Don’t get Derailed from the Life & Peace of the Spirit

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Derailed life peace

Sunday 12/03/23

Title: Don’t get Derailed from the Life & Peace of the Spirit

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Don’t get Derailed from the Life & Peace of the Spirit

We have been going through Romans 8, seeking to identify ways of sensitizing our hearts to the voice and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

One of the ways that we identified of course, is how our fleshly passions serve as an obstacle to our intimacy with God. That anyone who walks according to the flesh cannot please God and that those who walk on the flesh are those people whose minds are set on things of the flesh.

But the upswing of this which was helpful for us is that if we would just set our minds on the things of the Spirit, spiritual things, meaning the Word of God, having thoughts centered on Christ Jesus and His kingdom, we would live lives of maturity, lives connected to the Spirit of God, and overcome our flesh as a result.

It is the Spirit Who causes us and enable us to overcome the flesh.

Pursuing thoughts about God and of the Lord Jesus Christ and spiritual things, encourages spiritual mindedness and the result is life and peace!

Separation and death are the result of pursuing and thinking about the things of the flesh. The world of course, but also unfortunately the body of Christ is loaded with things that serve as distractions – drawing our minds away from the things of the Spirit.

The other day, for example, my wife and I were talking about how there’s been a huge influx of focus on the nephilim. I find this irritating and inconvenient, but it really is not that surprising.

When those set forth as the most knowledgable in the body of Christ – you know the ones who are heard internationally, have nothing more pertenent to say to the world than they did back in 9/11 when even the WORLD was looking to the church – things like this are of no great surprise. When the media, out of the blue, brings up aliens and UFO sightings, the best response popular ministers can offer is some overdeveloped doctrine based upon two vaguely mentioned passages in the Bible about nephilim is almost predictable!

Nevertheless I still find myself in awe at the names of those who are being sweep along with this idea. My token response is, “Really? Where’s this coming from?

It’s just crazy how many people are evidently focused on this right now.

I was told, though I did not hear it personally that even Netanyahu went so far as to draw some connection between the Palestinians and nephilim. It truly makes me wonder what planet these people are from?

And of course, what ends up happening is that people get so distracted in things that are not centered on Jesus, not centered on the kingdom of God, but on peripheral issues that are only mentioned in passing in the Bible, and about which we literally know almost nothing. – and it gets people derailed.

Its been months since I’ve heard of a UFO sighting or propaganda about aliens, but the damage to the integrity of the gospel through entire series and bible studies on the nephilim has already done its damage and is still going on!

The devil looks at all of this and calls it a win! You know what I mean?

They’re no longer pressing forward into Jesus and matters of the kingdom. They have effectively, if only for a little while, been sidelined into the ambiguous backwaters of religious relevance and the world looks at us like we have two heads!

Think about it… is there’s ahything about a topic like the nephilim that has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of Jesus Christ? It’s got nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ!

It’s got nothing to do with redemption… it’s a distraction.

Now you have ministries who would under normal circumstances NEVER veer away from teaching the straight forward message of the Gospel who are now speculating on or even worse, teaching as fact, weird ideas of nephilim as if it had anr relevance to the New Birth, the work of Jesus in redemption or even end times!

How many of you have realized, have you noticed in the past that, whenever Washington  D.C. is trying to get by with something they know that a lot of people aren’t going to like, they throw up something on the news channels that draws the public’s attention like sheep?

It’s a distraction. Well, where do you think they got that tactic from?

Well, the devil. He does that all the time. He crops up things in the body of Christ that draws our attention away from all that matters to peripheral issues or even hotly debated ambiguous issues like this one. And what is the result? It keeps us from focusing on the one thing that matters and that’s the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the advancement of his kingdom.

Let me just say that if THAT is not the focus, it’s not worthy of your attention!

Everything that’s really and truly important is what you just took your attention away FROM. Don’t fall for it.

It’s a terrible shame.

Even things in scripture the enemy will use to derail us. It’s not an unusual thing.

