May 2, 2021
- Pastor Karrie Landsverk
- The Power of His Presence
- 2 Peter 1: 3-4
- Acts 17:28
- Colossians 2: 18-23
- Galatians 2:20
- Hebrews 12:2
- Hebrews 3:1
- John 5:19
- Matthew 11: 29-30
- Philippians 4:13
- Psalm 46:10
- Christ lives in me
- Enter His Rest
- Eyes on Christ
- God's Power
- God's Word
- Redefined “I”
- spiritual rules
- Living Gospel Church
The Power of His Presence
Partakers of the Divine Nature
Sunday, May 2, 2021
Welcome! Here we are entering May already! Mother’s Day is approaching, another school year will be winding down, and before we know it summer will be here. Time moves fast and yet I pray in this season of spring that you are taking in the beauty of new growth, new births in animals and beautiful colors popping up all around us. It’s a wonderful time of year and is a reminder of the promise that God will make all things new. It’s a reminder that the harsh winter months that seem so endless will always pass by. We do come through those months that linger on for many of us. We do come through the harsh seasons in life because spring always follows winter.
So take time to pause, notice, and be refreshed in God’s creation that is so very beautiful. Nature is healing for us in so many ways-may we all take time to be in it and among it and let it refresh our souls.
We are halfway through our current series, the Power of His Presence and I pray this has been blessing you all and giving you much to ponder and talk over with God. We have talked about overcoming the wretched man syndrome, more clearly defining and affirming who God Almighty is, looking more closely at how we are vessels or containers to be filled by God-that we are not independent beings or self-contained units and now we’re going to focus on the amazing gift we have been given by our heavenly Father, to be participants or partakers of the divine nature! Incredible!
He is not a far-off God distant and separate from His creation. He is not uncaring or uninterested in the details of our life. He is a personal, loving, relational Creator, Father, and Holy God who joins Himself to His creation, dwells within His creation, and shares of Himself-every bit of who He is with His creation. He fuses His glory to us and His power flows through us freely and effortlessly, giving us everything we need to live a godly life and walk in His abundant blessings. Isn’t this amazing?
But do we understand what this really means to partake in the divine nature as God would have us understand it?
Has there been confusion around this truth over the generations and how this is lived out in the life of a Christian? I believe there has for many. Far too many also live completely unaware of this promise.
Many Christians have been taught to live for Christ-to strive for Christ when the truth is we are to live through Christ and for Him to live through us. It may sound like semantics, but it is very, very different and yields vastly different results.
One understanding is performance-based and focused on self-doing in hopes of pleasing Christ.
The other is the surrender of self and looking within to the flow of His Spirit to guide our thoughts and actions-focusing on Him. One looks to “me”. The other looks to “Him”.
One tends to create exhaustion, anxiety, feeling defeated or ashamed, never good enough, and highly burdened.
The other brings about lightness, peace, joy, contentment, and rest.
One is religion. The other is Christianity. These are not one in the same.
Last week 1 John 4:9 was part of our message, 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Does this say so that we might live for him? No. Apart from him bringing him in only when we feel we want to? No.
It says so we might live through him.
Let’s pray: Holy Spirit move in our hearts and minds today and give us an expanded understanding of God’s revelation of truth and what His intention is for us as His creation and children, what it means to be partakers of the divine nature and to live through Him who dwells in us. Have Your way in us today Holy Spirit. We welcome You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
We’re going to look at two passages in Scripture as our main focus today. One is from the apostle Paul reminding the early church to keep their focus on Christ the person over rules, and to worship Him alone and no one else.
The second passage is from the apostle Peter and teaches us the only true power we have comes from God, not us. It is His power at work in us that guides us into godly living and overcoming evil desires that we all have. See how the two passages flow together and give us a richer understanding of living through Christ.
Colossians 2: 18-23 NLT
8 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. 20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
Paul is warning about those whose focus is on extreme denial of the flesh in an effort to be more religious. This is not to say that abstaining from certain things or habits is bad-not at all. Or to say fasting is unbiblical. Not at all. Fasting is biblical-Jesus fasted and prayed. The point Paul is making is when we begin to make up rules or will ourselves into doing or not doing something for the sake of religion, we have lost connection to the head of the Body-Christ Himself. Because we are then relying on self and personal will to overcome something. These motives are based in and promote pride and ego. They are not based in humility to Christ at work through them.
Paul also warns we are to worship Christ alone. Any time we begin to worship some other being or some other thing, we are no longer connected to Christ, the head of the body.
