Interesting To Note – Part Two

(See yesterday’s blog for Part One)

6> Believers are enamoured by “anointed men of God.” They will flock to hear some well known Christian television personality speaking in their town or city. They give large offerings to television ministers who send them a letter thanking them – one generated by a machine hundreds of times a day. They believe everything that this person teaches because he or she is well known and ‘successful.’ There is no discernment. Yet often do not go to a local church weekly, do not financially support the work of the ministry being accomplished in the local church, and refuse to believe what the local pastor is teaching week-by-week.

7> The average believer cannot tell if a person is teaching biblical truth and an acceptable Christian doctrine. They do not know the basic Christian doctrines (mostly because pastors in general never teach them) and so cannot and do not discern truth from error.

8> Most believers are unaware of who they are “in Christ” (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). They know that Christ lives in them and is the “hope of glory” but know little to nothing of what it means to be a “new creature in Christ.” There is a difference between “Christ in you” and “you in Christ.” And even what they have been told and believe is wrong because it is the Holy Spirit who lives in them.

9> When it comes to the gift of prophecy and other revelation gifts they believe that if they can just receive a word from God by some celebrity leader all of their problems will be solved. When, in reality, they will end up with more problems because the devil will now know God’s plan and purpose for their life. And, the purpose of the prophetic gift is not to solve problems but to speak about the opportunities God is offering the believer and the potential that He sees in them.

10> Believers who do read their Bible are simply reading to collect information and to know the Bible better. They read it like they might read every other book. However, the purpose of the Bible is not to known details of historical stories from God’s interaction with people in the past. The purpose is for us to come to know the Author of the Bible, God Himself. This is totally different than why people regularly read a book.

More tomorrow…

Interesting To Note – Part One

As I travel nationally and internationally it is interesting to note how similar churches and Christians are from place to place and nation to nation. Here are some observations…

1> Christians do not know their Bible. They are generally not reading God’s Word on a regular basis. They cannot find the various books of the Bible when asked to turn to a passage. They are unaware of the key figures in Scripture and don’t know the major stories.

2> They do not now the Gospel of the Kingdom – or any gospel for that matter. They may know enough that they are saved (born again) but they honestly are at a loss on how to share the Good News of salvation through Jesus. And, they most certainly cannot share the Gospel in a way that others would understand.

3> Most believers do not know they are called to fellowship with the Holy Spirit (see: English Bible – 2 Corinthians 13:14; Russian Bible -1 Corinthians 13:13). They have no idea that this is necessary to flow in the supernatural  spiritual gifts that come with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. In fact, most are not aware that there are ministry gifts given when they are empowered by the baptism… They just know that now they can speak in tongues.

4> Many disciples of Jesus are not telling others the way to salvation. They are not aware that the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the power upon them (see Acts 1:8) is to enable and empower them to be witnesses in the world – to their friends and neighbours. They focus on their private prayer language and do not give any thought to using the nine gifts that come with the baptism.

5> They are leaving saving the lost up to the experts and their pastors. You know, the professionals. They honestly believe it is not their task to be “fishers of men” regardless of what Jesus said in Matthew 4:19. “Follow Mw and I will make you fishers of men.” They don’t understand that if we are not fishing we are, in reality, not following.

More tomorrow….

Jesus and The Gifts – Part Two

It would be good to review the blog posted just before this one first before continuing to read… see Jesus and the Gifts – Part One.

We are called to do what Jesus did (John 14:12) and complete His mandate to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). The Church is His body and we are to fulfill His ministry of expanding the Kingdom until He returns to claim His Bride. Jesus accomplished His earthly ministry of three years through the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit – this today is called the Baptism in the Holy Spirit – a second encounter with God when His Spirit comes upon us and empowers us to walk and work supernaturally and join with Him completing His ministry.

