Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Deceptions and Distractions!

Here is a very true statement:  "Those who are deceived, don't know that they are deceived."  Simplistic isn't it?  But however "simplistic" it is, it is true!  Deception is a powerful tool that can be used to overcome ones enemy.  A cousin to deception is distractions.  Distractions can get our focus off of the real issue and onto something...……."other than."  Both deception and distraction are masterfully used by the enemy of our souls to weaken and preoccupy the Church of Jesus Christ!

One of my very best friends I grew up with is a Professional Magician.  He makes a very good living performing slight of hand and illusions.  Over the years, he has taught me some of the "tricks" he uses in his shows which once I learned, were pretty simplistic.  Every single "trick" he uses employs deception and distraction!  Get people to focus on one thing, while the real "THING" is going on out of their sight!  And all people, from school kids to adults, fall for it and are utterly amazed!  It is good fun!  But such is not the case when the Body of Christ is being deceived and/or distracted!  And I believe we need to be VERY aware and careful when it comes to these two!

The true issue that we, the Body of Christ needs to be focusing upon, is REVIVAL!  Not a series of meetings that are meant to be a "feel-good" "rah-rah" session for the Saints, but a genuine MOVE of God!  A Revival where REPENTANCE precedes our PLEADINGS! Where we begin to understand that as Pentecostals, we hold the "KEY" to what the world is longing for and desperately in need of,...…..THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

It has been prophesied on numerous occasions and by numerous people that a great Revival, the 3rd. Great Awakening and Final Reformation, would occur on the "backside" of the Covid-19 crises.  The People of God sense it and feel its rumblings!   The problem is, with our focus upon all of the things going on around us, our focus keeps shifting from the Revival to the civil unrest and politics of our time.  Don't get me wrong, I truly believe we need to be informed, but also understand, that there is a LOT of DISTRACTIONS and DECEPTION going on out there!  WHY?...…...Because the devil ALSO knows that REVIVAL is not only coming, but will TRANSFORM the people and the issues that so many are caught up in!  FOCUS my dear Brothers and Sisters,...……..FOCUS!  and in unison, let's cry out in REPENTANCE and seek God for REVIVAL!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Monsters Outside!

Many Times as little children, we became afraid of all sorts of things.  Monsters that live “outside” of our comfort and “safe-zones” of security within our homes.  Our bedroom and our bed covers become protection from all of the scary things that lurk under our bed; in our closet; and most importantly, outside.  And as we grew, for most of us, we also matured.  We matured in many ways; including a maturation to our fears, and the “scary things” become laughable childhood memories many times.  Now here we are in 2020, and once again, there are monsters outside.

As I write this blog post, the Church is getting ready to celebrate Pentecost Sunday 2020.  And unlike other Pentecost’s that we have celebrated in our lifetime, this one is unique.  Unique because of the monsters outside of our home and our “safe-zones.”  Monsters that have multiplied over the last 3 months to a level that has created unprecedented fear among our communities and even among the Body of Christ.  Now, here is the odd thing.  Some of these monsters are real!  They are not the constructs of a childish overactive imagination, they exist, and they cause great harm and even death!  One of those monsters is the pandemic of Covid-19.  Many people have lost their lives to this “unseen” monster!  Many have gotten sick, but thank God, recovered!  This monster is REAL!  But like all monsters, there is a “wooden stake” that can be driven through its heart, and we are beginning to see those “wooden sticks” developed.  Thank God He is answering our prayers and driving this monster from us!

But like all monsters, the greatest strength they manifest, is not in what they can actually do, but what we perceive in our minds they will do.  While many people have practiced wisdom and took some necessary precautions to combat this “monster,” some, out of the fear of “what-if” have allowed greater fears to take root in their minds and effect their peace of mind.  We could spend a great deal of time sharing and discussing all of the Christian’s who have faced monsters like Covid-19 and refused to allow those monsters to hinder their proclamation of the Gospel, and ministering the Kingdom of God to all sorts of people, and in all sorts of scenarios.  They were cautious; they used wisdom; but they also caught hold of a type of Faith that refused to allow monsters to roam across the countryside of their hearts!  They ministered in what I often refer to in our ministry as God’s “Great-in-Spite-of!”  In spite of all the really scary, potentially life-threatening realities; they were the Body of Christ, and they were on assignment, and they functioned by the Power of the Holy Spirit in the authority of Jesus Christ!

