437:  Our Union with Christ

437: Our Union with Christ

As we begin to look more into the idea of being a faith prepper, one of the key elements to understanding our position in Christ is to try to get a firm grasp on our union with Him.  After all, it seems the most common phrase in Scripture regarding our position is “in Christ” or “in Him”.  But what does that mean?  And what kind of union with Christ does that phrase imply?

Let’s put on our theology hats for just a moment and look at the two types of unions spoken of in Scripture about Christ.


Two Types of Union

First, our union with Christ can be seen as a federal (head) or covenantal union (called Federalism).  Romans 5:12-21 shows each of us as being in Adam before salvation and in Christ after salvation.  And God established Adam as a representative or federal head of the human race.  If Adam continued in righteousness, we would also have been considered to have continued in righteousness, being in Adam.  But if Adam sinned, we too would be considered as also having sinned, being in Adam.  This is where we begin to understand original sin.

If Adam sinned and fell by the transgression of God’s command, then we would also be considered to have sinned in him and Adam’s sin judgment and subsequent death would pass on to each of us.  And, as we know, Adam did sin and death was passed on to each of us.  This is the proof of our identification with Adam.

But Jesus did not sin and, by living a perfect, sinless life, not only demonstrated for each of us a practical and perfect righteousness in His own life, but He also died for us who would be united to Him in faith. See 1 Peter 3:18 ––“the just for the unjust”.

Thus, those judged sinners because of Adam’s sin are now declared righteous because of Christ’s righteousness.  Our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to us.

Therefore, because He is justified, we are justified.  Because He is raised, we are raised.  Because He is exalted to heaven, so are we.  And because He now sits at the right hand of the Father in glory, so also are we seated.

Second, our union with Christ can be described as an experiential union with Him.  This refers to the actual effects in us of our relationship and union with Christ.  It’s how our union with Him relates to us in real-time.  It is like positional vs practical sanctification.  And it can be seen most clearly in Jesus’ teaching about the vine and branches in John 15.

Let me suggest you turn to John 15 in your Bible and read along as you listen to this teaching.  Why?  Because knowing who you are “in Christ” is a fundamental first step in becoming a faith prepper.  And becoming a faith prepper is a necessary first step to becoming the kind of believer you will need to be to navigate the times that are coming.

The following is a study on Our Union with Christ and focuses on John 15.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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436:  Exercising Faith:  No Pain, No Gain

436: Exercising Faith: No Pain, No Gain

As we begin to grow in our life with Christ and actually, without reservation, take His Word and His promises at face value, we will inevitably come face to face with the limits of our faith.  After all, there is only so much we can believe today and, if we are growing in our faith, there will hopefully be more we can believe tomorrow.  But right now we live in today and today we must begin to prepare for tomorrow.  That is why His disciples cried out to Him and pleaded, “Lord, increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).

That’s the essence of being a faith prepper.

So let me ask just a few questions.  What is the shortest way to get from where you are in your life of faith right now and where you want to be?  Or, what can you do to increase your faith?  Just like everything else in life, increase comes from repeated use and exercise.  So you must exercise your faith and, unfortunately, that is done by having your faith tested.

No pain, no gain.


No Pain, No Gain

If you will look at James 1:2-4, you will see this is the classic No Pain, No Gain passage regarding faith.  Especially when you take the time to define the words James uses to convey this truth.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

After looking up the various Greek words in the verse, it would read something like this:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall (surrounded, engulfed, in the midst of) into various trials (temptations, testing, adversity, afflictions), knowing (ginṓskō) that the testing (to try or prove by afflictions) of your faith (firm persuasion, conviction, assurance, belief in the truth) produces (to work, to bring about, to accomplish, to carry out a task until it is finished) patience (to persevere, to remain under, to bear up under, to endure).  But let patience (to persevere, to remain under, to bear up under, to endure) have its perfect (reaching a goal or purpose, finished, that which has reached its end, complete, full, wanting for nothing) work (performance, the result or object of employment), (why) that you may be perfect (reaching a goal or purpose, finished, that which has reached its end, complete, full, wanting for nothing) and complete (all, the whole, sound, perfect, with all its needed parts), lacking nothing – James 1:2-4.

