In-depth Bible Teaching from Derek & Hilary Walker, Pastors of Oxford Bible Church, Oxford, England.
Through Adam's sin, (1) we were put into in a state of sin and were counted to be guilty before God, just because we were in Adam (imputed sin), and (2) we inherited from Adam a sin-nature (called ‘sin') in the flesh through physical birth. In Romans 5-8, Paul describes how to come out of bondage to the sin-nature into the liberty of the Spirit. In this message, Derek goes verse by verse through Romans 5:17 - 6:23 to expound God's revelation of how we can walk in victory over sin.
Living by faith starts by (1) submitting our heart to Christ as our Lord and trusting in Him as our Source, and then (2) building our lives upon Him as our Foundation by HEARING and DOING His WORDS (1Cor 3:11, Matt 7:24-25, Col 2:6-7). There are 3 Dimensions to the problem of SIN: *(1) IMPUTED SIN. Through our union to Adam, we were in a legal state of guilt in Adam. *(2) IMPARTED SIN – we inherited a SIN-NATURE in our flesh from Adam through physical birth. When Adam sinned his spirit died (cut off from God's life) and a sin-nature came into his flesh (bringing his body under the power of death), and he became a slave of the sin-nature (SIN). SIN acts on man's soul to cause him to live independently from God (the independent soul-life). SIN was transmitted by physical birth from Adam to every human being through their father, with the exception of Jesus, who had no sin-nature (2Cor 5:21). So, we all have SIN in our flesh (1John 1:8). The inherited sin-nature made us all sinners by nature. We were all conceived in sin (Ps 51:5), born slaves of sin (John 8:34), under the power of sin (Rom 3:9). commit SINS. *(3) Our PERSONAL SINS, which we commit when we yield to SIN. (1) On the Cross, Jesus has set us free from the PENALTY of sin. (2) Now by His Spirit within us He is setting us free from the POWER of sin. (3) At the future Resurrection, He will set us free from even the PRESENCE of sin. (1) Christ dealt with our state of sin (our imputed sin from Adam) by becoming the 2nd Adam, offering Himself as our Representative Head, instead of the first Adam. He lived a perfectly righteous life, and on the Cross He accomplished a Great Exchange, by offering up His perfect righteousness to God on our behalf, and taking all our sin. So when we receive Christ as our Lord, we are taken out of Adam and put (baptised) into Christ. Then this exchange is immediately accomplished in us, so all our sin is remitted, and we are given His perfect righteousness (imputed to us as a free-gift), putting us in right relationship with God. As IN ADAM we were all in a state of sin, before we committed any sin, even so IN CHRIST we were put into a state of perfect righteousness before God, even before we committed any righteous act. On this basis, we are declared righteous (justified) and fully accepted by God in Christ. On this legal basis, we can now receive life from God through faith (Romans 5:1,2,17-19). Now we are under grace (Romans 6:14,15), and qualify to receive God's abundant grace. (2) However, believers still have a sin-nature in their flesh, as the new birth only changed our spirit; so as long as we live in our flesh, we still have SIN to deal with (1John 1:8). But Jesus came to set us free from SIN (John 8:34-36). He did 2 things to make it possible for us to live in victory over sin: *(1) He provided a NEW BIRTH for our SPIRIT, and put His Holy Spirit within our spirit. Our spirit was made alive with Christ, and raised with Christ far above all sin and evil powers (Ephesians 2:5-6). Our spirit consists of His resurrection life, which has already overcome sin and is perfect in Christ. Also, the Holy Spirit indwells our spirit, so He has set our spirit, the core of our being, completely free from sin (2Cor 3:17). God has restored our spirit as His base of operation in us, and as we live by His grace thru faith and walk in the Spirit we will not sin, for the power of the Spirit is greater than the power of sin in the flesh (Gal 5:16). Thus, He gave us His imparted righteousness in our spirit, by which we can live in victory over the imparted sin in our flesh, by the power of His Spirit. The more we let the Spirit fill our soul, the more our soul is freed from the power of sin-nature, by His Presence within us (2Cor 3:17). Romans 8 describes how to walk in victory over SIN in the flesh. It starts by establishing that through His imputed righteousness, we are in a legal state of righteousness before God, and so have full access to His Spirit of grace to walk in victory over sin. This is the foundational truth for victory (v1,2). *(2) The 2nd thing Christ did for us is that on the Cross, is He JUDGED SIN in the flesh, so that it no longer has any right to rule over you, so now you can choose to submit to Christ and His righteousness and grace flowing from the Spirit, rather than to your old slave-master of SIN in your flesh (v3-4).
The Foundation for our being, character and life is the PERSON of CHRIST Himself (1Cor 3:11, Isa 28:16, Col 2:6-7). Christ is not just the Foundation for our eternal salvation, but for our very being and everyday living (Ro 1:16-17). "The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God is revealed from (saving) FAITH to (living) FAITH; as it is written: “(1) The JUST (by FAITH) shall (2) LIVE by FAITH” (v17). (1) First we are JUSTIFIED (made righteous) by FAITH. When we trust in Christ, His perfect RIGHTEOUSNESS is IMPUTED to us (put to our account) - a legal transaction based on the Great Exchange accomplished on the Cross. We stand before God on the basis of His perfect righteousness, so God accepts us, just as He accepts Jesus. Christ and His imputed righteousness is our forever, firm foundation for our eternal salvation, and our life today, and it ensures our eternal life. On this legal basis God instantly gave us the New Birth. The imparted righteousness of Christ was applied to our spirit. Now we are justified by faith, we are now to LIVE by FAITH in Christ, our living Foundation, looking to Him and leaning on Him as our Source of life, rather than trusting in our own soul. As we trust in His Life in us, He sanctifies us by His Spirit, and we receive His imparted righteousness (grace) into our souls, inspiring and empowering us to do His will (Phil 2:13). The more we submit to Him and trust in Him as our Foundation, the more He fills us with His love and empowers us with His grace. Thus He is our Foundation for our everyday life. Living by faith starts by submitting to the Lordship of Christ and opening our hearts to receive His love-gift of His Spirit and His Word to us. Then by depending on the Spirit of grace, we must put His Word into practice (Matthew 7:24-25). The first 2 Foundational Doctrines of Christ are (1) REPENTANCE from dead works and (2) FAITH toward God (Heb 6:1-2). They describe the necessary attitude of our hearts, to live our lives on Christ, living from the supply of His grace, trusting in Him as our base of operation. We must REPENT from the old way of operating from our independent soul-life, trusting in self, which only produces dead works, and instead embrace the new way of trusting in Christ as our life, which produces the fruit of the Spirit (Matt 10:39, Rom 7:6, John 6:63). The new way is living under grace, by faith in the life of Christ within us. He is the only One who can save us from the