Archive for February, 2008

…in Spirit and Truth

February 15, 2008

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

God asked Moses,  Who made man’s mouth?

The ability to speak, shout and sing is a gift, it’s all gift.  Who made man’s mouth?  For what purposes did He make it?

As I was turning on the kettle this morning,  i remembered, in a moment of time  (and whilst half asleep, mind you) how incredibly complex an operation it is simply for our arm to reach out and turn on a switch   – how many electrical nerve transmissions, between the brain cells and the muscles, and the eyes, does it take to coordinate and perform just one little task like that?  A great number.

We’re very complex creations.

We worship you Father. We worship you Alpha and Omega, our Lord Jesus Christ.

ian

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Fulfill all Righteousness

February 12, 2008

John refuses to baptize the Lord Jesus.

But Jesus answered and said to him,  Permit it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.  Then he permitted Him.(Mat 3:15) 

This is very instructive. Note our Lord’s desire to fulfill all righteousness.  Our Lord was/is no calculating person. He didn’t stop to consider:

What’s in it for me?

What if I don’t?

Will the Father mind if I don’t?

Will the Father be impressed if I do?

How important is getting immersed in the water anyway?

What will it matter?

How many will be converted by me doing this?

Will this bear much fruit? 

Will I be rewarded for this? 

What will everyone think about it?

Will it increase my following?

Etc.

 

Nope.

It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. Let us have His mind.

Do you believe it is fitting for you to fulfill all righteousness, in this fleeting life God has given you upon His earth?

ian

His Will and Word, by Mark Finger

February 11, 2008

How can any saint who doesn’t demonstrate much understanding of the words of God claim to intimately know His Person (nature and character)? Even in real life, understanding someone’s words is predicated upon a familiarity and knowledge of their person. Jesus declared this, in stating that we can only understand and know His doctrine to the extent to which we are willing to do the Father’s will (John 7:15-17): for the degree to which a saint’s soul (mind, will, emotions) is sanctified, is made evident by his or her degree of spiritual understanding. Therefore, it is a stable principle that our faith and relative maturity in Christ is examined and made known by our doctrine and manner of living. Where we find a lack of reverence for God’s words, we find a lack of the fear of the Lord and an unwillingness to come into agreement with His will. Such men are blind guides of the blind, not having the light that is cast forth by the scriptures to guide their path (Psalm 119:105).

The words of God are “God-breathed” (Holy Ghost inspired): as such, they are eternally effectual in revealing the eternal character and nature of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:23). Where men are offended by them, we can be certain that they are offended by God–for all “quickening” by the Holy Spirit occurs on the basis of “obeying the word of truth” by which we are both saved and continually renewed in the Holy Ghost–daily refreshed as we daily serve (Psalm 119:106-107; Matthew 6:34; Luke 9:23). Consequently, our love for the truth translates into an unfeigned love for those who walk in truth: and this is evidence of the indwelling operation of the Spirit; so it is no wonder that those who love God, reverencing His words, are drawn into an intimate communion of faith (1 Peter 1:22-23).

To read more click here:   

http://letthelightout.blogspot.com/2008/02/his-will-and-word.html

Weak is ok

February 10, 2008

I’m learning that His power truly is manifest in human weakness –  therefore, it really doesn’t matter how strong we feel , and it doesn’t matter how much the enemy is opposing us, bcos I believe our Teacher, the Holy Spirit, is teaching us all the time (renewing our minds) concerning faith : that faith is truly a spiritual relationship established by the Spirit, it’s nothing to do with the physical (senses) or even the soulish realm (that is, where the soul needs to be in subjection to God, it doesn’t always want to be) eh.

David spoke to his soul,  Why are you downcast O my soul?    (I don’t speak to my soul, btw, but I’m often aware of the Word drawing the distinction between my spirit and soul).

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in calamities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For whenever I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor.12:9-10

For me, I’m just beginning to have these truths applied in my life, just beginning to experience how non-negotiable this truth is.

Human soul strength is a hindrance to the Lord perfecting His power in us, eh.  And, the system we’ve known really only knows the soulish – the power of the soul, evident by so much stress on, and appreciation of, the externals, the expressions of the soul, and not the spirit.

An extreme example:  A prominent Christian leader in America has a permanent plastic smile fixed on his face ( I think it’s something to do with the millions of bucks he’s making, and how much his ego is stroked).

