Ever wonder why the western church lacks such power and presence? Ever wonder why your life seems to be missing something that would take you over the top in your spiritual growth? Do you want to be more like Jesus?
This word is to those who consider themselves disciples of Jesus Christ. This word is to those who have experienced supernatural regeneration and are “born-from-above.” This word is for those in that group who want to go deeper into the mysteries of Christ.
This word is for those who do not think that they already know all there is to know about being a child of the King. This word is for those who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and want to know Him better. You’re disatisfied with the status quo. Tired of fighting the church wars. Underwhelmed by the crowds of professing believers who are more about appearances, perfomance-based-easy-believism, and simple platitudes. You are more interested in relationship than a pursuit of knowledge for knowledge-sake. You beleive the Scripture that says knowledge “puffs up” but that love “builds up.” So you want to know the deep love of Chirst and of the Father.
What if you’re not who you think you are?
What if you’re who God thinks you are? What if you’re not merely a servant of God, or a disciple, or even a friend of God. What if you’re who the Father says you are . . . a “son”?
I believe that He has illumined His intent for the church at this season of our journey? I believe that our understanding of who God says we are is an essential prerequisite to the Second Reformation–God’s recapturing of Family, of relationship in His image.
What difference would it make to KNOW that you are loved deeply and have an identity that you may have heard of, but not yet discovered in experience? What if entering into who God says you are were to transform not only your thinking but your everyday decisions and activities? What if the truth about you placed you squarely in the family that God is Father of?
I believe that the Father wants us to know this important truth:
“All who are led by the Spirit are the ‘sons of God.” (Romans 8.14)
Are you born-from-above? Then you have “the right to become [one of the] ‘sons of God.’ (John 1.12)
Are you “led by the Spirit”? The you are one of the “sons of God.” When’s the last time you heard a message on “sonship”? And if you did hear one (and I’d stand amazed, because in 35 years as a Christian, I’ve never heard ONE) did you understand how important it is to God that you understand that identity? Why did He make sure that Scripture preserved and outlined our sonship?
This is an important word for the church today. Sonship is the key to you living into the fullness of what Jesus did in His Atonement. His sacrifice accomplished more than simply forgiving your sins so that you could fly off to heaven [which is an unbiblical image anyhow].
Your identity as one of the ‘sons of God’ is the word for His Family today.
My book explains from the Word of God why the biblical doctrine of sonship is so important to God the Father, and thus needs to be important to me and you. Perhaps understanding sonship is the next step in your walk with Christ and your fellowship with the Father. I wrote this book to help those who have responsibility in spiritual formation or who are mentors. I also wrote it for anyone who is willing to go deeper. WSOGSW is not an easy read. You may find that you read some and then put it aside for awhile because you have to ponder or dig into the Word. But you receive what you’re willing to give. If you study and meditate upon these truths, you will be amazed at the result.
What others are saying:
“Believe Who You Are, Do What You Must,” @ Lay It Down | Carl Simmons
Five-star Amazon Reviews by church leaders
QUESTION: How do you view yourself in light of the fact that God has made you a “son.” (yes, ladies too).
©2012, David C Alves
- Adopted into God’s Family (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)
- Government of God is familial – discuss? (face2facegduffty.wordpress.com)
- Like Father Like Son (dpeacemakers.wordpress.com)
- Does Church Matter? (askfathereric.com)
Have you ever had a really bad week and reacted in ways that discouraged you? You thought that you had dealt with that anger. You thought that you were reacting more like Jesus, and all of a sudden . . . someone set you off and the “old you” was still there.
Well, I had a day like that last week. Those little annoyances get under the skin and I find myself reacting in anger or defensive tones with people. As I’ve grown in the Lord, it happens less and less, but it still happens. Then our Enemy starts in, “You think you’re such a good Christian. Well, you’re no different than you’ve ever been.”
We ask, “Lord . . . how long till I change and get the victory?”
