The fullness of God is in our Lord Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. It is the grace of God whereby our Lord Jesus Christ lives His life in mankind by faith through the Person of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings all the blessings of grace, wisdom and power. The Holy Spirit within us is the “Blesser” and the “Blessing.”
By the Person of the Holy Spirit there is within our soul a very true sense of God’s real Divine presence. The crowning mystery and glory of God’s grace is the presence of Himself in us through the Person of His Spirit.
The Christian life of faith is not primarily a set of doctrines about the Lord Jesus Christ even though God's doctrines are important. The Christian life of faith is not primarily a life ruled by a set of teachings and examples of our Lord Jesus Christ although these are important. The Christian life of faith is not primarily the sincere endeavor to live a life according to the mind of Christ although this is important.
The Christian life of faith is LIFE, and that LIFE is the LIFE of Christ. It is the continuation of the LIFE of the Risen Lord in His Body in me as a sanctified believer. “Christ lives in me” is the very essence of our Christian life of faith. It is not a system of “do these three things” or “pray this way” or “pray this certain prayer.” The Christian life of faith is a PRESENCE, the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ dwelling within the spirit of man.
In this reality we have the fullness of God within us, bless God.
John 1:16 ESV For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Ephesians 3:19 ESV and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Colossians 2:9-10 ESV For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, (10) and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
I shared my testimony in Part 4 to give you an idea of how a life can be opened up to anger and how a stronghold of anger can get its roots planted deep into the heart.
When we get angry we need to ask why. I have spoken with many believers who would say that anger is their "Achilles Heel" when it comes to walking a Spirit-filled Christian life. Few things can ruin a Christian testimony as quickly as anger can.
If we are to deal with and overcome the anger in our hearts we need to first come to grips as to why it is in there. In many believers the anger is not the root issue but a symptom of the root issue. In other words, they know that they need to deal with their anger, but there are buttons or trigger points that don't change that keep the anger on the stove with the heat on. It is just waiting to boil over again.
In my testimony, my anger towards my dad was a symptom of the root problem of unforgiveness. Because I didn't want to forgive him, I couldn't deal with the anger in my heart. For the first 8 years as a believer I tried to work on the anger towards my dad. I cried, prayed, read every Scripture in the Bible concerning anger, I fasted, and got spiritual counsel but the anger would just hide deep in the heart until my dad did something new that caused the anger to raise to the surface again. It was after 8 years that I realized that anger was not the real issue, but was a manifestation of a deeper issue.
The real issue was that I had not forgiven him and in truth did not want to. Now realize, I was a Pastor, ministering to people every week about the love of God and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am ministering about forgiveness in how we need to receive it from the Father and give it to people, yet I was not doing what I preached.
The question is then WHY? Why would I not, as a Christian believer and Pastor want to deal with the root issue of unforgiveness, yet would seek the Father almost daily concerning my anger towards my dad?
This will be answered in the next study.
Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (32) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:8-10 ESV But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. (9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices (10) and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
1 Timothy 2:8 ESV I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
James 1:19-22 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (20) for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (21) Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Fellowshipping and Worshiping together has always been a part of the Christian faith. After the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the disciples and new believers met together every day in the temple courts.
Acts 2:46 KJV And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Following the Lord's commands to meet together and wait was why they were together on the day of Pentecost, when they received the Holy Spirit UPON them. (Acts 2) Paul provided details instructions for holding orderly corporate worship services in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
The Bible instructs Christians to continue fellowshipping and worshiping together. While there is a time and place for worshiping and praying in solitude (Luke 6:12), the Bible also instructs us to worship together as a community. In Hebrews 10:25, the Bible says, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing."
With this I must say that as believers "We Do Not GO To Church."
As believers, "We ARE the church going somewhere for corporate fellowship and training."
The fellowship, worship and training time does not have to be a "Church" building, it can be in a home or a room in a town business. AND....The fellowship, worship, training time DOES NOT have to be on a Sunday. I know, old mindsets are hard to break.
