BIG FAT LIES | Steve Pixler

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BIG FAT LIES | Notes for Episode 01

July 7, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

Text:

 John 11:1–6; 11-44 (ESV): 1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was

11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 

20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 

21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” 

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 

31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 

35 Jesus wept. (Literally, “Jesus burst out in tears.”) 

36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again (literally, “groaning, sobbing”), came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 

39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 

41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 

43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 

THE REST OF THE STORY

Before we look back to the story to focus on two of the “Big Fat Lies” that Satan tells about God, look at what happened to Lazarus after he was raised from the dead:

John 12:1, 2;9–13 (ESV): Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table

9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 

TWO BIG FAT LIES

1. God is not doing what I need him to do. 

21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 

2. God does not care what I’m going through. 

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 

35 Jesus wept. (Literally, “Jesus burst out in tears.”) 

36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again (literally, “groaning, sobbing”), came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 

There is life after death. Everything you go through you are going through. God created you to share in his glory, but you must be transformed before you can bear the weight of his glory. As God said to Moses, no one can see God’s face and live. So by dying with Christ, we are raised to life again, and we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus. We learn the truth about God by persevering through the tests that stretch us and increase our faith. Faith is simply seeing what is already there. But what is there—the glory of God revealed in Jesus—cannot be seen and experienced apart from the process. 

Don’t resist the process!

Satan tells you BIG FAT LIES to keep you from partnering with God in dominion over the earth—for when we rule with Christ, we CRUSH the serpent’s head. No wonder the devil lies! He lies to us out of self-defense. He’s just trying to survive. But, in Jesus’ name, it’s time to break every lie and live free: “You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 

NO CONDEMNATION | Steve Pixler

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No Condemnation

June 30, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

Text:

 John 8:2–11 (ESV): 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 

3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 

6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground

Jesus writing with his finger on the ground was eternally significant. Just as the finger of God once wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, now the same finger was writing the Law of God upon the heart. This the New Covenant. (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8:6–13)

7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 

8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 

The Pharisees knew very well that one who breaks one point of the Law is guilty of it all. (Galatians 3:10; James 2:10) They also knew that everyone who breaks the law is under the sentence of death. (Romans 1:32; 6:21)

9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 

10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

1. Jesus removed the condemnation of the Law. 

Romans 8:1–2 (ESV): There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 

2. Jesus empowers us through the Holy Spirit to “go and sin no more.” 

Romans 8:11 (ESV): If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 

Galatians 5:16–25 (ESV): But I say, walk by the Spirit (keep in step), and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 

17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

FATHER QUEST (2) | Steve Pixler

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FATHER QUEST (2)

June 23, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

We are all born on a quest for our father—for our Heavenly Father. 

Malachi 2:10 (ESV): Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers

We are born longing for our one Father. But there are two things (among others) that have distorted our concept of God as Father:

(1) FAMILY: Our natural father.

No matter how good dad was, he was a flawed example of God. At best, earthly father are signposts pointing us to the Father. At worst, earthly fathers distort our concept of God through “father-wounds” that must be healed. 

This is why Jesus said, 

Matthew 23:9 (ESV): “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

Father-wounds are healed when we PROCESS the reality that earthly fathers are themselves products of their own father wounds. We receive grace to forgive our earthly fathers because we now see them through the love of the Heavenly Father. And we release them from our EXPECTATIONS and FORGIVE them for their sins against us.  

All the GAPS left (needs unmet) are the openings through which God the Father becomes real. If dad was perfect, we would worship him (“patriolatry,” to create a cool new word).

Wise dads understand that their greatest joy is to lead their kids to the Father. 

3 John 4 (ESV): 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Fathers must be delivered from the fear of fathering. Our job is not to be “Best Dad Ever!” Our job is to point our kids to their ONE FATHER! 

Here’s the second thing that distorts our concept of the Father...

(2) RELIGION: Our religious perception of God.

Religion reveals the “wrong side” of God. We see him backwards. We see him from our own broken perspective. Legalistic religion reveals more about us than it does about God. 