Even Jesus said it, didn’t He? When He had talking to the leaders of His days. He addressed their searching of the scriptures looking for life. What did He tell them? Something entirely unexpected! He said if you’d just pull your head out of the book long enough to see Me, you’d find out that LIFE has already shown up. Here I am! 

You see, for these religious leaders the Bible was a distraction from the very thing that mattered. Now I say that very carefully because you know the great respect and reverence I have for the scriptures, but that makes it the perfect tool to use. The enemy is not ashamed or afraid to use anything to derail us.

I agree with Paul, who said, “I’m convinced that there’s nothing in and of itself that’s wrong“.

  • There’s nothing wrong with food. It’s what you do with food that’s wrong.
  • There’s nothing wrong with relationships. It’s what you do with relationships that’s wrong.
  • There’s nothing wrong with work. It’s what you do with work that makes it wrong.

This is even true with the scriptures, you see what I’m saying? 

The enemy can use it as a distraction and it can become the very thing he uses to feed your flesh and draw your attention away from the Spirit of God where there’s life and peace and the ability to please God, which is really the key issue!

We however, the believers here at Living Grace Fellowship are going to continue to be people who please God. Amen?

That’s who we are. We are people who please the Father. Amen? We may not be able to say like Jesus that we ALWAYS do those things to please the Father, but were on our way there. We are running, decidedly in that direction and by the Spirit, we will NOT be derailed!

So now in Romans 8, as we were progressing through that, we identified some ways that we can become more sensitive to the Spirit of God. One of them was coming to the point where we recognize the Spirit’s voice and capitalize on and camp there in terms of our exchange with Him. It is a places and areas of our heart that we already know like conviction, the knowledge of our salvation, the fact and confession that Jesus IS LORD – it is in THOSE areas of familiarity that we capitalize on so that we might grow into areas that we do not know so well.

We can use areas that we are familiar with to help us grow in sensitivity in areas that we are not familiar. 

The fact that it’s in your heart, when you say the words Abba Father in prayer to the Father, that there’s something that resonates on the inside of you in agreement with that statement – an inward witness of the truth of those words – THAT is the Spirit of God!

That right there is the Holy Spirit bearing witness with your spirit. That’s how you know!

So that’s something you know and are familiar with… so spend time with that!

As you spend time with what you are familiar with, you will become sensitized to the Spirit in areas that you would not normally be familiar with Him. That is one of the very practical ways you can proactively grow in your sensitivity to the Spirit and in your maturity into Christ’s image!

Right? As we develop that sensitivity, amen? We also found out, you know, with the Bible also in Romans 8 talks about how that the spirit bears witness with I am my spirit, that I am a child of God. And if a child in an air and a joint air with Christ, amen? That’s something the Spirit bears witness with. And so that’s something that most children of God are aware of. I know that I’m a child of God. I know I belong to him, amen?

So spend time with that. Again, I know that it might feel at first to you like maybe it’s a silly exercise, but to sit down and spend a period of time, you know, maybe every day, maybe even several times a day, just quiet before the Lord inviting the Holy Spirit to together with you and just say, Holy Spirit, I need to meditate right now and commune with you and your inward witness together with my spirit, that I belong to Papa, that I am a child of God. And so I’m just going to start saying that I am a child of God. I know that I belong to my father. I know that I am a son or a daughter. I know I belong. I know I belong to him.

I am a child of God. Those kind of just saying that and saying that again, we’re not talking about back in our word of faith days, these confessions and stuff. You’re not trying to confess something into existence.

It’s already there. You’re just admitting truth, amen? That’s all you’re doing. And as you do it, it begins to resonate and grow on the inside of you and you become more and more familiar with that inward witness the Spirit gives with your spirit.

So we’re doing what we need to do to become sensitive to that. And the Holy Spirit will definitely key in with your confession that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. That you belong to the Father.