When I was living in Germany I met many American's who claimed to be believers but did not fellowship together in a corporate setting. They said that they were "RESTING" from "church life" but still had their private devotions. I actually had guys tell me they were on a 3 year vacation from church and God. Can we expect God to bless and accept the sacrifice of a good discipline (like private fellowship and worship) when we neglect to offer obedience in another discipline (like public corporate fellowship and worship)?
Then there are those believers who are so scholarly, so holy, so knowledgeable, so far above all other believers and Pastors in the town that they can't find a church to attend that they can agree with. If they could record their statements when they are speaking these great, glorious words of piety and replay them back, maybe they can hear the pride and pharisaical self-righteousness that the rest of us hear. These folks need to go ahead and realize they don't have it all together and their main issue is the spirit of pride and rebellion that keeps them from submitting to pastoral authority.
As a Pastor for over 42 years I have learn one disturbing truth. Christians will do what is right in their own eyes and have a justification for it that sounds righteous to them. Find a place of corporate fellowship and worship and honor the Lord.
The key: Find a group that are true believers and are hungry for the things of God, no matter where they meet. Make sure they place the Word of God has the highest source of authority. Make sure that someone in the group is called to be a spiritual leader and has been equipped by God to lead, instruct in righteousness. (To many Bible studies both in the homes and in the churches are nothing more than shared ignorance or denominational creeds). Make sure that in the group our Lord Jesus Christ is being lifted up and not a person, personality, or belief system..
The key to these studies is not to just identify there is an anger problem among believers.
The key is to identify ways whereby we can be free from the control, habit, and destructiveness of anger.
Someone might make the statement, "Pastor, you just don't understand, I have a right to be angry."
Let me share a testimony about anger and getting freed from it.
I was raised in a small town of 250 people in Virginia. My home life was filled with alcohol, verbal abuse, fighting and constant negative condemnation. When I left home in 1972 for the military my driving force for running away to the military was my anger, hatred, and unforgiving broken relationship towards my dad. Although I ran away from home, I could not run away from my anger, therefore I carried these strong, destructive feelings in the service with me.
Before long I was becoming like my dad in drinking every day and getting into fights weekly. I hated myself and blamed all of my choices and actions on my past home life. It was easy for me to be a victim to the way I was raised then to take personal responsibility for my rebellious hate-filled life.
Then Sept. 4, 1974 I was wonderfully and gloriously saved. I knew I was a child of God, I knew my sins had been forgiven, and I knew that I had a home in eternity with the Father. However, I still had an anger and unforgiveness issue with my dad. Now to move forward eight years to 1982. I had been a believer for eight years and had been Pastoring for five years before realizing that I was attempting to transfer my personal heart issues upon my dad and the way I was raised.
I was married and had my two sons. My wife had never seen me angry but anytime I was placed in a situation were a person under the influence of alcohol was getting loud and obnoxious something rose up from deep within me that made me want to hit the guy. My wife could not see what was going on in my heart and mind but she could tell that I was different when around someone under the influence of alcohol.
In 1982 I had me a serious forgiveness time with the Lord that caused me to put my past in the past. I drove 2,200 miles from California to Virginia to ask my dad to forgive me. Something happened in my heart and in my dad's heart that day. Dad stopped his physical violence towards mom and I had a release of the anger and unforgiveness in my heart. I stopped living as a victim to my past and started living with joy aiming for the goal the heavenly Father had set for me. Now I could capture what I was captured for.
In Part 1 we looked at how we are to FACE THE REAL ISSUES:
In Part 2 we looked at how we are to DEAL WITH OUR ANGER:
Today we will look at the need to DIE TO SELF AND LIVE BY CHRIST:
Galatians 2:20 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We might quickly say, "I have died to myself." Remember this, any place that I am offended, hurt, and angry in my heart is a place that I am not dead in Christ, but alive in the flesh. Dead men can't be offended, hurt and angered. I know this is hard but it is truth.