Now, I am NOT telling you/us to throw caution to the wind and ignore the warnings to take precautions.  I am NOT telling you/us to be that ministry or Pastor that thumbs his/her nose to the warnings of the potential of danger, harm, or death.  But I am saying that we are living in a very real time when wisdom and precautions are prudent to take, yet to remember, that we have never been promised that we wouldn’t have to minister, in very real scary and potentially health/life threatening periods of time as the Body of Christ!  The Second century Christian’s understood this all too well!  The Roman Imperial authorities declared that the Christian Faith was an “illegal religion” because of its refusal to worship the emperor as god.  Both religiously and legally, the Christian’s were criminals to the Romans, yet here we are today getting ready to celebrate our Faith on Pentecost because of their willingness to not let the “monsters” of their time stop the flow of the Gospel and the advancement of the Kingdom of God!  The Church was a threat, partly because of their rapid growth of people embracing Faith in this Jesus of Nazareth who is the Savior and Messiah!   And this was part of the threat they posed to the Roman establishment!  And in many ways, the Church poses similar threats to the Secular Post-Modern worldview that is flourishing all around us today!  So, in response to that threat, the monsters are sent to invade!

As mentioned, some monsters are real, like Covid-19 and must be dealt with in the wisdom of the Lord.  But some of the monsters are generated to cause fear and control the minds and activities of people, even the Church!  I am thinking of the great animated movie Monsters INC. created by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures that came out in 2001.  The monsters went into children’s rooms and would scare them to generate screams which produced power to generated electricity for the monsters world.  Interesting thought that the fear produced power…..?  Anyway, I loved this movie and honestly still do!  I watched it with my Grandchildren just last week LOL!  Some of the monsters we are facing are monsters designed to manipulate fear, because in fear, there is power and control.  

We, in the American Church, out of an abundance of caution and wisdom, closed our Church buildings to “in-house” worship, so as not to put our people at risk.  And honestly, there was nothing wrong with doing this temporarily.  We were protecting our people, as a good shepherd would do, against an unseen monster.  And quite honestly, it was used by God to proclaim the Gospel all around the world like never before, because of so many Pastors getting online and preaching!  But now that short period of time, for many churches, has grown into an extended period of time with no end in sight.  Or in some cases, the “END” keeps getting moved!  It’s like trying to kick a field goal when the goal post keeps moving!  The monsters have roared,………We have screamed,…….and power has been generated!  But not the power of the Holy Spirit we celebrate this Pentecost Sunday, but the power of fear and intimidation!  Here’s the thing about monsters,……….THEY ALWAYS LIE!  Some of the lies the monsters outside our doors have told us is that we are NOT “Essential!”  Not essential?  What is more essential than the salvation and deliverance of the human soul?  Much more essential than a liquor store or even a Big Box Store, and CERTAINLY much more essential than the “killing-machine” of ABORTION!  Yes, the demon god Baal is still being worshipped by Modern “enlightened” Humanity!

It is alarming to me, to see how easily we Americans have willingly surrendered our Constitutional Rights, as long as ……….”YOU KEEP ME SAFE!”  And the monster………ROARS!  But honestly, this weird year of 2020, this Last of the Last-Days events we see being fulfilled all around us, has many monsters that are outside, but coming through the “door” to scare us!  Monsters like:  Unemployment, financial collapse and poverty, loss of retirement, international “wars and rumors of wars,” severe racial abuse and murder, civil unrest, arrest or fines if we simply want to go to church, conspiracy theories and some conspiracies that are all too real and authentic, and of course; the pandemic.  The pandemic, so aptly named at this time, because PAN means many and DEMIC means demons, so pandemic means “MANY DEMONS!”  And that is indeed what the Body of Christ is fighting in 2020,…..MANY DEMONS!  Monsters if you will, who are determined to cause us to cower in fear and cause us to surrender!  NEVER…..NEVER…..NEVER surrender to MONSTERS!  If you do, they will continually come through the doors of your peace and joy!

