to you. There is no doubt that poverty is not of God. Poverty is demonic and will strip you from what God desires to do through your life.

On the other hand there are those who do teach it is God’s will to prosper us, and it is, but they clearly are out to take advantage of people going further to say things the Bible does not say. They will tell you that you must give only to their ministry to be blessed, or that you must give in the next 30 minutes a certain amount of money and if you do all your needs will be taken care of. Neither Jesus nor His disciples did any of this when it comes to dealing with money. But there is a clear truth revealed here in Matthew 6 that if you are serving money then you cannot be serving God.

God wants us to master money because if we do money will never master us. If you serve money then money is making the key decisions of your life. God is being removed from that equation even if you think otherwise for again as Jesus said you cannot serve God and money. God wants us to master money so that He is the one that has our heart, for it is through your heart that God is going to lead you, it is through your heart that you are going to receive from God, and it is through your heart where true life comes from. So what are some of the signs that our money is our master and we are in fact serving it? Jesus gives us some clues in our foundation verse for starters.

Those who despise or hate for a pastor or minister to ever ask of anyone to give to the work of God are serving money. As Jesus states here one of the things you will see in contrast to serving God or money is that you will love the one and hate the other, or you will at least be devoted to the one and despise the other. Most believers would not think they are despising God, but to despise here means to think little of. What you think little of you will invest little in, but what you think highly of you will invest highly in.

If you think highly of your kids you are going to invest much in your kids. If you think highly of your education you are going to invest much in your education. If you think highly of God you are going to invest much in the kingdom of God. Investing much is not based on amount but percent, but the truth is we all invest our money in something. Everyone beyond their basic needs invests or spends their money on things that are important to them. What we invest in reveals what our heart is set on.

Matt. 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

When our heart is set on God, then God can give us the direction and guidance we need in life, for that is how He does so. When our hearts are set on God faith will rise in our hearts as we hear God’s Word, for faith is of the heart. When our hearts are set on God we will tap into the life of God within us, for that is where the source of that life comes from. Our treasure (which refers to where our money comes out of, bank account, wallet, etc.) reveals what our heart is set on. Many just don’t want to admit this is true, but in denying this truth from the Word of God we continue to live in deception and continue to have money as the master of our life instead of God.

Money is not a good master. It cannot love you when you hurt, it cannot heal you when you are broken, it cannot fix relationships, it cannot bring you true inner peace and joy, it cannot deliver you from the powers of darkness, it cannot get you to heaven, it cannot restore your relationship with God, and on and on you could go. God has never been against His kids having money, for He knows that it is what we need to not only provide for our families, but it is also what we need to fulfill His Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

If God has called His kids to go into all the world and preach the gospel don’t you think He would provide us the way to do so? God would not call us to do something He would not provide us with the ability to do. One reason money is a master to many is because they are not thinking of fulfilling this Great Commission God gave us. They are just focused on trying to provide what they need and what they want. When our focus in life is not the same as God’s we are not going to see what He sees and we are not going to experience what He desires for us in this life. When it comes to our money do we look at a dying world where so many do not know the truth about the gospel and become motivated to do something about it? God’s desire for you is to not only see to it that you have your needs met, but that you have more than enough to help evangelize the world, but it begins with a seed.

2 Cor. 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Cor. 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
2 Cor. 9:9 As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,

He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever.”
2 Cor. 9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,

Many may say that when God finally blesses me I will begin to give, but that is the same as the farmer saying I will start sowing when I get enough seed. Notice here in 2 Corinthians 9:10 the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul states that God supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, and He will in fact supply and multiply the seed we have sown. God does not multiply seed sitting in our bank account or wallet. God does not multiply seed that we use to spend on other things instead of sowing that seed. When you finally decide to become the master of your money you decide to become a sower. You decide to invest in something that your heart becomes set on, the kingdom of God. When you become a sower you begin to recognize that you have seed to sow. You just have been using it for other things that are not eternal.

James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

How do you become a sower? How do you begin to master money? You must put action to your faith. People often think they don’t have any seed to sow, but in fact when you simply pray and ask God what He desires for you to give above the tithe and then do so, you will see God begin to multiply the seed you have sown. Scripture in the New Testament is clear that we should in fact be tithing and giving offerings. That is a whole other subject to teach on, but if you want to become the master over your money you must go to the Word of God, recognize what God’s Word says about money, then face any fears you may have by acting on God’s Word in faith.

As I recently heard my wife say, “If we trust God with our life (our spirit) which is eternal, surely we can trust Him with our money, which is only natural & temporary.” You cannot serve God and money. If we want to serve God we are going to have to master our money instead of our money mastering us. God’s desire is to prosper your life. Scripture is very clear about this, but you have to sow seed for God to have something to multiply. Don’t let money be your master, make God the master of your life and you will watch Him bless you and take care of you providing more than enough to do your part in evangelizing the world!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

1/6/14 – “7 REASONS FOR GIVING TO GOD”

giving-is-worship_t-425x318

Matt. 23:23 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.

One of the most misunderstood areas of scripture has to do with money. There are those who think if you ask for any money to do the work of God you are just after their money. Then there are those who exploit people by making all kinds of promises about their giving that is not based on scripture. As the old saying goes we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. I am amazed at how many Christians don’t think you should ever ask for money in church.

Many want to have a church facility to come to where they can grow in their walk with God, bring their kids to kid’s church, and have a place to connect with others, but for some reason they must think the money to provide such things to do God’s work just comes from out of no where. I often wonder how do they think a church pays their light bills, provides snacks for their kids, pays for rent or payments to keep their facility, and provide upkeep and maintenance for their facility? Most people who have an issue with giving to the work of God either have no understanding of what God’s Word says about it, or they are in love with money. This week I want to share seven Bible reasons as to why God says we should give tithes and offerings.

1. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN NOT MAN’S
2 Cor. 9:10 And God who continually supplies seed for the sower and bread for eating, will supply you with seed and multiply it, and will cause your almsgiving to yield a plentiful harvest.

Take a look back at our foundation text, and then at this text here in 2 Corinthians 9:10. First in Matthew 23:23 Jesus tells the Pharisees that they tithed right down to the very herbs in their gardens, but they had overlook the very justice, mercy, and faith of God that was standing before them in Jesus Christ. Notice Jesus in the New Testament clearly states that they should tithe, but not overlook what He had come to do to provide justice for all through His shed blood, revealed by the mercy of God, and received by faith in what Christ would do for us.

In Leviticus 27:30 God said all the tithe is the Lord’s, and it is holy to the Lord. The tithe is the first tenth of our increase. Many today say tithing is of the law. First of all by saying that they don’t even understand tithing and the fact that Abraham who gave a tithe of all to Melchizedek did so before the law was ever established. Tithing is in the law but not of the law. Secondly Jesus Himself here clearly tells the Pharisees that they should tithe. I don’t know how anyone can misinterpret that unless you are going to change the Word to fit your lifestyle. Tithing is a way we honor our God and it is something He established, not man.

Above the tithe we are to give offerings. Remember the tithe is the Lord’s, not mans. That is why Malachi said to God’s people in his day that they had robbed God of tithes and offerings. As 2 Corinthians 9:10 above states God supplies us not only with bread for food, but with seed to sow, so that when we sow that seed He can in turn multiply it back to us to yield a harvest of blessing. All through the New Testament we see verses of scripture that reveal it is God’s plan to give tithes and offerings, not mans.

2. TITHE AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL CHURCH AND ALL OUTREACHES OF THE CHURCH
Mal. 3:8 Will a man rob or defraud God? Yet you rob and defraud Me. But you say, In what way do we rob or defraud You? [You have withheld your] tithes and offerings.
Mal. 3:9 You are cursed with the curse, for you are robbing Me, even this whole nation.
Mal. 3:10 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Our tithes and offerings are to be brought to our storehouse, the house of God where we are feed the Word of God, and where we in giving help support the work of that local church as well as the outreaches of the church. As I stated in my opening comments how do people who come to church and think it’s wrong for the church to obey the Word of God and take tithes and offerings think the church pays it’s bills? A church that is obeying God’s Word is also going to fulfill the call of God through outreaches to evangelize and reach out to those in need. This is clearly God’s plan.

3. TITHE AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO BLESS HIS PEOPLE
Luke 6:38 If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

The kingdom of God’s system to bless you is in giving and receiving. Jesus here states that when you give you will receive. The measure of your giving will determine your receiving. Even Paul states in 2 Corinthians 9:6 if we sow sparingly we reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully we will reap bountifully. This is how God’s kingdom operates to bless His children. Sowing bountifully is not based on amount, but on the percentage of what we give. Jesus in the temple one day pointed out a widow who gave two mites in the offering that day. He told his disciples the rich had put in much by way of amount, but that widow had given more than all of them for it was all she had left. The key to giving offerings is praying and asking God what He desires for us to give. If we will do so and obey Him God will make us a bountiful giver because He does desire to bless His children. We don’t reap what we want; we reap based on what we have sown.

4. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS TO HELP YOU KEEP GOD FIRST
Prov. 3:9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.
Prov. 3:10 Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine.

When you honor God with the first tenth of your income, and each time you come to God’s house pray about what He wants you to do in giving Him an offering, you are keeping God first in your life. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 6:24 that no man can serve God and wealth. If we honor God in our giving we keep God first, not wealth. Scripture reveals that the love of money is the root of all evil. Money is not evil, but the love of money is. That will never be a problem for one who puts God first.

5. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO KEEP YOUR ATTENTION ON HEAVEN
Matt. 6:21 For where your wealth is, there also will your heart be.

When we use our wealth, our money to do the work of God that reveals what our heart is set on. Those who give to God from their heart, because they want to not because they have to, they keep their focus on eternal things. Their attention is on heaven, not on the things of this earth.

6. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS HOW WE LAY UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN
Matt. 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Matt. 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

As givers we are laying up treasures in heaven. Those treasures are all the people who will come to know the Lord and be born again because of the seed we have sown into God’s kingdom. People are God’s treasure and we will have a great reunion in heaven with those whom we have help to reach with the gospel.

7. TITHES AND OFFERINGS IS GOD’S PLAN TO ENLIST YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE GREATEST THING CLOSET TO HIS HEART, WORLD EVANGELISM
Mark 16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
Mark 16:16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

God’s desire is that none perish but that all would come to the knowledge of salvation. One of the last things Jesus said to the church was to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone everywhere. It takes money to go into all the world, but it is an investment that changes lives for eternity. There are many things man can invest his money in, but there is only one thing that will make an eternal difference, investing into the work of the kingdom of God.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/30/13 – “GET READY FOR THE NEW YEAR”

2014

Phil. 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; …

As we put a close to 2013 and look forward to the year to come as believers in Christ this is always one of the best times of year to take a look at some key areas of our life and make sure we are on track with God. This is a major part of working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We cannot work out someone else’s salvation, and we know we don’t work for our salvation, but once we are saved, there is a work to do, for we are now to work out the salvation we have been given.

We are to do so with fear, absolute awe, reverence, and respect for our God. Trembling refers here to an awareness of God’s presence in our life for when people were aware of His presence they often trembled. So if we are going to show respect and reverence for God, then we are going to examine our life and make sure we are showing respect to Him by being obedient to God as Paul states here that the Philippians were in fact doing so. So I want to share with you this week five key areas we should examine that have to do with working out our salvation.

