29 January 2011

The Eternity of God, and Heaven, and Hell



Something to ponder as we go about our daily routine!! I found this over at http://www.gracegems.org/

"And just as each person is appointed to die once--and after that comes judgment!" Hebrews 9:27. Jesus said "And they will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous will go into eternal life." Matthew 25:46. The question you need to ask yourself is..........Where will you stand on that day?


"The state of things after the judgment--is changeless and without end. The misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the saved--are both alike forever. Let no person deceive us on this point. It is clearly revealed in Scripture. The eternity of God, and heaven, and hell--all stand on the same foundation. As surely as God is eternal--so surely is heaven an endless day without night, and hell an endless night without day!"  J.C. Ryle

True Joy is Found in the Gospel that Saves



Phil 1:1-6

How in the world are we to have joy in the midst of difficulty? The well-known Bible scholar, Matthew Henry was once attacked by thieves and robbed of his money. He wrote these words in his diary: "Let me be thankful. First, I was never robbed before. Second, although they took my purse, they didn't take my life. Third, although they took my all, it was not much. Fourth, let me be thankful because it was I who was robbed and not I who did the robbing." As I said last week in my introduction of Philippians............true joy is found in Jesus Christ. Everlasting and true joy is only found in the Son of God who died and conquered the grave on our behalf. Heb 12:2 “.................who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” For the true joy that we find is found in the Gospel!! “As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: “It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians—and I am one of them.” This is where our joy begins and ends! That’s why Paul had so much joy in sufferings in his trials of life.....Paul put his faith and trusts in a sovereign God..........he put his faith in the power of the Gospel. So as we begin looking at this wonderful letter! Have you worn out your shoes yet or have you taken them off already? Because James said “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” James 1:2. Paul was a man of many trials of various kinds!! But he held on to something that got him through it!! A joy that is found in Christ!

1. TRUE JOY OF THE GOSPEL ALWAYS ACCOMPANIES TRUE FELLOWSHIP (V1-V5)

Look at the opening remarks or verses to his letter!.............. This is signature Paul! (v1-v5) He says “I thank my God” personal relationship that he has with the Lord. Paul touches on 2 things that are vital in the church.........Prayer and progressive sanctification! Prayer is suppose to be a joyful time whether it’s in private or in the fellowship of one another. That’s why Paul could say what he said here........He’s in jail; he is watched 24 hours a day by men who at any given word could put his to death! This is an ongoing process where we are growing more than we did yesterday! I don’t care if you are 10......30......50.........or 95 years old.....the true sign of a Christian is your growth! So ask yourself! Do I desire more of Christ today than I did yesterday...or last week? If you can’t answer that question, then you need to seek His face and ask why? But remember if you genuinely come before His throne to ask Him this question! You better make sure you ask yourself first!..........”do I really want to hear His answer?” I say that because sanctification is a process in which the Christian grows day by day! Which is the fruit baring witness to your conversion. The believer’s in the church were eagerly assisting Paul in spreading of the Gospel. Paul said “fellowship of the Gospel” (v5)……. which can be translated “participation or partnership”. When God sets you apart from this world there is a stirring that begins to happen in your heart......You can’t explain it or deny it! That’s what God is doing in our sanctification….transforming this wretched body of mine to be more like Christ. I like how Wayne Grudem explains it! He says “sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that make us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” For example! You may still have a salty vocabulary…..an addiction that needs addressing…an old habit that is hard to kick over the years……This is what the Lord is going to change in our lives. Though we have been radically changed on the inward and spiritual level! Our actual life are still the same as God day by day removes our passions and desires to implant His…….This is what was happening with this church….the passion for the Gospel was something that brought them joy and Paul! Why? Because the Gospel was changing their actual lives as Wayne Grudem puts it! They knew there was power in the Gospel......They knew there was joy in the Gospel