And it that wasn’t enough, read Matthew 10:1-15 where Jesus intentionally puts His disciples in situations that will require them to exercise their faith.  After all, He sends them out two by two and tells them to bring nothing with them to rely on.  Then He commands them to do the same things by faith they had seen their Lord do.  It was time to exercise their faith, time to move from milk to meat.  It was time to grow up.  No pain, no gain.

Next, we have the account of the early church in the first few chapters of Acts.  Different day, but same story.  Every time a new trial comes their way they are forced to rely only on Jesus and to exercise their faith in Him.  Read it for yourself.

To grow in the kind of faith we are going to need, as our world dissolves into more chaos, requires us to become proficient with the faith we already possess.  From there, growth comes from testing.  And testing is often painful.  But that shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us.  Why?  Because of the universal truth, “No Pain, No Gain”.

The following is a study on Exercising our Faith and Matthew 10:1-15.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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435:  How to Become a Faith Prepper

435: How to Become a Faith Prepper

There comes a time in each of our lives when we have to ask ourselves some tough questions, especially as we see the coming darkness growing over our land and the church.  And for many, that day of self-examination and questioning is today.  Consider the following:

What are we to do when we see the darkness rapidly encroaching on everything we hold dear?
How do we raise our children in this deeply divided and hostile environment?
How are we to remain light in the coming darkness?
Where do we find our strength for the journey?
Where can we go for our encouragement and motivation to stand strong, come what may?
What is going to happen to all we know and love if things keep getting darker?
How can we become, today, the believers we need to be, seeing all the chaos around us?

The answer is simple.  It is now time to put everything aside and begin to prepare for what lies ahead.  No more denial or sticking our heads in the sand.  It is now time to become a faith prepper.


It’s Time to Become a Faith Prepper

A faith prepper, like any prepper, is one who sees the danger ahead and sacrifices today for tomorrow in order to secure the safety and well being of those he loves.  After all, Noah built the ark before it started to rain.

Consider these two people who both saw the danger, yet only one did anything about it.  Which are you?

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished – Proverbs 22:3.

Just a few more questions.

How can we, as individual believers and as a church, work, and sacrifice to become a faith prepper?
What is the shortest distance between where we are spiritually and where we need to be?
What is the key to intimacy with the Lord?
And what is the one area in our spiritual lives that is most lacking?
Answer:  Prayer.

That’s right, the first step to becoming a faith prepper is understanding the importance of prayer.  And we will begin to do that with a 21 Day Prayer Challenge to “Pray Before Anything”.

The following is a study on Prayer and becoming a Faith Prepper.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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434:  Preparing for the Invite

434: Preparing for the Invite

When we come to the Lord’s table, often we spend little time in spiritual preparation to meet with our Lord.  But this is His table and He has offered to each of us, regardless of our sins and failures, the blessing to come and dine with Him.  Remember His words to His disciples?

Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

With “fervent desire I have desired.”  Can you feel the intensity in His words?  This is something Jesus was passionate about, something that He truly wanted to do.  And it involved each of us.


Spiritual Preparation for the Invite

In the Philadelphia church age (Rev. 3:7-13) where the Lord only had good things to say about the church, just a few generations ago, the church took the Lord’s Supper much more seriously than we do today.  In fact, they had printed prayers and a devotional study they spent the week going through to make sure they were not taking this in an “unworthy manner” (1 Cor. 11:29).  For example, let me give you the text for just Saturday, the day of Self-Surrender to the Lord.

