Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

Power of Persuasion: Part 3

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

  • “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:37-39)
  • “I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12)

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:31-32)

The Truth shall make you free… free from sin – free from ignorance – free to find a confident place to rest your hope! This Power of Persuasion is the Believer’s platform of reality. In things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, our life is directly tied to a knowledge of the Truth! Remember “Truth” is reality from God’s perspective!

Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge! You cannot live in what you do not know! As the Bible clearly indicates – a knowledge of the love of God and a confident assurance in Christ’s ability to do what He says… brings us deliverance and strength! Ignorance causes all kinds of confusion and division… even destruction among those who are content to live in it. Confusion, division, and disagreement abound… even in religious circles. I would even go as far as to say, Christianity is experiencing its greatest challenge to date… the weak efforts to disciple its followers. The Body of Christ seems unwilling to find its footing on Biblical foundations. God’s people are divided, because they are spiritually blind and Biblically illiterate. 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 God does not approve of this reality.

The Words of Jesus have not changed. He said, “I will build My Church” upon Himself – the Rock of Revelation… that is that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:18). Jesus is seeking a people who will become “one” in spiritual knowledge and unity (Jn. 17:20-23) and once again walk in the Glory of God!

So What’s Going On Today?

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? The answer to all these questions is… What did Jesus say?

  1. The Key is to Know Him: To become persuaded requires an encounter and some experience with God and His Son Jesus, the Christ! (Jn. 17:3)
  2. Next Make Room for His Words: To become persuaded means there must be a renewing of our mind! (1 Cor. 2:6-16)
  3. Finally Willingly Trust in God: To become persuaded takes an enormous amount of faith – faith comes by hearing …the Words of Christ! (Rom. 10:17)

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8)

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 Sadducee crowd found themselves in error, because they did not know the Scriptures (Mt. 22:29). Its amazing how passionate we can become and be completely wrong in the arena of knowledge. We must know Him and have a knowledge of the Truth, in order 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 so faith will increase and the Holy Spirit will feel welcome to guide our steps.

Here is the Apostle Paul’s word: “I Press Toward the Goal”

Because there is a Prize… “And it becomes the Power of Persuasion”

Its God’s voice calling me upward in Christ Jesus!

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” (Phil. 3:12-16)

Capturing A Heart

I am Your Chosen Child

Jesus is the Master… “At Capturing A Heart”

It was what a friend of mine calls “a life intervention”, between Saul of Tarsus and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it becomes the life changing event where Saul becames Paul and a destiny is transformed. It was somewhere along the Damascus Road that a light from Heaven peered directly into a very dark place… Saul’s heart.

A Stubborn Heart:

His was no ordinary heart, it was thirsting for blood and zealous for a law without mercy. The determination and hatred seemed to overflow in his quest for letters of approval from the governing leaders of Jerusalem. It made him a persecuter of the Church and pursuer of Christians. “Still breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord”, this ruthless man seemed convinced that the followers of “The Way” needed “to be bound and brought to Jerusalem”.

Divine Encounter:

What could have been an end, becomes a transformation. A light from Heaven, the voice of Jesus and three days without physical sight made all that seemed so desperate, pale in its urgency. Saul was now waiting for a visitor in a place he had never been, from someone he had never met, with a message he would never have imagined.

What could this mean?

While at the house of a man named Judas, on Straight Street, Saul was left to consider the vision of the Risen Lord Jesus for three long days. Would this end in death? Would it be quick or was God’s Son so angry that He would torture the persecuter? Saul would have no sight, just an echo in his heart of an encounter that struck him to the ground. ”Could it really be true that this Jesus had risen from the dead?” This would re-focus anyone’s life, but what could Jesus mean by “you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6).

Receiving Sight!

Ananias enters the house; and laying his hands on Saul he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). Jesus was saying, “I have chosen you as My vessel to bear My name before Gentiles, Kings and the Children of Israel” (Acts 9:14), but more than that, He was capturing the heart by an encounter with the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he would never be the same again! Scales fell away and a new determination was birthed within his heart. Saul would be wrecked forever, because his heart had been captured by Love, Himself… not the emotion, the Holy Spirit.

