1 Corinthians 6:11 What You Were

 
caterpillar to butterfly

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Paul had just listed of a long list of what the Corinthians were like at one point: sexually immoral, idolaters, homo-sexual, thieves, greedy, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers. All of these were listed as ones who would not inherit heaven. He states that they were those types of people, but were now different, washed, sanctified, and justified by Jesus Christ.

The people of this world are like they are because they don’t know any different. That is the way they were brought up. They will live lives that are cheating, lying, immoral, drunk, and many other bad ways of living.

Without God in the picture, there is no list of rules or absolutes on how to live life. It is ‘anything goes’ mentality. Everyone is out for their own good, no matter what it takes.

There are many in the church who claim to be Christian, yet never change their way of living. They continue to live as the world lives, in open, purposeful sinful lifestyles, believing that they will still get into heaven because of God’s great love and mercy. Some churches claim that is acceptable to live in sinful lifestyles and still be a believer in Jesus and can expect to get into heaven.

Believers are to be different. They are to be changed by God to a new creation. Paul said that the Corinthians were like the world, but are no longer like that. They are no longer immoral, or thieves, or any other sinful lifestyle that the bible talks against. 

Being washed, is being cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus. Being sanctified is being made clean from past sin and made holy to God. Being justified is being made clean as though one had never sinned in the first place. This is all done by the work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

As you look at your life, are you holding onto any past sinful lifestyles? Have you allowed God to change you and make you into a new person, clean before God?

As a believer, you must be different from those of the world. You were that way, to not live or act like the world anymore.

I pray today that you will know the salvation Jesus provides; that you will allow God to change you; that you will know the cleansing God has done in you; and that you will live like Jesus.

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Jesus Freaks

Last week I was blessed to be able to go on a cruise with one of my boys. This cruise was the Jesus Freak 2017 cruise. The Christian band, DC Talk, had reunited after a 16 year hiatus for a one week cruise tour. They set up the cruise with several other bands, Newsboys, Hollyn, Capital Kings, Ryan Stevenson, and Finding Favor.

For anyone not familiar with the band, DC Talk, they had started out in 1987 and performed until 2000. During that time they became one of the most popular Christian bands of all time. Their music was one of a mix of rap and rock in each song. The band was known for being bold in talking about Jesus and pointing people to Jesus. They wanted their message to be one about the gospel message.

One of the songs that they came out with was, “Jesus Freak.” It was their most popular song and portrayed their hearts.

One of the lines in that song is: “What if people think when they hear that I’m a Jesus freak? What will people do when they find that its true?

The term “freak”, to be used to describe a person is not a popular term to be used in today’s society. It would probably be listed as a politically incorrect term.

Freak has the meaning of a very unusual and unexpected event or situation. It can also mean a person, plant or animal with an unusual physical abnormality.

Adding the term freak with Jesus, makes an interesting combination. What exactly is a “Jesus Freak”?

It is the idea that one is very unusual in following Jesus. They are abnormal from all the other people. It is a very unusual and unexpected situation in life.

Take a look at the life of Jesus. He was a different type of person when He walked on this earth. Another line in this song is: “People say I’m a strange, does that make me a stranger? My best friend was born in a manger.

Think about this: Jesus came to this world to save the world and  be king of this world. Yet, the method of coming in this world was not normal. He was not born in the palace, or even in the hospital as most people were. He was royalty and yet, was born in a manger, a place for animals, not kings.

Jesus talked about loving your enemies, instead of fighting them. He tells you to bless those who curse you. These statements go against the thoughts and ways of most of the world. The world says that you have a right to fight against your enemies and that it is acceptable to curse those who do you wrong.

Along with some of the strange teachings that Jesus taught, He also died on a cross. Why would a person die who wanted to save everyone else? How can He save everyone by dying? By the world’s methods of doing things, Jesus was a freak, which is part of the reason why they chose to crucify Him.

Jesus was one who followed God with all of His heart, soul, mind and strength. He was sold-out to God. This made Him a freak, an unusual and strange person in this world.

Those who follow Him are also strange. Why would someone want to follow someone who died nearly 2,000 years ago? Why would someone want to follow someone who was strange and said to love and bless his enemies?

