It may be surprising to many that it is up to us just how effective God operates in this world. Some have given God a title that he never claimed to have over us and is not correctly used according to it’s definition. Many believe that God is sovereign. Now I do not agree with the general church definition of sovereignty which means that God is in total control of everything and absolutely nothing happens without him allowing it. This is a doctrine of devils as Paul puts it. The true definition of sovereign is, “One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit” or “self-governing; independent.” Both of these definitions are applicable because they truly describe God’s position and yet acknowledge that things happen which he does not desire. Since God’s sovereignty is not the point of this message I will only make one example. The word clearly states that it is the will of God that all would experience eternal life and no one perish yet it also clearly stated that not all will.
I started this message off this way because many who begin to understand the grace of God through Christ Jesus, and see that it is not all about what we can do but what Jesus has done for us, sometimes get a little too relaxed in their lives thinking that they can just sit back and God will take care of everything. Beloved we are not in heaven yet. What has happened though does enable us as believers to live a life that is blessed and divinely empowered. We need to think of it this way. If we went about our lives doing whatever it is we do: work, play, education, relax etc. then we are limited to just what we can do in our own abilities. But when we understand who we are in Jesus and what we has accomplished then this enables us to do so much more than we could on our own. In fact some things that may be appealing without God may not still be so with him at the center of our lives, which could also cause a change in lifestyle. The main point here though is that without God there are a lot of things we can’t do, but without us there is a lot of things God won’t do.
Authority. Who has it?
You might be thinking, “So if God won’t do anything without us how do I understand what is going on? Empower me to be able to do what I need to do so God can do what he wants to do through me.” Let’s start off with a quick briefing of authority. To shorten things up let’s accept a couple of facts quickly. First God had all authority in the beginning of all things. When he created man he gave man authority by letting him have dominion over all the earth. This is how the adversary was able to bring corruption into this world, by man submitting his authority to the devil. Once Jesus came though he never subjected himself to Satan but remained true always to our Father. Then when he went to the cross and rose again he made this statement prior to ascending to heaven.
Matthew 28:18 KJV And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
The word for power is the same as for authority in this verse (exousia in Greek). So Jesus not only has all of the authority that man had, which was just that of over the earth, but he also has all authority in heaven. Note though that these were some of Jesus’ last words prior to his ascension into heaven to be seated by the Father until his return. At no point did he say I give all authority to you. This is why Jesus stated that whatever you do or say do it in his name. He has the authority and the power (dunamis in Greek) to make it come to pass. Since as believers Jesus dwells in us and we in him this is how we are given authority because we partake of his.
This is also why when some things happen in our lives that are good, which are above our means to make happen, we know it has to be of God. By ourselves we are limited in many ways but God is limitless in comparison. It is always his desire for everyone to have a life free from lack and full of peace and joy.
What should we expect?
If that is the case then what should we expect in our lives? The best way to answer this is to find out what Jesus accomplished here on earth in order for the restoration of who we are to take place.
Righteousness: There is no doubt that Jesus giving up his life for all of mankind was one of the most important events that ever occurred. His blood was shed to cleanse us and all of mankind from every sin. What really needs to be understood is that there is no sin that one can commit that Jesus did not cover. This means now that sin which stood between man and God has been done away with. Since the death of Jesus there is only one new sin that can be committed against God, which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What this means, and only what this means, is not heading to the witness of the Holy Spirit and accepting Jesus as your redeemer for eternal life. I do not know why religion tries to make you guilty of something that is not possible. We can still commit sinful acts against one another, which some of those are punishable by the governing laws we live in, but against God Jesus has paid the price once and for all. This is why Paul declared that we are the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus. We cannot make ourselves righteous nor can we make ourselves unrighteous. Jesus has already taken care of that and we just need to accept it as so. This is also why there is no condemnation Jesus. Only a guilty man is condemned, so if you feel like God’s opinion of you varies depending on what you do then STOP thinking that way. To think in such a way is to deny Jesus of what he did on your behalf.
