AFM Ministry's David Shelton

David's Life applications of God, his Word and his calling

Month: December, 2013

How to avoid sin. Where light exists darkness cannot.

So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.  (1Pet 4:1-2 NET)

question for thought.   Are you concerned about the will of God? Really?

There are different interpretations as to exactly what the Spirit means for us in this passage. Some think it has to do with the believer having power over sin in Christ which certainly is true and partly what is being said; and others say more likely it is  when we endure suffering for Christ we show our purpose is to not live for self, but for God, which also is a truth this passage conveys.

Yet even beyond these I see an important even more practical message of God being taught here that some miss.

Peter says to arm yourselves with the same way of thinking as Christ who suffered in the flesh…and then tells us these things. He is giving us practical way to avoid sin and self-living. Instructions to a new way to think. (remember context is important to know the proper interpretations of what someone is saying)

He goes on to say that one who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. Is he saying once we suffer for Christ we become sinless? It seems to say that at first glance. But no.  He is speaking of practical theory here. He is telling us how to be like Christ and be a conquerer of sin in a practical way, a ‘mindset’ we should take on so we can be more holy in our living. He said take on this attitude. You see?
He continues…  “so as to live our remaining life in this flesh not for human fleshly passions but for the will of God.” Then in verses following he gives practical examples of what living for self looks like…. Sensuality, drunkenness, wild partying, lawless idolatry and such debauchery.  Peter is saying we must make our daily choices to live for the will of God and not for our natural desires, and in doing so we will not sin. This is taking the offense, not the defense against sin and the old flesh.
The secret to an overcoming life like that of Christ, is to put God first in all things. Where light exists darkness cannot.
Pray to him every moment in total dependence like Jesus did while on earth. Jesus is our human example in how to manage fleshly temptations to live for self. We must learn to deny self by filling our every moment with God and his will for our lives at the that moment.
Yes this is the greatest suffering for Christ that we will ever do. Outward persecutions are easier to bear than those daily, gnawing, cravings of the old flesh from within to live in prideful self ruler-ship and to set submission to God aside. But Peter is telling us that denying self and pursing God in Christ will keep us in pure holy living, thus avoiding sin. Give no room for the flesh. This is wisdom. So while I am choosing to suffer purposely for Christ by denying self, sin is being put to death in my body.
Here in is how the old American proverb is held true. “Idle hands are the devil’s so workshop.”

Purpose today to do more things solely in the Spirit’s leading. Avoid idleness and look for ways to serve God by serving others in Jesus’ name. Fill your days and life with the Light, and the darkness of sin will have no place to reside.

“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord” (Ps 119:9-12a)

In essence God is telling us through Peter’s words that seeking God with our whole heart is how we guard our hearts from sin. Listening to him and following him is our pathway to live holy and not sin against him. Will we fail at times? Yes, we are human. But in the grace of Christ with his ever cleansing blood, humbly we can continue on and do even better as though we are pure and holy before God… because in Jesus Christ, we are!
Seek him and avoid sins of the flesh. That… is living in the Spirit.

May the Spirit of Emmanuel fill you this holiday season. They you will indeed have a Merry Christmas. God bless you.

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LGBT people who repent can have the forgiveness of God.

AMNESTY! AMNESTY! God’s loving offer of amnesty through Jesus Christ the Son is available to all. No matter how “minor” or “horrible” a sinner you are! All sin will banish you from the holiness of God forever and make you face his eternal wrath. God patiently waits to allows people to come to see his love and truth. Homosexuality is clearly one of the most hideous sins listed in the Word of God.  But as always has been and always will be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with REPENTANCE. Jesus Christ preached, “Repent and Believe the Good News” (Mk 1:15) This means we must agree with God what is sin and turn from it. Once we agree and turn to Christ from the sin, Jesus Saves. Only then.
I am not here to gay bash, I love all people from all races, but I refuse to condone any sin as acceptable before man or God… but to clarify in the most loving way possible the truth so you too can be FREE and no longer a slave to sin!   All behaviors are controllable, you are not an animal, but made in the image of God. God will provide the way for those who really seek him.
You cannot both have God and your sins. The two are opposites. You cannot redefine what is sin and what is not sin, try as you may, that too is sin. All throughout God’s teachings sodomy is called sin and one that the Israelites were even told to punish with the death penalty in the old testament Levitical law. New testament teachings are likewise revealing that it is a perversion of God-given sexuality between husband and wife male and female.  All sex outside of this God ordained marriage covenant is sinful and a perversion and likewise is an offense to the holiness of God. Yes all sex outside of marriage is a perversion of God also. It is sin. So is uncontrolled lust of the mind.

