Testing the Spirits

Testing the Spirits

Text: 1 John 4: 1-8

Proposition: Discerning the spirits of this age is the challenge of learning to recognize the truth, way and life of Jesus Christ from the smoke and mirrors of antichrist. 

Introduction: Have you ever been driving down the highway and you suddenly find yourself in a snow storm. The visibility gets lower and lower, once you could see half a mile, then just 500 feet and then just 20 feet. There are several things that go through your mind. You think that because you haven’t gone off the road yet, you won’t, so you don’t slow down. It’s a phenomenon called over driving your headlights. Others on the highway are passing you even though the visibility is only 20 feet, so you feel justified by their actions. The thought occurs to you that if you slow down you might become a hazard to those behind you, they might run into you, a logical thought so you keep speeding. You think you know the road and it seems best to get to your destination as soon as possible so you just watch for the red lights or brake lights ahead…but you don’t slow down. In our culture today there is a similar logic. It says that newer truth is better than older truth, it says that if most people believe something to be true who am I to resist it. It says despite the present ruin and collapse of conditions there’s no need to be concerned.  It says that ultimately you decide what is truth. What overdriving your headlights or following the trends of culture describe is the way deception, even self deception can kill us. In this world deception is what the devil is masterful at. Some would laugh at that but the nature of deception is that you don’t see it. Satan’s intention of using deception is to set the stage for a global deception led by a person we call the Antichrist. This implies that the spirit of deception is what also characterizes the antichrist. We hear Scripture describing the impending presence of this person as the spirit of antichrist. Like the driver who overdrives his headlights and goes off the road in chaos, so too is our culture overdriving what it knows to be true. Have a look at 1 John 4:1-8.

I. Beware of the Glitter of the Antichrist, Its Deception Can be Extreme.

Look at verse 1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” This language can seem strange to us, the idea of believing a spirit or of even challenging it. To be clear spirits are angelic beings, either fallen or holy. The only exception is the reference to the third person of the God head, the Holy Spirit Who is fully God. We can’t see spirits but we believe that they not only exist but exert great influence. Jesus once explained the way the Holy Spirit moves to Nicodemus by using the analogy of wind. Though you can’t see where it came from or even where it’s going you can hear it moving things around you. We can’t see the spirit of antichrist, or the demonic used by Satan, but we can hear the evidence of their presence, we can hear what they teach or promote. The predominant way that we challenge spirits is in being careful to weigh what they seek to teach or promote. So listen to what they teach, listen to the way people are being influenced, to the way you are influenced, whether it is towards Jesus or whether it is to move you away from God. So John says that the way you discern whether the spirit or teaching is of God or not, is elementary, basic. “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.” This could look like an encounter with a couple of people from a cult and the acid test will always come down to, ‘Who is Jesus’. Mormons believe Jesus is a spirit being, the brother of Satan. Jehovah Witnesses believe He is an angelic being, even Michael the arc angel. John is saying that the acid test of who Jesus is will come down the truth that Jesus is fully man, born of a woman and that He is at the same time fully God. The humanity and deity of Jesus are what enable Him to be the Savior who takes away our sin by taking it to death in His death, bringing forgiveness of sin by paying its price for us. That is the essence of salvation, of atonement, of justification, it is proved effective by the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead and by His ascension to the Father and by His eventual Second Coming to the earth. ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done’ is what He taught the disciples to pray. None of that is possible if Jesus is not fully man and fully God, if He did not actually die and was raised bodily to life again. The spirit of antichrist, that which would try to replace Jesus with something else, will try to deny some or all of this truth. It’s been said that ‘it is possible for people who live right, to speak, feel and do things that seem right, but the spirit is wrong. The spirit of God puts Jesus at the focal center. The spirit of antichrist will often simply not acknowledge Jesus and elevate something else instead, a church, a ministry, a person.’ People around the world including here in Canada have seen statues of Mary or Jesus move, weep blood, weep healing oil. From Vietnam, Ireland, Israel to India people have seen statues animated and what overwhelms them is that stone statues moved. The properties of stone are seemingly changed and for a moment they moved or bled or seemed alive, and the effect is fear, awe, even worship. But the focus is a statue that is animated not the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ. Remember ‘the spirit of antichrist will often simply not acknowledge Jesus and elevate something else instead, a church, a ministry, a person.’ It’s a tactic the antichrist will use in even greater form one day, just read Revelation 13:14,15. 

