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Walking as He walked

This is one of the most important blogs I’ve written.  I’ve written a lot lately about the Unleavened Bread of our Master. Though we know His blood redeems us and it’s his LIFE that saves us, I urge you to also focus on saying it is HIS life that saves us. Still too many believers act as if they are their own savior, that it’s all up to them. We must focus on HIM as our Savior. HE is the captain of our salvation.  He is the One who is working in us to save us. If you read the oft quoted verse in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your own salvation”, be sure to read verse 13 also: “For it is GOD who works in you, both to will and to do according to HIS good pleasure.”

 We are saved by grace, HIS grace; not by our works.  And that salvation, that grace, are free gifts. But “free” in this case should never be read as “cheap”.  There was nothing cheap about what Yeshua, the son of God, went through for you and me, culminating in his tortured death on the cross.  But neither is it still grace, or a gift, if it’s of works. Romans 11:6 is clear on that.

 Read Eph 2:8-10 which gives the balance:

 Ephesians 2:8-10

For BY GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; IT istheGIFT OF GOD, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 Have you read that slowly several times? Do you earn salvation and eternal life? Is salvation by works, or is it God’s GIFT? Too many still speak of “making it” into God’s kingdom and miss that we are part of the body of Yeshua. As part of His body, as being ‘IN him”, if we remain in Him we will always be where He is.  Otherwise we’re not “in him”.  I think that’s so basic, and so clear, and yet too many still try to be their own Savior or beget themselves into their own new creation. We are a new creation. But I’m not the Creator of the first or new creation.  There’s but one Creator of all things, and it’s neither you nor I.  Are you getting it?  Nor is there more than one Savior. There’s only one name by which we may be saved, and that name is Jesus – or I use his Hebrew name “Yeshua”.

 So accept HIS life, His gift and His saving grace. If it were up to us, then we have something to boast about (Eph 2:9). Everything is supposed to be for HIS glory, not ours (1 Cor 1:30-31).

 Now I love the balance given in Ephesians 2:8-10. Once we are given a gift, we are to put it to good use, doing good works as verse 10 says. In the parable of the pounds and talents, the man who buried his gift or talent (an amount of money) ended up in trouble. He was supposed to use the gift given him.

 But remember: we are saved by grace (Eph 2:8-9), and rewarded by our works.  Too many are still confusing the two. Salvation is a free gift. Eternal life is God’s free gift (read Rom 6:23). But what rewards you will be given in the resurrection will depend on your works, for He will “reward each man according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).  I say again: the “reward” is not eternal life or salvation. The reward is what is given as an extra bonus for having used His gifts well. 

 Now back to the point that we are saved by HIS life. 

We’re saved by grace, and then if Christ is truly in you, and you know Him, HE will live in you, and lead your walk, as He did the first time:  obediently and humbly. We cannot claim to “KNOW” Yeshua (Jesus) and continue in a sinful way of life.  The book of 1 John and Jude and others are full of that teaching. Read the following verses carefully.

 1 John 2:3-6

 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

 John 14:15   (Yeshua is speaking…)

 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

 John 14:21

 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

 John 15:9-10

 "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

 OUR work, frankly, is to abide in Him. That word “abide” comes from the same root where we get “abode” - - making Him our home, where we live. He lives in us and we live in Him, and the result is good fruit, a good walk, a good way of life – HIS life. No matter how hard WE try, we won’t bear perfectly godly fruit without the godly perfect life of Yeshua doing it in us.

 John 15:4-8

 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

 So the main job of a branch is to be sure it stays securely attached to the main vine or tree. We are the “branches” (v.5).  HE is the trunk of the tree, or the “Vine”.  So our work is to be sure we are staying attached to Him and His mind and heart. We do that by being sure we don’t start a day without praying fervently on our knees. We study His word regularly. We consult with Him many times a day in short prayers. That’s the part we focus on:  focus on HIM.  Then as we do, He promises HE will bear much fruit in us. Go back and read slowly verses 4-5 again to verify this.

 As a branch displays the fruit being produced by the tree, so will we display the fruit of Yeshua’s life if we “abide” in Him.  If Christ is living in us, He will live the same way he did the first time – obediently and righteously. WE still stumble; we still sometimes sin, probably every day, at least in our thoughts.  But when we do, we have an Advocate standing up for us (1 John 2:1) and He will lead us to repent and to put away the sinful WAY out of our lives – IF we are abiding in Him.

 But neither do we have to feel cut off and condemned now when we stumble in sin.  “There is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, we’re told in Romans 8:1.  HE took ALL the condemnation of sin on himself so we can hear him say to us, as he said to the adulterous woman brought to him, “Neither do I condemn you” – and then, after we start with knowing God does not condemn us, “Go and sin no more.”  (John 8:10-11)

 But do we still sometimes sin after we receive his freedom from condemnation?  Yes, we do. But it’s no longer a way of life, but “stumbles” along the way.  Though our Father in heaven and Yeshua are not pleased with that sin, and we MUST repent when we realize we have gone off track, neither do we have to live in condemnation. 