Our Lord had no such thing, and we’re His followers.

The ‘free’ assembly, in contrast to the assembly in bondage to man and his forms, has no confidence in the externals or shows of the flesh/soul.  Bcos we are truly free – as our Lord taught us, to live before the Father unto Him alone (secretly, Matt. 6) and not before men and unto them, therefore, we are truly free from all men, and free to serve them in the Lord.

So, in the context of our trials and sufferings, we see the reason for the Lord allowing them, so that we will have less confidence in our own ability or strength – no matter how much we try and justify ourselves about the validity of such, and more confidence in His grace/power, alone.

ian.

Worshiping in wonder

February 9, 2008

Sheela and I are always seeing the Hand of the Lord in everything, and acknowledge His works to Him, which is worship, whether vocally or silently.

We have 2 wildcat kittens which Sheela has nursed, like in the Born Free movie, using her finger dipped in milk. We nearly lost them in the beginning, but they pulled through.

I watch them, and when I see them thinking it fascinates me. Just a tiny fragile insignificant kitten, but that little brain thinks ; that little “piece of meat” inside it’s skull, thinks. It’s a wonder. It’s just a kitten, but it’s a living wonder.

Even the greatest achievement of man is as nothing when compared with the ‘smallest’ work of God. Then, even the most miserable man is a paragon, a wonder of creation, and he doesn’t know it.

Life is all around us, everywhere we look, and we ourselves have life and are living creatures.

What a day when the redeemed creature meets the Creator face to face!

To the worshiper, the redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, that day holds no fear, rather, it’s joy unspeakable to even think about it.

We think we have awe and wonder of Him now, what about then! We will fall down and worship Him. We will say with our own lips, Holy Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty.

ian

Ministry (Equipping) Gifts by Mark Finger

February 8, 2008

Much of modern Christian worship is rooted in carnality rather than Christ because, far too often, saints have yoked themselves to men rather than God, conforming the pattern of their worship to an unbiblical, institutional paradigm that substitutes the subtle yet pervasive influence of carnal personalities in place of the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

God rules in the heart, working through His people as He sees fit; but men who desire to wield power not allocated to them by God rule by title and position, effectively aggregating the saints into a hierarchical caste system which assigns influence based upon worldly values and administrative function, rather than upon demonstrated character and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By so doing, the true nature of spiritual relationship (mutual submission to God) is perverted, and saints are left exposed to the fraudulent teachings and unbiblical practices which naturally propagate in the hearts of those who desire preeminence among the brethren (3 John 1:9).

Biblical doctrine should never be divorced from biblical practice, the two go hand-in-hand: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” (James 1:22). Yet, that is exactly what is happening in many traditional assemblies today, as saints are encouraged to follow after and submit to ‘stars and personalities of the religious system,’ those who teach truth in the wrong context and pervert the gospel message by poor example, indirectly encouraging a personal following by engaging in unscriptural corporate practices.

Read the rest of this here:  http://letthelightout.blogspot.com/2008/01/ministry-equipping-gifts.html

 

 

Words taught by the Holy Spirit

February 8, 2008

1Cor. 2:9-16

(9) But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

(10) But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

(11) For who knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

(12) Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, in order that we might know the things granted to us by God;

(13) which we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

(15) But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man.

(16) For “Who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

The words of Scripture are inspired by God, they are the words taught by the Holy Spirit. Paul is saying here that the spiritual person (one who is taught by the indwelling Holy Spirit) will understand that the Scriptures ARE the words taught by the Holy Spirit – they are the language of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, those who only have a token interest in the Bible, and deny its authority, do so bcos they are still natural men/women. Bcos they don’t have the REAL Holy Spirit, (some have a counterfeit spirit), then, the words of the Holy Spirit – the Scriptures, seem to them to be on a par with any other words, that is, human wisdom.

If a person doesn’t believe the Scriptures are inspired – “God breathed” , then they are believing that it is human wisdom, and therefore, they are trying to understand it by their natural human wisdom.


Paul contrasts, here, (Vs 13), the human wisdom (reasoning’s) of the natural man, with the spiritual understanding of the man taught by the Holy Spirit.

The natural man can’t receive the Word of God into his spirit, bcos his spirit is dead to God, but the spiritual man receives the Scriptures as the words taught by the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit always illumining and quickening the truth of the Scriptures to him.

