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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : SOME STEPS TO THE ABUNDANT LIFE by Zac Poonen

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 SOME STEPS TO THE ABUNDANT LIFE by Zac Poonen

Take Up the Cross Daily

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You have circled this mountain long enough” (Deuteronomy 2:2,3). If we are always at the same level spiritually, we are going around in circles. We should be making progress in overcoming sin – and not be constantly defeated by the same old sins that defeated us many years ago. We should not be losing our temper or lusting with our eyes after women, as we did 10 years ago. If we are still defeated in these areas, then we are going around in circles. The Lord is now calling us to move forward. Did you take up the cross yesterday? Perhaps you did. But that was sufficient only for overcoming the evil of yesterday (Matt.6:34). Today is another day. And you have to offer up your body and your self-will as a sacrifice again. Today you have to die to your lusts, to your anger, to your pride, to your love of money, to your love of man's honour, to your bitterness etc. These lusts are present in our flesh, and will be with us as long as we live. That is why we need to have "a daily cross", right until the end of our earthly lives. Is there this daily sacrifice in your life? If not, then the spirit of the Antichrist has certainly deceived you.

Believe in God’s Ordering of All Things

Job knew that all that he had – children, property and even health itself – were all God's free gifts to him and that God had every right to take them all away if He so desired. And so when he lost all of them, he worshipped God and said, “"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:20-22). One cannot truly worship God until one has forsaken all – that is, given up the right to possess anything as one's own. Job also said: "God KNOWS every detail of what is happening to me" (Job. 23:10 – Living Bible). Today we can go even further than Job and say (on the basis of Romans 8:28) that "God PLANS every detail that concerns me." If we love God and seek to fulfil His purpose alone for our lives, then everything that God allows to come across our path is planned by Him in perfect wisdom and love – and His power is almighty enough to make all of them to work for our growth into the likeness of Christ (Rom.8:29). God could point out Job to Satan as a perfect and upright man in his time. God should be able to point us out to Satan even more – as men and women who will never complain or grumble under any circumstance, but who will only give thanks for all things at all times (Eph.5:20).

Seek to be filled with Love

The unmistakable mark of the fullness of the Spirit is LOVE – as Romans 5:5 makes plain. What a difference it would have made in Christendom if love had been emphasized more than “speaking in tongues” – if Romans 5:5 had been emphasized as the identifying mark of the Spirit's fullness and not Acts 2:4. God’s Word says that even if we have the gifts of tongues, prophecy and faith to move mountains, we are still a zero in God's eyes, if we don't have love (1 Cor.13:2). On the other hand, even if we don't speak in tongues, never prophesy and never move any mountains, we can still be approved by God, if we have love. Jesus received the approval of His Father at His baptism (“This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased”), before He had exercised any of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in His life. He was full of the Spirit for 30 years – filled with love for His Father and love for others. That is how He pleased the Father. Love is the greatest – for it is the very spirit of heaven. Jesus said, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father" (John 14:9). And He tells us, “As the Father sent Me, so send I you” (John 20:21). So, as the Body of Christ, we should be able to say today, "If you have seen us, you have seen a little bit of what Jesus is like. If you live in my home, you will taste a little bit of what heaven is like. If you fellowship with me you will taste a little bit of what Jesus is like and a little bit of what heaven is like". That should be our testimony. We may preach, evangelise and teach the Bible, but if we do not manifest the life and love of God in our daily lives, our testimony for Christ is a failure. This is the tragedy in Christendom today.

Learn to Give

It is certainly a great blessing to receive God’s gifts. But God wants us to have something more – a greater blessing, Listen to this word of Jesus: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). If you obey that word, you will experience this greater blessing – the blessing that comes through giving. The Bible says “the one who waters others will be watered himself” (Prov.11:25). When we bless others, God blesses us even more. Our Adamic flesh is naturally selfish and thinks only of itself. We do not naturally like to give what we have – either to God or to others. The Holy Spirit wants to deliver us from this selfish, self-centred life of Adam and to make us like Jesus. And one way He does that is by prompting us to give and give and give. Listen then to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in this area – and you will find a blessing that you have not experienced so far. This is the way to the abundant life.

Be Free from Curiosity

Curiosity is a sin that most believers have not recognised as a Satanic evil. Our flesh has a great longing to know many details about other people that are unnecessary and that have nothing to do with us. The flesh loves to listen to gossip about the sins of others – which are often shared by some believers as “prayer-requests”!! But such information will never do us any good. On the contrary it will pollute our minds, prejudice us against others, make us evil-minded, and hinder our witness and our ministry for the Lord. That is how Satan leads many believers astray. The Bible says, “Do not suffer as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Pet.4:15). In other words: Mind your own business – MYOB !! You must never allow anyone to tell you about his past sins, even voluntarily. Everyone must confess his sins to God alone, and not to any human being. Sin must be confessed only in the circle in which it was committed. Sins of the thought-life and those committed in private that hurt no-one but ourselves, must be confessed ONLY to God. But sins that hurt another person, must be confessed to God as well as to that other person. Sins committed against a church must be confessed to God as well as publicly in the church-meeting. We must follow this rule strictly, if we are to keep our minds pure and un-polluted.

