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THE SPIRIT WILL NOT CONVICT FOREVER

Genesis 6:3 – Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

This pronouncement of God is prior to the flood that destroyed all mankind except for Noah and his family. God saw Noah as a righteous man. God reveals in our scripture for today that His Spirit had to deal with sin at some point. The sixth chapter of Genesis reveals how God determined that man had 120 years to repent and begin to serve God’s purpose. He chose to use Noah as His instrument to call man to salvation by the construction of the ark. Men laughed at Noah, but when the ark was finished, God’s judgment came quickly.

Paul helps us understand that God is still dealing with mankind’s rebellion. “God is now declaring to all men that all people everywhere should repent because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed” (Acts 17:30-31).  That man is God’s own Son who came to bear the sins of the world and take on Himself the wrath of God. Jesus’ atoning work is what caused God the Father to make this statement through Paul. There is a day which God has fixed to judge all those who refuse to repent by changing their mind and submitting to God’s Spirit who has come to transform all those who trust in Christ.

Jesus is God’s ark of safety for mankind from God’s judgment when it finally comes. That judgment will not be by water, but a rain of fire as God has declared. “By His Word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). Repentance is a lifestyle that allows the Holy Spirit to point out areas where God wants us to change our thinking and actions. Allow the Spirit to reveal Christ in your thinking and how you might live life before God and this generation.

What does the Spirit of God desire to speak with you about in regard to your thinking and the way you live as a son or daughter of God? He is always close to bring fresh insights, so our minds might be renewed after His.   

FLESH AND SPIRIT

John 3:6 – That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus explained to Nicodemus the two types of birth. One is a birth that is generated by the flesh or through the human reproductive process that God initiated at the creation. Because of sin, man lost his standing of righteousness before God, and came under the judgment of God. Man had a desperate need for something to save him from his lost condition.

Jesus came to provide a way of salvation for mankind. Through the Holy Spirit man could be born again. A “new” creation would begin through Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus this second birth would be a work of the Spirit. Through the new birth, we are once again brought back into a relationship with God. When born again, we have a “right standing with God.” It is a birth that the Holy Spirit initiates. As we allow His work in our lives, He matures us into the image of Christ. His mandate is to empower believers to grow up in Christ so that He might be revealed in everything we do.

Paul speaks both about the man of the flesh and the spiritual man when writing to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. The man of the flesh is the person who tries to serve God from his own reasoning. Paul says that this one is an “infant in Christ.” Paul goes on to say that he had to give them “milk” rather than solid food because “they could not receive it.”  The “new birth” is not unlike the natural birth as it relates to babes and mature individuals. We begin as an infant, but the hope is that we will grow up into Christ by becoming a “spiritual man,” in other words, one that is led by the Holy Spirit. This can only come about as we develop a relationship with the Spirit of God. He leads us to the Word of God with the purpose of washing our minds from the fleshly way of thinking to a “spiritual” way of thinking and biblical application in our daily life.

Where are you in the process of change? Are you still fleshly in your thinking and practices or are you developing as a spiritual man or woman?  Is Christ being revealed in your thoughts and practices?

BECOMING AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE

John 3:5 – Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

The key to entering the kingdom of God is the Spirit of God. It is the Holy Spirit who carries the mandate to bring forth in the earth a “new creation.” The natural man does not receive the Spirit of God because the kingdom is spiritual and not natural. Many try reasoning in their minds how to be accepted by God. This is the height of folly because God will not allow any to know Him and His ways simply through natural reasoning. All of the world religions are based upon self-effort in trying to reach God. The basis of the “faith once delivered to the saints” is rooted in God reaching out to us. He has done this through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit caused the Christ child to be formed in Mary’s womb. It was the Spirit who came upon Jesus at His baptism. It was the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to heal the sick and cast out demons. The Holy Spirit strengthened the Lord Jesus to endure the cross for each of us. Finally, the Father promised Jesus that the Holy Spirit would be given to all who would believe in Him.

Nicodemus, a religious leader in Israel, came to Jesus in the dark of night. He knew in his heart that Jesus had been sent by God, confirmed by the signs that followed Jesus’ life.  Nicodemus only knew the Law as a way to God. Jesus began to share that the true way of entrance into the kingdom of God was through a new birth, and not by attempting to keep the Jewish Law. Jesus told Nicodemus that it is by water and the Spirit that one must be born again. Water speaks of the natural birth process. Baptism was not a new thought to the Jews, for they had many kinds of baptisms. Being born of the Spirit was a new dimension for this Pharisee to grasp.

Many try entering into a relationship with God through various kinds of religious works. But Jesus’ words help us understand that only by the Spirit of God can one be “born into the Father’s Kingdom.” Today, are you resting fully upon a relationship with the Holy Spirit for your entrance and life in the Kingdom of God? Or is it self-effort and natural reasoning which drives you toward spiritual things?

Our greatest need is to increase our dependence upon God’s Spirit. He wants us to let go of all self-effort and fully embrace a relationship of intimacy with Him. God, as promised to Jesus, has sent His Spirit to be received by all those who have chosen to put their trust in the Lord Jesus. If you have been “born of the Spirit,” then get to know Him in ever deepening ways. Always inquire of His will and direction in your life. Learn to discern His voice in your inner man.