Filled with the Holy Spirit!

The Lord Jesus captured the heart of the persecuter; Saul, by filling him with the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt for anyone to become completely captured, they must be completely filled with the Holy Spirit. I have heard it said that in order to remove a passion from a heart, like fear or hate; it must be conquered by a greater passion, like chosenness and love. My only comment is that when the Holy Spirit fills a person, He captures the seat of all passion.

“I count all things loss…that I may gain Christ.” (Phil 3:8)

We read in the Apostle Paul’s words, an expression of the captured  heart. He holds forth a compelling satisfaction in knowing Christ Jesus as Lord and a desire to see the salvation of his fellow countrymen. This formerly driven persecuter was now focused on preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike (Rom 10:1-4). His greatest desire and prayer to God for all of them was that they might be saved. His longing was that they turn to the Lord Jesus Christ for the capturing of their own hearts.

Preach the Word

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:1-2)

A Sobering Demand:

These words, “I charge you” are used daily in our courts of law to speak to the heart of a witness and remind them of the serious nature of their testimony. That sobering moment when a witness stands with their right hand raised is designed to place a demand upon the person’s conscience and hold them accountable, so that what they will say will be “the truth and nothing but the truth”. We see then, that the Apostle Paul places a demand upon his “son”, Timothy. He is to preach the Word with the same urgency, when circumstances are favorable and when they are not. Paul is speaking to the heart of Timothy’s leadership, before the Presence of the Judge.  

The charge is… Preach the Word. The responsibility is not just preaching, but what is being preached. He will give an account for the content of the message, not the style, form or delivery. In the Apostle Paul’s instruction comes a warning, not to preach what the listeners want to hear, but instead to preach the truth in love.

The Apostle Paul’s Rich Example:

“I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20)

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the Kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyranus. And this continued for two years so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:8-10)

Paul did intensive, continual teaching of the Word, because it is so important for releasing breakthrough. He preached everyday for two years in order to “convince, rebuke and exhort with longsuffering and teaching” as he also charged Timothy to do. He did not preach the Word haphazardly or get distracted by the social themes of the day. It was extensive in the sense that his teaching reached the entire province of Asia and his teaching was able to shift the culture by using its gods as a backdrop to clarify Kingdom realities (Acts 17:22-23). His goal was to influence more than just the educational class, it was to bring heaven’s government into earthly spheres. His message never strayed from the Word of God and he relied upon its wisdom and power (Rom. 1:16-17)(1 Cor. 2:1-5).

The Word Brings Results:

The first result was conflict. Yet by consistently pressing forward with truth and Kingdom authority, darkness was penetrated and spiritual breakthroughs were experienced. Supernatural manifestations, miracles, healings and the removal of darkness did not come over night, but they did come. The Apostle Paul was seeing breakthrough released by the Word being preached with clarity. The Scripture says that God will confirm His Word (Jer. 1:10-12). He does not confirm human theories, but God will confirm what He has said in His Word (Isa. 55:10-11)(Mk. 16:15-20). 

“God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.”  (Acts 19:11-12)

I love the idea of “Unusual Miracles”… results that are the fruit of the transformational power of Preaching the Word of God. Its what we are after in our Christian Leadership Model.

Tithe Confusion Part 4

Jews Do Not Tithe:

Jewish Rabbis today; those who should know the history of Abraham, the Mosaic Law and the teaching of the Prophets better than the Christian Church, do not collect tithes or use the tithe system to provide the resources for their ministry. They know only Levites can collect the tithe and the genealogical records were lost in the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Since they cannot determine who true Levites are; they use a patron system of so many dollars for each seat in their synagogues to raise funds for the support and maintenance of their ministry. Of course, the more prominent seats command a higher price, but the point remains… they do not tithe.