 After receiving Yeshua as our Savior, we don’t hop back and forth, in and out of condemnation. Knowing the stricter ‘spirit of the law’ – that even our thoughts are the same thing as having done the murder or adultery, for example – we would often be in a state of condemnation.  Just think of the number of times each day or week that our thoughts aren’t perfect!  But I find when I focus more and more on HIM – that the sinful passions diminish considerably. 

 One of my grandsons did something not pleasing to me, and I corrected him for it. He said he was sorry and did the right thing. Never in that time, even while he was doing the wrong thing, did he ever have to feel condemned by me. He was always my beloved grandson during the whole episode. Once we are in the light and are “walking in the spirit”, we are no longer condemned. Remember Yeshua is our brother and we are his brothers. Yeshua taught us – and therefore modeled – that if a brother sins against us even seven times in a day, or even 70 x 7 times, we are to forgive him. We too have had to repent of the same thing many times, let’s face it. 

 Now after we have had the condemnation removed, do we still sometimes sin? OF course we do!  And what did Yeshua teach, and what did he model?  Let me ask you?  How many times have you had to ask forgiveness for the same sin, whether in the mind or in the body?  MANY times. Let’s be honest.  What Yeshua taught was that if someone sins against us even 70 x 7, or seven times in a day, we are to forgive – just as HE would, just as HE does.  (Matt 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-4).

 But the point of this sermon is this:  ENJOY your Savior.  ENJOY the gifts of his grace and HIS righteousness. In Psalm 51:12, in his prayer of repentance over Uriah and the adultery with Bathsheba, King David prayed for the “joy of YOUR salvation” to be restored. Now work hard to abide in him, to stick close to him, to hear his words in daily study – for as we study, we are being washed by the water of the word (Ephesians 5:26).  That was said, by the way, in context of his Bride, the called-out ones. And as we abide in him, we shall bear much fruit.

 WHO produces the godly fruit?  It’s not you or your fruit. It’s the fruit of the SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:9). It’s the fruit of righteousness by Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:11). As his branches on His vine, we display Yeshua’s fruit in us, it looks like it is us bearing it, but it’s really borne by God’s spirit and Yeshua living in us.

          Philippians 1:9-11

 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 If WE were the ones producing the godly fruit of a changing life, then it’s to our glory. When we let Christ work in us, we will live as HE lived, and we will produce the fruit of God’s spirit and the fruit of righteousness BY Jesus Christ (Yeshua) – and it’s all to GOD’S glory, not ours. That’s as it should be. We’re saved by grace, not by works, lest any man should boast. 

 I want the best Yeshua can do; not the best I can do. And if we believe, we can receive Him as our covering robe of righteousness – HIS righteousness, not mine – as we let Him walk His way of life in us again. 

 So please understand what the Bible teaches, and what I’ve always had:  we can rejoice and have joy in the knowledge that ALL our sins have been washed away, ALL the condemnation and rejection was taken by Yeshua for us. And then in the JOY of not being condemned but ACCEPTED and LOVED by God, we can be like once-sinful Zacchaeus, who immediately began to change, returning what he had stolen four fold (Luke 19:1-10). But what was the context of that?  Having Yeshua accept him and want to spend time dining in his home. 

 We can be like the woman at the well in John 4.  When Someone talked civilly with her and loved her in spite of her life –she broadcast the news of the Messiah all through town. There was no indication either she or Zacchaeus had already repented when the love of Yeshua was already reaching out to the two of them – and to Matthew/Levi the tax collector whom Jesus called.  Matthew threw a party, inviting all his friends. THIS is the Messiah I preach. This is the way we will become if he’s really living in us: we will become much, much less condemning of everyone and their failures!  The sinless son of God made even sinners feel like they could be around him.  It’s so much easier to grow and overcome and resist sin and to change – when we know we are loved, when we know and feel uncondemned, especially if the other children of God extend that love to us as well.

 But in that knowledge, as we experience His grace, neither do we discard or trash his way or commandments. NO way! We are impelled to love him even more, to walk his way, just like those examples I just gave you. And that’s of course what Romans 8:12-14 and so many other verses teach. In His love, we are moved to obey even more. And because we realize we have been forgiven much, we love him – SO much (Luke 7:44-48). And that love is evidenced by us walking as He walked, and keeping what He tells us to do. And now – knowing all condemnation has been lifted off of us – it’s much easier to let HIM live in us and to look more and more like Him in the way we live. 

 Yes, we are saved by HIS life (Romans 5:10), as HE lives in us again by God’s spirit. 

 What JOY when we get the balance right on this:  receive the GIFT of HIS righteousness (Romans 5:15-19; Eph 3:9-11), and then USE His gift to show a changing life as we walked as He walked.  Then when we stumble in sin, we repent deeply, get back up, change our course of direction to the praise and glory of our Father and Savior – knowing we still are accepted IN HIM (Ephesians 1:6).  Amen.  What a wonderful Father and Savior we have. Look at the joy and pleasure expressed in this concluding passage about how God and Yeshua (Jesus) see us. 

 Please read this slowly, two or three times.

 Ephesians 1:3-6

 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed US with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that WE should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made US accepted in the Beloved.”

“GOD” is not His NAME          
He is RISEN! We are saved by His LIFE (Romans 5:10...
 

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