Father, I ask for an increase in my awareness of the need for Your Holy Spirit’s presence. I ask that I might be led more by Your Spirit and less by my own natural reasoning in my day-to-day life.

BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In the beginning, it was God that formed man. God is the divine architect of life.  His purpose was not to have a design to look upon and admire as an art form, but to have a “living” man who would do His will on the earth. It was God’s “breath” that gave man life.  The word “spirit” means “breath.” God breathed into man and man came to life.

The divine creator is still breathing into mankind. In the first creation, man became a “living soul.”  Man’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden brought sin, separation, and darkness.  God has chosen to create a “new creation” out of the sinful chaos of the fallen creation.  It is what the apostle Paul was speaking concerning the new self when he states, “Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:24).

If you are “in” Christ, you are a “new creation.”  The work of God’s Spirit is to breathe upon all those that receive God’s Word and recreate Christ in them. Paul said, “We once knew Christ after the flesh, but now we know Him no more that way, rather we now know Him after the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 5:16).  The first disciples walked with Christ as He lived in an earthly body.  We have believed in Him as the Son of God in the flesh that died on the cross.  The Spirit of God raised Him from the dead and He is now alive through the Spirit.  We can only know Christ by the Spirit of God. Let Him breathe new life into you today. God’s will is for us to daily receive a new infilling of His Holy Spirit.  Sometimes we need to be filled many times in a day.

Father, reveal to me if I am allowing the Holy Spirit to fill me as much as You desire.  I know that I need a fresh infilling of Your power and presence each and every day.  I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me today and throughout this year for the glory of God.

FROM CHAOS TO LIGHT

Genesis 1:2-3 – The Earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light” and there was light.

As the earth was “formless and void,” so too are we before God speaks.  Darkness was over the surface of the deep. Is your life without form and void?   Do you feel void of purpose, trying to understand why you exist? Many wrestle with who they are and why they exist.  Many feel a sense of purposelessness.

As it was in the natural creation, the Spirit of God is moving over the surface of people’s lives. He has come to speak the Word of God into the life of individuals and nations.  The same Word of God that brought order out of chaos and light to the natural creation in the beginning wants to bring order to our lives and reveal God’s purpose in us.  He has come to bring forth a new creation out of the old.  This is what Paul meant when he said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Today, many are full of confusion, emptiness, and without purpose.  The darkness of sin rules in their life choices.  Each area can be brought into the light of God’s Word through the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. God gave His Word in human form when He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Spirit of God is waiting for individuals to receive the spoken Word.  God’s word can be made flesh in our lives as well. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).  The Holy Spirit is present, helping men and women come to the Light of God revealed in His Word and manifested through the Lord Jesus Christ. Some need to receive the initial salvation of forgiveness and the new birth.  Others have come to Christ, yet they still have areas in their lives that are bound by darkness.  The Holy Spirit came to set the captives free and bring fruitfulness in lives that are surrendered to God’s plan. Let us be fruitful by fulfilling God’s plan in our life.

Ask the Holy Spirit to remove chaos from your life and replace it with His order.  Give Him permission to search all parts of your life and reveal any darkness by exposing it to His light.

THE FINAL VICTORY

Revelation 22:7 – Behold I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.

Eight times in the first three chapters of Revelation Jesus speaks of events which will quickly take place. In the last chapter of Revelation, Jesus declares these events “must soon take place” (22:6), I am coming quickly” (22:7), “the time is near” (22:10), and “I am coming quickly) 22:12. Is it possible there might be a clue for John and the churches of that day that something apocalyptic was about to take place?

Today, many hold to a popular view about the Book of Revelation that all the symbolism in the book is about future events that are still yet to take place. In this brief devotional, we do not have time to explore the entire book of Revelation, but consider the ten times Jesus strongly implies, “soon to take place.” This great prophetic book establishes the absolute victory of Christ over His enemies. There are three enemies which are symbolized. They are the false religious leaders among the Jews, Jerusalem with its governmental structure which had killed the prophets, where Jesus was crucified, directed the persecution of believers, and the world systems and philosophies represented in the Roman Empire.

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16). Jesus states that this writing is for the seven churches mentioned in chapter 2 and 3. He was preparing them for the soon-coming events symbolized in Revelation when He would come and judge all His enemies. What hope and blessing is ours as we look back on history and see the fulfillment of all that Jesus declared. We look forward with great hope and expectation of His physical return after finishing His Great Commission, “Go into the entire world and preach the good news.” The devil does not win, we do!

The sign of the Kingdom was seen in the first century church as Christ judged His enemies in 70 AD. The present day outpouring of the Holy Spirit being experienced around the world is preparing believers for the harvest of the nations. Jesus’ literal return is the next great event on God’s calendar when time will be no more.

Let us devote ourselves fully to the Lord and His agenda. There are many books that help to define God’s purposes in clear terms. The most important book is the Bible. The enemy tries to keep us from immersing ourselves in the Scriptures. He tries to confuse our minds with natural reasoning. He has always tried to divide Christ’s body in order to suppress the power of heaven manifested in a united redeemed community filled with the Holy Spirit. Remind yourself of what our Lord accomplished through first century believers and His judgments upon His enemies. Remember saints that the final victory lies before us and the Holy Spirit is our Helper who will never leave us. AMEN!