Lesson 35 - The New Year

Lesson 35 - The New Year

Lesson for January 1, 2017

The New Year

I would to thank everyone for your support of the ministry of Katy Community Church. We passed our 15th year as a non-profit Texas corporation on December 2, 2016. Some of you have been with us from day one and others joined us shortly thereafter. As I have mentioned, we also have a following on our website which is why your continued support is extremely important to those who we will never meet.

As invisible heroes in the Angelic Conflict, our impact may never be seen, but God is keeping score and will reward us accordingly at the Judgment Seat of Christ. So please keep your spiritual momentum going and never stop learning and growing spiritually. As we begin a new year, let’s all collectively agree to continue our advance in God’s power system. It is an honor to be your pastor and I pray the teaching of God’s Word is beneficial to each of you. Thanks for your continued prayers for me and be assured I am praying for each one of you.

Here are some thoughts from previous lessons we can all mediate upon as we enter a new year.

The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking the thoughts of Jesus Christ. Philippians 2:5, says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ is the doctrine found in the Word of God, the only source of absolute truth. In order to have the proper thinking, the believer must be consistently learning, believing and applying the Word of God to every circumstance in life.

God has given all believers a command to grow spiritually and He never gives us a command without giving us the means necessary to obey it. God, therefore, has provided His written instruction book (the Bible) and the filling (control) of the Holy Spirit. Both are grace functions for every believer in this age, regardless of education or I.Q. Any believer with a positive attitude towards Bible doctrine can learn, believe and apply it accurately.

Spiritual maturity does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of persistent and consistent study to learn Bible doctrine. God’s Word likens spiritual growth to building a house. Often expressed as edification, the concept in Greek is to build or to build up. For the Christian, this occurs in his soul as he exposes himself to accurate Bible teaching and applies the truth that he learns. As with any building, we must be careful to first lay the right foundation before we build on it. The Scripture is clear that the only foundation for the believer is Jesus Christ Himself. We know that the Word of God is the mind of Christ. Therefore, the foundation is the written Word (Christ is the living Word). The written Word of God is meant to be understood and utilized as a blueprint for building your spiritual building (the Christian Way of Life).

Spiritual maturity is characterized by maximum cognitive independence, which results from additional metabolization of doctrine plus passing four momentum testings: people, system, thought, and disaster testing. This means spiritual maturity can face every problem in life with a maximum amount of inner happiness. There is no tragedy, disaster, difficulty, or heartache that can overcome the cognitive self-confidence of a mature believer. Cognitive independence is maximum perception, maximum metabolization, and maximum accurate application of doctrine to life. A mature believer is totally independent. However, this does not imply that a mature believer or any believer will ever be independent of accurate Bible teaching. A mature believer is an invisible hero.

God, in His grace, has set up certain protocols that must be strictly adhered to if a believer is to advance in his spiritual life. Random intake of Bible doctrine will not accomplish the goal. If a believer is to properly execute God’s protocol plan, he must be consistent with his intake and application of Bible doctrine. There is no other plan for believers in this Age.

Protocol is strict adherence to precisely correct procedure. In the case of the believer, protocol is strict adherence to the mandates from God and using the correct procedure for carrying out those mandates. These mandates and the precisely correct procedures are found in only one place, the Word of God. By learning and applying the truth found in the Bible, the believer can fulfill God’s purpose, plan and will. When this truth is presented from the Word of God in a systematic manner, it allows any believer to grow spiritually (regardless of I.Q.) by following God’s plan.

During the Church Age, in which we live, believers receive all the necessary tools for the fulfillment of the Protocol Plan of God. The objective for the believer should be to reach the status of “spiritual maturity”, which results in a tactical victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict. Only by residing in God’s system under the control of the Holy Spirit can the believer reach this status.

God’s policy for dealing with mankind is always His grace. This grace begins with providing salvation through Jesus Christ. Since Christ paid the penalty for the sin of the entire human race, anyone can have eternal life and be saved from eternal separation from God. All that God requires is a simple act of faith in Jesus Christ (apart from any human merit). This simply means that you are relying (trusting) upon Jesus Christ for eternal life and not your good works or anything else. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

After salvation, God’s policy continues to be grace. Only by orienting to His grace can a believer execute the Protocol Plan of God. The Christian Way of Life was not designed to be a life of human good works performed as a means of gaining the approbation of God. The Christian Way of Life is a life of thinking divine viewpoint and the divine production that results. Divine production can be visible or invisible. (Titus 2:12)

God’s power system is based on virtue (strength of character) and integrity (a strict adherence to divine truth). You cannot adhere to something that you know absolutely nothing about. For the believer with positive volition, virtue is motivational when directed toward God and functional when directed toward mankind or circumstances. In other words, when you begin to learn about God, His character and His attributes, you become motivated to love Him and depend on Him in every circumstance of life. The natural result of your love for God will be impersonal love for all mankind, based on the virtue and integrity that you have developed as a result of knowing God.

When you are functioning within God’s power system (filled with the Holy Spirit) you have spiritual freedom. The Holy Spirit in God’s power system is the enabling power for the execution of the Protocol Plan of God. We glorify Christ by living inside God’s power system, the place of the enabling power of the Spirit, the place of metabolization of doctrine, the place of advancing to spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, and spiritual maturity.