Truth Matters:

I find this very interesting, since Jesus was a Jew and we have our Christian roots embedded in Jewish history? I wonder how many ministers can prove biological descent from the Old Testament Priesthood of Aaron? What it brings to my attention, is the need to have our foundations grounded in real Biblical Truth rather than the traditions of man or the most widely accepted teachings of our day.

The Shocking Reality:

I am going to make a statement that will probably shock many Christians who have been in church for a long time and feel they know the Bible pretty well. My hope is to provoke the reader to study for themselves, like the Bereans of the Book of Acts.  We need to be people who rightly divide the word of truth, as the Apostle Paul encouraged his spiritual son, Timothy (2 Tim. 2:15). Search it out and see if this statement is Biblically accurate.

The tithe system; as taught by most Christian leaders, is not contained in the pages of the Bible!

 So Where Did It Come From:

Those who teach that Christians are obligated to tithe; that is giving 10% of their income to the local church for the support of the ministry, use three main platforms of reasoning. First are those who say we are still under the Law of Moses or portions of it. Second are those who say the tithe is part of the Abrahamic Covenant which pre-dates Moses. They say Abraham was a tither and the “father of faith”. Therefore, we should tithe. Finally there are those who say the tithe is what sanctifies our money and offers us a protection against the devourer (Malachi 3:8-12). Notice the tithe in this passage is “food” in the storehouse, not money.

The Early Church – A Culture of Honor:

The most obvious question then is how should we support the ministries we love and believe to be beneficial? The Early Church was financed by the free-will offerings of its people. There was no tithing system instituted at all! As a matter of fact, the Early Church supported itself the same way as the early Israelite society. When God commanded the construction of the tabernacle He did not use tithes, but free-will offerings of the people (Ex. 35:20-29). Likewise, the work of the ministry of the Early Church was financed by free-will offerings (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35).

The Christians of the early church were concerned about two basic things: The Apostle’s teaching and meeting each other’s needs. They understood themselves as a unique culture defined by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Their commitments were not based on some institutional rules, but the priority of maintaining a community. The members, from the least to the greatest among them were seen through the eyes of honor… which meant they responded quickly to the needs around them. Generosity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, because it is how love responds when it truly sees the way God sees (Mt. 25:34-40).   

 ”Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase: So (and God will make sure) your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Prov. 3:9-10) …this is the Culture of Honor!

Lord Send Me!

Anointed with an Assignment

Another History Shaper

I had never heard of spiritual gifts…

“What? I have no idea…” I was unfamiliar with the concept of spiritual gifts, let alone evaluate my own. I had no idea that spiritual gifts were one of God’s primary ways of revealing His will to me. I couldn’t fathom how God could send me into a needy world. So as my spiritual journey progressed I often never responded or responded too quickly to God’s question… “Whom shall I send?”

 It makes sense as I look back now!

 God supernaturally empowers us, so that we are equipped to do what He has called us to do. Though I don’t have time to get into how God calls us and how to actually discover your spiritual gifts in this article; let me just share with you why it’s so crucial to discover, develop, and deploy your spiritual gifts.

Every Christian has an assignment! (Rom 12:3-8)

 The Bible declares that all Christian believers have an assignment or ministry. Maybe it will not be a ministry from behind a pulpit, but God will always offer His energizing touch, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. If you really figure out how God has wired you and how He has gifted you, it just may change the course of your life and ministry from this point on.

 Your passion released into God’s Will for your life will lead to greater joy and impact for the Kingdom of Heaven.

 The fact is, God has chosen very ordinary, common people; just like you and me, to accomplish the biggest events in all of human history. Look at Elijah for instance, (James 5:17-18) a man with a nature like ours, but through prayer was enabled to hold back the rain for more than 3 years and then through that same prayer released the rain. Another common man was Peter; taking a nap on a roof top (Acts 10:9), when he gets a dream that would later become the platform for the Gentiles to be received into the Church, just like the Jews who put their faith in Jesus.

History can be shaped by our obedience!

  God had a plan and someone heard the call! An assignment is released from Heaven and through obedience; great things are accomplished. Its no different today; all we need to do is discover our assignment and we become potential history shapers for the Kingdom of Heaven.