Jesus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit as recorded in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, verses 9 and 10. When baptized in the Holy Spirit the Spirit of God imparts the nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Let’s review this passage…

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

There are nine gifts and Scripture records for us the fact that Jesus flowed in and ministered through seven of the nine gifts. Let’s review where He did this…

Jesus spoke to a woman at the well in John, Chapter 4 and during the conversation He asked her to go and fetch her husband and bring him back to meet Him. She said that she did not have a husband. Jesus praised her for speaking the truth and stated that she had previously had 6 husbands and that the man she was living with was not her husband. This is a Word of Knowledge – one of the revelation gifts of the Spirit. Through this gift God reveals something about a person’s past or present that we could not know in the natural. This revelation let’s the person know that you can hear the voice of God, that Jesus is alive, and that He cares.

After His resurrection Jesus appears to Peter, the apostle and in John 21:18 tells us that He declared the way Peter would glorify God in his death. A Word of Wisdom. The supernatural ability to know something about a person’s future that you could not know in the natural – God revealing it to you.

In Matthew 24:2 Jesus is in Jerusalem and prophesies over the city and the temple stating that not one stone would remain upon another. In A.D. 70 Titus, the Roman general, levelled the city. So, Jesus was moving prophetically as He spoke a Word from God over the nation of Israel.

Jesus, of course, flowed in the Gifts of Healings as the Bible states in many places that Jesus healed people. Jesus Himself declares that He was sent to heal in Luke 4:18-19 and that this ministry was a result of being anointed with the Holy Spirit (Baptized in the Spirit). And Luke, writing in Acts 10:38, speaks about the baptism mentioning that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power and went about healing those oppressed of the devil.

The supernatural gift of the Working of Miracles was seen a number of times in Jesus’s ministry. Changing water into wine (John 2:6-8), feeding a crowd of 5,000 with one little boy’s lunch, walking on water, and the list goes on. This gift interrupts the normal flow of nature – like parting the Red Sea and the sun standing still for 24 hours in Joshua’s day as a battle was fought in the valley.

The Bible states that Jesus knew the thoughts and the intentions of people’s hearts (Matthew 9:4, 12:25). This is the supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit called the Discerning of Spirits which is the ability of being able to see into the spirit realm and see what God sees.

And, of course, He had faith in His heavenly Father and believed the Word of God deeply. He shows us this in many situations but one that stands out is His time of temptation in the wilderness when He tells the devil “It is written….” (Matthew 4:4). This is the power gift called the Gift of (Special) Faith believing for more than what is usually believed for by the average Christian.

Jesus moved in 7 of the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. There is no record of Him Speaking in Tongues (public tongues) or flowing in and ministering through the gift of the Interpretation of Tongues. However, His total ministry was accomplished under the empowering of the Holy Spirit received when He was baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is why it is essential, as disciples of Jesus, that we receive and walk in this experience because then we can see the fulfilment of “the things that I do you will do…” (John 14:12).

Jesus And The Gifts – Part One

Jesus said that we are to do what He did. He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and we are called to “go into al the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19) which is the same as seeking and saving the lost. Jesus said, “The things that I do you shall do also, and greater things than these will you do because I go to My Father (John 14:12). The context if that He will then send the Holy Spirit who will empower them to do what Jesus had been doing – healing the sick, casting out demons, p[reaching and teaching, and raising the dead. The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dumb will speak, the lame will walk. These are the things we are called to do.

How did Jesus do what He did? He was functioning fully as a human being, like us but without sin according to the Book of Hebrews. He didn’t do any ministry until He was thirty years old and until He went to meet His cousin at the Jordon River. There He was baptized in the river and when He came out of the water the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit defended upon Him. This was His baptism in the Holy Spirit where He was empowered for ministry receiving and beginning to flow in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit (see: Mark 1:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Jesus stood and announced that He had been anointed and empowered in one of His first public teachings after this experience (Luke 4:18-19). Luke, the author of the Book of Acts states that Jesus was “anointed with the Holy Spirit and with Power” (Acts 10:38) and that this was how He accomplished His ministry. Jesus had the Holy Spirit come upon Him, empowering and enabling Him to then minister supernaturally. Later He tells His disciples to wait for this same empowering, the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49). They do. Again, in His last time speaking to His disciples hHe tells them to wait. He goes on the say that when the Holy Spirit comes upon them they will be empowered to be witnesses for Him in all the world (Acts 1:8). In other words, they will now be equipped to do what He did (John 14:12).