Exodus 33:18–23 (ESV): 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 

21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” 

The Law of Moses, which is a paradigm of all human religion, revealed more about the hardness of the human heart than it did about the goodness of God.

Two examples of this: 

  1. The woman caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus. (John 8:1-11). Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” Who wanted to kill the woman for committing adultery, Jesus or the religious leaders?

  2. “Can we divorce our wives for any reason?” (Matthew 19:1-12) Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” God accommodated human weakness, but he did not approve of it. The Law highlighted the depravity of sin. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). The Law was “weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3).

Religion shows the back of God, but Jesus reveals his face.

2 Corinthians 4:3–6 (ESV): And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ

THE FATHER QUEST

Jesus came to reveal the Father. 

John 14:9 (ESV): 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 

John 17:3 (ESV): And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:25–26 (NLT): 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” 

Jesus came to break the lies that sin told about the Heavenly Father. The Father sent Jesus into the world and into our heart to tell us the truth about him. Jesus teaches us to call God, “Abba, Father!” 

Galatians 4:6 (ESV): And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15–16 (ESV): 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

When we receive the “sonship spirit” of Jesus, it heals our perception of God as Father, which then heals our relationship with our natural father. It also helps men become better fathers as they manifest the Heavenly Father to their children. And this—without one ounce of exaggeration!—beings healing to the world:

Malachi 4:5–6 (ESV): “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” 

FATHER QUEST | Steve Pixler

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FATHER QUEST

Father’s Day | June 16, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

We are all born to fathers. No one escapes it. And, though mom delivers the baby and holds a unique and lifelong influence, every child is born connected to their father biologically and spiritually, which may be, depending on our circumstances, a positive or negative relationship. But no one escapes it. 

Every child is born looking for their father. Every child is born on a father quest. This inescapable fact colors every aspect of human society. Think of some of the most powerful movies ever produced and how much the “father quest” shaped the plot. Movies like Star Wars, East of Eden, and even the light comedy, Father of the Bride, (both the classic and the Steve Martin remake) and countless others—all driven by the complicated, even bittersweet, desire to know our fathers and be known by them for who we really are. 

Yet the heart of the Father Quest is not really just a search for our natural father, though that is hugely important. But, in reality, our quest for our natural father points to a much deeper, more existential quest: the quest for Father God, for “Abba, Father.” 

Today, I want to go back to the beginning and look at how the quest for Father God began. Let’s start with a verse that frames the challenge we all face in the Father Quest:

Malachi 2:10 (ESV): Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers

This verse shows us two powerful realities held in strong tension:

  1. God is our Father: We have one Father; one God created us.

  2. We have father-issues: relationships are broken—we are “faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers.” 

How did we get here? 

First, God is our Father. He created us to relate to him as our Father. 

Then, God created humans to reflect the eternal relationship (love) that exists within the life of the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—by drawing the woman out of man and giving them the creative ability to bring forth humans as children. In this one act, God formed all human relations: husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, cousin, grandfather, grandmother, and all the in-laws. 

God chose to mediate and manifest his fathering spirit through natural fathers. He could have chosen to create each one of us individually and make us all directly related to him as our immediate father. God could form each human from dust as he did Adam. But he chose to create humans in his creative image and draw us into the covenant relationship of love. He chose to make fathering a divine-human, covenant partnership. Human fathering was meant to be a reflection and mediation of divine fathering. Adam was formed to be the image of God to his children. 

However, that didn’t go so well. Almost immediately, Adam dropped the ball. When man sinned, he violently ripped apart human fellowship with God. He disconnected human fathering from the life of God. And since that time, human fathers have largely distorted the image of God. Even the best of fathers still blur the purity of the Father’s love for us. 

Look at this passage showing the contrast between divine and human fathering:

Hebrews 12:5–11 (ESV): And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time AS IT SEEMED BEST TO THEM, but he disciplines us FOR OUR GOOD, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Our earthly fathers disciplined us “as it seemed best to them,” but what “seemed best to them” was shaped by their own brokenness. What seemed best to them was not always best for us. 