Those are discouraging times for us.
But Phil. 1:6 says “ . . . he who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
In another place, Scripture says that we are being transformed “from glory to glory DAILY.” The Lord reminds me that He is not finished with me yet. I am growing. I have changed. And so have you.
As we take off the old self and put on the new, Jesus will manifest Himself in the new self that He has placed in us. Paul said, I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I. But Christ lives in me.
Jesus is in the transformation business and you and I are His favorite subjects. He will complete what He has started. And sooner than you think, you (and I) will come forth as gold.
Father, will you please keep us focused on Jesus. Keep us anchored in your character and living out of the new self, created to be like you in true righteousness and holiness. Thank you Father.
©2012, David C Alves
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break Camp and advance into the hill country . . . go to all the neighboring peoples . . . ‘
–from Deut. 1:6-7 NIV
I have a feeling that some of us just need to GO today—as in move out and trust God. Go in obedience to Him ONLY.
Have you ever heard the saying, “When the going gets rough, the rough get going.” The idea is that winners face what is difficult by taking action.
The action believers are called to is to GO! Are you willing to GO? Going requires several actions on our part:
* We must choose to obey. Everything begins when I choose to say “yes” to God. I must love Him enough to be willing to go against my tendency toward laziness.
* We must break camp. We must be willing to step out of our comfort zones—intentionally.
* We must move out (by faith). We must DO something that demonstrates our seriousness.
Ask God to give you opportunities this week. Ask someone you know who cares about lost people to pray with you this week about this.Then watch God prove His love for the lost through you.
Could this be confirmation for you? Are you amazed? As though the Lord is speaking directly to you? Just make your decision, trusting that you CAN depend fully upon His love–even if you make a mistake.
What a thrill awaits you as God lets you share His love with others. The Lord bless us all as we watch the great things God will do in our midst as we reach out beyond our current boundaries.
©2012, David C Alves
The fact that Jesus is alive is indisputable. God himself is the first witness to this fact. Then come the twelve Apostles, to whom he appeared. Then the 500 other eyewitnesses recorded in Scripture. Then the countless witnesses throughout human history. And then me and my friends and family who know Him in our own lives.
How about YOU? Are you a witness to this truth yet?
Have you yet come to know that Jesus is indeed alive from the dead? That He can communicate with you. That He wants to share His love and treasures of wisdom and knowledge with you? That you are important enough to Him that He gave himself as a willing sacrifice to bridge the huge Chasm between you and His Father–Yahweh–the Only, true and living God.
He has opened to way to the Father for all those who are willing to believe. He has made us all “sons of God” through faith in His life, death, and resurrection from the dead.
This faith is not a blind faith. This faith is a faith based upon sufficient evidence and unimpeachable eyewitness testimony. This is a faith based upon personal experience as well. This is a faith that smashes all anti-supernaturalism. NO ONE who truly comes to know him and the Kingdom of God will remain a materialist. We believe in that which is also spiritual.
Today, because Jesus has risen, you can too. Today . . . because Jesus is alive, your spirit can be brought to life too. God is the one who accomplishes this in answer to your calling out to Him. When you choose to believe, and ask Him to come into your life. Get ready for weird and wonderful things to happen.
Invite Christ to be alive IN YOU! Then get ready for your life to change . . . significantly.
First, believe that Jesus died and rose to live again as He testified. Ask Him to produce a godly sorrow in you for your me-centeredness and self-conceit. This will open the way for repentance [the desire to change your mindset and direction in life away from your way to His]. When you repent (turn to Him), He will meet you in a way that you can understand. Invite Him into your life. Invite Him to be Lord. Watch what the living Jesus will do.
Life will still be life. You may face tremendous challenges or difficulties, but you will face them with Him. He will be all that you need in the midst of every trial. He will be your Counselor. He will keep you in the center of His love and take you safely home to the Father.
