Archive for June, 2013

Immersed in the Holy Spirit

June 30, 2013

Baptism means full immersion. In water baptism you are fully immersed under the water. In the baptism of the Holy Spirit you are fully immersed in the Holy Spirit.

If someone threw you off the pier into the ocean and you sank down under the water then you would be more aware of the water enveloping you than the outside world above. You don’t lose touch with the outside world but it is not immediate to you, now you are swimming in a new medium, a new world. Similarly, when Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit you are more aware of Him than the outside world – the Kingdom of God becomes more immediate than the kingdoms of the world – the things of God become more real to you than anything in the world.

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Life to your spirit

June 30, 2013

Revisiting the subject of spirit, soul and body. The Life of God is the Spirit of God and He indwells our spirit. So, the Life of God relates to our spirit, first. What your spirit relates to is life, the life of God. But your soul is different.

For example, if you listen to secular music it may be enjoyable for your soul but it is not life to your spirit. On that basis alone doesn’t make it wrong, but it would be unfortunate if Christians couldn’t distinguish the difference between what is life to their spirit and what is pleasure to their soul. (Much Christian music appeals more to the soul than the spirit; your soul may enjoy it but it’s not life to you).

I’m not saying it’s wrong for your soul to enjoy lawful things but you would want to know what is life to your spirit and live out of your spirit rather than let your soul predominate over your spirit, and that is what a “carnal” Christian does.

Even their understanding of what is a “good Church” may be more from their soul than their spirit.

What is not life to you is not from the Holy Spirit. He is Life. Those filled with the Holy Spirit can do so much in the Kingdom almost effortlessly bcos the things of God are LIFE to them.

The more Jesus becomes our LIFE in real terms then the more we flow in His life.

Any better ideas?

June 30, 2013

If anyone thinks they have ‘the better idea’ than the apostles have for the church, it is but their pride and self ambition which has blinded their spiritual eyes to see real things in apostolic teachings.

~ Dilip Thapa

(A very close brother and friend here in Shillong)

Paul makes a connection with them

June 30, 2013

Therefore then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Deity is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God overlooked; but now commands all men everywhere to repent: Because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained; and of this he has given assurance unto all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. Acts 17:29-31

The value of observing here how Paul speaks to unbelievers is to note that he even appeals to a natural understanding unbelievers have (Rom 1) that there is a God and that they were originally His children.

Paul makes a connection with them on the basis of a shared humanity rather than trying to diminish or deny their God-given humanity. Paul is highlighting that God is saving the lost offspring of God, he is appealing to that innate, vestigial, lost inner natural knowledge.

These days in my street preaching i call unbelievers my brothers and sisters (according to the flesh) i appeal to a common, shared humanity and point out how we all came from one blood, explaining the first Adam and the second Adam, Christ Jesus.

The simple dynamic

June 30, 2013

Here’s the dynamic: By faith and by the Spirit we preach and teach the Word of God to people knowing that no one can understand or receive anything of Jesus without the power of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So, what happens is that out of all the people we speak to very few receive revelation by the Holy Spirit, so very few understand what we say: But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14

So there is a kind of dilemma in that we are preaching and teaching people, but knowing that WE can’t make them understand: it is out of our hands. Then, it’s interesting how believers ultimately respond to this dynamic: Some, then give up preaching and teaching bcos they rationalize it away by thinking, what’s the use of trying when we can’t make people understand? Another reaction is that believers then reduce the emphasis on the Scriptures and just pray for people to receive the Holy Spirit so that then they will understand the Truth.

Yes, sometimes we feel like giving up trying to explain the Word of God to people and wish we could just lay hands on them and they will be instantly filled with the Holy Spirit and then will understand what we are talking about. But there ain’t no easy way out or short cut. Here is God’s way:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God…

…For since in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Cor. 1:18, 21

I think what carnal Christians are most uneasy with is that this is all out of their control, and they can’t stand that, for if it is out of your control then you can’t claim any credit for anything, right? And the carnal Christian always wants a stake in the glory.

That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life

June 30, 2013

Romans 13:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:1-2

It’s quite amazing to see the sovereignty of God over the heathen nations, how He caused them to have civil authorities to maintain some kind of civilized life, and this is all for the benefit of His scattered people in the world “that we may life a quiet and peaceable life”.

If God’s sovereign hand over civil government was lifted then anarchy would break out. Civil law only means anything if there is the power to enforce it.

So we can also see the glory of God in the world, that He is ultimately in control over the “god of this world”, satan, and has ultimate control over the servants of satan. May Christians have a better understanding of the greatness of the power of God and they will be less distressed by the great falling away which is underway.

