LIMITED ATONEMENT – CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH

Husbands, love your wives, as CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH and gave himself up for HER, that he might sanctify HER, having cleansed HER by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the CHURCH to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that SHE might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27, ESV)

Christ gave His life for the church to sanctify her, His bride. So that He might present the CHURCH to Himself, not the world. So that the church might be holy…..NOT THE WORLD.

Christ is the good shepherd and he lay down His life for the sheep, His own, not the world.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11, ESV)

Jesus Christ pray for the church not for the world.

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. (John 17:9-10, ESV)

The church are those of faith in Christ who the Father called to Jesus.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44, ESV)

The Father has caused them to be born again by the Holy Spirit. They are not born again by their own choice or will. They are born from God. The Holy Spirit indwelt the church and every believer that God draw to Jesus and gave to Him to save.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1Pet 1:3, ESV)

He will keep them/Church until the day He return and raise them up on the last day.

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pet 1:5, ESV)

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28, ESV)

They belonged to God before the time and were called to faith in Christ.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. (John 17:6, ESV)

The Sinful Nature

The sinful nature expresses itself in various ways. It’s chief end is hate towards God, the creator of mankind. It is rebellion against the Holiness of God. Hatred for the love of God shown in Christ.

Sometimes it expresses itself in religion and self induced morality. Pharisaical self righteous living that pride itself in its own goodness and effort. It will rebel against God’s will and promote free will. It want’s to free itself from God’s sovereign choice and makes it’s own choice, because self preservation is its main cause.
Other times it express itself in the most crude and vulgar ways. It broke all rules of decent behavior and is self destructive. It even destroys those around it by words and deeds. It murders, rape and abort babies.
It rebel against what God has created man and woman for. To have a loving relationship between man and woman. It wants to destroy parenthood and its responsibilities. It try to change and confuse the role of different sexes.
But thank be to God who send His Son in the likeness of sinful man to kill the sinful nature. To break its power and destroy its reign. To take the punishment for the deeds committed through the sinful nature upon Himself. To break the reign of satan, the snake of old’s hold on man through the power of the sinful nature. So that those who are in Christ can be made Holy by the Spirit of God and experience the love of the Father. That they can be restored and share in the divine nature of His Son Jesus Christ. Dignity can be restored and man is now free from the rebellion of his own sinful nature to worship His creator and God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Eph 2:1-10 ESV) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What is the Gospel?

Scripture reading:

1 Cor 15:1-8

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1Cor 15:1-8, ESV)

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1Cor 15:24-26, ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom 1:16, ESV)

THEME: God focused, Christ centered and Bible based.

I would remind you;
Paul planted the church of Corinthians and first preached the gospel to them. He however felt the need to remind them again of the gospel. After the church was planted, the Corinthians became a fleshly church with many false teaching. There was immorality and strives among them. In 1Cor 5:1 we read “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife”. There was false teaching and abuse of the gifts. Paul reminded them about their pagan life style that influenced them with regards to spiritual gifts. 1Cor 12:1 “You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led”. There was also false teaching about the resurrection of the dead. In v12 “…how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead…?” Some among the Corinthians did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. That is why Paul had to remind them of the gospel. In the following verses Paul remind them that there is no gospel without Jesus’s resurrection. 1Cor 15:13-15 “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised”.

Today there are so many false teaching about Christ, gifts of the Spirit and salvation, free will and election, that it is necessary that we are also reminded again about the gospel. We must live Christ centered life’s as the only source of salvation and that Jesus is enough.

I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received;
The gospel was not invented by a man nor was it taught by man. It was God’s plan from Gen 3:15 ​​​​​​​​“I will put enmity between you and the woman, ​​​​​​​and between your offspring and her offspring; ​​​​​​​he shall bruise your head, ​​​​​​​and you shall bruise his heel.” ​​Christ was predicted shortly after the fall of man. The hostility between Christ and satan and between God’s people and the world, started at the fall.

The following two verses remind us that the gospel is a direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ”. (Gal 1:11-12, ESV)

“was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone” (Gal 1:16, ESV) 

Which you received;
The Corinthian church received the gospel and believed and was born again. We received the gospel and believed and are born again.

In which you stand, By which you are being saved;
To believe in the gospel is a position of faith you stand before God. This position of faith is to be born again and to receive the ears and the eyes to see Jesus Christ spiritually so that you are united by faith in his death and resurrection. It is a gift of God.

