Posts Tagged ‘Jn 15:15’

Serious Alignment

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” (Ephesians 6:10)

Thought for Today: “Becoming Armed and Dangerous”

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we have been given supernatural tools for warring against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:13-18). He first says, “put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11). We find ourselves wrestling with principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. I believe we can be armed and dangerous. We can be equipped, shod and gird about with the most impressive sounding weapons God has in His arsenal, but it all works through prayer and fasting. Praying, watching and persevering with all kinds of prayers.

Not by Human Might:

We are ambassadors of Christ with amazing potential to do exploits and achieve the impossible things Jesus did, but it only happens with the help of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6). You see, we are battling invisible forces. Spiritual enemies that cannot be seen with our natural eyes. We can see the effects, but never get to the source of the real battle unless we are trained through prayer and fasting.

The Apostle’s Boldness:

Notice how the Apostle Paul writes these words to the Church in Ephesus while he was in prison, saying “I am an ambassador in chains”. He is making the point that his warfare is not fought in the flesh, but in the spiritual realm (Eph 3:10). His boldness was based upon an awareness that God’s grace was flowing through his life (Eph 3:8). Being armed does not necessarily make us dangerous to the devil, unless we are trained in the use of the weapons of our warfare… trained in prayer and sharpened by fasting.

Delegated Authority:

Its all about knowing who you represent! God has chosen you, called you by name and He will work in and through you… but your standard of training is up to you. Jesus was always calling His disciples up higher! He lived with them and taught as one holding the authority, but in a new season, new skills are needed. In John 15 a new season was about to begin. They would no longer be called “servants”. They would begin to discover what their Master was doing (Jn 15:15). As servants, they followed according to commands, but as “friends” they would follow the “heart” of their Master. Jesus was now shifting the relationship, deepening the responsibility and trusting that they would begin to live from what they understood – heart to heart. Friends discover the secrets that give them an advantage in how they walk together. Jesus wanted His disciples to achieve victory in every area of their spiritual journey. Knowing the heart of God is a key to real spiritual trained and impact in the spiritual battles we face. When we know the heart of our friend Jesus, we are able to carry our delegated authority into any challenge. One of the greatest spiritual truths is that your authority gets established through your intimacy with God.

Representing Heaven on Earth:

Becoming a dangerous threat to the devil means you will need some serious alignment with heaven. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God… you must represent heaven on earth in a way that makes the devil nervous and demons flee. That is what prayer and fasting will produce in you… the capacity to be armed and dangerous.

Submit to God (through prayer), resist the devil (through fasting) and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7).

New Covenant Believing

Most churches have not understood the reality of New Covenant Believing. The challenge is that the Spirit of the Lord has set us free and we are not sure what we should do with our religious standards! Trying to fulfill the Old Testament Law has caused us to loose sight of “grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Many denominational structures have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant ratified by the Blood of Jesus. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

The New Covenant of Liberty:

It is our freedom… our Day of Jubilee if you will! Jesus said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (Jn. 8:36). The problem with living under religious systems is that they tend to teach the burdens of faith, rather than the freedom of belief. Stepping away from grace will always lead to a loss of freedom in Christ. But Christ has made us free to celebrate and worship in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Covenantal Seasons:

The Old Covenant brought death (and always will), because it was designed to be a “tutor” that would bring us to Christ. The New Covenant brings life as the morning speaks of a New Day, because it reveals the victory over sin and the wealth of strength offered to the believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-11). Make a note of the word “believer”, its not a title, but an activity. You see, the central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from Glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it is revealed in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), and experienced in our personal transformation (2 Cor. 3:4-18). This means we are called to worship and celebration by what we see in the eyes of Jesus. Our praise is motivated by the fact that we are moving from one level of Glory to another level of Glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I call you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). Jesus gave His disciples some of the most amazing secrets, like keys to His Father’s heart. And He made it clear that the things He was telling them would need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and walk out daily (Jn. 16:12-15). Obedience was not going to be bound to a set of rules, but a hearing and perceptive ear. As these disciples were able to hear the voice of the Spirit, they would begin to obey the purposes of God by relationship and honor… “friendship”.

Favor & Fellowship:

The Holy Spirit is changing us and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our believing. To live in the freedom of listening to the Holy Spirit’s Voice releases two powerful realities… favor and fellowship. Knowing you are loved and accepted by God allows you the freedom to grow in the knowledge of the Glory of God as you look into the face of Jesus. When we live in relationship, we experience the power of love and the freedom that comes to those who walk honorably toward the heart of the friend. In this case God is calling us to see ourself as His friend, His Child and His Chosen One.

Living by Human Standards:

Living by human standards distorts our view of real friendship. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those we perceive to be more mature than us, it releases guilt, shame and issues of condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of relationship, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting. It doesn’t make having some basic standards wrong, it just means they are subjective and difficult to measure in changing times and cultures.

Jesus came to do away with the measurements on all levels and substitute His life for any standard, perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ became our “Standard Bearer” so that we could walk in freedom. Being led by the Holy Spirit; and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father, is New Covenant Believing. Its a freedom to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit and live out of the abundance of our growing knowledge of Christ’s victory at the cross.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

New Things

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isa 43:19)

The things of God seem to start in small ways; and even though they might spring forth, we must recognize “spring forth” can mean less than what we typically expect. God is careful with the new thing. He causes it to emerge slowly and suggests that we seek it out… make ourselves aware of it. When Jesus speaks of new things becoming manifest, our ears must prepare for change. He desires to keep His secrets within the context of relationship (Jn 15:15). Recognizing the “road in the wilderness” and the “rivers in the desert” always requires more than just simple observation.

