Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Two Kings Two Thrones Part 12

This week, we continued the “Two Kings, Two Thrones” series. In this part, we looked at David fleeing Saul and running to the house of God.  We started in 1 Samuel 20.  David has had a third spear thrown at him and decides he needs to flee.  David tells Jonathan that Saul is planning to kill David.  They devise a plan so Jonathan can find out what Saul’s intentions are.  There was a feast of the new moon, David does not go.  On the first day, Saul does not notice.  On the second day, Saul notices but assumes David is ceremonially unclean and can’t attend.  On the third day, Saul hears that David just decided not to come and Saul throws a spear at Jonathan.  Jonathan then alerts David that he should flee

In 1 Samuel 21, David has finally convinced Jonathan that Saul wants David gone. His anger toward David was fierce. When David gets to the tabernacle he speaks to Ahimelech, the priest. He asks if there is any food for him and his men. Ahimelech says that there is no food except for the consecrated bread from the tabernacle. This bread was only to be eaten by the priest in the Holy Place. If there was bread leftover, the other priests could eat it. A non-priest was not to eat this consecrated bread, yet, Ahimelech offers this bread to David.  Notice also that David asked for 5 loaves, just like the 5 loaves (and 2 fish) Jesus multiplied to feed thousands.  I have not had time to research further the correlation here, but I’m sure there is one.

This event illustrates how the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law. It was unlawful for David to eat this bread, but the hunger of David was more important than that law.   Jesus uses this event to illustrate that same point in Matthew 12. The Pharisees confront Him because His disciples were picking and eating grain on the Sabbath.  This was unlawful. Now, Jesus was not doing so, but only his disciples. Remember, He was fulfilling the law for us.

In verse 6, Jesus tells them that one greater than the temple was here. We generally believe He is speaking of himself. The Greek word that is used for “one” is more frequently translated “something.” This means He may have been saying “something greater than the Temple” was here. In the context of what He had just said in the previous verses and was about to say in the next verse, that actually makes more sense. That “something” was grace. In the next verse, He says that mercy is greater than sacrifice (quoting Hosea 6:6). The temple was the picture of sacrifice. It was where the people made their sacrifices to Him. Grace was going to make the sacrifice for us and eliminate our requirement of making those sacrifices. Jesus became THE sacrifice.

Jesus used the same verse just a couple chapters earlier in Matthew 9. There He told the Pharisees to go learn what it meant. Now, by their words and accusations, they demonstrated they had not learned – which is why in Chapter 11 he says, “If you had known” instead of “go and learn.”   Finally, Jesus says He is Lord of the Sabbath. Another way of saying that is “ruler of God’s rest.” As the ruler of rest, He determines what is most important – the rules for how to rest or the needs of one who cannot rest.  He is calling us to enter His rest. We no longer must make sacrifice for our sins, but receive the gift of salvation and His righteousness. Then we can help others enter that rest. Sounds like He has a plan!


  To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/media.php.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.

Monday, September 22, 2014

two kings two thrones part 11

This week, we continued the “Two Kings, Two Thrones” series. The premise is that King Saul is a type and picture of rule by law and King David is a type and picture of rule by grace.  In this part, we examined the growth of Saul’s jealousy toward David. Law is always jealous of what grace can accomplish. It can’t understand how God can possibly use someone “less obedient” than itself. Doesn’t God know they smoke? Maybe I need to remind Him. He must not notice how good I am. Maybe I should remind Him of that too J  

We see in 1 Samuel 18:12-14 that whatever David was given by Saul to do, he did with great success because the Lord was with him. If the Lord is with us, we can be nothing but successful. There is not one single instance of anyone in the Bible having God with them and following His lead who lost.  Grace is what gives us the full confidence that God is with us. When living under law, we have no confidence that the Lord is with us. According to law, any sin might cause the “Spirit to lift,” but under grace we have full confidence that He never leaves us or forsakes us – through the blood of Jesus.  1 John 3:19 tells us how we have this confidence.  Notice that the only commands that are considered part of the deal are to believe in Jesus and love one another.  Sin doesn’t rob us of confidence God is with us.  A guilty conscience does.

