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Sermon 1 The New Life in Christ
by Nicole Pickens
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Welcome to your new life in Christ. By the Grace of God, you’ve recognized His presence in your life, accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, and voluntarily committed to living life His way from this moment on. You were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. Someone gave you a Bible. You are now an upstanding member of the Christian Community.
As a result, you possibly cried a large lagoon of tears in repentance of your sins and tingled with clarity and newness. For the first time in a very long time you felt loved, in spirit, and emotion, by God and your neighbor. You were inebriated with love and joy, and relieved to know you were loved and accepted with a strong sense of belonging. It was divine.
You went home to tell your family and friends of your awesome experience and at that pivot your scenario began to change. Some were happy for you and some were not. As you trudged through the week you notice not a lot has changed; your relationship was still flooded with poison, the drug dealers still pressured you to consume their product, and that overbearing employer was still unreasonable and unfair.
You decided to join a nearby church, in hopes of finding support through your brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone wants to know your name and encourage you to work in the various auxiliaries set within the church’s boundaries. They asked about your job, any future plans you have, and marital status.
You spent an average of sixty days as a member. Disciplined yourself to not oversleep on Sundays, and presented yourself in a fashionable manner, when you painfully learned you were the subject of malicious gossip. A member you hardly know accused you of an inappropriate tone, or was angered because you declined an invitation they presented to you or the financial committee believes your tithe was incorrect. The behavior of the church members seemed more demonic than good, polluted with a steady flow of evil.
You returned home and pondered on the couch, asking “What did I do? How could it change like that? Is God mad at me?”
God is not mad at you and nothing went wrong. Everything went right. When you gave your life to Christ and it pleased God, your stand was noted by the devil, too. The devil does exist and is your enemy. Even if you never accepted God into your life, the devil is still your enemy. The difference between a believer and a non-believer is the believer has powerful resources against the devil, the non-believer doesn’t.
It is an error in Christian thinking that your second birthing is an automatic repellent to demons. This is not quite true. There is a process to shift closer to God and away from demonic influence. It is the redirection of your new life that begins the transformation into the life God expects you to have.
You, the child of God, are expected to live a life that ultimately draws God closer to you. It is for this purpose humanity was created, to keep company with God. Everything else is secondary.
One of the first scriptures newbies to the faith and those in the cradle should learn is James 4:7 – Submit to God, resist the devil and he (the devil) will flee from you.
You can’t get close to God if you are not opening your heart as He directed you to. Your actions can push yourself further and further away from God. As a result, the devil will sneak closer and closer to you. The devil flees because you have submitted to Love. (1 John 4:8) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
A question forms in the mind. What is love? Under the onslaught of modern media, that is an excellent question. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
It is imperative for every Christian to understand and apply the teachings of God into their life. To pick and chose items to be faithful to is to become a stereotypical cafeteria Christian and a sin before God. God commanded you to not kill the innocent therefore do not kill the innocent. God commanded you to not covet (desire) anything that does not belong to you, so stop wanting someone else’s “something”. God commanded that nothing be placed above Him so don’t place anything as more important than Him.
It you don’t make an effort to learn of Him, you push God away, and trying to justify your ignorance by claiming “I didn’t know,” will keep you in demonic company even while you sit in the pews on the Sabbath day. The closer a demon is in your life the more destruction it will do.
When you happily embrace biblical teaching, you must prepare yourself for demonic backlash. Fortunately, the backlash is very minimal. Those people who do not learn this process are influenced and misguided to respond to demonic suggestions, and throw stones at you in the form of gossip, unwarranted anger, and worldly pretentions.
You will feel ostracized and it will be very painful. You will question your decision in accepting God, and living a Holy life. You will not see the worth of God and His Church, prompting you to want to give up.
Don’t. Don’t give up. Recognize from where this is all coming from. As it is Jesus’ role to bring you closer to God, it is the devil who will work to separate you from God. As soon as you hugged God, you inherited an enemy. As long as you hold on to God, that enemy will plot against you. Prepare yourself with prayer, obedience, and first-hand direct knowledge of God your Heavenly Father.
You will not have first-hand direct knowledge of Him if you never spend quality time with Him. Quality time is time spent, regularly. Remember you are in a relationship with Him, and both you and He are to interact with each other.
Ask Him how He wants the two of you to spend quality time together. He will answer you, if you will only listen. Keep up your quality time schedule. If you must reschedule, He will understand, He has a very flexible schedule, but whatever you do, don’t stop. The devil and the dominions scout around for any entry point.
You must always be on your guard to refrain from pushing away your spiritual protection. It sounds like an overwhelming project to take on but it gets better with practice. You must practice everything; faith, love, patience, good works, modesty, self-control, etc.
You are always in God’s care. You are His creation, His child, and His friend. If you do not want to be with the devil, God will not toss you out into wickedness. He will preserve you, and make you courageous and wise. You will enjoy this life as it was meant to be, wondering how you survive the hell-a-rama you were once previously on, and what wonderful paths your Father in Heaven has you scheduled for. God bless you!

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