penalty, power and presence of sin. In the old way of living under law, we make laws and principles our basis for living, and try to live them out from our own soul. Sin is the opposite of holiness and righteousness. Living under righteousness brings life, but living under sin brings death. God designed us to be holy to God, filled with His Spirit of righteousness, empowering us to live a life of righteousness by trusting Him as our Source, and thereby producing good works. The essence of sin is rejecting this way of depending on God, and instead going our own way, living out from self as the centre. Our own soul-life, rather than God's life, becomes our base of operation (Isaiah 53:6). The problem of sin is on 3 dimensions. *Level 1 of SIN is the STATE of SIN (imputed sin), which is due to Adam's original sin, the representative head of the human race. When he sinned, we all sinned in Adam. This is IMPUTED SIN (Adam's sin was put to our account). All mankind are born legally in a State of Sin, simply because of being in Adam. As a result spiritual and physical death came on all men (Romans 5:12-21). *Level 2 of SIN is the SIN-NATURE or IMPARTED SIN. When Adam sinned (1) his spirit died (disconnected from God's life), (2) he received a sin-nature in his flesh (imparted sin), replacing his spirit as the controlling power over his soul, causing his soul to operate in pride, independently from God (the independent soul-life). The sin-nature is called sin (1Jn 1:8, Ro 6:6,7,11,12,14), sin in the flesh (Ro 8:3), the body of sin (Ro 6:6). We inherited a sin-nature in our flesh from Adam through physical birth (John 3:6).We were born slaves to sin (the sin-nature), and cannot set ourselves free. *Level 3 of SIN is PERSONAL SINS. We commit sins when we yield to the sin-nature in our flesh (John 8:34). Through the Cross, Christ provided the answer for all 3 dimensions of SIN. Daniel 9:24 predicts Christ will: "(1) finish the TRANSGRESSION (Adam's original sin), (2) make an end of SINS (forgiveness for personal sins), (3) make atonement for INIQUITY (our sin-nature).” (1) Jesus dealt with our STATE of SIN in Adam, by coming as the righteous 2nd Adam, offering Himself to us as our new Head. When we receive Him as our Lord, God takes us out of Adam and puts us into Christ, and His perfect righteousness is imputed to us as a free-gift. Instead of the imputed sin of Adam, we now have the imputed righteousness of Christ, and on that basis God declares us forgiven and righteous (justified by faith).
The 3 Foundational Baptisms: (1) BAPTISM into CHRIST by the Holy Spirit. (2) BAPTISM in WATER by representatives of the Church, and (3) BAPTISM in the SPIRIT by Jesus Christ. WATER BAPTISM is a Sacrament - a symbolic physical act, that has a spiritual effect. BAPTISM in WATER is commanded upon all believers, for them to testify outwardly and publicly of their Baptism into Christ (which happens at the moment of salvation). In Water Baptism we act out what God has done in our spirit, when we were baptised into Christ. We were identified with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Our old spirit-man was crucified and buried with Christ, and we were raised with Christ as a new man into a new life. In Baptism, we confess our faith, testifying to what God has done for us and in us, which releases God's Power in our life (Romans 10:10). You have to be saved (be a believer) before being baptised. Infant baptism is not biblical. Biblical Baptism is Believer's Baptism: “He who (1) BELIEVES and is (2) BAPTISED will be saved” (Mark 16:16). The word ‘BAPTISM' means to IMMERSE, like a garment dipped into a die. The result of this union is permanent change. Thus by definition, Baptism must be by full immersion. Water Baptism is a picture of our death, burial and resurrection with Christ, which is why God ordained it to be by full immersion. Sprinkling with water is a man-made substitute (tradition), which does not fulfil the picture. Christ COMMANDS all His disciples to be BAPTISED in WATER, as their ordained act of obedience and public testimony that they are a follower of Christ. Thus it is not an optional extra. Water Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ. To refuse baptism is disobedience. Jesus Himself was baptised to give us an EXAMPLE to follow, and said it was the RIGHT thing to do (Matthew 3:13-16). Jesus was already righteous, so His Baptism was not to make Him righteous, but to ‘fulfil all righteousness' in His life (it was an important act of obedience to God). Jesus was bringing in a new kind of Baptism – His Baptism is the MODEL and PROTOTYPE for CHRISTIAN BAPTISM. He is our EXAMPLE. In being baptised we are FOLLOWING the EXAMPLE of our Lord, and so demonstrating we are truly His disciple. Thus by our obedience we are fulfilling God's righteous requirement for our life. When you obey God in Baptism, you can ask and expect the Holy Spirit to fill you and empower you for ministry, just as He did for Jesus. You are dedicating yourself to God to be His disciple, and God's Spirit will come upon you to empower you to fulfil your call. *1. Jesus was baptised to give us an EXAMPLE to follow. *2. The risen Jesus COMMANDED that all those who believed in Him through the Gospel should be baptised (Mark 16:15-16, Matthew 28:18-20). BAPTISM is the ordained, public initiation into DISCIPLESHIP for all believers (Matthew 28:19). A DISCIPLE is someone who follows and obeys His Lord's example, teachings and commands. So if you have not even obeyed His FIRST command to you as a new believer (to be baptised in water), you can't really call yourself a true disciple. BAPTISM is part of the GREAT COMMISSION of spreading the GOSPEL to ALL people, because the required response to the Gospel is FAITH in Christ, evidenced by WATER BAPTISM. *3. The early Christians diligently practiced Water Baptism by full immersion in obedience to Christ's command (Acts 2:38,41, 8:12,35-39, 9:18, 10:44-48, 16:31-33, 19:5-6). *You are doing 2 things in your Baptism: (1) You are making a PUBLIC TESTIMONY and DECLARATION of your faith in Christ as your Lord and Saviour. (2) You are committing yourself to Christ as His disciple, saying: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.” In BAPTISM we (1) DEDICATE ourselves to do God's will, and (2) CALL on Him to fill us with His POWER to do it. Jesus is our example, for He was BAPTISED in the SPIRIT, when He was BAPTISED in WATER. BAPTISM is a spiritual BATH. The natural WATER is a symbol of the spiritual WATER (the Holy Spirit) that WASHES us clean: Acts 22:16: “Be BAPTISED, and WASH away your sins, CALLING on the Name of the Lord." Paul's sins had already been forgiven (9:5-6,17). FORGIVENESS means God has forgiven us of that sin and does not hold it against us. Even when we are forgiven, we can still feel the shame, guilt and stain of that sin in our conscience, and so we also need to receive an inner WASHING or CLEANSING of our conscience. At his BAPTISM, Paul (1) received a WASHING away of his sins (especially his persecution of the believers), and (2) he also CALLED on the Name of Jesus to fill him with the Holy Spirit, so that he would be empowered to fulfil his ministry. So Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17) at His Baptism. Speaking in tongues is the outward sign of being filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4), and Paul spoke in tongues (1Corinthians 14:18).
