Friends, how much do you know the laws of your land? Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a citizen? Have you ever violated any rule? To the offender, ignorance is not necessarily innocence when standing before the judge. In the spiritual kingdom, there are also laws. Every person on the face of the earth right now is either living under the government of law or the government of grace. Understanding the meaning of the New Covenant will enable us to live a life of victory. There is a way of victory for the Christian, and it is by means of the Cross, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2)"; "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14). Christianity is at a crossroads today. Churches are either too legalistic or too liberal. Like the Pharisees, some Christians are so religious that they get into the works of the law, which is bondage. They may still profess salvation through faith. However, when it comes to sanctification, they would imply, "Oh, to be holy, you have to follow a list of rules". They may not necessarily verbalize such a statement but they tend to judge others who don't conform or measure up to their so-called spiritual expectations. On the other hand, there are other Christians who promote a message of what I call "lawless freedom". Such people display an attitude of "Since I'm under grace and God loves me unconditionally, I can do what I want for my own benefits and pleasures". All of these teachings distort and twist the true gospel of grace. A revelation of Jesus Christ on the cross will keep your doctrine and lifestyle in proper order. We must not try to live after a system of works and laws, but be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit on the premise of our faith in the finished work of Christ, what He did at Calvary and the Resurrection! To understand themes such as justification by faith, salvation, sanctification, the law and grace as well as walking in the Spirit, which are the foundational truths for living a victorious Christian life, the book of Romans presents some of the greatest teachings on these topics. In this message, we want to focus primarily on Chapter 6. Through this Epistle and other parts of the Bible, God has given us the manual of life, the blueprint for our success and victory. Yet sadly, many Christians do not experience total victory in their lives. Why is this so? Ignorance may be a cause. Another reason could be indifference to the things of God. Of course, using our own strength or willpower to live the Christian life is a futile and fruitless effort. Yet a far more subtle factor why even some dedicated Christians experience spiritual burnout is (listen carefully!) trusting in spiritual disciplines themselves more than focusing on the grace of God. What do I mean? There is an over-emphasis on measuring one's spirituality based on how much Bible study, prayer or fasting one practices. Now, before you throw a stone at me (or at least, the television or computer screen or mobile device that you are using to watch this message), let me say that prayer, Bible study, fellowship and all other Christian habits are very important ... but they are not the primary means through which we are sanctified or are holy. Neither do we overcome the devil or the powers of darkness because of our consecration. We don't say, "Satan, I come against you in the name of Jonathan! I am a prayer warrior, I am a walking Bible. You better obey me!" I know this sounds foolish and ridiculous or even blasphemous but isn't this why some Christians strive to have victory by self effort? It is through the cross of Christ and by the blood of the Lamb of God that demons tremble and hell shakes. When we understand that our position in Christ alone and not in ourselves, then we understand the New Covenant. Otherwise, we revert to law and frustrate the grace of God. It is an insult to God to mix grace and law! On this video, there is an offer featuring two preaching/teaching messages on DVDs and VCDs available as ministry gifts to those who ask. Due to very limited stocks of these materials left, we regret that requests may not be fulfilled at this present time. However, we are pleased to say that you can watch these titles online: A New Heart And Spirit Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr2BP... A New Heart And Spirit Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbWwv... A New Heart And Spirit Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p0zx... A New Heart And Spirit Part 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtfAM... A New Heart And Spirit Part 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU3Ii... Parables Of The Kingdom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJVia...