Also, Saul tries to pin David with a spear not once but twice, but David didn’t leave.  He stayed faithful.  Also, why does verse 10 say Saul’s evil spirit was from God?   This is probably a translation issue, but we looked at 1 John 1:5. God’s mercy and protection were gone from Saul. When God’s anointing was gone, Saul began to reap the fruit of what he had sown.  Mercy protects us from that.

 Now, does that mean you can do anything you want and God will make you successful? If I told you that you would likely call me a liar. We’ve all experienced doing things we thought were of God and failing. There are a few parameters we want to follow if we want to have success in the Lord in all we do:

 1.       You will experience success in those things the Lord calls you to do.

2.       You will experience success in those things that are part of your God-given destiny

 Now, those things might be a little hard to specify. Looking at some of what does NOT qualify as things that the Lord will be with you on might help…

 3.       No guarantee of success in selfish or sinful plans (he’s not going to help you destroy yourself or others).

4.       No guarantee of success in “good ideas” that were not “God ideas.” We often fail because we endeavor to do something that is good, but not something God anointed us to do.

5.       No guarantee of success in working on His plans MY way.

 The next thing we looked at in David’s story was Saul’s offering of two of his daughters in marriage and why one was accepted by David and the other not accepted. First, Saul offers his oldest daughter, Merab, to him. This would have been tradition – that the eldest daughter would be married first.  Saul puts a qualification on David obtaining this bride. The groom traditionally paid a dowry to the father of the bride. David knew he could not afford the dowry of a king’s daughter. Saul says he can have her if he fights Saul’s battles against the Philistines and leads his armies.

A couple thing are important about this exchange. First, this bride was rightfully David’s because he defeated Goliath. It was part of what was promised to the victor. Secondly, law is always going to keep demanding more before you can earn the promise.  Merab’s name in Hebrew means “increase” or “multiplication.” David had already earned it, but the law keeps adding more qualifications. We’ll never be perfect and qualified to receive the blessing of God. It can only be obtained as a gift through Christ.

Also, Saul made this offer with the hope that the Philistines would do his dirty work. He wanted David dead (law wants grace to just go away). He wanted to send David out to battle worldly sin (what the Philistines represent – see previous messages in this series). If you continue to try and battle sin with more law, eventually sin is going to destroy you.

Then there is Saul’s next daughter, Michal. Her name means “who is like God.”  Isn’t it cool that the person who is like God is drawn to grace.  It is discovered that she is in love with David. Saul sees another opportunity to complete his plan to have David murdered by the Philistines. This time David accepts Saul’s offer because he sees the price as something he is capable of paying, and this daughter loves him.  The gift of salvation is available to ALL of mankind, but only those who choose to love Jesus are going to receive that gift and enjoy that gift.


Saul’s price is 100 Philistine foreskins (eww!!!). David actually delivers 200 (double eww!!!). What a great picture of Christ. Jesus will not only pay the debt to purchase us, but far exceed it for those who love him! Now, we love Him because He first loves us – but receiving that love depends on making a choice to love Him. What a great exchange.

   To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/media.php.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.

Two Kings Two Thrones Part 10

This week, we continued the “Two Kings, Two Thrones” series. In this part, we began seeing Saul’s jealousy toward David emerging. After the men return from the defeat of Goliath, the people are shouting and singing about how Saul slays his thousands and David his tens of thousands. Needless to say, Saul was not happy about this.

Law will always be jealous of grace and what it can do – particularly what it thinks grace is not qualified to do. It just doesn’t seem fair to those living by law that some sinner can be used by God. After all, they’ve done all the works necessary to be deemed qualified. If the work truly had qualified them, they would be used, but works are not the qualifier – faith in His grace and a desire to partner with God is the qualifier. It is not about obedience to the letter of the law, but obedience to the voice of the Spirit.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about HOW Jesus was able to live life without sinning. Perhaps you just assumed it was because He was God, but, if Jesus were not capable of falling to temptation, He would not have been a truly sympathetic high priest. Jesus was God, but He was also man. So what gave Him the power to overcome sin? It was the Holy Spirit inside of Him.  No one had ever lived on earth since the Garden with the Holy Spirit inside of them. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and our tutor. He is our supervisor. He is all the things that the law tried to be but failed.  Also, as in Matthew 3, the Spirit descended on Jesus as well.