I have done a lot of funerals in my 40 years of ministry. I have never had a person in the coffin rise up and say that they disliked the color of the interior of the coffin or disliked the funeral flowers or disliked the service. Dead people don't have a choice nor are they hunt and offended.
Let me say that I am not trying to minimize the hurt or pain that you may have experienced in your life. I am only addressing the options we have in dealing with those experiences and the emotions tied to the hurt. We can own the pain and hurt and give it to Christ for healing, or the pain and hurt can own us and dictate our lives. When we live in anger, pain, hurt, and unforgiveness we are giving the keys of our mind and emotions to someone else to drive our lives as they please. I'm sorry, but life is short and I refuse to allow others to control my thoughts and feelings, while I roll around in self-piety playing the part of a damaged victim.
An open and deliberate decision to not live according to your old life and consciously to allow Christ to live out His life in you is a special and necessary part of deliverance from anger. When this is done, you open yourself to Christ's full work in your life.
There seems to be two aspects to dying to self. There is the initial dedication period which is like starting anew. There is also the regular daily moment-by-moment dying to self which starts with a daily morning prayer where we commit ourselves to the Lord honestly and without reservation or excuses. We make these choices every day. If we don't we will find ourselves building a wall of anger within us towards someone until one day we wake up and realize how far we have removed ourselves from God, His abundant life and His peace and joy.
(Ephesians 4:30 ESV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
(Ephesians 4:31 ESV) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
(Ephesians 4:32 ESV) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV (31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17 ESV And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:23 ESV Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
I enjoy being around people of excellence. If we are going to do something, why not do it right and with our whole heart? This has served me well in my 45 years as a believer.
I watch certain "continual life-style" traits of believers and it tells me a lot about their personal discipline and their walk with the Lord. One such example would be those who are ALWAYS late. I'm not talking about an occasional situation were circumstances dictated lateness and it was out of their control.
I am speaking about the kind of tardiness that has become a lifestyle and causes others to distrust their word about when they would be available. Continual tardiness speaks of being personally undisciplined and a self-adsorbed selfishness that basically says not one else's time matters but yours. This is not excellence as a believer.
I was raised in a non-Christian home, yet there were things my father taught me that has served invaluable in my life. The first being a strong work ethic. Excellence says that you don't need to stand watch over me in order to receive a day's work that will exceed what you expected. The second is the value of time. In all of my many appointments over the past 40 plus years, I have maintained one simple code of conduct. I would rather be one hour early than be one minute late.
I have made a list of what I believe to be Christian marks of excellence. Each can be found in the Scriptures and I'm sure this list is incomplete and many more could be added. If we are going to do all things "as unto the Lord" then we should do them well and with excellence.
THE 9 MARKS OF CHRISTIAN EXCELLENCE.
1. BIBLICAL FAITH: That which we trust
2. GODLY CHARACTER: That which we manifest
3. GODLY ACTION: That which we do
4. SINGLE-MINDEDNESS: That which we think
5. GOD'S LOVE: That which motivates us
6. SUFFERING: That which we endure
7. PRAYER: That which we relate to God with
8. WISDOM: That which we seek over wealth
9. STAYING POWER: That which anchors our soul
I believe that we should be a people that display the life of Christ in all that we say, do, and think. We are the only Bible that some will read and we are the only example of Jesus some will see.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 ESV (2) You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. (3) And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
In June I published two books on hearing God's voice.
"Preparing Ourselves to Hear God's Voice" and 15 Ways to Hear the Voice of God".
Hearing God's voice and communicating with Him is not natural, but supernatural, like our new spiritual birth. There are some practical applications I have learn from the Word of God that taught me how to do what the Word said I should be doing, "My sheep hear my voice and follow me."