May the Lord be with you as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday this year. If He is already alive in you, may you manifest His life to others. If you’re just coming to know that He’s alive, may this year’s celebration have brand new meaning for you. God bless you richly. Grace and Peace to you.
QUESTION: Is Jesus alive in you?
“We will rejoice in you and be glad;
We will extol your love . . . ”
–Song of Songs 1:1
Have you ever gone to a game and experienced the flush and excitement of the crowd, the intensity as the clock ran down to the two-minute warning with the score so close that either team could win?
We have shouted and cheered. We have experienced the intensity and excitement. The more thoughtful among us have also wondered at the human capacity to become so vocal at a game, yet most of us do. Now add to the mix someone you love out there playing on one of the competing teams. Talk about thrilling! Can’t you feel the adrenaline pump?
The Holy Spirit is teaching me to be as excited about Jesus. Jesus is my Champion. He’s the Champion of Love. The Bride of Christ is my team. We’re at the two minute warning and the other team seems to have the lead.
Greatest of all . . . I’m not just a spectator or bench-warmer, I’m one of the players. We’re all first-string –EACH ONE. My job, your job on the team is invaluable and all of creation is watching us. We are on display to the powers and beings in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:10ff). Let’s get excited about THAT! Let’s express our excitement by playing the game wholeheartedly–worship, fellowship, prayer, giving, caring, sharing, these are the plays that we need to be doing over and over to win . . . and win we will.
The game is ours. Our Champion not only leads the way, but will play in us. And He has beat this team before.
What will your game be like today?
©2012, David C Alves
“You mean I can’t just decide I want to be a Christian and be “born again?”
Scripture teaches that our minds are darkened. We cannot perceive the things of God with unaided reason. No “decision” for Jesus will ever produce the spiritual birth that Jesus said is prerequisite to knowledge of God and entrance to the Kingdom. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever described the new birth as a “decision.” All we can decide is to agree with the Holy Spirit and the Word regarding our need before God. We must agree with him that we are spiritually destitute. And that we need him. That we don’t know how to love him sufficiently to produce lasting change in our lives. This is an important truth, because it explains the missing component in the American Gospel.
Somewhere along the line, the Gospel became infected by the notion that a relationship with God could be attained by human effort, apart from revelation–God personally “revealing” himself to a human being. Proclamation included making a “decision” for Jesus. And dispensing with emotion. Unusual since throughout the Bible we see that God is a God of emotion. He created emotions.
You cannot approach God on your own terms. Without His previous action in personal experience, we do not have in us that love that produces devotion and obedience. He must “reveal” Himself to us.
The Bible, God’s own Word, says it this way:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, ESV)
Here Jesus told his disciples how they could bear fruit. They needed to stay in close relationship to him (and God’s love). They needed to be connected. For apart from love (and proximity to Him through Christian community) they would not produce fruit worthy of the kingdom.
In the following verse, the Apostle John says it more directly:
“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19, ESV)
Scripture teaches that “His Love Comes First.” His love–a prior revelation of Himself, His heart, His values.
I believe that the lack of an experience of God’s presence and love explains in part the shallowness of much “so called” Christianity. This love-deficit is behind poll figures that claim that 84% of adults who claim to be Christians; 40% of Americans claim a “born again” experience.* Yet fewer than 21% believe that Christian community is vital to their faith.** They do not discern the Body–recognize the Family of God as important in their spiritual growth. Many who claim to know God have no passion for him or the people and values He loves.
The Barna Group shares these interesting trends:
On the one hand, four out of five self-identified Christian adults (81%) say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today. More than three out of four self-identified Christians (78%) strongly agreed that spirituality is very important to them. Yet, less than one out of every five self-identified Christians (18%) claims to be totally committed to investing in their own spiritual development. About the same proportion of self-identified Christians (22%) claims to be “completely dependent upon God.” Those figures help explain why a majority of self-identified Christian adults (52%) believe that there is much more to the Christian life than what they have experienced. Without a full determination to live like Christ and for Him, the path to complete transformation is blocked.**
“Well, if the love begins with God, then what can we do?”