My Father, You call me to Your table to participate by faith anew in the sacrifice of Your Son: I cry to You, in turn, to make me partaker of the power, the inclination, and the spirit of His self-sacrifice, that I, in fellowship with Him, may in like manner offer myself up to You. “Through the Eternal Spirit, He offered Himself up to God.” My God, let the same Spirit make me also, on my part, a complete offering to You.

My Father, grant unto me to see that self-offering constitutes the essence and the worth of His sacrifice. Let the surrender of my feeling and will to the will of God be the mark of my piety. Yes, Lord, let me live as one who offers himself wholly to the desire of God and man to further Your honor and their salvation.

My Father, at the Supper I desire truly to present myself as a living, a holy sacrifice, well-pleasing, to God—an offering that shall be wholly consumed.

For this end, I entreat You for grace to prepare myself for this sacrifice, as Your Son prepared Himself for the sacrifice on Golgotha by saying in Gethsemane: “Not My will, but Yours be done.” So would I offer myself as a sacrifice to You with the complete surrender of my will: may Your will be all in all to me, O my God. Lord enable me to say in truth: “I live only to do the will of God.” In the strength of Jesus Christ, who lives in me and in whom I offer myself to You, I venture to make His language my own: “I come to do Your will, O God!”

Lord, prepare me also to say: I desire here before You to renounce every known and unknown sin. All self-seeking and self-will I desire to abandon before You. I take Jesus Christ as my holiness, my strength, my victory; and in virtue of the new nature which He has prepared for me, I say: Father, no more sin, but Your will only— Your will wholly, Your will always and in all.

Lord Jesus, who did give Himself for me, I give myself to You.  Yes, Lord, in this very moment, where I in solitude am this morning preparing myself for the Supper, I say before heaven and earth: Jesus, Son of God, I will give myself wholly to You, to live now and henceforth only for You. Lord Jesus, I do this now. And as one who is offered to the Father and to You, I will go to the Supper table, there to be confirmed in the faith and confession; I am no longer my own: I have been bought with a high price: I will glorify God in my body and my spirit, which are God’s.

Are you humbled?  Convicted?  Maybe you should be.  I know I am when I read this and the rest of what they prayed during their week of preparation for the invite.

Take some time and read through the days of prep the church of a time gone by spent preparing themselves to meet with the Lord.  And see, like me, if it doesn’t give you a deeper view of what this Lord’s Supper is all about.

The following is a study on preparing to dine with the Lord.

To download the text of the preparation for the invite, click – HERE
To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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433:  Our Natural Reaction to Seeing Him

433: Our Natural Reaction to Seeing Him

When we look at the Revelation, we should be shocked by the reaction of those who see Jesus face to face.  First, John. And then the twenty-four elders. Look at the reaction of John:

After John hears the loud voice of the Lord, “as a trumpet”, and sees the seven lampstands and the seven stars and the “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” – John is so overwhelmed that he “fell at His feet as dead”.  Dead.  John had reached his ability to function and all his systems had shut down.

Have you ever responded like that when you encountered the Lord Jesus?  Have you ever known anyone who has?  And, if not, did you ever wonder why?


The Twenty-Four Elders

But when the twenty-four elders see Christ, their reaction puts us to shame.  Consider the following:

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:  “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:9-11).

And then their praise continues:

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:8-10).

And more…

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”  Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever (Revelation 5:11-14).


What Are We Missing?

I think it’s kind of obvious, don’t you?  What we see in the Revelation is a far cry from what we experience each Sunday in church.  Which makes me wonder, why?

Has God changed?
Does He allow Himself to be worshipped one way by the twenty-four elders but expects less from us today?
Or is He now content and satisfied by our lukewarm adoration of His Son?
Is He, like us, more concerned about what we feel comfortable with than what His Son deserves?
Has the Father finally determined that “it’s all about us” and not about Him?

I think not.

There is so much more we need to know and understand about how to truly worship the Lord that is found in the pages of the Revelation.  So let’s find out more together, shall we?

The following is a study on the worship of God.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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