You see, learning all about the grace of God is vitally important, but unless we learn to be led by the Spirit, we can make grace the “license to sin” that some make it out to be. In fact, it is interesting to note that the churches and denominations that are very strong in their admonishment against the grace message (calling it dangerous and a license to sin) are also generally the ones that do not believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit or that the gifts of the Spirit are for today.  Apart from intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, grace can indeed become dangerous. If we have NO tutor or supervisor and are simply left to what the flesh feels like it wants to do, we will find destruction because of destructive behaviors.

The Holy Spirit is alive in us once we are born again. When we seek and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then the Spirit is also ON us – empowering us to follow His leading.  Jesus had that Spirit alive in Him from the very beginning. It was literally in His DNA. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she conceived. In a sense, the Holy Spirit was His “daddy.” We were not born in such a way. We are born entirely of the flesh – of a man and a woman. We must become born again to ignite the Spirit in us. The Spirit is then alive in us and speaking to us – leading us into all truth. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is what gives us supernatural power to DO what the Spirit is leading us to do.

Many Christians receive that gift of salvation and the Spirit in them, but without the power of the Spirit in and on them, they return to being governed by law. The law is a poor tutor because it can only govern the outside of man. The Spirit desires to work inside of us and change us in a way that law cannot – at the heart level.  Remember what Paul told us – that the law is no longer written on stone tablets, but upon the hearts of men. It does not magically appear there, but the Spirit is doing the writing. As He writes, the heart changes.

We also spent some time looking at how this worked in Jesus’ ministry on earth. At the end of Matthew 7 as the “sermon on the mount” draws to a close, the people are amazed at the authority with which Jesus speaks – an authority that the teachers of the law lacked. The Holy Spirit in Him gave Him that authority. There is no authority in the law – only hopeless submission. Grace allows the Holy Spirit to operate with authority through the believer.

When we think about what Jesus was teaching at the sermon on the mount, we could say He was teaching us how to slay the giants in our hearts – much like David had just slayed the giant Goliath and brought the jealousy of Saul upon him. After Jesus teaches and then demonstrates this authority through healing and casting out demons (all symptoms of sin and loss of authority to the enemy), we see that the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were becoming jealous of Jesus. He was doing what they could not; what they had no authority to do. He was taking authority over the fruit of mankind’s sin – sickness, affliction, and disease.

In Matthew 9, a paralytic man is brought to Jesus. Instead of focusing on the man’s body, He tells him that his sins are forgiven. This man’s sickness may have been a result of sin. Ultimately all sickness, disease and lack is a result of the sin of mankind. Jesus was getting to the root problem. He was also irritating the Pharisees with the authority He was exercising. Since He was without sin, He had authority to demand its effects to stop.  So, it was the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to not sin. That is the same Holy Spirit you have in you. It is also the same power made available to us on the day of Pentecost. It is not just Spirit in us but also on us.  Unlike Jesus, we were not born that way, and we must continually renew our minds to this new way of thinking that is in line with the Spirit and empowered by the Spirit.


  To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/media.php.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Two Kings Two Thrones Part 9

This week, we continued on with the “Two Kings, Two Thrones” series. This week, we looked at how Jonathan, Saul’s son, works into the picture.  As King Saul’s son, he is heir to the throne of his father. God has already told Saul that his throne would not go to his child, and that he also is going to lose his throne. When we read about Saul’s actions, however, we find that he continued on as though he expected to remain king and pass his throne on to Jonathan with or without God.

In this series, we have defined Saul as a type and picture of the law or life under rule of the law. Jonathan’s “inheritance” was empty and, according to God, dead. The apostle Paul tells us that the law is a ministry of death. It has no future. It lost its purpose when Christ fulfilled it for us.

