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A Carbon Copy

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The Bible is clear that there are things here that are but shadows of, or copies of the greater things in heaven.

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Here are just a few stats on the state of porn from the last year, according to one of the most popular hardcore porn websites today, Pornhub:
-In 2016 alone, Pornhub got 23 BILLION visits. That’s 729 people a second, or 64 million a day—nearly equal to the population of the United Kingdom.
-Enough porn was watched in 2016 on this one website that all the data would fill 194,000,000 USB sticks. If you put the USB sticks end to end, they’d wrap all the way around the moon.
-Last year alone, 91,980,225,000 videos were watched on Pornhub. That’s 12.5 videos for every person on the planet.
-Also, 4,599,000,000 hours of porn were watched on the site in just one year. That’s equal to 5,246 centuries.
-Age 11 is the average age at which most children are exposed to pornography for the 1st time! (Recently, research by security technology company Bitdefender found that kids under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online porn consumption among the under 18 age bracket!)
We are starting this on Thursday, April 5, 2018. There are sign-up sheets out in the front foyer on the information table.
We will announce which church it will be starting at, but either way, it will go back and forth.
There will be two workbooks that will be available to purchase (they are not mandatory, but highly recommended). The cost for the two books will be given after we have a good idea of how many people will be attending. (Probably around $25 for both workbooks)
Even if you, personally, do not have a struggle with pornography addiction, I would like to strongly ask that each man, at least consider attending the classes, because of the material that is presented and its benefits in helping others that you may know of who are struggling with this very thing!
And this reason aligns perfectly with our role as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, just as the Bible tells us:
, “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.”
, “ My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
Guys, here’s the deal. Pornography is the devil’s greatest tool that he has ever used in destroying our marriages, our children, our families and homes, our jobs and ultimately, THE CHURCH!! It is, basically, in every church based upon statistics; no matter where you go.
There can no longer be a deaf ear and a blind eye given to this worldwide EPIDEMIC!
Two years ago, the men of this church, at around this same time of the year, made a pledge, after a special service. Each man that elected to do so, signed a resolution which read as follows. (READ THE RESOLUTION)
We are called to be the light to the world. I am calling the men of this church out, to stand upon your pledge, to protect your wives and your marriages, to protect our children and guide them in the ways of the Word of God! I am calling the men out to FIGHT.......FIGHT for what God has entrusted to you and not allow the enemy anymore ground into our homes and churches!
I would like the men of the church, the sons of the one true Lord and King, to stand to their feet right now and take a good long look around you! Gentlemen, in this very room, at this very moment, you are looking at potential casualties of the spiritual war that rages against on us! Your wives, your sons and daughters, your grandchildren and your friends are all potential casualties to this disease that the enemy has flooded our nation with!

How many of you know, that when a painter or a sculptor, makes a masterpiece, they make, just the one. That is, they don’t try to recreate it over and over again, right?

And so, if I want to obtain my own painting of the Leonardo DaVinci’s, “The Last Supper”, I have to buy a what?
Right, I would buy a copy of that painting. I can’t just run down to WalMart and purchase an original DaVinci, or a Van Gogh.
As big and as loaded with just about everything under the sun that you want to buy that has grown to offer, I still can’t click on their website and order an official Michelangelo’s David sculpture and have it shipped to my door using my Amazon Prime, free two day shipping, right?
And we can laugh about this, as we are all intelligent enough to understand that there are original creations and then there are copies of the originals.
And even with the copies, there still varies degrees of accuracy and quality, right?
I mean, if I want a cheap variation of the Mona Lisa, I can literally go on Amazon and get one for around $30.
However, if I want a better quality oil rendition of this, then I can pay several hundred dollars or even up to a thousand dollars!
My granny Bess’ fried chicken was an original masterpiece! There was nothing else like that I’ve ever had.
Now, I can go to Bea’s Restaurant in downtown Chattanooga and get a really good fried chicken dinner, as a copy to my Grannies’ chicken or, if I want a cheaper version, I can go to the deli department at WalMart and get some fried chicken.
Point being, there is the original and then there are copies.

Well, in the book of Exodus, in chapters 25-30, we read of the account where God gives His servant Moses the instructions for building the wilderness tabernacle, as well as the articles that would go with it.