The LBGT community of homosexuals must repent from the sins of sodomy just like I had to repent from the sins of being a womanizer with sexual lusts and perversions in order to find peace with God.  I was born with the natural desire to lust, and to commit all sorts of wickedness! But being born with that desire does not make it good or right!  So please do not try to excuse your sin by saying you were born that way. Serial killers say the same thing, claiming it is just the way they are!

This is true of every human being because like the prophet and king David spoke under Holy Spirit inspiration, in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” and as Scripture declares,  “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10)
And we all will die and face God on judgment day to give account of our actions and lives. No one person escapes or will have their friends to cheer them on in their old tired excuses.
For is is appointed unto man once to die and after that Judgement. (Heb 9:27)

There is no room for pride and smugness on anyone’s part here!  If you are human you are likewise a sinner in need of repentance and salvation.  We all are but by the grace of God one moment away from judgment and hell if we have not chosen to submit to God and follow Christ. Christ followers are not sin free, but saved by grace and struggling to overcome their sin natures  because they have chosen to agree with God what is right and good and to follow him… ( no matter what your vice may be).  God wants to free us from the power of our sin nature and he can do that with anything he calls sin, even homosexuality or wanton lust of the mind by “straight” people. Jesus came to set us free and in him we gain exactly that. But you must choose to accept him on God’s terms, not your own.

repentance

To clarify, Repentance, or turning from a sin does not mean you do not struggle with it and fight the temptations to do it, nor that you will be perfect in keeping from it always, but it means you in your heart  and actions agree God is right and that you must follow him and not your own fleshly urges. God then gives the power to overcome and leave the life of sin. But power from God comes through his Holy Spirit to those who repent and receive Christ as “Lord God”, Master of your life…. not as some good luck life insurance genie who magically waves a wand over your sins and allows you to keep on sinning.

Salvation comes through really accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, believing that his bloody death on the cross was payment for your sins before God’s holy righteous requirement and that his resurrection from death to bodily alive to the throne of God was evidence of new life and power available to you. Jesus says we must agree with God, turn from our sins and follow him. If you are willing and say ” Yes Lord Jesus” then you will be set free by this truth also.

Jesus said “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

If you stop fighting God and surrender to Christ you can find real rest and peace. Come to Jesus. Find life.

baptism that saves you?

In my current Bible study time through 1Peter I have come across this section of scripture that has often been misunderstood and even among many good Bible scholars and students will still stir up some disagreement as to it’s proper meaning. Yet it is still something we should seek to understand it’s proper meaning. Context within all of scripture is very helpful to keep us away from spurious interpretations that lead to bad theology and living. Here is the text. 1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”

While I think Peter could have worded this passage a little differently to make our understanding more clear, herein are some great truths that align with other Scripture to help us see the beauty of what God wants us to hear and apply. This too is Spirit inspired Holy Word of God, so God had a reason to cause us struggle a bit with the passage. So let us think about it.

Two big questions that arise are how did the spirit of Christ preach to the lost in the days of Noah? And is Peter now saying we are saved by baptism? Clues are given within immediate context and greater Biblical context, so this is where it benefits us to know our Bibles and its revealed history.
Does not the Bible teach us that prophets of God preached as they were moved by the Spirit of God? (ref 2 Peter 1:21). Is not the Holy Spirit also referred to as the Spirit of Christ? (ref ROM 8:9 where the titles are used interchangeably) God is triune, one in essence and yet three in person.  So when the Father speaks you are hearing the spirit of Christ speak, and when Christ speaks you are hearing from the Holy Spirit. They are One.
Some people have wrongly viewed this passage as meaning Jesus went into hell or Sheol and preached to the lost trapped there due to their disobedience. This is not at all what is being taught here. First of all that would be pointless. They have died and clearly Scripture teaches it is appointed to everyone once to die, then judgment (ref Heb 9:27). There no benefit to then be preaching to the dead, and this would not be in alignment with the justice of God that speaks to all men’s consciences prior to their finality of death, from which our choices in life are sealed.  They have their just reward. But based in the context of scripture clearly understanding the other facts I have just mentioned, Jesus Christ was preaching to the disobedient and lost in Noah’s days through Noah, his prophet and servant. The context here is said “God’s patience waited in the days of Noah”, thus giving us the time of when Christ’s spirit was preaching to them. They received their due warnings and through Noah.
This passage Peter is paralleling to is the one in which Jesus began his earthly preaching ministry also. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18.  Notice in it the same phrase of “preaching to the spirits in prison” and how this is exactly what he said was being fulfilled in his ministry on earth when reading Isaiah 61 ” to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”. He was speaking of us…of those living and yet to live who were captives to Satan spiritually because of our sin nature and how his mission is to set us free from sin and death, to unlock our or prison cells spiritually and bring us into the kingdom of light and freedom! This preaching of the the salvation of God has been his message even before Abraham. The Spirit of Christ formed the cosmos and even today holds everything together by his divine power!
So all Peter is saying is that Christ preached to the lost through Noah.

