As we accept the gift of the Holy Spirit each time we open the Scriptures, we find a promise that is staggering.
... With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Another promise keeps the emphasis where it belongs on our Lord.
"... Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
Even Economic Partnership
We can become partners in union with Him in every detail of our lives. In fact, the Creator of heaven and earth even offered a financial bargain to us. Can you imagine love that would cause God to deal generously with selfish and sometimes thieving, sinful people? It's amazing, but listen to the promise concerning a challenging business relationship that He spelled out a long time ago!
"I the Lord do not change.... Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty. But you ask, 'How are we to return?' "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse the whole nation of you--because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:6-1 0
God started that conversation saying, "I the Lord do not change," He asked for tithes from those who considered themselves His. Abraham was among these, and he returned God's tithe to His minister. (See Hebrews 7.) Jesus said tithes shouldn't be forgotten. (See Luke 11:42.) God doesn't need anything from us, but we surely do need blessings from Him.
How is the tithe computed? "Tithe" means one tenth. God says one-tenth of what we have for our own use is His, and calls our extra gifts "offerings" (voluntary love gifts). Some of the wealthiest persons on this earth have entered into partnership financially with God, and found that no matter how much you give God, you can't "out-give" Him. It is He who gives us the ability to get wealth!
Power To Get Wealth
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18
The King James Version calls it "power" to get wealth. it is one of the many different gifts God gives those who choose His control.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
To some, He gives the ability to speak. For others, their greatest gift may be in helping via manual labor. Others have administrative skills. One person may be an artist, another a writer, another a musician, but all receive some talent or gift. Everyone has the gift of time. With each gift comes the responsibility of its use to bless others. With each gift comes the responsibility to return to God whatever He requires as our recognition of His authority in our lives. Of money, it is one-tenth. Of time, it is one-seventh.
We belong to God because we were created by Him, purchased by His death and set free to choose whether we will submit to His authority or not. If we can do all things with God's help, then it must be just as possible, with His help, to choose to do what He wants! David was one who really wanted to obey God.
I desire to do your will, 0 my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
How did God create a desire in David's heart to obey Him? How can we change from being in rebellion against God to being obedient, when by nature we are self-centered?
By His Spirit
"And I will put MY Spirit in you and move you to follow MY decrees and be careful to keep my laws." Ezekiel 36:27
When we choose to accept the gift of God's Holy Spirit, He puts us in touch with Himself. Where our natural self would at times withdraw (for whatever reason) from doing His will, we can choose to accept the moving of His Spirit in our lives as part of the plan Jesus worked out for us.
Jesus Himself, as a human being, did not always have a joyous feeling about what He faced in submitting to the heavenly plan. In fact, His human spirit cringed at the thought of humiliation and death. He even prayed about possible release before the crucifixion:
"Father, if you are willing,, take this cup from me" ... and being in anguish, he prayed the more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood failing to the ground. Luke 22:42-44
The Sermon Of His Life
But we left out part of His prayer, that part that was the sermon His entire life conveyed, even in an hour of agony.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42
Christ chose to submit, even when He didn't "feel" like it. His inner self was in perfect union with His Father. He was one with God. He offers us His divine Spirit in our struggle, too. It's the only promised solution that makes submission to His will possible. His Spirit brings power from above, power to surrender as God's own Son surrendered. We then have power to live for Him and tell the story of Jesus to those around us. It was the last promise given by Jesus just before He returned to heaven.
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:8, 9
Looking again at that "cup" that Jesus had found difficult to accept, we find it was only a few hours earlier at the last passover celebration with His followers that Christ had said;
... "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for YOU." Luke 22:20
Jesus was talking about a covenant (a will or agreement) He had made with His Father that was new and yet eternal. Ever since creation, God's covenant had been to save man by becoming a man. He brought His pure creative life power into the human race, then deliberately allowed Himself to die. He has poured out the gift of life and power to those who will accept, and, in the name of the entire race, submitted to death, since as Creator, He had said:
"For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life." Leviticus 17:11
Christ told His followers at that last supper about His covenant promise to give His blood and His life for us. The It cup" of that grape juice at the supper represented His death, and the humanity of Christ recoiled at the thought. However, He surrendered to the covenant plan with His Father because of the unbroken harmony between them. God the Father's will was His will. In His human hands, the "cup" or plan trembled briefly. But Christ, in His entire life on this earth, chose:
" ... not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42
Willing To Do His Will
The same opportunity of union or partnership with God is given us by Jesus' power, to choose to accept His plan to save us individually. As we choose His authority and His freedom, He gives us His power to obey the very laws He created for our happiness. We can be part of His kingdom of grace now and enter into His kingdom of glory when He returns! We have the opportunity now to have His powerful Spirit strengthen our weak wills and unite us with His divine plan-
... for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
We learned in Powerful Promises #14 that right now the record of our choices is being studied in heaven. The vindication of God's government is seen in the power of the cross in human lives. On earth right now, we also have opportunity to demonstrate symbolically our acceptance of God's plan:
... The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.yy In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
We show in the service of communion that we believe His death was part of His plan to save us personally. His death was one of submission and humiliation for us, so we might one day be part of His literal kingdom. Just as we physically can eat the bread and drink the cup with one another now, so He plans to have us literally eat and drink with Him in the home He is preparing for us, if we choose to accept His free offer of forgiveness. In fact, He made a powerful promise not to touch the juice of the vine again until He could do so with those for whom He would die (who would choose to accept Him). He was basically assuring His followers that there would be hope beyond the cross.