There are 7 Foundational Doctrines in Hebrews 6:2: “The FOUNDATION of (1) repentance from dead works and (2) of faith toward God, (3) of DOCTRINE, (4) of BAPTISMS, (5) of laying on of hands, (6) of resurrection of the dead, and (7) of eternal judgment.” The doctrine of DOCTRINE (the TEACHING of God's Word) refers to the Bible's teaching on the importance and centrality of the WORD of God in our lives, and therefore the necessity of receiving right teaching and having correct doctrine. God's WORD is TRUTH (John 17:17), and the mark of true disciples of Christ is that they abide in His Word by hearing and obeying it (Matthew 28:18-20). In this way we grow spiritually and experience freedom from sin (John 8:31-32, 1Tim 2:4, 1Peter 2:2). God's WORD is our SPIRITUAL FOOD, and so it is necessary for our spiritual strength and growth (Matthew 4:4): “My WORDS are SPIRIT and LIFE” (John 6:63). God's Word contains His life, Spirit and energy: “The WORD of God is LIVING and POWERFUL” (Hebrews 4:12). “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by INSPIRATION of God (literally: ‘God-breathed'), and is profitable” (2Timothy 3:16). “The WORD of God which LIVES and ABIDES FOREVER” (1Peter 1:23). “FAITH comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God” (Romans 10:17). “Blessed are those who HUNGER (for God's WORD) and THIRST (for the SPIRIT of God) for righteousness (from God), for they shall be FILLED” (Matthew 5:6). God provides: “WINE that makes glad the heart of man, OIL to make his face shine (the HOLY SPIRIT), and BREAD (the WORD), which STRENGTHENS man's HEART” (Psalm 104:15). We must EAT the WORD of God: “Man shall not LIVE by BREAD alone, but by every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The process of EATING the Word is MEDITATION. This involves (1) VERBALISING it, (2) PERSONALISING it, (3) VISUALISING it, and (4) MEMORISING it. This way you will digest it, and it will become part of your soul (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:1-3). Hearing God's Word is the one necessary thing for your life (Luke 10:39-42). We are like PLANTS or TREES, growing from God's SEED planted within us, when we received the Gospel: “born again of incorruptible SEED through the WORD of God which lives and abides forever” (1Peter 1:23). In 1Corinthians 3:6,7, Paul said: “I PLANTED (the seed, by preaching the Gospel), Apollos WATERED (the seed, by teaching the Word), but God gave the increase (growth).” As we consistently meditate on God's Word, we receive the continual watering of the Holy Spirit, which causes us to become strong, stable and fruitful (Psalm 1). The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8) reveals that the Kingdom of God operates through the SOWING of the SEED of the WORD of God. The SOIL represents a man's HEART. “The SEED is the WORD of God” (Luke 8:11). “The sower SOWS the WORD” into men's hearts (Mark 4:14). The Parable reveals 4 kinds of soil (heart condition), and it reveals how to become good soil that brings forth much fruit. The WORD of God has to have FIRST PLACE in your life if you want to produce good FRUIT. If you believe that God's Word contains His Power to produce good results, you should give it your BEST ATTENTION. Those who are GOOD SOIL put the WORD FIRST, by keeping on HEARING (receiving the WATER of) the WORD, giving their full ATTENTION to the WORD, and as a result they bear GOOD FRUIT, 30,60 or 100-fold, depending on the MEASURE of ATTENTION (of HEARING) that they give the WORD. Thus Jesus' main point of application that He made with a loud voice at its climax was: ““He who has EARS to HEAR (the Word), let him HEAR and KEEP on HEARING (the Word)” (Luke 8:8). Later when He gave the interpretation of the Parable, He also gave the interpretation (explanation) of His main point in Luke 8:18: “Take heed therefore HOW you HEAR (what measure of attention you give to hearing the Word). For whoever has (EARS to HEAR), to him more (blessing, fruit and growth) will be given; and whoever does not have (EARS to HEAR), from him will be taken even what he seems to have.” Likewise Matthew 13:12: “Whoever has (EARS to HEAR the Word) shall more (life, blessing, growth) be given in abundance, but whoever has not (EARS to HEAR the Word), what he has shall be taken from him (by satan).” Likewise Mark 4:24: “The MEASURE (of ATTENTION) you use (in HEARING the Word), it (blessing, fruit and growth) will be MEASURED to you, and to you who HEAR (the Word) shall MORE (fruit) be GIVEN.”
REPENTANCE from dead works (Hebrews 6:1) means turning away from our old way of living by the flesh, depending on ourselves, living out from our own self, living from our own soul as our base of operation. Flesh (what we produce from ourselves) has no lasting value and does not please God (dead works). We need to learn live a new way: LIVING by FAITH, depending on GOD as the SOURCE of our LIFE, living under GRACE (God's operational power in us), living and walking in (the power of) the SPIRIT. When different THINGS happen to us in life, we need to know how to RESPOND. We can either RESPOND (1) in the FLESH, which produces DEAD WORKS, or (2) in the SPIRIT, by operating in FAITH. In these situations, we need to apply the foundational doctrines of REPENTANCE from dead works (our flesh reaction) and FAITH toward God (our faith response). It's not what happens to you, but how you respond that defines you, and determines your success or failure in life. In this message, Derek teaches 4 vital REBOUND Techniques: *(1). How to rebound from SIN, by coming to God and CONFESSING your sin (1John 1:9, Psa 32:1-5, 51:1-12). The flesh reaction is to hide and run from God (Gen 2:8-9). *(2). How to REBOUND from SUCCESS and BLESSING, by GIVING THANKS to God, acknowledging God as the Source of that blessing. That way, you keep yourself connected to God as your Source, and His grace will continue to flow to you (Proverbs 3:9-10). The flesh reaction is to become proud and forget God, to focus on, find your satisfaction and trust in that blessing. As a result, you disconnect yourself from the grace of God. *(3). How to REBOUND from SETBACKS and TRIALS. The flesh reaction to trials is to get discouraged and to blame God. The faith response to trials is to actively and purposefully REJOICE in God, thanking Him for working them for our good and eternal glory (Romans 8:28, Matthew 5:10-12, James 1:2-4,12, Romans 5:2-5, 2Cor4:17-18, 12:9-10). *4. How to REBOUND from HURTS and OFFENCES. The flesh reaction is to nurse and rehearse it, and become bitter and unforgiving. The faith response is to FORGIVE quickly, from the heart (Ephesians 4:32, Mark 11:25,26, Matthew 6:14,15).
