Restored Through the Spirit of Christ

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11)

Once man walked with God, together God and man walked in the Garden of Eden, together they talked with each other in perfect fellowship. How could a man be in the presence of a Holy Righteous God? We find the answer in chapter 2 verse 7 of Genesis. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) Paying attention to the words that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” In Hebrew the word breath is neshamah, which means wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect. God breathed divine inspiration into man, a soul and spirit. Man’s spirit came from God and was perfect and in unity with God. Man was sinless and being a righteous creation of God man could stand in His presence. Man was created to have fellowship with God. (1 John 1:3) It was not because God needed man, man is a complete dependent upon the Creator, God. God created man out of His great love to have fellowship with us on an intimate bases. All else of creation was spoken into existence but man was formed by the hand of God and His Spirit was breathed into our bodies and we became a living being. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)

We don’t know how long this state pf perfect fellowship lasted between God and man but at some point man fell into a sinful state. That fallen angel whose desire was to be as the Most High came into the Garden of Eden and tempted man with twisted truth, deception, and his persuasive lies. He proposed the same proposition that he himself had fallen into, that man could be like God. That man could be as the creator. How silly does that seem to us today, but then the broad road is filled by the foolishness of this world. Man who only knew the goodness of God could become as God by knowing evil as well as good. And by knowing evil he could be as God, who is love! (1 John 4:16) Man fell to the temptation of the serpent and sin entered into the heart of man and into the world.

Sense Genesis 3:15 God has been working His plan to restore man back into fellowship with Him. Over the space of time to get the Messiah here there was the problem of man’s sin man had lost control and had to be dealt with. God cannot have sin in His presence, which means what to do about the fallen state of man until the Christ could come. God’s Word says that the wages of sin is death. Man was told that in the beginning the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden fruit, and to eat of it would bring about man’s death. (Genesis 3:3) Paul restates that truth in Romans. (Romans 6:23) The sacrificial system was set up where a spotless lamb was slain and the blood spilled to symbolically cleanse the sin of man. Still God could not intimately fellowship with man, God could not sit down with man, so to speak, and reason with him.

In order for God to speak to man there was a prophet, a holy man devoted to God. A prophet is a person who speaks for God. The Old Testament is filled with Prophets chosen and sent by God. When God wanted to speak to man He would speak through His Prophet. An example would be Moses who was a Prophet. Moses led the Israelite nation out of bondage from the Egyptians, led them through the wilderness to the river Jordan. There across the Jordan was the Promised Land. Along the way Moses received the Laws of God referred to as the Torah. Torah in Hebrew is teaching. Moses taught the Israelite nation the teachings of God. Moses was their prophet.

If there must be a way for God to speak to man then there must also be a way for man to speak to God. A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God. They also had the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of God. Arron, the older brother of Moses was a Priest. Arron was the one who could enter into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. Arron was the one who devoted himself to prayer on behalf of the people. Arron was the advocate of the Israelite nation before God.

This was the way of the Old Covenant, sacrifices, prophets and priest. But it was neither sufficient for God towards man or man towards God. The problem of sin still remained and the system of the Jewish religion became more and true worship of the Lord suffered. The Jewish leaders, the Pharisees and Scribes, the whole world order became caught up in the system and allowed selfishness to rule the thrones of their hearts. It is much like the system we are seeing develop today, the Babylon of the future which will fall in the last days. (Revelation 18:2-8)

The Prophet Joel spoke of a time when the Lord would re-establish an intimate relationship with man. It would of course be through God’s Son Jesus Christ. “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.” Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29) Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world “to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) As the Prophet John the Baptist testified, “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Jesus became the Great Prophet of God. Jesus, who was obedient to the will of the Father in Heaven and who was the Word of God in the flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14) Jesus who was the Word of God spoke only that which God the Father have given Him and He testified to the poor blind beggar and gave him light to see, He lifted the lame that they might walk on the straight and narrow way, and He gave hope to the dead that through Him they might have live abundantly. To the Jewish authorities He proclaimed that they must be born again. (John 3:3) To the rulers of this world He proclaimed “I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37)

Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus is “The way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is in constant prayer for us expressing our concerns and needs to the Father in Heaven. “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:34) Jesus is our friend that is closer than a brother and though He sits upon His throne in Heaven He sits on the rightful place of His throne in your heart if you will let Him.

Jesus is the sacrifice for our sin, my sin, your sin, and the sin of the world. By the Grace of God He offers us all salvation through Him as a free gift if we will accept it. On the cross Jesus said it was finished because He was the perfect righteous sacrifice needed to pay our sin debt. “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10-8-10)

Jesus has fulfilled the prophecy of Joel, as He asked the Father to send the Helper that He may be with us forever. That is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. On the tenth day after the ascension of Jesus up into Heaven the Spirit came with a rush of wind on the day of Pentecost. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) In this passage the Greek word for Spirit is pneuma meaning a current of air, breath (blast) or a breeze. God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to me that this definition is very similar to the definition of the Hebrew word neshamah in Genesis 2:7 God has fulfilled His promise to restore man to an intimate relationship with Him through the Word and Ministry of His Son Jesus Christ. This was the power that Moses and the Prophets had and this is the power that you and I can have through Jesus Christ. We can do all things to accomplish His will for our lives through Christ who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13) Jesus in His prayer to the Father on the night of His betrayal prayed this, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)

Why then are there so many weak Christians in the faith? Do they believe what they profess? Do they act in faith upon what they believe? Paul said in Ephesians “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) Salvation is a free gift by the Grace of God but we have to accept it, we have to believe it, and we must carry our belief into action by our faith in the Word of God, Jesus Christ. Do we love Him, if we Love Him then we will obey Him. (John 14:15) If we do this, then we will be in unity with Jesus, and through Jesus we will be in unity with the Father, and the Father will be in us. Then the Father will have fellowship with us and our relationship with Him will be restored.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 9, 2014

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