I love Chinese food. I used to save the fortune cookies and give them to my daughter, but recently I’ve been cracking them open myself and seeing the fortune found within. I built up quite the collection on my desk and started to see the truth in them. May these “fortunes” bless you as they have blessed me.
“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”
The past is the past. Perhaps the memories stay, the scars remain. Even still, the past is still the past. Unfortunately, some people cannot forget your mistakes. Some people cannot forgive your missteps. Sometimes you cannot let go of something from your past. Sometimes despite your efforts, the past keeps coming to the forefront of your mind, and things once “settled” are rehashed again.
But history is different from God’s vantage point. When you believe in Christ Jesus, the past is forgiven. The crimson stain is white as snow. Your sins are forgiven as far as the east to the west. Through Christ, you have a great inheritance—as a child of God, you are co-heirs with Christ. You truly have a spotless future.
When you hear taunts from your past, remember what God says about you. Remember that you are forgiven. Remember that you were bought with a price. Remember that you have been set free. Remember that you have a spotless future. You have overcome through Christ! Declare this today!
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18 [ESV]
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” – Psalm 103:12 [NLT]
United as One Body
Spirit Baptism– “I believe” in Jesus Christ
Child of God through Faith in Jesus
Galatians 3:26– for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.
Water Baptism– Act of Obedience to Matthew 28:19-20
Matthew 28:19-20– Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
The focus on Jesus’ encounter with John at the Jordan River is on the anointing with the Spirit rather than the act of Water Baptism.
Luke 3:21-22– When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
John 1:32-34– Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
THE POURING OUT OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO EVERY BELIEVER.
Every believer has the power & anointing of the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Galatians 4:6-7 – And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
The gift of the Holy Spirit seals the believer. God gives His Spirit only to those who are His.
Why is it important?
BEING MADE NEW – FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Romans 6:3-6:8– Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Galatians 3:27– And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
CHILD OF GOD
2 Corinthians 1:22– and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installmentthat guarantees everything He has promised us.
Galatians 4:6-7– Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.
UNITED AS ONE BODY
Ephesians 4:4-6– There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
What is Water Baptism?
Water Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus’ command from Matthew 28:19-20– Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing themin the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Baptize – “baptízō” – “immerse, sink, drown, go under.”
NOT GOING TO GET INTO DISCUSSION OF WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG WITH METHOD – SOME DUNK, SOME POUR OR SPRINKLE, SOME GO BACKWARDS, SOME GO FORWARDS, ETC.
Ancient Christian art – go into water waist deep & pour water on head.
Philip & Eunuch (Acts 8:38-39) – doesn’t say immersed. Said they went down into the water, Philip baptized him, and he came out of the water. “baptízō” – submerge, immerse (dip under)
Same words used in Luke 11:38 – “His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom.” In Luke, the “baptízō” meant handwashing
Water Baptism is NOT required for salvation, but it is a biblical command and demonstrates your love and obedience to Christ.
MUST BE BORN AGAIN / BORN FROM ABOVE
John 3:5-8 – Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Colossians 2:11-12– When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision–the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
MAY YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE OUT THIS NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS FOR HIS GLORY! FOREVER AND EVER AMEN!
Forever is a very long time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 61 about a request: “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary.” This is not a simple request. This request is for a sinful man to spend forever with God, Holy God, in His presence.
Despite it not being a simple request, it is a request that can be met. There is a possibility for you and I to live forever in His sanctuary. To abide with Him, we must accept the Son. To abide with Him, we must have the desire. The Bible promises that when we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4).
Thankfully God sent His Son to pave the way for us to be able to come before God as unblemished spotless ones. Because of the blood of Christ, we are cleansed and we are righteous. We are called children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). The wages of sin is death, but we accept the free gift of God, eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Forever we live in Your sanctuary!
“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! Interlude” – Psalm 61:4 [NLT]
Blessed are those that “delight in the law of the LORD.” The Bible says that “they prosper in all they do.” For some, this may be seen as success, a success that brings anything and everything desired. But do not misunderstand what the Psalmist is sharing. The person will “delight in the law of the LORD.” This means that a blessed person is one who delights in God’s Word, in the commands of God.
In delighting in the law of the LORD, a person follows the law as best possible. In doing this, “they are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” Because all of their actions are directed by God, “their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” This prospering does not mean they are prospering apart from God’s will. This prospering means that they are blessed because they follow the commands of God.
The people of God are crowned with success. Yes, crowned with success! But don’t think it’s a smooth ride and lots of riches. With the crowning of success, a child of God endures loss, trial, and suffering. The blessing is to come. The day will come when every child of the King will be crowned. And guess what, we will throw our crowns at the feet of the King. We will worship the King. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased” (see Revelation 4:10-11).
“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalm 1:2-3 [NLT]
Trying to figure out who you are is one of the hardest things to do in life. I remember when I was younger, it was a big question that would be bounced around in my head. Many people would ask what I had planned for my future. I remember the “are you going to college” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” type questions. Now my kids hear those same questions.
The truth is, we live in a world that tries to tell us who we are, and so often we listen. We listen when the world tells us what we cannot do. We listen when the world tells us what we are “supposed” to do in the eyes of the world. We listen to what the world says about how we should think or what we should wear. We constantly are listening.
All of the listening we do, we forget to listen to the One Who is Truth. We miss out on truly grasping who we are—a child of the King. As we are busy trying to fulfill the titles of mother/father, sister/brother, friend, co-worker, parent, teacher, doctor, cashier, drama queen, youngest child, cat lady, etc., we look in all the wrong areas to figure out who we are and what makes us and moves us and completes us. We don’t understand our place in the world or what defines us because we aren’t looking in the right place.
