Our relationship to God determines our level of spirituality. I John 1:3 “What we have seen and heard we have proclaimed to you so that you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the father and his son Jesus. This we write so that your joy may be full.
I Peter 5:8-9 says “Be sober, be vigilant, because adversary the devil walks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world .I John 1: 5 says “This is the message which we have heard from them and declare to you that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin ” . Eph. 6: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Our relationship to God determines our level of spirituality
One of the purpose of writing the book of John was to expose and repudiate doctrinal and ethical errors of the false teachers and another purpose was to exhort his spiritual children to pursue a life of holiness and fellowship with God with real truth and righteousness and the joy of his spiritual children may be full. Quite often we expect great things from God but what we receive from God is entirely dependent on our relationship with him. Spirituality is not a performance but it is the kind of bond that you develop with your heavenly father.
Jesus had a very special relationship with the holy spirit. Example of Marriage – Paul used marriage as an illustration of the unique relationship between Christ and the Church – just as Eve was taken from the side of Adam, so the church was born from the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. God created us in his own image with a purpose and some of God’s attributes are made available for us also. Living relationship with God is due to Prayer and it is an essential Component of Success in Spiritual life: Ex 33:11 said God spoke to Moses face to face like a friend. How much time we spent with God determines Right relationship which means right living Relational Theology.
Spiritual Warfare : The power of Faith Put on the Shield of faith “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. “
The power of truth John8:32. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. “ The power of love Gal. 5:6. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncirumcision counts for anything, but only faith is working through love. The power of truth and power of love
should control us and this will definitely make our relationship with god better.
The Power of Hope. This is also a great weapon God has given us. This is something that we expect with our whole heart. God has given us some weapons which are not carnal. It is mighty which are able to pull down strong-holds. Let us use them by the power of the holy-spirit.
Power of the word of God is The sword of the Spirit. Message to Seven churches in Asia minor The churches Ephesus 2.Smyrna 3. Pergamum 4.Thyatira 5.Sardis – sleeping church 6.Philadelphia 7.Laodicea – Luke warm church
The enemy is real. The reward is for conquers only. 1 John 1:3-4 what we have seen and heard we have proclaimed to you so that you also may have fellowship with us. Truly Our fellowship is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. This we write so that your joy may be full.
Relationship and fellowship with God are two important and essential aspects of our Christian life. Just as in our professional life, the right relationship with the right people is perceived as a determinant for success, the same way the right relationship in our spiritual life with our heavenly father brings in success. Spirituality is not a performance but it is the kind of bond that you develop with your heavenly father. As a natural man, we think “If you know the right people you will be able to get things done”.
Let me proclaim a great truth about our Lord Jesus Christ that He had a very special relationship with the Holy Spirit. We have relationship with our brother, we have relationship with our family members, we have relationship with our friends, but we have special relationship with certain people. Why I am saying this is because we need to have a very special relationship with the Holy Spirit. If Jesus had a very special relationship with the Holy spirit, how much more it is desirable for us to have a very special relationship with the Holy Spirit. This relationship is best described in the words of Ravi Zachariah who was a Christian Apologetics speaker. “The unity in diversity in the community of the trinity” The three persons in the Holy Trinity had a special, unique and harmonious relationship. This relationship between the three members of the Trinity is best described in a book written by a great spiritual author called Paul Young in his book called “The Shack”. The highly illustrative story in the book that pictures this relationship has a Master, the owner of the Shack, a bird that flies around and comes and rests on the Master’s hand and eats from the Master’s table. The dove-like bird even though they had all the freedom to fly away, the windows of the shack were open, but it never wants to fly away from the Master. This bird wants to be around the Master all the time and it always wants to eat from the table. It plays with the Master. It never wants to be separated from the Master. This is the kind of relationship that our Lord had with the Holy Spirit and the Holy father. Rom 8: 9 says “If any man does not have the spirit of Christ he does not belong to him”. When your relationship with the Holy Spirit comes from a compelled state of mind enforced by design that becomes a kind of enslavement. The man who desires the enslavement of the beloved, that is not real love that he desires. A legitimate meaning to our relationship with the holy spirit comes when it comes genuinely and not out of compulsion.
Example of the Pharisees: When our Lord Jesus Christ was on the face of the earth He was very critical of the Pharisees. In Mathew 23:23 we see he talks of about Pharisees – you hypocrites , you pay tithe on Mint, anise and cummin but leaves the weightier matters of the law like Justice and Mercy undone. The picture that Jesus was trying to present was their righteousness was an external masquerade, their religion was a dead ritual and that a living relationship is what is desired by God.
What does it mean when the word of God says that we have been created in the image of God. Does it mean that God has hands and legs like we have? No. The word of God says John 4:24 says “God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth”. We see in book of Genesis God walked in the Garden of Eden. It means God can give you an appearance in human form for our understanding. Just as Jesus revealed the truths of God to us through illustrations and parables. So what does it mean – it means God has given some of his attributes to human beings so that we are special. Among all the creations of God we are special. He has breathed his spirit upon us that we can have better interaction and fellowship with God. God is a spirit and hence in order to have a better communication and interaction with God we need to have a spirit which is placed in us by God which no other creation of God has. We are image bearers of God – so we are special and we have some of the attributes of God. God’s attributes have been classified by various scholars in different ways. One of them has classified it like below.
