Your Souls’ Victory

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Your Souls’ Victory

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday, 25th August 2019

Do you know when you see something, or hear something, which might be just a tiny part of a conversation, or hidden away in a story someone is telling you – and for the life of you, you just can’t get it out of your head?  And it wasn’t even the main thing?  It might have been just a throw away line?

That happened twice to me this week.  And the interesting thing is – they both fit together.

The first was when I was going over my notes from last weeks sermon.  I always look to see if there is a theme that the Holy Spirit is continuing to highlight…

And three simple words just kept drawing me back.  It was a small part of a scripture I quoted about joy and glory.  And the words are simply this: “your soul’s victory!”

Even as I was writing this, I was getting goose bumps.  Goose bumps are definitely the Holy Spirit saying – there’s something in this!  I know that’s not the slightest bit theological – and not at all biblical.  But we must have goose bumps for a reason!

But this is biblical – this is the scripture it’s attached to:

1 Peter 1:8-9 (Passion),  “You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory.”  

That was my main point last Sunday…  faith in Jesus bringing ecstatic joy – immersed in glory…

But then it says: 

“For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!”

My souls’ victory…  that sounds pretty good.  I like the idea of reaping my souls’ victory.  Because it’s going to glorify God and bless me, my family and others…

So then I spent some time with my friend, mentor, coach – Gary Hourigan. 

And in amongst our conversation – Gary just throws out his thought – that “sometimes we have to reinvent ourselves.”  To be honest, he mightn’t have used the word “reinvent”…  but that’s what I heard…  

For me, it spoke of reassessing, repositioning, reestablishing…   

I’m not planning on reinventing myself to the point of becoming a car mechanic or a lawyer…  

But I think the thing I was hearing, was more that we have to be ready and willing to change, and to be changed…  to always be realigning ourselves with the seasons we are in – or more correctly – to realign ourselves with God’s plans and purposes for our life right now, and in preparation for the future…

None of us have fully arrived…  Every one of us still on an incredible journey called life.  And while we are still on this earth, we are all continually in the process of transformation and sanctification – growing and changing into the image of Jesus Christ – or at least, we should be.

2 Corinthians 3:18,  “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

What I feel the Holy Spirit was saying to me, and to all of us – is that “our souls’ victory” – the reaping of the harvest of our faith – is all tied up with always looking into the mirror of Christ’s glory – without any veils or masks or false coverings…  and allowing what we see to continually transform us…  to transform our soul…

God wants your soul to prosper.  And you prospering in this particular season of your life might look quite different to how you prospered in a previous season.

To prosper means to flourish, to thrive, to become strong and healthy, to have success.  Success can of course be measured in all kinds of ways – depending on the season you’re in.

I think it’s tied up with being able to answer the question: Who am I?  Not so much, what am I meant to be doing, but who am I at the core of my soul?  And am I living out of that place and prospering?

So before I go any further, I want to ask you some other questions.  Because if you’re not challenged in some way by what I share on a Sunday morning, then I’ve failed in my job.  It doesn’t mean you always have to totally agree with everything I say – but if you wrestle with it, or it causes you to search out the Word of God for yourself – and you are in some way challenged by what you read and experience – then that’s a good thing.

So what is it about your life that needs to change and be transformed right now?  What is it about your life that needs to look different?  What attitudes need to change?  What does growth and maturity and success look like for you?

What does it mean for your life to be prospering – to flourish, thrive and grow? 

Here’s a thought:  

Is it possible that the Holy Spirit might want to transform things in your life that you aren’t even aware of?   Is He perhaps wanting to prepare you for things in your future that as yet, you have no idea about?  These are big questions.

And the thing I get about all this is that it’s not about striving more and having more and more burdens placed upon us.  It’s about being transformed – becoming more like Jesus – going from one place of glory to another place of glory. 

It’s not about driving ourselves into the ground with self effort and striving…

Praise God for His Grace that is revealed through Jesus Christ His Son.

When John was writing about Jesus, he said this:

John 1:14,  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

There it is again.  There’s something about simply beholding the glory of Jesus – and being changed by it – by His Grace.

John 1:16,  “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”

John 1:16 (Passion),  “And now out of His fullness we are fulfilled! And from him we receive grace heaped upon more grace!”

Church, it’s the grace of God that He has brought us to where we are in our lives right now…  where you are personally, and where we are as a church…  

He has been gracious to us.  But where to from here? What’s the next step in our transformation?  

What will your life look like in 5 years time?  What will we as a church look like in 5 years, 10 years?

God desires that our souls be victorious.  In other words, He desires that our minds would be renewed and be made whole and healthy by the Word of God.  

That we would have the wisdom and the strength to choose by our own will, the path we should follow.  And it means that our emotional – heart life – the true and authentic inner person of our soul would be a place of wholeness and health.  

In all these areas of our life, we would be thriving, flourishing, overcoming…  and victorious.

And if we aren’t living a life like that – then perhaps we need to hit the reset button – and take a good long look into the mirror.  Not to see the reflection of ourselves, but to see the reflection of Jesus and His glory.

I say all this, not just so you can have a better and more meaningful life – but that you would then be more effective in reflecting that same glory and image of our Lord and Saviour to the world around you.

The second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves.  But from what I can see, some of us don’t have such a great opinion of ourselves. And to actually love ourselves?

