God designed the local church and when we understand the purpose of God’s house, we can truly enjoy what God has blessed us with.
Matthew 16:16, 18
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
18 …upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Jesus had asked His disciples who men had claimed He was. Some thought He was John the Baptist, and others thought one of the prophets. Jesus then asked who they thought He was. Peter declared that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus tells Peter that he did not get this revelation by natural means, but from the Father. Then He declares that it is upon this rock He will build His church, and the powers of hell itself will not prevail against it.
The rock that the church stands on and overcomes all the powers of darkness with is the revelation of Jesus as the Christ. The word Christ means Messiah or deliverer. When you get to know Jesus for who God anointed Him to be and what He accomplished for us, the authority of hell, the devil himself, cannot prevail over you. Many know about Jesus, or know of Him in a religious way, but they don’t know Him as the One sent by God to defeat death, hell, and the grave so that we can live a life of victory and not succumb to evil and be defeated.
When you look to the cross and what Jesus did for us, it was not just so we could go to heaven. In taking our sin, and the punishment our sin deserved, He bore the curse and all that came because of that curse to deliver us from it. Time spent meditating in the New Testament, seeing what Jesus fulfilled through His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension is how we can receive revelation from the Father of our Messiah, our deliverer. He has delivered us from the powers of hell itself and the way we enforce that victory is by faith in our deliverer and what He has done for us.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
One of the easiest ways to keep the devil and his works out of your life is found in this verse of scripture. It is known as the power of positive resistance. Every time you submit your life to the ways of God, you are automatically resisting the devil. The things God wants you to do the devil does not want you to do.
For example, does God want you to find a good church that teaches all the truth and will therefore lead you into the truth that will set your free? Yes He does. The devil does not want you in a church where you can become a disciple of God, he wants you to be his disciple. So once you find such a church and go to church, you are automatically resisting the devil.
Scripture teaches us to forgive one another, but the devil wants us to hold a grudge. When you choose to forgive and walk in love you resist the devil and he will flee from you. God’s Word teaches us to give to the work of God so we can share the gospel. The devil sure doesn’t want you giving any of your money to help God’s work, but when you do, you are resisting the devil.
The opposite of this verse is true as well. What if you know you should be in a good church but don’t go? What if you know you should forgive, and give to the work of God but you don’t? Then you would be submitting to the devil’s ways and resisting God. Some people don’t realize their biggest problem isn’t the devil, it is the fact that they are not resisting him by choosing to submit to God. You can put the devil on the run by simply submitting your life to the will and ways of God.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
To walk by faith you must believe in your heart what God’s Word says, but if you deceive your own heart you won’t have faith in God. James tells us we must deal with our tongue to keep from deceiving our hearts. If we speak contrary to God’s Word we convince our heart God’s Word is not true, which is deception. How do we change our words?
We must change our thinking for our thoughts will determine what we believe, and what we believe will come out of our mouth. There are three primary influences that wrongly affect our thinking. They are observation, association, and falsification. Observation means what we look to or focus on. If we spend our time watching T. V. and movies for example that are filled with sex and violence and lies, this will begin to cause us to believe those things are ok, but this deception will lead to wrong thinking.
The second thing that leads to deception in the heart are associations. Scripture teaches us to choose our friends carefully for even the wicked will lead you astray. The wrong friends will cause you to be deceived. The third area is falsification, which refers to false teachings from God’s Word where people are not taught the truth but are taught man-made religion instead. Many today don’t believe in the promises we have been given through Christ, for they were taught such things passed away.
So to guard your heart from deception you must address observations, associations, and falsifications. Right thinking leads to right believing, right believing leads to right confession, and a right confession will bring right results in your life.
Scripture teaches us that we are not to be ignorant about the gifts of the Spirit. This refers to not only lacking understanding about them but includes ignoring the gifts. God wants us to fully understand these gifts so we can see Him impact our world through us.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;…
When God breathed into Adam the breath of life the first thing Adam saw was the face of God. This is were man’s identity came from, his Creator. When Adam sinned the bible says he hid himself from the presence of God, which that word means the face of God. Man now looked to the creation turning away from the Father for his identity. He could not see God’s face. But Jesus did something about that.
Hebrews 9:24 tells us Jesus went before the presence (face) of God for us. Jesus provided the way for us to find our value and worth again from our Father, our Creator, and not the creation. When you are trying to find you worth in life through things or other people, you will never be fulfilled for we were designed by God to find our worth by identifying with Him.
How do we see His face today? Look to God’s Word for Jesus is the Word made flesh, especially looking to the New Testament which tells you who you now are in Christ. Jesus said if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. You are a new creation, more than a conqueror, etc. So don’t look to the things of this life nor people to find your worth, look to your Creator by looking to His Word.
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
Under the Old Testament the children of Israel were given the promise of God’s provision, healing, protection, and more. We don’t have any less available to us then they had, for we have a better covenant with even better promises not less. The promises we have been given in the new covenant are based on what Christ has done for us, not what we have done. We receive these promises by faith in Christ Jesus, the One who shed His blood to purchase every promise.
One of the keys to faith is no longer seeing what we have in Christ as a promise for that would put it off into the future, but a purchased possession. Faith takes what we have been given a promise of and sees it as a present day reality for faith brings everything into the present tense. “Now” faith is. Faith is of the heart for man believes in his heart and confession is made unto what God has said. We are simply agreeing with God that we have what Christ has purchased for us.
Feed on the Word until it becomes real to your inner man. You need to take the promises of God found in the New Testament and continue to meditate on those truths declaring to yourself that they are yours. You need to see them by the eye of faith as already a part of your life. Choose to walk by faith not by sight, seeing God’s promises as a present day reality and you can receive all that God has provided for you through Christ Jesus.