Primary Attributes of god
- Uncreated -self existent
- Necessary being
- Eternal Life
– insurmountable influence
Personal attributes of divine life:
– holy love
When we study the attributes of God the greatest of God’s attribute is love, because god is love. That is why we are able to love others and we are able to love God and we are mandated to love and be righteous because we are created in God’s image with that kind of a purpose in mind. We are able to maintain a very special relationship with God because we are the image bearers of God. Among all the living beings that have been created we are the only one that walk upright while others are walking on 4 legs or moving on the abdomen and we are able to think creatively and our creative thinking makes us special and wise. There another set of Biblical scholars who say that because of our sin the image of God in us has been distorted but not totally lost. There are some others who say that we acquire the image of God in us through our relationship with God. The better your relationship with God the better you will carry the image of God. That teaching is called the Relational theory. That says the image of God is relational.
Living relationship with God – Prayer as an essential Component of Success in Spiritual life:
If I am not in fellowship with God I cannot pray effectively. Prayer is multi-faceted communication with God. Even though God knows all our needs before we ask, he is demanding us to pray. Spoken words of our prayer are powerful. God gives to those who ask. Our words are powerful. Utter words of blessing on our children. The time in communication with God is prayer, not an utterance of our needs. We need to have a relationship every day. He paid the price for that. Great men of God (Ex: 33:11) had deep relationship with God and that makes them special. The Lord used to speak to Moses like a friend speaking face to face. The life of Moses the first 80 years was insignificant. But the next 40 years is very significant. Why? Because he established a deep relationship with God. We should enjoy the relationship with God. Luke 6:12 Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. A disciple is a learner. An apostle is a chosen messenger with a mission. “Ex. 33:11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
- How much time we spent with God
Right relationship with God if we have the right relationship with God, we will have no problems with his commandments. I had heard people say who can follow all the laws and commandments of God. It depends on your relationship and love for God.
- We do not live by rules alone – We live by a living relationship to God that enables us to have a loving relationship with others. True relationship enables us to call him (God) our father. It is one thing to accept a doctrine and defend it, but it is something else to have a personal relationship to the living God. The Jews prided themselves in their circumcision, failing to understand that the rite was symbolic of an Inner spiritual relationship with God.
- Right relationship means right living – In Christian life doctrine and duty always go together. What we believe helps to determine how we behave.
- Relational Theology – This is a new term called “relationship Theology”. If we have the right relationship to God, we will have love for the people who are part of our lives. If a man says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar.
Spiritual Warfare: The life of a Christian is a tug of war between the devil and God. When we try to live for Him, we have problems. The first of these weapons of our spiritual warfare is the power of prayer. James 5:17-18 Elijah was a man of like passions with us; he prayed and it did not rain on earth for three years.
“ Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” Prayer is not something that comes easily. It is against our fleshly nature. We pray in the spirit when the holy spirit prays in us. Where we are praying in the will of God then we are praying in the spirit.
Another weapon is power of Godly living
- You are the image bearers of God – live up to the level of the image that you are carrying
- The power of Faith (Put on the Shield of faith) Eph 6:16 “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. “
- The power of truth John8:32. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. “
- The power of love Gal. 5:6. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncirumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
- The Power of Hope. This is also a great weapon God has given us. This is something that we expect with our whole heart. God has given us some weapons which are not carnal. It is mighty which are able to pull down strong-holds. Let us use them by the power of the holy-spirit.
Power of the word of God – The sword of the Spirit.
Eph. 6:17 “Take up the Helmet of salvation and Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. “ The sword of the spirit it is His own making and so it has the backing and power of God almighty himself. Never use a manmade weapon but use the mightiest of all the God-made weapon the sword of the spirit the Word of God.
The standing order from the Captain of Salvation is that “Take up the sword of Spirit” and no new amendment is issued by the captain of the salvation so far. All other things will fail but the Sword of Spirit will never fail. Do not use the Sword of the Spirit as a sword of exhibition. That is how many people use the word of God. Word of God is in the show case beautifully bound with leather and colorfully decorated and exhibited in the best room in the best showcase.
Seven churches in Asia Minor.
In the book of revelation the Lord is giving a message to the seven churches in Asia Minor. These seven churches were located in the present day Turkey. All these places where these churches were established are now under the control of the Muslim World. Ist Peter
5:8-9. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Eph 6: 10: Put on the full armor of God. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities , against the rulers of the darkness of this age and against spiritual host of wickedness in heavenly places. The craftiness of the devil is not to be underestimated. The enemy was laughing until the second Day of the death of Jesus Christ. But on the 3rd day when He rose again that was the defeat of Satan, sounding the death-knell of Satan.
Seek spiritual things not Material things
Let our ears be open to hear the things of the spiritual realm. Let us have the spiritual eye to see things of the spirit. Satan influences your actions and your children’s actions. Let us have the understanding to see when the devil comes to work inside your church. Things that we see are less important but things that we cannot see are more important. Things of the spiritual kingdom are more important than things that we see on the face of the earth.
You have the spiritual authority to rebuke the devil
The churches Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis – sleeping church, Philadelphia ,Laodicea – Luke warm church
The church at Sardis is said to be the church that has fallen asleep.
Laodicea is the lukewarm church ,Thyatira – the church that has false prophets.
These kinds of churches existing in all periods of church history. Some interpreters say that each church is showing a particular period in time and we are currently in the Laodician period. But when we go deep into it we can see that these kind of churches existing all throughout history.
The enemy is real: If you do not understand the devil you cannot fight the devil. To the church at Sardis Lord says “Those who overcome, I will give white garments”.
Rev 3:5 è the Sleeping church.
To church at Pergamos Rev 2:7 “ I will give him hidden Manna and a white stone with his name inscribed on it which is readable only to him. è Compromising church.
The reward is for conquers only. To the church at Laodicea, the lukewarm church he says “to those who overcome, I will grant to sit with me on the throne. “
There is no option for failure. Failure is not an option. We need to be victorious. We should proclaim war against him otherwise he will not leave. When God shows some vision about impending problems or disasters He is showing the devil’s plan for you. Tell him or rebuke him and say you have no authority over me and my children. Lucifer