Here’s an example of what I mean : Someone quotes this verse:

Mat 5:42 Give to the one asking you, and to the one desiring to borrow from you, do not turn away.

And then says, “See, I can’t always “follow the Bible” and give to everyone who asks of me, I have to follow the Spirit instead. Therefore, the Holy Spirit sometimes contradicts the Scriptures.”

Not at all! This is a natural understanding, not a spiritual one. For, in the example of this scripture, it’s error to think that our Lord was meaning when He spoke this that this is a rigid law that has to be fulfilled to the letter every time. For that would be to charge God with ignorance, accusing Him of not understanding that there are times it would not be right to give to those who ask you. Jesus surely knew all the contingencies, for example, if a false prophet was requesting funds from you, you could not support him, and many such instances. Jesus assumes His hearers have a spiritual understanding.

Here’s another scripture where the difference between a natural and spiritual understanding is highlighted: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”.

God is assuming that the reader/hearer has some SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING of what it means – it’s APPLICATION. The ‘natural christian’ will say, “See, there’s a contradiction, how can I go into all the world and preach to every living thing? So, I will have to follow the Holy Spirit alone, bcos the Bible has contradictions.”

No. They arrive at this false conclusion concerning the authority of Scripture, bcos they don’t understand the Scripture to begin with, they are not taught by the Holy Spirit.

So yes, the Word and the Spirit DO match perfectly for those with a spiritual understanding. If a person finds they don’t match, it could be bcos they don’t understand what God meant to begin with, they only have a natural understanding of the scripture.

ian

Stand tough

February 7, 2008

2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Stand tough, saints of God, soldiers of Jesus Christ. Are you ready for the tribulation, which is right on the doorstep? Are you ready to be hated by the apostate ‘christian’ system for the testimony of the Word of God? Do you have the mind of Christ, ready to be persecuted to death, if need be, for His name?

Do you believe that all the prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled now, in our generation, and are you ready to stand in the dark days ahead? That it’s truly “Apocalypse NOW” ?

Or, are you wilting at the slightest trouble and mildest persecution? Fearing men and what they can do?

ian.

 

Here’s a message from God:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming to be in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.


Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude you, and shall revile you, and cast out your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

But even if you should suffer on account of righteousness, you are blessed. “But do not fear their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be prepared with a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, so that in what they speak against you as evildoers, those reviling your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.

and not being terrified in anything by your enemies, which is to them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and this from God. For to you it has been granted for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same struggle which you saw in me and now you hear is in me.

My brothers, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of evil suffering and of longsuffering. Indeed we count those blessed who endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you saw the end of the Lord–that He is compassionate and He is merciful.

Beloved, do not be surprised by the fiery trial among you, taking place to test you, as though some strange thing was happening to you; but inasmuch as you partake in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, in order that also at the unveiling of His glory, you may rejoice with great happiness. If you are reviled in the name of Christ, blessed are you, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On the one hand He is blasphemed, but on the other He is glorified.

 

“Once saved always saved” controversy : an answer

February 7, 2008

2Timothy 2:14-19

(14) Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to dispute about words, useful for nothing, for the ruin of the hearers.

(15) Be diligent to show yourself approved unto God, a worker unashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

(16) But shun profane and empty babblings; for they will advance to more ungodliness.

(17) And their word will spread like gangrene; of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

(18) who have strayed concerning the truth, asserting that the resurrection has already occurred; and they overturn the faith of some.

(19) Nevertheless the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those that are His,” and, “Let everyone naming the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”

Vs 19 is the end of the controversy, and debate, of “once saved always saved”. When Paul says The Lord knows those that are His, he is speaking in the context here of professing, baptized Christians falling away, heading for ruin, and having their faith overturned – – therefore, nevertheless, it is enough that the Lord knows who are His, as we can’t possibly know IN EVERY CASE. Some backslide and are restored – some sooner, some later. Some show no sign of ever returning to the Lord. (There are numerous warnings in the NT about departing from the faith, and any serious enquirer can search them out.)

Sure, in many cases we can know that some who claim to be His are not, but we can’t know all the time (1 Tim. 5:24).

