March 18, 2013
We want to continue this week in our study regarding the new birth.
The second effect of the “born again” experience is victory. First John 5:4, 5 states, For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world. but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Notice carefully that victory is accomplished through Christ-not self. Multitudes strive to overcome sin and temptation, but the flesh has no power to win the battle. The overcomer is … he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God . …Christ in you… (Colossians 1:27) makes the difference. He promotes the desire for victory and provides the strength.
Paul knew this well. After describing the duel of the two natures-the old received at birth and new received at conversion-he cries, …if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:13.14). Then, having allowed God’s Spirit to equip him for life’s battle, he victoriously said as death approached, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day… (2 Timothy 4:7).
The new nature, controlled by the Spirit, makes believers …more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37). What do they conquer? First John 2:15-17 answers the question. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. It is obvious, then, that they overcome the world or worldliness consisting of: A) the lust of the flesh, B) the lust of the eyes, and C) the pride of life. Let’s consider these three items individually.
The lust of the flesh concerns itself with the cravings of one’s bodily appetites. This includes illicit sex, drinking, drug addiction, smoking, or any other vice that the flesh practices. I am not preaching perfection. Christians can slip and fall, but that is vastly different from becoming enslaved to fleshly lusts.
The problem is not one’s possession of an old nature, but the old nature’s possession of a person. The latter means that one has not been “born again,” for “regeneration” endows one with a “divine nature” (see 2 Peter 1:4), which immediately begins an onslaught against the old corrupt flesh. When one never experiences victory, it becomes obvious that the new nature is missing, for the “new birth” is not a new label on a defiled product but the implantation of the divine nature which changes one instantaneously.
That’s why 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, …if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Enslavement to sin points to an empty profession-just lip service-and leads one into helplessness for the ages of eternity, for … the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:17).
Where do you stand? Are you a daily “overcomer” through the power of the indwelling Spirit? Or are you a slave to lust? Remember, if there is no desire for victory, no quest for victory, no evidence of victory, there will be no victory celebration in heaven.
Next, we discover that this new nature helps one to have victory over the cravings of the mind through the eye gate. Lust, via the eyes, is one of the greatest promoters of immorality today. This is why pornography and abominable sex movies are destroying lives, homes, and nations. Millions presently have …eyes full of adultery…that cannot cease from sin (2 Peter 2:14). They mentally undress every woman they see and vice-versa. They purchase the latest sex magazines, hide them among their possessions, and secretly read them. They gaze at nude pictures and commit mental adultery with naked paper dolls.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, … whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. This is what’s wrong with Hollywood productions. This is why much of television’s degrading influence should be opposed and stopped. Americans are becoming sex maniacs because of the manifold means created to produce excitation and lust. It is even affecting church members by the tens of thousands. Scores are walking the aisles in crusades to give up the sin which has plagued them-lustful eyes. How much farther will it go?
Once I saw a four-foot picture of a naked woman hanging in a deacon’s garage. I asked, “Brother, aren’t you a Christian and a deacon?” He meekly answered, “Yes.” I pointed to his picture and said, “What’s that?” He said, “Art. ” I said, “Art who?” This actually happened! Though it appears humorous now, it won’t be funny later.
A day is coming when all lust-controlled sinners shall be eternally separated from God. First John 2:17 declares, … the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Is it any wonder that Romans 13:14 states, …put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. And 1 Peter 2:11 warns, …abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Someone cries, “That’s easier said than done.” Not if one depends upon the indwelling Spirit rather than self! Galatians 5:16 proves it. Walk in the Spirit, and [you] shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Another area over which one may enjoy victory is one’s ego. This has to do with haughty, arrogant boasting over one’s accomplishments and gains. How often one hears church members egotistically saying, “We are now a three car family,” or “We are considering the purchase of our $500,000 dream home,” or “We have investments in stocks, bonds, and banks and are sitting pretty, financially.”
Jesus said, …out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh and … by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:34 and 37). Small wonder that James 4:4 warns, …know ye not that the friendship of the world [composed of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life] is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the ENEMY [Yes, the ENEMY] of God. Therefore, Paul pleads in Romans 12:2, …be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind .… The ways of the world lead to doom and death. About-face for Christ!
The third and final proof has to do with love. First John 4:7,8 states, Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
May I repeat that? Are you listening? The statement is so important that one’s eternal existence in heaven or hell depends on it. Hear it again. He that loveth not knoweth not God… (1 John 4:8).