I’ll tell you another one is just saying Jesus is Lord. Just saying Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord.
Because the Bible says no one can say that means with conviction, understanding what they’re saying and entering into it by faith, no one can say that Jesus Christ is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. So key, that’s something you know that you knew that’s how you got into the kingdom is by an awareness of and the confession of Jesus is Lord and surrendering to his Lordship, amen? Yeah. And so that should be hyper familiar to you.
So use that one. Are you seeing what I’m saying? We’re using things that we’re familiar with in order to sensitize ourself the Spirit of God.

As we become conditioned to being aware of His presence, we begin to long for it because there’s a peace associated with it. The Bible said so. Those who minds are set on the things of Spirit – there’s life and peace.

If you’re not knowing peace in your life, then you’re not having communion with the Holy Spirit. That’s all there is to it.

However, that can be fixed! Knowing that is an invitation to intimacy. You have to be careful about how your view it. If you are a condemning, self-focused person, then you’re going to read the wrong thing into that.

If however, you’re focused on the Spirit of God and His work within you, you’re going to realize He’s only bringing this up because He’s trying to draw you into greater intimacy.

He’s not trying to smack us down.
He’s trying to pull us up!

Another component of this is possessing the right kind of heart – namely, the Good Soil heart in Jesus‘ parable! That’s very, very important.

All of this works together towards building a good solid conscience. Paul talks about the conscience more than any other person in the Bible. He said that he has striven, that he with great effort to see to it that he maintained a good conscience before God. One of the neear infinite reasons this was important to Paul was because he needed that inward witness of the Spirit of God which he descerned with a sensitive conscience to know whether he was steering the churches in the right or wrong direction.

Remember in Romans 9Paul says the reason he knew what he was telling them was right was because his conscience bore witness with the Holy Spirit

That’s huge!

“I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 9:1

This is precisely how Paul wrote letters that God had placed in the Canon of Scripture to steer the church for the past 2000 years and onward!

It was because he kept a clear conscience before God and a sensitive heart to the Holy Spirit.

You need to remember this was just a letter like you might write to some person named Bob. It was a letter.

You have to understand that when Paul took “pen to paper”, so to speak, he did not say to himself – “I’m writing scripture today“. He’s writing a letter, and that is all it was.

Yet it was so in step with the Spirit and the words of Jesus that God included it in the Canon of Scripture.

That’s an example of truly being filled with the Spirit.

The lie we believe is that God just made one special guy in the history of the world and uniquely expressed himself just through Paul. That its not possible for any other of God’s children.

I’m telling you NO!

True… there was only one Paul the apostle, who lived in the first century and spread the gospel. No one saying we’re able to replace him. What I’m saying is that what God did with Paul, as far as His intimacy with him, His filling him with His Spirit and making His influence such that his letters could be used as scriptural Canon is akin to what He can do with you. Not produce scripture of course, but cause your words to be so in step with the Spirit Who inspired the Scripture that it agrees 100% with canon.

That’s what we’re aiming at. Now, we’re not aiming at adding to our Bible because that’s not going to happen. But developing and maintaining a sensitivity to God’s Spirit that He could steer you so completely that even if you’re not planning on it, you never find yourself veering from scripture because you’re led by the spirit who wrote scripture.

That’s the kind of intimacy we’re talking about. Where the Spirit of God has free course in our life. And that begins with the simple things like “Abba, Father“, “Jesus is Lord” and “I belong… I am a child of God” and agreeing with that resonating agreement between the Spirit of God and our spirit.

It begins with the little things. Like scripture says, regarding another issue, but it still applied – “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings“!

Small adjustments turn into big changes.

Paul didn’t start with “my spirit is bearing witness with the Holy Spirit, that’s how I know what I’m writing is true”. He started with the little thigns we are talking about, “I belong to God“, “I’m his child“. You see what I’m saying? It was because he was faithful over the little things, and he grew and matured from that point.

You remember Paul had his initial encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and it was still well over 14 plus years before he became the apostle Paul you and I know, value, love and deeply appreciate. And it wasn’t because he wasn’t already educated. He came into Christ knowing more scripture than most people have ever read. But THAT alone is not what qualified him for ministry.