1. WHAT ARE YOU FOCUSED ON
Heb. 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb. 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We need to make sure we are pursuing God and that in doing so the burning passion of our heart each day is to simply get to know Him better. Even as elementary as that is, many believers are not passionately pursing getting to know God, which is what the heart of Christianity is all about. What we are doing with our life says a lot about what we are pursing. Notice Paul states here that we must lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, looking unto Jesus the originator and the finisher of our faith.

The phrase “looking unto” means to turn away from everything else, and focus on one thing. If we are focused on our relationship with the Lord, then that will be seen by what we do with our time. There are many weights that pull us back from pursuing our God. These weights pull us away from the Word of God, prayer, church, Christian fellowship, etc., and for many they don’t even realize it is happening. Think about how much time people devote in their life to television, Internet, social sites, and hobbies, yet they say they don’t have time to read the Word or come to church. All these things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad, but what we are doing with our time reveals what our hearts are really pursing. There is nothing better in life than getting to know God intimately and personally, but like any relationship that takes time with Him.

We must also lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares us. There are sins that may have us, or sins that we have them. The sins that may have us are strongholds and can be broken, but there are sins that we hold onto that we could lay aside any time we want. Those are the one’s that so easily ensnare us. Sin is the result of desires in the flesh that we become enticed with. We must adjust our focus to the Lord and lay every such sin aside for they are only going to hurt our life and our relationship with God. If we walk in the spirit, obeying the Word of God, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

2. LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND – DON’T’ GO BACK TO EGYPT
Heb. 11:15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.

This scripture refers to those who had come out of Egypt, which is a type of the world, and if those who entered the promise land would have kept thinking about what they had in Egypt, they would have returned and not entered the promise land. Make sure you are not thinking like the world. Keep your mind renewed to the Word of God. Find out and keep meditating on who God says you are, and what God says you have. If you don’t deal with your thought life and you keep looking back to the ways of the world and that becomes the focus of your thinking, you will not enter into all that God has promised you in this life.

3. EXAMINE WHAT YOU ARE HEARING, SEEING, SAYING, AND DOING
Prov. 4:20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
Prov. 4:21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
Prov. 4:22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Prov. 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
Prov. 4:24 Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.
Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.
Prov. 4:26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.
Prov. 4:27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.

If you take time to examine these verses you will see that we are told to watch what we hear, see, say, and do. This is what determines the course your life is taking. What you hear, see, say, and do, you think about. If you don’t pay attention to these areas of your life then evil will win. If you don’t think so take a look at Ephesians 5:15-16, for Paul states the days are evil. If you don’t redeem your time you will automatically be influenced by evil. Too many believers live their lives out publically in front of everyone, especially on social sites. When you do you get all kinds of responses given to you, most of which even though the intent is good, it is not biblical and in line with scripture. Christians don’t realize that in reading and listening to such things you then ponder them in your mind and this is not guarding your heart. I have watched believers ignore what I am telling you and they continue to watch movies filled with trash, listen to music full of the world, and listen to friends that don’t give them godly counsel. Scripture is very clear on this subject and a simple way to say it is garbage in, garbage out. It is our choice, not Gods as to what we hear, see, say, and do.

4. EXAMINE YOUR MONEY
Matt. 6:19  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matt. 6:20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves.
Matt. 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

The word “treasure” here refers to the place where we keep our money. Many believers don’t like this subject, but again scripture is very clear. God is not actually after your money, God wants your heart, and He wants to see us use our resources to reach the lost with the gospel. As Jesus goes on to state in verse 24 of this same chapter you cannot serve God and mammon. I used to serve mammon just like everyone has at one time or another in their life. I found out it is better to serve God. If we want to keep our heart where it needs to be, we must make sure we are not serving money, but in fact doing with our money what the Bible clearly states.

If you believe in the kingdom of God you will invest in the kingdom of God. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and all the disciples had to have money to preach the gospel. As Paul told the Philippians in writing to them they were the only church that consistently gave to help him preach the gospel. Because they had done so he declared that His God would in turn supply all their need according to His riches in glory. If our money is right with God our heart is right with God.

5. FAST AND PRAY TO GET GOD’S PLAN
Matt. 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
Matt. 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Fasting and praying is a great way to begin the New Year seeking God and putting your flesh aside so you can get God’s plan for your life. Proverbs 19:21 declares that there are many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s counsel will stand. As you set time aside to seek God in that secret place, drawing close to Him, He will reveal His counsel to you. God’s plans always work, so take time to seek Him through prayer and fasting. He will reward you openly. Take a look at these areas in your life and you can be ready for all God has for you in the New Year.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/16/13 – “WHY JESUS CAME TO EARTH” – PART 3

Nativity

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

We began two weeks ago talking about “Why Jesus Came To Earth” in honor of celebrating our Saviors birth. I am sharing with you six different reasons as to why He came. We have already covered the first four, and this week we will see the final two. Here is what we have already looked at:

1. JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS
2. JESUS CAME TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS
3. JESUS CAME TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL
4. JESUS CAME TO GIVE US LIFE

5. JESUS CAME TO BRING GOVERNMENTS
Is. 9:6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, …

Another reason Jesus came to earth was to establish His rule upon the earth, and in the hearts of man. When Adam sinned in the garden he actually took the authority he had over all the earth and he relinquished that authority over to satan, not only that but he also yielded himself unto satan as well. But praise God when Jesus came He got our God-given authority back, and He once again can become the One whom we are now governed by.

God’s very presence resided in man when He breathed into Adam the very breath of life. At that moment the spirit and soul of man entered into the body God had formed from the dust of the ground. Within that breath was the very DNA of God Himself. God and man were one. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and because God’s very presence was a part of man, God and man had an intimate relationship they walked out everyday. That was all disrupted because of sin.