When you came into the east gate of the outer court, there you would find the altar of burnt offering (for all the sacrifices offered up before the Lord as burnt offerings) and then the bronze basin of water (used by the priests for washing their hands and feet, both before offering the sacrifices, or before entering the tabernacle).
Only the children of Israel were to enter into the courtyard, it was not for just anyone to come and hang out in.
Then, upon entering the Holy place through the first doorway, you would find the three articles that were attended to by the priests, ONLY, every day. (The children of Israel were not allowed into the Holy Place or the room just to the west of it, the Holy of Holies; only the priests were allowed in to the Holy Place!)
In the Holy Place, you would find the table for the bread of the Presence, the golden lampstand and the altar of incense.
Twice a day (morning and evening), the priest would go in and tend the lamp and burn the incense before the Lord.
The bread, which sat on the table, was placed anew, every Sabbath, before the Lord.
Then, finally, you have the last room within the tabernacle, which was the Holy of Holies. Within this room, was the box that God instructed Moses to build, which was called the Ark of the Covenant.
This box was covered with a lid which was called the Mercy Seat and shrouded over the Mercy Seat, were the two cherubim, with their wings stretched out towards one another and touching.
It is here, the Holy of Holies, that God’s presence would reside and rest upon the Mercy Seat. (But, only if the HIGH PRIEST did his job and once a year, on the Day of Atonement, sprinkled the Mercy Seat with the blood of the sacrificial animals. Thus, making propitiation, or a covering for the sins of all of the people.

OK, so these things that God said to put into place, (the tabernacle, the priests and all of the implementations for the tabernacle),were there for the benefit of the people, so that God and His presence would remain with them, wherever they went, right?

So, then turn in your Bibles with me to ,
Hebrews 8:1–5 NLT
Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
Did you see what the author of Hebrews just said to us?
“They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven.”
You’re probably thinking, “OK, so what does that mean to me?”
It means this - that everything that God had put into place within the Old Testament and built into tabernacle and worshipping Him, was only a copy of the real thing that exists in Heaven!
All of the amenities that were part of the priesthood and the tabernacle were but mere images, copies of the real and perfect ones that were already in Heaven!
In everything that was present, from the old covenant, the Old Testament, we can now see Jesus, as He came and fulfilled all of it!
And in doing so, He removed the burdens and the barriers that separated us from the glorious presence of God!
Walk with me and let’s enter into the courtyard of the tabernacle, through the east gate. Walking straight ahead, we would instantly be looking upon the brazen altar, were all of the sacrifices were made to God on behalf of the people. It is here, that we find Jesus, as He was was placed upon the altar (the cross) and raised up as the spotless sacrificial lamb of God.
It is here that the most precious gift of all time was poured out for you and I; the BLOOD of JESUS the CHRIST.
The author of Hebrews reminds us of why this happened, by saying, “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. “
If we were to move forward to the bronze basin of water that cleaned the priests hands and feet, we see Jesus, the living water Himself, who forever washes us whole and cleanses us from all unrighteousness!
Then, moving forward into the first curtain and the Holy Place, where only the priest could enter, we would find the golden lampstand, which lit the inner parts of the otherwise dark sanctuary. Here we see Jesus, again, as He became the Light of the World and would forever bring His glorious light into the darkness of the innermost spaces of our lives and our circumstances; even where everything else that we have tried, failed miserably and left us in utter darkness and shame, JESUS SHINES!
If you look across, you can see the table of the bread of the Presence. It was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Himself, who said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.” It is through Jesus and He alone that our souls are fed and our spirits forever satisfied with the bread of the word that forever removes spiritual hunger!
And now turn facing the final barrier, the VEIL which separates all men from the presence of God. Right before it is the altar of the incense which burns continually, as representing the prayers of the saints that would continually pour out to God.
It would be Jesus who would become the mediator and our great intercessor who sits continually before His Father and brings the sweet fragrance of the prayers of His children to God, on our behalf. No more, would a man stand and present our cares and burdens and hurts and offenses before the Father, through practiced and rehearsed means. But now, we lift our prayers directly to Jesus!
We are now ready to move past the VEIL, that great barrier, that for centuries, had stood to remind us that NO ONE was allowed into the presence of God, due to our sin.
In fact, it was only the high priest, himself, who was ever allowed past the veil and into the Holy of Holies, where there sat the only item in that part of the sanctuary; the Ark of the Covenant.
And ONLY one time a year, on the Day of Atonement, was the high priest ever allowed into this chamber, so as to sprinkle the sacrificial blood upon the mercy seat of the ark, so as to make a covering for the sins of he and all of the children of Israel.
Jesus, accomplished all of this at one time. It was at the cross, that He became the sacrificial spotless (sinless) lamb of God and allowed His blood to poured out.
As Jesus finished His perfect work on the cross and died for us all, the veil of the temple was torn in half from top to bottom. This, forever removing the barrier between us and God.
says of this, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Jesus’ flesh became the veil and it was torn once and for all, thus removing the barrier that sin had placed between us and the Father.
And as the Bible says that only the high priest could approach the Mercy Seat once a year and sprinkle the sacrificial blood upon it for the sins of the people for that year, so Jesus became OUR HIGH PRIEST for all times and once and for all sprinkled His PURE AND PERFECT (SINLESS) BLOOD upon it!
And because if this, we have been given direct access to the presence of God! As the author of Hebrews as well as the Apostle Paul tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
And now, looking back from west to east, we no longer see all of the articles of the tabernacle, as Jesus Himself has become the more perfect and permanent replacement from heaven.
In fact, the tabernacle itself has been replaced. We no longer go to a building to draw near to the presence of God, rather God has drawn near to us, through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus.
Our bodies have become the living tabernacles/temples of God’s precious Holy Spirit, that He imparts to each one of those who come to Him through their faith and belief in Jesus.
tells us, “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.”
Now, the only thing that comes to mind for the believer, with respect of east and west, is not the law and offerings for sin at the tabernacle, but it is that the completed work of Jesus that has separated our sins from us far as the east is from the west!
This Jesus, fully human and yet fully God, has removed sin and the weight and shame of it for every believer!
Jesus, as a man, walked into heaven, as our High Priest and sat down at the right hand of the Father.
That is, He entered into the more perfect tent, not made by the hands of men, but the original tabernacle/temple of God in heaven. Once and for all and never to be repeated again!
, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation)  he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. “
, “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”
9:26, “for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
10:10, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
For the first time in all of creation, a man, the man Jesus, our High Priest, walked into heaven, through its gaits and into the perfect presence of God.
Psalm 24:7–10 NKJV
Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
Do you see it church, the King of Glory has entered in, once and for all and sat down as our High Priest, as our Lord and as our Savior!
And He is the exact image, or copy of the living God, just as the earthly tabernacle was an exact copy of the heavenly one. As tells us, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,”.
And as Jesus is the exact image of the glory and nature of God, so also are we to become the EXACT nature and image of Jesus.
tells us that God has predestined those of us who believe in His Son, to be conformed/transformed into the very image of Jesus! A CARBON COPY of Him to the world around us!