Eternal life: Being made right with God is great, but if it were not for eternal life that we have in Jesus, then it would be almost pointless. Paul put it this way, 1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. When Jesus rose again on the third day he was the first born of the eternal sons of God. See by accepting that Jesus is our savior means that we accept by faith that we have died with him and are made alive with him. I won’t go into detail in this message on it but it helps to know that were are made of three parts: Spirit, soul and body. Upon accepting Jesus as Lord our spirit is instantly made regenerated and sealed by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Folks it just doesn’t get any better than that. Your spirit as a believer will never need a tune up for all of eternity. Hallelujah. Your soul, which is mainly your mind will and emotions all of which influence your heart, is constantly being renewed. This is why Paul again said, Romans 12:2 KJV And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind… We renew our minds constantly by spending time reading the word, praying, meditating on God and his word, listening to others teach and even in the music we listen to. Everything that causes some sort of mental stimulation which influences the way we think is renewing our mind. This is why what you listen to is just as important to how much you take in. There is a truth to the saying, “Garbage in garbage out.” Not every doctrine we hear or song we listen to truly glorifies what Jesus accomplished on the cross, so you need to pay attention and compare everything in respect to the finished works of Jesus. If it does not line up with scripture in light of the grace of God then stop listening or letting it into your life if at all possible.
Health: It really truly would be enough if the only reason that Jesus had come was to give the gift of righteousness and eternal life in him. When you think about eternity, what comparison is there really in the amount of time we have in this life? I know that God has promised us 70 years as a minimum, and that we can allow circumstances to influence our lives so that we can even make that of no effect. But thank God, thank Jesus, that he sacrificed himself on our behalf so that in his sufferings we do not have to nor are we suppose to accept poor health. What I say here is not meant to condemn and absolutely should not be taken in that way. I am going to discuss here, and in the next section, what is only to be received as hope and a goal. Touching briefly on what we had mentioned in the very beginning about God and what some of the church has defined as his sovereignty. The notion that God is in control of all things and that nothing happens without him approving of it has made God out to be worse than any demon in Hell. Saying that he makes one sick to teach or so that he can get glory from it is perverse. Fortunately God is not 100% in control of every single aspect of our lives. He put laws into effect like gravity, and they just exist. Because God is not in total control as a tyrant then sometimes sickness, disease or some other circumstance can attack which impedes against our quality of life. The bottom line is if you think that it is something from God, or God allowed it happen, then you will not allow God to truly do what he wants to and that is make you whole. God will not curse anyone with anything or a circumstance because he is good all the time. Jesus became our curse so that we are no longer cursed. He was broken and beaten so that we would be made whole. By his stripes we were healed. Healing comes by revelation. You must not only know in your mind that Jesus has healed you but you need a revelation in your heart that you have been healed by Jesus. Please note that I am saying have been healed, not that you are going to be. Your circumstance might be new but your provision was made 2,000 years ago. I am really just briefly touching on this but to get everything in we will continue on to the next section.
Prosperity. If there is one issue that can cause such a commotion in church and in families greater than any other I would say it has to be in finances. Because so many have taken advantage of a truth for their own personal gain, and many have suffered from it, the truth about finances and in any provision in general is usually not well received. God does want you to live a blessed life, to that there is no doubt, but I will say there is no blessing you can buy from God. Churches continue to erroneously adopt Jewish laws and customs from the Old Testament to make them feel special or appear more holy. No where after the cross will you find anything on tithing. This does not mean that you do not give, but there is a major difference between tithing and giving. Jesus was made poor that we may be rich so that we are able to give cheerfully to every good work. Reality is it takes provision to spread the message of God’s grace and unconditional love. Under the Mosaic covenant, Jews tithed and God prospered them. Unfortunately some Jews thought that because one was prosperous they were blessed by God and started becoming self righteous based on their wealth. The church as a whole in many cases is just as guilty of this. Some preach a false type of prosperity message based on only some truth and since they as a few individuals become wealthy they believe it to be true. God does want us to prosper and as with all things in God it is by faith we receive our inheritance. Paul really made it quite clear, and I am going to sum it up as we should give to spread the gospel. That pastors and teachers of the word should receive double honor so they can devout their time to the message. But that we should give as we can and as we have purposed in our hearts. Remember God loves a joyful giver and if you are giving out of lack in order to receive then you have not understood the gospel and you may starve which it is hard to rejoice in. God’s provision to you is not contingent on what you do but what you believe. Now with that being said there are more than likely going to be physical actions taken in order for your provision to manifest. The first thing is God’s favor may come in the way of a job, a new job or increase in the job you have. But with that you have to give him something to work with. For instance if you are always late and first to leave only doing what you need to to get by then you are not going to let God’s favor shine too brightly on you. Remember in everything you do, do it as unto the Lord. But in reality finances do not only come from the work that you do but through other people as well. Is some cases funding may come from someone directly where God has placed it upon their heart to meet someone else’s need. This is not to be the norm because living from miracle to miracle to just get by is not living a blessed life. Living a blessed life also includes having what you need when you need it, or the ability to obtain it like buying groceries, while also still being able to meet the needs of others without being concerned about your financial circumstances. One way of looking at it is you should have to give. Just like healing, prosperity can influence the lives of world to believe on God. Unfortunately the church has gone from one extreme to another in portraying Jesus as some whimpy passivist too poor to pay attention to a Las Vegas slot machine, insert coin and pull the handle. God wants you to prosper in everything you do so that the sacrifice that Jesus made on your behalf will glorify the Father and it as with all things of God a free gift. He is your Father and your bridegroom who wants to provide the very best for you.
