Posts Tagged ‘Jn 1:12’

Disciple Shift

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” – Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” – Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” – Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 1:47-49)

Although I have been a Christian for over 30 years, I am still coming to terms with what it means to have a Kingdom perspective. It is not a religious worldview. It is the worldview of being a royal son of God. I want to see myself the way Christ saw Nathanael, as a man without guile or deceit, as a true spiritual disciple waiting for the King. I have come to understand that mental barriers are bigger than natural barriers when it comes to stepping out of the shadows of orphan-hood. Jesus has seen us, knows us and is calling us out of the shadows and into the Kingdom of His love and power. It is time to make the “disciple shift” – and truly learn from Him!

A Disciple Called Nathanael:

I love the story of Nathanael (John 1:43-51). In order for Nathanael to follow Jesus, he had to undergo a change of perspective. He had to shift his thinking from a traditional Jewish worldview to the Kingdom perspective that Jesus demonstrated and taught. Yet, not only was Nathanael successful, but he would experience the greatest move of God of all time. He became a passionate disciple of Christ and Apostle in the Early Church. He listened to the teachings and experienced the ministry of Jesus, watched the healing and participated in the miracles. This was the Kingdom of God with power and it was rushing in to sweep him up into a lifelong commitment of fresh perspectives. I believe that Nathanael’s story can be seen as a prophetic picture of where the Church needs to go today… from religious tradition to Kingdom discipleship.

Four Key Shifts:

  1. From Servants to Sons: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (Jn. 1:12)
  2. From Future to Present Kingdom: “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn. 1:45)
  3. From Human Reasoning to Spiritual Reality: ”Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Jn. 1:46)
  4. From Broken Dreams to Open Heavens: “Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1:49-51)

A Triumphant Reality:

Shaking ourselves free of the former perceptions of tradition and religiosity causes us to rise from the shadow of Nathanael’s fig tree and become Kingdom Disciples. Jesus tells His Church to once again “Come and See!” We are not of those who shrink back to lame formulas without power, because we are Kingdom People (Heb. 10:39). We have shifted the way we think, because we have experienced the love of God and been washed in the Blood of Christ Jesus. He has made us kings and priests to God the Father (Rev. 1:5-6) and our experience with the Holy Spirit has clothed us in the Glory poured out at Pentecost (Lk. 24:49). We do not need to live with only the dreams of the past or hopes of a future move of God. We can live in a present move of God!

These things are available to Kingdom Disciples. We do not need to wait for revival, but we do need to change the way we think. Revival is here – we live beneath an open heaven! This is our triumphant inheritance through Christ!

Can I Get a Witness?

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you. So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” (Lk. 8:38-39)

Jesus sent him away saying, “Can I get witness… would you stay and testify to all that God has done for you?” We must catch this! God has designed that the Gospel be expressed through the vehicle of our testimony. When we show up with a fresh word of God’s goodness, extraordinary things happen; power is released to lead people to faith in Jesus.

The word “testimony” is a legal term. The dictionary says it’s an “outward sign”, “evidence in support of a fact or statement” and/or “proof”. Our personal testimony stands as proof of the truth of the Gospel… evidence that it is life-changing Good News. The root word for testimony, comes from a word meaning “witness”. Our testimony provides a witness to others of what Jesus has done for us. And what He has done for us, He can do for others!

More than Words:

Testimonies speak of encounter! Your testimony is the story of how you first encountered Jesus! Lives are changed when we encounter Christ. Accepting Jesus, as Lord and Savior calls us into a new realm of reality (Jn. 1:12). When we tell our story and testify to the change that happens when sins get washed away, our experience powerfully illustrates the Gospel Message. Its good news to those who feel overwhelmed by their frailty and it offers hope to those who cannot save themselves. The ongoing stories of God’s Divine intervention in our lives have tremendous power to stir faith in the heart of the seeker.

Jesus expects us to become a witness (Acts 1:8)… talk about Him!

  • How Jesus impacts your life every day…
  • Answers you have experienced through prayer…
  • What God has spoken to you…
  • How you have seen Him at work in your life each day.

Through hearing someone’s experience in God’s grace, we relate to the spiritual thought that God is moving and active by way of the Holy Spirit. In fact, often a friend’s witness is the only clear explanation of the Gospel people will listen to. Most of us want to know what is taking place in our lives. What it requires of us is that we “keep it real”. People are not fooled by the hype… and they are not really scared by the “mystery”… but if they are expected to believe what we tell them; then it needs to be truth! God will empower the Truth!

The Psalmist David said, “He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 40:3)

At the Core, Love

Open and enjoy

Open with joy

There is a lot of confusion among people today, about the true essence of Christianity. Is Christianity a set of biblical teachings we are to follow? Is it just another world religion, that calls upon a god that cannot be known? Is it a philosophical view of the world that engages the weak and simple minded? Could it be more than just a set of beliefs, rituals and doctrines designed to get us into heaven someday after we die? Just what is the Christian faith and what key thoughts are at the core of a biblical worldview?

At the core of Christianity is a relationship.

Jesus said, ”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37-39)

Jesus was saying; Christianity is about who you are and how you relate to God… its about love!