First John 3:14 declares, We know [not hope, guess or think-but know] that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. The next verse says, Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and (you) know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (verse 15). Think of it! This is astonishing. Hatred becomes murder in God’s eyes, and no murderer (hater of others) has eternal life abiding in him.
A life of hate classifies one as a “child of the devil,” for God says in 1 John 3:10: In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. Imagine! Folks who fight, fuss, bicker, backbite, gossip, slander, malign, and criticize others are children of the devil! One cannot live a life of hate when God abides within, for “God is love.” Love is the evidence of one’s “born again” experience. So,… if we love one another, God dwelleth in us… (1 John 4:12). That’s why Jesus said in John 13:34, By this shall all men know that [you] are my disciples, [because] you have LOVE one for another.
Sad, is it not, that hate-mongers who honestly believe that bigotry, prejudice, and malice are acceptable standards for church members fill the ranks of religion. What a shock they’ll experience at the judgment day! Then they’ll know God meant what He said in James 1:26, If any man among you seem to be religious and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Then they’ll suffer judgment for the seven sins God hates. Perhaps these should be called the “Seven Deadly Sins.” They are, a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and [please get the final one] HE THAT SOWETH DISCORD AMONG THE BRETHREN (Proverbs 6:16-19 emphasis mine). Then when it is eternally too late, they will discover that the unrighteous, including “railers,” do not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9).
Webster’s Dictionary defines railers as “individuals who revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language.” God help us! Our ranks are full of members who carry on in this manner. Through their obnoxious, hateful insolence, churches are split and souls lost. Sinner, repent, change your mind and ways before it is too late! You need a “born again” experience! When this occurs, God’s nature of love will become a part of you and His love will rule your heart.
We have concluded in this study that holiness, victory, and love prove one’s salvation experience to be genuine. Where do you stand? Examine yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith (see 2 Corinthians 13:5). If the evidence is against you, settle the issue with God immediately. Eternity forever and forever and forever-is a long time to be lost!
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Give Me Your Hand
In my daily Bible reading, I’ve been noticing how much is mentioned about the hands of our Lord. Again and again the Gospels relate how He reached out to people in their need and hurt and sorrow. And when He touched them, they were never the same again.
His hands healed the sick
After He began His earthly ministry, great multitudes thronged about Him wherever He went. Those who were sick, blind, and lame — even those marked for death with the curse of leprosy — came to Him seeking to be healed and made whole.
When the hands of Jesus touched them, pain and suffering ceased, diseases and infirmities were cured, and lives shattered and ruined by sickness were restored.
His hands fed the multitude
It was the hands of Jesus that fed the multitudes who followed Him out into the desert place to hear His words. When evening came, Christ’s disciples urged Him to send the people away. But Jesus saw their hunger and weariness and, in compassion, desired to minister to them.
Taking a few small loaves and fishes — barely enough for one small boy’s lunch — the Lord blessed the food. Then His hands began to break and divide the bread and fish into portions which He gave to His disciples to serve.
We’re told that 5,000 men were fed that day, not counting the women and children. And when everybody had eaten all they wanted, there were twelve baskets full of leftovers! The hands of Jesus not only provided enough…but plenty to spare.
His hands blessed the children
Loving children as I do, my heart is touched to read the biblical account of how the hands of Jesus blessed and comforted the little children. He specifically told His disciples not to prevent them from coming to Him. And in my mind’s eye, I can see the Lord sitting down and opening His arms to them. As they eagerly jostled about, perhaps He lifted a toddler into His lap, shook hands with an older lad, touched the cheek of a shy little girl. And as His gentle hands patted little shoulders and smoothed tousled hair, the Lord blessed these little ones. Somehow I think they probably never forgot that day when the hands of Jesus touched them.
The hands of the Master
No doubt the hands of Jesus were strong and powerful. Growing up around Joseph’s carpenter shop, He probably learned to hold and use various tools to shape and assemble wood into useful items. His hands knew how to work.
It was those strong hands that later would grasp a whip as an indignant Jesus drove the callous money changers out of the holy halls of the Temple. Those hands were instruments of righteousness and justice.
It was those hands that reached out to lift and save impetuous Peter who, after walking on the water toward Jesus, took his eyes off the Lord and began to sink.
There are so many other references to the hands of Jesus that we could talk about. But the single most important mention of Christ’s hands is when they were nailed to the cross.
A very dear, life-long friend gave me a beautiful wall plaque, which I have hanging in my kitchen. It says:
I asked Jesus, “How much do You love me?”
“This much,” He answered, and He stretched out His arms and died.
Greater love hath no man than this, said Jesus, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
And who is Jesus’ friend? The deeply spiritual and very religious? The learned and respectable? The proud traditionalists?