2. TRUE JOY OF THE GOSPEL BRINGS CONFIDENCE IN CHRIST’S FINISHING WORK (V6- V8)

Our confidence as Christian’s lies in the blessed Gospel of Christ and His finishing work. Paul’s confidence was much more than human hope, a fade or band wagon to get on. “Confidence” the kind of boldness, or calm assurance, which arises from evidence of holiness, and of preparation for heaven. It was the absolute confidence that comes from: Knowing the true gospel that saves to the uttermost. Believing God’s promises found in His written word. Trusting in His sovereignty that He will conclude all things according to His perfect and complete will. (v6 ) “And I am sure of this, that He (meaning God) who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Which “He has began”, “He will complete it” points to eternal security for the Christian. It's the Lord who began and He will finish it, we need to remember salvation is solely God’s work, not men. He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Think about this verse for a minute. What is Paul trying to say? God never start’s anything that He does not finish. Has God begun something in your life?
Have you been born by the Spirit of God? Because your confidence should not be in yourself! Neither in your faith nor in your spiritual successes, but solely in God. It is He who calls us as Christians, It is Him who leads us on in the Christian life, It is Him who will most certainly lead you and me Home. Johann Ferus said "Let us never put confidence in man, or in any sanctity of position, office, or dress. If apostleship did not make Judas a saint, neither will position, office, nor dress make thee a saint." All things work together for good. To us, who are under God's providence, all things, even our sorrows, trials and persecutions, work together for blessing? Remember Paul is in Prison and he is fully satisfied in the Lord. To them that love God; the called according to His purpose. These are those who enjoy the blessed assurance. Paul had confidence in the Lord and all He said He would finish! “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Paul throughout this letter to the Philippians believers reminds them “the day ...” This day is coming for which Christians should be prepared by living sincerely and blameless and holding fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? 1Cor 4:5 says “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, Who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” “Disclose” means to enlighten, illuminate, (bring to, give) light, make to see. This verse refers to the inner motives....thought process....and the attitudes which only God can know!

3. TRUE JOY OF THE GOSPEL BRINGS LOYALTY AND COMMITMENT (V9-V11)

The primary aim in our Christina lives is to love God and to love one another. The Love Paul is talking about here is not based on feeling,s but rather it is a conscious choice because you desire to be obediant to our Lord. See we need to understand and always remember “Love is not blind, but perceptive” The heart carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong. These people were showing their love for Paul, each other and the Gospel. This is why Paul had such great Joy for them.......you can find true joy in the midst of suffering or trials. But this takes commitment and loyalty to one another! And that’s only possible because the Gospel has been poured out into your life......True joy is found in the Gospel! A joy for one another.....”......for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Rom 13:8. A joy for knowledge.....”But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18. A joy for discernment.....”But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Heb 5:14......Again going back to (v7) “....... You all are partakers with me of grace”. We are partakers of the good news....the Gospel. We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus......saved by His mercies and grace. We are part of the family of God.....which He will complete until the day of glorification. There is true joy found in the Gospel!! The fellowship of Gospel should always be a fellowship of JOY! We are partners in the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Despite the unavoidable sorrows, disappointments, and pain of life. Remember Paul is in prison! Believers can always be JOYFUL........Why? Because we are partakers of His wonderful grace found in the blessed Gospel. The ultimate end or goal to our joy is found at the end of Paul’s prayer (v11) “God be glorified”. True biblical JOY is not based on circumstances........ It’s a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes through the Gospel that saves to the uttermost!! “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, “Gal 5:22. Our God who begins is the God who completes. This is our assurance, our confidence. During His incarnation, the Lord gave this Absolute and precise assurance. Which is the source of JOY to all those who will ever trust in Him. “For the joy that was set before him.”................ The joy of saving lost men from themselves! This is where our Joy begins and ends and this is how Paul starts his letter!! What a wonderful introduction Paul does at the beginning of his letter. The Gospel definitely glorifies God as extremely valuable….which ultimately makes Christ all glorious and worthy of all our joy! So keep those shoes on and seek the Lord for joy...because it's here!! And it’s for you.

12 January 2011

The Gospel of Christ Transforms Everything



I found this wonderful post over at Gospel Coalition, and I thought I would share it with you!! This is very humbling and informative to Christian marriages.....Worth reading and meditating on......God bless and to Him be the glory in our marriages.

Because of the gospel, Christians have become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore, in our marriage, our past does not define us, confine us, or determine our future.

Because of the gospel, we are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7). Therefore we can live free of all guilt and condemnation for every sin, and we can trust that God, in his mercy, will be gracious to us.

Because of the gospel, we can forgive, just as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). Nothing done against us compares to our sin against God. Therefore all offenses, hostility, and bitterness between Christians can be completely forgiven and removed.