How do we make the cross of no effect?
So with all this being said so far you might ask, “Well then how do we make the cross of no effect?” After all if Jesus did everything already then why don’t it just happen. The biggest issue in the church body as a whole is religion. I know how can you have a church without religion? It is called a relationship. Adam and Eve did not have a religion, they had a relationship with God. God wants a relationship with us. Religion in general is a list of do’s and dont’s so that God is happy with you. I know that is really simplifying it, but at it’s core that is what it boils down to. Think of someone whom you are really good friends with, that you would trust above all others. If there is someone in your life like that then more than likely you just like being around them. Did you notice that the more you are around them the more your are like them. Even though you retain your individuality there are certain things that you do or say that are influenced out of that relationship. This is what God desires with us on a very intimate scale. The more we talk to him the more we learn the truth about ourselves and who we are in Jesus. What learn what God has done for us, his immeasurable love for us, and after a while we start acting and talking and walking just like him. Religion tries to force behavior modification. God wants to love you so you love yourself and others. Religion also then being a matter of regulations relies on the law of Moses, or works by your own efforts to either maintain or retain righteousness. This is the literal example of self righteousness, which won’t get you anything but condemnation. In Revelations God talks about the church of Laodicea saying, “Revelation 3:15-16 KJVI know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” What God is referring to is a church that does not rely 100% on the Mosaic law nor 100% on the gospel, which is the grace of God in Jesus and his finished works. Unfortunately this represents the majority of the body of churches today. They are quick to say come as you are to receive Jesus and be saved, but then just as quick to tell you everything you are doing wrong and what you must do to make God happy or he’ll strike you down. When you try to do something so that God will move in your life or change his opinion of you this is self righteousness. It is literally saying, “God I know you want what is best for me but you can’t possibly want me to have it until I have…..” fill in the blank. Everything from God is a gift. So you cannot earn it, you cannot buy it, but you can reject it or you can receive it. It is by faith that we receive, believe and give voice to what God has declared and Jesus has made available to us. When we speak by faith in the name of Jesus, using his authority, then God will empower it to come to pass so that his word does not return void but accomplishes that which it was sent to do.
This brings up another scenario in that we do not have to receive anything. I have been in many different denominations over the years trying to find one that actually believed the whole bible. I really believe that some of these denominations came about because of doubt and unbelief. In ignorance saying that because something never happened to someone it must not be true and because they were just so holy that they could call God a liar and that is what they believed going forward. I do not see how someone can be so selfish to not only limit their own lives but possibly the live of millions of others so their ego would not be bruised. I am glad that people receive their salvation regardless of the denomination, because as I said this time we are in now is nothing compared to eternity. But it is sad to see so many people reject what Jesus accomplished, every beating, every curse, every shock of pain suffered in vain just because someone has chosen to believe doctrines of men over the word of God.
I pray that if a promise of God for some reason does not come to pass in your life that you would not be as selfish and call God a liar so that you can justify yourself. Hmmm that sounds kind of like Job. Through most of the book of Job, Job himself and three of his buddies start declaring all sorts of things contrary to the truth of God, which ironically enough I have heard taught as truths in some churches. None the less Job repents in the end, realizes nothing that he went through was from God. God did not give anything and take it away. God then ends up prospering him by doubling everything he lost. It amazes me how quick one is, when trials come their way, that they fall apart. It is like they do not see the big picture and no matter what in the end we win. Life should not be a continual series of ups and downs, but peace and consistency getting better overall all the time with God. When something comes against you to shake your world up and you know that it is in no way something that you have caused then hold fast to the truths of God and he will get you through it. Now sometimes we create our own issues, which I am too guilty of and you just have to make peace with that. I know that even in my errors God has blessed us and enabled us to more readily rectify circumstances. Other times we just hung in there until everything worked out. The thing is as we learn who we are in Jesus, as we get revelation about this wonderful relationship and how God views us and what God has done for us we can avoid these pitfalls by listening to him and trusting him.
To put it as simple as I can. If we believe in Jesus and everything he did and receive all of his promises then we make his effort on the cross effective. But to the degree that we deny these sacrifices that Jesus made for us is to the degree we make the cross of no effect.