The Path to Becoming a SPIRITUAL Man or Woman of God

This is a discussion Persis and I share about the differences between church, religion, traditions of men, programs, external righteousness and that of becoming a true spiritual man or woman of God. They can often look the same on the outside, but on the inside the differences are life and death.

 

Do I Really Have to Walk Away from Everything to Follow Jesus?

When Jesus says, "Unless a man gives up everything he has, he cannot be my disciple" in Luke 14:33, does that mean that I have to literally walk away from my family or business or career like Peter and the Apostles did?  In this message, we will talk more about a practical understanding of surrender for believers in Christ.

I Surrendered But Still Don't Have Peace

You've humbled yourself.  You've cried out to God.  You've told Him He can have everything and you've even told Him to have his way in your life and to let His will be done rather than yours.  You've pleaded with Him to give you instructions on what's next, but there is nothing but silence and NO PEACE.  If that is you, THIS is your message!

How Exactly Do I Walk With God?

In this message I've imagined that you and I have just sat down for a cup of coffee and you asked me, "Ok Michael, tell me the practicals of walking with God...what exactly did you do? How often did you do it, and what spiritual disciplines did you do consistently?  What did you do when the darkness and doubts hit you, and were there any spiritual secrets that helped you to find the abundant spiritual life with Christ?

The Ironic Blessing of Weakness: Part 1

I used to despise my weaknesses.  I always wanted to be strong in everything and especially in my walk with Christ.  Today, I realize what foolishness it was to despise the very thing God esteems.  Every problem you face, every fear you have, every battle you've lost, every dark step you take, every weakness you have, they are all opportunities for God to pour His AMAZING grace into your life when you respond in faith.

Losing Your Life to Find It

Christians in PAIN desperately want help for their problems.  I have been right where they have been and I understand the desire to fix your life and to find comfort again, but the question we need to ask is this.  How does God view our attempts to try to "fix" our life?  What if the very problem we are so desperately trying to hold on to and fix is the very thing God wants us to lose?  Jesus taught that if we save our life, we will lose it, but if we lose our life and hate our life in this world, we will find it and keep it for eternal life.

What good will it do you if all of your life problems end up fixed, but you end hearing, "Flee from me, I never knew you"?

In baseball, even if you hit a home run, unless you touch first base the run at home plate doesn't count.  Many Christians are running the bases and trying hard to get through their problems and to get home, but most of them have NOT touched first base with God.  Jesus warned us saying, "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of God, but only he that does the will of my Father in heaven."  For 19 years as a Christian, I did not touch first base with God in this critical area.  I would hate to think of what it would have been like to die in that condition and stand before Christ to give an account.

It was scary but I finally and FULLY surrendered my entire life for Christ Jesus to do with as He pleases.  7 years later, I see that there is one major difference between Christians that will fully surrender and give their life to the Lord and those who seem not to be able to do so.  That is what this message is about.

Getting a Fresh Start with God

Your life has fallen apart.  You are stuck in sin.  You can't see the light.  You've messed up too many times.  You feel hopeless, but yet you still have a desire to love and find God and his help. Where do you begin?  What should you do?  THIS IS IT!

Grace: The Truth About the Missing Power in Your Christianity

NOTE: For your further study, the Scriptures we will cover in this recording are included below.

Most Christians think of free forgiveness of sins when they think of grace or of God overlooking or covering their sins.  They miss that grace is the power or enabling work of God to live as He demands.

Looking past our sin or forgiving our sin is mercy, not grace.  Mercy is an Old Covenant word and there is very little grace in the Old Covenant.  However, the Bible says grace and truth came through Christ.

Grace is God's undeserving gift of election, protection, resources, and power which enables us to be saved from our sins, to be called children of God and empowers us to live godly lives like Jesus Christ AND to love and serve others like He did.

Most Christians Have Not Understood The Full Truth of Grace

Col_1:6  that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
Jud_1:4  For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 
MOST OF OUR UNDERSTANDING OF GRACE IS LIMITED TO THESE SCRIPTURES

Rom_3:24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Rom_5:20  The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
Eph_2:8  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

When you see Christians doing amazing things.  That is grace.  When you need help to overcome sin, anger, lust, addictions, unforgiveness, worldliness, love of money, your stubborn flesh, escaping false teaching, leaving your dead church, leaving a relationship, starting a relationship, loving someone, tolerating someone, helping someone, learning the Word, living the Word, sharing the Word, ALL of these and ANY of these that you can't do on your own, you need God's grace for.

Everyone has weakness or limitations in some area.  Those are the perfect places for God's grace to flow.

My wife prays all the time, “Father please give Michael the grace for ___________.”  She is not asking that so that God will look past or cover my sin that I can’t stop doing.  She is asking for God’s power to help me in my weakness in whatever area.

Grace in the Scriptures:

The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. (Act 11:21-23)

Act_14:3  So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 
Act_20:32  "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 
Rom_6:14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2Co 8:1-3)
2Co_1:12  Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace. 
2Co_8:7  But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2Co_9:8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 
2Co_12:9  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 
Eph_3:7  I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. 
Eph_4:7  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 
Heb_4:16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
1Pe_4:10  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 

Receiving God's Grace or Obstacles To It:

Rom_5:2  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Eph_6:24  Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. 
Heb_12:15  See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Jas_4:6  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1Pe_1:2  who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 
1Pe_5:10  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
2Pe 3:17-18  Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 

Can We Reach Perfection?

I think the answer becomes clear when we understand that our interpretation of perfect is not as it is intended in the scripture.  I see no basis for it meaning sinless perfection.  Paul even testifies to this.

Php_3:12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
1Co 13:10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

 
It seems more to mean complete:

Mat_5:48  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Mat_19:21  Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
2Co 7:1  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (Eph 4:13-15)
Col_1:28  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Col 4:12)
Php_3:12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 
Jas_1:4  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 
Jas 3:2  We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.