Otherwise, what does “we are more than conquerors” mean? (Rom. 8:35-39)

His ears are open unto their prayers

June 29, 2013

For the eyes of the LORD are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers… 1 Peter 3:12a

Held in sin’s dread sway…

June 29, 2013

The old song goes, I would rather have Jesus.. ..than to be the king of a vast domain, or be held in sin’s dread sway… To anyone reading this, are you still held by the power of sin and under its dread sway? Sin is a power. And there is also the power of God which comes with the righteousness of Christ freely imputed to us by faith. As you read these words, can you say that you have been released from the power of your sins, that you were once under its power but now Jesus has set you free from its power? You’ve known the power of sin but have you experienced the infinitely greater power of Jesus and His deliverance?

Reductionism

June 29, 2013

In Christianity, reductionism means to oversimplify the issues of life as a means of escaping or avoiding dealing with difficult or controversial issues, or even as a way of avoiding certain truths of Scripture of which a person knows would reveal their error or their sin. Reductionism is usually a means of self justification and also a denial of reality, a sweeping under the rug.

The danger of it is that the statements the reductionist makes are usually true. The problem is that they are used in a censorial way, to censure any viewpoint which may clash with theirs.

The realistic approach to the Bible is to know that God authored it and therefore every single truth presented there is there for a very good reason. Reductionism, therefore, challenges God’s wisdom by implying that God would have been wiser not to go into so much detail.

A NEW CONSCIENCE

June 29, 2013

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb. 9:14

Only when our conscience has been cleansed and freed from all our sins can we truly begin to live for God. If not, we will not be serving God but serving ourselves, our “religion” will be for us and not for God. The person who is trying to clear their conscience by religious works, duties and the OT ritual laws (dead works) is still serving themselves and not God, bcos they have not submitted to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

Check your conscience. Are you living out of a pure conscience or a defiled conscience? Does your righteousness spring forth from the power of a free Blood-washed conscience or are you still trying to clear your bad conscience by your good works?

Death by Niceness

June 29, 2013

by Glenn Christopherson. Please see COMMENTS

Separating truth from life?

June 28, 2013

Paul (and the other NT Scripture writers) write relationally: God to man, man to man to God. The truth was not presented in an abstract form, it was always within the context of relationship to God and man and therefore the issue was life.

The paradigm of theology makes a separation between truth and life, which would be like trying to separate a man and a woman from their marriage.

Of course, God has a very high premium on truth, Jesus even claimed to be the truth, yet His truth can’t exist in an abstract form away from the Person of Jesus.

If someone came up to Paul to talk theology with him, Paul would be more interested in that person than in their theology, he would want to know whether they live what they believe.

The guy wants to discuss the theology of the Church. Paul asks him is he functioning daily in spiritual fellowship with the Church, is he laying down his life for the brothers, or is this merely an intellectual interest he has in the subject? Has he abstracted the truth away from the life? If so that is unreality.

We the people of Jesus Christ

June 28, 2013

We the people of the United States… the American constitution begins.

Now, does a nation have its identity in its leader, or in the people which comprise that nation? It’s in the people, not the leader.

And does a Church have its identity in its leaders or in the people which comprise it? Someone will say, the Church has its identity in Christ. Yes, indeed, and Christ is in His people, and this is the only identity a Church can have, that indeed Christ is present in the lives of the people who comprise that Church (Rev. 2 & 3).

And if this solid foundation of truth is manifest then Christians only think of Church in terms of “We the people of Jesus Christ” : her identity is solely in the risen Lord present in and with His people – truly His body.

Then there is no other identity or entity of Church: it’s not a legal or business entity or franchise, a cultural or social entity or a personality cult or a doctrinal entity.

Things are not Christian, people are”, a brother writes. In a similar vein, there is no entity of a Church apart from the people. Many times people talk about a Church as if it were an entity in its own right apart from the people of whom it consists. And also many people think of themselves more of being members of an entity than members of the body, and in that way they say they are members of such and such a Church but they may not have real fellowship with the people that make up that Church. And in another vein, even in a “Church” which does not represent the Kingdom of God there may be a few believers who have fellowship with one another, like a Church within a “Church”.

So in these last days it’s time to hear the voice of “We the people of Jesus Christ”. It’s time to consider ourselves one people under our Head Christ Jesus.

Christ Himself is our Constitution, for we cannot separate Him from His words.

The end determines the means

June 27, 2013

My spirit longs to be in glory with the Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit in us is always pulling us heavenward toward that great Day, for that is the nature of the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15) we are orphans in this world but we are not orphans in heaven – our Father is in heaven so all of our being belongs where our Father is.

