Jesus Christ–Cornerstone!

Scripture reading for August 25th:  Ephesians 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Ephesians 2:19-22  “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”  

Because of God’s amazing grace extended to Jew and Gentile through His Son, Jesus Christ, we Gentiles have been brought into citizenship with God’s people, the Jews, and made a part of His household or family.  Jesus, Himself, is the cornerstone of this new temple.  The new temple is not a building, but a family of those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah.  Each believer is marked with the Holy Spirit as belonging God’s family and God lives in them through the Spirit.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers live by faith that they are in God’s family and are the current dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.  His perfect love casts out all fear of punishment or being left out!  “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.”   (Isaiah 28:16)

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Paul prayed for us!

Scripture reading for August 24th:  Ephesians 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Ephesians 1: 17-19  “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him  better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Sin’s darkness over the souls of men hide from them the understanding of God as our Father and His great love for us as children made in His image and likeness.  Paul understood our need and prayed accordingly for the Church of his time and us for an understanding of God that would grow deeper each day.  He also prayed for each heart to be full of light concerning God’s plan and kingdom and the great power He has bestowed on His redeemed people to make them over-comers who will enjoy the fullest blessings of knowing God and Jesus Christ here on earth and then for eternity!

Observations for over-comers:  Prayer for the Spirit of wisdom and understanding is vital for over-comers living today.  Praying Scripture makes prayer simple and aligns our heart in unity with the Spirit of God.   “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, in Your holy temple.  Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. . .”  (Jonah 2:7-8)

 

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The law of sowing and reaping!

Scripture reading for August 23rd:  Galatians 6

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 6: 7-10 “Do not be deceived:  God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please the sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Deception is always possible if we get off into the flesh or believe the lies of our adversary.  Anything can be justified by our flesh and often we think that because of what we have done for God or how long we have walked with God that we can justify a little sowing to the sinful nature.  However, what we sow we will reap!  There are only two fields and two harvest that will definitely come.  The field of the flesh will always yield destruction and the field of the Spirit eternal life!  We must not grow weary or give up sowing to the Spirit.  We are to be especially helpful to the family of God.

Observations for over-comers:  Perseverance in sowing to the Spirit marks the life of an over-comer and there will be a rich harvest of eternal life for all who finish well!  “Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.  Woe to the wicked!  Disaster is upon them!  They will be paid back for what they have done.”  (Isaiah 3:10-11)

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Living with fruit of the Spirit!

Scripture reading for August 22nd:  Galatians 5

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 5:22-25  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

The New Testament Spirit-filled believer should be marked by fruit of the Holy Spirit.  This grows from living and walking in fellowship with Jesus through the Spirit and study of the word of God.  Through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice and taking His word as truth, we crucify the flesh and its passions.  This is a process called sanctification that is progressive throughout our life on earth.  But there are temptations and spiritual warfare in the form of thoughts and imaginations that must be dealt with each day by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.  Conceit, envy, and provoking are common enemies!

Observations for over-comers:  Praying in the Holy Spirit and daily study of God’s word will help us over-come the attacks of the sinful nature and Satan.  “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. . .” (Isaiah 61:1-2)

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A son of God and Heir!

Scripture reading for August 19th:  Galatians 4

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 4:4-7  “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.  Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”  

God’s timing is always perfect!  At just the right time, He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to redeem those under the law of God and in slavery to sin.  After paying for mankind’s sins on the cross of Calvary and raising from the dead by the Spirit of Holiness, Jesus and the Father sent the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of believers.  This Gift of the Father testifies to us that we are now adopted ‘sons of God’ and heirs of the promises made to all who have faith.  Why would anyone want to go back under the law and it’s condemnation?  In Christ God has given us a full inheritance as His children!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers know the reality of becoming sons of God by faith in Jesus Christ and live a life of faith expecting the full inheritance of eternal life with God the Father!  “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant placers; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  . . .You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  (Psalm 16:6, 11)

 

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Redeemed from the curse!