The whole reason Jesus was a freak was because of love. The reason a person is willing to follow Jesus is because of love. God’s love is the best thing that there is in all of this great universe. God has the best in mind for every person.

Now going back to the song about the line saying that he is a Jesus freak. What makes a person a Jesus freak?

Take a look around you and you will probably see a lot of people who claim to be Christian. Some churches have a lot of people in them. Yet, at the same time, take a look around you and watch how many of these same people act in this world. How do they treat each other? How do they treat their enemies?

The sad part is that most do not treat others with the same love that Jesus shows them. Christians are often known for acting and looking just like everyone else in this world. They do not stand out as different.

The few people who do stand out as extremists for Jesus are rare. They are seen as radicals and crazies–Jesus Freaks.

When a person comes out in this way in this world, the world will rise up against them, just as the world rose up against Jesus when He walked on this earth. Today the term used is usually politically incorrect, or extremists. This will even occur within the church. Very few people live as an extremist for Jesus. It is highly unusual to see someone live wholeheartedly for God, abandoning their own life and ways to follow God–thus a Jesus Freak.

Take a look at your own life and see how you are living. Are you living for yourself? Or are you living for God?

Are you concerned with what people think or what they will do if you live sold-out to God?

Allow yourself to be sold-out to God. See what God can do in and through you when you live in the same way that Jesus did. As a believer in Jesus, you are to live, talk and act just as He did. Everything that Jesus said and did was what God wanted Him to say and do.

Just as Jesus was a stranger in this world, so are you. This world is not your final home, you are just a stranger passing through.

Are you a Jesus Freak?

May the final words of that song be yours: “I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak, there ain’t no disguising the truth.”

As for the cruise, it was an awesome cruise! It was amazing to see 4,000 people all being excited about serving and loving God. They were not ashamed of the gospel message. It was awesome to hear the various Christian bands proclaiming God loud and clear for five days.

I was able to talk with many people from all over the world and hear many great testimonies of what God is doing or has done in their life. It was encouraging to hear. God is alive and being served in this world by many, though not the majority.

Esther 3:8 No Toleration

Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces among the peoples of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the kings best interest to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8

King Xerxes had chosen to raise Haman up into a higher position of honor among the royal officials. It was ruled that all the other officials must bow down in honor of Haman, when in his presence. Mordecai, an Israelite, refused to bow down to Haman, making him very angry. Haman then went to the king about a group of people who were defiant and refusing to follow his rules. He wanted a way to destroy those people, even though it was only one person who appeared to be defiant with him.

Standing up for something different from the normal flow of things makes a person defiant and a type of rebel. Most people do not like someone who stands out differently than themselves. As a whole most want everyone to live in conformity to everyone else. They want unity among everyone. There is no tolerance for those who live a different life.

Believers stand out as different. Every believer is a stranger in this world. They are to live by a different set of rules. These rules are those of God. The rules are made to love and honor God first, and then love every person. Any thing less than this is not acceptable to a believer.

The world does not like that type of living. Those in the world want to be honored first over God or anyone else. When they are not honored, the world will find ways to make the Christian look bad and defiant, refusing to be obedient. This has been seen in America with rules against speaking against various sinful lifestyles.

You have to be willing to stand for God first and foremost in your life. Live the life God is calling you to live. You are different. You are to be defiant against living in sin. You are to be a rebel against doing things against God. As the world is not tolerant of believers, you must not be tolerant with sin in your life.

What are you tolerant of today?

I pray today that God will strengthen you to live for Him; that you will not fear the world’s rules; that you will be separate to God alone; and that the world will see you as a believer in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Be Separate

“Therefore, Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17

Paul quotes from the Old Testament about how God wants to be the God of the Israelites and wants them to be His people. At that time God wanted the people to get out from the other nations and be separate. A few thousand years later, Paul is using those same quotes to the believers to still come out from the other people and be separate.

People will often question what it means to be separate from those in the world. They look at the Gospels and see Jesus eating with the sinners. When you look at Jesus you should notice that He was among the sinners, but did not act like them. He was separate, even while among them.

The world wants every believer to look and act just like them. People do not like change or someone different. Often if someone is different, one person feels that there must be something wrong with themselves, and that is usually the person who is not different.