II. Know That the Protection of God Is Greater That Satan’s Devices.

The spirit of antichrist is in the world today and that was Johns observation back in the first century! Today the emphasis on super heroes, on alien invasions, on the endless Star Trek movies, all pitch a world without Jesus. The fascination with horror movies pitches the depravity of man as invincible. The fascination with health pitches life almost everlasting. Sexuality has become an unsolvable puzzle that continues to add pieces to the picture. Even in the church there is a consuming passion for it to be bigger, more attractive, more prosperous, more inclusive such that Jesus decreases and programming increases. None of that is new, the form maybe but not the idea. So John writes, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Who is the ‘them’ referred to here? I’d submit it is the false prophets whether they be movie producers, educators, pastors or politicians. All could pitch a future that is far from Biblical. You not only can but have overcome them. What John is driving at is the fact that the greatest power in the world is resident in you in the person of the Holy Spirit. The discernment of the Holy Spirit is without error, unlimited by external influence. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God and the people of God as a protection against the spirit of the antichrist. You have already in various ways overcome them. The delusion of the spirit of antichrist is astoundingly pervasive. Look what John writes, “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” The majority are of the world and are susceptible to deception. Yet the protection of God is over those that are His. “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” What exactly do you think it means when it says ‘we are of God’. The answer can only be that the Holy Spirt is the One who indwells us and gives discernment. Look what comes next, “He who knows God hears us”. Who exactly is the ‘us’? The answer is that it refers to the Apostles, to the ones the Holy Spirit inspired to write the Scriptures. He who is not of God, that is does not have the Holy Spirit because they have not come to faith in Christ, does not hear us, the Apostles and their inspired writing of Scripture. That’s the way that God protects us, by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God to point out truth from error. That leads us to another protective device of God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” Literally that reads, “those who are loved, let us love.” Loved by Whom? Well you are loved by God. So let us love those whom God has loved to the point where He made them His children in Christ. If you love the others that God has loved in this way, it is an indicator that you know God. That’s not theology, it’s not a knowledge about God, it’s a knowledge with God. That’s going to lead us into the main point of this chapter, the great wonder of how the saving grace of God works. Let’s look at that next week.

The Labor of Love

The Labor of Love

Text: 1 John 3: 11-24

Proposition: The labor of love does the ongoing work of sanctification and transformation in us necessary to conform us to Christ.

Introduction: Louie Mattar, it’s certainly a name I had never heard until I saw what he had built. Just after the second world war ended and for the next 7 years Louie gave every spare moment to a project that would cost over $75000. He wanted to drive non-stop from California to New York and then straight back to California, 6,320 miles. So he bought a 1947 Cadillac and for 5 years rebuilt it for this trip. When he was finished the car weighed 8500 pounds, held 230 gallons of gas, 15 gallons of oil and 30 gallons of water. Non-stop meant just that, no physical stopping not even for bathroom breaks, there was a toilet in the back; not for fuel, they refueled at three different airports that were beside the route driving down the run way as a fuel truck drove next to them. There was a fridge, a stove, an ironing board and even a nation-wide mobile phone. They did oil changes as they drove, they could even change tires as they drove. From September 20 to September 27, 1952 Louis and two friends drove in five hour shifts, day and night until they ended up back in San Diego. Two years later that labor of love continued as they drove the same car from Anchorage Alaska to Mexico City from August 10 to the 28, 1954. The preparation, the planning and the trip itself were all a labor of love. Perhaps that’s the point, in order to go the distance there is required first of all a love that’s willing to labor in order to see the trip completed. As extraordinary as that story about Louis Mattar is, even more extraordinary is the labor of love that fascinated the Apostle John. Listen to what he wrote in 1 John 3:11-24.