FATHER WOUNDS

Let’s make this clear: we all have fathers, and some were great dads and others were not. But all earthly fathers father us in the lineage of Adam, which means we are ALL born disconnected from the life of God, and ALL of us develop distorted concepts of the Heavenly Father due to flawed, even if well-meaning, earthly fathering. We ALL experience “father-wounds.” Our fathers had father-wounds, and they passed them down.

Alfred Davis, writing for Focus on the Family, describes father-wounds like this:

“We all come into the world helpless, dependent and needing acceptance, to be treated as worthy, and to be blessed. The father wound is the absence of this love from your birth father. The wound can be caused by:

* Neglect – I am unimportant

* Absence – Divorce, separation, death

* Abuse – Mental, physical, sexual, spiritual

* Control – Oppressive domination

* Withholding – Love, blessings and/or affirmation, deficiencies that lead to a profound lack of self-acceptance.

“The effect of a father wound is low self-esteem, a deep emotional pain inside and a performance orientation that makes us ‘doers’ rather than ‘beings.’ Instead of going to the pain and receiving the healing we need, we tend to respond to life events by creating a misconception about our ‘Self.’

“When we hold a conception of our birth father as angry, violent, uncaring, indifferent, distant/withdrawn, absent/abandoning, alcoholic, condemning and/or critical, we tend to believe the following words about ourselves:

* I am unworthy

* I am stupid

* I am incompetent

* I am unloved or unlovable

“As long as we accept these words as truth, we will experience depressed, anxious and angry lives.

“Often a person’s image of God the Father is contaminated by the personal experience he or she has with the birth father. When misconceptions about God are present (i.e. that He is angry, judgmental, unhappy with me, fearsome, legalistic, quick to punish and slow to forgive . . .) the words we tend to believe are:

* I am not good enough

* I am guilty/shameful

* I must work harder to justify myself

“As long as we accept these words as truth, we will seek to perform and prove our worth through perfectionism and materialism, or seek addictions to cover up the pain.” 

(Alfred C. W. Davis, Understanding and Healing the Father Wound: https://www.focusonthefamily.ca/content/understanding-and-healing-the-father-wound)

ABBA, FATHER

But there is incredible hope for us ALL!

Jesus came to reveal the Father. And by revealing the Father, Jesus releases healing to the fathered and to the fathers

Look at what Jesus said about his mission to reveal the Father: 

John 14:9 (ESV): 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 

John 17:3 (ESV): And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:25–26 (NLT): 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” 

Jesus came to break the lies that sin told about the Heavenly Father. As we read above in Malachi 2, we all have ONE FATHER, but the covenant of our fathers, the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant (Testament), was a broken, refracted, distorted reflection of the True Father, the God who created us. The Law was good, as Paul says, but broken humanity made the Law “weak through the flesh.” 

As Jesus said to the Pharisees, when they asked about an early version of “no-fault” divorce, the “hardness of YOUR hearts” distorted the heart of God in the Old Testament Law of Moses. (Matthew 19) The legalism and violence of the Law of Moses revealed more about the hardness of the human heart than it did about the goodness of God’s heart. 

Moses asked to see God’s glory, which is revealed in his goodness, but he could only see the “back” of God’s glory—the Law of Moses only revealed hints of God’s goodness. Jesus came to manifest “the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus came to tell the truth about the Father! 

(Look at the numerous examples where Jesus said, “ You have heard it was said, but I say to you...” — “the fathers” vs. “The Father”) 

Jesus called God the Father, “Abba, Father!” (Mark 14:36). “Abba” is an affectionate name for a father, something like “papa” or “daddy.” Jesus came to show us that God the Father is not the vengeful, hateful God that so many have portrayed him to be. He is a good God! 

And when we are saved, the Father sends the Spirit of the Son into our hearts revealing the Father, breaking every lie we have believed about God. He teaches us to call God, “Abba, Father!” 

Galatians 4:6 (ESV): And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15–16 (ESV): 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

How comfortable are you calling God “Papa God”?! Does that seem disrespectful? Maybe religion has distorted our view of God!  