The Gospel Line: Cross Of Jesus Christ, Power Of The New Covenant (Romans Chapter 6) Part 1
To Be And Not To Be: Be Separated, Not Isolated
We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. Yes, we continue to live and work on this earth, but we are not to be influenced by the spirit and system of the world. In other words, we are not to seclude ourselves in some isolated communities, unless God has specifically called as such. We cannot escape the bombardment of the culture in our society, which is often ungodly. Yet, we are called to be set apart, reflect Biblical values, to live and shine as lights in the world. When we are born of the Spirit and produce the fruits of the Spirit, we will face hostility from people who are in the flesh. When they are antagonistic toward God, they will hate His children too. This is the age-old conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. Sometimes, even the religious people oppose those of us who walk in the Spirit. Just as the Pharisees hated Christ, sadly, the apostate and backslidden church also hinders and rejects those who are following the Lord. In the Bible, “Egypt” is a type of the world. It looks attractive but it is not the Promised land. Consider the faith and life of Moses, who is an example for us. He could have stayed in Egypt, but have chosen to renounce Egypt. We need God’s protection. We must live by the Word. We do not compromise by using worldly methods to reach out to the lost. What I am going to say will be controversial. I say it not with joy but with grief and burden. In some churches, they are using worldly music, and in other cases, so-called modern contemporary Christian rock music to try to reach out to the lost. Now, I am not judging the motives of these artists and musicians. They may be sincere but such methods are foolish and fleshly! They try to be seeker sensitive to the crowds but they may grieve and quench the Holy Spirit! The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit moves, it will convict hearts of “sin, righteousness and judgment!” We don’t win the drug addicts by taking drugs. We don’t win the gamblers by gambling. Jesus is a friend of tax collectors and sinners, but He does not adopt their lifestyles or incorporate the ways of the world! We need a supernatural transformation of our mind and spirit! The world likes to boast and display outward expressions of success. For Christians, it is the renewing of our inner heart that is true worship. Our thoughts, words, behaviours and habits are not to please men, but to honour and glorify the Lord! God is our supreme interest and affections in our daily life! May our lives conform to the Word of God, and our hearts transformed by the Spirit of God!
To Be And Not To Be: Be Contented, Not Complacent
We can and should be contented with what we have materially. We are thankful for the blessings of food, clothing and shelter. However, spiritually, we ought to be discontent and dissatisfied, if we have left our first love for the Lord, if there is no desire to grow closer to Him. We should never be complacent, indifferent and lukewarm to the things of God. Do not be satisfied with going through the motions of the Christian life as usual. We need to wake up from apathy and lethargy, be hungry for the Word and thirst for a close and vital relationship with God. We need more of Jesus, more of His grace and glory in our lives! Do we seek His face constantly? If I can illustrate, when we come before His Presence, do we in essence, stand at the outer court, or draw nearer to the inner court, or move into the innermost place of the Holy of Holies? Put it in another way, in today’s context, when we come to church, do we have a mentality of being an audience, “Let the worship leader and the preacher minister to my needs!” Or do we desire to worship the Father in spirit and truth, and encounter Him in a real and intimate way, in the beauty and splendour of His holiness? Often, the Church equates material wealth with spiritual blessings! Now, in 1 Timothy 6:6, it does not say “gain is godliness” but “godliness with contentment is great gain”. We can be materially wealthy, yet be in spiritual poverty! There are dangers in coveting riches. It is the love of money – not money itself – that is the root of all evil. Greed is deceitful, especially when the poor are being exploited. Often, accumulating wealth causes selfishness and pride, and destroys relationships with others. Character and values are compromised when we focus on possessions, and not God. The passion and lusts for self-gain will wreck the mind and body, and eventually ruin the soul. Our fulfilment, identity and destiny is in Christ, not our position or possessions. We believe that God wants to bless His children, in order that we can be a blessing to others. Do we bless our brothers and sisters who are in need? Most importantly, are we generous with giving to the work of God, in fulfilling the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ! Let us eagerly and earnestly pursue, “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
To Be And Not To Be: Be Childlike, Not Childish
In this world, many think of greatness as having wealth, power and position. The spirit of pride, personal ambition and self-importance consumes many. In God’s Kingdom, the qualification for greatness is opposite of the standard of the world. Look at children. They are dependent on their parents or guardians. They are generally humble, without lust for money, power and fame. As Christians, while we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must never become self-righteous and self-sufficient. While we are to become spiritually mature and put away childish words and thoughts, we must remain childlike in our faith and trust in Christ. We need to humble ourselves before God, recognizing that we are nothing without Him. Pride hinders many unbelievers from entering the Kingdom of God. Even after becoming Christians, we need to guard ourselves against moral and spiritual pride. In particularly, if we have great knowledge of God’s Word, or that God is using us mightily. We move in the gifts of the Spirit, we see signs and wonders in our lives and ministries. Casting out demons and moving in the gifts of the Spirit are wonderful, and are important as we exercise delegated authority in Jesus name. Yet, the salvation of souls and seeing them entering the Kingdom of God should be our greatest joy.