#2412 0416 17A Easter

            1 Corinthians 15:1 “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

            The fact that Jesus rose the third day, is God’s provision for victory in our life.  God provides the Blood as the merit; His power is the means; and the Word explains how to receive it.  God has provided all those things we need, so we can have all we desire.  We just ask for His wisdom to know, and for His power to give them.

            Satan wants us to keep some unscriptural thing in our life; to keep doing something that causes us to be short of victory—just enough to defile our conscience and hinder our faith.  He wants us to think we cannot have the victory, and will do all in his power to hinder the blessings paid for by the Blood of Christ.

            God’s provision for us includes a cleansed heart that is ready to act in faith, and to enjoy His presence.  It is the most valuable thing we could have—knowing that God is by our side, and that we can have His power give us the victory.

            When God has His rightful place in our life, nothing else matters—it will make no difference whether friends are nice or not; whether our enemies are verbal or silent; and whether things are turning out as we want or just the opposite.  As long as God lives and Jesus resides in our heart, our interests will be safeguarded; all things will be supplied, and we will have His peace.

            Some people are upset when something disturbing happens, or someone says something unpleasant—but this results from finding our peace in outward things, and not trusting Jesus for inward peace and assurance.  When God gives His peace, rude remarks do not bother us.

            King Jehoshaphat trusted God for peace, so it did not matter when his enemies camped near him with enough equipment and ammunition for his capture.  Jehoshaphat was just as safe before three enemy forces came against him, as after.  The king had peace, because God provided it.

            It did not matter how serious the situation was, because God can make circumstances; and He can change things from the worst of situations to the best of blessings.  Any trouble we face passes through God first, so if we are willing to meet it in His way, it turns out for the best.

            Finding our peace in circumstances has us going from good to bad; from rest to worry; and from positive to negative thoughts.  If things are going to suit, we are happy; if things are not going well, we are unhappy—but we know Romans 8:28 “That all things work together for good to them that love God.”  We will not be upset—we have God and that is enough.

            If we had a million dollars, and a fifty-dollar deal fell through, we would not care—the loss is minimal.  When we are truly in God’s will, we have more than enough of everything for the present and for our future—eternal home.

            Satan wants us to accept partial victory, or no victory with something, and he will suggest why we should.  He says it is the way we were born; or that is the way it is; or some other excuse for not seeing victory.  But God has made provision for victory, through His Son’s resurrection to life, so that is our reply to the devil—“He [Jesus] rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

            Tolerating the devil’s excuses, allows him to hinder our victory.  When we stop accepting the devil’s excuses, we will move toward the victory God has for us.  We cannot act in faith, when our conscience is defiled, or when we accept some excuse from Satan.  We are to believe that we can have victory over the devil.

            God has a plan, and He provides the payment for victory.  The first thing we need to know and retain is—that God made a provision that fits every case—there is no excuse for not living a life of faith and trust on God—because He provides what we need to do it.

            There is no excuse for not meeting things right.  As long as we make excuses, we will not meet things right.  When we realize that there is no excuse, and that our hope of heaven depends on meeting things scripturally, we will see that God has made a provision for victory.  His Blood is the merit; His power is the means; and His Word is the way.

            When we are willing; God begins work, but He cannot work until we are willing.  When we surrender our life to Him, He begins the spiritual work on our heart.  God provides the spiritual light; the strength; and the victory we need at the time we are willing.

            First on the list is a commitment to follow God’s plan, and do His will regardless of the cost or the risk—which means living up to the teaching of the New Testament—completely on His strength and dependence upon His power alone.

            Cornelius was victorious because he had a right attitude toward God’s Word.  He said Acts 10:33 “Therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”  He would believe God, and would do His will by the power God would provide.

            The apostle Paul had his sight restored and was filled with the Holy Spirit, because he had that same attitude toward God.  Acts 9:6, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”  He was committed to go God’s way, so God was able to work with him, and sent Ananias to visit.

            Acts 9:17-18 “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.  And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

            Our bonding with Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to life, depends on having a clear conscience.  If we are tolerating something we know is not scriptural, we will not be able to believe we are unified with Christ.  If our conscience is defiled, our heart is not cleansed.  We are kept by the power of God; but it is through faith in the resurrection life of Christ 1 Peter 1:5.

            1 John 3:20 “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”  If we are tolerating anything in our life that is not according to God’s will, our heart condemns us, and we cannot believe for victory.  The Blood of Christ covers all sins, but if we have a defiled conscience, we cannot believe God’s Word.

            Our sins are forgiven from the foundation of the world, and God has nothing against us, but we cannot actually believe this if our conscience is defiled.  1 John 3:21-22 “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

            The condition for receiving the promise is believing.  Mark 11:24 “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”  We must have a clean heart in order to believe God’s Word.

            If our heart is defiled, Satan overcomes us with doubts and fears that block our answers to prayer.  The Word explains how to be free from a defiled conscience Proverbs 28:13 “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

            To cover our sin, is to have resentment in our heart, and not dealing with it—not repenting of it and not confessing it to God.  It is to tolerate something we know is not right.  It can seem to be a small thing—like a little grudge against a friend; having a wrong attitude toward someone in the home; or it can be deep resentment in our heart against someone who wronged us years ago.

            It could be anything that opposes the will of God and is against the Word of God—any area of our life where we are not willing to believe God and make it right through prayer, hinders the victory.  If we cover up any wrong attitude, we “will not prosper.”  It will work against us somehow; it will be some leaven working through our life, and hindering our walk with God.

            If the Christian life is not lived right, we will not prosper.  No one has it right at first, but God will teach anyone who is willing to learn.  Real fellowship with God; real faith in Him; and receiving real answers to prayer from Him—things of this life that are worth having—that is what makes it good news and glad tidings of great joy—it is the true Gospel of Christ made possible Easter morning.

            If we do not believe it, or are not willing to believe it, it is really bad news—“But whoever confesses and forsakes them [sins of the past] will have mercy.”  If there is anything in our life—at any time or anywhere—that is defiling our conscience, we should go before God, and settle the matter once and for all by confessing and repenting before Him.

            If there is some attitude—anger, resentment, or hard feelings; some activity, some interest, some fellowship outside the will of God, that should be given up, and not tolerated for the sake of the call to God’s kingdom, then we must do it, and forsake it, with God’s help.

            Satan is always suggesting that we cannot give up some things; and that it is really no harm to hold on to them, but we can give them up when we know we must—and when we are willing to do that, God’s Word can be applied 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

            The main object of the Christian life is stated 1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”  That places us where we have confessed anything in our life that is contrary to God’s will, and we have accepted the fact that God has made the provision, as well as the power to apply it, so we can have the victory—1 Corinthians 15:4 “He rose again the third day” to make it all possible.