Our minds are overwhelmed with the pressures of life.  Our thinking is often centred on surviving the day…  for some, even surviving the moment.  We don’t love what our mind is struggling with…

And so when it comes to the choices we make, the ability to have confidence in what our will even wants…, we are confused…  or we’re shut down…  and so we choose to simply go with the flow, even when we don’t like it or aren’t happy about it.  It’s a resignation that this is as good as it gets…

And then of course our emotional life just travels the roller coaster of it all…

But this is the point of my message.  That’s not the abundant life that God has promised us – nor graced us with.  And wherever you are at in your life right now, the statement still rings true – We are Born For More!  

Not just more of what we want – but more of what God has for us! 

I think this was part of my conversation with Gary the other day…  as I tell him about our church I’m able to say – Seacoast is an awesome church.  We love our church.  We love the people.  We have never meant to just be a nice church in our community full of nice people…  but if we’re not careful, that’s what we could become.

And because I’m there talking to him primarily about myself – that’s when the conversation becomes about – well am I satisfied with myself?  And the answer is no.  I’m Born For More!   I’m not finished yet.  

But the season I’m in might be shifting…  what God is doing in my life and the life of the church might be shifting.

In fact, I know it is.  That’s what the prophetic word is right now…  it’s time to be prepared for the new thing that God is in the middle of doing and is about to do.

And I want to be ready for it.  I want all of us to be ready for it.  

I want to look in the mirror and see the glory of God being reflected into my life, and be changed by it.

I want to reposition myself – reestablish myself – so that God can pour out His grace upon grace over my life and the life of the church.

That’s why I said a couple of weeks ago – I’m going to have a revival – regardless of whatever else happens around me – I’m having a revival.  It’s a bit tongue in cheek.  In the end, the Holy Spirit has got a big job to do!  But my heart is to stay with the program and let Him do whatever He needs to do.

Which leads us into a few scriptures that I feel we need to embrace right now.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24,  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (Other versions say avoid every appearance of evil).  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

This should be our prayer…  God sanctify me through and through – my body, my soul, and my spirit…

We’re talking about our soul this morning.  Our mind, our will, our emotions…  that part of us – apart from our physical body – that makes up the core of who we are…  and it’s part of us that will live forever.

It’s that part of us that this scripture is speaking to – it’s saying, make a decision to rejoice, to pray, to give thanks.  Don’t quench the things of the spirit…  stop sinning, and don’t even have the appearance of living a sinful life.

But the big thing for us this morning is this:  let God sanctify you…  let Him make you Holy, let Him transform you into the man or woman He created you to be.

He is the faithful One.  He will do it!  How?  By His grace poured out – grace upon grace…

Listen to this:

Paul has just listed many of the sins that humanity still faces today…  and calls out thieves, drunkards, idolaters, adulterers… etc.

1 Corinthians 6:11,  “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

And I love how Paul speaks in the past tense.  Because the truth is, we are set free from these things when Christ lives in us…  and we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

He’s calling us to live the sanctified life…  the life that is washed in the truth of the Word of God – lives that are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ…  the blood that was shed for our salvation…

And what is the harvest of our full salvation?  It’s “your souls’ victory!”

And this:

Philippians 1:6,  “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”

And I have to share the Passion version:

Philippians 1:6,  “I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!”

You see – it’s a glorious work…  it’s the work of His glory!  It’s a process of sanctification…  a process of your maturity…  

It’s actually all been done at the cross of Calvary – and we are already walking in that victory and the tremendous freedom of knowing Jesus Christ.

But there’s still some finishing touches to be made.

I think that’s what’s happening right now – and always…

God is putting some finishing touches on His Bride.  Some might say we need more than a few finishing touches… we need a total make over…

Maybe you need some finishing touches this morning.  You have seen God’s faithfulness.  You know that He has saved you – rescued you from who knows what.

But this morning – He’s saying – there’s still more in the glory.  There’s still more that you have been born for.  Do you want it?  Are you willing to come aside and look upon Me and My glory and be transformed by it?

Are you willing to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time?” (1Peter 5:6).

Because all that I’m speaking about today requires our humility.  

Less of me – and more of Jesus.

He’s looking for a people who are willing to yield themselves to Him…  

And out of that place of yieldedness, He will raise us up!

To be honest, it comes down to obedience…  which is a soul issue…  our will!

Are we willing to go through the process of sanctification?  Are we willing to change – and to be changed?

Are we willing to lay down the things that keep us from beholding His glory?  The veils?  The blockages?  The sin?  The offence?  The wounds?

Hebrews 12:1-2 (Part…) “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”

And in the Passion?  (Hebrews 12:1-2 – Part)  “…we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. 

So we come back to where we began…  looking away from the natural, and fastening our gaze on Jesus.  

And the harvest of your faith?  Your soul’s victory! 

And I know we’re connecting the harvest to our own victory…  but I’m only quoting the Word.

Of course the ultimate harvest is the men and women who will be drawn and led into the kingdom of God because of our witness – because we will be healthy, whole, flourishing ambassadors of Christ…

I believe God is preparing His church for the next powerful move of His Spirit.  It has to start with us.  We need to be transformed by His glory.  

It’s more than natural…  it’s supernatural.  Sanctification is supernatural.  It’s an act of God’s Grace.  Grace heaped upon more grace.

Where do we find this grace.  We find it in beholding Jesus.  Look to Him.  Read the Word of God about Him.  Pray to Him.  Sit still in His presence and let Him minister to you and speak to your heart.  Worship Him.

When our lives become about Jesus – grace and glory and joy will abound…

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