Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 4:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Refresh My Spirit, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 1 (selected NASB).
Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ, set apart for the gospel of God – “the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son… Jesus Christ our Lord” (vv. 1-4). The apostles received grace and apostleship through Jesus Christ to call people to “the obedience that comes from faith” (v. 5). Paul wrote this letter to “all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints;” to those “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (v. 6-7). First he thanked God for all of them, because their faith in Jesus Christ was being reported all over the world. Paul prayed for them continually. He prayed, by God’s will, that a door may be opened for him to go see them, that he might bring them some encouragement and strengthen them in their faith. He desired to have a spiritual harvest among them, and he was eager to preach the gospel there in Rome (See: vv. 8-15).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” ~ Ro. 1:16-17
So, what was this gospel of which he was not ashamed? It is actually quite simple. Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, and suffered and was tempted in like manner as we suffer and are tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered from demonic possession, comforted the sorrowful, and spoke messages of hope and healing to all who would listen. Jesus also confronted sin in sinful human beings, calling for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Many loved and followed him, yet many more hated and persecuted and rejected him. His strongest opponents were the self-righteous and hypocritical religious leaders of the Jewish people. They hounded him all throughout his ministry on this earth, criticizing, rebuking, and falsely accusing him of actions and motivations not belonging to him.
The religious leaders of the Jewish people, and in the temple, hated him so much that eventually they had him crucified on a cross, as though he was a common criminal. Yet, this was all in God’s plan for our redemption. When Jesus died, our sins died with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over hell, Satan, sin and death. He did all this for you and for me so that we could be saved (delivered) from the ultimate penalty of sin (eternal damnation), so we could be free from the control of sin over our lives day-to-day, so we can now walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and so we could have eternal life with God in his heavenly kingdom. By God’s grace to us, in sending his Son to die on a cross for our sins, and through faith in Jesus Christ, we are saved.
Although a free gift from God, meaning we can do nothing of ourselves to earn or to deserve such a great salvation, we still must receive this gift by faith. So, what does this faith look like? Jesus said it well, and his apostles taught the same message. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, die daily to sin and self, and follow him in obedience. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, but if we willingly die with Christ to sin, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25). He also said his sheep listen to him and they follow (obey) him (See: Jn. 10).
Paul reiterated the same message when he said the way we come to know Christ is by putting off our old self, “which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Ro. 6-8; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:24-25). Jesus Christ died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us from slavery to sin, and to free us to live holy, upright and pleasing lives to God while we walk the face of this earth (See: Ro. 12:1-2; 2 Co. 5:15). God’s grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God, claiming that God’s grace covers it all. No, his grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14). If we are not delivered out of slavery to sin, then it is not grace!
Who Suppress the Truth
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. ~ Ro. 1:18-32
The spiritual condition of human beings, as described in these verses, not only applies to those who have outright rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, but it also applies, to some degree, to those who have made a profession of Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. There are probably just about as many in the modern church of today, at least here in America, who suppress the truth of God’s Word, as there are out in the world those who suppress the truth of God and of His Word. How do I know? I have seen it first-hand in multiple church congregations, I have experienced similar moral failure in my own life (past) while still a believer in Christ, and I have read numerous books and articles by Christian authors who have expressed similar concerns for today’s modern church and its moral and spiritual condition, so I know this is widespread, and is not just of local concern. As well, the Spirit of God has made me aware of much of this going on within the church, and has impressed on my heart that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and rectified (cf. Rev. 2-3).
Some of the ways in which truth is being suppressed in both the church and out in the world today is through cover-ups, denial of known truth, ignoring what we know is true, putting a false front over wicked hearts, as did the Pharisees, and putting “Band-Aids” over serious sin wounds via diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world, so that the “gospel” does not make people uncomfortable or feel judged. Suppression of the truth is also accomplished through exchanging the truth for a lie, i.e. through convincing ourselves that it is “really not so bad.” We compromise with the world in order to win the world, but to what? – Just a Christianized version of what the world is offering.
As well, many of our national governments are part of the “beast” global government that is consuming the nations of this world, and is creating terrorism, false flag operations, uprisings, and unnatural disasters, etc., so that they can come in and take over these nations, with the goal to then bring them under the rule of the “beast,” i.e. the New World Order. See: http://originalworks.info/a-familiar-narrative/
Much of the mainstream media is already government controlled and is used as an arm of deception for this global rule in order to suppress the truth so that we, they hope, will believe the lie and will be deceived and will play into their hands. The purpose of some of this deception is to try to turn us one against the other – black and white, gay and non-gay, Muslim and Christian, right and left, conservative and liberal, and followers of the false gospel (diluted) and those who hold to the testimony of Jesus and obey his commands. So, we need to be wise and discerning, we need to be in the Word and in prayer, and we need to ask the Spirit of God to make us aware of these suppressions of truth and these lies being passed off as truth so we are not easily deceived, too (cf. Rev. 12-14).
“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22).
Refresh My Spirit, Lord / An Original Work / August 8, 2011
Based off of Psalm 51 & Matthew 11:28-30
Refresh my spirit, Lord.
Revive my heart today.
Move me to serve You,
Lord in all I do and say.
Be my heart’s one desire;
my spirit set on fire
In pure devotion, Lord,
to love you and obey.
Create within me, Lord,
a pure heart, this I pray,
So I can worship You
and yield to You always.
May all Your love and pow’r
be lived in me, I pray,
So I might love as You;
be Your witness today.
Jesus says, “Come to me
all you with heavy hearts,
And find in me your peace,
and give to me your all.
My yoke is light to bear,
‘cause I paid for your sin,
So you might be set free,
and purified within.”