I believe, therefore, that this experience of the Holy Spirit coming “upon” God’s people to empower them and enable them to fulfill the mandate and calling upon Jesus’ life to seek and save the lost – that this anointing and empowering is 100% essential for all true disciples to receive. Without this empowering (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit) and the nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit a disciple cannot obey and fulfill His commands. And, Jesus states that one of the ways that we will know that we love Him is to obey Him. Without the empowering and the supernatural you cannot obey a number of His strongly spoken and very important commands.

It is imperative that the Church in every nation of the world hear about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, receive this empowering, learn about the supernatural gifts, and then move forward, once equipped, to seek and save the lost. It was an essential part of the life of the early Church and must, once again, become a vital and essential part of the Church today. Without this experience and empowering we are simply another religion offering no more real hope than the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, and the Muslims. Our Founder, Jesus, died just like the leaders and founders of these other religions. However, because He was without sin hell was unable to hold Him and He rose again on the third day and is alive today touching hearts and lives through His people, the Church. The only way we can prove to the world that Jesus is alive and that our way is the only way to Heaven is to do what Jesus did. Then, through miracles, signs, and wonders we will show that He is alive and moving through His people today. And we will have fully preached the Gospel – in words and with deeds (see Romans 15:18-19).

Receiving A Prophetic Word

The day had ended and eight hours of teachings and prophetic ministry was now history. My interpreter and I sat on the edge of the platform chatting and simply resting our sore feet and tired legs. It had been a long day; part of ten days of constant ministry in five different churches and two major cities. As we sat resting and relaxing a bit people, one after another, came up to us to chat. This is always good. Tired, yes! But, always interested in people and their concerns or comments.

They speak to me about many things – family issues, thoughts about their ministry, something they are struggling with personally. But, regardless of where the conversation is heads it always arrives at the point of asking me to prophesy over them. They need a prophetic word. They want to hear what God has planned for the next few years in their life and ministry. I emphasize. I understand. However, the service is over and that means that the prophetic ministry has come to an end for the time being. So, I always tell them that I can appreciate their situation but that the ministry time has ended and I won’t be doing any more prophetic ministry until the next service (or the next church).

They will tell me that they really do need a word. Well, we all do, don’t we? And, that they have some issues they are dealing with and would like to hear from God about the problems they are facing. Prophecy never addresses problems but speaks to potential and opportunities God is offering the person. Not dealing with the present but opening up the future. And, because the leader has closed the service the Word if given would not be heard and judged by the leaders nor would it be correctly recorded for later review. So, the answer is always and simply, “The service is over and so is the ministry of the Spirit.”

It is time for something to change. Here is what needs to change. God’s people need to learn to recognize God’s voice for themselves. The Bible states that if a person is truly born again they can hear God;’s voice. John’s Gospel, chapter ten, three times states that “My sheep hear My voice.” After all, when you were born again God placed a gift in your spirit called “eternal life” (Romans 6:23b). This gift is the supernatural ability to have a relationship with the Living God (John 17:3). To have a relationship with someone, even God, you have to be able to hear Him. So, listening and recognizing which voice is His voice is an important step in having a dynamic relationship with the God of the universe.

Then when someone with a prophetic gift comes to the local church there will no longer be this desperate need to receive a prophetic Word from the Lord. The people will already be hearing God’s voice and God will already be speaking to them about things that are to come – their future, the opportunities He is offering them, their potential. The role of the prophetic and the ministry of the apostle and prophet would simply be to confirm what the disciple of Jesus already knows or senses because they have been relating to Jesus and receiving personally from Him. The urgency and the absolute essential need to hear from God through the fivefold visiting ministry would no longer be there.