After receiving Christ, we are being transformed by God's SPIRIT as we HEAR and DO God's WORD (Romans 12:1-2, 2Corinthians 3:16-18, James 1:21-25). (1) A man must first receive GOOD TREASURE into his HEART, by meditating on the Word of God and receiving His transforming life into your heart from the Spirit. This way his heart has an abundance of good treasure. (2) He must then BRING FORTH those GOOD THINGS from his HEART into his LIFE, by his words and actions. The primary way we express and release what is in our heart is by our WORDS: “For out of the ABUNDANCE of the heart the MOUTH SPEAKS” (Matthew 12:34-35). Your WORDS are very important to the final outcome of our lives (Matthew 12:37). We release the good things in our heart into our life by our words, for: “with the HEART one BELIEVES unto RIGHTEOUSNESS (right standing in the promise of God), and with the MOUTH CONFESSION (of the promise) is made unto SALVATION (the manifestation of the promise in our life)” (Romans 10:10). We must be DOERS of the WORD, and not HEARERS ONLY, otherwise we are deceiving ourselves if we think we are growing spiritually (James 1:22, Matthew 7:24-27), for we are BLESSED in our DOING of God's Word (James 1:25). Then James says that DOING the WORD starts by CONTROLLING our TONGUE – that is the first thing (James 1:26). James expands his teaching on the TONGUE in James 3, which is a chapter entirely devoted to our use of the TONGUE. He says is it the CONTROL CENTRE of our BODY and LIFE. If we can control our tongue, we are mature, and able also to bring our whole body under control (v2). We control the direction of our life by controlling our tongue, just as we can control a horse by using a bit in their mouth (v3), and just like a pilot can control the direction of a large ship, by using a small rudder, representing our tongue (v4). The tongue is also capable of great destruction, like a fire. If you do not control it, it has the power to destroy the course of your whole life. Because God set the tongue as our control centre, if we allow our tongue to be controlled by the fire of evil, then that destructive fire will spread to our whole body and life (v5-6). The tongue is like a wild beast, so we need God's help to tame our tongue (v7-8). If we do not exercise control, both blessing and cursing will proceed from our mouth, which should not happen (v9-10). In nature, a spring either sends forth fresh water or bitter water through the opening, but not both (v11). The reason why both blessing and cursing can come out of our mouths, is that there are 2 springs or fountains within us - the SPRING of the SPIRIT and the FOUNTAIN of the FLESH. We choose which spring we yield to. Your FLESH FOUNTAIN can produce nothing good, and your SPIRIT SPRING can only produce good (v12). We need to learn to discern between these 2 FOUNTAINS, between the wisdom from BELOW (words which are earthly, sensual, demonic and produce evil fruit), and the wisdom from ABOVE, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy. Words from above flow in a Spirit of peace and TASTE good (sweet), and produce good FRUIT (righteousness and peace) - (James 3:13-18).
Join Pastor Derek as he reveals the origins of the Gospel in the Year of Jubilee, which took place on the Day of Atonement, when the Jubilee trumpeters proclaimed forgiveness, release and restoration for all, throughout all the land, on the basis of the great sacrifice made on that day (Leviticus 25). Jesus initiated the preaching of the Gospel, and commanded us to continue preaching this same Gospel. In Luke 4, Jesus claimed that His preaching of the Gospel was the fulfilment of Isaiah 61, a prophecy of the Messiah fulfilling the Type of Jubilee for all men by preaching Good News to the poor, proclaiming the Acceptable Year of the Lord, on the basis of God's acceptance of His great final Sacrifice (Isaiah 53).
Two miracles of Jesus demonstrate how we can walk in victory over the power of sin, circumstances and satan: (1) The crossing to the other side of Galilee through a storm, and (2) Walking on the Water. God has called us to be overcomers, who go over, not under!
There are 2 ingredients to every miracle of God: (1) God's SPIRIT and WORD, which are the active agents of the miracle, and (2) a receptive VOID, which is necessary to receive a miracle. This is illustrated with a number of examples.
The Sacrifice of Praise is when we thank God before we see the answer or manifestation, based on His Promise and His Name (Hebrews 13:15). This opens up a spiritual highway through which God can move (Psalm 50:23), as seen in Jehoshaphat's victory over a massive enemy army (2Chronicles 20), and Jonah's deliverance from the belly of the great fish (Jonah 2), and what happened to Paul and Silas when they prayed and sung praises in prison at midnight (Acts 16).
The Spirit of Faith is described in 2 Corinthians 4:13: "we (1) BELIEVE and therefore (2) SPEAK." Derek shares about (1) believing God's Word with our heart, and then (2) speaking it forth with our lips.
The Beauty of the Lord is His Holiness - the sum and perfection of His moral attributes. When we trust in God and surrender to Him, He imparts His holiness to us through His Holy Spirit.
One common objection to the claim that it is God's will to heal His people is Paul's THORN in the FLESH. Many say that it was a sickness that God gave Paul to keep him humble, and that when Paul asked to be healed God said 'No.' In this video, Derek proves that this interpretation is wrong. The key questions are: (1) what is Paul's Thorn?, and (2) where did it come from - from God or the devil? The answers are made clear in God's Word. We also explore the significance of God's answer to Paul: "“My GRACE is sufficient for you, for My STRENGTH is made perfect in WEAKNESS.” We also see how this principle was demonstrated in Paul's life, when he was stoned to death.
Israel's sin resulted in her capital city being sieged by the Syrians and experiencing serious famine. When the king repented, Elijah prophesied that within 24 hours, the siege would be lifted and Israel would possess abundant provisions. However, this promise could only come to pass if God's people believed His Word and acted on it. We see how God brought His Word to pass through 4 heroes of faith, namely 4 lepers, who rose up at twilight, and marched their March of Faith to the Syrian camp. When the lepers acted (marched) on the Word of God, then God's power was released. When the 4 lepers marched, God's army marched with them, and as a result, the enemy fled in terror and victory was assured! It was only when they acted in faith, walking on the Word of God, that Heaven marched with them, resulting in total victory and abundant provision. Likewise, for God's promises to be fulfilled in our life, we must rise up out of passivity, and do what God tells us to do, and march our March of Faith. When we arise and march our March of Faith, walking on the Word of God, we are not marching alone, because God and His army will march with us, causing the enemy to flee in terror before us, and bringing us into the full possession of His promise. If the 4 lepers could do it, then so can we!