Because of the gospel, we are accepted by God (Romans 15:7). Therefore we are not dependent on a spouse for who we are or what we need.

Because of the gospel, sin’s ruling power over us is broken (Romans 6:6, 14). Therefore we can truly obey all that God calls us to do in our marriage, regardless of any circumstance or situation.

Because of the gospel, we have access to God through Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). Therefore we can at any time take any need in our marriage to the One who can do all things.

Because of the gospel, we have hope (Romans 5:1-4). Therefore we can endure any marital difficulty, hardship, or suffering, with the assurance that God is working all to our greatest good (Romans 8:28).

Because of the gospel, Christ dwells in us by his Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14). Therefore we are confident that God is always with us and is always at work in our marriage, even when progress is imperceptible (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Because of the gospel, we have power to fight and overcome remaining sin, which continues to dwell and war within us (Romans 7:19-21, 24-25; Galatians 5:16-17). This indwelling enemy represents the essence of what is called the doctrine of sin.

These are just a few of the ways the gospel can transform a marriage. Sometimes it’s not easy to live in the reality of these truths. But it is always possible—and not because of our strength or determination, but because of God’s empowering and enabling grace.

For more information click on the link! http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/01/12/how-the-gospel-can-transform-a-marriage/ Gary and Betsy Ricuchi, Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace (Crossway, 2006), pp. 22-23:

10 January 2011

True Biblical Joy Starts Here!



Introduction to the Book of Philippians

We live in a generally sad world, a fallen world well acquainted with despair....depression......disappointment......dissatisfaction, a longing for lasting happiness that often never comes to pass. People today are consumed by the passionate pursuit of happiness! Either through: self help books, motivational speakers, advice columnists claiming to offer the key to happiness, but for many it leads to dead ends! What does it mean to have true joy? Is it caused by succeeding in your job or profession? Is it getting good grades in school? Is it having money and the comforts of this life? Is it watching your favourite actor/actress or sporting event (Super Bowl or Stanley Cup)? Is it hitting your first home run in little league? Don’t get me wrong these are wonderful things!...........but these things I mentioned above, have anything to do with what true joy looks like! But the world equates this with being true joy!! See society calls joy..........”finding what makes you happy!”........... It’s all about you! Aristotle said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Franklin D Roosvelt said “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. “ And Lawrence Welk said “Music was my joy, my home, the one place I felt happy and secure.”
But that’s not true joy!...................it feels good for a season until it loses its flavour or appeal! For example: You get your new car....a new rifle for hunting......a new purse.....or that new video game! You’re excited to get it! “But something happens”....... over a period of time it starts to loss its flavour or you don’t find it as interesting as it was when you purchased it. Your new job that you worked so hard to get......... Your championship trophy from little league after winning the finals. Your diploma from all those hard years of reading and studying. From the time you received or from the time you get them, they usually becomes as the Bible says “unfit” Jesus said, “Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out...” Luke 14:34-35. Man made...man centered joy will never stand the test of time!! For a season yes! But long term no! Why? Because............True joy stems out of love for Christ and His finishing work on the Cross..........True joy comes from the gift of salvation that He freely gives to whom He wills...........True joy comes out of a love for righteousness and a hatred for sin..........True joy is rooted........firmly planted in His God breathed words on the pages of Scripture........True joy begins when the Spirit takes up residence in our lives and overfills our cup..........True joy is despite what the day brings, it will always be my plumb line! Why? The Lord’s joy will never fail or goes away............True joy is the living hope we have as we anticipate entering into the Kingdom with Christ for all eternity. Put yourself in the life of the Apostle Paul for a moment! (In his shoes if you will) Here is a man who was keep in prison for 2 years in Caesarea without trial. Here is a man who was being held for an unknown amount of time in Caesar’s jail in Rome. He survived a perilous storm on the Mediterranean Sea. He had been deserted by most of his friends. Sadly! Christian leaders had spoken against Paul, hoping to get him in trouble with the government. He faced possible execution for his faith on a day to day basis....“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Cor 11:24-28. What was Paul’s secret to finding true joy amongst his suffering? How could Paul remain JOYFUL in such discouraging times? How could Paul find JOY in time of trials and persecution? The answers can be found in a little book that is titled.......... “The Book of Joy”. The Book of Philippians is a book about Christian Love...Hope...Aspiration...Joy and Confidence, and Peace and Contentment. James Boice says “Philippians is so simple and at the same time so profound that it speaks profitably to Christians at every level of spiritual understanding, age, and maturity”. This little book contains some of the most profound and crucial teaching on the Lord Jesus Christ. The major theme of this book is “true joy comes from pursuing Christ likeness” as the most defining element of spiritual growth. Over the next few months we are going to look at this letter Paul wrote about having true joy in a broken and fallen world....A letter that talks about true everlasting genuine joy! Joy by definition is “cheerfulness, a calm delight: a gladness, to be exceeding joyful.” True Biblical Joy is not an attitude dependent on chance or circumstances. It is the DEEP and abiding confidence that, regardless of one’s circumstances in life, all is well between the believer and the LORD because of His covenant promises that is found through redemption. “The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” Matthew Henry. I think Thomans Kempis said it best “The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs.” I WANT TO SHOW YOU 6 SIMPLE INGREDIENTS FOUND IN THE SCRIPTURE TO WHERE TRUE SPIRITUAL JOY COMES FROM!