We can desire to know Him. We can place ourselves in an “environment of grace” by being with others who know Him. Or by reading his book, the Bible. We can listen to those whose lives demonstrate that they have a relationship with God. As we do, and as others pray for us, God meets us.
The Bible says it this way, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” Begin to do the things that you think please Him. As far as it is in your power, keep a clear conscience. From time to time, focus your thoughts on Jesus Christ. Think about his life. If you can find a copy of the Jesus film, watch it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father’s love to you.
“But isn’t this my behavior or actions before God’s love?”
Yes and no. You are simply seeking. God’s promise is that when you seek (and keep seeking) you will find. When you ask (and keep asking) it will be given. When you knock (and keep knocking) the door will be opened to you. Seeking, asking, and knocking are not the same as approaching God intellectually, then making a decision. Our intellect can only take us so far in our search for God. Reason and will can place us on the path. Only love takes us the distance. And His love must be prior.
That is why He gave Himself to us in His Son, Jesus. And as we gaze at his life, death, and resurrection, we see the Father-Heart in Christ. Jesus came to reveal the Father’s love.
Revelation is always the initiative of God:
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”” (Luke 10:22, ESV)
God’s Love Comes First! If you have not already–at whatever stage you are along your spiritual journey–ask Him to reveal himself to you. You will not be disappointed.
QUESTION: Has he revealed his love to you, personally? Do you know yet, in experience, how deeply you’re loved by Him?
©2012, David C Alves
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Barna Quote Source:
When I think of all that the Father has taught me about sonship–both while I wrote my book and in recent days as I wrote my previous post–I’m so grateful and humbled. What a privilege to see the remarkable implications of what Christ opened up for human beings. Unbelievable that we are the many brothers of whom Christ is the firstfruit. He is the pattern of the new humanity, which can only enter sonship through the cross and blood of Christ.
I’m convinced that even believers who love the Lord and would otherwise be devoted to Him and making these truths known are so distracted that they don’t enter into these marvelous promises. Promises that allow us to share the divine nature with Father and Jesus, by means of the Holy Spirit.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3–4, ESV)
Look at the AMAZING richness the Holy Spirit is revealing through Peter. We have “all things” that pertain to this life we’ve been called to–and god-like-ness. How?
Through “the knowledge of Him who called us TO HIS OWN GLORY and EXCELLENCE (we’re to look like Him). Through understanding this, we enter into it more fully. Do you understand it? When the Lord helps a person to progress from saved sinner (which we all were/are) to friend (I no longer call you servants . . . ) to SONS, we become “partakers of the divine nature.” What a MIRACLE! We partake by believing the promises:
he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature
When once we realize the scope of what we’ve been invited into, how can we any longer chase the things of this world?
I’m through with lesser things.
Of course, this won’t win you lots of friends. Even other believers will think you have departed from their idea of Evangelical faith. When in reality, you are just now entering into the fullness of what God has made possible through Christ. After all, all this is by faith.
Faith is not of our own doing. It is a gift of God. That’s why I’m a humbled son. I could never have gotten myself to where I am today in my understanding and experience of sonship apart from the total love and grace of my Father. And by a willingness to be “led by the Spirit” because ALL who are led by the Spirit are the ‘sons of God.’ (Rom. 8.14)
My hope is that by sharing this, I may make someone jealous enough to hunger to seek after God with a whole heart. What he will lead you to is this great truth of sonship. After all, that’s why Christ died. And for those who have arrived at this understanding years before me, may the Lord confirm and strengthen you as you continue to help others to know their Father by your love and life. Our lives are now lived to secure God’s household and bring many sons to glory.
QUESTION: Where are you on the path to sonship?
©2011, David C Alves
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