And in revealing Abba, Father, Jesus came to do two things:

1. Jesus came to heal you from all your father-wounds. How does he do this:

A. By the new birth.

When you are born again, you are adopted into the lineage of “the last Adam,” Jesus Christ. Your relationship to your “one Father,” Abba, Father, is restored. Jesus begins revealing the Father for who he really is to you. This releases you to be healed. Your perception of your earthly father can now be viewed in light of your heavenly Father’s love for you and for your earthly father, no matter how broken. 

B. By releasing the power of forgiveness. 

As you begin to see the Heavenly Father for who he really is, he begins releasing grace for you to forgive your earthly father. This is why the Father Quest MUST begin with a pursuit of the Heavenly Father, not your earthly father. Only when we are being healed by the love of our one true Father can we orient our hearts properly toward our earthly father. 

Those who are forgiven receive grace to forgive. And when we forgive, more forgiveness is released. When we refuse to forgive, we create a “forgiveness barrier” that stops us dead in our tracks. We cannot move forward until we are ready to forgive and be forgiven. 

We receive grace to forgive our earthly fathers because we now see them through the love of the Heavenly Father. We can forgive because we see how they were never meant to be our One Father, our Abba, Father. We receive grace to forgive because we now see their brokenness, their father wounds that they passed down to us. We can give mercy because we have received mercy. 

Jesus said, “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9) He doesn’t mean, of course, that you can use the word “father” for your earthly father. But he does mean, in a very real sense, no man CAN be your father—only God can truly be your father! 

An earthly father can only be at best a signpost pointing toward the Heavenly Father. The goal of every earthly father is to get their children TO the Father. 

As John said,

3 John 4 (ESV): 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 

If our earthly fathers could fulfill every need, we would never look to our Creator. It is much easier to rely on someone you can see and touch. We would never learn to trust in God! Our relationship with God would be displaced and usurped by father-gods. And the one true Father-God is relentless in his eradication and destruction of all idols who displace him. Including earthly fathers. 

All the gaps that our earthly fathers leave are there by divine design: those are the places that only our Heavenly Father can fill. Jesus He is described in Isaiah 9:6 as “the father of eternity,” as the only father who can truly fulfill the eternal longings of the human heart. 

We must forgive our earthly fathers. We have held them to expectations that they cannot attain. Release them, forgive them, understand that our fathers are broken men, just trying their best to be good men. 

Honor your father, but worship God.

Again: And in revealing Abba, Father, Jesus came to do two things:

The second thing is..

2. Jesus came to deliver fathers from the heavy burden of fathering. Jesus says to all fathers, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus comes today through the Holy Spirit to release ALL fathers from the overwhelming responsibility of fathering. 

Fathers, we have one job today: to get our children TO the Father! 

Malachi 4:5–6 (ESV): Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” 

Want to know what I want for Father’s Day? I want two things:

  1. I want to be free from the fear of fathering. I want to hand my kids off to the only One who can truly Father them eternally. I want to rest in the fathering grace that comes from being fathered by my Heavenly Father. 

  2. I want my children to know the Father. Nothing would give me greater joy. 

CONCLUSION

And when fathers hearts are turned to their children, and children’s hearts are turned to their father—and, ultimately, to THE Father!—the land will be delivered from the decree of utter destruction overturned at the Cross. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that Father’s Day done right will be the catalyst for worldwide social and cultural revival. 

WOMEN OF WONDER | Jeana Pixler | Small Group Study Notes

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WOMEN OF WONDER (Small Group Study Notes)

June 11, 2019 | Jeana Pixler

REVIEW

On Mother’s Day, I preached a message called Women of Wonder, and I talked about a few things that I feel God is doing here at Freedom Life Church. I believe God is launching a movement of women who discover who they are in Christ and help others find out who they are. 

I believe God is launching a movement of women of wonder, women who walk in radical faith, crazy joy and powerful love. 

And I believe that God is launching a “mothering movement” where women, regardless of age, release the mothering spirit of God into the body of Christ and the world. This is a nurturing spirit that helps people become who the heavenly Father created them to be.

