16 Aug Online Prayer, SIMPLICITY of DEVOTION to CHRIST, Wed. Aug. 16, 2017
2 Corinthians 11:3 NASB
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray
from the SIMPLICITY AND PURITY OF DEVOTION TO CHRIST.
We live in a world today of competing factions for our attention, conflicting ideologies of our convictions, and compromising affections of our desires. More than ever before the world around us finds new ways to encroach on our intimacy with God. From altars of entertainments, social media, and demands of work and family to name just a few. It’s easier to just go with it than to go against it!
Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth apparently had a similar deep concern about the daily distractions and the demonic detours that tried to lead astray the minds of those who were betrothed to Christ in covenant. Our challenge is the same. To be in the world without being of the world. In other words, how do we to live in the world without being worldly, or how to be holy without living in a hole? The whole council of God indicates that we are not to be isolated from the world around us but insulated from its influence on us. We cannot reach a world we are not in nor can we win a world when there is no difference between darkness and light between us.
The call of heaven is not as much for us to go up there but for us to bring what is there down here. “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” Heaven must come within us as the will of the kingdom must override our will to carve out a space—to find its place in this world.
Today, we will seek to distinguish the forces of opposition and the objects of affections that cross the lines of our SIMPLICITY of DEVOTION to JESUS. What is clear is that things can get off side easily and out of bounds quickly when it comes to simple faith and pure devotion. Some of the worst offenders are even seeming by good things that rob us from the best. Moreover religious activities can mask themselves as sincere service and true worship.
Let us pray into five vital dimensions of keeping the SIMPLICITY of our DEVOTION to CHRIST that act as sand bags to keep out the flood of distractions, detours, and deceptions of our pure devotion.
- FIRST PASSION FOR GOD
Revelation 2: 4 NKJV
Nevertheless I have this against you, that YOU HAVE LEFT YOUR FIRST LOVE.
1 John 4:19 NKJV
We love Him because He first loved us.
a strong and barely controllable emotion; the suffering and death of Jesus (Acts 1:3);
ardent affection; a desire for devotion; a compelling force to the objective of one’s affection
Main Point: To return to our first love by removing all competing lovers, altars of self-idolatry, and dedication to other things that compromise intimacy and choke the life of the Word out of us making us unfruitful.
- 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. –Lk. 8:14-15 NKJV
- 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. –1 Jn. 2:15-17 NKJV
- 12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? –Deut. 10:12-13 NKJV
- 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” –Deut. 30:19-20 NKJV
- 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” –Jn. 14:21 NKJV
- 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. –1 Jn. 2:3-6 NKJV
- 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; –Ex. 20:2-4 NKJV
- My people have committed two sins:They have forsaken me,the spring of living water,and have dug their own cisterns,broken cisterns that cannot hold water. –Jer. 2:13 NIV
- For with You is the fountain of life;In Your light we see light. –Ps. 36:9 NKJV
- Of permitting competing loves and interests in other things that crowd our worship of God and choke the Word in us making it unfruitful.
- Of failing to see the price of love paid for us and thus failing to walk worthy of the love we have received.
- Of building altars of self-idolatry to our comforts, conveniences, and compromises with the world.
- To our first love—making Jesus and our love for Him the main thing that displaces any competing love and displaces any idols of self-idolatry we have built.
- To You, as the LORD OUR GOD, ABOVE and BEFORE all others—You ALONE are our God—We declare “the LORD, HE IS OUR GOD—THE LORD REIGNS—BE EXALTED O’ God above the heavens, Let Your glory be seen over all the earth!”
- To drink from the Fountain of Life and refuse to dig wells for ourselves.
- To make the words of Your mouth and the written words of Your book to be our soul-food and the sole source of our spiritual nourishment.
- To love You first because You first loved us with an everlasting love.
- FIRST PRIORITY FOR KINGDOM
Matthew 6:33 NKJV
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:10 NKJV
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
the fact or condition of being regarded as more important; that which takes precedence or precedes before others;
something that is ordered above and beyond any other
Main Point: To repent of allowing other things to crowd out the kingdom’s first place status in our daily desires, deeds, and disciplines; to practice God’s first priorities not our last leftovers of serving His kingdom on earth.
- 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” –Mt. 11:28-30 NKJV
- 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ –Mt. 7:21-24 NKJV
- And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. –Col. 1:17 NKJV
- But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” –Lk. 9:62 NKJV
- 2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven,Hallowed be Your name.Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? –Lk:11:2, 7NKJV
- 32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. –Lk. 12:32 NKJV
- To whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. –Acts 1:3 NKJV
- For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. –Rom. 14:17 NKJV
- For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. –1 Cor. 4:20 NKJV
- That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. –1 Thes. 2:12 NKJV
- 3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; –2 Thes. 1:3-5 NKJV
- 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire. –Heb. 12:28-29 NKJV
- Not placing Your kingdom priority in our daily desires, deeds, and disciplines.
- Taking up other yokes of men and ourselves and not the Yoke of Jesus.
- Not recognizing the pleasure and treasures of the Father’s Kingdom and its value as the pearl of great price, the land we find and go and sell everything to buy, the opportunity of greater gain and good.
- Not cultivating a good and noble heart that allows the kingdom seed to reproduce—30, 60, 100 fold.
- To praying and placing Your kingdom to come and You will be done first and foremost.
- To walking and living worthy of the immeasurable kingdom of God as our own asset.