God wants us to live today to the fullest. God has designed us to live ONE DAY at a TIME. A great life is made up of lots of good days. We need to learn from the past and plan for the future, but we need to learn to LIVE in the NOW. He wants us to focus all our energies into TODAY. The best way you can prepare for tomorrow is by living today well.
In this teaching we look at the healing of a leper (Luke 5:12-15). This is the first of 4 Messianic Miracles, which were specific signs of the Messiah. The others are casting out a dumb spirit, healing of a man born blind, and resurrection after 3 days - the sign of Jonah. The special significance and symbolism of Leprosy in the Bible explains why it was a Messianic Miracle. God uses leprosy to teach us about sin. That's why it was treated differently from all other sicknesses. Leprosy is a picture of sin (Isaiah 1:18), which is why the Bible only talks about the cleansing of a leper. Derek shares how leprosy is a picture of sin. The healing of a leper is a picture of Messiah saving us from sin, for we were all spiritual lepers. Since only Messiah can save us from our sin, it was appropriate that only Messiah can cleanse lepers, which is why it was a Messianic Miracle, so when Jesus healed lepers it was a special sign proving He was the Messiah. The cleansing of the leper in Mark 1:40-44 is a picture of how a sinner receives salvation from the Lord, who is full of compassion for us. 2 chapters are devoted to what the priests should do with lepers. Leviticus 13 told them how to diagnose leprosy. Leviticus 14 told them what to do when a leper was healed. While the priests constantly practiced Leviticus 13, they never practiced Leviticus 14, for no leper was ever healed in Israel! They came to conclude that only Messiah will heal lepers. There was a prescribed Ceremony for leprosy that was ordained in the Leviticus 14, that the priests had to fulfil whenever a leper was healed. When Jesus sent the leper to go to the priests to verify his healing and perform the Ceremony, that was a testimony to them that the Messiah was on the scene. This Ceremony which involved 2 BIRDS. It revealed the basis upon which leper was healed (Leviticus 14:1-7). This Ceremony gives us a wonderful picture of the Atonement of Christ. God is declaring that the cleansing and healing of the leper was accomplished through the Atonement. Since leprosy represents both (1) sin and (2) sickness, this Ceremony shows both (1) that we are CLEANSED from SIN, and (2) that we are HEALED from SICKNESS through the ATONEMENT of Christ. This confirms that Healing is in the Atonement. Healing from sickness and cleansing from sin is only possible through Christ's Atonement - that is what the ceremonial Law of the Leper proclaimed.
Isaiah 12 is a prophetic song describing how New Covenant believers have a spring of everlasting life within them. Derek explains how we can draw water from these springs of salvation by praise, prayer, witnessing, singing and shouting.
After the Rapture, all believers will stand before Christ to give an account of our lives. This is not a judgement to determine our salvation or condemnation, but to receive our eternal rewards. Derek discusses the 4 classic passages on the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10-13, 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, 1 Corinthians 4:2-5, and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
When we received Christ, He (Christ in us) became our firm Foundation (1Corinthians 3:11). In order to build our whole life on Christ, we must develop a strong Devotional Life with Him, in which we put down our roots of faith deep into God, and turn away (repent) from our old life of depending on self. In this way we increase our heart connection with Him. This is where we cultivate our FAITH toward God, and deepen our REPENTANCE from our old dead ways. The whole Christian life is centred on our LOVE relationship with God through Christ. We have been brought into a New Covenant, which operates by us receiving love from God and giving our love to God (Matthew 22:37). A good acrostic for your prayer-life is: A.C.T.S *A = ADORATION – start your prayer time with praise and worship. *C = CONFESSION – when you sin confess it to God (1John 1:9). *T = THANKSGIVING – acknowledge God as the Source of every good thing in your life. *S = SUPPLICATION – don't just pray for yourself, but pray for others too. Our Devotion to God also consists of our public worship in CHURCH. Pat of our honouring God in our life is to worship regularly at a Bible-believing CHURCH that honours Jesus Christ as Lord (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42-46). By cultivating a strong devotional life through Prayer, Bible Study, and Church, we are implementing the first 2 foundational doctrines of Hebrews 6:1-2, developing our FAITH in God, and REPENTING from a life lived independently from God. This is GODLINESS (orienting our life toward God), resulting in more of God's Presence coming into our heart, bringing HOLINESS and TRANSFORMATION (spiritual growth). God changes us from the inside out. He transforms us (metamorphosis), like a butterfly comes forth from within a caterpillar. Transformation is the process of an inner life and reality being manifested outwardly. Likewise, we have the life, love and wisdom of Christ in our spirit through the New Birth, and metamorphosis is the process whereby that new life within us comes into our heart and changes it, so that we can then express it in our life by our words and actions. Pastor Derek completes his message by sharing how God transforms us (John 2:1-10, Romans 12:1-2, 2Corinthians 3:16-18, James 1:23-25).