Therefore, the simple admonition: Let everyone naming the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness. Our concern is that those professing Christ should be departing from unrighteousness, now. For this is the seal of God’s ownership of them. If a Christian is backsliding or erring from the truth, it’s not our place to try and work out, “Were they saved to begin with?” or, “Did they ever know the Lord?” , rather, the issue is, they should be departing from unrighteousness, for this is the firm foundation of God.. ..having this seal.

Those who did not depart from unrighteousness were disfellowshipped, or left of their own accord. There was no debate about “once saved always saved”, bcos that was never the issue before the early church – – they were never asked to make a judgment about that, (see Vs 19 above), rather, the issue was the present reality of the lives of those professing Christ Were they departing from sin, or not? For, the Great Day of the Lord will declare who knew Him and who didn’t.

ian

From a thread on RS

February 6, 2008

Richard Wurmbrand: founder of Voice of the Martyrs (Ian’s comments in blue)

God is the Truth. The Bible is the truth about the Truth. Theology is the truth about the truth about the Truth. A good sermon is the truth about the truth about the truth, about the Truth It is not the Truth. The Truth is God alone. Around this Truth there is a scaffolding of words, of theologies, and of exposition. None of these is of any help in times of suffering. It is only the Truth Himself Who is of help, and we have to penetrate through sermons, through theological books, through everything which is ‘words’ and be bound up with the reality of God Himself.

Ok, we need to ‘penetrate through’ this article by Wurmbrand, as well, to ‘see the reality of God Himself’, for, in the line of thought presented here, this article is only, in his words, “…the truth about the truth about the truth, about the Truth It is not the Truth.”

 

Re: None of these is of any help in times of suffering.

The Holy Spirit will bring His Words/Truth to our remembrance (John 14:26). Is that not a help, to have the Holy Spirit remind you of the Truth when you’re suffering? Yes, of course, our Lord Jesus is the Truth, and, there is only Scripture Truth within which to live a life of faith pleasing to Him. Wurmbrand must have been living out the Truth of Scripture, believing the promises of God confirmed to Him thru Scripture, eh? And, if his article is not the Truth of Scripture then it’s worthless, so, this point of his, then, is not true, and, by his reasoning, his article is also not, “…of any help in times of suffering.”

Here’s a word from the Lord for those who are suffering (one which the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me many times, and it’s helped me to do what it says)

1Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.


I have told in the West how Christians were tied to crosses for four days and four nights. The crosses were put on the floor and other prisoners were tortured and made to fulfill their bodily necessities upon the faces and the bodies of the crucified ones. I have since been asked: “Which Bible verse helped and strengthened you in those circumstances?” My answer is: “NO Bible verse was of any help.” It is sheer cant and religious hypocrisy to say, “This Bible verse strengthens me, or that Bible verse helps me.” Bible verses alone are not meant to help.

That’s silly to say that, bcos, “Bible verses” ARE God’s inspired Word, His promises. So, believing His promises is of no help? The Holy Spirit never helped him by quickening the Scripture Truth to him in his time of need?

We knew Psalm 23 – “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….” When you pass through suffering you realize that it was never meant by God that Psalm 23 should strengthen you. It is the Lord who can strengthen you, not the Psalm which speaks of Him so doing. It is not enough to have the Psalm. You must have the One about whom the Psalm speaks. We also knew the verse: “My Grace is sufficient for thee.” But the verse is not sufficient. It is the Grace which is sufficient and not the verse.

Pastors and zealous witnesses who are handling the Word as a calling from God are in danger of giving holy words more value than they really have. Holy words are only the means to arrive at the reality expressed by them.

BUT, this is their very value! .. “to arrive at the reality expressed by them” ! How can one arrive at the reality expressed by them if they don’t have and believe THEM? This is WHY God gave us His inspired words! Then, to question their value? It’s absurd!

 

If you are united with the Reality, the Lord Almighty, evil loses its power over you; it cannot break the Lord Almighty. If you only have the words of the Lord Almighty you can be very easily broke.

If you “only” have the words of the Lord, may mean that you have the scripture, but you don’t believe it. Therefore, lack of faith is the issue : there’s no fault or danger in having the Bible.


Therefore let us fear, lest while the promise remains to enter into His rest, any one of you seems to have fallen short. For indeed we have had the gospel preached to us just as those also; but the word which they heard did not profit those, not having been mixed with faith in those having heard it. Heb 4:1-2

Its by faith we overcome, and resist the works of the devil, and inherit the promises. There’s no doubt to me that articles like this are the enemy’s agenda, to deceive the elect if it were possible.