Paul said, I had to forget and lose everything I ever thought was a benefit to me that I might find Christ.

And that took time! And it started with the little things. So don’t be ashamed of that!

If you are a baby, then start with baby things. As you grow and become proficient with those things, you’ll grow up.

But you’ll never grow if you try to jump out of the crib and get your diploma in 12th grade. It’s not going to happen!

Just start where you are, thank God that He’s meeting you right there, respopnd to Him with love, awe and respect as you cultivate relationship with Him… and growth will happen!

You’re going to be the hardworking farmer who goes to bed and rises up and looks over at his field and it grows and he knows not how. [Mark 4:26-29] Thank you, Lord.

He’s forming Christ in you. This isn’t your job. That’s too big for you. You couldn’t pull that off and God’s not looking to you anyway. You’re looking to Him and He’s forming Christ in you. Just let it happen.

Now, why did we go through those things in Romans 8?

Well, because we did this because back when we were in 1Corinthians, Paul was addressing the Corinthians believers regarding their childlike status in Christ. They were babies! Their bickering and their jealousy and their strife demonstrated conclusively that they were mere babies in Christ and therefore were not even capable of coming to know Jesus in any real depth whatsoever.

They knew him, but not in any deep way and that’s a problem. That’s a real genuine problem.

You can only become like the Jesus you see, and if you can’t see much, then you’re not much like Him and THAT makes it a really big problem!

So we wanted to look what the scripture say about coming out of that?

Now, pay attention to this! I know what I’m telling you is literally Christianity 101. This isn’t even remotely deep stuff. This is kindergarten. And sometimes it’s important to go back and revisit things we’ve learned because of the the greater and more weighty issues are built aupon them! Isn’t that true?

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize that every time the word of God comes into your life, and something stirs within you towards activity that will generate intimacy with Christ , and you will never fail to notice that the enemy is going to bring an opportunity to think about things in the flesh! And he does that to derail you because he knows that whoever thinks according to the flesh will act according to the flesh.

You ever have opportunities where out of the blue, all of a sudden you just find yourself getting offended? Thoughts like,

“I just can’t believe that happened. Oh, yeah, it’s easy for them to say because everything works for them, but nothing ever works for me!”

Now I’m meditating on evil.

Now I’m turning it over in my mind.

Now I’m spending time with demons and I’m meditating and yes even worshiping their words and separating myself from communion and intimacy with the Holy Spirit my Helper!

And all it took was a thought suggested to you!

You know, if we were clear minded, we would see it for what it is. This is a distraction that’s pulling me away from life and peace!

Just realize this is a lithmus test in your life…

If you are not experiencing life and peace, you are not communing with the Holy Spirit. You’re communing with some other spirit!

Because the only result of communing with the Holy Spirit is life and peace.

I’m telling you, you need this more than you know. It’s part of our maturity and our growing in Christ. We have got to quit making excuses for ourselves!

I know some of you are thinking, “Well, Mark you just don’t understand my life stinks!

Listen, you don’t know how bad MY life stinks many times!

Everybody’s life stinks. Get used to it! Maybe your expression of a stinky life might be a little bit more obvious than others, but it’s all the same.

Quit paying attention to that!

See what’s happening? Again, you’re re-centering your focused attention on something that is not going to yield life and peace!

Let me ask you… As you have focused on how your life stinks, has it gotten better? Or does it have a tendency to get worse as you’re thinking about that?

As you’re pondering it? It gets worse! You started off with two or three things that made you think that things were bad and before the end of the day, your list grew to 15 pages long.


Because you’re meditated with demons and they are happy to help you fill in the blanks of why everything’s worse for “poor little you”.

Well, you know what? Maybe things ARE a little worse for you. But it’s not going to get better by acknowledging that and by paying attention to that and meditating on that.

Things will begin to get better as we pay attention to Christ and what’s right in our lives. That there’s nothing so bad that I can’t say, you know what? I have an amazing future in Christ!

