Three Message Part


Where's the Gold? (Part 1)

As you all know by now, Marilyn and Caleb and I, along with Pastors Doug and Jeanne Moore of Living Word Worship Center in Alton, Illinois, are very much involved with Grace Bible Training Center. Marilyn serves as Treasurer and will eventually be teaching a class. Caleb is the cameraman and I have been teaching a class on "Righteousness in Christ." The experience and opportunity is most exciting. Grace Bible Training Center (GBTC) has added a greater effectiveness to our efforts to proclaim the good news of the Gospel in all the world. We have classroom students and, by way of the Internet and DVDs, there are students in different parts of the country and even in foreign lands. God is good, and when we believe that all things are possible with Him (Mark 9:23, Luke 1:37), we can reap the fruit of the hopes and desires He has sown into our hearts. My class, "Righteousness in Christ," has thus far concentrated on a truth found in Second Corinthians 5:21 - God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. This verse clearly reveals a believer's position and identity. It is a position of being IN HIM (Jesus), and it is in Him, we are told, that we might become the righteousness of God. Now don't let that word "might" throw you off track. In the Greek, the word "might" means - can be, the ability to be and the power to be. Therefore, when we have the position of being in Christ, we then have an identity of, wherein by the power of God, we become the righteousness of God. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us that God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us... This is something that God did. It was God reconciling us to Himself in Christ through the finished work of Jesus Christ and Him crucified (2nd. Corinthians 5:19, John 19:30). God did this because He so loved the world (you). And because it is now a "Finished Work" through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, our position and identity is not a goal, it's not a journey nor is it a human effort of blood, sweat and tears, but it is an eternal reality that has been carried out and completed by God, in Christ. Because the believer's position is in Christ, the believer's identity is the righteousness of God. As difficult as it may be to accept at first, the truth is, in Christ the believer has been given, by faith, the position of being as righteous as God Himself! This is a truth that has far more and far greater implications than what much of the Church has realized and recognized for a very, very long time. Now, due to time and space, what I am about to share needs to be greatly condensed. However, it must be seen that when the Word (Jesus) became flesh (John 1:14), He, Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, entered the world and took the position on this earth as a flesh and bone man, who was Jesus of Nazareth (Philippians 2:6-8). And in this position, He assumed the identity of the Last Adam (First Corinthians 15:25). And through His death, burial and resurrection; when He was made to be sin for us and elevate us to the position and identity of being the righteousness of God in Him, He was taking back all that the first Adam lost in the garden when he fell to the deception and temptation of the devil. And now, through faith in what God did for us in Christ, we are given the identity of being the righteousness of God and we receive the position of having restored to us all that was lost in the garden when the first Adam fell. Within the first three chapters of the book of Genesis there is a long list of all the blessings man possessed before the fall. However, it is just one of the blessings that I want us to see at this time, especially during these days of economic turmoil. In Genesis 2:10-11 we see that God put gold in the garden. This tells us that from the very beginning God took to heart man's financial need and, therefore, blessed man with the blessing of prosperity, because we see that not only did God put prosperity in the earth, but He showed Adam where the gold was! A point of truth that is so important is one that is seen in the fact that man did absolutely nothing to earn possession of this gold. God put the gold there and God showed Adam where the gold was, because man being prosperous was and is important to God. However, we all know that when man sinned; when Adam and Eve fell, they had to leave the garden and their sin opened the door for the curse to come into the earth. This curse carried with it every sickness, disease, hurt, pain, sorrow, and "Yes," lack and poverty. Because of the first Adam's failure, man was no longer prospering and thriving in life, but now he would be struggling and striving through life. It was because of the curse, due to man's sin, that any form and level and hope of prosperity would now call for the sweat from man's brow. The curse now required man to bring at least a ten percent offering (the tithe) to God from all that he could earn and produce from a cursed earth. We see this from Genesis 4 all the way up to the cross on Calvary. However, what we have failed to catch onto, is that it was never God's plan for man to have to do something in order to receive something. Romans 11:35 asks the question, "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" God is not the "Responder" to man's actions. He is always the "Initiator," who reaches out to bless man. This is seen by God putting gold in the garden and showing Adam where it was. It was the curse, because of man's sin, that reversed God's original plan. The good news is, Second Corinthians 5:21 reveals that God turned everything back to His original plan. The restoration started to come to its conclusion in Luke 22:44, where we see Jesus praying in the garden. It is just moments before He would be arrested, crucified and buried. There we see Him in such anguish that - His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus was about to be crucified and buried, but He was not about to be buried in cursed ground. Therefore, as His holy and precious blood fell to the ground, the curse that had plagued man since man's fall was removed. And now, it would not be man sowing and sowing and sowing seed, in the hope of getting a piece of the pie, but Christ became the seed (Galatians 3:16) sown, from whom we, the righteousness of God in Christ, may reap the harvest from that One Seed - Jesus Christ. God was again filling the earth with prosperity and the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of the New Covenant, became the map that reveals where the gold is! God has again filled the garden with gold, therefore, the question is no longer, "Where's the gold?" The question now is, "Where's the garden?

