Archive for September, 2013

Looking for Church

Jesus declares, “…on this rock (revelation of Himself) I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:18-19)

Recently, I went looking for Church.

I met a guy from Uganda who said, “I have a church under a tree.” And that church had planted 6 other churches. And some of those churches had planted dozens of other churches themselves. Today, they have a Bible College that attracts over 200 students. They didn’t have buildings and still have no formal place to call home. They meet in huts and mud houses… and yet the multiplication is nothing short of amazing.

How do they do it… simply put, “They make disciples!”

“That’s all!”

The more we complicate the Kingdom system with programs and buildings, the more we stifle church multiplication. The Word of God and the Spirit of God – that’s all we need.

Introducing Father

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.” (Mt. 6:9)

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4:6)

God Our Father: “Abba” – Papa or Daddy

Do you realize that God was never known as “Father” until Jesus came to earth and revealed Him as such? In prayer Jesus said, “And I have declared to them Your Name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn. 17:26). What name was Jesus referring to? It was the name “Father” (Jn. 14:6). There was nothing more natural to Jesus than introducing us to God as “Father”.

  • “Therefore, do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Mt. 6:31–32)
  • “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Mt. 7:11)

What seems natural to Jesus is supernatural to us. The revelation of “sonship” that the Apostle Paul speaks about, goes beyond just mental assent, it is a Spirit of Sonship. And it wells up within us to confirm the depth of love the Father has for us. Jesus wants us to always have this image of God stirring in our mind… that He is our Abba, our faithful Father. Why? Because it will shape every motivation of the heart.

You are Loved by the Father!

There is something about this knowledge that is more than just practical. No matter how old you are; you are still God’s child, so don’t think that your problem is too small for God. If it is important to you, it is important to your Father as well.

My friend, always remember that He is Abba… your Father!

Tested by Hunger

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3)

Wow, here is an interesting reality. Imagine, you are an Israelite, recently freed after a lifetime of slavery! You just experienced the frightening miracle of the Red Sea… and you come out safe and dry on the other side! You turned to watch as the same walls of water which gave you protection, close to offer you security – by an amazing drowning death on your enemies! You joyously celebrate and dance at God’s victory and deliverance! You feel invincible, knowing God is on your side! Never again will you doubt the One who proved Himself so mighty and faithful!

But now the scene is different, it is a few days later and you are tired, thirsty and hot. You are not at the threshold of the “promised land” yet. Instead you are wandering aimlessly in a desert filled with serpents and scorpions. Now you are feeling tested! Will you trust and believe in the God you have followed?

The Faith Dimension:

Do you believe God mightily delivered you from the power of the enemy to leave you wandering through the desert of confusion and silence? Was this His purpose? Just as the Lord led the children of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness… so He leads you! The devil did not lead you… God did! It was the devil’s goal to enslave you! We must be people of faith, realizing there is a purpose in the midst of dry times! Hunger does something to the human soul! (1st) God humbles us. (2nd) He causes us to hunger. (3rd) Then He feeds us with manna – “Angel Food”.

Choose to Pass the Test:

Praise is what Angels do best… and the “Holy, Holy, Holies” are a response to what is seen and heard in the Presence of God! Praise will awaken your faith! Praise the Lord in the midst of the wilderness, the midnight hour or the season of hunger. We are in training, baby! All along He is teaching us, bringing us to a place where we discover the true nature of our hearts, the true passion of His heart and… the riches of His Glory.

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)

God’s Point of View: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exod. 19:4-6)

“…Man does not live on bread alone but on every Word that comes from the Mouth of the Lord.”

The Faith Dimension

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they did (speaking of those wandering in the wilderness 40 years); but the word which they heard did not profit them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest…” (Heb. 4:1-3)

Do you see it? Do you see the faith dimension? The above verses make it clear… If we believe, then we can enter spiritual rest!

If we Believe?

Yes, that’s the point. Its not the same religious stuff that so many are experiencing in the church today. Its a participation in the love only found in the Father’s heart! When we come to believe in Christ and truly trust in Him, something has to take place in the heart of a person. How can the most powerful love in the universe make such a small impact upon our tiny broken heart? Its like being hit by a Mack Truck at 200 miles an hour and getting up from the pavement with the thought… “Is that all you got?”

The Disconnect:

Notice from the passage above, that the word being heard did not profit the hearers, because it was not mixed with faith. Here was a people who could not obey God; could not trust God, because they just could not get past the 400 years of bondage and all of those human expectations. They were unable to feel like sons and daughters, because of their “slave mentality”. They had made bricks and made bricks, reached quotas and followed their masters. Now God was asking for them to trust in His love. It was too hard… tell us what we need to do? It required faith, something they had long given up on.

There has to be more… and there is!

Entering into rest, is not a new concept – but it requires us to surrender our slave mentality. No more bricks, quotas or masters… God has done all the work. We are undergoing a renewal of the mind, a transformation… where faith emerges from the experience in God’s love. It was the Apostle Paul who told us that all that mattered was “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). Christ reveals the Father’s love by showing us mercy at the cross, preparing a place for us in His heart and ushering us in by the Holy Spirit. We are a people walking in fellowship with the Father’s love… experiencing mercy, forgiveness and glory. Its this revelation that calms our restless wandering; it heals, renews and restores the orphan feelings of the past (Jn. 14:18). We cease from our work and no longer live for the approval of others, breaking the slave mentality and freeing us to believe the truth. The faith dimension is opened by supernatural love, because we see that we are accepted by the Father, in the Beloved Son – Jesus (Eph. 1:6).