I. From the Beginning It Was a Labor of Love.

In verse 11 John says, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…”. When John says ‘from the beginning’ we think he must be referring to all that has been taught in their church, all they have heard since they were first Christians. Then again maybe he’s referring to the fact that Jesus taught this when He was preparing the disciples for what was to come. In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” But then look at what John writes next in 1 John 3:12. He references Cain and Abel, the first two sons of Adam and Eve. What John is doing is contrasting hatred and the source of it in evil, with the righteous response that originates out of love. He even goes on to say that the pattern of evil that killed Abel is still at work in the world today in its opposition to Christ and those that are His. So don’t be surprised by that, don’t marvel at the extent of the designs of evil instead  look at what love is designed to overcome. The disobedience of Cain came from a lack of faith in what God desired as the way. It came from a pride that was competitive with Abel, it came from a bitterness, a deep seated discontent that he  would not repent of, it came from not listening to God’s warning about sin crouching at the door and that Cain must master it or it will master him. From the beginning these are the same elements in every person that gives into a pride and disobedience that culminates in hatred. It continually leads to death, death of heart and then soul and then body.  Look at verse 14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” From the beginning love has been on God’s drafting table. It has been a labor of love that demands preparation and planning if it is to go the distance and even further. By the labor of love, and it is labor because it does not come naturally, it requires faith and work, we can overcome death as we love one another in Christ. From the beginning you have been a labor of love to God. He has taken bent and twisted steel from the wreckage of your life and He has melted it, forged it, cast it and rebuilt it into a born-again life that has overcome death by eternal life.

II. The Labor of Love Is That It Lays Things Down, It Surrenders to God.

There are a number of 3:16’s in the Bible, Malachi 3:16, John 3:16, 1 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:16 and now we come to 1 John 3:16, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” The template for the labor of love is the cross of Christ. It was planned before the foundation of the world, it was spoken of in prophecy for 4000 years, it was designed with the perfection of the propitiation of the Son of God. It was laden with fuel and water and oil for the distance needed. The body of Christ was prepared even before the womb, the writer of Hebrews says, “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.” (Heb 10:5) It was in Gethsemane that we remember the will to lay down was shown, ‘Not My will but Thine.’ It was before Pilate that He stood, laying down any words of defense, fulfilling prophecy, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) He was nailed to the cross, pierced for our transgressions, numbered among two common criminals at His death, made a public ridicule. The point could be made again and again, the labor of love that is our template is Jesus Christ laying down His life. Make no mistake that it was a labor for as much of a horror as the cross was, the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21 were an even greater weight. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This labor of love was done in a surrender to the Father, an agreeing surrender, a willing surrender, a surrender that was called a joy in Hebrews 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.” It is by this, all of what has just been said, that we know love. If Christ had not loved us our love for Him and indeed for each other would not have been ignited. 

So what are we to ‘lay down’ that could even be a small response to Jesus? Was it Nate Saint who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot loose.’ To give what you might ask? We know that John has already said that we should lay down our lives for the brethren. We know that in the next verse he asks, “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”  The labor of love is to see your brother or sisters need and then to open up your heart to them in that. It’s your life that you use to be a labor of love. The wealth your life has generated, the skills your life has acquired, the time left in your life and the faith in God that governs just whose life it is. The point is simple, to lay down your life as a labor of love will demand action and integrity. Look at verse 18, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” If you WILL to love like this then God will enable you. Let me just briefly count the ways that God will enable you to love in a great variety of ways.

  1. God knows what your concerns are. Verse 20, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.”
  2. You have the ability to trust God with a vision that risks. Verse 21 “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.”
  3. Let your prayer life be directed by your love for Christ and the brethren, do what is pleasing in His sight. Verse 22 “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
  4. Abide in Christ and He in you, it’s how you will believe on Him and love one another. Verses 24 “ Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

So what is the conclusion of all this, where does it ultimately take us? The labor of love is what God uses to do the ongoing work of sanctification and transformation in us necessary to conform us to Christ. In your life laid down God glorifies the Son.

Behold What Manner of Love

Behold What Manner of Love

Text: 1 John 3: 1-3

Proposition: The extent of God’s love for us is astounding, it is lavished, it is a nurturing that shapes our very identities and readies us for what we can’t yet see.