Where's the Garden? (Part -2)

   I don't know how it is for others, but for me writing a "Part Two" from the week's previous message has always been a challenge. I have difficulty finding the place to start because I am always asking myself, "What and how much do people remember from last week's message?" Since there is no way for me to know what you remember or how many even read it, I will start with the scriptural truth that last week's message was born from. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. As overwhelming and as difficult as it may be for some to freely accept the truth of Second Corinthians 5:21, it really is a very simple truth because it is a truth of love. Therefore, we only need to understand the truth of love, so that we may freely accept the truth of being the righteousness of God in Christ. When we understand that love is always the act of giving because love always places the needs of others above self, then our eyes begin to open to the reality that righteousness is not the achievement of hard work and personal sacrifice before the eyes of God, but it is God's gift to us because He so loves us. And then, as we grow in our understanding of the truth of righteousness, we then increase by leaps and bounds in our understanding of the love of God. For as many years as I can remember, righteousness has always been defined as having right standing with God. That is, of course, very true. However, it's a truth that does not stop there, because it's a truth that is eternal. And because it is an eternal truth, it needs to be recognized that from the loving act of God giving His One only Son, whom He then made to be sin for us, so that in Christ we are blessed with being the righteousness of God, we can then begin to see and understand that being in right standing with God has far greater implications than what we may have thought in the past. I want to take you further and deeper into this truth by sharing with you that righteousness is the ability, it is the freedom, to stand before and in the presence of God the Father, without any sense of guilt, condemnation or inferiority. And then, because righteousness in Christ eliminates any sense of guilt, condemnation or inferiority, our right standing with God is one in which we stand in His presence without sin, without a shameful past, and without any fear of the future. Now, assuming you read last week's message, you may be questioning what this has to do with where the garden is today and the gold God put in the garden and then showed Adam where it was (Genesis 2:10-11). This has everything to do with that when it is understood that Adam had right standing with God. Adam was a righteous man in the garden. Adam was sinless, he did not have a shameful past, and he did not have any fear of the future. Within his position in the garden and his identity of righteousness, God had provided Adam with every daily need, including unlimited and continuous prosperity (the gold). Within the first three chapters of Genesis we can see God blessing Adam with food, purpose and employment, marriage and family, perfect fellowship with God, and of course, there was the gold. And if I may reiterate an important point from last week; Adam did not have to do anything to possess all these blessings. These blessings were not the result of God responding to the actions of man, but because God is love, and because love is always the "Initiator," God freely gave all to Adam. It is within this love that it has always been God's will that man lack nothing. However, when Adam and Eve fell to deception and temptation, they were no longer sinless, they now had a shameful past, and the future filled up with uncertainties, which always strikes with fear. However, the good news of the Gospel is that because God did and does and always will so love you, He gave His One and only Son, so that what He originally planned and desired for man could be freely restored to man. First Corinthians 15:45 identifies Jesus as the "Last Adam." Because God so loved, He gave Jesus, so that the right standing with God the first Adam had would be restored and forever be our eternal position and identity in Christ. Because we are now the righteousness of God in Christ, we have had restored to us all that was lost in the Fall, plus we have freely received eternal relationship with the Father as sons of God, with all the rights and privileges and power of sonship. Because God so loves us, we are in many ways God's Garden, wherein, there is the full supply of every need, including prosperity (the gold). Do you remember Luke 22:44 from last week? Jesus was in "The Garden." It was just before He would be arrested and crucified. He was praying and He was in such anguish His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. In that garden, His precious blood fell upon a cursed ground. His blood fell to the ground in that garden and removed the curse upon that ground because He was the Holy Seed (Galatians 3:16) that was about to be planted, and He would not be sown into cursed ground. And it is from Him, the Holy Seed, that all the promises of God came forth as the "Yes" and "Amen" of the full harvest in Christ. And because love has no limits, Jesus went to the cross, and in the shedding of His blood on the cross - He redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). It was then that a remarkable transformation took place. No longer is the garden an unknown and unlocated