Then Paul says, “you have died with Christ and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” Christ has set you free. Not you. Christ.
So he asks, why are you still following man-made rules to be spiritual? Why not follow the Spirit who is in you as your guide, living through you?
See this is what happens to many Christians in their walk. Instead of living free and tuned to the flow of Christ within us, we opt to follow a set of rules for that is what we understand and find security in.
Having rules can seem very religious and maybe you have lived like that and felt this is good and right. It sure looks good externally because look at the self-determination and perseverance one can demonstrate. But a heart focused on rules pulls us all right into legalism and out of living through Christ. Rules and making them our focus binds us in religion instead of living free in Christ.
Paul says very clearly, man-made rules (spiritual rules) are of no help in overcoming evil desires. We cannot stand against the enemy in our own power and think we will overpower him. We won’t and it’s arrogant of us to even think we could. Christ has already defeated the enemy and He already stands in victory. When we release His power through us in any situation we too stand in His victory. We’re not striving. We’re not trying. We’re not performing. We are releasing His power within us to move in the situation we are in.
Now here is the exciting part we’ll focus on more today!
2 Peter 1: 3-4 NIV
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
His power has given us everything we need, not our power. His. He called us and chose us by His glory and goodness! Through His goodness and glory, He has given us great promises, and through those promises, we have received the most incredible gift….to participate in the divine nature!
Have you thought about this before?
You are a participant to see how the divine power of God affects others through you. You literally have the power of God flowing through you and you don’t have to try to be a good Christian. You don’t have to carry that heavy burden of following so many rules! You don’t have to worry if you measure up. What a relief right? Religion was not created by God; it was created by mankind. God’s plan and purpose is to bring about Christianity. He is not about self-improvement. He is about self-replacement and creating new life in all people who believe in His Son, then fusing His glory to each one and living out of them.
Doesn’t this sound like a much better way to live? Doesn’t this simplify things so much? Doesn’t this lighten our load? Thank You Jesus!
Let’s talk about how we partake in the divine nature we have been invited into.
- Cease Striving, Enter His Rest
Christianity is not performance-based. Never has been and never will be. By grace, we have been saved by faith, so that none of us can boast. You didn’t do anything in your performance worthy of salvation. Christ did it all through His grace and because of His love.
This is a tough one because it’s so ingrained in our culture to strive and do in our power. Remember God’s kingdom is counter-cultural. It will not mirror what we have learned in the world. In fact, it will often be the opposite.
Look at what God’s Word says, what Jesus Himself taught.
Psalm 46:10 Be still, cease striving, let go, relax and know that I AM God.
This is the expanded version taught in my course. Don’t you love it? Cease Striving. Stop. Still yourself. Quit doing it all. Quit charging ahead of God. Quit trying to be a good Christian, or trying to fix everything in your power. Be still. Relax. Breathe. KNOW the One who is for you and enter His rest while He works through you.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Even Jesus yielded His own power and will to that of the Father’s. He did not do or say anything that wasn’t given to Him through the Spirit. There was a continuous and effortless flow between Him and the Father. And before you say, well yeah He was Jesus, remember He set aside His deity and chose to walk this earth fully as a man. So it was a choice He made as a man, to tune to the flow of the Spirit within Him and yield to His Father’s guidance.
If Jesus did this, shouldn’t we too follow His lead and tune to His flow within us?
Does Jesus ever tell us to try to figure it out on our own first and if and only if we reach our breaking point, then come and get Him for help? No. Here is what He says.
Matthew 11: 29-30 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- Fix Our Eyes on Christ
We cease striving in our own power and we begin to fix our eyes on Christ. To fix our eyes means to see to the exclusion of all else. We fix our eyes on Christ and see Him everywhere we look.
We ask Christ to show us the world through His eyes. We see a hungry person and feed them and know we’re feeding Jesus. We see a hurting person and we comfort them and know we are comforting Jesus. We see the beauty of nature in its vast forms and feel His joy well up inside us. We tune to the flow of His Spirit and closeness and feel His peace fill us. We keep our hearts and minds fixed on Him.
I pray this nearly every morning, “Lord guard my heart and mind in You. Let my thoughts fixate on You, Your Word of truth, and what is good and lovely.”