Introduction: Last week was Valentine’s Day, a day that has ben mined by commercialism in the selling of cards, chocolate and caricatures of cupid. This year total planned Valentine's Day spending in the US and Canada is expected to top $19.6 billion. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of spending will be on spouses. Others on the gift list include family members, children's classmates, friends and even pets. It’s become one of those ‘tail wagging the dog’ things where the desire to express your love for another becomes an obligation that demands conformity in a commercialized culture. Perhaps it’s an indicator of two things: 1. Our deep need to love and be loved; 2. Our inability to really risk love in the way that we long to receive and give it. This morning I’d like to talk with you about love and look at it not through the eyes of sentimentalism or romanticism or eroticism or commercialism which exploits these very things. I’d like to look at love through the eyes of God, to see what He Who created it and knows it and expresses it, intends by it.                                                                                                                                     

Author and Speaker Lee Strobel once said that love is the highest value in the universe because it existed between the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit long before any universe or humanity ever existed. Strobel went on to say that, “when God decided to create human beings, He wanted us to experience love. But to give us the ability to love, God had to give us free will to decide whether to love or not to love. Why… because love always involves a choice.”  So God made us with the capacity of free will in order that love could be present and that love could prevail. Take a minute and read just three verses of Scripture with me, 1 John 3:1-3.

I. Behold, Look With Awe, Be Amazed, God’s Love Lavished On You.

That’s really the intent behind the words of the first part of verse 1,Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” It isn’t just that God sees you and loves you, it’s the way that He has particularly chosen, in His free will, to love you. It is a lavish love, a love given out in a measure that overflows, it’s expansive in its design to give not just what is needed and no more but to give with a generosity that washes over us like a waterfall. What do I mean by that? Imagine the love that the Father had for the Son before the world ever was. It’s that expansive, lavish love that He pours out on those who would cry out to Christ to save them. The cross of Christ is that waterfall of love, the body and blood of Christ broken and spilled out. God gave Himself for us in an unrestrained manner, abundant life in the life of Christ. But there’s more, it isn’t enough to just provide the life giving water, something must also take place to make us want to drink. In and of himself man has no awareness of his sin nor of his need for a way past it. The lavish love of God needed also to create a thirst in man that he would even desire to drink this living water that God provided in Christ. I mean just look at the language in verse 1, ‘that we should be called children of God’. On first glance that word ‘called’ might be a descriptive term for how the church sees it itself. It might even refer to what God addresses us as, but I’d suggest its greatest inference is that you who know Christ as Savior are called, by God’s free will and to a certain extent by your free will, as an act of His lavish love, to be His in Christ. It’s that calling of you that draws you to come and awakens in you that spiritual thirst. The lavish love of God calls you to Christ because you would never have come to Him otherwise. And once you did come, just as I am as the old hymn says, you were never the same.                                                              

It’s what the last part of verse 1 is pointing to, “Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” This really nudges us to see something else, ‘to behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us’ is to see what moves us from being dead spiritually to being alive in Christ, from the place of being in the world and loving it to now being in Christ and loving Him. It’s the old question again, ‘Who do you love?’ Behold what manner of love this is, calling us, transforming us, commanding us and enabling us to such a degree that the world doesn’t know you anymore because it did not know Christ. Behold, see, be amazed at the lavish love that has called you to be children of God.

II. This Lavish Love of God Readies You For the Great Tomorrow.

Right now we are children of God because of our faith in Christ. Right this minute God has gone over the top and not only saves us in Christ, forgiven us all our sin, justifying us… He has also made us family. In Christ we are now wedded into the cohesion of the Trinity. We are reckoned to God as His children, co heirs with Christ. I like what David Guzick wrote about this, “We never once read of Adam being called one of the children of God in the sense John means here. He was never adopted as a son of God in the way believers are. We err when we think of redemption as merely a restoration of what was lost with Adam; we are granted more in Jesus than Adam ever had.” So to be family means not only a relationship change like when you become a son in law or a father in law, family to God means resemblance. If all that I have said so far is not astounding enough then consider what John says in verse 2, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Do you see the reference to resemblance, to how that too is part of being family in God’s mind. Let’s look at what this means. Though we are this moment children of God in position what will it look like in heaven, in the Great Tomorrow? John says it has not yet been revealed what we shall be and he’s right. The concept of heaven is littered with images of streets paved with gold, people playing harps in an eternal state of blissful unemployment. Why is that? Because it has not yet been revealed… so we’ve imagined a reasonable facsimile, which is not reasonable in any way. When Jesus is revealed, when He comes for His church, when the dead in Christ rise first, when we who are absent from the body but present with Christ at death, that’s when He is revealed and in that moment we shall be like Him. The wonder of the glory of Christ happens in that moment, for we shall see Him as He is.  The inference is that we don’t right now, not in the same way that John is referring to. Listen to how Spurgeon puts this as he describes us, “Eternity is to be the period for the Christian’s full development, and for the sinless display of his God-given glory. Here, he must expect to be unknown; it is in the hereafter that he is to be discovered as a son of the great King.”   