parcel of land from the Old Testament (Genesis 1-3), but now the garden is the redeemed of the Lord. First Corinthians 3:9 from both the Amplified and The Living Bible says, You are God's garden... To know where the garden is today, you only need to look in the mirror. In Christ, you are God's garden, and it is upon you - The Garden of God - that the precious blood of Christ was shed upon, removing the curse of sin, a shameful past, and all fear of the future. It is within you that Jesus Christ, the Holy Seed, was sown, and now, in Christ, your future is secure and within that security there is the full provision for every need - including the gold. Three John 2 from the King James Bible says, Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper... God's love for you is so incredibly powerful that its highest motivation is for you to prosper! Today, the word "prosperity" is not heard much. The media, the government, Wall Street and all their accomplices (the voices of the world) have been sending out a constant barrage of financial woes. However, the greater problem has been people coming into agreement with it, and even more troubling is the Church (God's Holy Redeemed Garden) allowing themselves to be led by it. Romans 8:14 says, Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Holy Spirit always leads us in truth, and the truth is, you are the righteousness of God in Christ. And as God's righteousness you are His Garden, wherein, there is no guilt, condemnation or inferiority. You have had restored to you all the blessings within God's first garden (including the gold), and now, in Christ, there is no inferiority to today's financial circumstances because, in Christ, you have complete superiority over them! God's Word clearly locates His garden (you). His Word reveals the gold in the garden (in you). But now the question is - "Now what?"       

Now What? (Part 3)

This is Part-Three of "Where's the Gold"and just like parts one and two, the foundation scripture is Second Corinthians 5:21 - God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. However, it needs to be pointed out that Second Corinthians 5:21 could have never become a reality in our lives without the truth of John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son... The truth is, if it were not for the love of God we would never even had the opportunity of being born again into the position of being in Christ, with an identity of becoming the righteousness of God. And as we have seen over the past couple of weeks, this identity and position of being the righteousness of God in Christ has restored to us all that was lost in the garden when Adam and Eve fell to deception and temptation. Now, trying to avoid a lengthy review of parts one and two, hopefully it is sufficient to simply point out that because man lost all God had given to him in the garden, it took another man to restore all that was lost. Jesus was that man. We know that Jesus did not come to earth as God, but as a man (Philippians 2:7-8). However, He was not just any man, but according to First Corinthians 15:45, Jesus came as the "Last Adam." Whereas the first Adam failed and lost all that God had given to man in the garden, the Last Adam (Jesus) was victorious (Colossians 2:13-15), not only restoring all that had been lost, but also forever securing for us a position and an identity as the righteousness of God in Him, wherein we were also blessed with the added position and identity of being God's Garden (1st. Corinthians 3:9 Amplified & TLB). It is from the first three chapters of Genesis that we see there were many blessings given to man in the garden, including GOLD (Genesis 2:10-11). It should go without saying that within the garden the blessings of God went far beyond the supply of basic daily needs. Because there was gold, there was prosperity, which still today is God's will for man (3John 2 KJV). Because of Jesus, you are the righteousness of God. Because of righteousness, you have had restored all that was lost in the Fall. And it is even a Restoration of Transformation, wherein, you are now God's Garden, and because you are God's Garden, the gold, the blessing of prosperity, is IN YOU. Part-one answered the question, "Where's the Gold?" Part-two gave us the answer to the question, "Where's the Garden?" And now knowing that in Christ we are God's Garden, wherein there is gold (the blessing of prosperity), the question is, "Now What?" When it comes to any questions concerning God and His Word, we must realize that God's Word is spiritual truth that is expressed in spiritual words (1st. Corinthians 2:12-13). Therefore, the answers can only be found and understood within revelation given by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:17). And since it is always revelation by the Spirit of God, it is a revelation that will always be founded upon love, because God is Love (First John 4:8). Therefore, if we are to understand truth revealed by the Spirit, then we will need to understand the truth of love. First Corinthians 13 is known as the "Love Chapter" of the Bible. From verses 4-8 we get a very good look at the virtues of love. And since God Himself is Love, First Corinthians 13:4-8 is actually revealing the character and nature of God. It is Love Himself that gave His Son. It is Love that gave you position and identity in Christ as the righteousness of God. It is Love who made you His own Garden, and it is Love Himself who has placed