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John’s Authority

As we begin the journey of examining I John we must ask ourselves, by what authority does John write this epistle? This may be an issue you have never taken into consideration. However, it is a very important issue to ponder considering we are discussing the matters of life or death, salvation or condemnation, and Heaven or Hell. If John has no authority to write these words we have no reason to rest our life on them. If John does have the authority to write these words we then have every reason to rest our life on them.

Clearly, John had the full authority to write these words. The first reason he had the authority to write was the fact that he was an Apostle of Christ. The credentials of an Apostle are found in Acts 1:21-22, stating, “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”  Clearly, John met these credentials. As an apostle his calling was to be a witness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A major part of John writing this epistle is his personal witness of what he has seen heard and touched, Jesus, and to proclaim to you eternal life. He said in the first two verses, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” As an Apostle, John had the authority through his personal witness.

The second reason John had the authority to proclaim to us eternal life through the written word was his fellowship with the Father and Jesus. I John 1:3 says, “indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Every Christian has this fellowship. I will further elaborate on this fellowship with God latter. John’s fellowship with God allowed him to hear from God, thus conveying the message God desired for him to deliver. Through John’s fellowship with God, he had authority from God.

Since all Christians have fellowship with God all Christians can hear directly from Him. However, God has not given all Christians the authority to write His authoritative word. I write daily. However, the purpose of my writing is to point to the authoritative word God has already given-the Bible with ultimately points to Him. I know that I am called and led of God. For this reason I preach, teach, and write just as many others do. However, my calling, just as John’s was, as well as every Christian, is confined to the authority of God. It cannot exceed God’s authority. God in His authority released authority to write the authoritative Word of God. God’s Word today is sealed. It is finalized with the 66 books we now have that make up our Bible, including I John. Therefore, all Christians today are confined to the authority of God’s written word, the Bible. Anyone who exceeds, discounts, or rejects the Word of God stands in rebellion against God and His authority.

This leads us to the final point of John’s authority to write I John. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” As already stated the Bible consist of 66 books. This is the Scripture Peter is referencing. I John is one of those 66 books. Therefore, John isn’t actually the author of I John, the Holy Spirit is. John was simply the tool God chose to use to write His authoritative word.

Why is this important to know? It is important because of the topic in which we are discussing-by this we know. By this authoritative word, we know what true Christianity is and is not. Since I John, as well as all of the bible is authoritative, this is what we hold and value as truth and apply to our lives. If any man, church, denomination, or movement disagrees with this authoritative word, they are wrong. Unfortunately, they are dead wrong. As we begin this journey of digging into I John, I encourage you to go ahead and read through it a few times to become more familiar with it.  Also, please share this with others.

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Giving God the Glory in 2015

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 2:31 NASB

As Christians we often think of things within our lives as sacred or secular. The sacred would include going to church, reading our bibles, praying, or serving God. We then think of the secular as being anything that isn’t directly connected to God such as our jobs and hobbies. Unfortunately, our families more often fall into the category of secular than sacred. Unfortunately, this is unbiblical. The bible teaches that Christians have been bought with the blood of Christ. Since we have been bought with the blood of Christ we belong to God. I Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” Since we belong to God, everything we do should bring glory to Him. Since we have been bought with a price, and have been saved from the eternal pits of hell, giving glory to God is a act of love, devotion, and the utmost appreciation.

If we were children of the world everything within our lives would be secular. Since we are children of God everything within our lives is sacred; they belong to Him. Our jobs, our hobbies, our families, our everything. Since all of who we are belongs to God, all of what we do should bring Him glory, even the simplest things of life such as eating and drinking. Even the tiniest most insignificant of creatures on earth has to eat and drink. It is a mundane necessity for all creatures. As Christians, this mundane necessity of life should bring glory to God. As Christians, all that we do from the mundane to the monumental should bring glory to God. If what we are doing doesn’t bring glory to God, we shouldn’t be participating in it.

As this next year is fast approaching make a commitment to God that your life will be and instrument for His glory. You may not be the most popular person and may endure persecution as a result of this radical decision. But remember, the things of this earth are extraordinarily temporary. The one who created you, gives you breath, sustains you, and purchased for you eternity is eternal. He deserves all glory does He not?

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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 28: The Gift of Himself

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NASB

We have spent the past 28 days taking a surface level look at many of the gifts God has richly bestowed upon us. Paul said in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” It would take volumes of books to record all of the wonderful gifts God richly blesses us with. However, none of the gifts is comparable to the gift of Himself.

