Tag Archives: FOLLOWING JESUS

Intimacy Restored

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Bible Text:

1 Thessalonians 4:7

Psalm 24:3-4

Romans 3:23

John 3:16

Matthew 27:50-51

John 14:6

Hebrews 10:12

Hebrews 10:19-22

James 4:8

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When sin entered the garden, it stood between man and God. Man could no longer enjoy the intimacy that he once had with God. God still loved man, and desired for the intimacy He once had with man to be restored. He was desperate for intimacy with us. He longed to fellowship and commune with man, but sin stood in the way. God is a holy God and sin cannot come into His holy presence. Those who approach God in worship must do so in righteousness.

1. When sin entered the garden what did it cause?

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2. What stands in the way of man from having intimacy with God?

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3. God desires for what to be restored with us?

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4. What can not come into the presence of God?

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5. Those who desire to approach God in worship must do so in what?

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1 Thessalonians 4:7 NKJV

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

6. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:7 what did God call us to?

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What does that mean to you personally?

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Psalm 24:3-4 NKJV

‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.”

7. Psalm 24:3-4 states, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.”

These verses speak of a special intimacy with God, both now and in the future. Does God really mean that if we want to enter into His presence that we must have clean hands and a pure heart?

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8. How does your life, both publicly and privately line up with Psalm 24:3-4?

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Adam and Eve could no longer experience the glory of the Lord, manifest presence of God, because of sin. The same is true today.

9. Why couldn’t Adam and Eve experience the glory of the Lord, manifest presence of God, anymore?

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Romans 3:23 NKJV

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

10. According to Romans 3:23 all have sinned and fall short of what?

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Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, left His place in glory to come to a sin filled world because of God’s great love for man.

John 3:16 NKJV

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

11. Jesus Christ left His place in glory to come to earth because of God’s great what for man?

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12. Prior to the crucifixion man did not have direct access to what?

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Jesus came to this world, led a sinless life, was rejected by men, beaten, crucified and died for man. Prior to the crucifixion, man did not have direct access to the manifest presence of God. Man was separated from the glory of the Lord by a thick veil.

Matthew 27:50-51 NKJV

“ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split”

At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies was torn into. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we now have direct access to the very presence of God. The blood of Jesus Christ is our access to God. It’s up to each individual to use the access or to reject the access.

13. What was torn into at the moment of Jesus’ death?

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14. What gave us direct access to God?

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John 14:6 NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

15. According to John 14:6 Jesus is what?

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What does that mean?

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The blood that Jesus shed was for man’s sin. His precious blood provides atonement for our sins. Through His blood we can be restored into right fellowship with God. Because of His sacrifice we can once again experience the intimacy with God that He desires to have with us.

16. Jesus’ blood provides atonement for our sins. What does atonement mean?

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17. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we can once again experience what with God?

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Jesus Christ did not stay dead. He rose from the grave, is alive today, and is sitting at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us.

Hebrews 10:12 NKJV

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

One day the true believers will be in glory experiencing a special intimacy with and worshiping our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But for now, God has provided a way that we can still enjoy a portion of the intimacy and fellowship that we were created to have with Him.

18. When the true believers go to heaven they will be doing what?

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God sent His Holy Spirit to teach us, strengthen us, comfort us, guide us, direct us, to pray through us and to help us draw closer to Him. God sent His Holy Spirit to help us worship Him. When we allow the Holy Spirit, He will worship God through us. We can experience the glory of the Lord, the manifest presence of God, right here on earth, if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and worship through us.

19. God has provided a way that we can enjoy a portion of the intimacy and fellowship that we were created to have with Him. What is that way?

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20. When we allow the Holy Spirit He will do what through us?

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Wherever desperate people are, there God will be in the mist of them. If you are desperate for a greater intimacy with God, reach out to God and begin to worship Him. God will draw close to you, if you draw close to Him.

21. God is in the midst of what kind of people?

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Hebrews 10:19-22 NKJV

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

James 4:8a NKJV

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

22. If you are desperate for a greater intimacy with God what should you do?

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23. What does holiness mean to you?

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Church of Acts

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Ephesians 5:17-18 NKJV

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit”

The early church was a group of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit that spread the Good News. If we want to be an Acts church, we too, must be endowed with power. The only power that can transform us or our world comes from the Holy Spirit.

The first believers waited in the upper room until they receive the promised gift from the Father. Only after they received the gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, did they go out into their world with the gospel. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they began to fulfill the great commission.

They very first believers (each one) had experienced a life changing encounter with Jesus. They did not leave their encounter with Jesus the same way, they were changed. Too many times today people will come to the altar and experience an encounter with man then leave the altar unchanged.

Throughout the church today the question is often asked, “Why don’t we see the church of Acts today?” The answer is simple, we haven’t tarried in the upper room for the endowment of power. The same gift is offered to believers today, however fewer and fewer believers are asking for and receiving that gift, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Also, today the church is full of people that have had an encounter with man (good song, good sermon, good program, etc…), not God. Man can not change man. Only God can change and transform man. People can not be a witness for Christ if they have never really experienced an encounter with Him. In a court of law, a person can not give hear say – everything that a person bears witness of must have been personally seen or experienced by the person giving the testimony. We can not testify to what we have not personally seen or experienced.

 

Dear God,

May we be a group of believers empowered by the Holy Spirit that fulfills the great commission. Empower us fresh and anew with power – power that will transform us or our world. May we take time and tarry in the upper room until we receive the promised gift from the Father. Cause every believer to experience a life changing encounter with Jesus – may they not leave that encounter different. By the power of the Holy Spirit, make us hungrier for Your presence.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

 

The Beatitudes

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The Beatitudes

A beatitude is a pronouncement of some blessing that we will receive when we follow Jesus’ example and allow God to shape our thoughts, words, and actions. It should bring joy to us when we know that God is pleased with us.