Scripture reading for August 18th:  Galatians 3

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 3:11-14  “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written; “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”  

Those that were under the law were also under the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28:16-68.  These curses would overtake those who lived in sin by breaking God’s laws and commands.  No one could be justified by the law, because no one could keep the law because of their sin natures.  But Jesus Christ, Son of God, came to earth and was not tainted by a sin nature because of His virgin birth.  He, through the Holy Spirit, perfectly obeyed God’s law and offered Himself to redeem sinful man from the curse of sin and resulting eternal death!  Hallelujah!  We are redeemed and marked by the Holy Spirit for eternal life!

Observations for over-comers:  Living by faith in Jesus Christ is to live in freedom from the curse of sin and eternal death and shout the victory to all who will listen.  “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:  “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!  The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lords right hand has done mighty things!  I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”  (Psalm 118:15-17)

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Christ lives in me!

Scripture reading for August 17th:  Galatians 2

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 2: 19-21 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

The false teachers in Galatia were well-meaning and sincere Jews who had some knowledge of Christ but tried to add keeping of the law to simple grace by faith.  Sincerity is not a test of truth!  The ‘law’ could only reveal sin, not correct the problem or eliminate it from the human soul.  Through the ‘law’, we are convicted of sin and found guilty bringing about a sentence of death.  Then the gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that Jesus died on the cross to take the death penalty for us and now gives us His life and righteousness through the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe. There is nothing we can do but say “Thank You, Jesus!”.

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers recognize their Lord living in them and lovingly allow His life to flow in them by the Holy Spirit.  “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”  (Psalm 143:10)

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Avoid ‘eternal condemnation’!

Scripture reading for August 16th:  Galatians 1

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Galatians 1:6-8  “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–which is really no gospel at all.  Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

The true gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone is very simple and humbling.  This gospel makes no room for boasting in what any man has done or in any special knowledge or angelic revelation.  This true gospel requires repentance–turning from sin and religious works and placing faith in what God has already done through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.  The Galatian church was founded on this true gospel, but some were following false teachers who were perverting the gospel.  Paul was emphatic that those who pervert the gospel and those who followed them would be “eternally condemned.”

Observation for over-comers:  Over-comers become grounded in the true gospel and are alert for those who try and pervert it.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”  (Proverbs 16:25)

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Test yourselves!

Scripture reading for August 15th:  2nd Corinthians 13

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 13:2-5  “I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time.  I now repeat it while absent:  On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me.  He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.  For to be sure, He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power.  Likewise, we are weak in Him, yet by God’s power we will live with Him to serve you.  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test.”

Pastor Paul was concerned about those in the church that were still living in sin.  He had warned the church that this was dangerous and repeated the warning that these people should be dealt with.  He would come in Christ’s authority and power to deal with these people if necessary. But a better way was for them to do a healthy self-examination.  Each member must test themselves to see whether they were truly in the faith through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.  When we have Christ in us, we have the power to repent and live free from sin.

Observations for over-comers:  Regular self-examinations concerning Christ in us is a healthy form of discipline. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”  (Proverbs 12:1)

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Danger in failure to repent!

Scripture reading for August 12th:  2nd Corinthians 12

Key scriptures for over-comers:  2nd Corinthians 12:19-21  “We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.  For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.”  

The pastor’s heart of the Apostle Paul was concerned about the spiritual state of the members of the church at Corinth.  He earnestly desired their strengthening in Christ and spiritual health so he wrote to them concerning sins that he knew were still prevalent there.  This list could still fit many or most church families today!  The sins he listed caused division and strife and would ultimately bring God’s judgment if not repented of!  The only way to deal with any sin is to turn from it, confessing responsibility for the sin and asking Christ for mercy through faith in His sacrifice.  Without repentance sinners will perish!  (Luke 13:3,5)

Observations for over-comers:  Self-examination and regular repentance when the Holy Spirit convicts us keeps our souls healthy and strong!  “Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be My spokesman. . . .”” (Jeremiah 15:19)

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