According to the Bible, living in relationship with God defines all other relationships. Our most significant Christian Truth is that God designed us from the beginning for relationship with Him. We were created in His image and for His purpose. We have been made to become carriers of both His love and His promise, as His dear children.

Therefore, it is crucial that we know how God intends for us to see Him… as a loving Father.

Loving Him is where it all begins for the Christian. At the core of this relationship is the awareness that He first has loved us and revealed that love in tangible ways. Like a hug feels warm and embracing to the person receiving it; so also there are things God has revealed to us that we can see and receive as signs of His love for us.

God wants us to see and feel His love for us (Jn 14:21).

The most important sign is that God sent His only Son into the Earth to die upon a cross, in order to forgive us of all of our sin. His desire was to remove any barrier to the clear revelation that God, as a Father loves and delights in humanity. There would be no question of His heart toward us, if man could just see the gift offered freely and receive it with joyful appreciation.

God did not send Jesus to condemn us! (Jn 3:17)

His love is not revealed to us in this way to condemn or punish, but to communicate a willingness to receive us as sons and daughters no matter how far away from ”home” we have strayed (Lk 15:21-24)(Jn 1:12). God’s embrace is given with a promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5); that He wants to give us life abundant and restore what has been stolen by brokenness and confusion. He stays with us and walks it out within our hearts through the person of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5).

Beholding love, stirs us to love (1 Jn 3:1).

These are the amazing truths that enable us to respond to God as a Father and live with Him as sons and daughters. They compel us to embrace His heart and love Him back, in responsive relationship. Christianity is a life worth living, because at its core.. is love.

Supply Line

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

The goal of the Christian faith is all about connecting to a “supply line”!

God offers all of His people a supernatural flow of grace from Heaven to Earth. I think it is interesting that we so often see the above verse as a promise to eliminate our need, when in fact it is an invitation to God’s Divine flow of grace. If you eliminate the need you also eliminate the flow! As a follower of Christ, I am no less “needy” than any person alive on planet Earth. Yet I have something of significance that is sufficient to calm the storms, heal the wounds and satisfy the thirst of my heart… I have found a Divine flow of grace!

Three points of clarification are made by the Apostle Paul about this supply of grace to meets my need.

  1. First it is a flow from God, not hard work or personal achievement, I cannot get grace by my skill… it comes as a response to my faith in God. He is My Heavenly Father; Jehovah Jireh, “My Provider”! I have chosen to place my trust in Him and the wisdom and power of His guidance in my life has opened up doors that continually meet my need.
  2. Secondly the place of rich grace is in glory. Glory really is a place, different than a natural place, but it is a place that I must go often to get the flow moving on my behalf. Glory is a spiritual realm of rich fellowship where by the faith I spoke of takes me for relationship and worship. I connect to the source of grace… God – Himself.
  3. Third and perhaps most important is that all grace is supplied in and by Christ Jesus. It is Jesus who maintains my covenant privileges before God in Heaven. He is the One who stepped into my place and took my sin at the cross. It was by His blood I was made righteous and became qualified to inherit His promise of grace instead of condemnation.

I have been given power to become a Son of God (Jn 1:12) and power to be His witness (Acts 1:8). By Jesus all things are made new (2 Cor 5:17) and a supply line of grace has been made available in the “glory realm” for me to go get… any time I have need.

Have you ever thought about Jesus’ own words… when He was asked by His disciples to teach them how they should pray? Its important, because it sets the standard pretty high on what we should expect our provision to look like. He said pray like this… “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Mt 6:10). Also, He said …keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking for the Father in Heaven delights in giving good things to His children (Mt 7:11). Grace will flow, if you simply spend time in the glory…  with Your Heavenly Father.

Recognizing your need is the first step to opening up the supply line!

Accessing Resource

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

You have much to say and yet you also have great need… but can I tell you that to become a disciple of Jesus means you will overflow with resources more than words. In our Training we teach you how to use the privileges given to you by God (as a son or daughter) to access heaven and get your needs met and the needs of your ministry met in the Glory Realm.

According to the Apostle Paul we see a bold declaration of Kingdom resources. We know its true, because of how Jesus taught us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things that we need, that is correct… all things would be given to us as a “Father’s Blessing” – provision… that is supernatural. There are riches in the Glory Realm of the spirit in Christ Jesus… can you access them? You are supposed to know the provision of the Father as a Kingdom Blessing (Mt. 6:33)… do you know this? This is basic to discipleship! And Jesus taught us to ask, seek and knock… (Mt. 7:7-12) to believe for the provision is a matter of basic family privilege (Jn. 1:12). We are called by Jesus to disciple the nations and to obey Him… not ask for money or rely upon the wealth of others.

All Things in Common:

When a disciple is nurtured in the spirit of generosity… all things come as community “all things in common” and in Communion with the Father! This was the blessing that the Early Church carried (Acts 2:42-46 & 4:32-37), because they made themselves aware of the Glory of God and nurtured themselves in the Apostle’s doctrines… Kingdom Truths. This is the same reality of lifestyle Jesus modeled and taught so often. Give and it will be given to you (Lk. 6:38 & 12:32) …with greater measure – multiplied blessings come when they are filtered through the heart of the Father.

Notice Where Resource is Located: You need to go after it in prayer!

  • “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3)