So, let me say again what God is doing: he is reshaping “ordinary” women into extraordinary women of wonder

As I put it on Mother’s Day, God is raising up a movement! He is raising up a movement, Women of Wonder, women who: 

  • Grow older without growing cynical

  • Women who still laugh out loud

  • Women of imagination, dreaming with God for our lives, children, marriage

  • Women who share the joy of life with everyone around them

  • Women who reject the stiff, uptight rigidity of religion

  • Women who refuse to live critical and bitter

  • Women who refuse resentment against others who seem to have it all

  • Women who can celebrate the blessings of others (when we’re processing a situation...end it praying for that person)

  • Women who can release the life of God through their words:

  • Women who speak life and never death. Let’s be women who assess a situation in the world (politically or in the celebrity world) through a spiritual diagnostic test and ask God what is his original intent for them, for every situation, person or people group! 

  • Women who know who they are! Because when you know who YOU are in Christ, you would never want to be anyone else! 

God is also raising up a MOTHERING MOVEMENT, a movement of women who mother others, people other than their biological or adopted children. (Age has nothing to with this sort of mothering.) 

These “Women of Wonder” know how to mother because they know the heavenly Father, and he releases his mothering grace through them. (There are numerous passages in the Bible about the “mothering” nature of God. In fact, the Holy Spirit reveals the mothering nature of God.) 

And these Women of Wonder give birth to a “culture of mothering” where churches like Freedom Life cultivate the mothering spirit. 

WOMEN OF WONDER: WONDERFUL THOUGHTS!

  • We have 60,000 thoughts a day

  • 90% if those are repeated the next day meaning we have habitual thought patterns

  • 80% of those thoughts are automated negative thinking 

Our thoughts determine our actions>>our thoughts determine our moods>>our thoughts determine our destiny 

Your life will follow your thoughts.

The battle is in the mind.

The enemy always tries to make us more aware of our problems than of the solutions we carry.” — Bill Johnson

All feelings are thought-driven. 

  • Feelings are important: they help you locate the way you think.

  • Language is a locator of what you think. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Proverbs 23:7 — “As a man thinks in his heart , so is he.”

Since childhood, we have often thought negative things about ourselves and God. God is determined to break off these lies from our mind so that we can live in the freedom for which we were destined. 

Let me share the story of the “bougie” cheese.

LOVE, POWER AND A SOUND MIND

2 Timothy 2:7 (The Passion Translation) — For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.

Proverbs 18:21 — Death and life are in the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will it the fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

Proverbs 17:22 — A happy heart is good like medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

We must think God’s thoughts after him. This is called “having the mind of Christ.” God’s thoughts fill you with faith, hope and victory. The enemy’s thoughts fill you with fear, hopelessness and defeat. 

  • I don’t want to think one thought that my Heavenly Father doesn’t think about me.

  • I don’t want to say one word over me that the Father does not say over me. This is “partnering with the Word of God.” 

  • Also, I do not want to THINK or SAY one thought or word over others—especially those closest to me, like my children!—that God does not think or say over them. I never want to make them doubt and have trouble seeing how God made them. I want to be the one to help them see how God made them and build them up. I am an ENCOURAGER

How do we combat negative thoughts? 

  • By having gratitude and a thankful heart. 

  • Worship. Worship is a weapon! 

  • Declaring the promises of God. Speaking positive affirmations. 

It’s like working out. The more you do it the stronger that muscle becomes. 

CONCLUSION

Have you enjoyed this? Would you be interested in having another group like this? If so, then the next class could be on the power of our words. Interested? (IKEA video, rice challenge, etc.) 

SPEAK YOUR PEACE | Steve Pixler

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SPEAK YOUR PEACE

June 9, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

Today, the Holy Spirit wants to teach you how to “speak your peace.” 

Let’s start by looking at the story of Jesus speaking, “Peace! Be still!” into a terrifying storm that brought the disciples to the edge of utter despair. 