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Why is he referring to Noah? This leads to the second complicated concept here.  Peter is about to relate to us how this same spirit by which Christ was raised is  proclaimed in our baptisms. Some say it is the baptism of the Spirit he is telling us that is now saving us (which is in essence is true,  but not specifically spoken about here), but the illustration is one of being saved by water.  Like the 8 saved in Noah’s day by water, so too we are saved today by Baptism.   He is talking about water baptism (not just spirit baptism). Remember context is king.  Now does he mean we are saved by water Baptism directly?  Well obviously not, because he says clearly “not by the washing of dirt from our bodies”, but he brings it back to the simple truth by saying as “an appeal to God for a good conscience through Christ’s resurrection” .  You see, as is true throughout scripture., Faith…obedient faith through the power of Christ is what saves us. Its always been about hearing God and obeying. Water Baptism does not save us, but real faith that follows Christ does. Baptism by water is a command for the faithful.  Even Jesus our Master was baptized as an example that we too should follow him.  When is a person saved? When they truly believe. Then they cross over from death to life. So some will never make it to the waters of baptism before death and still will enter into paradise, but this is not the norm.
How do we know if a person is a Believer? They obey Christ.
But for one who has ability to be an obedient follower of Christ and never has proclaimed their allegiance and death to self and new resurrected life in Christ through water baptism.  About all I can say to you is what Christ has said.

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven – Matthew 10:32 ESV

How does a person acknowledge Jesus before men? With your lips only? No, with what you say and how you obey. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus. So a clear conscience before God is made by taking this step of faith and being baptized into Christ in water showing others you now seek to kill the sin nature daily and live in the resurrection of life following Jesus.  Just as hearing and obeying was considered faith that saved Noah and the other 7 by water, so likewise baptism by the Spirit of Christ is shown in your life by hearing and obeying his commands, including the mark of all Christ’s disciples, water baptism.  Being baptized is essential to the obedient Christian life.  Jesus taught his disciples to teach every thing he “commanded”. Why? Because his followers want to obey …and his true ones will.
Are you his follower?
Have you been baptized?
Why not?

United States Citizens. A word from God. Honor president Obama.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the President. – 1 Peter 2:16-17

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As people of Christ, the true servants of God, we must take heed to these words of the Spirit given to us. In Christ we are set free from the bondage of the law, of sin and death! We still have our old flesh and sin nature we are working to perfect more like Christ and so we mess up and fail to be like God in many ways….Yet we are free from the consequences of our deserved punishment because of the purifying blood of Christ shed for us! This is a glorious thing! We are indeed free to live as Children of God, forgiven and humble before him. Yet never forgetting He is a holy God, a consuming fire…even in the overwhelming glorious love and grace, he still demands our hearts to come be aligned with his. We must not allow our freedom from sin and death to be a means by which to excuse sin, but rather use it as a tool and means to fight it all the more! We must never forget that but by the grace of God, we would be facing his terrible and eternal WRATH! Do not ever forget. You are saved from your own evil desires and inclination towards evil. Live as servants of the Most High God. This God of glory wants us to respect and honor everyone. To deeply love the brotherhood of Beleivers, by doing life and service with them and making them the priority of your life. And yes, God wants you to honor your president, and leaders. You and I are to not talk about president Obama in a disrespectful and demeaning way. If your disagree with his politics (of which I do in most every instance), you are not to take part in verbally or visually using disrespectful words and tones. Not only that, you must Honor him for his position and office he holds over us all. Many Christians are sold out to the devil on how they speak about our Leaders. How can we as Christians expect God to bless our nation with revival when we all live as hypocrites before Almighty God?!  Evil or good, he is where He is because God has ordained it so for the time. So let’s live as holy Saints of God and use kindness and respect towards all, especially weighing carefully the way we speak about our political opponents who hold office over us. This is not an option, but a command of God. You cannot pick and choose how you want to follow God. Blessings come to the faithfully obedient.