May today be a reminder for you—for who you truly are in Christ Jesus. As a believer in Jesus Christ, many things are understood about you. You are the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). You are chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a child of God (John 1:12). You are a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). You are a personal witness of Christ (Act 1:8). You cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). You have been redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14). You have access to God (Ephesians 2:18). You are united with the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17). My friends, THIS is who you are—now live it out!
One of the ideas I often hear spoken is that we are “all children of God.” This is something that people say when they are trying to say everyone is equal. Yes, everyone is important. Yes, everyone is created by God. But not everyone is a child of God. This is a mistruth that sadly allows people to find comfort that keeps them from seeing true salvation.
The Bible says that the only people who are “children of God” are those who believe in Jesus Christ. If you refuse the Son, you refuse the Father. Bottom line. This is not me talking. This is the Word of God. We can sugar coat it to appease others, but we are only then loving them to hell.
Look around. There are people around you who are children of God, as the Bible defines, and there are those who do not know the Truth. Speak boldly today. Allow the Spirit to loosen your lips. Let people know that if they want to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ, it is available. When they make this step, they will be called a “child of God.” Thank the Lord that we can call out to God, “Abba Father” and He hears us and He recognizes us as His children. Thank you Jesus!
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12 [NASB]
“No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:23 [ESV]
One of the hardest things for us to do in this age of technology is to watch and wait. When a website takes longer than usual to load, we mutter not-so-nice words under our breath. When the street light seems to take forever to change or the person in front of us does not notice it changed and move at a rate we expect, we get frantic. When we push a button a few times for the elevator, we continue to push it again if the elevator does not rush to our floor. We live a life of rush, of busyness, of frantic racing from place to place or task to task. But God’s Word tells us that we were never meant to be zooming around everywhere like a chicken with its head cut off.
In Proverbs 8:34, it says that we will be blessed if we listen, watch, and wait. This seems simple. Listen. Watch. Wait. But to do these three things is not so easy. To listen, means we need to be intentional. You may have heard the phrase, “Put on your listening ears.” For a child of God to have listening ears, it means we have ourselves ready to listen. The noise of the world isn’t drowning out God’s voice. We have made time to hear. We have found a place that will promote the stillness we need to hear the still small voice.
Not only are we to listen, but we are to watch. We watch God move with our eyes. We watch what He has for us. But we don’t act. It says we watch and wait. This is not the typical sequence of action for us. We are accustomed to watching someone show us how to do it, and then start following the How-To video to accomplish the same project or cook the same meal. God wants us to listen and watch for Him, and only move when He wants us to move. To be in His will, to walk so closely to Him, following His instruction, requires us to listen, to watch, and to wait. This is what abiding in Him is all about—and living this way results in living a life that is blessed.
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” – Proverbs 8:34 [ESV]
- 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
- He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
- He predestined us for adoption.
- Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
- 11 – Obtained an inheritance
- This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
- 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee
Adopted Children of God:
- Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
- Identical legal rights as blood child
- All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
- God will care for us
- Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
- Complete authority over child
- Legal role as caregiver
- Relationships will change
- Our relationship with God changes
- God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
- God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
- God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
- Our relationship with others changes
- Our relationship with God changes
1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]
Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]
Bible Study Questions:
- Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
- Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
- In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
- God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
I love the powerful story of the walls of Jericho falling down without anyone touching them. I can see these people marching around and blowing the horns and shouting. What an amazing demonstration of the power of God. All the people had to do was follow the steps and God did the work.
Beforehand God spoke to Joshua and said He had “already given” Jericho to them. He could consider it already in his possession. We have many guarantees from God too. We have already been given so much yet we do not act as if we already have been on the receiving end. We walk as if we need to tear down the walls that God already promised to tear down for us.
What have you already been given? You have become a child of God (John 3:3). You are glorified with Jesus (Colossians 3:4). You are redeemed from slavery to sin (Romans 8:23). You are FORGIVEN OF ALL your sins (Colossians 2:13). You are FREE (Romans 6:14). The Spirit is in you (1 Corinthians 2:10). You are delivered from the power of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). You are united with Jesus (Colossians 2:9-10). You are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). You have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16). You are a saint (Ephesians 1:1).
“God spoke to Joshua, ‘Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its crack troops. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.'”
– Joshua 6:2-5 [MSG]
I remember the school days when it was time to line up and select teams for various sports. There were some sports that I was selected as one of the first picks and others when I was standing on the line awaiting the selection till the very end. As children we chose our friends and we chose those we thought would help us to win. That was how it went. I don’t think this ever ends because as adults in the workforce, we chose people who will help us succeed and sometimes we pick our friends.
With God, we are chosen simply because He created us and He loves us. Today’s verse states “For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” To God, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t the “best player” for the team. He is not necessarily looking for the person who can recite the most Scripture or the one who has the least blemishes on his record. It is He alone who qualifies us for the team. He also doesn’t have favorites. Each of us is His favorite. He loves each of us like an only child.
The bottom line is He chose you and He’s not going to toss you away. Like Abraham, He calls you “friend.” When you believe in Christ, you are called a “child of God.” Child. Friend. Chosen. Loved. It always felt good to be picked for the team, whether it was for recess or gym class or even today in the workforce. How great is it to be chosen for God’s team? How great it is to be called a child of God? To be called friend?
“I have called you back from the ends of the earth, saying, ‘You are my servant.’ For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” – Isaiah 41:9 [NLT]