Mark 4:35–41 (ESV): On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” 

What a powerful story! And it was recorded to teach you and me a powerful lesson: Jesus did not come to earth to calm storms—he came to teach US to calm storms. He came to train us to SPEAK PEACE

Look at what the disciples missed that day:

  1. They forgot the word: “Let us go across to the other side.” The word of Jesus held within it the power to fulfill the promise. They were certain to arrive safely at the other side. But they forgot what Jesus said. 

  2. They failed to discern the spiritual nature of the storm. They did not know that “the demons of Gedara” were rushing out in fury to prevent Jesus from arriving on their shore and delivering the demoniac of Gedara. If they had discerned the spiritual nature of the storm, they would have been emboldened to say, “Not today, devil!” 

  3. They lost confidence in Jesus’ care and concern for them. This is a basic human problem: we do not believe in God’s love for us. If we did, we would NEVER be afraid. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” 

  4. They did not understand their role in calming the storm. They failed to see that Jesus was sleeping to create the opportunity for THEM to function as sons of God in the world. He meant for THEM to speak peace into the storm! 

  5. They lost sight of man’s dominion. They did not remember that creation was placed under man’s dominion from the beginning, and that all creation LONGS (stands on tiptoe with eager anticipation! — Romans 8:19) to be set free from the curse of demonic control and released back to man’s glorious dominion. The wind and the waves are begging YOU to stand and speak your peace! 


SPEAK YOUR PEACE

Your words create your world. 

God created the world with words, and his will recreate your world with words. But the words that he sends into your world will come through YOUR mouth. 

Romans 10:8 (ESV): The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).

2 Corinthians 4:13 (ESV): Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV): For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 

Here is our BIG IDEA today: You are called to speak peace into your life.

Speak your peace.

THE POWER OF TESTIMONY | Steve Pixler

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THE POWER OF TESTIMONY

May 26, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

You have a story to tell! 

And your story has the power to reshape YOUR future and the future of OTHERS around you. Never underestimate the power of your TESTIMONY! 

Here’s the BIG IDEA: A testimony carries within it the power to reproduce the miracle. 

Matthew 9:20–22 (ESV): And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 

Mark 5:24–34 (ESV): And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 

30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” 

That’s an amazing story! But here’s the most incredible part: the woman’s story released the power to reproduce the miracle by inspiring others to imitate her faith. 

Matthew 14:34–36 (ESV): And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 

WHY DO WE TESTIFY?

  1. To REMEMBER for ourselves what God has done and to relive the moment. 

  2. To REMIND others what God has done and encourage them to expect the same. 

  3. To RELEASE the power of the testimony so that the miracle may be reproduced. 

KEY PASSAGES ON THE POWER OF TESTIMONY

Revelation 12:11 (ESV): And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 

Testimony is spiritual warfare. You conquer your spiritual enemy by declaring the good things God has done. Satan’s lies can not withstand the truth of your testimony! 

Revelation 19:10 (ESV): “Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy

Testimony is prophecy. Prophecy foretells what is to come, and when it happens, it becomes a testimony. But then the testimony becomes a prophecy, for it carries in itself the power to repeat the promise. 

Testimony transforms the world. It is no exaggeration to say that world history has been shaped by the power of Christian testimony. 

Jesus told the disciples that he would build his church upon the rock and the gates of hell would not prevail. And he commissioned them to fulfill this promise by telling the world his story and the story of believers. Jesus’ strategy for building his church is simple: tell your story! 

Your story has the power to change the world. You need to know the power that your words release when you simply tell your story. 

John 4:28–30 (ESV): So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him. 

John 4:39 (ESV): Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”

Acts 4:33 (ESV): And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 

The early church only had ONE thing to create growth—testimony. The had NO marketing. Not print, digital or any other form. None. The only thing that made the gospel spread throughout the ancient world was testimony. That’s it. 

And that’s exactly what still works today. 

When you were born again, you became a “born storyteller.” Your testimony is IN you:

1 John 5:10–11 (ESV): Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself... 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

While there is great value in modern media/marketing advertising the church, there is nothing that can create attraction and growth in the kingdom of God like YOU sharing your testimony. 