God is holy, and therefore sin cannot reside in the presence of God. When Adam and Eve sinned, it was like giving God an eviction notice, as He could no longer dwell within man, and therefore could no longer rule in man’s heart. Because of this man’s thoughts and ways turned evil as the influence of God’s presence was no longer within the heart of man. When Jesus came He provided the way for us to once again have the divine influence of God imparted back within the heart of man. When we become born again scripture reveals we are a “new creation” and the old nature has passed away and a brand new spirit, recreated in the image of God, resides within the heart.

Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Through this new life that has been breathed back into the heart of all who are born again, God can and desires to once again have an intimate relationship with man, and to govern man’s life. This is a part of the work that Jesus accomplished in bringing governments through the sacrifice He would give on behalf of man. To be born again and not allow the Father to govern your life is to live life fallen man. God wants to father us. That is what this verse above refers to. When the Spirit of God leads us, we are fathered by God, and there is no better father on the planet.

To be led by the Spirit of God is as simple as obeying God’s Word, and learning to follow the inward witness of the Holy Spirit within. Jesus said in John 6:63 that the Words He spoke are Spirit and life. So when we walk in obedience to His Word we are being led by the Spirit of God. We also need to learn to listen to and immediately obey this inward witness of the Spirit. When we take the time to listen to and follow that inward leading we are allowing our heavenly Father to once again govern the affairs of our life, and His plans are always good for us.

Luke 10:19 Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you.

Jesus also reestablished in our lives the authority that man had to govern in the earth that was relinquished to satan. We now once again have the authority to tread upon the full force of our enemy. We have been made more than conquerors and as children of the Most High God, we should not be walking around defeated and overcome by the forces of darkness. We must learn about our God-given authority and how to use it. If for example you had a weapon to protect you from someone who may want to do you harm it wouldn’t do much good if you did not know how to use it. We need to know how to use our authority and tread upon every work of the enemy, putting him in his rightful place, under our feet.

6. JESUS CAME TO PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Luke 4:43 But he said to them, “I have to tell the Good News about the kingdom of God in other cities also. That’s what I was sent to do.”


Luke 4:17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
Luke 4:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4:20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

Once Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and came out of the wilderness being tempted by the devil, He then came to Nazareth where He was raised and He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood to read from the book of Isaiah. Here in Luke 4 we have recorded what Jesus read. From this moment forward these prophetic scriptures that spoke of Jesus were now fulfilled. Jesus went about declaring these truths everywhere He went. He also went about declaring that the kingdom of God was now at hand, or within reach. The kingdom of God in scripture is a very vast subject, but one of the most important truths has to do with this prophecy from Isaiah of what the Messiah would come to do in establishing God’s kingdom.

Jesus was anointed to preach the good news to the poor. This refers to both spiritually poor, as well as those who lacked anything in life. The good news is you don’t have to live with lack anymore. Man could become complete in Christ through the salvation He provided. For all who are born again they are poor no more. He is also anointed to heal the broken hearted. In life there are many things that people face that can be heart breaking, but the greatest healer and truly the only One that has the ability to heal a heart that has ever been broken through the storms of life is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. You hear believers who have faced adverse conditions say all the time, “How does anyone get through such tragedy without God?” Unfortunately many do not. With Christ in your life you have a peace that passes all understanding, and it will guard your heart and your mind. There is no better healer of the heart than the Lord Jesus.

He is also anointed to proclaim liberty to those who have been taken captive by anything in life. There are many things that can control people’s lives that may seem impossible to get free from. But no matter what someone may be bound by, the anointing of God removes every burden and destroys every yoke of bondage. Jesus is anointed to bring liberty to the captives. He is also anointed to bring recovery of sight to the blind. This is both spiritual and physical as we see Jesus healing many who were blind. But He will also open our spiritual eyes to see things we would have never seen. This brings great liberty from the deceiving works of our enemy for when you know the truth, the truth will set you free.

Jesus also came to liberate all who are oppressed by the devil. In Acts 10:38 scripture reveals how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil. Our Savior also came to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, or the restoration of all things. God came in the form of His Son to restore us completely. Through Christ we have received the work of regeneration so we can be restored spirit, soul, and body.

We have a reason to rejoice everyday because of all that Jesus came to bring mankind. During this Christmas season my prayer for you and all your family is that you will experience more of His presence than you have ever had before. What a wonderful Savior we have, and like the heavenly hosts let us declare, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

7/9/13 – “WHY JESUS CAME TO EARTH” – PART 2

Nativity

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

As the Christmas Season is upon us I started last week sharing some of the main reasons Jesus came to earth. We have already covered the first two and this week we will cover two more. Next week we will conclude this series with the final two key points as we rejoice in what Christ has done for us. The first two we already covered are:

1. JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS
2. JESUS CAME TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS

 

3. JESUS CAME TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL
1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Here we have the third reason Jesus came to earth, to expressly deal with the destruction of the works of our adversary the devil. He did not come to appease satan, He came to destroy, dissolve, and do away with the works of the devil in our lives. The first key to walking in victory over what Jesus has done for us is to understand what the works of the devil are. This is something that unfortunately many today are still not understanding, either as the result of wrong teaching, or a lack of study in finding out just exactly what is a work of satan and what are the works of God.

A key verse, which we will study further in just a moment, is John 10:10. I call it the dividing line of the Bible. Jesus tells us in this verse that the thief comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. In it’s context it is interesting to note that what Jesus was talking about had to do with the difference between those who have been called by Him to preach the Word of God, and those who have not. Those who have not Jesus describes as the thieves, who will rob people by teaching things that are not true, and therefore not in line with the scriptures. We know the principle of applying the ultimate blame as the thief would be attributed to the devil, and God is certainly not a thief. Yet He gets blamed for a lot of things He has never done.