I believe it is time for true disciples to invest time and effort to discover which voice inside them is God’s voice. There are many “voices” in our heads and hearts – the culture, the voice of tradition, our opinions, the voice of religion, our emotions, even demonic influences. But within al these many “voices” is the still, small voice of the Living God. We need to learn to “be still and know that He is God.” It is time to silence all the voices outside of us and inside us and listen for the most important voice – the voice of our God. This will take practice and time but we can hear God and do hear God according to the Scriptures. So, let’s no longer be lazy and rely on hearing God through apostles, prophets, and those ministering through the gift of prophecy. Let’s learn to hear God’s voice for ourselves so that it becomes a daily occurrence. This would revolutionize both the believer’s life as well as alter the ministry of the apostle and prophet so they can actually fulfill the unique callings that are on their lives.

God is Good!

Hello Ralph. I met you in Altona in January and again at the seminar you were doing in Morden. We had a short conversation on Friday night about hearing God and I told you that I do not hear very well, and yet after hearing you speak I was convinced there was more available to me than what I was currently walking in. Just wanted to let you know that I have had a breakthrough. I was spending time before God and he just reminded me of a time when I received a genuine word of knowledge and shared it, but then later went back and retracted it saying “God wouldn’t say that.” That greatly interfered with my hearing. I have repented and emailing you with my testimony is the first thing God told me to do. Thanks so much for your teaching which has helped me to press in and believe for more.

Who Are You?

When we are born again and come to personally know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour the Bible states that we become “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is different than “Christ in you the hope of glory” as mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. Being “in Christ” means walking with Him, knowing Him intimately, being in His presence, and experiencing His power to bring life-change.

Today it seems that many “hold to the outward form of our religion but deny the power…” (2 Timothy 3:5) to bring life change (the context of the verse). They say they are born again but life remains the same after salvation as it was before salvation. The same attitude, the same thoughts, the same lifestyle… It is like they received “fire insurance” so that they think they are not going to hell when they die and that is all that being a believer and a Christian is all about. Not true.

It appears to me that it is time to examine our inner life and see what is in the heart and soul. Why start on the inside? Because all real and permanent change begins in the heart and works outwards to our life-style, words and actions. We need to slow down and examine our lives – taking a real honest look at who we really are “in Christ.” Maybe even take hold of some of the reality that being “in Christ” entails. More than knowing truth – letting the truth set you free even thought it may first make you somewhat miserable and hard to live with.

An ancient philosopher once said that an unexamined life is not worth living. I totally agree. And, I believe that God is calling every true believer on a journey of self-discovery. He said, “Follow Me…” and He will certainly lead us through this journey. But, first, we must decide to actually take the journey with him. This will mean getting over the fear of what we might find. This means being willing to deal with what you discover – the good, the bad, the ugly. This means becoming involved in massive changes to the very core of your being – who you are, why you are like you are, and who you are becoming “in Christ.”

Once you discover what is on the inside you then begin to make changes on the outside to come into line with the inner discoveries. Changes such as the way you relate to people; the way you care for or don’t care for your physical body; your personal ‘presentation’ (clothes, car, house, lifestyle); your friends; what you do with your spare time; your attitude and approach to life, your relationship with Jesus, your responsibilities as a Kingdom Christian.  A total makeover.

It is time for every believer to go on a journey of self-discovery. It is not an easy journey but it is an essential one. It is time to get to know yourself – the real you on the inside, not the ‘outside you’ that you put on to face the world every day. Who are you in Christ? There is freedom to be received as you take this journey – real freedom. To be yourself – the real you as God designed and created you to be – is the most freeing experience you can ever have.

After all, the Bible states that Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and forever and does not change. So, if you have a personal relationship with Him then obviously you are going to change. The beginning of the change happens by starting on your journey of self-discovery. Find out who you are right now and who the Bible states you could be in Christ and then work to reconcile the two and become who you were designed by God to be.

Then, once you discover who you are – you can finally take a look at what God has called you to do with your life. In other words, grapple with His plan and purpose for your life – for the real you.

The soundtrack for the original CSI series on television has the words “who are you?” repeated over and over again. It is a good question that needs you to discover your answer.

