// The following mini-sermon is rather lengthy, but it is my heartfelt message to those who are “burdened and seeking rest” from the trials and tribulations of life. Jesus Christ can give you peace and rest for, “His yoke is easy and His burden is light and you will find rest for your soul,” Matthew 11:28-30 paraphrased. I have placed my mini-sermon on both my blog site (www.spirit.theindwelling.org) and my web site (www.theindwelling.com). It is my sincere hope that you will prayerfully read and if felt to respond will do so. I enjoy reading testimonies and life journey stories of those who have found joy in their hearts through the acceptance of the Gospel Message. All responses are considered confidential and will not be shared with anyone. Thanks! //
Resurrection Morning: What do you believe?
I am going to do some meddling in this my “Easter Message” for 2016 to all my beloved friends. It is my hope that you will accept it in the spirit of love and not in the spirit of hate or bigotry.
As Christians throughout the world pause to celebrate Easter or Resurrection Sunday (the resurrection of Jesus Christ), the majority will simply remove Jesus Christ from His tomb for a moment of remembrance while the minority will faithfully worship and proclaim Him as their risen Savior. For those who do not yet claim or possess Him, now would be a good time to consider Jesus’ deity and His offer of forgiveness of sin and His promise of eternal life before you once more returned Jesus to His tomb for “another year of rest?”
On many occasions I have been privileged to hear the testimonies of Foreign Missionaries and stories of how their fears were removed once they surrendered totally to the Holy Spirit. To be afraid is a natural human emotion that all experience. I was ashamed and afraid to share my testimony for an extended period of time in my life while professing to myself that I was a “born again Christian.” I refer to that time as my closet Christian period and use www.twitter.com/closetchristian as my twitter account login to remind myself of that time. One day my eyes were opened, and I could see His light shining through the cracks around my closet door. I opened my door and allowed Jesus Christ to enter and life has not been the same since.
I can testify that you will remain afraid to publicly proclaim the name of Jesus as long as you seek to witness in the reliance of your own human power. But, there is a better way, and that way is to let the Holy Spirit within you be your guide and confidant. Today my testimony is simply this: Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, died on a Roman cross for my sins and was resurrected from death, and will one-day return to take me to my heavenly home. My Journey has been long and to tell of my journey takes time. However, my journey is not my testimony, but only the pathway I have trod through life. I have written extensively about my pathway of life and use my journey experiences as the Holy Spirit directs.
But before we continue, it would be helpful if you profess to be a Christian to answer the following questions (Be honest with yourself and with God): Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior? Was your life changed when you accepted the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ? Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you accepted the Gospel Message? If you received the Holy Spirit, have you surrendered your self-will and are you allowing the Holy Spirit to impart to you wisdom, knowledge and spiritual guidance? Have you had an encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed your life? If the answer is “NO” to each question or to any question for that matter, you may want to reconsider your salvation experience—it may have been an emotional experience rather than a life changing born again salvation experience.
Every believer that accepts the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many new Christians are never told explicitly how the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is manifested in their lives and therefore never claim His awesome power. You may be a new Christian or a “seasoned Christian veteran in longevity,” but you may lack spiritual power and have been or are presently ineffective because you were never discipled. That is, you were never taught how to accept, recognize or hear the various mediums used by the Holy Spirit and spiritually claim His power.
Whether you are a relatively new or older Christian in your walk, it is not too late to return and find forgiveness and to allow the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling to change the dynamics of your life from relying on your human nature and its frailties to relying solely upon the Holy Spirit. Repentance and revival can refresh a stale or non-active spiritual relationship.
Start your new journey by rededicating your life to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. Then, pray with confidence that God hears you and that God will answer your prayers. Praying is simply talking to God. You can do it anytime and anyplace and the more you do the more it will become second nature to you. Once you begin your prayer life in earnest you’ll always be “twittering in prayer” with God through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Do not do all the talking but learn to listen; listening for God’s revealing moments is learned by practice. As a new Christian or as a seasoned veteran, God’s indwelling will not take you where you have not been prepared to go or to where the “situation” may not have been prepared in advance (By prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit) for your coming.
One of the more important aspects of your preparation must also include Bible study. One must absorb the scriptures and dwell upon them. The Holy Spirit will not only use passages from your Bible reading and study to direct, comfort, instill wisdom and knowledge, but He will also bring to your mind remembrances and examples of how to live a righteous life.
There are probably endless ways in which the Holy Spirit interacts with true followers of Jesus Christ. God’s Spirit works within the boundaries of your human abilities although supernatural abilities may be given as the Spirit determines for the situation at hand—personal indwelling or church ministry calling perhaps.
The personal indwelling aspect is simply the Holy Spirit working within each believer to conform them, through the Sanctification process, to becoming more like Christ. The church ministry callings—teachers, ushers, deacons, and so forth—are supernatural “talents” or perhaps existing natural abilities in leadership skills made available to build the body of Christ—the Church—on earth. Scriptures teach that within the body of Christ believers are given spiritual gifts to accomplish the mission He sets forth. You can read about these spiritual gifts in Corinthians. Christians will be given these gifts as the Spirit so discerns. Just as each individual is indwelled by the Holy Spirit each church is also indwelled by Holy Spirit filled believers (individuals) and the Holy Spirit Himself who implants the mission ordained for them by God.