Never before in the history of the world has the believer in Christ had the privilege and the opportunity that is afforded him today. The Church Age in which we live is an unparalleled dispensation with numerous advantages for the believer. The privileges and opportunities that we have been given are not only unique, they are “above and beyond all that we could ever think or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:13-21)

Jesus Christ has secured forever the strategic victory (the skillful planning and management in getting the better of the adversary) over Satan. At salvation this victory places the believer in a place of maximum strength with the potential to win the tactical victory (the procedure for gaining advantage or success over the adversary) over Satan, the World (Cosmic) System and the Sin Nature. Our union with Christ (Positional Sanctification) guarantees the opportunity to overcome the obstacles that are placed before us (or that we place before ourselves) in order to execute the Christian Way of Life and glorify God while we are on earth.

Many privileges are given to the believer at the moment of salvation and many are given after salvation. However, opportunities must be seized by personal volition. As a believer, you are the most privileged person on the face of the earth, but at the same time you may be missing the opportunities for fantastic blessing by not executing God’s plan, purpose and will for your life. Tactical victory comes over a period of time as the believer makes thousands of right decisions regarding God, himself, others and circumstances. Winning the tactical victory is done by the believer who is being empowered by God the Holy Spirit as he organizes his life around right priorities: Jesus Christ must be the most important person in your life, learning and applying accurate Bible doctrine must be placed above personal pleasure or your career, and virtue (a strict adherence to the truth) must drive every decision you make in life. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

Privilege in life is always accompanied by responsibility. This is also true with the Royal Family of God. Our first responsibility, of course, is to God as Royal Priests, and our second responsibility is to others as Royal Ambassadors. Christ’s strategic victory secured only potential for the tactical victory. As believers, we all have equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute the Christian Way of Life. Some believers will choose to do so and some will not. Those who fail in their responsibility to God will experience a life of misery and unhappiness. Those who choose to embrace and fulfill their responsibility to God will experience a life of peace and happiness.

With Christ as our role model we simply follow His pattern of successful living within God’s divine power system. Learning and using the same information that Christ had, and thinking the same thoughts that He thought will enable any believer to be successful in the execution of God’s plan, purpose and will. If we use our volition to develop a spiritual life by the consistent study and application of Bible doctrine, the character of Jesus Christ will eventually become formed in us. His virtues will become our virtues, His capacity for life will become our capacity for life and His integrity will become our integrity. (I Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5; Hebrew 12:3)

Why did God develop a system for Christian living? The best way to adhere to God’s mandates for our lives as believers is to function within a system. Outside of the divine system is distortion because the Word of God is being used improperly in building doctrine based on isolated passages of Scripture. God’s desire for every believer is to grow up spiritually within His system. By learning Bible doctrine and growing spiritually by the application of what we learn, we can live a life full of grace and truth like Jesus Christ. Apart from application of accurate Bible doctrine there is no spiritual growth and no glorification of God. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:11-16; II Peter 3:18)

Since no two believers are alike, the divine system that God designed established a protocol for the body of Christ to follow for successful lives as His royal ambassadors. The divine system is a coordinated plan that unifies and directs the efforts within the body of Christ to maximize results for the glory of God. Every successful system has a purpose, a policy and a structure of authority. Following this system transforms many kinds of unique individuals into a group of spiritually mature winners who take responsibility for their own spiritual lives and not a bunch of spiritually immature “babies” who take no responsibility for their own spiritual lives. (Hebrews 5:11-14)

As you study the Word of God, you will see numerous commands, principles and mandates that you are to follow. All of these are related to one another and they do not contradict each other. In other words, these diverse commands, principles and mandates combine to form the perfect divine system ready for every believer to live within while residing in Satan’s corrupt cosmic system.

For those positive believers who desire to know truth, God has guaranteed that they will receive accurate doctrinal information. (John 7:17) It is this accurate doctrinal truth that can catapult the believer from childhood to adulthood in a relative short period of time, if a lifestyle of consistent and persistent study and application of God’s Word is followed. This spiritual advance increases the believer’s capacity to receive more of God’s grace blessings (abundance of grace). Abundance of grace comes in six categories for the believer:

  1. Spiritual Blessings – These are the blessings that come from the development of a spiritual life as a Royal Priest. These blessings are the natural outflow of the believer’s virtue and integrity as he directs his confidence and love toward God and his courage and impersonal love toward man. (I John 4:11-21)
  2. Temporal Blessings – These blessings are designed by God for the advancing believer, as he “humbles” himself before God (humility means the believer has a personal sense of destiny and has an attitude of teachability). Temporal blessings may come in the form of wealth, success in business, promotion, etc. (I Peter 5:6-7)
  3. Blessing by Association - Often when God blesses the believer, those in his periphery are also blessed. This could include family, friends, businesses or business associates, etc. (Psalms 37:21-22)
  4. Historical Impact – This is also blessing by association, but it is extended to the believer’s nation, state or community. (Leviticus 26:1-13)
  5. Undeserved Suffering – Though sometimes hard to understand, suffering which is not deserved can accelerate spiritual growth, increase faith and give the believer greater appreciation for the Lord through proper application of Bible doctrine. This, of course, is a blessing. (Romans 8:17-18)
  6. Dying Grace – The believer’s final experience of God’s grace on earth, dying grace is given to the mature believer as he passes from blessings in time to even greater blessings in eternity. (Psalms 116:15)