For example there are those who have been taught all their lives that God uses sickness, hardship, storms, etc, in our lives to teach us things. What is interesting is when you talk to such people; ask them if they would do this to their own children. What parent is going to intentionally make their child sick to teach them something? Not a parent who loves their child. Jesus even said if you being evil, or in other words having a fallen nature, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our heavenly Father not give good things to those who ask? God does not use anything that has to do with stealing, killing, or destroying to teach us things. He is not a thief and anything that would have to do with those three things Jesus said is the work of a thief.

Then there are those who may believe or even teach that God allows these things in our life, or that the promises we see fulfilled in the New Testament were only for them in their day, but have since passed away. First off when you say God allows these things to happen there is a partial truth to that. God has given man a free will, and God will not violate the choices we make because of that free will. If we choose to do things that are destructive to our life then God has no choice but to allow that unless we turn to Him and put our faith in the blood Jesus shed for us.

Secondly none of what happened in the New Testament has passed away, for if it had there would be a New, New Testament. The Word “testament” means covenant. God did establish a New Covenant through what Christ has done for us that did away with much of the Old Covenant, but we are told in the New Testament that we have a better covenant than they had, and even they were promised health, blessing, and God’s help in their lives. So the promises of the New Testament have not passed away. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The key is we are in a fallen world but Christ has provided us victory over it, if we learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

So we must clearly recognize based on the Word of God, not based on some man-made tradition or teaching, what does scripture reveal is a work of satan. Again Jesus tells us anything that has to do with stealing, killing, and destroying. We have been given authority in Christ to overcome all such works. In Revelation 12:11 we are told that we overcome satan’s works by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and we love not our lives to the death. Simply put, we must understand fully what the blood of Jesus has purchased for us, we must continually confess in faith what we have a right to, and use our faith against the devil; and we must recognize we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old man has passed away; don’t hold on to the old way of living and thinking.

4. JESUS CAME TO GIVE US LIFE
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

So here we have the flip side of what the thief does, and that is what Jesus came to provide for all mankind. Jesus came to provide us with abundant life. That word life is “Zoë” in the Greek, and it means absolute fullness of life. This fullness of life is everything that we find spoken of throughout the New Testament. It includes healing, deliverance, love, joy, peace, a sound mind, faith, blessing, favor, and on and on. God is a giver of life, not a taker. In the Old Testament there were those whose physical lives were lost through some form of judgment, such as the earth swallowing up people, but these were people in rebellion against God who were being judged for their rebellious ways, not being killed by God.

Now we see Jesus in the New Testament anointed of God going about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). It is interesting to note here that scripture reveals that sickness is a work of the devil, not of God. We can still receive God’s goodness today through our faith in what He has done for us. Many are still trying to get God to do something about their situation, but on the cross Jesus stated that it is finished! There is nothing more that He needs to do for us to have abundant life. Now it is up to us to simply put our faith in what Christ has done and receive it as a little child.

Psa. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; …

I referred to this last week and mentioned that we would cover it this week. If you are going to a Christmas dinner where all the food is prepared and laid out for you to enjoy, you simply go and sit down at that table and become a partaker of what has been prepared for you. So it is with God. Many don’t know that Psalm 23 is a prophetic Psalm of the day in which we live. It begins by saying the Lord is our shepherd, which is a reference to Jesus Christ, who is the shepherd of us all. Through what Christ has done God has prepared a table for us right in the midst of our enemies, satan and all of his cohorts.

Another word for table used in Psalm 23:5 is a feast. Many other translations use the word feast instead of table. You don’t prepare this feast, nor do you pay for it. God through Christ His Son has already paid for this feast, and has spread the table. You need to come sit down in faith, taking your eyes off of all the things that your enemy does to distract you from that feast. He works to get us focused on the problems and challenges so that he can get us in fear and defeat us, but we are to resist him steadfast in the faith. Scripture clearly states that if we will resist him he will flee from us. Christians need to do more resisting and start sitting down at the table getting focused on what God has set at the table for them. Remember we obtain through the blood of the Lamb, the Word of our testimony (what we are saying consistently), and not loving our lives to the death.

So rejoice in the fact that Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil when it comes to our life and what God has for us. We need to know what his works are and recognize the authority we have been given as believers over all the powers of darkness, and then exercise that authority. We can also rejoice in the abundant life Christ provided for us. The table is set, the feast paid for, you must come in faith to sit and dine!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

12/2/13 – “WHY JESUS CAME TO EARTH” – PART 1

the_nativity_story_08

Luke 2:10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

The Christmas season is upon us and it really is one of my favorite times of year. It is a time when people’s attention gets drawn to our Savior. This is also a great time to reach out to others in sharing our faith and letting all known the true reason for the season. I want to begin this week a series for the next several weeks of sharing some key things as to why Jesus came to earth. In sharing these simple but powerful truths of why Christ came, we can renew our hearts to why we received Jesus into our lives when we were born again. I pray you will be blessed as we talk about these truths, and I pray your Christmas will be filled with the presence of our Savior.

Before we get started with the first of these truths I want to draw your attention to our foundation text above. The proclamation from the angel to the shepherds in the field was the best news ever given to mankind.  The angel declared, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. The good news has come and for all who receive Christ as their Savior they can experience all of what Christ has done for them. For all who have received Him, we have a reason to celebrate this good news every day of our lives. Let us rejoice for our Savior has come.

1. JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

This is the primary reason Jesus came was to save sinners from their fallen state and restore them back to the Father. There are several key things to make note of when talking about being “saved”. The first thing to make note of is that Jesus in coming to earth to save man was the greatest proof of God’s love for all of humanity. God so loved the world that He was willing to send His Son to take our place. Another key to recognize is what scripture reveals about how someone receives this salvation, and not what man says about it. Unfortunately there are those who did not base their salvation on what scripture says and without doing so one is not truly saved.

Scripture reveals that for someone to be born again they must have what 2 Corinthians 7:10 states as godly sorrow. Paul states that godly sorrow produces repentance, and leads one to salvation. There must be godly sorrow for someone to be saved. Godly sorrow is seen in the heart of someone who knows they have sinned, and they don’t want to continue to live a life of sin. They have a desire to turn from their sinful ways. Worldly sorrow that Paul goes on to speak about does not produce repentance. Instead it produces death.

Worldly sorrow means the person is sorry they got caught, but they don’t really have a desire to change the way they are living. This is what repentance is all about. Repentance simply means to do a 180. It means to have a change of mind, change of heart, and therefore a change of lifestyle. If someone has godly sorrow they will want to be saved. To do so one simply fulfills what Romans 10:13 declares. All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. This is how someone initiates true salvation. What it means is all who invoke the Lordship of Jesus Christ over their life, they shall receive new life. It is a choice to no longer be the lord over your life, but instead receive the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Another very important point about being saved has to do with more than just the initial born again experience. The word that is used in the Greek language for the word saved is Sozo. When Jesus came to save sinners He did far more than just pay the price for their sin. He paid the price for them to be made complete, spirit, soul, and body. If you just become born again that is good, but there is much more God has for us through what Christ has done. Salvation is a complete plan, not just a way to go to heaven. This word Sozo means: to save, i.e. deliver or protect, to heal, preserve, be (make) whole. This is all of what Christ has done in saving the sinner.

When someone is saved from something they are saved from something to something. When we get saved we are saved from all that is evil and all that came as a result of evil, to what Christ has done for us. We are not just born again, we now have available to us deliverance, protection, healing, preservation, and the ability to be whole or lack nothing. But just as one does not enter into the kingdom of God without acting upon their faith, so must we act upon our faith in what Christ has done for us to receive all that we have as a part of our salvation. If someone was to invite you over to their house for supper, and they are the ones who purchased the food, prepared the meal, and set the table, all you have to do is come and sit at that table and partake of what they have provided. So it is with God. We will cover this area more next week.

2. JESUS CAME TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS
Matt. 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus [He Saves], because he will save his people from their sins.

Not only did Jesus come to save sinners, He also came to deliver us from our sins. This is more than just a removal of the old sinful nature that is within man. In John 16:9 Jesus revealed the one sin that would stand between God and man is the sin of not believing in Jesus. When someone turns to Him that is the sin that is dealt with so that man can be born again. But notice in the above verse it reveals that He will also save (this word here means deliver) His people from their sins. Jesus has come to empower us so that we are no longer bound by sinful ways. Sin is still destructive and you can’t name one sin that is not going to end up in pain, whether emotionally, physically, or otherwise. Scripture clearly states that we do not want to continue in a lifestyle of sin after being born again. The great part is Jesus did something about this to deliver us from walking in sin.

Jude 3  Dearly loved friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the truth of the Good News. God gave this unchanging truth once for all time to his holy people.
Jude 4 I say this because some godless people have wormed their way in among you, saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives. The fate of such people was determined long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

First and foremost to guard against living a life thinking it doesn’t matter if I sin or not you must pay attention to who you are listening to, and make sure that what they are saying lines up with scripture. Jude was warning the believers in his day that there where those who wormed their way into the body of Christ teaching them that since they are saved by grace, that God’s grace allows us to live immoral lives. There are many believers today who come against anyone who talks about sin, and how you can get free from a sinful lifestyle. They say such people are legalistic. If that is true then Jude, Paul, James, John, Matthew, Mark, Jesus Himself and others were legalistic. Anyone that knows the scriptures, clearly knows that we are not saved through any works of our own, but this does not mean it’s to continue in sin.

1 Cor. 15:33 Don’t let anyone deceive you. Associating with bad people will ruin decent people.
1 Cor. 15:34 Come back to the right point of view, and stop sinning. Some people don’t know anything about God. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Here are two important keys to getting out of sin. Watch who you are associating with, for evil company corrupts good habits. This means we should be careful who we choose as friends in our lives. This does not mean we are not friendly nor that we are not to reach out to sinners, but we are to be careful who we allow to influence our lives. Also notice Paul states here that a part of the problem with the Corinthians is that they did not know anything about God. The more you get to know God, the less desire you are going to have for sin. God and His nature will begin to rub off on you. Galatians 5:16 also tells us if we walk in the spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. To do so means we are governed now by our inner man, our spirit man, the real you. There is no sin in the real you for he has been made a new creation in Christ.

So rejoice that Jesus not only came to save all sinners, but He also came to deliver us from the very works of sin. As we continue to focus on our walk with God we will look away from the things that are harmful to our lives. When you turn to the Lord you turn away from the things that are destructive and harmful. He will help you in every part of your life to walk in the freedom He has given us to be saved and to be delivered from sin!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/25/13 – “WALKING IN GRATITUDE”

gratitude7

1Th. 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

There is a saying I have heard my pastor Dr. Barclay say many times that is so true and very powerful. All of life hinges on gratitude. If for example you walked up to a very large door, and the will of God awaited you on the other side of that door, all you have to do is open it. What if that door had no hinges and it was so heavy you could not personally move it? You would not be able to enter into what God desires for your life.