One hidden subliminal message in them is “the Bible is dangerous” – – the thought that believing the truth of scripture could somehow be a danger and hindrance to knowing Jesus ??

Another suggestion in such writings, is the suggestion that those saints who do remember the scriptures by the Holy Spirit, and often speak and quote the scriptures, do so bcos they really don’t know God personally – the “if only they knew ‘the Reality’ they wouldn’t use the Scriptures as a crutch”, type of thing.


There is an undercurrent these days of people who think that their aversion to Scripture is an indication that they are on some higher-plane of spirituality, and it’s if they consciously try to avoid quoting Scripture.

On the other hand, a lot of prophecies given these days are like this, they are given in the 1st person as God directly speaking, and yet they’re often simply paraphrases and rewordings of Scripture, yet, with the illusion created that they are somehow more ‘current’, and more “the voice of God” than the Scriptures. If the same prophet simply just quoted those same exact Scriptures, no one, hardly, would be interested. Why? Bcos of fake spiritual experience, which operates in the flesh and in seducing spirits.

ian

Getting together

February 6, 2008

And let us consider one another for the stirring up of love and of good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, just as is the custom for some, but exhorting one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  Heb 10:24-25

As we SEE the Day of our Lord Jesus’ bodily return drawing near we are to be all the more enthusiastic about getting together.  Not to bunker down in our homes as lone rangers, but to prayerfully get together with like-minded saints in order to help one another – stirring up love and good works and exhorting.


from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the working of the measure of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the edification of itself in love. Eph 4:16 

For every joint to supply there must be CONTACT ; the individual parts have to get together, like, real close, for them to be supplied.


ian

Is God’s love unconditional?

February 4, 2008

Mark Finger writes:


God commended His love to us while we were yet sinners (sent His love to us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ). This is how He loves the world. His love is only available to us through the cross: for the wrath of God abides on the lost sinner who is an enemy of God in His mind through wicked works.

Does God love the lost? Yes, in this sense:

He makes His love available to the lost by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

It is His wrath which abides upon the children of disobedience, however, until they repent: as Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Is His love unconditional? Of course not. Why? He is a just God: and He distributes wrath or mercy as He sees fit, judging all men by His Son, Jesus Christ.

That’s the simple answer. If it doesn’t line up with what you are thinking, it is because you (speaking to anyone here) came to the conversation with a concept of love which was humanistic instead of God-inspired.

 

Ian Vincent writes:

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

Or.. Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you… (The Living Bible)

What would be the point of someone believing that God continues to love them while they are continuing to be enslaved to sin, unrepentant; when in fact, they are outside of the boundaries of where they can be a beneficiary of His love, and are still under His wrath? They would be believing a lie.

Just like these ‘christians’:

Mat 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name we cast out demons, and in Your name we did many mighty works?’ “And then I will confess to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you who work iniquity!’


Obviously, as ‘christian’ leaders and ‘prophets’, these people often preached on the love of God, and no doubt believed that God loved them while they continued to be unrepentant. They surely comforted themselves with the false assurance that God’s love for them was unconditional, even while they went on in their sin, as that is the false gospel preached today by these workers of iniquity, they say, “Nothing you could ever do could stop Jesus from loving you“, and, “Jesus loves you just the way you are“.

They believed a lie. However, Jesus’ love was available to them, they just loved sin more.

 

True Leadership should be like a ‘vanishing act’

February 4, 2008

The 5-fold ministry today should be like the Holy Spirit (of course!) bcos, as the Holy Spirit Himself is never revealed, He only reveals the Father and the Son ; and so too, those who preach and teach the Truth and who feed the church will always help people to know Jesus, and to make the Scriptures their authority.

The net effect, then, is that if a servant of Jesus has truly been an instrument of the Holy Spirit, then when he moves on, the people are more solid in the Scriptures – – he “leaves the Bible” with them, and not his own books or articles etc. The servant of Jesus’ writings and teachings decrease and the place of the Scriptures increase. This is how it should be.