When God sent us the gift of His Son that first Christmas morning He sent us the Son of God, God in the flesh. John records the coming of Christ by simply saying, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). The word “dwelt” that John used is the exact same word as “tabernacle” This verse could be translated “The word tabernacled among us.” The bible teaches us that the Old Testament Tabernacle is an earthly shadow of what is in heaven. (Hebrews 8:5). In fact, every aspect of the Tabernacle points to the person of Christ. The Tabernacle was God’s dwelling place among His people. God dwelt in the innermost part of the tabernacle.

Now through Christ, we have access to the heavenly Tabernacle. The one not made with human hands but crafted by God Himself. Through Christ, we have access to the inner most part of the Tabernacle. There is a single gate to the entrance of the Tabernacle. Jesus is the gate and we must inter through Him. (John 10:9). Once we enter the gate we see the altar. At the altar a blood sacrifice is required. Jesus made that sacrifice for us once and for all. (Hebrews 7:27). Through the blood we can now approach the bronze laver where every crimson stain has been removed and we are washed whiter than snow. Now we can enter into the sanctuary where we see the table of showbread representing our communion with Christ, the golden lamp stand representing our walk in His light, and the alter of incense where we lift up our petitions and praises. Just beyond the sanctuary is the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God. This is a representation of the throne room of God; the very throne that we can draw near with confidence, because of the grace of God and the sacrifice of Christ. The gift of Christ made God’s presence available to us all. All who would call on His name and be saved.

God sent us His Son as an invitation to come into His presence. He knows us and loves us and wants us to know Him and love Him back. For this reason, He gave us Himself as the greatest gift anyone can ever receive. A gift of long ago, a gift of today, and a gift of eternity. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 28 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 27: The Gift of Recreation

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” II Corinthians 5:17 NASB

After God completed His work of creation He looked at His brand new world with its inhabitants and declared it to be very good. (Genesis 1:31). It doesn’t take long to figure out that the world today isn’t very good. It isn’t even a little good. It is filled with every sort of wickedness. As a result of that wickedness we all suffer. What changed the world from being very good to very bad? The heart of man.

The unredeemed man’s heart is full of wickedness. His wicked heart influences every aspect of who he is and what he does. Jesus told us that prior to His return wickedness would increase. Jesus also told us that as a result of the rise of wickedness peoples love would grow cold towards one another. (Matthew 24:12). This is why we live in such a cruel world today. This is also the reason why every Christian should proclaim the gospel that has the power to transform the heart of man.

Mankind doesn’t need a change of philosophical views. Mankind needs a change of heart. A new heart will automatically change mans philosophical views. The very good creation God created has been corrupted by sin. Sin is a deadly viruses that destroys every aspect of man. Sin has corrupted all of God’s creation. Because of this, man has been totally ruined by sin. Since we are totally ruined we don’t need patch work. Jesus Himself said that you don’t put a new patch on an old garment. It will shrink and both will be ruined. He also said that you don’t put new wine in an old wineskin. If you do, the wineskin will burst and all will be lost. (Luke 5:36-37).

If we are in Christ, we aren’t pieced and patched together, we are brand new creatures. Nor, has God poured His new wine, the Holy Spirit, into an old wineskin. He recreated us. We are new creatures with a new heart, a heart to love, serve, and worship God. The old heart has been done away with, therefore our old thoughts, ideas, ways, and goals have been done away with. We are new creatures in Christ.

If we are in Christ we have already been given a new heart. One day, we will also be given a new body. An incorruptible body that cannot be corrupted by sin. A resurrected body. Along with our new resurrected bodies there will also be a new heaven and a new earth. The new heaven will be the eternal home of those who are in Christ and there we shall be with the Lord forever. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 27 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 26: The Gift of His Might

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NASB

This is probably one of the most misused verses in all of God’s word. I’ve heard Christian football players quote this verse claiming victory in the football game. I have always thought, what if the opposing team has a Christian claiming the same verse? Obviously, this is not the original intent of this wonderful verse.

When one looks at this verse in its original context, they will see Paul saying in the previous verse, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” In other words, Paul is saying he has faced the best of life and the worst of life. Since he has faced both the best and the worst in life, he knows how to be content, for his strength is not found in his circumstances, his strength is found in Christ, regardless of his circumstances.

As Christians we will face a whole host of circumstances. Some of those circumstances may be wonderful while others may be awful. However, as Christians, we don’t allow our circumstances to lord over our lives, Jesus is Lord over our lives. Since we are in Him and He in us we find our strength in Him and Him alone. Regardless of what we face in life, we will not be dismayed, for our strength is in Christ and we can do all things through Him, Jesus, who strengthens us.