In 1 Samuel 18:1, just after David defeats Goliath, we are told that Jonathan becomes one in spirit with David. I believe Jonathan is a picture of the believers of Jesus’ time here on earth – His disciples and those who followed Him. They became one in spirit with Him and His message, yet remained slaves to the law. Jonathan never forsook his father. He was loyal to David because he saw God’s hand upon him. He never betrays his father, but he knows there is no future in his father’s kingdom. 

Galatians 3 tells us  a lot about inheritance under the law and inheritance in Christ. Jonathan was making a decision that could impact his inheritance.  Galatians 3:23-25 tells us that this new inheritance is established through this “faith” that had come. We know that faith is Jesus based on the context of Paul’s words, but there is also further evidence.

 In Hebrews 11:1, the famous faith verse, it says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” That word, substance, is a Greek word hupostasis. That same Greek word is also used in Hebrews 1:3 in a seemingly different way. It describes Christ as the “image of his person.” The words “his person” are also the Greek word hupostasis. That “his person” is Jesus. 

We also looked at John 1 and compared bara creation (faith creation, something out of nothing) in John 1 and Genesis 1 with assah creation (creating something out of something else).  Bara is used in the Bible 56 times, used to describe God creating in the past tense. It is used to mean “to cut down” twice (in Joshua where he cuts down the enemies in the promised land).  It’s used sarcastically by God once.  It is used prophetically to talk about Jerusalem/New Covenant, and twice in Ezekiel to mean choose.  Bara is bet and resh, meaning head of household, and aleph, meaning power.  So Bara is the power of the head of the household.  Barak (to bless) is bet and resh again, plus kaph, taking what you have and gives it a second person possessive (you/yours).  This means the power of the head of the household is yours.  This denotes a transfer of authority.

We also talked about assah creation, especially as used in Exodus 19:8, where the people say that with the law they can make their own way.

With that understanding, we can look at Hebrews 11:1 a little differently. That substance is Jesus. Jesus is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. The context of the rest of Hebrews 11 bears that out, for it talks about all the great warriors of faith of the Old Testament and how they never “SAW” the inheritance that we now see and have. That promise was Jesus.

In fact, the very promise referred to both in Hebrews 11 and Galatians 3 is the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3. The key part of that promise that is being referenced in those New Testament verses is the last part – that all the world would be blessed through his seed. That seed is Jesus. He physically descended from Abraham, and He is the spiritual promise as well.

Taking it one step further, the true promise is the Holy Spirit. That is what was unavailable to anyone before Christ’s completed work. Abraham lived before the law and he, by his faith and belief, was declared righteous by God – as anyone living apart from the law (like us), but what makes us New Testament believers unique is that we now have the Holy Spirit available to us.


That Holy Spirit is the one who will teach us and guide is in our walk with God. Galatians 3:25 tells us that, in Christ, we no longer need the law as a supervisor. That goes against what we generally believe. When you get saved, it’s by grace, but we think we must have the rules for righteousness to learn to walk the straight and narrow. Paul is saying, “no!” The Holy Spirit is the gift of God. He lives inside of us and now writes the law upon our hearts instead of on stone tablets.  The Holy Spirit allows us to have direct communication, guidance, mentoring and training from God Himself – not life by a list of rules and interpreters of rules.

I believe we should spend less time teaching new believers about what you they are now allowed and not allowed to do as a Christian and more time teaching them about the Holy Spirit and how to develop a relationship with Him. That is how God designed it to work. It is why Jesus did the work He did. We need to learn to trust Him to do what He said He would do!

  To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/media.php.  To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Two Kings Two Thrones Part 8

This Sunday, we continued the “Two Kings, Two Thrones” series. In this part, I looked deeper at one aspect of the story of David and Goliath.  In 1 Samuel 17:37-38, Saul (remember that he is a picture of the law) tries to clothe David in his armor in preparation for facing Goliath. Goliath was a picture of the enemies in the land of Canaan. In fact, he was a descendant of those very giants. For us, the Promised Land is our heart – where God desires to bless is through producing His kingdom through us. The giants in that land are the thoughts, beliefs and perceptions that reside within us. In short, it is our sin.