Suggestion: Thus week, use technology—social media, emails and texting—to share your story. Post memes. Use YouVersion Bible to share scripture images. Send prophetic texts. Discover the power of “text-imony”!

How will you share your story this week? 


SEND ME (2) | Steve Pixler

SEND ME (2)

May 5, 2019 | Steve Pixler


MESSAGE NOTES:

BACKGROUND: This message flows out of “Your Harvest Is In Your Field.”

Matthew 9:37–38 (ESV): Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out (ekballe: “to cast, thrust, launch like an arrow”) laborers into his harvest.”

BIG IDEA: Being SENT by God requires INNER HEALING.

FREEDOM LIFE ICON

FREEDOM LIFE ICON

Look at the Freedom Life icon as an emblem of being sent.

MOTTO: “Helping people find their way into freedom for all of life.”

ICON: 3 arrows into a circle:


 

Arrow #1: Know God

Arrow #2: Find Freedom

Arrow #3: Discover Purpose

Circle: Make A Difference

 

THE STORY OF ISAIAH

The simple idea is this: Isaiah could not be SENT into his destiny until God addressed the inner issues that threatened his call.

 

Isaiah 6:1–8 (ESV): In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

[Isaiah 6:5 (The Message):  “Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”]

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”


The SENDING requires INNER HEALING. We all have the “go” embedded in our spirit—“God has set eternity in our hearts”—but we all inevitably face a “woe” (or, “whoa!”) moment.

Isaiah needed to be healed in relation to God (“my eyes have seen the King!”), to self (“I am a man of unclean lips!”) and to others (“I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips!”).

God qualified Isaiah: “Your guilt is taken away! Your sin is atoned for!” God addressed and healed the SIN blocking the SEND.


CONTINUED…

Being SENT by God requires INNER HEALING. Before Isaiah could “go for us,” he had to be touched with a coal from the altar. Isaiah had to be moved from “Woe is me!” to “Here I am! Send me.” His GUILT was a destiny blocker.

And this is true for all of us: our sense of worth (self-worth, worthiness) plays a huge role in our ability to fulfill our call. Nothing sabotages purpose like guilt.

You were not BUILT for GUILT!


WHAT IS INNER HEALING?

Inner healing is the healing of our soul. Our spirit is resurrected when we are born again, but the soul is still pulled between the spirit and the body, which remains bent toward sin and death until the resurrection. This is why we must “walk after the Spirit” and not “after the flesh.” (Galatians 5)

Our soul is our mind, will and emotions. Inner healing flows out of our Holy-Spirit-filled-human-spirit into the emotions, the will and the mind.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV) — “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Holy Spirit flows through the human spirit and begins to heal the soul. We begin to be healed:

  1. In relation to God: this is mostly about breaking the lies we have believed about God and discovering the truth about our heavenly Father.
  2. In relation to self: this is mostly about breaking the lies we have believed about ourselves and rediscovering our true identity in Christ.
  3. In relation to others: this is mostly about breaking the lies told by others (intentionally or not) and breaking free from EXPECTATIONS driven by the FEAR OF MAN


DELIVERANCE & SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Also, notice that it was an ANGEL who touched Isaiah’s lips and cleansed his sin. This highlights a reality that must not be ignored when pursuing inner healing: we live and struggle for freedom within a highly charged spiritual environment. INNERHEALING only happens through DELIVERANCE, through casting out evil powers that attack and torment the soul.

2 Timothy 2: 26 (ESV) — [That] they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

However, Jesus is VICTORIOUS over the devil through the Cross, and his victory is already ours!

 

Hebrews 2:14 (ESV) — “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.”

1 John 3:8 (ESV) — “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Colossians 2:13-15 (ESV) — “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

Luke 10:1-3 (ESV) — After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Luke 10:17-20 (ESV) — The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

There is a spiritual battle raging around your destiny. Never forget that! But also never forget that Jesus is victorious, and YOU are victorious in him. Never forget it!