In fact, I have an amazing immediate right now. I have communion with God!

A great percentage of this planet, some of them are living on yachts and living in Tahiti and have many houses and are miserable because they don’t have what I carry around in my bosom every day of my life. Peace with God!

There’s a reason why people that are in positions of possessing much, live with substance abuse almost exclusively. It is pervasive!

The more people have, the more miserable they typically are.

They may never be able to fully articulate it, but the truth about them is that at least when they were struggling, they could get their mind off of it for a little while.

You as a child of God have got peace with you everywhere you go. It just depends on whether or not you are going to pay attention to THAT voice as opposed to the other options you have.

But be assured, only one’s going to yield life and peace!

All of the other options are going to bring separation and death.

The disciplined mind is huge in your Christian walk, which is why the enemy does everything he can to get your mind as cluttered as possible.

One of the ways he clutters it is with stuff and activity. By suggesting things that you will run with and think on and meditate on.

It’s like you are literally running around inside of your mind just throwing papers everywhere. Just scattering garbage everywhere. Making a mess.

That’s what’s happening. There’s no order in that mind.

Why is that so important?

Because when God needs you to be focused, you find focus completely elusive! And by the way, God requires focus throughout out lives. How many times does God tell us to have sober minds and to keep our thoughts focused upon heavenly things?

A cluttered and unfocused mind ought never to be able to be said about a child of God.

We should have the most focused minds on this planet!

And one of the things that helps for a focused mind is PEACE!

To be able to be alone with your thoughts and not busy and not squirming and not uncomfortable and not needing to fill it with senseless noise, but just being able to enjoy peace.

If I’ve ever given you a homework assignment, there’s one right there. Cultivate peace! 

There’s things you can do on purpose to do that. That’s one of the reasons why we’ve been going through this.

The Corinthians believers weren’t knowing peace and they weren’t realizing greater intimacy with and knowledge of Christ Jesus, because they were all caught up in their bickering and their jealousy and their strife.

Their behavior was demonstrating conclusively that they were mere babies in Christ and therefore could not come to know to God to any real depth.

Their knowledge of Him was no deeper than their devotion to Him – and neither is yours and mine!

In fact, that is the very thing that sets the limit of our capacity to come to know Him is our devotion to Him.

The Spirit will only reveal Jesus to the degree that He’s been eclipsed by other loves and other interests, by other devotions and other cares.

Beyond that, you will not see Christ because you’ve substituted Christ for something else.

That couldn’t be any more important.

Now, we can overcome these fleshly impulses by the Spirit that Jesus sent us. That was the latter focus of Romans 8.

He said, but you’re not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Every last one of you agreed last week that you knew that the Spirit of God lives in you!

So don’t start denying it now because it’s true. You don’t have a backdoor. I heard you!

So you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit because the Spirit of God lives in you. And if the Spirit of God lives in you, then the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead that dwells in you will also give life to your immortal bodies by His Spirit Who dwells within you. 

He’s the one that does the work!

If by the Spirit I put to death the deeds of the body, I will live.

There is no responsible way to sugar coat this… If I… we… you, even as a child of God, live according to the flesh, we WILL die! Death is the paycheck you recieve for being devoted to the things of the flesh.

BUT… but, but, but, but, but, if by the Spirit Who’s been given to us… we don’t have to go look for Him, or purchase Him, or even merit Him… He’s been given to us Right?

If by that precious and powerful Spirit from Christ, we put to death the deeds of the body, we will live!

I’ll have life and peace!

So intimacy and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit is a very, very, very valuable commodity beyond the telling. We have to develop our communion with Him.

You know, second, go ahead and turn now, if you will, to Galatians 3.

In 2Corinthians 13:14 it says,

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and The communion or fellowship the Holy Spirit remain with you all.”

Those are the three relationships we have with the Godhead in a nutshell.