Pentecost is upon us!  Thank God!  And I declare Prophetically that THIS Pentecost Sunday, POWER is going to come upon the Church of Jesus Christ once AGAIN!  Power to defeat EVERY MONSTER that is trying to scare us and intimidate us!  YOU,…….Brother and Sister in Christ, MUST receive once again that POWER; that dunamis (dynamic) POWER of the Holy Spirit to face head-on the monsters that are roaring outside our doors and UTTERLY DEFEAT THEM through the Power of the Holy Spirit!  Again, understand, Prophetically speaking, the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE POURED OUT UPON ALL WHO WILL RECEIVE BY FAITH ON THIS PENTECOST SUNDAY,………as we further prepare for the monsters we’re dealing with RIGHT NOW, and the Last of the Last-Days!”  God bless you!

~~~Pastor Steve Gardner

Sunday, March 1, 2020

I Can Remain Silent No More.......

I have been a credentialed minister with the Church of God for 38 years now.  The majority of that time has been as a Lead Pastor.  I have made it a point in my ministry to not preach politics since I have pastored Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and those who refused to vote at all because of the lies and corruption they saw.  I am a Preacher of the Bible,…..not a proclaimer of politics, and with this hardline stance still in place, I assure you that what I say here now, is NOT political but moral.
I woke up this morning with a deep heaviness that has compelled me to write on the topic that the worship of Molech is still very much alive and well in the world generally, and in America specifically.  As you may remember, Molech was the demon deity worshiped by the Canaanites, who required child sacrifice.  The First-Born child of a Couple would be place on the red hot arms of a metal idol of Molech and burned alive, for the purpose of financial prosperity for the family and future children.  God strictly condemned and forbade His People from participating in this evil act of murdering children (SEE Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kings 23:10; and Jeremiah 32:35).  Imagine the intense unbearable pain that a new-born child must have felt as he/she was laid in the red hot arms of Molech!  And imagine the cold evil hearts of a society that could do such a thing, for their personal expediency.  And in your imaginings, you have now described the abortion industry in America, the modern-day worship of Molech, for the expediency of a society that desires pleasure, without the price tag.  Unfortunately that is American society today, and even more unfortunately, some confessing Christians dismiss this abominable act completely!
As I said, this is NOT a political post, but as we are now in the American election cycle, we have to ask ourselves the question…….”Will we remain silent about the many babies, the most innocent among us, being offered as living sacrifices on the altar of America’s Molech?  I have heard good COG people lament over candidates who they believe have character issues that are to some, very unsettling.  “They said this thing wrong; they said that in their past!”  I get that!  But the question that SHOULD dominate our minds when “ALIGNING” ourselves with someone as we approach our American right to vote is…”Does this candidate approve of and promote the horrible sin of child-sacrifice to Molech,…..aka ABORTION?”  If they do, then as Christians, and especially as Ministers, we MUST not be aligned with ANYONE, no matter how much we like their promises of financial prosperity or equal treatment for all, who can promote the ungodly evil practice of Child-Sacrifice called ABORTION!
If these precious babies, the most innocent among us, cannot depend upon the Men and Women of God to stand against and preach against this horrible sin, who can they depend on?  So, when we, as Americans, are considering who to align with and vote for, will we like the some Christians during the Nazi regime “sing hymns a little louder as the concentration trains went by full of Jews headed for the furnaces” or will we understand that THE litmus test for ANY candidate Republican, Democrat, or Independent MUST be………………”Do they support the worship of America’s Molech and the painful gruesome murder of little babies?”  This is my heartfelt Pastoral belief!  God bless you all and thank you for serving the Lord and His Kingdom!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bringing Along the Younger!

In a matter of a very short time, my Father; my Father in Law; and my Mentor all passed away.  I remember saying to one of the many Younger Ministers I had mentored...…"I have no more Role Models who are living!  Now what am I to do?"  Without hesitation this "Son-in-the-Faith" said to me...…"You are now the Role Model; you are now in that place!"  Wow!  What an eye opener and a staggering realization of just exactly how God created things to "reproduce" themselves!  And after 36 years of Credentialed ministry in the Church of God, with 30 of those years being a Lead Pastor, there are times I still feel like the "kid" in the room!  But of course, I am not!  My new descriptive title is...……"Seasoned-Pastor!"  Sigh!!!

