Apostolic People Have a Winning Attitude

14024243_sThe apostle Paul expressed the “winning attitude” in Philippians 4:13 when he said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”  Paul knew that the anointing within him would enable him to do anything he needed to do in this life, and he was endeavoring to impart that same attitude to his spiritual sons and daughters at Philippi.

I suggest we can develop this winning attitude among the people of God by knowing our POSITION in Christ.  In order for people to be full of faith they must understand positional truths.  Preaching that emphasizes the behavior of saints at the expense of positional truths will produce “good people” who try to live a holy life but have no real daily victory over the problems and trials of life.  Such people cannot fulfill their divine destiny in this hour but require more ministries than they can give to others.  However, when people understand who they are in Christ, they will have faith that produces “good works”, as well as a victorious lifestyle (according to James 2:17).  There are three aspects of God’s work in Christ:

A. SUBSTITUTION.  This word describes what God did FOR US through Christ, commonly called the GREAT EXCHANGE.  All believers must understand that Christ was our substitute at Calvary and took upon Himself all the effects of Adam’s fall belonging to us (including sin, sickness, poverty, curses, and all failure) so that we might receive all that belongs to Him (including righteousness, health, prosperity, favor and success in every endeavor).  When we are blessed through faith we can be a blessing to the world.  These positional truths are revealed in the letters Paul wrote to the church, and in order to understand them one must receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:16-21).  Rightly dividing the Word of God, we can see that the Gospels deal with “MANIFESTATION of the Sons of God,” Acts deals with the EXPERIENCE of receiving the New Birth and Holy Spirit Baptism, while the letters of Paul give the EXPLANATION of the experience we received in Acts.  After having received the “experience” of Acts and the subsequent “explanation” in the epistles, we can go to the gospels and see a “manifestation” of the New Man in Christ, represented in the earthly life of Jesus Christ, Who was the “pattern Son” of all others (Romans 8:29 -30; Hebrews 2:10-16).  This is God’s plan for the Church being brought to completion in the present move of God (Colossians 1:25-28).

B. IDENTIFICATION.  This word describes what God does IN US through the New Birth and Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” or to become “conscious” of who we are now since being “created in His image.”  When Jesus died on the cross, we DIED WITH HIM (Romans 6:6-10); when God justified him, we were JUSTIFIED WITH HIM (Romans 4:25).  When God made Jesus alive in spirit, we were made ALIVE WITH HIM (Ephesians 2:1-4); when God raised Jesus from the dead we were RAISED WITH Him (Ephesians 2:4-6); and when Jesus was seated in heavenly places we were SEATED WITH HIM there (Ephesians 2:5-7).  We were identified with him after the cross, just like we were in His substitution.  This means that Jesus became like we were so that we might become as he is now.  In the New Creation, or New Birth, we are not just “sinners saved by grace,” but have become “his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:8 -19).  We must understand that we are like him now in spirit since He became the “firstborn of many brethren.”  Someone once used the illustration of a tape duplicator to demonstrate what happens when we are born again:  God takes Jesus (the “master copy”) and us (the “blank tape”) and runs another copy.  We are an exact duplication in kind (Genesis 1:26-28).  Apostolic people have renewed their minds to these New Testament concepts.

C. MANIFESTATION.  In His earthly life, Jesus was a “man in the image of God,” the last Adam, the second man from heaven.  Adam was the first man made in the image of God, Jesus was the second.  Although He pre-existed as God (Colossians 1:17), He came to earth as a “man in the image of God” or “man as he was meant to be.”  When we see Jesus in the gospels, we are seeing man as he was meant to be, in the image of God.  The gospels provide us with the missing account of what a man in the image of God looked like, since we only have three chapters dealing with Adam and the record doesn’t show how he manifested his sonship, only his fall from sonship.  The gospels give us an account of a mature Son of God living out his relationship with the Father, fully representing the invisible God (John 14:6-9; Hebrews 1:1-3).  Now that we have had the “experience of Acts” and the “explanation of the epistles,” we can go to the gospels and it is like looking at ourselves, since Jesus was the “firstborn of many sons.”  We can now step into those shoes and begin to “walk as he walked” (1 John 2:3 -6), with the same relationship with God, the same Holy Spirit empowerment, and the same faith and authority demonstrating the power of God’s Kingdom.  This is what it means to manifest sonship – simply to be all God created you to be in Christ.  Paul said all creation is waiting for the “sons of God“ to take over on planet earth, according to the eternal purpose of God (Romans 8:14-24).  God is bringing the church to the place where He can say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

