I. The Power of Momentum
I Corinthians 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.?
We all need spiritual momentum in our lives. God always wants us to keep moving forward. What is?the other option? Backward. That is not an valid option. God has created us for flow, to be in sync with His river of life. As we find that place of sync with His Presence there is a momentum that is created in our lives.
We want to stay on the offense, keep the ball and move down the field. The other day I was watching some football with my kids. The team we were watching had all the momentum going in their direction then they suddenly fumbled the ball. The commentator said, ?This may shift the momentum of the ball game to the other team.?
In life no one does things perfectly. Nor does God have some false expectation of this. He knows us inside out. Yet the fact remains that we always learning in the Lord, walking in greater wisdom and growing to experience that greater place of victory. ?That is where His grace helps us. ?Grace is the ability of God within us us, His divine influence upon our hearts and His power to live from His heavenly places.
II. Staying the Course
The enemy tries slow or shift your momentum by bringing distractions to get you off course. We are called to ?stay the course?. God gives us the goals, the vision and the blueprints but we also have to stay the course. Adam and Eve were in a great place with God, the best. They had communion with God in the garden being clothed in His glory. Then the devil came to take them off course by appealing to their flesh, even their souls. (Genesis 3) Then they slipped and took the bait. This story has been repeated over and over through history as the flesh is constantly at war with the Spirit.
When Jesus said He had to go the cross Peter responded saying, ?Not You Lord, You don?t have to do that.?
?But He turned and said to Peter, ?Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.?
Peter was a whole-hearted follower of Jesus, very close to the Lord. ?One who was a part of the inner circle of Jesus with James and John. This just goes to show us that anyone can be vulnerable to the tactics of the enemy. He had just told Jesus that He was the Chosen One of God.?It quickly shifted to what man wanted ?and was completely contrary to what God had planned. ?It was the fleshly mind trying to take down that which was of the Spirit. ?It was the enemy using Peter to appeal to Jesus to preserve Himself and save Himself. ?You could even say this was a ?good, nice and thoughtful” gesture. The Holy Spirit and the selfish nature of man are always in opposition to one another. The enemy wants to get people of course with God. He knows that if he can get you into your own flesh, make you the most important thing and rob you of the reality of God?s Presence that he has you where he wants you.
Isn?t this why Jesus said for us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? (Matt. 6:33) When we put Him first then everything is in His order. When we neglect to put Him first we are putting something else first or even ourselves. Our souls have to come into alignment with the heart of God, to walk by the Spirit and follow after His voice.
III. Counterfeit Grace
I had a dream just recently were I was shown a five dollar bill. In it I could see that it was a fake or a counterfeit. In prophetic symbolism the number five represents grace. This was a picture of counterfeit grace. There is a lot of counterfeit grace being taught today. True grace teaches us sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, not to grieve the Spirit. (Eph. 4:30)
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
God?s grace is not there to enable a lifestyle of sin. God?s grace offers us forgiveness when we confess and repent, transforms our hearts desires, changes us from the inside out and makes us like Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
?This is not everything, but here are a few of the errors in false grace teaching:
1. Grace is a license to sin.
God?s grace is given to enable you to abide in Christ, to grow in intimacy with God and to empower you to live in victory over sin.
?For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.?
2. You cannot sin once you have been saved.
When Jesus died on the cross He destroyed the ?sinful nature? where we reckon ourselves ?dead to sin? by faith. (Romans 6:6) Yet we still have the ability to choose. We can choose to live after the flesh, even after a genuine salvation experience. (Gal. 5:16-25, 2 Peter 1:4)
I John 2:1
?My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.?
John is writing to Christians here telling them ?This is written so that you don?t sin BUT? if anyone does sin we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, to confess to and Who will forgive us when we confess and repent.?(paraphrase)
3. You don?t have to confess your sins after you have been saved.
The Apostle John does not condone a lifestyle of sin but rather saying we do have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, if sin occurs. God is looking for a consistency of momentum of our lives moving in right direction as we grow in our love for God, living in His Presence.
I John 1:8-10
?If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
4. The Old Testament is No Longer Valid.
Jesus used the Old Testament many times in His teaching and used the Word of God from the Old Testament as a weapon against the devil when He?was tempted. (Matt. 4:7) ?The Old Testament was the ONLY Bible for believers until the New Testament was written. ?Paul was telling Timothy that all scripture in the Old Testament is inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
5. Commandments are No Longer Valid.
Paul told Timothy to ?command and teach?. As well, Jesus gave us a new commandment to love one another. Jesus also gives commands in the Book of Revelation:
?Because you have kept MY COMMAND to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.?
We need loads of true grace because we do fall short of God’s glory even in our best and most sincere efforts. ?Our righteousness is like filthy rags but in Christ we are the righteousness of God – by His grace. We need His grace to follow Him, obey Him and to desire Him above all things. When we ask for grace He gives us that grace. ?But we need to realize what we need grace for. ?Grace comes to a repentant heart and the pursuing heart, giving overcoming power, spiritual progress and momentum in following the Lord. ?
Steps to Receive His Grace:
- See sin for what it is, have sincere repentance and want to change.
- Ask God for forgiveness and the help of His Holy Spirit to overcome
and to change.
- Ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit, His grace and that you may hear His voice as to follow Him.
When we recognize weights and sin we are able to remove them from our lives. ?This will cause a spiritual momentum where we can begin making progress in our pursuit of God and in fulfilling our purpose in Him.
“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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
IV. The Holy Spirit Road
As you continue to pursue the Lord also learn to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit. The reason Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit is that He did not want them attempting to be a witness for Him apart from that place of dependency upon the Spirit. (Luke 24:49)
?Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.?
Holiness is beautiful to God and is defined as living a life set apart to God. Apart from the Holy Spirit this is impossible. He is the One Who comes inside of us to manifest what is His grace, peace, love – and the fullness of the fruit of His Spirit. The reason He is called ?Holy? Spirit is because He is the One who makes holiness happen inside of us. Holiness is not something you create by altering things on the exterior of your life – habits, clothing and etc. It happens from the inside-out by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of this the outside, even through process, undergoes a transformation as well.
The entire reason Jesus came was to restore that which was lost in the Garden of Eden (Literally the ?Garden of Pleasures?), that is our intimacy with God. He desired us so much that He sent His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit to restore us to that intimacy with Him. This inward life of devotion to God, through the Holy Spirit, transforms the desires of our hearts. Through this most intimate lifestyle with God the old way of sinful lifestyle and living dies. Through the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh.
?For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.?
God does not want us to live life after the flesh, but after the Holy Spirit. The enemy will try to feed your selfish nature keep you off or to knock you off course in your walk with God. The good news is that God has, not only invited us, but enabled us ?by His grace? to live by the Holy Spirit. When we live by the Holy Spirit there is no condemnation, no shame, no guilt and a clear conscience given to us through the blood of Christ. (Romans 8:1)
?How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God??
This is why scripture says, ?The sons of God walk by the Spirit.? (Rom. 8:14) This is the place of spiritual maturity where ?self? is no longer on the throne of our lives. ?Again, this does not mean we are perfect and don?t make mistakes. What it means is that the overall theme of our lives is painting a beautiful picture of our pursuit of God as a life yielded to His Holy Spirit.
Find momentum in your life through a pursuit of His Presence – pursue God. Go after intimacy with God, to know Him. It is ?the one thing? that Jesus said would not be taken away. (Luke 10:42)
What you value and what you worship is what you spend the most time with. Give God that place because He is the only One worthy of it.