Yet it is an interesting anomaly that everything in life reproduces itself except in some cases, Ministerial Leadership.  While everything else in the created world looks with eagerness to reproduce itself, and generate a younger version of itself, many Seasoned Pastors look with suspicion upon the Younger Ministers who are following in the pathways that they have cleared.  Not all, but far too many, have suspicions of these Younger Pastors weakening and watering-down the faith because of their different ideas and methodologies.  They don't use the "proven" methodologies that we "Seasoned-Pastors" have utilized and proven in our ministry.  When farmers plowed with horses, they were sufficient for the job.  But now, one would have to look far to find a farm today that doesn't use a modern tractor of some brand to do their plowing!  The plowing is still getting done!  The seed is still being planted!  The seed is still growing!  The harvest is still happening!  And people are still being fed by what is grown!  The results are the same, yet better!  The times spent in labor has been reduced by the modern equipment as well as the amount of land that can be prepared, planted, and harvested.  The process is done much faster and efficiently than with a good ol' horse and plow!
What's so funny is, we never find ourselves as a people looking back on those horses and plows with contempt, but rather with nostalgia and fond memories!  Nor do we look upon a tractor and proclaim....."There's that beast that ruined the worlds farming process!  We look upon both with honor and respect, and in some cases a bit of nostalgia!

But too often, not always, but far too often; in Ministry Leadership, we look with distain and distrust either on the Younger ministers with their new innovative ways, or upon the Seasoned ministers with frustration on their commitment to older outdated methodologies.  Brothers and Sisters, either stance is an affront to God and His created order of "reproduction."  In that order, both the "parent" and the "off-spring" are needed and highly regarded as they fulfill their created task!

Seasoned Pastors, not every Younger Pastor with their new and innovative ways is on a mission from hell to destroy the Church and its Biblical truths!  Younger Pastors, not every Seasoned Pastor has an unreasonable commitment to outdated methods of ministry!  You see, as a "Seasoned Pastor," I understand how we can become creatures of habit to the methodology that worked for us for many years!  But as a Mentoring Pastor, I also know that I do not want to keep on plowing with a horse and plow, if a tractor with the keys in it is waiting for me to get the job done!  THE BODY OF CHRIST NEEDS BOTH OF US!...….The Older as Mentors and Father/Mothers!  The Younger as energetic innovators who have a fresh strategy from the Lord!  I have heard modern Praise choruses blended wonderfully with older Hymns in a beautiful symphony of sound!  God intends for both the Seasoned and the Younger Pastors to "BLEND" together in that same beautiful symphony of ministry, for His Kingdom advance and the glory of Christ!

Thank you Seasoned-Pastors for your years of faithful dedicated and proven service to the King!......And Come On' Younger Pastors with a brand new TRACTOR to get the job done more efficiently!  Younger Pastors learn from us Seasoned Pastors and allow us to Mentor you!  Seasoned Pastors....jump on the new Tractor the Younger Pastors provide and experience the RIDE OF YOUR LIFE!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fertile Soil...

Some of the most fertile soil God can use to instruct us and teach us valuable truths about Himself and His Kingdom, is trials.  Current Christian thinking conditions us to run from these times as if we are in some new dispensation devoid of conflict.  While God is desiring to reveal Himself to us, we often are busy “confessing” away the very vehicle with which He can use to teach us such deep truths about His nature and our relationship to Him!  The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9…..”We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”  The Word of Faith teaching of “confessing away all trials, struggles, and difficult periods that has invaded Western Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity, has hindered and for many nullified the effectiveness of Romans 8:28 where God gives instruction on how He will use the very trials, and attacks of the enemy to our benefit, utilizing them as periods of instruction concerning His Nature and our relationship to Him in this…..”And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

In the midst of those periods of trial, there is a “hiding-place” God has created just for you, where there is provision, protection, love, and instruction!  This is the “cleft” of the rock where the Shepherd will protect His sheep!

Monday, September 24, 2018

New Season,.....New Challenges,......For the Pastor!

The Christian Church has been talking a lot lately about the increase of pastoral struggles and frustrations which in many instances, have led to depression.  There have been some who have criticized these pastors for the very feelings of anxiety and depression that they are battling through.  In some instances, calling into question their very Faith or their inability to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit's comfort and power.  Unfortunately, these types of responses from "peers" have been the catalyst for many of these struggling pastors to suffer in silence and not talk about their spiritual and emotional battles.  Older more 'seasoned" pastors who have completely their Pastoral assignment, will often not be able to understand the validity of these newer or "in-their-prime" pastors who are battling these emotions.  These struggling pastors will sometimes hear statements like:  "I never had these kinds of emotions and battles when I pastored!"  Or, "You need to be more dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit!"  Or, "Have you never heard of the power of Jesus?"  While this kind of thinking may have worked for many who have completed their pastorates, it should not surprise us that in these Last-Days there is an increase of attack against the Shepherds of the Lord's Flocks!  Jesus shared this tactical warfare understanding when speaking to His own Disciples prior to His betrayal and Passion when He said....."Strike the Shepherd, and the Sheep will scatter!"  