- To believing and behaving in your ways and word so that the kingdom can increase and expand in us and that we advance and enlarge the kingdom around us.
- To seek Your righteousness by faith in Christ, not our self-performances and religious activity.
- To experience your promises manifest because we place You and Your kingdom in the highest place of priority.
- FIRST PRINCIPLE OF TRUTH
2 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us,
you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God,
which also effectively works in you who believe.
2 Thessalonians 2:10b
…they received not the LOVE OF THE TRUTH.
a fundamental truth that serves as the foundation of a system of belief or behavior;
a chain reference for reasoning and selecting; an essential source of governing beliefs and behavior
Main Point: To establish knowing the truth and obeying the truth in every aspect of our lives; to learn the Principles of Life and live these principles; to remove any lack of love for the truth; seek truth and allow it to take us wherever it ends; Truth=Freedom.
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. –Jn. 14:6 NKJV
- Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. –2 Tim. 2:15 NKJV
- 16 All Scripture i s given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. –2 Tim. 3:16-17 NKJV
- 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. –PS. 19:7-11 NKJV
- Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart… –1 Pet. 1:22 NKJV
- 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. –Eph. 5:9-11 NKJV
- For with You is the fountain of life;In Your light we see light. –Ps. 36:9 NKJV
- 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. 130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. 165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble. –Ps. 119:105, 130, 165 NKJV
- 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” –Jn. 8:31-32
- Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. –Jn. 17:17
- 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 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 His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. –1 Jn. 1:6-9 NKJV
- Of conflicting convictions and unclear principles.
- Of allowing any self-deception or ignorance to compromise our principles of life.
- Of not receiving the LOVE OF YOUR TRUTH—We love Your Word—it is our meditation all the day long!
- To Jesus the Truth and the Spirit of Truth to guide us in all truth. (Jn. 14-16)
- To believe the truth and abide in Your Word and Your Word abide in us.
- To allow Your Word to divide asunder what is spiritual from what is carnal.
- To be those who have studied to show ourselves approved to God…rightly dividing the word of truth.
- To daily allow Your Word to sanctify and cleanse us as the Bride of Christ.
- To walk in the light as You are in the light.
- To intercede for a “revival of the Truth”!
- FIRST PREROGATIVE FOR FATHER’S WILL
Matthew 7:21 NKJV
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN.
a right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class; a birthright or advantage of entitlement;
unalienable rights given by God
Main Point: To learn to die daily to our will and make the Father’s will preeminent and to delight in knowing and doing God’s will.
- I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. –Rom. 12:1-2 NKJV
- He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You ”—Mt. 26:39 NKJV
- 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! –Jn. 4:34-35 NKJV
- 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. –Col. 1:9-14 NKJV
- 6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. –Col 2:6-10 NKJV
- 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. –Col 3:15-17 NKJV
- 6 not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. –Eph. 6:6-8 NKJV
- I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.—Ps. 40:8 NKJV
- Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. –Ps. 143:10 NKJV
- If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. – Jn. 7:17 NKJV
- Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” –Jam. 4:15 NKJV
- For usurping Your will by incessantly inserting our will over Yours.
- Of complicating intimacy with God by allowing too many choices, conveniences, comforts, and changes to encroach on our single-minded, undivided devotion.
- Not being about our Father’s business and not working until we are finished with the works He has called us to do.
- Of not being willing to walk away from personal gain and the praise of men, and not willing to work for Your glory when no one notices or we get the credit or recognition.
- Placing Your will above ours in the highest place.
- To delight in Your will and not doing it without grumbling and complaining or ingratitude.
- To offer ourselves as living sacrifices to know Your will for us.
- To living everyday making sure we are seeking and doing the will of the Father.
- FIRST PLACE OF FIRST WORKS
Revelation 2:5, 26 NKJV
Do the FIRST WORKS…
And he who overcomes, and KEEPS MY WORKS until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
a particular position or point in space; to find a home; to plant or to set down
Main Point: To always weigh what we are doing and why; to insure we are not doing the right things for the wrong reasons or doing the wrong things with good intentions; to keep God’s good works being led by the Holy Spirit first; not driven by self-performance or religious legalism.
- Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? –Gal. 3:1, 3 NKJV
- For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. –Eph. 2:10 NKJV
- 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. –1 Cor. 3:10-15 NKJV
- 20 how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 “And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. –Acts 20:20-27 NKJV
- Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.—Jn. 4:34 NKJV
- 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been” 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. –Jn. 5:17, 19 NKJV
- Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” –Jn. 6:29 NKJV
- Imust work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. –Jn. 9:4 NKJV
- For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. –Jn. 13:15 NKJV
- Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.–Jn. 15:2, 16 NKJV
- 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.—Phil. 2:12-13
- Of our busyness that produces barrenness.
- Of our activities void of productivity
- Of our religious leftovers not our first works born of first love.
- Of our waste of time, talents, and treasures not given for You to use how You please.
- Of our presumption that what was began in the Spirit can be perfected in our strength or by our abilities.
- To understand that to whom much is given much is required.
- To freely give and we have freely received and remember that good works are love made visible.
- To always be aware that we are master builders and our works will be tested by fire of what they are.
- To be able to distinguish between “works” (of men for man) and “good works” (of God for God).
- To comprehend that Jesus said without Me you can do nothing, therefore the only works that count are not by our might or power but by His Spirit.
- To never forget that everything Jesus did was about His Father’s business, for His Father’s will and work.
- To know that the Father is most glorified when we bear much fruit and that our fruit remains.