  • We have the influence of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • The love of our Father


  • The intimate Communion of the Holy Spirit

So Who is it that I’m really having communion with? We are told here it is the Holy Spirit.

Who am I receiving influence from? Jesus.

Jesus told us in John 16 that the Holy Spirit‘s gonna take of what is Mine and influence you with it. So Who’s influencing us towards the image of Jesus? The Holy Spirit!

Who is the One Who started this whole thing? Who is it that loved the world so much that He started this whole process? The Father.

So we have the love of the Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the communion the Holy Spirit remaining with us forever!

The take away from this is that it is the person of the Holy Spirit with Whom we experience ongoing communion in this life.

So in a Galatians 3…

“(1) You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified!” 

Now I want you to notice there’s going to be some things that Paul’s going to say to these Galatians, that sounds a lot like what he said to the Romans which sounds a lot like what he said to the Corinthians. Well, that means there’s a lot of harmony going on in scripture, but I want you to also know that he said what he said TO WHOM HE SAID IT for different reasons.

To the Corinthians he said it because they were carnal.

To the Romans he said it in order that they might understand how to overcome actual sin in their life.

“If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body You will live.” – Romans 8:13

To the Galatians He’s talking about their very salvation because these Galatians, though they had come to faith in Christ Jesus already, they were being negatively influenced probably by Jewish believers, that they really can’t have relationship with God unless they become circumcised. So these Galatian believers were being tempted to rely upon circumcision AND the work of Jesus for salvation. That’s NOT the gospel.

It’s not Jesus AND anything… It’s JUST Jesus!

Under the old covenant one had to shed blood to enter into this covenant through circumcision. Entire households were brought into the covenant through the father. But our blood is insufficient to do anything, which has always been true.

Now under the New Covenant, it’s cut in only one person’s blood and that’s Jesus’s! Circumcision is now of the heart not the flesh and is done with each individual – male & female, not a father over a household. In regard to salvation in Christ, there is no male or female, slave or freeman, but all come to Jesus by faith as individuals.

Our blood is insufficient and circumcision means nothing now.

You and I know that because we have the benefit of the whole counsel of God’s word on the subject, but the Galatians hadn’t recieved this knowledge yet.

I don’t know whether the Jewish people that were influencing Galatians towards the need for circumcision were doing it for nefarious means or if they really really believed it was true. We have to remember that disimination of information was not like it is today. We get information nearly instantly. It’ll pop up on our phones and we know instantly, but of course it was not like that back then.

The council that took place in Jerusalem where the question arose in Antioch regarding the need of the Gentile believers to be circumcised in order to be born again didn’t occur until around 50A.D. and this letter was written about five years later in 55A.D.. So while Paul clearly believed this it is possible that those in Galatia had not yet heard this from any person they saw as possessing both the knowledge and authority to say so.

Until 50 A.D. no one knew the answer for certain so they had to convene in Jerusalem with the apostles and the elders.

They discussed it and spent time in prayer and the Spirit of God spoke to them and said that there is no need for circumcision anymore. That such was an old covenant requirement. Now it’s only by faith in Christ Jesus – so they went and told the Gentiles at Antioch that “it seemed good to us and to the Holy Spirit to lay no further burden on you than these necessary things…etc.” – Acts 15:28.

Listen to that!

It seemed good to us AND the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit and the church spoke with spoke with one voice. They knew what it was like to be in communion with Him and speak His words. That was normal Christianity in the first century. Unfortunately 2000 years later, people look at that like its something foreign to Christianity.

That is a shame, if 2000 years later things are worse and not better!

Now as I said, this counsel HAD taken place, but the Galatians may not have known yet. 

Paul had already spoken to these people in person and told them about faith in Christ as alone being necessary for salvation. Sometime between that visit and the letter of Galatians, people came in telling them that faith in Jesus is good, but You need to be circumcised as well. So they’re trying to introduce a work of the flesh as being necessary for eternal life, which of course is wrong!

So now you understand what Paul’s talking about when he starts pitting “the flesh against the Spirit“. He’s talking about going back under the law.