The world would have us to believe that we are blessed if we are happy and have a lot of things. But God says that we are blessed if we relinquish our pride, have a mindset characterized by meekness, and look to Him for spiritual significance. True blessings come from being like Jesus – gentle and humble.

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV

“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.
Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

God will bless those who are poor in spirit.

When a person is poor they are lacking or in need. When we realize that we are poor in spirit and that we are dependent on God, His mighty power is available to us, and we find favor with Him! God desires that we realize that we are dependant upon Him

Matthew 5:3 NKJV

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

God will bless those who mourn.

When we mourn we feel or express sorrow or grief.

Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

“For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity,

Whose name is Holy:

‘I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,

To receive the spirit of the humble.

And to receive the heart of the contrite ones’ ”

Contrite means that we are broken in spirit by a sense of guilt. It also means showing deep regret and sorrow. When we are truly sorry that we have sinned against a holy God, God will receive us, comfort us, and forgive us. When we receive salvation the Holy Spirit (the comforter) comes to live in us. He will be our companion and help us in times of trials and troubles.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV

“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”

God will bless those who are meek.

When a person is meek they are not easily angered, are patient and are yielding. We must not get being meek mixed up with being weak. They are two totally different things. When we see ourselves the way that God sees us it will cause us to be meek. We will no longer focus on ourselves, instead we will focus on God and others. God will bless us when we put Him first.

Psalm 37:11 NKJV

“But the meek shall inherit the earth,

And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Matthew 5:5 NKJV

“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.”

God will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness means always thinking and acting in a way that is just, right, and good. When we have a very strong desire (need) to live in such a way that pleases God and brings glory to Him we will be filled. When we are filled with God and the things of God there will not be room for anything else. When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we will want more of God. This desire will cause us to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible and in worship.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 John 2:29 NKJV

“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

When we receive Jesus as our Savior we receive His righteousness, and with it comes the power to live right (to think and act in a way that is just, right, and good).

Matthew 5:6 NKJV

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.”

God will bless those who are merciful.

Mercy means not to punish someone when they deserve it. The dictionary describes mercy as more kindness than justice requires; kindness beyond what can be claimed or expected; kindly treatment; pity; something to be thankful for. Merciful means having, showing, or feeling mercy; full of compassion. When we forgive others and show them kindness when they don’t deserve it we are being merciful. God has been merciful to us by giving His Son, Jesus, to take our punishment for our sin. Because of the great mercy that was shown to us we must also be merciful to others, even when they disappoint us or hurt us.

2 Samuel 22:26 NKJV
“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;

With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.”

A person that is merciful will also reach out to help others in need. When we show mercy to others we will be blessed with God and others being merciful to us.

Matthew 5:7 NKJV

“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.”

God will bless those who are pure in heart.

Pure means not mixed with anything else, genuine, perfectible clean, spotless, without defects, correct, with no evil, without sin, or, chaste (virtuous, decent, or modest). God wants us to be pure in heart. We cannot be pure in heart if we try to mix the things of God (and our relationship with Him) with evil or sinful things of the world. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we become the temple of God. God will not share His house with evil, therefore we must be pure in heart. It is more important to be clean on the inside (pure heart) than it is to be clean on the outside.

Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV

“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first cleanse the inside of the cup and the dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

People can only see us our outside, but God see us on the inside. Being clean inside where God sees and being clean outside where people see are both important to God. He wants us to take good care of ourselves, but being clean on the inside where only God sees is most important to Him. No matter how good we try to be on the outside, without God’s forgiveness we are still dirty and impure on the inside.

1 John 1:9-10 NKJV

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

The first thing we need to do to become pure at heart is to realize and admit that we are not. After we realize that we need to be pure at heart, all we have to do is ask God to forgive us ) and cleanse us.

Psalm 51:10 NKJV

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The Bible tells us that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”. God will give a pure heart if we ask Him to.

Matthew 5:8 NKJV

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

God will bless those who are peacemakers.

A peacemaker is a person who makes peace. The dictionary describes peace as freedom from strife of any kind; condition of quiet, calm, order, and security. Peace is also described as an agreement between contending parties.

John 14:27 NKJV

“Peace, I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We have peace with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice. When we accept Jesus as our Savior we receive a special type of peace that only God can give and we become a child of God. We will put on a spirit of calmness and tranquility because Jesus’ peace removes dread and fear from our heart. As a child of God we can tell others how they can receive the same peace that we have. When we tell others that they can have peace with God through His Son, Jesus, we are being a peacemaker.

Psalm 34:14 NKJV

“Depart from evil and do good;

Seek peace and pursue it.”

Hebrews 12:14 NKJV

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”

Not only does God desire for us to live at peace with Him, He desires for us to live at peace with others. When a person is at peace with God and other people it will bring blessings.

Matthew 5:9 NKJV

“Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God”

God will bless those who are persecuted falsely because of Him.

Persecuted means to suffer repeatedly because of what you believe or because of your principles. There are people all over the world that are caused to suffer repeatedly, harmed, oppressed, annoyed and harassed for righteousness sake. When people oppress a child of God because of the stand that they take for God, He will bless them.

1 Peter 2:21 NKJV

“For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example , that you should follow His steps.”

When we begin to feel like we are persecuted for righteousness sake we must remember that it (the persecution) will not last forever. We must also remember to follow Jesus’ example of handling persecution.

Romans 8:18 NKJV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

The persecution and troubles that we face here on earth are nothing compared to our time in eternity with God.

Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”