If you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain;
True believers will persevere as they are drawn by the Holy Spirit daily to Jesus since conversion. The Holy Spirit in them motivates them daily to follow Christ. They follow Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that live in them. In Phil 2:13 we read “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”.

Those who did not persevere, were not true believers. In 1 John 2:9 we read “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us”.

According with the Scriptures;
​I will put enmity between you and the woman, ​​​​​​​and between your offspring and her offspring; ​​​​​​​he shall bruise your head, ​​​​​​​and you shall bruise his heel.” ​​​ (Gen 3:15, ESV)

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1Pet 1:10-12, ESV)

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:26-27, ESV)

Christ died for our sins, He was buried, He was raised on the third day;
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Col 2:9-15, ESV)

What does that mean to us?

How do we share in this?

The penalty and sins was paid for;
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Eph 2:13-17, ESV)

Our old self died;
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (Rom 6:4-12, ESV)

As Christ was raised, we rose together with Him to a new self;
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:4-10, ESV)

Christ is enough;
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Eph 1:16-21, ESV)

Christ is fullness;
“may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”. (Eph 3:18-19, ESV)

We share in the fullness by the indwelling Holy Spirit;
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Col 2:9-10, ESV)

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Rom 5:5, ESV)

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (Rom 8:9, ESV)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39, ESV)

“my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you”! (Gal 4:19, ESV)

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2Pet 1:19, ESV)

Love knows no fear

Love knows no fear. Fear has to do with judgment and punishment. Our mind must be renewed with whom God is towards His own people. Discipline is a positive word and do not know judgment and punishment. God disciplines us in love with the goal of spiritual growth and restoration. To return to Him or to come closer to Him like the prodigal son. It aims to get the flesh more and more conformed to Jesus’s death, because the Bible says in Romans 6:5-6 that we are united with Him in His death and so our flesh and old self died. Hebrews 12:6-7 says that true children of God are disciplined and chastened and is also a sign that you are accepted as a child of God. It’s also say that God disciplines because He loves. This is just like our own children. We have inherited this from our heavenly Father.

While the prodigal son was in the far away country, circumstances worked together to bring him to that point in the pigsty where he realized his sin. Although he left his fathers house physically, things worked together for his return to his father’s house. In the same way God is always in control of everything and all things work together for His purposes, for those he called and will call to salvation. The difficulties that the prodigal son experienced was preordained by God the Father to bring him back home. In the same way a backslider or sinner is brought home under God the Father’s discipline. Luke 15:12-24

Rejoice therefore in discipline and chastisement because you are a legitimate child of God. Thank God for it and follow His discipline and keep in mind the end result of spiritual growth and maturity. Let God renew our minds to see His love and God’s love will cast out fear. Pray earnestly that God will reveal it to your mind and heart. Seek it diligently.  Read His Word about His love towards you so that your mind can be filled with His Word. The Holy Spirit will witness to your heart about the Fathers love for you.
1 John 4:18 ESV There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever Fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 ESV
(Heb 12:6-8, ESV) For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, ​​​​​​​and chastises every son whom he receives.” ​​​ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (Heb 12:6-8, ESV)

How to Pray

From Ligonier.com I find this very insightful article about prayer:

James 5:16 “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (v. 16).

After explaining justification by faith alone (Rom. 1-4), Paul lists the benefits of being counted righteous in God’s sight. The second blessing he describes is that we have “obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Rom 5:2). As members of the new covenant, we are privileged to be able to enter into the most holy place and commune with the Lord because of Jesus (Heb. 6:19–20).

Prayer has been given to us so that we may enter into this holy place to commune with our Father in heaven. As the bride of Christ, we know that He wants us to approach Him with our needs and with our petitions for the sake of the kingdom. After all, if a good marriage on earth depends on communication with one’s spouse, how much more does a blessed relationship with our Lord depend on speaking with Him on a regular basis?

Unfortunately, many of us do not often take advantage of the awesome privilege of prayer. True, we mean well. We establish certain times of the day to approach God, but we find that our minds wander or that all we do is read off a laundry list of our own needs. God is, of course, concerned about these needs (Matt. 6:30), but we sense that we are too self-centered in our prayer lives when all we do is tell God what we need or what we want.

Not knowing how to pray is probably the main reason why we encounter these problems. Thankfully, we have a model in Scripture from our Savior Himself on the things we should pray for. The Lord’s Prayer is not simply something that we should recite in church and at home; it is a guide Jesus gives us for structuring our communication with God (Luke 11:1–13). Fundamentally, this prayer tells us to ask that God’s name be hallowed so that His kingdom may come and His will be done.

~RC Sproul

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