1. TRUE JOY IS A GIFT FROM GOD


(Ps 16:11) You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

2. TRUE JOY IS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL

(John 15:11) These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


3. TRUE JOY IS PRODUCED BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

(Rom 14:17) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

4. TRUE JOY IS EXPERIENCED MOST FULLY AS BELIEVERS RECEIVE AND SUBMIT TO GOD’S WORD

(Jer 15:16) Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.


5. TRUE JOY IS DEEPENED THROUGH TRIALS AND SUFFERING

(1 Thess 1:6) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,


6. TRUE JOY IS MADE COMPLETE WHEN WE SET OUR SIGHTS AND HOPE ON SPENDING ETERNITY WITH CHRIST.


(Rev 21:4-5) “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."



As we dive into this wonderful book over the coming months. My prayer is that we will rediscover...rekindle...be filled with true biblical joy. True joy that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.....Why? Because......His joy is permanent and everlasting!!! My prayer is that the Lord would illuminate His grace to our hearts to find true joy. My prayer is that He will make Himself known to you in a real way, so that you can have true biblical joy.......... if you seek His face. As David Wilkerson said about Isaiah 51:11 “the Bible declares.....Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion.” In other words: “I’m going to have a people who return to me with trust, faith and confidence. They take their eyes off the conditions surrounding them. And they’ll get back their song of joy.” “Everlasting joy shall be upon their head, the joy that God’s people experience won’t be just for a Sunday morning, or a week or a month. It will last through the years, through hard times, even to the very end. “They shall obtain gladness and joy.” God looked down through the ages and said, “I’m going to have a people who will obtain joy, take, and possess it. They’ll lay hold of it, and it will be theirs. “Sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” This doesn’t mean all our suffering will end. It means our trust in the Lord will put us above every pain and trial. Such things won’t be able to rob us of our joy and gladness in Christ.." This is what this letter is all about!! Hanging on to the true joy found in Paul’s letter! Are you ready to claim your joy back again? Let’s reclaim that joy today!!........Let’s us say with Paul, no matter what happens........ “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Phil 4:4

06 January 2011

What Does Your Tree Produce?


Gal 5:22-23

What makes a tree fruitful?


• Is it the location and the soil?
• Is it the climate?
• Is it the branches and the leaves?
• Is it the trunk of the tree?
• Is it the roots that make a tree fruitful?