So it is when it comes to gratitude. As Paul states here in 1 Thessalonians, in everything we go through in life, we are to give thanks. He did not say give thanks for everything, but in everything. God does not bring bad things into our lives to “teach us” things, but in the midst of whatever you face or even when things are going good if you want to experience God’s will you must walk in gratitude. That is why Paul states in this verse that giving thanks in everything is the will of God for you.

This week of Thanksgiving I want to share with you three powerful things that we are to be walking in, making a part of our daily lifestyle. As you will see in doing so it is through these three things that we can and will live a life of gratitude toward God. For all Christ has done for us we certainly have a reason to walk in gratitude everyday, no matter what we may or may not be going through. So let’s take a look at these three things we are to be “walking” in.

Eph. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Paul reveals in the start of this fifth chapter with a very powerful statement that will make the point of how these three things that later follow in this chapter have to do with our gratitude toward God. We are to be imitators of God as His dear children, or in other words those who are walking as grateful kids. The greatest way you can show your gratitude toward God is in imitating Him.

Number one: Walk in love. We are to walk in the same love that Christ walked in toward us. That simply means the God-kind of love, which is unconditional, sacrificial, and continual. When you take a look at what walking in love is all about, it really comes down to understanding who you now are in Christ, and how you can in fact daily choose to “put on Christ” just as you choose to put on certain clothes each day when you go to your wardrobe to select what you will wear.

To walk in love you must do as Christ has done according to Ephesians 5:2, He gave Himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. For us to walk in love we to must give ourselves as an offering and sacrifice unto God. Not doing so will keep us from learning who we are in Christ. The word offering means to give yourself as a gift to God. In doing this we recognize that it is by our own free will that we choose to follow after Christ and walk as a child of God. For us to not give ourselves as a gift to God, but to feel we “have” to do what Christ did, that will only lead to a form of bondage. God wants us to want to follow Him, not feel like we have to.

We also need to give ourselves as a sacrifice to God for Paul Himself stated this in Romans 12:1. We are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. The reason this is important is because of the very next thing Paul then states in Romans 12:2. We are not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Those who are of the world are not going to walk in the God-kind of love. They don’t have that kind of love in them, but the believer does. The problem for many Christians is they don’t know who they really are.

All who are born again have become a new creation, recreated in the image and likeness of God. Stop and think about this for a minute. Romans 5:5 states that when you are born again the love of God has been poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that God is love, and we know that God is a Spirit. You are a spirit and once born again if you have been made in the image and likeness of God, which you have, then you are love, the God-kind of love. That is exactly what Romans 5:5 is saying. That love was poured out into your spirit, the real you. You are love. Most believers just don’t know who they are.

Now to walk in love you must also begin then to not only renew your mind to the Word of God to who you are, you must choose as scripture says to go into your spiritual closet, the person who you really are on the inside, and put on Christ. Doing so you choose to put on love. It really is that simple. You make the choice to treat others the way you would want them to treat you. That is what Jesus has done for us.

Eph. 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Eph. 5:9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
Eph. 5:10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Number two: Walk in the light. We are to walk as children of the light, not children of the darkness. We also come to the Word of God and find out what is acceptable to the Lord. The things that are not acceptable to Him we do not walk in. Paul states here we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. This means we do not become partakers in the things that sinners do, instead we let our light shine so that they can see a way out of the darkness. Walking in darkness does not show our Father that we are grateful for what He has done. Choosing to walk in light will for we are revealing our love for Him in setting us free from the darkness.

Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

As followers of Christ we are to do “good works” not “evil works” so that we are letting our light shine to those who are looking for a way out of the darkness. The honest truth of anyone who is a sinner and looking for a way out of their destructive sinful lifestyle is that they are not looking for someone living like them. They already have plenty of people like that, and they know such people are no different then they are. They are looking for someone who is genuine and real who in fact is living free from the things that they are bound by. They want to get free, not further bound. Those who are sick Jesus said have need of a physician. We know the physician.

As believers in Christ we are still going to have times we may get in the flesh, but it should not be our lifestyle. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to get them to pray a prayer and continue to live a life of bondage to sin and the pain sin brings. A vital key to us walking in this liberty is found in Galatians 5:16. If we will walk in the spirit, we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This is once again referring to us learning who we are in Christ as a recreated spirit being. Walking in the spirit means we are walking after the true you, the spirit man on the inside, not the fleshly man on the outside.

Eph. 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Eph. 5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Number three: Walk as wise. To walk as one who is wise means to not go the way of fools. Scripture has a lot to say about this but one of the most revealing areas in scripture that deals with a comparison of those who are wise and those who are foolish is found in a parable Jesus taught about the 10 virgins as revealed in Matthew’s gospel chapter 25. Jesus gives a comparison of 10 virgins, five who were wise and ready for the Lord’s return, and five who were foolish and not ready.

The key to this parable is that they all had oil in their lamps, representing that they were all born again, but the wise also had oil stored up in additional vessels, but the foolish did not. When Jesus came and the wise were ready and went with Him, the foolish had gone out to get more of this oil but were now to late. The oil represents the glory of God, or His presence. The wise Christian is going to stay full of the glory of God by staying close to Him. One of the places you stay full of God is in God’s house. The foolish virgins today are out playing around doing their own thing, but the wise are working for the Lord and staying full of Him.

We can cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude toward God by walking in love, walking in the light, and walking as wise. Living such a life means we are imitating our Father in heaven, which will open the door to His will for our life. Remember gratitude is the hinge upon which all of life swings. May God richly bless you and your family this Thanksgiving as we honor our God for all He has done for us!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

11/17/18 – “GODLY MOTIVATION”

09Rocky_BD_training

2 Cor. 5:14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died;
2 Cor. 5:15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.

Motivation – That which incites to action; that which determines the choice, or moves the will. How powerful is motivation in a person’s life? When you look at the definition it is quite obvious that motivation is a key component in our lives that leads to action and determining our choices. The proper motivation in a believer’s life can make all the difference in obtaining all God desires for you.