In order to fruitfully produce in the Kingdom and to inherit all of the blessing attached to the New Covenant, we must work with God to drive those giants out of our hearts.   

Trying to face those giants “clothed” in the law’s armor will cause us to fail. A few weeks back, we read about how Saul would put an unnecessary disadvantage on his men by declaring rule and law that came from him and by threatening punishment from God.

Saul’s armor was huge and clunky for little David, just like the law is a huge weight on us in trying to overcome sin. Don’t we need more law to help us stop sinning? NO!!! We need the Spirit in us, changing us from the heart level. That is what gives us the power to overcome sin. Man’s heart cannot be changed from the outside.

The armor of Saul sounds a lot like the imagery of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6. This passage is often misunderstood. Spiritual warfare goes on. There are demons that need casting out, but this Scripture is not about those things. It is about taking control of and maintaining control of your thought life. To prove this, we must look at what these verses actually say and not what we think they say.  We are told that this armor is to protect us against the schemes of the enemy. What are his schemes? They are lies. It may come as a shock to some, but Satan cannot DO anything to anyone. All he can do is bring lies. People believe those lies and act accordingly. If he could kill people outright, we’d all be dead by now. He operates on a massive and elaborate web of lies. I’m not discounting demonic activity on other levels, but this passage is talking about our thought life.  The enemy also brings lies that are a slight twist of the truth, but they limit us and cause us to hurt others.

We not only need ALL the armor (not only a few pieces), and we need them in a certain order.  Each gives us what we need to utilize the next piece properly.  The armor we are told to put on begins with a belt of truth. TRUTH is the most important weapon against lies. It is not a defense against wicked actions or demonic activity. It is the ultimate weapon against lies. What does a belt do? We don’t have to get all spiritual to answer that either. Belts hold up pants. Put it this way. Without a belt of truth, we are walking around with our pants falling down, embarrassing ourselves and everyone around us.

Next is the breastplate of righteousness. What we see is that these pieces of armor are discussed in a specific order for a reason. You need the TRUTH about righteousness to be your breastplate or protection over your life. Your breastplate better be made of HIS righteousness and not your own. If you are fitted with a breastplate of your own righteousness, you will be defeated or you may not even go into battle because you know just how weak it is.

Next come the feet fitted with the gospel of peace. Now that we have truth about righteousness, that should lead us to peace, and all that needs to happen before we run off to battle. What is peace? It is not just everyone getting along in harmony – everyone who disagrees with me chooses to just change their minds.  Peace truly only comes about when all opposition of peace has been eliminated. That is going to take war – or it took war. This is about the gospel of peace. Jesus won that war. He removed every roadblock and hindrance to peace. When we know the truth about righteousness, we can WALK in that peace.

Next comes the shield of faith, which I did not spend a great deal of time on because it could be multiple sermons all by itself. Then comes the helmet of salvation. After we’ve done all we can to renew the mind and bring it into alignment with the truth, we need to wear this helmet to protect the old ways and thoughts from returning. As soon as we fall into a familiar situation or circumstance, we can easily fall back into old ways. Protect your mind with knowledge of salvation.

Finally, after all of that, we get a sword. There are a lot of Christians out there swinging a sword of the Word at people without the grounding of a renewed mind. The military does not round up a bunch of guys and give them guns and send them off to battle without first training them to think the way they want them to think and react the way they want them to react.  After we get the sword, we are not done. We are told to then pray continually. Prayer is about staying in communication with the General. When one army is set to attack another, one of the first things they try to take out is communication. If you can break the lines of communication, you create confusion. Who is the author of confusion? Satan. He wants you to go into battle with confusion.

To summarize, here is our warrior’s checklist/toolkit:

1.      Truth

2.      Righteousness—His, not yours

3.      Peace

4.      Boots

5.      Faith, shield

6.      Helmet protecting thoughts

7.      Sword/weapon

8.      Pray/maintain communication

We finished with Romans 14, where Paul contrasts grace and law followers and tells them not to judge and condemn each other.  We read it in the message Bible also, and I encourage you to do so this week also.