No, our Lord said that He was called a friend of…sinners! (Luke 7:34).
The Apostle Paul reminds us that Christ died for the ungodly… in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6,8).
It is strangely and beautifully significant that the first person to benefit from Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary was a thief on the cross next to His! Think of it — the first person to whom the Lord stretched out His nail-pierced hands was someone totally unworthy of His love.
Some time ago my husband, Jack, and I were guests at a Christian fellowship dinner in another city. During the meal I got acquainted and talked with a dear little mother who sat next to me. After a while, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she leaned over and whispered the sad story of a wayward daughter who had run away from home, mounted up many debts, and fallen to the very depths of sin, even into a life of prostitution.
“I pray for her every day,” she said, “and every time I hear from her I beg her to come home. My husband doesn’t make a lot of money, so I got a job to help pay off the debts our daughter made. I’m doing everything I know how to do to help her. Please pray with me.”
When I reached out to take hold of this precious mother’s hands to comfort her, they were rough and calloused, scarred by long hours of hard work, week after month after year. Those hands were scarred by love…by a mother’s selfless sacrifice and desperate desire to reach and save her wayward daughter.
As I held those hands and prayed, I was reminded of Christ’s nail-scarred hands that also were pierced for that lost daughter…and for every lost sinner in the whole world. They were scarred for me…and for you!
Just as the hands of our Lord ministered to men and women, boys and girls, wherever He went during His time on earth, so we today can feel the touch of His hands in our daily lives. His power is still available to us today.
In our times of pain and suffering, He is still the Great Physician who lays His hands upon us and restores our bodies. Whether our healing comes through medication, the skill of a surgeon, or by the power of faith alone, we know that He is the source of all healing.
When we are hungry and experiencing a lack of supply — when we’re empty physically, emotionally, and spiritually — Christ’s hands will bless and multiply the smallest things we have to offer Him and make it sufficient to meet our need…with plenty to spare.
When we’ve tried and failed — when like Peter, we’re sinking into the depths of trials and tribulations, with no hope in sight — He will come to us, walking on the waters of our stormy sea. His hand will save us, lift us up, and lead us safely to the solid rock!
The challenge of Easter
I love Spring! There’s something special about seeing the sun light up winter’s gray skies, and nature stir the grass and trees into new life. Surely it is no coincidence that we celebrate Easter in the springtime.
Each Easter we are reminded that Christ died for us — but He rose again! Without Easter, we might be tempted to forget that it is through the outstretched arms and nail-pierced hands of Jesus that we have life eternal. Had it not been for His sacrifice on Calvary and His bodily resurrection, there would be no everlasting life.
As we look around us and see all of nature coming back to life anew, let us be reminded of Christ’s great love for us.
But let us also be challenged to reach out in His love into every man’s world with a helping hand. Let us emulate our Lord’s great example and use the resurrection power that flows through us to minister to the needs of those around us.
Never forget that for many people in the world, their first glimpse of Christ may be in you…the only hands that will touch them in love, that will comfort, lift, and bless them, may be your hands.
Reach out whenever you can, wherever you can, to whomever you can. However unlovely or unworthy the person you find may be, remember that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient…and that He loves that individual just as much as He loves you.
Do not be afraid to stretch forth your hand to anybody. For you minister, not in your own strength and ability, but in His love. So when you reach out, it will not be just your hand that touches them, but the hand of God through you!
I love the beautiful gospel chorus that cries out
Oh, to be His hand extended,
Reaching out to the oppressed,
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus,
So that others may know and be blessed.
Look around you today and find someone who is hurting or needy, someone who is in trouble. Ask God to guide you to someone who needs Jesus.
When you find them, don’t hesitate or delay. Go to them with a smile filled with the light of His love and simply say…
“Give me your hand.”
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Drs. Jack, and Rexella,
Thank you so much for holding onto the truth of the Holy Bible, What a shame- that so many others are falling away. I hope to meet you both in Heaven someday- soon,
I am sending a check your way- as I want to see you continue preaching God’s truth to the world,
Thank you for the CC- closed captions- I am legally deaf, so i love to see you both on the air.
My husband is 88 years old- i am 84, so hopefully we live to see the Rapture,,
God Bless you both- you DO make a difference, for Jesus Sake,
Love to you both,
Elmer and Wilma V.
Dear Jack and Rexella Van Impe
I enjoy your program… Please keep touching lives by staying on the air…. If we don’t stand for Jesus, the devil will have many more souls…. Fight hard, stay strong and bring it on… love ya.
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