Just as Philippians 4:13 is one of the most misused verses in the bible the great Christmas Carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is one of the most misunderstood. This classic Christmas Carol was written in the 15th century when some words in the English language had a different meaning than they do today. The word merry is one of those words. In the 15th century, the word merry did not mean happy as it does today. Instead, it meant mighty. In the same way, the word rest meant keep. If this song were written today, instead of saying “God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day,” it would say, “God keep these mighty gentlemen let nothing worry you. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.” It’s not as poetic, but you get the point.

As Christians we will have more than a happy Christmas, we will have a mighty Christmas, as the original meaning of merry calls for. It is happy, but also mighty. It is mighty because Jesus Christ was born. Since Jesus Christ was born we have access to God. Since we have access to God we know we are kept in Him and are therefore strengthened through Him to be mighty. For this reason, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. In Christ, we are mighty. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 26 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 25: The Gift of Beautiful Feet

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:14-15 NASB

When the angel appeared to the shepherds that first Christmas night they said, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10). His declaration was  that the good news of Christ’s birth was for “all the people.” Later in this same chapter Simeon declared that Jesus came for both the Jews and the Gentiles. Again, He is for all the people.

Jesus didn’t come for a select group of people. Nor did Jesus come only for the faithful who sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday. His heart is that all would come to repentance, receive His free gift of salvation, and be redeemed. For this reason, He told His children to, “Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:15). Peter tells us in I Peter 2:9 that one of the churches primary roles is, “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Every Christian is responsible for this task.

Paul said in Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power unto salvation unto those who believe.” If the gospel is powerful for transformation, the opposite is true that if the gospel is not proclaimed individuals, families, communities, and societies will be left to ruin apart from the proclamation of it. If you are saved, you are saved because you received the free gift of the gospel. Now that you are saved, God has called you to pay it forward and tell others so they will not be ruined and undone.

We have already seen so many wonderful gifts that God has given to His children. Each gift is received because we received the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are greedy and dishonorable to God if we hoard all of these gifts for ourselves. God’s heart is to save every man woman and child so they too can receive His free gifts. Paul said in Romans 10:13, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How will they know unless we tell them?

The feet that carry the Good News may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. For, they are bringing the Good News of Jesus to a lost world, the world of whom He loves and a world He came to save. Although proclaiming the gospel requires sacrifice on our part, it is a gift. A gift to the world in the name of Jesus. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen. Now, let us freely give as we have freely received.

This is part 25 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 24: The Gift of God’s Temple

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“ Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I Corinthians 3:16 NASB

In the Old Testament God dealt with people in a physical way. He called Abram out of Ur to go and poses a physical land that God would eventually give to Abram’s decedents. Through Abraham, God created a physical nation that battled and worked in the physical realm. God, through Moses, called this nation to make a physical tabernacle, and later through Solomon build a physical temple where God would dwell and where they would worship. God used this physical nation to bring about the Messiah, the Son of David, God’s only begotten Son into this world. When the eight days of purification passed Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple to fulfill the law. The priest Simeon rejoiced when he saw the baby Jesus. Simeon rejoiced for he was looking for “the consolation of Israel.” (Luke 2:25).

Today, God chooses to use the church, His spiritual house, to fulfill His purposes upon this earth. The church is not a building or a location. The church is God’s assembled believers and each believer is individually a temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Today, the church, the assembled believers, battle and work in the spiritual realm. We bear spiritual fruit. Paul said in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

When the Virgin Mary conceived, through the power of God, the Angel of the Lord said of the baby she would deliver, “AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Matthew 1:23). After Jesus death burial and resurrection, just prior to ascending to be with the Father, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20). Wow! What an amazing assurance. Jesus was born into this world as God with us, and left this world saying, I am with you always. We have life through Christ, and through Christ we have His presence through the Holy Spirit within us as temple’s of the Holy Spirit. We are never alone. Wherever we go, whatever task He calls us to, or whatever trial we face, God is with us. Truly, we have the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 24 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of the devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 23: The Gift of Bearing Fruit

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ 

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16 NASB

As we saw yesterday, we have the great privilege in abiding in Christ. As we abide in Him, we bear fruit thus giving the Father glory. When we give God glory through bearing fruit our joy is made full, or complete. A part of the joy we find in Christ comes from serving Christ through the fruit we bear. Apart from abiding in Christ, we cannot bear fruit.