It's none of those things! It can’t be location or the soil! It can’t be the climate....the branches......or the leaves! Why would I say such a thing? If you have ever been in the Okanogan Valley of British Columbia, you would understand what I mean! Do you realize that there are thousands of beautiful flourishing tree’s sitting on the mountain side of those 9000 ft beasts of rock! Some of the most beautiful Douglas fir trees grow on these beautiful landscapes! So going back to my question! What makes a tree fruitful? A farmer one time planted two fruit trees on opposite sides of his property. The one he planted to provide a hedge hide the unsightly view of an old landfill; the other to provide shade to rest under near a cool mountain stream which ran down beside his fields. As the two trees grew, both produced began to flower and bear fruit. One day the farmer decided to gather the fruit from the tree nearest his house "the one used to provide a hedge from the landfill. As he brought the fruit inside the house, he noticed that it was a little deformed "the symmetry of the fruit was not very good, but still the fruit looked edible. Later that evening, while sitting on his porch the farmer took one of the pieces of fruit for a snack. Biting into the fruit, he found it to be extremely bitter, and completely inedible. Casting the fruit aside he looked across the field to the other tree over by the mountain stream. After walking across the field, the farmer took a piece of the fruit from the other tree and bit into it. Find the fruit to be sweet and delicious he gathered several more pieces of fruit and took them to the house. The fruit was greatly affected by the nutrition of the root. Just as the tree grew by the landfill to be bitter, and the tree by the stream produced sweet fruit, so the Christian has a choice. He can either put down his roots into the soil of the landfill of fleshly pursuits, or into the cool refreshing stream of the person of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the root bears the fruit. The fruit of the Christian is the outward evidence of the inward motivation. Jesus said the exact same thing to His disciples "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:1-5. A tree grows by the source! Those deep roots found only in Jesus Christ....It’s the deep roots and trunk that gives it life.......and without the fruit it looks like every other tree. It’s much like the Christian life! Without fruit you look like the world! Smell like the world, behave like the world!
Let me ask you! Is the world crucified to you or does it still fascinate you? The Bible speaks numerous times about fruit!...............it’s mentioned 106 times in the Old Testament and 70 times in the New Testament. A believer is ONLY capable to produce fruit by God’s power....not our own! As the Lord said in Hosea 14:8 “Your fruit is found in Me." Jesus said "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush." Luke 6:43-44. So how do I know I’m bearing fruit?.....................Let’s take the FRUIT TEST found in Gal 5:22-23! Paul just finished warning these blessed Christian’s by trying to do things in our own strength! (v1-v6). Why? Because the Spirit and the flesh don’t get along together in (v16-V18). Paul gives them some strong words in the beginning of this chapter.......The reason for this! If this is going to be your day to day lifestyle there is a strong possibility that you are not one of His childern.......Look what Paul says at the end of (v21) “will not inherit the Kingdom of God”. There is cause for concern here...Because what Paul is saying is "You will spend an eternity separated God and His glory!" Why? Becuase you chose the world over Christ, you chose pleasure over sacrifice, you chose comfort over rest in Him, you chose the flesh over Spirit. This is where the fruit test comes to play! Paul gives of a list of characteristics that live in the life of the Believer. Those whom have been saved by the power of the God through His Spirit! These are free gifts that the Spirit gives every believer at the point of conversion.......The question you need to ask yourself is...... Am I using these gifts to display Christ as extremely valuable?

1. IS THE FRUIT OF LOVE GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

Love characterizes your life.........Why? Because God is love. It’s best described in 1 Cor 13......“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy (jealous, or greedy); love does not parade (show off) itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." It’s a genuine love towards God and His children. It’s that same kind of love that Jesus showed when He went to the cross for you and me. It’s an unchanging and transforming love. It’s the kind of love that never was displayed in your life before He saved your soul from the depths of eternal Hell. This love is a reflection of personal choice, not simply to pleasant emotions or good feelings but to willing, self giving service. It’s a genuine love for people that you thought you could never love. You know that kind of love that John wrote about! “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16

2. IS THE FRUIT OF JOY GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

Joy is used 70 times on the New Testament as an expression of happiness that is based on spiritual realties. This is a genuine joy that satisfies the soul through Jesus Christ and Him resurrected. A joy that satisfies the deepest needs of the soul in the midst of this secular world. People would ask! Isn’t happiness the same as joy? NO! Happiness depends on circumstance, where joy doesn’t. A person who is born again will have a joy that can never be removed by situation or circumstances of life. Joy will always bring gladness. Let me explain! It’s that same kind of joy that Heaven is filled with when you were saved.  It’s that same kind joy that you want to share with others as the women and the lost coin parable that Jesus spoke of......Luke 15:9-10 “And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." It’s that joy that can only be filled by the God’s grace and Holy Spirit!

3. IS THE FRUIT OF PEACE GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This refers to the tranquility of the mind that comes from that saving relationship with Jesus Christ. As joy and peace have no relationship to circumstance! Why? Because we as Christian’s know that God causes all things to work out for His glory.....Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It’s that inner peace when you can say with confidence “everything is going to be ok, because I know whom I serve with my whole life.” Peace is a gift from God! Remember what Jesus said to His disciples........“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26

4. IS THE FRUIT OF PATIENCE GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This has to do with tolerance and longsuffering. It’s the quality of putting up with others, even when one is severely tried. It’s that calm willingness to accept situations that may irritate you or cause you pain. The greatest example of patience is found in God with His creation! “God is slow to anger” Ps 86:15. Can I say boldly He expects the same from me and you as His saved children? He calls us to emulate our Lord’s patience by what Paul said to the church! Col 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Again this only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer who willingly submits with adoration to the Spirit of God

5. IS THE FRUIT OF KINDNESS GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This is in relation to that tender mercy or concern for others....a genuine concern that’s not out to make yourself look good to others. It’s comes from a genuine love for Christ and desire to treat others gently, just as the Lord treat us. Paul gives a great example of this to the church of Thessonlica “Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” That genuine care for others...the divine kindness out which God acts towards men and women! The Christian is to show kindness by behaving towards others as God has behaved towards him.

6. IS THE FRUIT OF GOODNESS GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?


Though it’s related to kindness....it differs from it in being a more active term. Goodness has to do with moral and spiritual excellence that known by its sweetness and active kindness. A prime example of this is found in the lesser known Joseph after he finds out that Mary is pregnant. Matt 1:18-20 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man (observant of the law of God), and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit." He was a upright man.............(a righteous man who honoured God)....This was a great act of kindness. He had every right to have her stoned according to the Law of Moses (Deut 22:23)! But Joseph loved Mary so he decided the best thing to do was to “put her away” This means: Joseph deliberately consulted and determined within himself to dismiss her, or put her away by giving her a bill of divorce, in a very private manner (Deut 24:1)He loved Mary and didn’t want to disgrace her among their people......

7. IS THE FRUIT OF FAITHFULNESS GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This is a loyalty and trustworthiness......”faithful is He who calls you” Act 1:11. Ask yourself are you reliable?....Can people depend on you, when you say you are going to do something or help? It’s being a faithful servant to those around you and most of all the Lord Jesus Christ. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Rev 2:10. Let me ask you! Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ worthy being faithful to the very end? Paul thought so and so should we! “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”Acts 20:24

8. IS THE FRUIT OF GENTLENESS GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This is better translated “meekness”........It’s a inward grace of the soul. It’s the temper of the Spirit in which we accept His dealing with us as good....without the arguing or resistance. Basically it’s a humble and gentle attitude that is patiently submissive in every situation of life....with the freedom or desire for revenge or retribution. James Boice said “It’s a person who is so much in control of himself that he is always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time.” A prime example of this is found in Moses “(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)” Num12:3. This same principle applies to you and me!! We are to have that same humble spirit as Moses did....even in times of conflict! “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,” Eph 4:1-2

9. IS THE FRUIT OF SELF-CONTROL GROWING IN YOUR LIFE MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY?

This refers to restraining (temperate) our passions and appetites for the flesh. This is the quality that gives victory over the fleshly desires...which is sort of like putting on a chastity belt around our heart and around our body. The ability to say NO to peer pressure....... whether your 12 or 80 years old! We are all faced with the world and what it has to offer no matter how old we are!.......With the help of the Spirit and His power we will be able to say no! When faced with the pleasures of this present world. As Barclay said “self control is the great quality which comes to a man when Christ is in the heart, that quality which makes him able to live and to walk in the world, and to keep his garments unspotted from the world.” Remember what Paul said 1Co 9:24-27 “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

These are the divine gifts given to each and every child that is truly born again!! Remember, Christ died to give us these gifts....... so that we would make much of Him while we are here on this earth. This is part of our new nature.....This is part of what a tree looks like. Growing every day by the grace of the Spirit that lives within each and every one of us! But to be perfectlu clear on something! We may stronger in some of the gifts than others..............so we desperately need to be praying and asking the Spirit to help us grow in the ones that we don’t seem to be finding victory in! These are the qualities that of life that have been claimed by Jesus Christ and these gifts are given to us by His Holy Spirit! SO LET ME ASK YOU ONE SIMPLE QUESTION........Is your tree bearing more fruit today..... right now!? Because Jesus said ”you will know them by their fruit." We must yield to the Spirit, so that He can do His perfect work in and through our lives. This is something we cannot afford to lose! Use these gifts for His glory and for His honor!