So the expressions of “the flesh versus the Spirit is different based on who Paul is addressing. The results however, are the same! The more you get into the flesh – you get death and separation. The more you are in the Spirit, you get life in peace.

The same basic message is being communicated for different reasons to different people, but the cumulative effect is the same.

So here in Galatians chapter 3 Paul says,

“You foolish Galatians who has hypnotized you some translation says who has bewitched you? Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified?

The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?”

I want you to notice what he’s capitalizing on here. Paul didn’t say,

“Did you find out that you’re going to go to heaven and we’re not going to hell by the works of the flesh or by hearing a faith.”

He didn’t bring up heaven and hell either did he?

He didn’t say,

“Did you become convinced that your sins were forgiven by the hearing of faith or by The work by the the deeds of the law.”

What he wanted to know was about their relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Did you receive the Holy Spirit because you were doing the works of the law or because you entered into relation with God through faith?

You see what he capitalizing on was the relationship that they had with the Holy Spirit!

Can you see how we’ve gotten so ridiculously derailed in our generation?

Everything’s about forgiveness of sin.

Everything is about going to heaven.

People don’t even think about asking if you receive ongoing Communion with the Holy Spirit by the works of the flesh or by the hearing of faith. Most Christians aren’t even aware that they are supposed to HAVE ongoing communion with the Holy Spirit.

What gospel were they taught?

Jesus came and said, “I know The command of My Father, what I should preach and what I should should teach and I know His commandment was life.

The Father’s command to Jesus was to teach the knowledge of God in intimacy.

This Jesus said this is eternal life – that they might intimately “know the Father and Jesus Christ Whom He sent”

Jesus told His disciples that He was sending the Holy Spirit to us to so that we might know Jesus. He said that the Spirit was going to take of what was Jesus‘ and reveal it to us. The world will not see Him anymore, but Jesus told them, “you will see Me because the Holy Spirit will be here to review it.

So what else would Paul capitalize on but life and the expression of life… which is found in our communion with the Holy Spirit?

How are you going to know Jesus?

How are you going to have communion with the Holy Father and know Him in intimacy if it’s not by this ongoing communion with the Spirit of God?

Paul’s question wasn’t rooted in our forgiveness of sins or whether or not we’re going to heaven, but on how they (we) received the Holy Spirit from God?

Now we’re not focused on the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit’s sake alone. We’re not focused on the Holy Spirit so we can just worship the Holy Spirit.

We’re focused on the Holy Spirit so that through Him we might know Jesus and that by knowing Jesus we will come to know the Father.

That’s why I am capitalizing on the Holy Spirit inour teachings right now.

I’ve told you that there are entire subgroups inside the body of Christ who saw this too and understand that it is true. However, many of there focus is so much on this commune with the Holy Spirit that they don’t hardly bring up Jesus at all. Well, then you’re really not commune with the Holy Spirit because Holy Spirit doesn’t talk about Himself He talks about Jesus!

If I want to commune with the Holy Spirit I don’t talk to the Holy Spirit about the Holy Spirit. I talk to the Holy Spirit about Jesus.

You’re not going to get any closer to the Holy Spirit than focusing on Jesus! That’s where you’ll get intimate with Him.

I know that seems counterintuitive. I mean typically if you want to have commune with a person, we need to be focused on that person. That’s what makes sense to us! But God’s like no, no, no, no, no if you want to have commune with the Holy Spirit, you need to be focused on what He’s focused on and He’s focused on Jesus!

So if I want to get into an ongoing conversation and communion with the Holy Spirit, I need to be talking about Jesus non-stop, because He’s all about Jesus!

So Paul says I only want to learn this from you guys Did you receive the Holy Spirit by doing the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?

Now continuing on to verse 3,

“Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?”

If you if you started this walk with God by the Holy Spirit are now you gonna finish the race and become mature by relying upon your flesh?

Well, that doesn’t even make sense does it?