Advertisements

Developing the Faith of a Champion

18747682_sYoung David went to face the champion of the Philistines.  As the “unofficial champion” of Almighty God, he had a “champion faith” which enabled him to take out his adversary.  You and I will need that kind of “champion faith” in these last days as well, because Jesus said in Luke 21:26 that “men’s hearts will be failing them for fear” as they look upon their adversaries.  Think about David as he looked at all of Saul’s army hiding in the trenches, shivering with fear because of Goliath’s roar of blasphemy.  He wasn’t overcome because everyone else was, but on the contrary, their cowardice made him angry and more determined to destroy the enemy whom he knew was already a defeated foe.  “And all men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid….And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel?” (I Samuel 17:24, 26).  David had one thing on his mind, and that was the fact that this was not just his enemy, but Goliath was defying Almighty God and therefore in deep trouble.  David knew that God would need someone to use executing vengeance upon His enemy, so he stepped up to the plate and said it might as well be me.

Praise the Lord.  We should remember that our enemies are God’s enemies because we have a covenant with God.  He will defeat them by using one of us as His Champion, just like He did with Jesus when he walked this earth.  Jesus was God’s Champion, who through the Holy Ghost defeated every enemy he faced that was threatening the future of the people of God (see Acts 10:38).

YOU CAN DEFEAT THAT WHICH STANDS IN OPPOSITION TO GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE!

What are some of the steps we can learn from David that will help us develop this championship faith as well?  What made David different from all the rest of his contemporaries that brought him to his great destiny in God? First we should note that David was a “youth,” a mere boy of about 15 years.  This tells me that David didn’t wait until he was an adult to get to know God.  David was not a “time waster” when it came to his spiritual life.  During those early years while herding his father’s sheep, he developed qualities that enabled him to “step up to the plate” when his opportunity for advancement came.

Many people are unprepared for the day of opportunity because they have wasted so much time after becoming a believer.  Instead of pressing in while a “spiritual youth” through prayer, fasting, and study of God’s word, many have allowed the cares of life and an unbiblical value system to rob them of time needed for preparing themselves for God’s plan in the future.  God is preparing you for the day of battle, because the day of battle is also the day of advancement.  Don’t forget that after this battle (David & Goliath), a nobody became a somebody!

Did you ever wonder why you have had the seemingly “tough training” during your formative years as a Christian?  This could be the reason – satan will be there to “defy you” when it your time for promotion.  You will not get to your destiny without defeating the Goliath that stands in your way; therefore, you will need “championship faith” in that hour.

What are the four qualities David developed that enabled him to win his “big battle” and breakthrough to destiny?

  1. He was faithful in his father’s house.
  2. He had a tender heart of worship.
  3. He understood covenant concepts.
  4. He understood faith principles.

David was “tending his father’s sheep.” He learned to be “faithful in the house of a father.”  Submission and obedience are implied in this message.  We see David being faithful to duty at this time in his life, obeying the assignment his father had given him:  to watch the sheep and to take lunch to his brothers on the battle front.  It is important that believers learn to be faithful to duties in the local church right away and develop the ability to stay under authority and do a good job while there.  Many people downplay this important part of preparation and roam about looking for opportunity that never comes.  David was called “the sweet singer of Israel” because he developed intimacy with God while tending the sheep.  He learned to draw near to God through praise and worship, allowing his heart to become tender to God.  This tenderheartedness is what caused him to be so grieved when he sinned, and to immediately seek restoration with the Lord.  Many today have no grief over their sins, but continue in hardheartedness and denial of their wrongdoing.  A tenderhearted worshipper cannot stay out of fellowship with God for long, but will repent and seek God’s presence.

David also learned the key of “covenant relationship” while a youth.  He understood that Goliath was an “uncircumcised Philistine.”  Circumcision was the entrance to covenant in Israel.  No uncircumcised person could partake of the covenant blessings of God promised to the people.  God is cutting away the flesh that hinders us from entering covenant with others that have been placed in our lives for further maturity and impartation.  Have you allowed circumcision in your life at the hand of a “skilled workman” who takes the “sword of the spirit” delicately to those areas that need cut away?

Lastly, David learned to “speak the word” in faith when he faced the enemy.  He said, “The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, and HE WILL DELIVER ME OUT OF THE HAND OF THIS PHILISTINE….So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him.  AND THERE WAS NO SWORD IN THE HAND OF DAVID.” (I Samuel 17:37, 50, emphasis mine).  But there was a SWORD IN HIS MOUTH.

When we have learned these four indispensable traits, we will be ready to both defeat our adversary and move into promotion.