Example:

At Bethsaida the people brought a blind man to Jesus for healing. He took him by the hand, led him out of the town and when He had spit on his eyes, He put His hands upon him, He asked the man if he saw anything. The man, looking up and said, “I see men as trees walking”. The second time Jesus put His hands upon his eyes and told him to look. This time the man’s sight was completely restored. He could see clearly! Notice how Jesus speaks to the formerly blind man. Jesus sends him home saying, “Don’t go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town” (Mark 8:26).

Preserving the New Thing:

New things emerge in a variety of ways, but they must connect to the heart in order for the impact to last. God’s goal is to get us to create testimony so that life is seen in the context of His involvement with us… in relationship. Sometimes when we try to tell others about the new thing God is doing, the devil will use doubts in our mind or cynicism in those we tell, to undermine our testimony. There are times when Jesus has forbidden me to bear witness of a healing or miracle in my body, until my faith is strong enough to stand the testing of thoughts and words that mock my experience. God knows the enemy will try anything to steal our peace, rob us of our joy and discredit the new thing that is emerging in our lives.

Holy Spirit is Speaking:

“Shall you not know it?”

The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit, to our spiritual perception. ”It’s already here” He says, “but its small right now, really just a seed. Don’t try to interpret it, don’t try to make it more than it is, don’t blow the trumpets. Just consider it. Allow Me to introduce you to it. Allow Me to explain it. Allow Me to reveal what its all about and where embracing it will take you. It’s going to require a shift in your seeing. Are you ready to leave what you know and launch out into the deeper waters of what you don’t know? I’m offering you some mystery… My secrets. I’m offering you, a road in your wilderness and rivers in your desert.”

Discover New Things:

If you are desiring to discover the new thing that God is doing, (in your life, your ministry, in the Church, nation, world etc.) determine to become a seeker, begin to search out the small. Quiet your heart to hear the faint whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Become still and wait for the gentle breeze of God to blow upon your face and then look to where God is directing your gaze. Above all get ready to leave the comfort zone of what you know and allow God to carry you into secret places… places where friends go.

Free to Believe

Most churches have not understood the reality of New Covenant Believing. The challenge is that the Spirit of the Lord has set us free and we are not sure what we should do with our religious standards! Trying to fulfill the Old Testament Law has caused us to loose sight of “grace through faith” and minimize the very power of the New Covenant itself. Many denominational structures have become very good at mixing the Old Covenant instituted by Moses with the New Covenant ratified by the Blood of Jesus. They have forgotten that the Old Covenant has become obsolete while the New Covenant is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

The New Covenant of Liberty:

It is our freedom… our Day of Jubilee if you will! Jesus said, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (Jn. 8:36). The problem with living under religious systems is that they tend to teach the burdens of faith, rather than the freedom of belief. Stepping away from grace will always lead to a loss of freedom in Christ. But Christ has made us free to celebrate and worship in the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Covenant Seasons:

The Old Covenant brought death (and always will), because it was designed to be a “tutor” that would bring us to Christ. The New Covenant brings life… as the morning speaks of a New Day, because it reveals the victory over sin and the wealth of strength offered to the believer by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:1-11). Make a note of the word “believer” – its not a title, but an activity.

You see, the central goal of the Old Covenant is to behold our sin and make sacrifices according to how we have fallen from Glory (Rom. 3:23), but the goal of the New Covenant is to behold the Glory of God as it is revealed in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), and experience personal transformation (2 Cor. 3:4-18).

This means we are called to worship and celebration rather than laws and commandments… in order to see into the face of Christ Jesus and be transformed by what we see in His eyes. Our praise is “motivated by” and “focused upon” these facts; that we are moving from one level of Glory to another level of Glory by the Spirit of the Lord… its our freedom in Christ.

How Jesus has Set Us Free:

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I call you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (Jn. 15:15). Jesus gave His disciples some of the most amazing secrets, like keys to His Father’s heart. And He made it clear that the things He was telling them would need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and walk out daily (Jn. 16:12-15). Obedience was not going to be bound to a set of rules, but a hearing and perceptive ear. As these disciples were able to hear the voice of the Spirit, they would begin to obey the purposes of God by relationship and honor… “friendship”.

Favor & Fellowship:

The Holy Spirit is changing us and it effects our behavior, our attitudes and our believing. To live in the freedom of listening to the Holy Spirit’s Voice releases two powerful realities… favor and fellowship. Knowing you are loved and accepted by God allows you the freedom to grow in the knowledge of the Glory of God as you look into the face of Jesus. When we live in relationship, we experience the power of love and the freedom that comes to those who walk honorably toward the heart of the friend. In this case God is calling us to see our self as His friend, His Child and His Chosen One.

Living by Human Standards:

Living by human standards distorts our view of real friendship. When we find ourselves unable to live up to the standards set by those we perceive to be more mature than us, it releases guilt, shame and issues of condemnation. When we live according to some arbitrary religious standard and find ourselves successful without the need of relationship, we become vulnerable to personal pride and boasting. It doesn’t make having some basic standards wrong, it just means they are subjective and difficult to measure in changing times and cultures.

Jesus came to do away with the measurements on all levels and substitute His life for any standard, perceived or real… we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Christ became our “Standard Bearer” so that we could walk in freedom. Being led by the Holy Spirit; and feeling the joy of a living relationship with the Father, is New Covenant Believing. Its a freedom to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit and live out of the abundance of our growing knowledge of Christ’s victory at the cross.

“There is therefore now… NO CONDEMNATION… to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

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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