the blessing of prosperity within you. And now, concerning you being God's Garden, wherein there is gold, it is only by a revelation of the motivation and action of love that can answer the question, "Now What?" As already shown from First Corinthians 13:4-8, we find out what love is. But as we go just a little deeper, we see that we are actually learning who God is. Verse 5 of First Corinthians 13 brings a tremendous amount of clarity to us when it comes to knowing God. That verse tells is that Love is not self-seeking. Everything God has done for us in Christ; everything from making us His own righteousness to transforming us into His own Garden to filling us with the blessing of prosperity, all of it was motivated by love, and therefore, none of it was self-seeking, but all of it was the blessing of a free gift. It's important to mention from the past two messages that all these blessings were given to Adam in the garden, and Adam did not do anything to motivated God to bless him. God was already fully motivated because God is Love, and love is never self-seeking, but is always on the lookout to make things better for someone else. This is a truth we must understand if we are ever going to comprehend and fully appreciate who we are in Christ and all that has been given is in Christ. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. That is promised prosperity, and it clearly ties in with the blessing of God within the Garden as seen in the first three chapters of Genesis, where there was gold. However, even though we are all quick to say "Amen" to the promise of Philippians 4:19, we have so often failed to live and move and have our being within it, because we have missed the truth of our position and identity in Christ - the righteousness of God. Without a revelation of our position and identity in Christ, the promised blessings of God will always seem to appear distant and often, for one reason or another, just beyond our reach. God has promised the supply of all needs, but if we don't understand position and identity; if we do not know where the gold is or where the garden is, and therefore, not even having a hint concerning the answer to the question - "Now What?"- we end up exhausting ourselves as we run around doing everything we can think of in order to try and motivate God to fulfill that promise in our lives. We do this and that in the hope that God will respond to our actions. That is an ignorance of our identity because it is an ignorance of God's identity. We do not need to motivate God because God is already fully motivated because God is Love. Because God is Love, we are the righteousness of God, we are God's Garden, and when we stop trying to find the gold, and realize that we already possess the gold, then we will see the gold. And when we see the gold, we will know the answer to the question, "Now What?" Philippians 4:19 tells us that our need shall be supplied by God's riches in glory, but what does that mean? Will God dispatch an angel from Heaven and have him deposit a shipment of gold on our doorstep? God doesn't need to break off some gold from the streets of Heaven and have an angel deliver it to us, because, by Christ Jesus, God has raised us to a position and identity in Christ, wherein He has transformed us into His Garden, where He has already put gold. Our problem is we have placed limits upon our position and identity in Christ, and have thus limited God's will and purpose in and through and for our lives. Being the righteousness of God in Christ is immeasurably more than what we have even imagined. Ephesians 1:17 speaks of us having the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. Verse 18 then goes on to tell us why - That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, THE RICHES OF HIS GLORIOUS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS. Because you are the righteousness of God in Christ, wherein you have become God's Garden, where He has put the gold, you are now also God's riches in glory! And when we factor in the truth that God, who is Love, has pour out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), we begin to understand that our need is supplied by God's riches in glory because we are God's glorious riches, who are motivated by the love of God in our hearts to freely give to each other. We could easily continue further within this truth, but because of time and space, we simply encourage you to set all this before God and allow Him to flood your heart with the light of revelation. We are confident that as you see and acknowledge, by faith, that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, which has also transformed you into God's Garden, where there is gold, you will also clearly see the answer to the question - "Now What?" It is an answer that is simply summed up from the words of Jesus in John 13:34-35 - "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are My disciples if you love one another." When it comes to "Now What;" "Yes," God has put gold in His Garden (you), so that you will have the supply of material needs. The gold does provide houses, cars, clothes, food and many of the comforts and pleasures in life. And, "Yes," all those things will make certain statements about us. However, it is only when the glitter and the value of the gold is used to love one another, will the world, and we ourselves, truly know who and what we truly are in Him.     
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