A true apostle, prophet, teacher, elder should be able to encourage people to pass on his books after they’ve read them, lest they miss the whole point of the exercise, which is, that each one would know Jesus intimately, with no human mediator, and that each one would only have the Scripture as their authority in all matters. (Of course, there’s nothing wrong with keeping anyone’s books)

The man who has planted a church, who, after a number of years, has all the saints reading his books, and quoting him all the time, and, basically, putting his teaching and example as something very “special” – – if that’s the case, then that man has FAILED miserably, and that work will be burned up at the judgment of fire, but he will be saved as thru fire, if he truly has Christ in him.

The true 5-fold are just like the Holy Spirit, bcos all that they are and do is born of the Spirit – – they are like the Holy Spirit in that they are like a “vanishing act” – – The only trace you can find that they have been here is Jesus : a greater love and obedience to Him in the people of God, and a greater leaning on the truth of Scripture as the spiritual authority.

They don’t leave their own name, their own books, their own individual “doctrine”, their own “ism” – – they leave Jesus’ name, bcos they have taught the people the truth about the utter vanity of having any other teacher or mediator than Jesus, thru the Holy Spirit. They have taught that all other mediators and authorities are idols.

Question: Is it possible for a group of Christians in a certain area to meet together regularly in Jesus’ name, committed to one another (like in the NT) doing His will, and NOT be united around the teachings of one man or woman, or the teachings of a movement, but rather, only united in Christ, and only taking God’s Word as the authority on all matters? Yes, it is. But most leaders don’t want this, bcos it entails taking up the cross daily, and being crucified to this world : it’s principles, and how it operates.

And, if this were to happen, wouldn’t it be a very simple expression of church, and wouldn’t Jesus be glorified as He should? For sure.

Today’s elders (leaders) should only point to Scripture as the authority, IF it’s exclusively Scripture truth they teach and live.

Where they have written books or articles, they should be ABLE to say,

After reading it throw it away, or give it away, because it only points to the Word. Its value is defined by how well it has helped you understand Scripture, therefore, once you’ve ‘seen it’ in Scripture, then the writings have served their purpose, and I, as a teacher, have fulfilled my purpose.

Of course, whether they say this, or not, is up to the Holy Spirit in them, yet it’s true that they should be able to say this if they love the Truth.

Then, the church planter and leader should be able to leave that church he has planted, or been an influence in, and move on, and none of his materials ever need to surface again, IF he has pointed them to the Word of God, and they have all come to grasp the Word and what it means, as they grow up into the Head, Jesus, in all things, being taught by the Holy Spirit. And, elders (shepherds) will come and go, yet they also should have this understanding of their life’s service.

A friend of mine, Mark Finger, writes:

The real father, spiritual or otherwise, inevitably (if he has done his job well) comes to a place in time where his children no longer need him, are capable of surviving without any direct leadership on his part at all, and are raising up (natural or spiritual) children of their own.

There may be some sadness in letting go (which is normative), but it is swallowed up in the joy of seeing them grow up and mature. Of course, God sends some back for counsel at points in their lives: and some go on; we never see them again.

Re: Groups of believers in general : Crossing the line into spiritual idolatry occurs whenever anyone allows the consistent appearance of impropriety, when this becomes normative: no Christ-centered believer would allow such a situation to exist or continue; so why does it exist?

Ignorance is a poor excuse for a believer who has access to “all things” which he has need to know (1 John 2:27).

Real brothers are quick to call each other to accountability in the faith.

So, if there is no accountability within any group in this way: it immediately reveals that the bonds are not (Holy) spiritual.

Consider:

Heb 5:12 For indeed, although you ought to be teachers by this time, again you have need for someone to teach you what are the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

You ought to be ‘teachers’ by this time, meaning, the ‘teachers’ should have spiritually reproduced more ‘teachers’ by now. (This scripture says that ALL of them ought to be teachers, meaning that all saints should be able to teach others the Way of Truth. Yes!)

These are safeguards, and many leaders ignore them, creating clones of themselves, who parrot their teaching and jargon, leading to spiritual idolatry – when Christians see things thru another man’s understanding, like, his teaching becomes the ‘template’ or ‘program’, and within these boundaries (laws) their mind and conscience, and therefore actions, are captive.

And, ultimately, it is to their shame, when they give an account to Jesus for their life and their work is tested.

Luther said correctly, My conscience is captive to the Word of God alone.

It’s not captive to any man, group, denomination or movement.

ian.

God

February 4, 2008

Worship Him. Love Him.

1Tim 3:16 And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and was received up in glory.