1. Find a quiet undisturbed place. Our Lord Jesus called it a closet of prayer. That means you are to be alone. "Shut the door" refers to locking out every distraction and interruption! This includes the cell phone. Unless we are a first responder, none of us are so important to be held captive by our phones. Don't take your phones into your prayer time.
2. Kneel in the Lord's presence. Kneeling or laying are worship positions. You need not be uncomfortable but neither should you be lazy in prayer. Read Philippians 2:10-11
3. Focus: Make your mind stop its commotion and noise! Stop listening to the confused voices reminding you of duties, tasks and obligations. Silence them! Make a willful choice that your mind is not a noisy playground, but a sanctuary. Your mind is yours. Make it obey you. See it as an altar built to bring your acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. I'm not speaking about yoga. I am speaking about us practicing the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 10:5 "Bring it into subjection to Christ."
Prov. 25:28 "He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city with out walls."
1 Peter 1:13 "Gird up the loins of your mind."
Take control of your thoughts!
4. Slow down! Relax! Refuse to be rushed in the presence of God. It won't come naturally because we don't like stillness. So work at learning to BE QUIET! Remember that if you cannot control your body, you cannot expect to control your spirit either.
1Th 4:11 KJV And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1 Corinthians 9:27 ."..I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection..."
5. Refuse to go on to the next step until the body and mind have obeyed you. If they are not subject to your will, neither will the rest of your thoughts in prayer. If you cannot exercise authority over your own body and mind how will you exercise spiritual authority in prayer. If you cannot bring your own body and mind into subjection how will you wrestle with spiritual forces and win?
1 Thessalonians 4:4 ESV that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,
These steps are difficult! That is because it is contradictory to our natural worldly driven lifestyles. Is it any wonder we do not hear the voice of God as we would like to? Though it is difficult, once mastered, this will bring great spiritual, emotional and mental satisfaction. Keep at it. A few minutes may not seem like, much but it seems an eternity when your are quiet and still before the Lord.
No One Can Make You Angry:
NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU ANGRY:
We started a new series in Part one were we are seeking to deal with and overcome anger. This first step we covered is to face the real issues. I want to say that to face the real issues we have to admit the truth about our heart.
Here is the truth: No one can MAKE us angry. We are fully and totally responsible for our anger. Yes, we can be provoked. Yes, we can be mistreated, wronged, hurt or abused. Yes, we have the worse possible physical, emotional, or mental pain thrust upon us at no fault of our own. And yes, because of the wrong inflicted on us, we can say "we have every right to be angry." However, at the end of the day, we are always 100% responsible for how we feel and think. Otherwise, we would not stand before the Lord in the judgment alone, we would have to have all the people who offended us and hurt us there with us so we could justify our actions.
Although we might have been hurt beyond measure and totally inhumane, and far beyond what most can understand, we still need to know that we are totally responsible for all of our feelings. I cannot use the excuse "my children make me mad, my spouse makes me mad, or my boss makes me mad." They may provoke to anger, and many situations during the day will provoke us, but the choice to be angry always rests with me the individual. The same goes for any emotion. The choice to be happy, sad, upset, worried, fearful, and the list could go on and on, is my responsibility. I can be provoked to happiest, however the choice to be happy is still mine to make.
That is why God calls us overcomers and tells us that we are without excuse. We can overcome anything and stand before the Father boldly and honestly without trying to blame something or someone outside my skin for what is in our heart.
So in Part 1 we looked at how we are to...
1. FACE THE REAL ISSUES:
Now we will touch on...
2. DEALING WITH YOUR ANGER: Take ownership of your anger.
If we are always justifying or blaming others for our anger, we are telling God that He was wrong in 1 Cor.13:5 when He says that His love is not easily angered. If we blame something or someone outside of us then we are doing the same thing Adam did, saying the problem is not in our heart but with others and the world. "God, You fix the world outside of my skin and I won't be angry inside my skin."