Have you ever seen what an Olympic athlete goes through to prepare for the Olympics? Many of course begin at a very early age. They dedicate years of their life, thousand of hours, money, and sacrifice all for the opportunity to go and represent their country with the hope of winning an Olympic medal. One of the first things they address is a major change in their daily routine to prepare and train in whatever event or events they hope to compete. Not only does this routine involve physical training, it also involves a complete change of lifestyle.

These athletes change their diet to a strict regiment designed to help them obtain optimum physical conditioning. Not only do they change their diet, the hours upon hours of training, pushing themselves beyond what their bodies seem capable of doing is one of the toughest challenges they face. Many in America have parents who spend thousands of dollars to get them with a personal coach who will be able to help them become the best they can be. They put up with these trainers pushing them day after day to become better at what they do. After years of training, workouts, and sacrifice it all comes down to the goal of getting that medal. Some succeed, yet many fail.

I have heard many of these athletes talk about what their motive was that caused them to push themselves so hard for so many years to obtain this prize. The motivation for many is the hope of standing on that medal stand in front of all the world and being recognized for that moment as the best athlete in their field. There are others who have actually acknowledge that their motives may have been for a family member, or just to have the opportunity to make it in the Olympic games. One thing is for sure, if Christians get the right motivation in their lives in dedicating themselves in their walk with God like these athletes in attempting to win a medal, we are going to see some incredible results.

1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
1 Cor. 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Here we have the apostle Paul referring to this very analogy in us running our race of Christianity here on earth in such a way that we may obtain the prize. He refers to the natural athlete in verse 25 as one who is temperate in all things. They do this to obtain a perishable crown, but we are doing it to obtain an imperishable crown. The reward we will receive will be an eternal reward. Just like the athlete competing for a natural crown, we can find the right type of motivation that will energize us in walking with our God. It will inspire us and even push us beyond what the flesh desires so that we can walk out what is God’s will for our life here on earth.

In our foundation text of 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, we get a picture of this very motivation that was at work in Paul’s life. Notice in verse 14 he tells us that the love of Christ controlled, urged, and impelled them. What did in control them to do? In verse 15 he reveals that the love of Christ was the controlling factor that caused him each day to no longer live for himself, but instead for Jesus who had died for him. When Paul refers to living for himself he is referring to living for his own will and not for the will of Christ. This love that was now controlling Paul’s choices was seen in what is the greatest motivation the believer has to look to each and every day – the cross.

Notice that he begins by saying this love was revealed in the death that Christ died for us, for if this One man died for all, then it was clear to him that all had died. This death he is referring to of course is spiritual death, or separation from God. Paul had revelation in his heart of the power of this love revealed to all of mankind through what Christ did for us on the cross. Jesus on the cross was the greatest demonstration of God’s love to the whole world. Notice what Paul goes on to say a little farther down into 2 Corinthians 5.

2 Cor. 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

When Jesus hung on that cross, He was made to be sin. What this means is He was made to be everything we were. He became a murderer, prostitute, thief, a liar, fornicator, adulterer, and on and on. Jesus became what we were so that we could become what He is, righteous. Righteousness is a free gift from God, which means to have right standing with God. You can only get right standing with God by being born again. When this happens you are no longer spiritually dead, separated from God, but now filled with new life, the very life of God. I don’t think most believers really have revelation of the new creation they have become, and the fact that the Spirit of God Himself is now dwelling within their spirit. How awesome is that!

Is. 53:4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins!

Jesus did something more than just become sin; Jesus also took the punishment our sin deserved. Isaiah here looking prophetically into the future and referring to Christ on the cross reveals that those who would look at Jesus on the cross would think that God was punishing him for His own sins. But He had not sinned. The Father was in fact punishing Jesus, for if He had not taken upon Himself our punishment then justice had not been served and man could not be forgiven. The punishment Jesus was taking is what all of us deserved. Jesus took God’s wrath for our sin. He was being punished in our place.

Imagine if someone had committed a murder and was proven to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, then sentenced to death by the judge according to the law, yet at the time of the execution someone stepped in and declared they would take their place so that they could be set free. If it was possible for one to do so imagine what that person who was guilty of the crime would think about the person who did not deserve death, for they had done nothing wrong, yet because of their compassion for this person they chose to do so. That is exactly what Jesus did when He died in our place. He was punished by God on the cross, and then was completely separated from His presence, which He had never experienced before, and then went into hell itself where we deserved to go. How can we not be like Paul and recognize if He became sin, bore my punishment, and went into hell itself, how could I not choose to now live everyday for His will and no longer for my own?

John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Jesus as our very example stated that He had not come to seek out His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. Think about what He said here. Jesus had His own will He could have fulfilled, but He chose to fulfill the Father’s will instead of His own. All through the gospels we see Jesus referring to this fact. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had cried out to the Father asking Him if there was any other way to accomplish what needed to be done, but then declared not His will but the Father’s will be done. We can walk in the footsteps of our Savior.

Matt. 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

Jesus declares to us that if there is anyone who wants to be His disciple, losing sight of self and one’s own interests, and conform wholly to His example of living, they must deny self (their own will), take up their cross, and follow Him. Taking up our cross is taking up the motivation set before us to live for Him. Jesus Christ on that cross is the greatest motivator any believer has to daily walk away from what your will is, and chose instead to follow in the Father’s will. When we walk in the Father’s will we choose to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. We make choices that line up with what He reveals to us through His Word, and the example He set for us. So just as an athlete can push beyond what they thought was impossible, so can we push beyond our flesh and our fleshly limitations. Godly motivation will help you accomplish that goal.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker