Reputation

If Christ had no reputation when he walked this earth, and we are his body, why would we have a (good) reputation in this world?

“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” ~ Philippians 2:7.

“Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” ~ 1 Corinthians 4:13

The offscouring of all things are unwanted things… refuse… what the Americans would call “garbage”, and the English, “rubbish” (in South African terms it is known as “vullis”).

Rejected… outcasts… defamed… our reputation is damaged by libel or slander… we are continually vilified.

Yet we are in good company… that of the Lord Jesus Christ who is Almighty God, the creator of the heavens and the earth.

Bring it on.  The world’s opinion, and the opinion of those tied to it, matter not.

“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ~ Titus 3:7

 

 

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Striving, Standing & Suffering

1. Philippians 1:27 – OUR CONVERSATION
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in ONE SPIRIT, with ONE MIND striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

a. “more needful for you” – Paul concludes we are here to spend our lives for others.

Philippians 1:23-24:
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

b. “conversation” – We can define it here –

2 Corinthians 1:12:
“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”

Galatians 1:13:
“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:”

Ephesians 2:3:
“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Ephesians 4:22-24:
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

c. Paul starts preaching (stirring to action) which means doctrine is already installed.

d. “whether I come … or be absent” – in whatever circumstance

e. “one spirit” – duty, driving force, instruction; “one mind” – passion, desire, will.

f. “striving together” – They are supposed to contend, fight, work, stand –

1 Timothy 3:15:
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

i. Strife (contention) is of the flesh if it is against the Spirit –
Galatians 5:17,20:
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,”

ii. We war in the spirit with truth against imaginations to captivate thoughts

iii. We do strive – lawfully by right doctrine –

2 Timothy 2:5
“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

2 Timothy 2:14
“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”

2 Timothy 2:23-24
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men , apt to teach, patient,”

Ephesians 6:12
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

g. “for the faith of the gospel” – This requires we have a pure, clear, right gospel

2. Philippians 1:27-30 – SUFFERING AND SALVATION

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

a. “in nothing terrified” – there is a doctrinal reason for this –

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

b. “adversaries” – these would not exist if they were not striving for doctrine.

i. It will cost you to strive together and stand upon the form of sound words.

c. “evident token of perdition” – They see your position as destroying your life –

1 Corinthians 15:19:
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

i. The evidence they see is physical, natural, carnal, circumstantial.

ii. You can see their adversarial position to truth is their perdition –

2 Thessalonians 1:5-6:
“Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”

d. “but to you of salvation” – See Christ magnified –

Philippians 1:20
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”

– and also –

2 Corinthians 2:14-16
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”

i. You will be threatened with perdition (before God and men), be persuaded.

e. “to suffer for his sake” – This is a part of being in Christ that people choose to ignore.

i. Why would God want me to suffer? Answer: you are his body –

Colossians 1:24:
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”

ii. Suffering can be in nature (chance, life), from sin, or for Christ –

Romans 8:18
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

iii. If it is your stupidity that made you suffer – don’t blame God.

iv. Those that live godly will suffer the third kind –

2 Timothy 3:13
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

1 Thessalonians 3:4
“For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.”

~ written by Justin Johnson, Grace Ambassadors

Suffering

It gets said of marriage, “first comes the engagement ring, then the suffe ring”.

I say, the only suffering most Saints participate in, is this:

“For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:19

And not this:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” ~Philippiand 3:19

I once had a brother in law who was into Eastern religion, some Swami fellow was his guru who taught him how to levitate 1 metre off the floor…. he always said that he rejected Christianity because Christians were meant to suffer…. big joke.

I, at the time was a clueless Pentecostal, lost and religious… and I laughed back at him because I believed I had God’s promises to stand on…. who was meant to suffer?  Not I.  Of course, he was right, and I in my ignorance was wrong, those promises were given to Israel, not the Body of Christ.

We currently suffer on this earth in order for our innermen to be strengthened to rule in heavenly places.

Israel will suffer in times to come for her flesh to be strengthened in order to rule over a physical, earthly realm.

Promise In Christ Or A Covenant

There are two ways to buy a house: make a promise to pay in the future, or pay it all up front.

If you make a promise to pay, the provision is always future, and there is always a possibility that either party can breech the contract. Paying up front makes a promise to pay needless, but requires a huge one time payment.