Unresolved anger is always bad and we SHOULD NOT come to the place of tolerating it as a natural part of our personality or who we are. Nor should we accept it as ownership like we have a right to possess it because of the hurt we have suffered. As a believer we do not have a right to be a victim to our past, nor do we get a free pass from God to excuse our anger.
James 1:19-20 ESV Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (20) for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
>>> Spend time confessing past Anger:
Anger from the past must be acknowledged and confessed. Amends need to be made. Forgiveness for silent or open anger must be made. We also need to ask forgiveness for not loving them as we should have. Just like driving a vehicle, stop fixing your gaze in the rearview mirror of life. The believer's life lies in the present and future, because the past is dead and buried.
>>> Repent From Present Anger:
Anger in the present and future must be cut off. You must recognize that anger is not going to accomplish the righteousness of God. You will need to confess that you have been responding to your own selfish desires and have focused on your own will and life, and not on God's will and purpose. After all, the biggest reason we hold on to anger is that it is our only means of payback or vengeance against those who wronged us. It is our way of getting even. However, the Word of God says that vengeance belongs to Him.
To Be Continued...
All of Luke 14 basically is a teaching that many are called but few are chosen.
Luke 14:12-14 ESV He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. (13) But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, (14) and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."
Luke 14:16-20 ESV But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. (17) And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' (18) But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' (19) And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' (20) And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'
Luke 14:22-24 ESV And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' (23) And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. (24) For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"
It is not the intent of our Lord for us to be the ones who fill the table with meat and food for the guests to eat. We hear a lot about "what do we bring to the table." Our Lord Jesus Christ has already set the table. It is filled with His abundance.
Our job is to communication to the masses the Lord's invitation and fill the table with guests, not food. Our Lord wants to be assured that there are enough guests at the invite to fill the table. The invite of our Lord is not to be received lightly. We have been invited to dine in His life at His table. It is not an easy decision to make a willful choice to renounce everything for the sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom. It cost us our will, our schedule, our routine, and our selfish desires to respond to the invitation of our Lord to come and dine with Him.
Luke 14:33 ESV So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Think about this statement by our Lord. This statement was to Jews and was an intensely radical statement that went against everything that they hold to be true culturally and socially. Family and friends were everything! Yet our Lord states that we are not prepared nor fit to be a Disciple and come to His table to eat until we sacrifice all else.
THE TABLE IS SET AND READY
THE INVITATION HAS BEEN GIVEN
WILL YOU COME AND DINE?
END TIMES DEPARTURE:
We have said that the Greek word for apostasy means "to fall away, to revolt, to defect, and to abundant the faith." In these end times or the last of the last days many will DEPART from the faith. We cannot sin away our salvation, but what happens when we walk away from the faith? We are saved by faith and we are kept by faith.
When we say someone walked away from the faith we do not mean they walked away from the church services or other Biblical disciplines. Faith is an issue of the heart. In fact, from the Biblical examples we have, I don't believe that someone who has walked away from the faith realizes that it is or has happened to them.
There are 5 evidences in the Word of God that reveals a person is truly born again:
1. Biblical Evidence: This is a person's testimony of praying to receive Christ.
2. Internal Evidence: This is the witness of the Holy Spirit within the person.
3. External Evidence: This is the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting outwardly.
4. Fraternal Evidence: This is the love for the Christian brothers.
5. Paternal Evidence: This is the spanking of the Father if in sin.
These are explained in detail in my book "THE FIVE WITNESSES OF SALVATION" https://www.amazon.com/CHARLES-W-MORRIS/e/B07SR5X3K6?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060
DEPARTED FROM FAITH:
1 Timothy 4:1-3 ESV Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (2) through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, (3) who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
The Greek says “shall depart” means to remove, revolt, depart, desert, or withdraw self from the faith.
Some would say that these were never saved, or never were in the faith. However, how can one depart from something they never had? How can I fall off a ladder I never climbed up on? The Greek says that in departing they deserted, revolted against, withdrew themselves, and removed themselves form the position of faith. If I am saved by faith, I am kept by faith.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.