Galatians 6:16 is a key verse in the theological debate about Israel: "as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, AND upon the Israel of God." Replacement theologians, who teach that the Church has now replaced Israel in God's purposes, point to this verse (in fact this is the only verse to which they can point) and use it to say that the Church is now the Israel of God. This is reflected in the NIV, which substitutes the AND for EVEN, translating it as: "Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, EVEN the Israel of God." However this is an invalid interpretation because the word 'kai' means 'and' rather than 'even' 99.8% of the time. If Paul wanted to imply that the Church was the Israel of God, all he had to do is not write the 'kai' at all. We see that this interpretation also contradicts the consistent use of 'Israel' in the New Testament (with over 70 examples) as meaning the Jewish people and nation. The New Testament was written in a time when both Israel and the Church existed together, and it rightly distinguished between them. It always describes saved and unsaved Gentiles as still being Gentiles', and both saved and unsaved Jews as being part of Israel. Paul however does talk about the subset or remnant of Israel, who are also true believers, as being the true Israel (Romans 2:28, 9:6), so the natural interpretation of what Paul means by 'the Israel of God' is the Jewish believers in Christ or Messianic Jews. This is supported by a plain reading of Galatians 6:15-16: "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a New Creation. And as many as walk according to this rule (salvation by grace through faith), peace and mercy be (1) upon them (saved Gentiles), and (2) upon the Israel of God." In 6:15, he introduces 2 groups - the Circumcision (the Jews) and the Uncircumcision (the Gentiles) - see Galatians 2:7-8, saying that as far as becoming a New Creation (salvation by grace through faith) is concerned, it makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. Then Paul says that all those who live as New Creations in Christ have God's mercy (forgiveness) and peace upon them, whether they be (1) Gentiles or (2) Jews. The fact that he is speaking of 2 groups within the Church is confirmed by the double use of UPON, and the use of 'kai' (AND). Paul describes the saved Gentiles as 'them' because he was a Jew. Paul himself was part of the Israel of God: "the remnant (of Israel) according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). Understanding this removes any basis in Scripture for replacement theology. Since most of the Galatian Church was Gentile, perhaps Paul perceived the danger of the Church becoming anti-semitic and turning against Jewish believers generally, in view of Paul's strong words against the these false Jewish teachers of the law. This is probably why he affirmed 'the Israel of God' in their midst. Paul finishes as he began in Galatians 1 by affirming (1) his apostleship (6:17) and (2) his message (6:18). (1) To establish his apostleship he points to the marks of the Lord Jesus on his body, received through his persecutions, as if to say, since you are so impressed by the outward mark of circumcision, look at my marks, which prove I am a true slave and soldier of Christ, rather than a self-serving man-pleaser, so let no one trouble me any more with attacks on my apostleship (6:17). (2) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit" (6:18) summarises the Gospel of salvation by grace. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord, then as a free-gift, His grace (purchased on the Cross) goes into your spirit, making you a New Creation in Christ, and now that grace continues to work from your spirit, changing you from the inside out. In the Greek, this is followed by 'brethren', reminding them that although he has had to correct them, they are family. This is a final tender appeal, assuring them of his love, holding out his arms to them to be reconciled. Then, by his final word 'Amen' ,he was saying 'let this issue be settled once and for all now.' God indeed used this letter to set the Galatians free from legalism, but this same issue has reared its head again and again in Church history, whenever man-made religion overshadows Divine Grace, and God has used Galatians to set the Church free from legalism so that it can live under grace (for example Galatians was central to the Reformation). The key revelation, the starting point for the whole Christian life, is justification by grace through faith alone (apart from works), and everything else flows out from that truth. Tim, John and Derek conclude their study of Galatians by sharing their favourite scriptures from Galatians.
Paul generally dictated his letters to a scribe, and then wrote the greeting at the end in his own handwriting, to personalise and authenticate the letter. But in Galatians 6:11-18 he wrote his whole conclusion in his own handwriting, using large letters (v11). He clearly wanted to put great emphasis on these final verses. In them, he contrasts the 2 kinds of religion (the 2 ways of salvation and living) represented by his opponents and himself. On the one hand, the legalists promoted a religion of human accomplishment, emphasising the keeping of externals, focusing on the outward form of godliness, but denying its power, making a good showing in the flesh to gain the praise of man, and to avoid persecution (6:12-13). On the other hand, Paul preached the Gospel of Divine achievement (grace), centred on the Cross of Christ, which is is the power of God unto salvation, able to make us New Creations, and change our hearts with the love and grace of God (6:14-15). These 2 ways oppose each other because legalism encourages self-righteousness, but the Cross declares that everything that a man can produce from himself in his external works and law-keeping is only worthy of judgment, and therefore he cannot save himself, because he continually breaks the law of God in his heart (v13). Therefore, preaching the Cross to the self-righteous often results in persecution, because it bursts their bubble. The true faith is based on the Cross, and true believers embrace and boast in the Cross rather than in themselves and their own achievements (6:14), because they know all their righteousness and salvation comes through the Cross of Christ. We are saved through personally receiving Jesus as our Lord and trusting in His perfect work on the Cross. When we trust in Christ for our salvation, we were put (baptised) into Christ; our old man was crucified with Christ and we are risen with Christ as a New Creation - this is a work of God's grace, independent of our works, or whether or not we are circumcised (6:15). This truth of salvation by grace through faith (6:15) is described as the fundamental rule, which characterises and governs the life of all true believers (6:16). That is, our whole christian life flows out from the foundation and well-spring of our salvation by grace through faith. When we accept the Cross and are crucified with Christ, we are born again into the Kingdom of God. This fundamentally changes our relationship with the world, as Paul says: "by whom (Christ and His Cross), (1) the world has been crucified to me, and (2) I have been crucified to the world" (6:14). The Cross created a separation between us and the world. (1) Now we see the true nature of the world through the standpoint of the Cross, as being under God's judgment - so we no longer love the world, or get our values from the world, but instead we find our meaning and value from our relationship with God. (2) Like a man hanging on a cross, we are in this world, but no longer of it (John 17:14-18). We are still alive in this world and it can still tempt us, but we know that we no longer belong here - we are outsiders, not insiders. A crucified man is no longer enmeshed in the world-system. The world can offer him nothing. He knows his time is short here, and he is just passing through, for he is on his way to a different destination. Likewise, through embracing (boasting in) the Cross, we lose our attachment to this world, knowing that our destiny is with God, and so we look for His praise, rather than the world's praise. In this way, Paul contrasts himself with the motives of the egotistical false-teachers. Whereas Paul seeks the praise and glory of God and the triumph of His grace in the lives of the Galatians, his opponents want them to be circumcised, so that they would look good to their fellow Jews (for turning the Galatian believers into Jews), and so be praised by the Jewish world. Therefore, they reject the message of Cross, which glorifies God and condemns all man-made righteousness, because identification with the Cross would mean rejection and persecution from their world.
Galatians 6:7 sets forth the general spiritual law of sowing and reaping: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." This applies to sowing financial seed (6:6), and it also applies to every area of our lives. God has built this law into the nature of reality, like Newton's 3rd Law of action and reaction - whatever you put out will come back on you, both good and bad. The Bible speaks of SEED-TIME and HARVEST (Genesis 8:22) abiding forever. Because there is a time-period between sowing and reaping (harvest), when the seed is invisible, it is possible to be deceived into thinking that our words and actions will have no consequences. God warned Adam and Eve that if they sowed sin they would reap death, but satan deceived them by saying: "You will not die." Your harvest is determined by the quality and quantity of your seed (2Corinthians 9:6). As far as our salvation is concerned, Christ has taken the full curse (harvest) of our sin upon Himself, so that in Him we can eternally enjoy His full harvest of righteousness - the blessing that flows from His perfect life of righteousness, which He sowed. However, in our life on this earth, the law of sowing and reaping still applies to us, in every area of life. We discuss the difference between the penalty and consequences of sin. Even when we are forgiven of a sin, it still carries consequences (Luke 15:31), but thank God for His grace which is able to turn things around for good (Romans 8:28). We either sow our seed (thoughts, words, and actions) to (1) the flesh, from which we reap corruption, or to (2) the Spirit, from which we reap a greater level of everlasting life, both now and eternally (6:8). Jesus said everlasting life is knowing God personally (John 17:13), so the more we sow to the Spirit, the greater will be our fellowship with God, and we will possess and enjoy a greater measure of everlasting life. When interpreting the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said to take heed to what we give our attention, for whatever we focus on will increase in us. Therefore, our first priority should be to keep on hearing and doing God's Word, for it will produce much good fruit in our lives (Mark 4:23-25). "With the same measure (of attention) you use, it (fruit) will be measured to you; and to you who hear (the Word), more (blessing) will be given." Sow a thought, and reap an action. Sow an action and reap a habit. sow a habit and reap character, so character and reap a destiny. Since sowing and reaping is a law, that governs the whole of life, we should not grow weary in sowing to the Spirit in our thoughts, words and deeds, for in due season, we shall surely reap a wonderful harvest (6:9). Whenever we obey God, we (1) reap greater holiness in our soul, making us more receptive to His grace, (2) the grace (blessing) of God is released through us resulting in a harvest of righteousness in our life, and most importantly (3) we will reap eternal rewards. Therefore let us keep fulfilling the Law of Christ, doing good to all, especially to those in the family of God (6:10).