So… 3 suggestions we must take to heart.

  1. Be Careful… spiritual rest must not be underestimated nor ignorantly missed simply because we find it difficult to receive love.
  2. Its the Same Gospel… spiritual rest is available to all who hear and obey its promise. “God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16-17)
  3. Embrace the Father’s Love… spiritual rest is the resource that meets the need of the orphan heart.

The Promise Still Remains: Jesus said “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go… I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (Jn. 14:2-3)

Lack of Knowledge

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge, but as the Bible clearly indicates; it causes confusion and division… even destruction among those who are content to live in it. Confusion, division, and disagreement abound in religious circles. I would even go as far as to say Christianity is experiencing its greatest challenges to date, because the Body of Christ will not find its footing on Biblical foundations. God’s people are divided, because they have become Biblically illiterate and spiritually blind and deaf. The Church promotes hundreds of different denominations, wearing different names, worshiping in different ways and teaching different doctrinal beliefs. It is important that we consider why there is so much confusion, disagreement, and division, because Jesus does not approve of this reality. His words have not changed, “I will build My Church” upon the Rock of Revelation, that I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Mt. 16:18). Jesus is seeking a people who will become “one” in spiritual unity (Jn. 17:20-23) and once again walk in the Glory of God.

So What’s Going On?

Does the Bible contradict itself? Is it impossible to understand? Do people fail to study diligently enough, resulting in ignorance? Are the problems caused by following man-made creeds and authority instead of following the Bible? What does God’s word say? Well first we need to understand that its not a new problem! Even in Christ’s day, the People of Israel had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:1-3) and the Sadducees were in error, because they did not know the Scriptures (Mt. 22:29). Many things can lead to a lack of knowledge, but in order for the Body of Christ to exhibit the kind of character that pleases God and the kind of power that makes a difference in the world; we must be continually growing in our knowledge of the truth.

Spreading the Word of Life!1. Some Have Not Heard: (Rom. 10:14)

This might be difficult to believe, but many people have never had opportunity to hear and become a disciple of the truth. This was the case of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-11:18) and the Ethiopian traveler (Acts 8:26-39). Such people need to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, whereby they can be saved (Acts 11:14) and discover their true identity and freedom from sin (Col. 1:13-14).

2. Some Ignore the Truth: (2 Tim. 2:15)

Many people, even those who say they are believers; simply do not study the Bible diligently enough (Heb. 4:12). To discern good from evil, we must have our “senses exercised by reason of use” (Heb. 5:12-14). In other words, we must grow our spiritual senses beyond the level of our natural senses. We must “search the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) in order to renew our minds and cause our lives to conform to God’s will. More spiritual error and division result from lack of study, than anything else, because God watches over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12). If we are diligent, He will reveal Himself in the pages of Scripture. He does not allow the Word to return void or leave us spiritually barren (Jn. 15:7-8)… we will bear fruit!

3. Some are Spiritually Blinded by the Devil: (2 Cor. 4:4)

Even if a person studies and quotes the Bible, he may not use it properly (Mt. 4:5-7), but twist its meaning for personal gain or self-justification. For example, some people try to prove their practices by the Old Testament, not knowing that we are no longer under Law (Rom. 7:2-6; Heb. 10:9-10; Gal. 3:24-25; Col. 2:14-16). Others take only part of a Bible teaching, but ignore other verses on the same subject. As a result, they reach conclusions that contradict other Scriptures (Mt. 4:4-7; Acts 3:22,23; Mt. 28:20). One of the most important realities of the Bible is that it renews the mind, lifts a veil and carries a power for transformation. We can truly be made free from the blindness of the devil… if we know the truth, love the truth and abide in the truth (Jn. 8:32).

Jesus said – “Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!” (Jn. 8:36)

The Key of Knowledge: It is Jesus!

  • Jesus said “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” (Jn. 14:6).
  • “Woe to you lawyers (Pharisees)! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.” (Lk. 11:52)
  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:1 & 14)

Jesus came as the Logos or “Word” made flesh… He was – and still is, the logic of God and the truth made manifest in human form. Jesus is perfect theology. He walked in perfect unity with the Father, opening blind eyes and revealing the knowledge of God and the Kingdom of God, to which access would be offered by His own Blood. He is the only door into this knowledge, because He is the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. The key to knowledge is found in Jesus (Heb. 1:1-3)! The breakthroughs we are after are held in His hands, and to know Him is to know the Father’s peace… a peace that goes beyond merely understanding information (Phil 4:6-7). Jesus came that you and I might know God (Jn. 17:3), know His heart (Jn. 15:15) and have abundant life through a personal relationship with Him (Jn. 10:9-10).

Indeed my friends, we must avoid the destruction that comes because of a lack of knowledge. When we turn toward God through Christ… a veil is lifted from the heart, and the Holy Spirit reveals the key to knowledge (2 Cor. 3:15-18). It is found in Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), the Glory of God! There is no need to walk without the knowledge of God.

When we abide in the love of God by believing and obeying the truth… He makes Himself known to us! (Jn. 14:21)

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