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
- Redefined “I”
Then as we read His Word we realize in the New Testament the “I” has been redefined. It is no longer you as your own person once you receive Christ as your Savior. (Let’s be clear and remember, we have never been our own person-we were always filled by something or someone.) As a believer you are now filled with the Holy Spirit through Christ who lives in you. So “I” is “Christ I”. You with Christ in you. You with the power of Christ flowing through you to do whatever that command is.
Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and have our being.
An example then of Scripture you likely know. Hear it with this redefined “I”:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This is not you doing on your own. It is Christ moving through you and you acknowledging His power and releasing it.
How can we apply this truth and increase our consciousness of Christ in us?
In our prayers we can say:
Release Your power through me now.
I release Your love towards this person.
Circumcise my heart Lord and cut out any anger and fear in the name of Jesus.
I rebuke that negative thought in the name of Jesus and ask for a flow of Your loving and true thoughts Jesus.
Lord change the desires of my heart and align them with the desires of Your heart.
Thank You, Lord, that You have joined Yourself to me. Thank You that You are my life now.
Remind me of this truth that You live in me when I slip back into self-consciousness.
Can you hear a difference in the flow of the prayer? These are directed towards Christ working through us, not Christ helping us do for ourselves. They aren’t focused on our striving, but on releasing His flow.
Learning to pray this way increases our level of consciousness that we live out of Another and not for ourselves.
Conclusion: I do nothing on my own initiative, but only what I see and hear through His Spirit in me. I cling to the Head where my strength comes from. I partake in the divine nature flowing in me. Christ is my life.
Let’s Pray. Father God we thank You for the amazing invitation to be participants and partakers in the divine nature! Wow! It is truly more then we can fully understand. Who are we that You should want to involve us and extend Your divine nature and power to us and through us, and yet that is exactly what You have chosen to do. Lord Let us stop resisting you if we have been. Let us welcome the flow of Your Spirit in and through our lives. Let us have right understanding of what “I” means as you call us to follow You. It is not “I’ in our own striving; rather it is “I” with Christ flowing through us. It is His power at work in and through us. This is how we live with lighter burdens and walk in peace daily-letting the Holy Spirit fill us and flow through us. We repent Father for times we act in our own power and ability and leave You out. Forgive us and remind us in Your Spirit when we slip into self-conscious living rather than living through Your Son. Draw us back to Your heart and settle us in Your peace. Help us through Your Spirit to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and tune to the flow that is within us. In His powerful and holy name we pray, Amen.
Communion: What a perfect time to join in communion together and give thanks for the wonderful sacrifice our Savior made to make us justified and righteous before God. Let us remember today that Jesus gave everything-His very life, His blood poured out for all of humanity, for you and me. Why? Not so we could keep living independently and striving in our own limited power, ridden with anxiety, stress, frustration, and heavy burdens. No. That has never been God’s plan. He did all of it so the relationship God had with His creation in the garden could be restored. He did it, so as we believe in Him as our Lord and Savior, we could live not apart from Him, but through Him. He did it so we could live as branches connected to the life-giving vine with an effortless and continuous flow of His power. He did it to live out His purposes through the lives of every believer- to bring about His kingdom that is founded and built on divine love. Jesus did all of this so we might live life abundant in Him!
O What a Savior! He came down from glory to rescue us from our self-destruction and from the clutches of the enemy. Let us give thanks today for the incredible sacrifice Jesus made and the gift we have in Him! If you have been resisting His leading in any way or disregarding His presence flowing through you, repent now. Your loving Father readily forgives every time we genuinely repent in our heart and turn away from that which separates us from God. Repent if you have been living independent of Christ for that is not why He died. Ask His presence to manifest in you and guide you. Ask for ears to hear His voice and eyes to see what He is showing you. Invite Him to flow in your heart and be Lord in your life. It’s such a beautiful gift, let us not neglect it or cast it aside.
Jesus asks us to gather as the Body and remember His sacrifice. He took bread as a visual symbol of His own body that was given for the sins of humanity. He gave thanks for it-Father we thank You for Your immeasurable love for us sinful people to make a way for us to be redeemed through Your Son. Jesus said eat this bread in remembrance of Me.
Jesus took the wine and again gave thanks for it. Father, we thank You for in Your kingdom the shedding of pure, spotless blood is the only way to atone for sin. You gave Your Son and had His blood poured out as the atonement once and for all, for the sins of all people. Let us not take this lightly Father. Let this truth pierce our hearts and fill us with humble gratitude. Jesus said this cup is the new covenant in my blood, poured out for you.
We thank You Jesus. We thank You. We worship You and we commit to following You.
Final Blessing: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.