The Foundation of Jesus Christ was laid in us, when we heard and responded in faith to the Gospel of Christ by receiving Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour (1Cor 3:11). Once the Foundation of Christ has been laid, we need to build upon that Foundation by hearing and obeying (doing) the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 7:24-27). The first 2 foundational doctrines in Hebrews 6:1-2: (1) REPENTANCE from dead works, and (2) FAITH toward God, together describe the basis for a whole new way of living, built on a new Foundation - Christ in us. We must REPENT of trusting in ourselves, and instead live by FAITH in the indwelling Christ, trusting in Him as our Foundation and Life-Source. Thus we are to change our whole base of operation from ourselves (our own strength, understanding and soul-life) to the Living God, and His Grace at work within us through the Holy Spirit. The foundational doctrines of repentance and faith do not just apply to our salvation, but to our everyday Christian life (Colossians 2:6). To live by faith in the indwelling Christ, it is necessary to understand the miracle of the rebirth (regeneration) of our spirit, making us a child of God, so Derek shares the Scriptures on the New Birth in John 1:12-13, John 3:3-16, Ephesians 2:1-10, Ezekiel 36:26-27, 2Corinthians 5:17-18, John 4:13-14, 7:38-39, Romans 5:5, Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:24, Philippians 4:13, Galatians 2:20). Now we are born again, we have the choice to walk by the indwelling Holy Spirit or by our flesh, from our independent soul life (Galatians 5:16-18). We either live by faith, under GRACE (living from the grace of God flowing from our spirit), or under LAW (keeping rules and principles in our own strength, living out from our soul, producing dead works) - Romans 6:14. “Jesus said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself (his independent soul life), and take up his cross (God's will), and follow Me (live a life of intimate fellowship with Jesus). For whoever desires to save his soul-life will lose it, but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake will find it (we will find our real life, identity and individuality, through the life of the Spirit)” (Matthew 16:24-25). We only please God, when we submit our souls to live under grace by faith, trusting in the Holy Spirit within us as our life-source. When we walk in the flesh, independent from God, living out from our own souls, in our own strength, we cannot please God, and we only produce dead (useless) works, which have no value to God (Romans 8:2-6). Therefore faith toward God and repentance from dead works (Hebrews 6:1) are the essential first foundational teachings undergirding our whole Christian life. Once we have been born again, we have His Spirit within us, but now we must learn to lean upon God's grace as our base of operation (Romans 8:5). Then we will experience life and peace (v6). If we submit to the abundance of grace that flows through His gift of righteousness, we will reign in life over sin (Romans 5:17). Our spirit is dead to (free from) sin and alive to God, but sin (the sin-nature in our flesh) still wants to reign over us (Romans 6:11-12), but as long as we live under grace (by God's Spirit within us, through faith), sin will not have dominion over us (Romans 6:14). That is, the power of the Spirit is greater than the power of sin in the flesh, so that as we trust and walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). This is confirmed by Romans 8:2: “The law of the Spirit of life (grace) in Christ Jesus makes me free from the law of sin and death." In this way, the righteous requirement of the law (love) is fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (under Grace)” (v4).
In this Series, we study the Foundational Doctrines of Christ. By hearing and doing the teaching of Christ, we build our lives on the ROCK - Christ Himself, the only true and firm foundation (Matthew 7:24-27, 16:18, Isaiah 28:16, 1Corinthians 3:11). Hebrews 5:12- 6:3 define the 7 key Foundational Doctrines of Christ, the Elementary Principles of God, the Milk of the Word, that we need to master before going on to the solid food. This is how our lives are to be built on the Foundation Rock – the Person of Christ. The FOUNDATION of JESUS CHRIST is laid in our lives by the GOSPEL, which reveals who He is, and His love for us, demonstrated by what He did for us in His death and resurrection: “No other FOUNDATION can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST” (1Corinthians 3:11). When we believe the Gospel and receive Christ, the foundation (Christ) is laid (established) in us. Thus, the GOSPEL is the central, entry-level foundational Message of the Bible: “the Gospel of Christ is the Power of God unto Salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). In this video, Pastor Derek shares the Gospel and explains how you can personally receive Jesus Christ and His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. The video ends with a prayer you can pray to receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour. If you need to make sure that you are saved, and will go to Heaven when you die, then please pray this prayer with Pastor Derek, saying it from your heart to God, and you will be saved, for: “ALL who CALL on the Name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be SAVED” (Romans 10:13).
In Galatians 5:13-24, Paul revealed how the Holy Spirit empowers us to fulfil God's Law of Love, and in v25 he applies this to our life together in the Church, saying: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk (march together) in the Spirit." This requires us to not be focused on ourselves, always comparing ourselves and competing with each other, but rather through humility of heart we can enjoy healthy, harmonious relationships (v26). In this way, we should see and support one other as members of the same team, all working together for Christ, and all playing our own special part, like soldiers in an army. In Galatians 6:1-6, Paul develops this military idea by giving a number of specific applications. (1) If a soldier is injured, the others do not gloat over him, but rush to his aid to restore him (v1). (2) If a soldier has an unbearable load, then others will help him to carry it (v2). Likewise, when people are in crisis we should be there for them. (3) If a soldier thinks himself too important to help his fellow soldiers, he is a useless solder (v3). Likewise, if we in pride and have no love, then we are nothing (1Corinthians 13:2). (4) Each soldier must focus on accomplishing the task his commander has assigned to him, and get his satisfaction from that, rather than focusing on other people's business, and gloating over their failures (v4).(5) Each soldier must carry his own load (backpack). Likewise, we must all fulfil our responsibilities, for one day we will have to give an account to the Lord (v5). (6) Each Christian soldier plays an important part in the central work of of the Church - the ministry and propagation of God's Word. Pastoring, teaching, and other evangelistic and missionary ministries require some people to dedicate their working hours to their ministry. But they can only do this successfully is all the others partner with them in the ministry through encouragement, prayer and financial giving (v6). In this way, the whole body works together to glorify Christ and spread His Word. In all these ways, we fulfil the Law of Christ (6:2), which is defined in the New Testament as (1) loving God with all our heart, (2) loving our neighbour (all people) as ourselves, and (3) loving fellow believers in a special way, as Jesus said: "love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34).
