Written by :   Zac Poonen Categories :   Man
WFTW Body: 

These are brief notes from the MEN'S CONFERENCE at Loveland, Colorado (March 18 to 20, 2011).

The video and audio of the 12 sessions are available at: http://rlcfchurch.org/sermons/rlcf-mens-leadership-conference-2011

To be a witness (Acts 1:8) is to stand uncompromisingly for all of God's truth. A servant of the Lord will be tempted often, but he should never be discouraged. To be like Jesus is to "have no tears for one's own griefs" but sorrow for the griefs of others.( We must retain the standard of "hygiene" in God's Word (2 Timothy 1:13). Being filled with the Holy Spirit "once upon a time" is no more useful than a car's tank being filled with petrol "once upon a time". When Jesus was on earth, most people didn't realize that the Second Person of the Trinity was moving among them. Most Christians today don't realize that the Third Person of the Trinity is now moving around on earth. Let it be said of you: "There came a man sent by God who was a witness for Jesus" (John 1:6-7). It is OUR responsibility to be the light of the world now (See John 9:5 and Matthew 5:14). We are to reflect the light of Christ in our lives just like the moon reflects the light of the sun. God desires that, both in our life and in our ministry, we bear fruit that remains permanently (John 15:16) - not fruit that disappears after a few years. The big difference in serving God under the New Covenant is that this service begins in the Most Holy Place. So, in order to serve God, we must first worship Him (Matthew 4:10). If we have truly learnt to worship God, we will never get bored with being in His presence. Before you can expect complete submission from your wife you must be completely submitted to Christ as your Head (1 Cor.11:3). Sin came through someone who rebelled against authority (Satan). Salvation from sin therefore came through Jesus, Who always submitted to authority. Submission to authority has nothing to do with whether the authority is perfect or not. Jesus submitted to imperfect Joseph and Mary for 30 years. In the step-by-step description of the full gospel in Romans, one important step is submission to earthly authorities (Romans 13:1-7). It is extremely dangerous for an unbroken man to exercise authority in a church. Eternal life is not a life that merely has no end, but a life that also had no beginning. It refers to the life of God alone - His Divine Nature that we can partake of (John 17:3; 2 Pet.1:4). The primary mark of a person who is walking with Jesus is humility (Matthew 11:29). The God Who commanded, "Do not kill", "Do not commit adultery", and "Do not steal", also commanded, "Do not be anxious" thrice (Matthew 6:25-34) and "Do not fear" thrice (Matthew 10:26-31). Do we take these latter two commands as seriously as we take the first three? If we call anxiety and fear as "weaknesses", we will never be delivered from them. If however we call them sins - because Jesus forbade them - then He will set us free from them. Most Christians have a "laminated righteousness" - one that is merely superficial. They can be compared to dogs that have been trained to act like cats and "meow", but that will bark when provoked. The opposite of the fear of God is the fear of man. If we fear men, we will seek their honor. If we fear God, we will seek only His honor. Under the Old Covenant, the Israelites could pray, give, and fast publicly. In the New Covenant however, we are commanded to do these same things secretly (Matthew 6:1-18) - otherwise they will be dead works. The Father always heard Jesus' prayers (John 11:41-42) because Jesus always did the things that pleased His Father (John 8:29). This is the secret of answered prayer. Dead works are good works that are done to get honor from men. We must be cleansed from such dead works before we can serve a living God (Hebrews 9:14). If God did not answer your prayer, it could be because He did not even hear it - because of some unconfessed sin in your life (Psa.66:18). God always answers prayer, but His answers could be, "Yes", "No", or "Wait" - just like the green, red and yellow lights in a traffic signal. If you assess your prayer-life by the clock, it is a dead work and it proves that you don't really love Jesus. The last of the Ten Commandments ("You shall not covet after?") was an inward requirement. God gave it, in order to find out who would be honest enough to acknowledge that he could not keep it. Paul acknowledged that (Romans 7:7-8) - and so God led him to a godly life (Rom.8:2-4). The Sermon on the Mount begins with a promise to the poor in spirit. The entire kingdom of heaven is available to them. To be poor in spirit is to have a constant sense of one's own need (Matthew 5:3). Unfortunately, most Christians are content with a kingdom of earth (earthly blessings). The Sermon on the Mount ends with a picture of two types of churches - Jerusalem and Babylon - one built (on rock) by those who follow the commands in Matthew Chapters 5-7; and the other built (on sand) by those who don't take these chapters seriously. A branch of an apple tree that has borne fruit for 50 years will still dry up as soon as it ceases to receive sap from the tree. Experience never makes up for constant dependence upon God for the power of His Holy Spirit. To pluck out your eye with regard to lust is to be like a blind man when facing sexual temptation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of only two sins that could send people to hell - anger and sexually sinful thoughts and actions (Matt.5:21-30). Yet, these seem to be the very two sins that believers commit the most. To build your house on the rock is to dig past understanding God's Word (mind) and being excited about it (emotions) to the point of surrendering your will (Luke 6:47,48). You will never become spiritual if you are only stirred in your intellect and in your feelings. God wants to dwell in your spirit. For that you must yield your will to Him.

(To be continued)