And this glory to come of standing in heaven face to face with the Lord Jesus should determine how we live today: it shapes everything, what we believe, what we do, what we preach and teach, how we read and understand the Bible, and the means by which we do things, so that all that constitutes our life is flowing like a steady stream toward heaven, in perfect harmony with our destination. This is the true Christian life, a life which really belongs in heaven and is flowing toward heaven.

Don’t you feel like you’re caught up in this divine flow of the Spirit, like a river which flows back to God? There is a river that flows from God and it also catches us up in it and flows back to God – Jesus is both the source and the destination of that river.

The end determines the means. Whenever you are faced with ethical, moral or value judgments then just think of the end, and that should be the answer for the now, for our decisions should harmonize with our destination, cos we may be closer to our destination than we think…

But the great tragedy is that many who take the name of Christ are living lives which are in stark contradiction to their destination.

Love the truth or believe lies

June 26, 2013

My comment from a Facebook convo : I agree that theology in Christianity is a man-made paradigm which only got started some time in the 2nd century in Alexandria Egypt, but before that the Church and the teaching of the Apostles was in a more relational sense. Paul wrote in real terms which anyone could understand. He is not writing as a theologian. You can’t pick out which are the “theological parts” and which aren’t, as the paradigm was truth and life. So God is not into a theological paradigm but He is very much into truth. So much so that those who do not receive a love of the truth will be deceived (2 Thess. 2:10-11). The Christian who does not believe every truth of God’s Word will simply by default believe lies, there is no neutrality. Such is the spiritual conflict.

So, what’s the harm in believing things about God and the Christian life and faith which are not true? The first thing is that it robs God of glory, it dilutes personal faith by bringing confusion, and it opens the door to the father of liars to play around with you and mess you up – basically, it genders toward sin.

God and the truth of His Word are not two separate subjects. The Person of Jesus and His commands and teachings are not two separate things. The person who truly knows and loves Jesus also loves and obeys His truth (John 14:21, 23, 24).

You can never divorce the truth of God from God, and you can never divorce the truth a man believes from what kind of man he is, and that is due to him being made in the image of God. So man just cannot be neutral when it comes to truth, he will either believe the truth or he will believe lies. And due to the nature of his creation man cannot escape thinking about things and making moral or value judgments.

Like, someone says they don’t like “doctrine”, but they can’t escape the fact that they have their own “doctrine” anyway, unless they are a vegetable.

Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. John 17:17

Truth is the means by which God sets people apart from a world of lies for Himself. There is no truth outside of the Word of God.

You can never divorce the truth a man believes from what kind of man he is.

He Himself is our peace

June 26, 2013

He Himself is our peace… Ephesians 2:14

Let that sink right in!

What future for Christian institutions?

June 26, 2013

Is the term “Christian institution” an oxymoron? That is, when something is ultimately controlled by the world how can it truly be Christian?

A few words from Todd Friel:

Paul on TV

June 25, 2013

With whatever ministry or preacher you’re listening to, could you imagine Jesus or Paul the Apostle sitting there (in their place) saying or teaching exactly the same message? Could I imagine Paul teaching exactly what the televangelist teaches? Could I imagine Paul standing there in their place on their TV show and preaching the same thing? Could you imagine Jesus standing there saying the same things?

Could you imagine Paul standing behind that same pulpit teaching exactly the same kind of message and being exactly the same kind of person?

Look for the bottom line that Paul taught and compare it with the bottom line of these others, and if the bottom line has been changed then change your teachers quickly.

From the Archives

A correct view of “things”

June 25, 2013

Take the matter of the Christian and sports: usually there’s nothing immoral or bad about sports (apart from selfish or ruthless competitiveness) but it can become an idol. So the issue, then, is with the person and not with the sports. God will ask us about what place sport has in our lives, and how we relate to it – what is our relationship to it? Is it more important in our priorities than it should be?

There’s so many things like that in the world, like money, even, where the thing itself is not evil but rather the issue is within each person whether they relate to these things within the order of God’s Kingdom: seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

So, apart from the immoral or unlawful things of the world, the rest of the things of the world only become idols if people make them idols, so then the issue is not whether the “thing” is good or bad but how the person relates to the “thing” – the issue and the focus then becomes more on who we are than what the “things” are.

Pentecostals famously used to rail against “worldly” things but often avoided dealing with the person first, as it is the person which is the problem and not the “things”. And this is a kind of scapegoating in order to avoid dealing with one’s person – with what kind of person you are.

Believing doesn’t change the truth

June 24, 2013

Believing doesn’t change the truth, and this is why we need to take care that what we believe is actually true with God’s Word, bcos if what we believe is not true then all the believing in the world doesn’t make it true. The issue is never what people believe but the issue is whether what they believe is true.