Jesus also prepared us that in these Last-Days, there would be an increase of evil before His Return.
And the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1, warned his Son in the Faith, and all of us who would carry the mantle of Pastor, that in the Last-Days there would be very difficult times!  So, why would it surprise us that these Last-Days pastors are facing an increase of evil and spiritual attack?  Why would we NOT think that the attacks; the battles; and the struggles are not the same as they were in the 1960's; 70's; and 80's?  So, what must we do?  We more "seasoned" pastors must be MENTORS and COUNSELORS through these demonic attacks against our shepherds!  We must come along side of them; befriend them; listen to them; pray for them; encourage them; and engage in spiritual warfare FOR them!  Brothers and Sisters, this is NOT a time for criticism and complaint against the very ones who are leading our Movement!  This IS the time to support them and validate their ministry and recognize them time we are living in!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Efficacy of the Atonement of Christ

"But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.......When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear."---Hebrews 8:6 & 13 NLT.

In the Garden of Eden, both man and woman fell.  They disobeyed the command of God and sinned. In Genesis 3:16-19, the punishment for their sin is pronounced by God. Their punishment is pronounced on an individual basis, and with individual elements involved within that pronouncement to both the man and the woman. Let's take a look at those individual pronouncements of judgment from God to both of them:

Genesis 3:16-19 NLT.
Then he said to the woman,
“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”
And to the man he said,
”Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

This is the pronouncement of their individual punishment for their sin, however included with that is the previous pronouncement that they would surely die! This was a complete death; body, soul and spirit. This is not only the point at which death entered humanities life, but the elements of death as well, such as sickness and disease.

Fast forward to now! Addressing Christian Believers, the members of the Lord's Body. Here we are now faced with a very interesting theological issue before us. That issue is the elements of the New Covenant. A covenant that the writer of Hebrews refers to as a "better covenant.........based on better promises!" It is an interesting theological conundrum for many within the Body of Christ, even the Pentecostal element of the Body of Christ, in which some will say that they believe in that “BETTER” covenant based on “BETTER” promises, but in their practice, they demonstrate this covenant in a limited fashion.

For example: Many Christian Believers will make the following statements of theological assertions pertaining to the pronouncement of judgment against humanities sin in Genesis. First, they will say that they believe what the Apostle Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17---"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" They are a completely new person with a new life in Christ, with new and better promises than the old covenant!

Second, they will say that in relation to man having to work by the sweat of his brow, toiling against the earth and all of creation which is suffering from humanities fall, that now our provision is in and through Christ! They will agree with the better covenants better promise of God's provision through Christ, shared by the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:19---"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."

Now, those same Christian Believers who so readily agree with these assertions of "BETTER" promises from a "BETTER" covenant which is all in Christ, these same believers will then look at our Sisters who are called by God to Leadership positions in the Church and say.........."You MUST be in SUBMISSION to your husband so, therefore, you CANNOT be in a position of leadership over men!" When asked to explain their stance, many will say that it is because of the pronouncement of judgment against the sin of Eve that we just read in Genesis 3:16.

Honestly, these are the same Believers who will readily say and believe that the affects and consequences of sin have been paid for through the vicarious atonement of Christ! AND that those effects of sin were taken upon Jesus, AND that person who is "IN" Christ is a brand new person, AND the judgement of our sin was placed upon Christ for ALL who believe! ........Well, at least if you’re a male, but if you’re a female, you must STILL, even after being in Christ and supposedly being a new creation, pay for and be subject to the penalties of the sins of your mother Eve! Respectfully, that application doesn’t sound like a better covenant to me!