1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

No greater joy than seeing brethren walk in the Truth

February 3, 2008

3 John 1:3-12

(3) For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and witnessed to the truth which is in you, just as you walk in truth.

(4) I have no greater joy than these things, that I hear that my children are walking in truth.

(alternately, no greater sadness than to see Jesus’ people walking in a lie, believing lies)

(5) Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you work for the brothers and for the strangers,

(6) who gave testimony concerning your love before the church, with reference to whom you will do well if you send them forth in a manner worthy of God,

(7) for on behalf of the Name they went out, taking nothing from the pagans.

(8) We therefore ought to receive such, in order that we may become fellow workers with the truth.

(9) I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves the preeminence over them, does not receive us.

(10) On account of this, if I come, I will call to mind his works which he does, slandering us with evil words. And not being content with that, he does not receive the brothers, and hinders those who desire to, casting them out of the church.

(11) Beloved, do not imitate the evil, but the good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.

(12) Demetrius has a good testimony with everyone, and of the truth itself. And we also testify, and you know that our testimony is true.

I have no greater joy than these things, that I hear that my children are walking in truth.

This is the heart of a true elder-shepherd in the faith : Their joy is not bound up in themselves, it’s fulfilled in the walk of “the children”.

When you meet men like this, who care more about you than their own well-being and own needs, then you’ve met an elder, and a shepherd of Jesus.

Contrast with Diotrephes (Vs 9) , John doesn’t accredit him as walking in the truth, or the truth being in him. No doubt Diotrephes was a smart dude, to be able to maneuver his way into a place of control (false authority).

John doesn’t pick on any teaching of Diotrephes (though it must have been dodgy), rather, he contrasts him with the others. The others have the truth IN THEM and they walk (live) in the truth.

Diotrephes, on the other hand, may have been a good enough teacher to work his way to the top of the heap, but the Apostle doesn’t approve of him, he doesn’t have the truth in him, evidenced by his wrong desire to have the preeminence over others. This means that Diotrephes was serving himself, not Christ.

Any ‘shepherd’ who serves themselves, doesn’t really care for the sheep, or their Head, the good Shepherd, and is a hireling.

In today’s terms it simply means that Diotrephes wanted to be the senior pastor.

ian.

 

It irks me when people say they’re ‘ministering’

February 2, 2008

Is it right to be self-conscious that one is “ministering”? And then to make a public show of one’s “ministering”?

These guys below have no idea they are “ministering”, even though they were ministering all the time. They were not self-aware that they were “in the ministry”, they just understood that they were doing what was right in each situation they were placed in.

Mat 25:34-40
(34) Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
(35) for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
(36) I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

And then they answered, Lord! we’re so glad you took note of OUR ministering!!

Nope.

They are not even self-aware that they have “a ministry”, as distinct from the duty of all followers of Christ to do what’s right (Luke 17:10).

This is what they will say :

(37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
(38) When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
(39) Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’


(40) “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.’

Also…

Luke 17:7-10
(7) And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come and recline to eat’?
(8) But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something that I may dine, and gird yourself and serve me until I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’?
(9) Does he thank that servant because he did the things having been commanded? I think not.
(10) So likewise you, whenever you do all the things having been commanded to you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what we ought – (our duty, moral obligation) to do.’ ”

In this teaching, our Lord compares the spiritual servant with a natural servant. In the natural, should a servant say, “Hey everyone! Lookie here! I’m washing the dishes! Isn’t that great?! I’m ministering! Quick, get a photo of me washing the dishes… … send out a dishwashing report… and please address me with Reverence as the Chief dish washer, diploma in dish hygiene, mind you… ????

Nope.

Mostly, these days, what people know as ‘christianity’, is something against Jesus – anti Jesus, bcos it despises His words, His truth, His commands.

Like in the above scripture, the Lord teaches us that there is no place for any of His servants to glory, to boast, to take a high place, to put on airs – acting (hupokrites – actor ) , to make demands……..

Our Lord teaches us to have the mind of a servant all the time. Yes, we serve the King ; even more imperative then that we should be true servants of Him, and not performers. You can’t reconcile a servant (as our Lord describes in Luke 17) with a self-conscious performer, drawing attention to his serving. We can’t reconcile it bcos such performing is self-serving, and not in the service of the King, for it doesn’t serve His interests, His Kingdom.

ian.