There are some in the church who blend into the world. When they are seen in a public place, there are no signs that they are a believer. They will do the same things the world does and never state that doing or saying something is wrong. This is not being separate.

As a believer you must not touch unclean things. The touching here is physical touch, watching, doing, participating in, using, or saying something in any way that is sinful.

You are to be separate. You are to be different. Just as foreigners in a land is different from the natives of the land, so you are to be different in this world. You have a different culture to live by. Your culture is from heaven, and not of this earth.

God wants to be your God. God wants you to be His child. This cannot happen if you stay a part of the world and live like the world does. Turn from sin today and follow God. Be separate. Be different.

I pray today that God will give you the power to turn from worldly ways; that God will guide you in not touching anything sinful; that you will be separate from the world; that you will stand out for Jesus; and that God will draw many to Jesus through you.

John 15:19 Not Belonging

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

As much as many people loved Jesus, there were also many who did not love Him. Many of those who were “righteous” and leaders in the temple wanted to get rid of Him. Those that are in the world and refuse to see Jesus as He really is, hate Him. Jesus now points out that as a believer you do not belong to this world, thus you are also hated.

Every person who is really believing in Jesus and following Him will stand out as different in this world. That person will not follow the ways of this world. He will not like the same things. She will not do the same things that the world does. They will not agree with the word’s way of thinking.

People of the world do not like that. Many will look at Christians and state that if you love them, you must agree with them. Loving a person has nothing to do with agreeing with a person. A parent loves his child, even though he disagrees with the child in not allowing the child to do something that is dangerous that the child wants to do.

The world wants believers to accept what they do as good. Jesus never did that. He was in the world, but not a part of their system of beliefs.

You are in the world also, but not a believer of their beliefs and ways. Be separate. Be willing to follow the ways of God, rather than the world.

As you do this, do not be surprised when the world hates you. Not always will the world ‘hate’ you, but they will not always be happy with you. They will get frustrated with you living the Christian way. They may get upset with you for not going along with them.

Remember that since they hated Jesus, they will hate you also. They hate you because they hate Jesus. They hate Jesus because He points out their wrong, and the world does not like that.

As the days get closer to the return of Jesus, the world will get more and more angry with believers. Do not give up. Do not conform to the ways of this world. Stay true to Jesus. Continue to walk in the ways of the Lord Jesus.

I pray today that the ways of Jesus will be more real to you than ever before; that you will be more like Jesus everyday; that you will not fear the world; that Jesus will strengthen you to stay true to Him; and that Jesus will bring you through all persecution and trials of this world.

Luke 1:64 Against The Norm

“He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, His name is John.” Luke 1:64

Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and had not been expected to ever have any children. One day while in the temple an angel came to Zechariah and told him they would have a child and his name was to be John. Zechariah had a hard time believing the message so was made unable to speak.

Things happened just as the angel had said. Now the day came to circumcise and name this new baby. The traditions of the day were that the baby would be named after the father. This was always a great honor for the father. It would carry on his family name.

However, when the people tried to name the baby after Zechariah, his mother said no and that he would be named John. No one could believe this. How could she break with tradition?

So they ask Zechariah what the name of the child would be. Remember, he cannot talk…yet. He gets a tablet and writes down that his name is to be John. Immediately he could talk again, and so he began to praise God.

Zechariah had learned his lesson about trusting God and doing what God wants. For nine months he had been unable to speak because of unbelief. He now knew that God meant what He said. He did not dare to defy God again.

You may not be having a miraculous baby today, but what is God telling you to do? Often, in the world’s eyes, the things that God tells you to do don’t always make common sense. God sees the big picture and guides you according to it.

Do you question what God is telling you? Are you willing to not listen to God and listen to the world’s way of doing things? Are you willing to follow tradition rather than God?

Do not allow yourself to be led by tradition. Follow God. Seek God for wisdom and direction. God used John in a mighty way. Zechariah had greater honor in following God, than he would have if he had disobeyed.

Trust and follow God today.

I pray today that God will open your eyes to His ways; that you will break with man’s ways and follow God’s ways; that you will not fear breaking tradition to follow God; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.