It sounds like, by some believer’s theology, that the "BETTER" promises from a "BETTER" covenant, which is in Christ, ONLY works if you happen to be a male! Now listen, I really, REALLY like being a male!!! However, I like being theologically correct and Biblically sound in my exegesis even better, which is what this article is appealing to! For those who through their subjective beliefs have tried to superimpose upon the Word of God a presupposition which predominately favors males, I ask you to reconcile the following passages of Scripture, making reference to the "BETTER" promises within a "BETTER" covenant and your current beliefs:

First, in the writings of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, in chapter 5, we see the verses most often used to show that women must remain under the judgment of the original sin, even though they are NOW in Christ. Verses 22-33 are the verses that have most often been used to show the wife's submission to the husband. However, if we take the admonition of Paul in regards to submission correctly, we have to back up our passage selection by one verse! Paul says in Galatians 5:21---
"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Then Paul goes on to show how that works within the "HOME!" Paying vital attention to HOW God had uniquely made both male and female. The Husband with the personal need of respect. The Wife with the personal need of love. However, there is mutuality within the submission, with demonstration given by Paul within the family!

Second, Paul writes to the church at Ephesus and shares the nature of that "BETTER" covenant and some of the "BETTER" promises within that covenant, which is in Christ!
Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT---"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding."

I pretty much believe what Paul shares here, speaks for itself. We are IN Christ and we are NOW experiencing "BETTER" promises from a "BETTER" covenant! These "BETTER" promises from a "BETTER" covenant are for ALL who believe, BOTH men and women! Thank God for those better covenant promises that unite us under the blood stained banner of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! It is theologically incongruent to say that we believe in the VICARIOUS atonement of Jesus, for the FULL pardon of our sins, and yet believe that we are still under the curse of sin's judgment! The meaning of vicarious simply means: 1. performed, exercised, received, or suffered in place of another: vicarious punishment. 2. Taking the place of another person or thing. Theologically that means that Christ "positioned" Himself in the place of judgment from God the Father that was meant for us! And NOW, through Christ, any and ALL who place their faith in Him are free from that judgment of sin!......... This is basic biblical Soteriology! My Brothers and Sisters, we MUST be careful that our personal presuppositions do NOT get in the way of our hermeneutics!
Let's take a look at the broader context of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we mentioned above and look at what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21............

"Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."

WOW!!!........ That's pretty straight forward! Look again at those two phrases in verses 16 and 21---"So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view!" ........ "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin!" Jesus took upon Himself the judgment, curse and penalty of the sins of humanity! NOT just for the MALE'S but for the FEMALE'S as well,........ for EVERYONE who places their faith in Jesus! I repeat the Apostle Paul's statement of this "BETTER" covenant’s "BETTER" promise............. "This means that ANYONE who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is GONE; a new life has BEGUN!!!"..................... And oh, by the way,.......... that means for women too!

What I humbly challenge each of us to understand is, ……… What we ALL are doing is about the Kingdom of God, and its advancement. This “Better Covenant” from “Better Promises” means that ALL who are “IN-CHRIST,” are part of His Kingdom, and the Holy Spirit and His Gifting’s are available to all of us! These Spirit-Empowered gifting’s are HOW the Church is to be administered! All of the Foundational Leadership gifts given to the Church of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher; are ascribed to CHRIST! In Hebrews 3:1, Jesus is referred to as our APOSTLE. In Matthew 21:11, He is referred to as a Prophet. In 1 Peter 2:25 Jesus is referred to as our “Shepherd” (a word used for Pastor). In John 3:2 Jesus is referred to as “Teacher.” And of course we know that no one can dispute the fact that Jesus, in His ministry here on earth, was the consummate Evangelist, winning MANY souls to the Kingdom of God!

Now having said this, we need to fully understand that EACH and EVERYONE of us who have surrendered our lives to Christ, are now……..IN CHRIST! 1 Corinthians 12:27---“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” and 1 Peter 2:9---“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” And since Christ is referred to, in one way or another, by the very titles that He gives to the Church for leadership; and since we ALL as Believers are in Christ, then these Foundational Gifts of Leadership given to those who are IN Christ are available to ALL who are CALLED by Him!