So why is it so important that we know about this great lavish love of God, why is it so critical for the Christian today?  It’s the highest value in the universe, existing between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit before the world was. It exceeds hope and faith as that which outlasts all. It is what we were given free will for. It is one of the hardest things for us to do with each other even though we desperately long for it. Love, God’s love for us has called us to stop being who we once were and to risk being who we now are in Christ. The lavish love of God seen most exquisitely in the cross means He will spare nothing to win you, to save you and to keep you. The manner of His love moves you to being a family member in Christ, the thirst of your heart to belong is meant to be filled in that truth. It is a love that does not demand conformity but rather creates transformation that you would resemble Him.                                                                                                                            

Above and along with all these things is that if you will savor these thoughts on God’s great lavish love for you it will cleanse you. Consider verse 3, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” So let me ask you, ‘What is it that you have been hoping for?’ What would it look like to place your hope in the extravagant love of God? What do you need to let go of to do that? This last verse is God’s promise to you, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Oh, behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God!

The Power of Christ In You

The Power of Christ In You

Text: 1John 3: 4- 10

Proposition: The power of Christ in us overcomes a lawless heart, removes the desire to habitually sin, destroys the works of the devil, calling us to righteousness.

Introduction: Professor John Webster tells a story about two friends who were on a road trip and were listening to a Christian radio station. There was one particular ad that was quite upbeat and ended with the tag line, ‘Because life is better with God.’. After hearing the ad a few times, his friend said, “I can’t stand hearing that! Life isn’t better with God. If you don’t have God, you don’t have life. Period.” As Webster puts it, “Sin brings death because sin destroys that dependence on God which alone gives life. To live is to live in relation to God, to live in communion or fellowship with the One who is our beginning and our end.” One of the things that the Apostle John had in mind when he wrote his epistle was to point Christians to the greater reality of the power of Christ in them, the source of not just life but abundant life. He wanted them to know that though sin abounds in everyone the Christian has the life of Christ in them that abounds even more. This morning we are going to look at just 7 verses of Scripture that describe the power of Christ in you. Have a look at 1 John 3:4-10.   

I. The Power of Christ in You Overcomes a Lawless Heart. If there is a word that describes the essence of sin it is lawlessness. Listen to the extreme way that John presents this truth, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” Certainly the law John had in mind was the Mosaic Law, the Ten Commandments being its center piece. Sin not only violates that Law, in so doing it also rejects the very One Who created the Law itself. Sin ultimately rejects God, the sovereignty of God, the will of God and design of God. The typical definition for sin is to fall short of what God desires and that it is but when you regard sin as lawlessness it isn’t just that it causes us to fall short it describes the reason why we fall short. Lawlessness insists that it is right and would even say it has the right to always be right despite the revealed Law It essence it will do what it wants but as it does so it misses the fact that what it thought was confidence and assertiveness was in reality a rebellion that placed desires above truth It was St. Augustine that defined sin as "a word, deed, or desire in opposition to the eternal law of God.”. Until we see sin as that and cease to call it a mistake, a bad choice or something went wrong but own sin for what it is, an act of resistance against God then it will never be seen for the truth of what it really is. Here’s the good news, when you receive Christ that old man, that lawless rebel is put to death and a new man is made alive in you. When Jesus came to this earth He came to do a number of things but foremost among them was to take away our sin. It’s why John reminds the church the way he does in verse 5, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” The lawless heart that was in you before you knew Christ has been put to death, you know that. You once were dead spiritually but now you have been made alive in Christ, you know that. Jesus not only takes away our sin, meaning the record of your rebellion against God is wiped clean, He also makes you a new person, born again is the phrase that describes this. You are a new creation, you have a living hope in you that when Jesus appears you shall be like Him for you shall see Him as he is. You have had a heart transplant, the lawless heart is made to be like His heart. So don’t get sucker punched into thinking you are who you were. Ephesians 2 applies to you, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”. (Ephesians 2:4-6)  So the power of Christ in you has taken away a heart of lawlessness and given you a heart that is alive in Christ. Indeed, without God there is no life!