Then Paul says in verses 3-9,

“Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort?  Have you suffered so many things for nothing? – if indeed it was for nothing. Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard? Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer.”

Paul was certainly led by the Holy Spirit using Abraham as an example! He’s the one God’s eye were searching over the whole earth to find. He found this one man named Abram in Ur of the Chaldeas and said that, “this a man I could be in covenant with!

Thank you God for Abram. Thank you God for his wife Sarah. This couple was a godly couple and we are eternally indebted to them.

So it was a very good thing that Paul was bringing up Abraham because these people respected Abraham and with good reason! Notice however, that Abraham was years, years and years before the law came. Well over 500 some odd years before the law. Yet Abraham obtained right standing with God, not by working a law that he never read but by faith! You see why he brought him up!

He was saying… You guys respect Abraham? Let’s think about Abraham!

Did he receive right standing with God and communion with the Holy Spirit by doing a law he hadn’t even read yet… that hadn’t even been given yet and wouldn’t be given for hundreds of years? Or did he recieve it because he believed God?

That was a good argument!

Abraham believed God and it was credited him for right standing with God. So understand that those who have faith are the ones who are truly Abraham’s children, not those who people who only do the works of the law They’re not the true sons and daughters of Abraham. The true sons and daughters of Abraham are those that are made right with God through faith, because that’s how our father did it!

Paul said that all who rely upon the works of the law are under a curse. If your connection with God is through the law, then the law will become a curse to you because you can’t do it! It’s not because the law was a curse. It’ll become a curse TO YOU because of the weakness of your flesh, as we read in Romans 8.

Paul said the righteousness in the law was a requirement for relationship with God, but that the righteous requirement of the law could not BE fulfilled by works because of the weakness of our flesh!

We need someone Who can do it through us!

In steps the Holy Spirit of God, which is why he’s talking about the Holy Spirit!

Paul says now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law because the righteous will live by faith, but the law is not based on faith.

God gave the law because Israel did not want to have intimacy with God by Him coming down on the mountain and talking to them. They told Moses to go up on the mountain and have God tell him what was required of them, and they would do it.

So what did Moses do?

Well, he went up on the mountain and God gave him a tablet with ten commandments and then came down to present the list of REQUIREMENTS to Israel. Just like they requested.

Do you realize that it is most likely that the ten commandments would likely never been written down if Israel had not said “Don’t let God talk to us again“!

They’re the one that made this a law, God wanted a relationship!

Notice God didn’t say to Israel, “I want you go out in the wilderness, and when you get there you’ll go on the top of a mountain and there will be some rocks on which I wrote a list of rules that if you just keep them I won’t get ticked off at you!”

God didn’t say that. He said, “Purify the people. Fast and and build a barrier around the mountain. Then I’m gonna come down and I’m going to meet with you!” That’s what God wanted!

The law was man’s idea. God said okay, you want a law, I’ll give you a law!

You know one day you’re gonna say, “We want a king” and I’m gonna tell you then too that you really don’t want one, but I’ll give you one!

So… you don’t want to have one on one communion with me but you want a written set of rules. I’ll give you a set of rules, but it would have been better for you if you’d just listen to My voice. If you’d allowed yourself to draw near to Me.

Now I’ll attempt to draw this point home a little bit more by reading about the comparison between this encounter with God before the mountain in the desert and Mount Zion under the New Covenant.

Hebrews 12:12-29,

“Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through it many become defiled. And see to it that no one becomes an immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing with tears. For you have not come to something that can be touched, to a burning fire and darkness and gloom and a whirlwind and the blast of a trumpet and a voice uttering words such that those who heard begged to hear no more. For they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” In fact, the scene was so terrifying that Moses said, “I shudder with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than Abel’s does.  Take care not to refuse the one who is speaking! For if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less shall we, if we reject the one who warns from heaven? Then his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven too.” Now this phrase “once more” indicates the removal of what is shaken, that is, of created things, so that what is unshaken may remain. So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe. For our God is indeed a devouring fire.”


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!