Salvation is a purchase of God. He redeems lost sinners while building an eternal house. Since the world began, God has been building the house of Israel for an eternal inheritance on the earth. He did not provide the inheritance up front, so he gave Israel a promise to pay, a covenant of promise.

Israel’s covenants of promise were God’s obligations to provide salvation, blessing, and earthly inheritance in the future.

To make the promise sure, covenants were declared. How does Israel know the promise is sure? The covenant is made in blood and guaranteed with death of the buyer. This is called a surety or mortgage (a death promise).

God made a promise to pay to Israel, a divine mortgage, to be fulfilled in his kingdom come to the earth. The blood of Christ was the down payment and surety of the future provision for that nation.

The Fulfillment of God’s Mortgage

Israel was blessed with these covenants of promise. He made no such covenants of promise with any other nation. While God’s complete provision is extended to the future, the promise ensures it will be Israel that will inherit the earth.

When the terms of the covenants of promise are fulfilled, then there is no longer any need for the covenants. They are finished. The mortgage can be ripped up, because the house is paid for.

However, Israel’s covenants of promise have not yet been fulfilled. They have not yet received their salvation, worldwide blessing, earthly inheritance, or many other promises given to them through their covenants of promise (Heb 8:1113:14Rom 11:26-27).

This is why God’s covenants are critical for the future earthly inheritance of Israel. Without them, what hope do they have that God will make final payment?

God’s Present Payment Plan

Today, we are not partakers of God’s promises in covenants to receive future salvation and blessing. God has another payment plan that has bought the house of God, which is the church, the body of Christ (1 Tim 3:15).

God has already promised an earthly habitation to Israel through a covenant of future promise. The new creature abides in heavenly places, and we can be placed into this household today if payment is provided in full immediately.

This transaction with the church of God is described through the revelation of the mystery of Christ, which is without Israel and without covenants. Instead of striking a covenant with the church for future provision, God has declared this purchase paid in full through the blood of Christ.

Just like paying for a house up front, this required a huge lump sum payment in the beginning. The cross is where we find this sufficient payment for all.

No More Waiting

Before the revelation of the mystery of Christ, the only way to receive any hope of salvation or blessing from God was through Israel’s covenants of promise. Israel’s covenants of promise are still waiting future provision.

But now the blood of Christ is offered for direct entry into the household of God (Eph 2:13).

Since Christ has already made the full payment through his blood, and there are no other obligations to the church, God can provide everything to us now without the need for a covenant.

Whereas Israel’s covenant promises them a complete package when the kingdom comes, we are complete in Christ now (Col 2:10). Whereas Israel is still waiting for their Day of Atonement where the blood of Christ is applied to their nation, we have “now received the atonement” (Rom 5:11).

There is no more waiting for the fulfillment of Israel’s covenants of promise to receive salvation. What they have been promised in payment, we now possess. Now is the day of salvation by the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery!

Christ has done it all, it is all paid for up front the moment we believe (Eph 1:13).

Christ vs. Covenant

How very different trusting the finished payment of Christ is from trusting a future promise of provision. Christ and a covenant are different. Christ is a person who made a payment. A covenant is a promise that has not yet been provided. If the promise has been delivered, rip up the mortgage!

If a house is paid for up front, there is no covenant or promise that is needed, there only need be the person rich enough to pay for it.

We have that person in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the riches are unsearchable (Eph 3:8)!

Our message today is not one of entering into contract with God, or partaking of God’s promise in a covenant made with Israel. We preach that all men can partake of God’s promise in Christ by the mystery gospel (Eph 3:6).

While no believer would deny God’s faithfulness to keep his promises to Israel, and it was because of those promises that Christ came, especially now that we know the mystery of God’s will in Christ, but certainly possessing a thing is much better than a future promise of a thing.

According to the mystery of Christ, the body of Christ now preaches and possesses salvation, whereas Israel is still waiting the fulfillment of their covenants of promise made for the earth.

God will keep the covenants for Israel through Christ, but beware of anyone who would take your paid for house in heavenly places and put it back under a mortgage! They are robbing you of the unsearchable riches of Christ!

~ Justin Johnson – http://www.graceambassadors.com