Two keys to success in God are (1) connect with His will and grace by having a willing (submitted heart), and (2) when He speaks to you obey with all your heart and refuse to quit, until it is done. Derek illustrates this WINNING ATTITUDE from 2Kings 13:14-25, with special application to Prayer and Intercession.
Both these Psalms reveal the spiritual warfare that is taking place in the time between Christ's Resurrection and Ascension and His Second Coming, and the part that we can play in enforcing His victory, as we represent Him in the earth. We need to learn to operate from His position of victory as we deal with the forces of darkness.
This inspirational Psalm reveals the goodness of the Lord. As we submit to the lord and our Leader and Owner and listen to Him and stay close to Him, He will protect us and lead us into all His covenant provisions. Derek shows how all 8 of the Covenant Names of God are represented in the Psalm. When Jesus said: "I am the Good Shepherd" in John 10, He was claiming to be the fulfilment of Psalm 23. Having died on the Cross (Psalm 22) the risen Lord now leads us into every blessing that He has purchased with His blood (Psalm 23), as we stay close to Him and keep our eyes on Him. this is a great Psalm to declare out loud.
Having compared the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit (v16-23), and described our proper attitude to the flesh (v24), Paul concludes by describing the attitude we should adopt towards the Holy Spirit, saying: "If we (1) LIVE in (receive our life from) the Spirit, let us also (2) WALK in (line with, keep in step with) the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). These describe the 2 keys to bearing the fruit of the Spirit: First (1) we need to realise that in Christ we are born again and the Spirit lives within us, so that He is our continual source (fountain) of life and love. Knowing this we can receive His love into our hearts by faith. Then (2) we are to walk in step with Him in love and obedience, as He leads us (see v18). In so doing, we will release His Spirit, and bear much fruit for His glory. We will know His Presence abiding within and upon us, filling our hearts and lives. Walking in step with Him describes a disciplined life of obedience to the leadership of the Spirit, as we seek to honour Him. A great example of walking in step with the Spirit is Israel marching into their Promised Land. We look at God's instructions to Israel in Joshua 1, where He says He had already given them the Land (by covenant), but that He would also give it to them in their experience as they walked step by step with Him into the Land. He promised that His Presence was with them to lead them into the Land to possess it, so that as they followed Him every place they placed their feet would become theirs. As long as they obeyed His leadership, His Presence was with them, and they enjoyed good success in possessing their Land. Again and again, He told them to be (1) strong (in faith, through meditating in the Word) that He was with them and leading them to victory, and (2) courageous (to obey His leading), and then they would see His power at work and His provision. This is a picture for us, for God has given each of us a Promised Land of blessing, and He is leading us step by step into our Land, so that as we follow Him, He will give it to us in our experience. We share some exciting archaeological discoveries from Israel that confirm the Biblical account, especially Gilgal and the Footprints of Yahweh, leading up to Joshua's altar on Mount Ebal (near Shechem), where also a highly significant discovery has recently been made of a curse tablet from the time of Joshua, written in ancient Hebrew, mentioning the name of Jehovah twice, confirming Deuteronomy 11:26-29, 27:11-26, and Joshua 8:30-35. The picture of us walking in step with the Spirit, evokes the image of a disciplined army under its commanding officer. This implies we do not just walk in step with the Lord under His command, but also in step with each other, maintaining our unity in the bond of love. Likewise, Israel possessed her Land through following the Lord all together in unity. Paul then develops this corporate aspect of walking in step with the Spirit in Galatians 5:26 - 6:5, starting with "Let us not become conceited (vainglorious), provoking one another, envying one another" (v26). When our flesh rules us, we become proud and self-centred, comparing and competing with one another, either asserting our superiority or feeling inferior. Either way this poisons our relationships and we become out of step with each other. In an army, when a soldier falls, the others help him up, likewise we should gently restore those who fall, rather than gloat over them (6:1). Likewise, when one soldier has to carry a weight too heavy for him, the others will help him lift it. Likewise, when people are overwhelmed, we should be ready to help and so fulfil the law of Christ - love (v2). We should not think of ourselves as too important to help others (v3). We should not compete with one another, but rather focus on carrying our own responsibilities (load), for in the end, God will judge each of us according to how well we have fulfilled His will for our own life (v4-5).
We continue our study of the 9-fold fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, the character of Christ that the Holy Spirit is forming within us, as we are led by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. The first 3 (love, joy, peace) are primarily to do with our relationship with God, the next 3 (long-suffering, kindness, goodness) describe out attitude toward others, and the final 3 (faithfulness, meekness, self-control) describe who we are in relationship to ourselves. Having studied the first 3 last time, we complete our study of the fruit of the Spirit by discussing "long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness), and self-control." We describe these wonderful qualities, which together fulfil all the requirements of the Law of God, which is why Paul concludes by saying: "against such (fruit) there is no Law" (v23). We also explore the meaning of what Paul means by saying that believers have crucified the flesh (v24). God's verdict and judgment on our flesh is crucifixion, which has been accomplished in Christ. Believers accept and agree with God that our flesh cannot be improved or rehabilitated, and so is only deserving of death. Therefore, knowing that our flesh is sinful by nature and cannot contribute anything good, we have put all our trust instead in Christ for our righteousness and salvation, and in His Spirit of grace for our sanctification. Thus we have no confidence in our flesh for our salvation and life. Although we have submitted to God's revelation and nailed our flesh to the Cross with Christ (metaphorically), so that its death is inevitable; like a crucified criminal, it is still alive and wants to express itself. So, although we decisively repented from trusting in ourselves, when we trusted in Christ for our salvation, we must daily maintain this decisive attitude toward our flesh (Luke 9:23), seeing it as sinful, rightly crucified under God's judgment, and therefore refusing to pander to it, yield to it, and give it the right of expression in our lives. In conclusion, Galatians 5:16-25 says that in order to walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit, we must consistently choose to say: 'Yes' to the Holy Spirit, and 'No' to the flesh.