Church groups are not good at helping their members recognize their spiritual gifts that are to be used within their church fellowship. They generally confine their help in the form of Spiritual Gift Questionnaires that seek to identify “gifts” based upon input from those completing questionnaires. It would be my suggestion to let God identify your abilities to you rather than depending upon questionnaires that are to some extent biased toward the human attributes rather than the spiritual. In other words, your human nature is prone to exaggerate or deemphasize traits as they seek to self-identify areas of opportunity that they either want to do or chose not to do.
God speaks through the Holy Spirit in many ways. In my case, I may be merrily working away when suddenly an inner voice suddenly but gently says, “Speak!” Speak to the situation at hand in other words. For instance, you may be in a grocery line, in a group meeting, or sitting silently reading when you hear a command that might take the form of a sudden prodding to engage someone in conversation, call someone on the phone or stop what you are doing and start doing what your inner voice tells you to do—maybe immediate prayer for someone. Do not simply dismiss the thought or talk yourself out of doing what has been commanded. Step out in faith and simply do what the Spirit was leading you to do. As you train yourself in listening you will began to recognize the Spirits interactions and become better able to discern between the Holy Spirit and worldly spirits.
Believers are reminded to test the spirits that manifest themselves. If you are ever wooed to follow or accept a principal outside the teachings of Biblical Scriptures (the Bible), do not follow the spirit’s lead as it is a deceptive spirit of Satan. As you positively respond to the Holy Spirit and learn to distinguish unholy spirits, you will begin to listen more intently and with purpose and more importantly, you will learn to listen to the True Spirit of God. Ultimately you will be drawn closer to God in Spirit and in Truth.
Another way the Spirit may speak is through the interpretation or recalling of Biblical scriptures as described earlier. You may be reading from the Bible when a scripture you may have read many times suddenly takes on a new meaning, to you, that reveals a spiritual revelation or interpretation of a once unclear scripture. However, before scriptures can be brought to your mind, you have to have actually been a reader of the Bible. How many Christians fail to study the scriptures much less even read from their Bibles on a routine basis? As has been written by other authors, the Bible is the Christian’s roadmap that contains wisdom and knowledge of both the spiritual and physical aspect of life. Of course, the Bible will just be another book to those who have not been drawn to Christ.
It is impossible for me to list all the ways the Holy Spirit may speak to an individual. While we are all unique in our mental and physical attributes, the Holy Spirit will speak in terms that anyone who has claimed the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ can understand. It may be that an unsettling restlessness within you may be the Holy Spirits means of getting your attention or drawing you to a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. As you learn to exercise your Godly Spirit it will become stronger and stronger until one day you will be truly walking with God in your daily life. I think this is what Paul had in mind when he wrote that believers should work out their salvation.
It is being reported that many Muslims are coming to Christ as a result of dreams they have where the Jesus of the Bible calls upon them on a personal level. You may experience a similar encounter with God—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Never underestimate the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. However, do not fall prey to “New Age” type movements that seek to invoke or call up spirits that you can see and interact with on a spiritual plane that deny Jesus Christ and Biblical teachings.
Biblical Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. Silence is not an option for these Christians. Their faith must be shared despite the possible loss of family members and friends. At the final call—death—the only thing that will matter is whether Jesus Christ was declared to be Lord and Savior by you in your life.
Jesus Christ is the Biblical Christian’s High Priest. Jesus is the only way to God, and Jesus is the only way to heaven (His proclamation, not mine). If you claim there are other ways you may go to the “heaven of your god,” but you will not go to the heaven of the God of Biblical Scriptures—the Holy Bible. The Christian Bible is of absolute no use (other than being a good moral code) to anyone who does not believe: (1) the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ—Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, crucified for your sins, died and raised from the grave—and (2) Jesus Christ is the only pathway to heaven.
So, what is your religious standing during this time when the resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated? Will you be taking Jesus out of His tomb for the day only to return Him until next year or will you, or have you, allowed Jesus to remain outside His tomb as the resurrected Son of God?
You may be reading this as a non-believer or you believe but have never publicly trusted Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life. If you feel God dealing with your heart and soul and asking you to trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, step out in faith and accept Him. It is very easy to do and the following bullet points will tell you how:
- Confess that you are outside the will of God and confess your sins to Him. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 NIV.
- Believe that God reconciled (You cannot appease God nor save yourself through good works because you deserve death for your transgressions.) you to Himself through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 6:23 NJV.
- Believe and accept the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ—“…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep…, “ 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Romans 10:13. “That if you will confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” Romans 10:9 NIV.
- Accept God’s Grace and His Grace alone for the redemption of your soul and turn from your worldly life of sin and disobedience and walk in newness of life that will be available to you as you accept and allow the Holy Spirit to spiritually indwell, lead and comfort you all the days of your life.
Remember, by grace you are saved and not by good works, and the only pathway to heaven is by Jesus Christ and Him alone. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV.
You must confess Him if you are to become His disciple. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown before my Father in heaven,” Matthew 10:32-33 NIV.
Please do not return Jesus to His tomb. Earthly trials and tribulations will soon come and Jesus Christ will only guard your soul and spirit if you are His and His alone. He may not choose to protect you from physical death if it is meant for you to die as a martyr for your testimony, but He will protect you from eternal spiritual death.
Write to me and tell me of you salvation experience and the testimony you will share with others. It will help you to better understand how to share your “new spiritual birth in Jesus Christ.”
If you have questions or comments, email me at email@example.com or visit: www.theindwelling.com. or www.twitter.com/closetchristian
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Scripture quotations marked KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Bible. (Public Domain);
NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org.”