 

CONCLUSION

Want to be SENT? Then, you must be HEALED. And INNER HEALING is a journey, a lifelong process. You must get started now. Commit to pursuing soul health.

SEND ME (1) | Steve Pixler

Send Me Message Slide with quotes.png

SEND ME (1)

April 28, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

BACKGROUND: This message flows out of “Your Harvest Is In Your Field.”

Matthew 9:37–38 (ESV): Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out (ekballe: “to cast, thrust, launch like an arrow”) laborers into his harvest.” 

IMG_0046.PNG

BIG IDEA: Being SENT by God requires INNER HEALING.  

Look at the Freedom Life icon as an emblem of being sent. 

MOTTO: “Helping people find their way into freedom for all of life.”

ICON: 3 arrows into a circle:

Arrow #1: Know God

Arrow #2: Find Freedom

Arrow #3: Discover Purpose 

Circle: Make A Difference 

THE STORY OF ISAIAH

The simple idea is this: Isaiah could not be SENT into his destiny until God addressed the inner issues that threatened his call. 

Isaiah 6:1–8 (ESV): In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: 

 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 

4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 

5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 

[Isaiah 6:5 (The Message):  “Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”]

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” 

8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

The SENDING requires INNER HEALING. We all have the “go” embedded in our spirit—“God has set eternity in our hearts”—but we all inevitably face a “woe” (or, “whoa!”) moment. 

Isaiah needed to be healed in relation to God (“my eyes have seen the King!”), to self (“I am a man of unclean lips!”) and to others (“I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips!”). 

God qualified Isaiah: “Your guilt is taken away! Your sin is atoned for!” God addressed and healed the SIN blocking the SEND

TO BE CONTINUED...

RISE! | Easter 2019 | Steve Pixler

Rise Message Slide.png

RISE | Easter 2019

April 21, 2019 | Steve Pixler

MESSAGE NOTES: 

The resurrection is a not just about Jesus—it is about you and me! You and I needed resurrection, not Jesus.

Romans 15:12 (NKJV): There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall RISE TO REIGN over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Jesus shall “RISE TO REIGN.” 

Ephesians 1:15–2:10 (ESV): For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the HOPE to which he has called you, what are the RICHES of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his POWER toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 

20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 

22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven so that he could “rise to reign.” And we rise to reign with him. Look at Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:1-10 (ESV) 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were DEAD in our trespasses, made us ALIVE together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and RAISED us up with him and SEATED us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

2 Timothy 2:11–13 (ESV): The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have DIED with him, we will also LIVE with him; 12  if we endure, we will also REIGN with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13  if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 

How do we reign with Christ? 

1. We RISE TO REIGN over our own spirit. 

Romans 6:8–14 (ESV): Now if we have DIED with Christ, we believe that we will also LIVE with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

2. We RISE TO REIGN over the power of the devil. 

Mark 16:15–20 (ESV): And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

1 John 3:8 (ESV): The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Hebrews 2:14–15 (ESV): Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

3. We RISE TO REIGN over the earth.

Revelation 5:9–10 (ESV): And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall REIGN on the earth.”

Romans 5:17, 21 (ESV): 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness REIGN in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 

21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might REIGN through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

You are KINGS and PRIESTS in Christ! 

You were created to rule with Christ forever. That rule begins NOW through the resurrection of Jesus. When you receive the Holy Spirit, you receive the Spirit of resurrection—the “Spirit of the age to come”—NOW (Hebrews 6:5).

The “Spirit of the age to come” is the KINGDOM SPIRIT, which rules by LOVE rather than POWER. The kingdom of God turns the world upside down and inverts the idea of RULING. We rise to reign with Christ by kneeling to serve. 

It is time to “rise”! Rise to reign over self, over evil and over the area of influence God has given you in the world. The resurrection of Jesus is YOUR resurrection, and you are called today to RISE. 

CONCLUSION

As the Father called to his beloved Son that first Easter morning, he now calls to you: “RISE!” 

Song of Solomon 2:10–13 (ESV): My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, 11  for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. 12  The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13  The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.