Whereas the source of bearing fruit comes in abiding in Christ, the ability to bear fruit comes through praying in Jesus name. Jesus said, “whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give it to you.” He also said in the twelfth verse of the previous chapter, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” We are not greater than Jesus, but we, the church, the children of God, will do greater, or more works than Jesus. We are doing more works since we have been doing works in His name for the past 2000 years by spreading the gospel to all the earth. Jesus said we could do these greater works since He has gone to be with the Father. Jesus is there at the right hand of the throne of the Father making intersession for those who are abiding in Him. When we abide in Him and praying in His name, we have direct access to the throne of God enabling us to bear fruit.

Bearing fruit is spiritual works in our lives that bring glory to God. All Christians are called to bear fruit. Not bearing fruit is a sign of being dead, while bearing fruit is a sign of having life. Jesus said, any branch that does not bear fruit is taken away and cast into the fire. If we have life in Jesus, by abiding in Jesus, we will bear fruit.

How then is bearing fruit a gift to us? First, it is a sign of life to us. Second, Acts 20:35 says, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” When we bear fruit we give to God by ministering to the hurting and the lost. Every Christian is called to share the gospel with the lost and minister to the hurting. When we give this spiritual fruit we are blessed. We give a blessing and in turn, receive a blessing. Jesus came that first Christmas morning as a gift to the world. A gift that continues to give through our faithful service empowered by Him. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen. And, we are blessed to freely give it to the world as it was freely given to us.

This is part 23 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share. To see all of these devotions visit rustykuhn.com

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 21: The Gift of a New Citizenship

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 NASB

There is a great old gospel song that reminds us, “This world is not my home, I’m Just passing through. My treasure are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” As Christians, we rejoice in the fact that this world is only a temporary residence. This world with all of its tears, trials, and tribulations will one day be a thing of the past. Some people fear this truth. As Christians we can rejoice over it.

When we lose a loved one who is in Christ we don’t “grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” (I Thessalonians 4:13). That doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. (John11:35). It means, we don’t grieve without hope. We have hope through the promise of everlasting life in Christ; the hope that Paul told the church of Thessalonica to comfort one another with. (I Thessalonians 4:18).

As we saw yesterday, our citizenship is already in heaven. If we are in Christ we have already been spiritually raised up with Christ. We can rejoice in knowing when our soul leaves these mortal bodies we will be with the Lord and that one day these corruptible bodies will be incorruptible, and so we shall be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17).

Jesus told the thief, who was being crucified beside Him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43). We often call certain places on this earth paradise. They, however, are not immune to pain, sorrow, or death. Therefore, they are not truly a place of paradise. Heaven is the only true place of paradise. There, we will never see pain, suffering, sickness, death, or sorrow. In heaven, there will only be eternal bliss with the one who came to this earth as a little baby born in Bethlehem to save His people from their sins and bring us home to be with the Father forever.

Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Today, in this world of suffering, we eagerly wait for our Savior to bring us home to heaven, a place He has prepared for us, a place of paradise. Truly, we have received the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

This is part 21 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Day 19: The Gift of God’s Seal

28 Days of Christmas Devotions: The Greatest Gift-The Gift of Christ

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13 NASB

In the ancient days a seal was of upmost importance. A seal was made by melting wax then making an imprint on the melted wax with a signet ring just before the wax cools. The seal was a sign of ownership, or authority. Only the owner of the seal was allowed to remove or break the seal. If anyone dare break the seal of the Roman government, other than those of authority, the punishment was death.

This wonderful verse tells us that we were sealed by the Father, in Jesus, with the Holy Spirit. The Father is the one in ultimate authority. We enter into the authority of His kingdom by placing our faith in the person and works of Jesus Christ. As God’s seal of approval and ownership of our lives, He seals us with His Holy Spirit.

Salvation is an act of God from beginning to end. We enter into this saving relationship by faith through grace and not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we are saved Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” We are in His hands as His workmanship. As we have already seen, God finishes what He starts. (Philippians 1:6).

As a wonderful assurance of our salvation we are sealed in the Holy Spirit. We are sealed in the Spirit as a sign of God’s Lordship of our lives. We are God’s and not our own. Since we are His we are branded as His with the seal of His Spirit, as sign to us and a sign to all. Since no one is more powerful than God, no one can brake God’s seal from our lives. For this reason, Paul said in Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Today, we walk in our fleshly bodies in this fleshly world. As we live in this fleshly world God has given to us a sign, the sign of the sealing of His Spirit on our lives. A sign that He has us and a sign that the things of this world are only temporary. God has sealed us in the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption, the day we shall leave these mortal bodies and temporary world and reside with Him for all eternity. Truly, we have received the greatest gift this world has ever seen.

This is part 19 of 28 devotions that will go through Christmas Eve. If you would like to subscribe to my daily devotions please PM me your email. Also, please share.

Merry Christ-Mass

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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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