Time To Grow Up

Paul, the apostle, wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:1 “that he would not have us be ignorant…” In context he is referring to the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit (verse 4-11) that come with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit so we can be a witness (Acts 1:8). However, in general, I am discovering how little most people know about the Christian faith, especially the supernatural aspects of the faith.

For example: I had a lady come up tp me at the end of a recent service and tell me that she had a demon that bothered her and she could not get rid of it. I asked if she was saved or born again and she said she was. I asked if she wanted this demon to bother her. Of course, she didn’t. I asked if there was any door that she had opened – unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness… and she could think of none. Then I asked if she thought the demon was stronger than God and she said she didn’t think so. At which point it dawned on her that with God nothing is impossible and that she didn’t need to put up with the oppression.

For example: There was a lady who could not “connect” with the local church that she was attending and did not feel welcomed or loved in this local church. As she spoke publicly through a microphone she did not look up, did not make eye contact with anyone, and looked like she needed a bath and a few minutes to comb her hair and take care of herself. She was blaming the local church… Yet, to look at her and her inability to make eye contact – not to mention the public humiliation of announcing her issues and inabilities – it did not seem apparent or evident to anyone that she was most likely demon possessed and definitely oppressed.

For example: People in ministry whom I am work with as I move from country to country and city to city who don’t know their Bible. I mean, literally don’t know the main characters of the Old and New Testament or any of the main stories of men and women whom God used mightily as recorded in the pages of Scripture. I am not talking about knowing principles and practices regarding ministry and the supernatural as set forth in the Bible. I am talking basic “David killed Goliath” stuff. These are people who are in ministry I am speaking about – not new believers who have just obtained a copy of the Bible.

For example: People are excited and rush to meetings when an “anointed “ man of God comes to minister. Now there is an opportunity to hear from God through a prophetic word. Yet, the Bible states that if a person is born again they can hear the voice of their God (John 10). So, why come and hope you will get a Word from the Lord from the prophet or apostle who is deemed to be special because “he can hear God.” We can all hear God otherwise it would be impossible to have a relationship with Him (see: Romans 6:23b and John 17:3). When someone who flows in the gifts more regularly than others comes and speaks into a person’s life it should simply be a confirmation of something that they have already heard for themselves in their time with the Lord. It should never be the first time they have heard a particular Word, plan, or purpose that God has for their life.

And on and on the examples could go. We are not a well informed Church today. We are not rooted and grounded in His Word and thus our foundations are faulty. And, all this in spite of there being more teachings available by radio, television, and the internet (as well as the printed page) than ever before in the history of the Church. What is missing is the daily discipline to sit and read as well as study God’s Word so as to be mature and discerning. As well, the fivefold ministry of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher need to rise up and begin to equip the saints and end this entertainment that goes on. When equipped and ministering they can then bring the Body of Christ, the Church, into full maturity.

It is time to grow up.

 

Prophecy Today

As I minister in different churches and in a number of countries it is evident that there is a vast misunderstanding about the prophetic in the Church today. It seems to me that this is because their understanding is based on experiences that they have had in the past which were not biblical. Or, in some cases, there has been either a lack of teaching or poor teaching on this whole area of the prophetic.

In the Old Testament the prophetic was severely limited to mainly the prophets. With few exceptions, such as King Saul, only those who were appointed as prophets to God’s people ministered prophetically.

In the New Testament, everyone is is born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit can prophesy. The Bible states in 1 Corinthians 14:1 that we are to ‘seek to prophesy.’ It goes on to say in verse 31 and 39 that “you may all prophesy.” Verse 12 states we are to seek the manifestations of the Spirit that builds up the body of Christ and prophecy is the main one that accomplishes this. So, in the Church that Jesus is building everyone who is empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for Jesus (see Acts 1:8) can move in the revelation gift called prophecy.

In the Old Testament the prophetic ministry was sent to direct, correct, and even chastise God’s people. At times it spoke of the coming judgment on His people as a result of their disobedience or rebellion. It was often negative and even condemning. It was predicting and announcing what was to take place in the future. The prophetic was to minister to and speak directly to the corporate ‘people of God’ or to a leader ‘of the people’ and thus indirectly to the people.