II.The Power of Christ in You Overcomes Habitual Sin.                                                      

John is about to make a statement that seems to fly in the face of one he made earlier in 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” The we that he refers to there is the church. He is saying that even as Christians we sin and yet if we will confess that sin God is faithful and just to forgive us. So as Christians we do still sin but then we run into 1 John 3:6, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.” What John is referring to here is habitual sin, sin that has become a repetitive pattern and has become accepted by me as okay. Johns point is simple, if you are a Christian it is impossible to for you to continue in habitual sin as if it’s no big deal. If the sin is to be foul mouthed, if it is lust, theft slander, anger, or unforgiveness you have to see it as sin and turn from it. Once you are a believer not only will you evidence the presence of the Holy Spirit in you, you will evidence the fruit of His presence. Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” It goes on to describe what the deeds of the flesh look like then it lists the evidence of the Holy Spirit in you in verses 22, 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” My point is simple, for the Christian there is no habitual sin that can overrule the fruit of the Holy Spirit continually. Claim and practice Galatians 5:16, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The power of Christ in you sets you free from habitual sin,   

III. The Power of Christ In You Destroys the Works of the Devil.                                       

So what exactly do the works of the devil look like? Consider 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.” The thief here is a reference to the devil and it is exactly what is at the heart of the works of the devil. He steals, kills and destroys. Ultimately the cross of Christ destroys the works of the devil that would steal life, kill with sin and destroy man’s relationship with the Father. In short the works of the devil were designed to take away life, eternal life in Christ and the life that is present tense that comes from an ongoing relationship with God. The power of Christ in you blocks the enemies attempt to steel, kill and destroy life in you and then it sends you out  as an ambassador of Christ that through His power in you the works of the devil are exposed and destroyed. The works of the devil will have this common characteristic, they will be done in the spirit of the antichrist. What I mean is they will continually try to replace the truth of Who Jesus is with what the world would consider a new and better way, truth and life. The examples of this are endless but are becoming more and more confrontational and bold in their opposition to Christ. Last year there were over 40 million abortions done worldwide. That’s more than all the other causes of death including wars, sickness and malnutrition combined. The life that Christ has come to save includes the lives of the preborn. In Canada the drug RU 486 is a two pill chemical abortion device that costs about $400. Stand against abortion for it is about increase even more. The works of the devil happen in this scale and in the smaller scales of poverty and drug use and racism and suicide. The number of ways to be involved in destroying the works of the devil are endless but they all are what the power of Christ in you calls you to see and then engage.

IV. The Power of Christ In You Calls You to Practice Righteousness.

Have a look at verse 10, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” What do think it would look like to ‘practice righteousness’? Doctors are medical practitioners, this verse is calling you to be a spiritual practitioner, one who offers life in Christ. It begins at the micro level, love your brother or sister in Christ. It begins with how you practice righteousness, not as a Pharisee but as follower of Jesus. It begins by when and how and even where you pray, it involves your willingness to forgive all. The Lord’s Prayer is a short course on practicing righteousness. Is God indeed holy to you, do you tell Him that? Do you really desire to see His will done on earth as it is in heaven? Are you thankful for every bit of food you receive, are you aware of your trespasses? How resistant to temptation are you and is the Lord your strength in that place? Practicing righteousness requires just that, practice. Recognize the orphan and widow in their distress, give cheerfully, embrace the Word, petition the Spirit, give praise daily to the Father and love the Son. The power of Christ in you calls to you, entreats you, commands you, practice righteousness. The power of Christ in us overcomes a lawless heart, removes the desire to habitually sin, destroys the works of the devil and calls us to practice righteousness.

Jesus Last Command


Christmas Sermons

We hope you can join for one of our Christmas services, but in the meantime, we invite you to listen to these sermons from Christmas at our church.

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Our worship service begins at 10:30. We offer an area for children to have a break  during the service and have a time of refreshment after the end of every service. It's a chance to get to know people and connect.  Take a moment to look through our web site and see what the other ministries of the church are. We'll see you at door...