What does the world see when it looks at you or me? Does it see our natural self only, or does the image of Christ overtake their eyes and their minds?

John Bevere made the statement in his last book, that too many of us have adopted a KNOCK-OFF Jesus. That is, we have created in our own hearts the lord and savior that we want Him to be in our lives! We have made embraced an image of Him that we feel comfortable calling “Jesus”, because it is one that requires nothing of us. It costs us nothing to have this KNOCK-OFF version of Him.
Having Jesus and His glorious image in your life and emanating from your life, will cost you everything! It means that you must die to yourself, your own wants and desires, DAILY, and live for Him. You must decide everyday that you are willing to yield to His Father’s will and allow Holy Spirit to daily transform you into the IMAGE, the EARTHLY COPY of Jesus to the world around you!
So that you continually decrease and the image of Jesus, continually increases!
Just as John the Baptist said of Jesus to his followers, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”
It is only when we, as individuals, allow ourselves to become transformed into the very image/copy of Jesus, that the church truly begins to appear to the world as His Body. For far too long, the world has witnessed only pieces of the body; hand here, a foot there, an arm or an leg manifesting, but not as ONE COMPLETE FUNCTIONAL BODY since, pretty much the picture of its birth that we have in and 4.
We each start off as blank canvas for the Father to paint upon, when we come through doorway into His Kingdom.
We must remove the barrier that prevents God’s Holy Spirit from working in us and upon us. That barrier is pride of self!
Your hurts and your shame and your doubts, will all become as a blank canvas for the master to paint upon, if you will but allow Him to do so!
Those little things that Holy Spirit is whispering just to you and just for you, many times go unnoticed, because we are not listening to Him.
But each time you listen to and follow what He is speaking into your life, it is as if the master is adding a new brush stroke to the canvas of your life!
Day by day , month by month and year by year, we gradually and purposefully start to take shape as the canvas is filled with the beautiful colors of the master’s paintbrush!
And although sometimes the brush strokes that are transforming us, are painful and costly in the natural, it is what we are becoming that makes it all worth it in the end!
We should long for and embrace that time when the world NO LONGER SEES US!

Paul reminds us of this transformation in , where he says,

1 Corinthians 15:48–49 ESV
As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Do you bear that image to the world around you?
Do people look at you and see a copy of the world, or do they see the image of Jesus looking back at them?!
What is it church, are we bearing the image of the greater and more perfect things in heaven, or are we hiding them behind the marred and imperfect image of this world?
When people look at you, do they begin to see the very nature of Jesus that is demonstrated by Holy Spirit actively working in and through you; which manifests as: His LOVE and JOY and PEACE and KINDNESS and GOODNESS and FAITHFULNESS, HIS GENTLENESS and SELF CONTROL?
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