In the New Testament prophecy is a gift that the people of God can flow in and its three purposes according to 1 Corinthians 14:3 are to build up, to stir up, and to cheer up. The people of God are to minister the heart of God to His people – bringing encouragement. This gift is no longer to speak correction, direction, or bring chastisement to the Church. It is simply declaring God’s heart to God’s people. When operating in and through God’s people it is not predictive.

Prophecy in the New Testament is never meant to embarrass, expose sin, or convict or even condemn people. It is an encouraging gift that brings hope and encouragement

God also uses His people to speak a Word of Wisdom which will speak directly to an individual’s future. This sounds like a prophecy but is not. However, it is predictive. These announced future plans and purposes of God are not a certainly. They are simply God offering a person an opportunity to become involved in what He is doing and what God wants them to be doing in ministry at a future time. It is God speaking to their potential. Of course, they must respond and co-operate with what is spoken or it will not come to pass. Often then the word spoken is deemed a false prophecy when really it is just a Word of Wisdom that was neglected and not acted upon. And often the person delivering it is declared to be inaccurate when really the issue is simply a lazy Christian who did not take ownership of their Word and move with it.

However, the ministry of the prophet – also using the gift of prophecy – has God’s permission and the calling from God to speak correction, direction, and chastisement. To speak about the plan and the purpose of God currently unfolding as well as what will be happening in the future. This fivefold ministry calling carries on some of the functions of the Old Testament prophet as well as having a number of other ministries within the body of Christ, the Church.

To fully understand the gift of prophecy today one must move from the example of the prophetic under the Law in the Old Testament to functioning in this gift of the Holy Spirit under grace in the New Testament. And, a person needs to understand the different roles this gift can play when used by a fivefold prophet as compared to a person who has been baptized in the Holy Spirit and supernaturally enabled to flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

Work Out Your Salvation

Paul states, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

This is a fascinating verse which the Lord has continued, over the past few days, to open up. He has brought revelation and showed me some significant insights resulting in fresh understanding of the amazing love of God and life in community with other believers. Let me share a thought or two…

The word “your” here in this passage is plural, not singular. He is describing a community of disciples – believers in Jesus – in which “salvation” refers to the whole, not just one person; not the salvation of an individual but of the believers – the body of Christ, the local church. The Holy Spirit is telling us that we cannot “work out our salvation” alone; but, we must share life in a Christian community and here “work out your (plural) salvation” helping one another as we are sharing life together.

Today we have many believers who are detached from a local church and not attending and involved in any one faith community on a regular basis. So, for them, it is impossible to fulfill this call to “work out your salvation.” They are not part of a community. And, we have others who attend a local church but are still not an integral part of the community life of that church. They are not relationally connected to other members of the local body. They simply attend and remain detached. They too are unable to “work out your salvation.”

The word “salvation” is not referring to deliverance from the PENALTY of sin, nor freedom from the PRESENCE of sin, but rather deliverance from the POWER of sin. He sees this salvation taking place within the life of the community, the local church.

The PENALTY of sin is spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23a). This was defeated by the finished work of Christ at Calvary. No one can be free from the PRESENCE of sin for we live in a fallen and sin-sick world. We remain within this spiritual atmosphere so that we can be a witness for the freedom that is available through Calvary.

But she can be delivered from the POWER of sin in and on our lives. But, as this verse states, this requires sharing life with others and being accountable to others within the local church. That is why the word “your” is plural. It refers to the members of a local church. Here we can experience a lifestyle where we can be accountable and responsible for our sanctification. This is why the Holy Spirit assigns to each believer a part and a place in a specific body of believers – the local church. “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone of them, just as He wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18). Thus, as a community, we can be free from the POWER of sin.

So, God urges us to become a vital and active part of His community, the Church. Here we can find a shared lifestyle with those who have been set free from the PENALTY of sin and are rescuing people from the PRESENCE of sin in their individual lives. And, being responsible and accountable, we can together work out our salvation with fear and trembling as we experience freedom from the POWER of sin.