Hope Beyond The Cross
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Matthew 26:28, 29
Just as He submitted humbly to the covenant He and His Father had made, He gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our willingness to humble ourselves in service for others. Christ's entire life was one of surrender to His Father's direction, so His human character was prepared for that final, most difficult of all choices-death itself. Before we are ready to "drink from the cup," we, too, may choose submission to Him through lives spent in service for the good of others. Here's the symbolic preparation ceremony He gave us before that last meal.
A Demonstration Of Humble Service
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him ..."
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that 1, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
John 13:3-5. 12-15
When Jesus said they couldn't be part of Him unless they would let Him wash their feet, Peter was ready to have God wash all his body.
Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
John 13:10, 11
The "bath" Jesus was talking about was the most special cleansing bath anyone can ever have. Jesus Himself had taken this bath as an example for us.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Gods Way: Under-The-Water Burial, Then Resurrection
Through baptism, we can show our trust in the story of both His death and resurrection:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. Romans 6:4,5
The Resurrection Celebration: An Adoption Ceremony
At baptism, we officially become part of God's church family on earth, just as our names are entered in the Lamb's Book of Life when we first choose to accept His forgiveness for past sins.
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.... And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:41, 47
(The King James Version says, "added to the church.") It is God's Spirit working in people's lives that makes people choose to submit to this plan. Once we understand God's message and are immersed (baptized), our whole life is involved in a demonstration of faith in His plan. And we'll share it with others.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
We have the renewal of our belief in His forgiveness at each time of foot washing. When we wash the feet of others, we also forgive them, as Jesus said.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:i 4, 15
We need the promise of His Spirit to live in us, to give us His power and His Spirit of forgiveness. Apart from Him, we cannot do this.
Its Good For Us
It is for our own good that we forgive. To have hard feelings toward someone probably hurts us more than them. God, the Creator, knows that principle Himself, and follows it in dealing with us. He forgives us not only for our sake, but for His own!
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25
Years ago, God laid out a plan of mutual forgiveness through Christ: He for us, we for one another. Years ago, He promised the power to share this healing message with others. Years ago, as a Human, He lived a life of recognition of God's authority. He promises us His power to do the same, even now. Years ago, He added to church membership those who wanted His salvation. Our Lord doesn't change. Through His humble followers He gives you the same invitation now.
A Prayer Of Dedication:
Dear God., I choose to accept your death in my place. I accept this chance you have given me to come under your complete authority as expressed in your Word-filled with so many powerful promises. Please give me your power to make the decision now that Jesus wants me to make. I accept your strength., your Holy Spirit-because of Jesus.
In His name I pray. Amen.
Study and pray as you consider this invitation. Remember, with God all things are possible-and that includes complete submission to His will. Help yourself to this final powerful promise:
... be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10, 11
God bless you.
Special Powerful Promises
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust ..."
If you make the Most High your dwelling-even the LORD, who is my refuge then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91
With God-patience and repentance:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
With God-a new heart and spirit:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:26, 27
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, so long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. Hebrews 3:12-14
With God-eternal life:
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:13, 14
. . . Believe in Jesus Christ and .
gratefully acknowledge Him as the Savior of Mankind (Acts 4:12). We are thankful that "the figt of God eternal life" (Romans 6:23) is available to "all men" (Titus 2:11). In order to be in harmony with God it is our purpose to live a life consistent with the God-given standard of right living, the law of God (Exodus 20:1-17).
joyfully look forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:28). This event, to be seen by all people (Revelation 1:7), will soon take place (Matthew 24).
follow the Bible guide in all things. The call to assemble together for worship (Hebrews 10:24) is extended to all. The special day of worship, chosen by God, is the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11). This Sabbath day, the Lords day (Matthew 12:8), is the only holy day of the week (Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3).
..believe that every man, woman, and child regardless of name or position who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ with all his/her heart and who submits to the whole will of God insofar as it is revealed to him or her, will be saved.
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