Always Choose the Creator Instead of the Created

Man becomes a slave when he chooses what God has created over God Himself. Most men love money and sinful pleasures more than God. Thus they become slaves of money and slaves of sinful pleasure and thus destroy themselves. Jesus came to deliver us from this slavery. A true conversion will deliver man from such slavery. Most human beings are enslaved also to the opinions of others – and so they are not able to serve God freely. God created man to be like the eagle that flies high in the sky. But everywhere we find man in bondage, unable to conquer his temper and his lusts. Jesus came, not just to forgive us our sins, but also to deliver us from every form of slavery to the lusts and desires of the flesh. Most of the quarrels that take place in homes are over earthly things. Such quarrels arise because both husband and wife choose created things above God Himself – and they reap the consequences of their choice. They sow to the flesh and they reap corruption. Your home can be supremely happy if you refuse to make the choice that Eve made of choosing what God created over God Himself. Say to the Lord, "Lord, I don’t want Self to be in the centre of my life, I want everything in my life to be centred in You alone”.

This is the way to the abundant life that Jesus came to give.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/7/19 16:26Profile
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 Re: SOME STEPS TO THE ABUNDANT LIFE by Zac Poonen

//You must never allow anyone to tell you about his past sins, even voluntarily. Everyone must confess his sins to God alone, and not to any human being. Sin must be confessed only in the circle in which it was committed. Sins of the thought-life and those committed in private that hurt no-one but ourselves, must be confessed ONLY to God. But sins that hurt another person, must be confessed to God as well as to that other person. Sins committed against a church must be confessed to God as well as publicly in the church-meeting. We must follow this rule strictly, if we are to keep our minds pure and un-polluted.//

Very wise words.


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Todd

 2019/7/20 8:37Profile
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 Re:

Doesn't that contradict James 5:16?

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."


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Alec

 2019/7/20 10:41Profile
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 Re:

Not at all- if you sin openly against someone, confess it to them and God.

For example, what good would it serve if you had a lustful thought about a woman to confess that to her? Or her husband?

Thoughts are not offenses to non mind-readers so should be confessed to God alone.

If I yelled at my wife at home I don’t need to confess it to my Sunday school class. It’s none of their business, and that is Zac’s point. I confess to my wife and God.


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Todd

 2019/7/20 13:30Profile
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 Re:

I understand that, but Zac's quote does not leave any room for, say, a Christian male to confess to a men's group his repeated past sins and bondage to alcoholism or pornography, for example. He wants to break free of the endless cycle of "sin and confess" and asks the men to pray with him there and to intercede with him thereafter until he has obtained the complete and total victory that Christ has wrought for us at Calvary's cross.

Alec

P.S. Todd, sometime ago you posted Blumhardt's Battle here on the forum. I have read his bio, and wanted to share a quote from him after that harrowing incident had transpired. For those who don't know, this German Lutheran pastor in the mid 1800s had a demonized woman in his congregation and had a protracted time of prayer and fasting until she was absolutely set free; Blumhardt himself had gone through such duress that it was almost too much for him, but surprisingly he found that after it was all over that the Lord had bestowed a genuine gift of healing upon him.

Here's the quote:

Revival broke out in his area after a wicked man asked to confess to him and pleaded for absolution. When Blumhardt placed his hands on him, the man shone with joy. After that, hundreds came to confess their sins. Many found physical healing, too.

Blumhardt was accused of returning to Roman Catholic practices. However, he pointed to scriptures such as John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.” He added, “The present genteel, self-loving brand of piety assumes, ‘I don’t need anybody; I can set things right with God myself.’ But as long as people quietly try to work out their own salvation, they won’t get anywhere. Only when they recognize the need for one another, and reach out and open up to one another will they move forward.”

That is the exact opposite of Zac Poonen's advice.


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Alec

 2019/7/20 14:55Profile
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 Re:

Todd, is right. Zac is not against confession of sins but he is saying, sin should be confessed within the boundary in which it is committed. So he is inline with James 5.

Regarding addiction therapy which involves an accountability group or partners, it is not the will of God. It is fear of men than fear of God.


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Sreeram

 2019/7/20 16:50Profile
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 Re:

Sree, surely you value intercessory prayer and have seen its fruit, yes? "Now we exhort you, brethren,...support the weak..." 1 Thess. 5:14


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Alec

 2019/7/20 17:21Profile
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 Re:

Alec-

Note the section that I took the quote from, namely “be free from curiosity.”

The reason I would not confess private sins or sins of thought to others is for their sake, not mine.

I am not 100% sure that this would apply to a very close brother in the Lord who knows me well and who could be trusted.

When true revival breaks out in an area there should be deep repentance and confession would likely result.

Also, Zac does not go into every possible scenario in the article. But I think in general his words are wise on this topic.


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Todd

 2019/7/20 17:25Profile
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 Re:

Quote:

Sree, surely you value intercessory prayer and have seen its fruit, yes? "Now we exhort you, brethren,...support the weak..."



I don't understand why intercessory prayers and confession of sins are connected? Anyone who is burdened for me can pray for me without idea of the sins I am struggling with.

Bible is clear that we do not go through any temptation that other brothers are not going through!

There are times when I am tempted to be discouraged and I have asked for prayers, I always value the prayers of my Church. But I do not need to tell them exactly in what matters I am tempted to be discouraged etc. They do not need to know them. It is actually better for them not to know this.


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Sreeram

 2019/7/22 13:46Profile
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 Re:

That's your choice, Sree. I know many siblings in Christ who feel that if they internalize problems, be it with temptations or trials, that they can seem larger than they really are. The mind can do funny things. But when they are brought into the light with a small circle of trustworthy friends in the faith it is a lot easier to see these things in context and in a true perspective. I have helped many with prayer and Biblical counsel in this way, and others have been used of God to speak into my life as well. It is part of being accountable to one another.

Agape in Christ,

Alec


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Alec

 2019/7/22 16:10Profile





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