Archive for January, 2014

The Cross

January 31, 2014

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When Jesus is with you

January 31, 2014

…I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20b

When Jesus remains with you all the time, as He surely promised, then remember to run everything past Him, so to speak. I mean, if He’s with you then wouldn’t you want to discuss as much as you can with Him? Wouldn’t you want to find out what He thinks about the course your life is taking and about your plans?

You may have apprehensions about what tomorrow may bring. But does this friend of yours, who just happens to be God, share your apprehensions? This abiding friend would ask us to not get anxious about anything He is not anxious about (as if He could be anxious). He would want us to entrust all that we are to Him in the knowledge that He knows us up close and personal, cos He lives IN us. He lives in you. Then He knows and understand what’s going on in you and why you feel the way you do about any circumstance you find yourself in.

We would want to try and get His perspective: how He sees the way ahead from His perspective in us, as our closest and dearest companion. Fellowship with Him should mean sharing in His perspective of the way forward. We defer everything to Him.

Trust me, He says.

An equation of spiritual authority

January 31, 2014

Here’s a simple equation explaining the nature of NT spiritual authority in the church of Jesus Christ:

Jesus Christ is the Head of His Church, which is His body.

All that He has said, recorded in Scripture, is His authority. He spoke His words to bring His authority into our lives, so that we could live in His Kingdom under His rule, and enjoy Him and glorify Him.

We can say, then, that the truth which is in Jesus is the spiritual authority.

Then, where do human authorities ordained by Jesus come into this picture?

It comes back again to the central truth, that the truth of God’s Word is the authority, and hence our equation.

Therefore, the nature of God-ordained spiritual authority in the church is SIMPLY in this context: to the degree that they express and explain and maintain the truth of God’s Word and apply it in the real-life of a community of saints.

It is the truth which is the authority. When we submit to godly authority, which we recognize Jesus has given men for our edification, what we are actually submitting to, in the first instance, is we are submitting to the truth which is in Jesus, we are submitting to Him.

No truth, no submission. Respect, to the degree in which the spiritual leader respects and submits to the truth – in that order. So, it is really the truth we submit to when it comes to any relationship.

For example, the command for children to honor and obey their parents: If they obey this command out of love for God then it is firstly the authority of God’s Word they are submitting to – it is the Word which is the spiritual authority they are submitting to, and then it follows naturally that they will submit to their parents due to their submission to God.

And here is the premise to this equation: that people need to know the truth of Scripture themselves first in order to recognize those whom God has ordained to have spiritual authority in their life. If they are ignorant of the truth then they will submit to the wrong people out of ignorance.

Spiritual authority

January 31, 2014

A comment i made on FB: Hi sister, since you’ve made this comment here let me comment on it: The person you describe is living in something less than a Biblical apprehension of the truth regarding the issues of the church and relating to spiritual authority which God has ordained. But this surely begs the question as to what does Scripture say about these matters? As you’re aware, Scripture has much to say about elders and godly submission, not just to elders but between us all. So, the issue in your case (and with many of us) is not that we are against the idea that God raises up elders/shepherds/pastors/overseers to care for His people, but we cannot submit to an unbiblical expression of this, or to false claims of authority, or an abuse or misuse of it.

We are not naïve, as your friend seems to be. We don’t believe that the Lord Jesus whom we serve would have us go against our conscience and submit to someone or something we have no peace about submitting to. We are always trying to take the whole counsel of God into consideration.

For me, the key has been to know that God works thru relationships. Jesus builds His church relationally. We can submit to brothers and sisters whom we really know in the Lord and respect the life and character and gifts God has given them. We don’t go beyond relationship and submit to people whom we don’t know, and who also don’t know us, or who don’t care to know us. An intelligent faith requires understanding what spiritual authority is, what it is for, what it is not, and what are the limitations or boundaries of it.

Ultimately it is the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and His truth, His word which is the spiritual authority. So we only understand how Jesus employs men as elders/shepherds to serve us in the measure that we understand that they are merely instruments to preach and teach His words, His truth. That is, they don’t claim authority over us, but they understand that the truth which is in Jesus which they speak is the authority, for their goal is that people submit to Jesus, not to them.

But as soon as the paradigm, the definition of church has been altered, then all the rules of engagement are changed. That’s why we often aren’t able to help people whose definition of things is not Biblical to begin with. Like your friend who refers everything and runs everything thru the filter of “her pastor” – her understanding of what a pastor is and what church is is not drawn from the NT teaching or example/precedents on the matter.

New Day Cafe

January 30, 2014

new day

New Day Cafe is open for coffee, with inspiring movies and reading room.

This is the Christian coffee house our fellowship is running in Shillong. Please keep it in your prayers that it would be effective in reaching people with the gospel, and especially with the youth as it is located near the big colleges in Shillong and has a lot of students walk by every day.

Lydia House, near St Anthony’s College, Shillong.

096 15 415952

Wrestling?

January 30, 2014

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

You see two wrestlers in a ring, but only one of them wants to wrestle the other. So, the one who doesn’t want to wrestle is forced to wrestle by reason of the place he finds himself in.

Now, if you were that pacifist wrestler there in the ring, what would you think your opponent’s one goal is? It would be to pin you down for the count, right? To render you powerless over him, right?

So, as disciples of Jesus we are like riders on the storm, we are thrust into this world whether we like it or not, and it’s sink or swim, stand or fall.

What does our opponent want to do to us? Render us powerless. To steal our faith and our love.

So, the primary way in which the demonic realm wrestles against us is to do anything to keep us from praying, and once we are praying, to distract us from effectively praying in the Holy Spirit the express will and Kingdom of God.

Roll on the great tribulation!

January 30, 2014

Roll on the great tribulation, let’s get it over with.

We read that pope Francis is now a rock star pope on the cover of the Rolling Stone, so let it roll! Bring it on! Let him have all the fake glory and let the beast be revealed, so that these wolves and all the evil and suffering in the world can be judged by Jesus Christ at His appearing.

Dear Christian, come out from your hiding place and stand up and be counted, do not fear the things which MUST shortly come to pass, and throw away this temporary life for an eternal glory and reward in Christ Jesus.

The revelation of Jesus Christ

January 30, 2014

Salvation is a revelation of Jesus Christ given to man by God the Father thru the Holy Spirit. It is a twofold revelation, not only to believe in His Person but to believe every thing He says.

We could say, everything He has said, but His words are spirit and life, they are living and powerful, the incorruptible and indestructible seed, so even what God has spoken in the past still proceeds from His mouth today: that is, once God has spoken, then that word never ceases to spring forth from His mouth, so then it is fulfilled that we do not live by food alone but by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.

Now, what I’ve been encountering specifically here in NE India is the strange phenomenon where people claim to have a revelation of Jesus Christ and yet it’s apparent they do not yet have a revelation of the authority of His words and commands.

The first symptom that this is evident is when Christians are so easily impressed by what preachers preach and then follow them on the basis that they have a special message. They are so much alive to whatever that guy says, but the Bible puts them to sleep. You can tell they are far more excited about their pastor or their guru than they are about Jesus and His words, and ultimately the mere words of men have more authority in their life to shape the course of their life and their character than the words of God.

These are the high things which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and keep Christians powerless and worldly – still captive to anything other than captive to the word of God – their conscience still not captive to the word of God, but captive to the word of man and his traditions and opinions. It will always be one or the other.

It is instantly apparent anywhere you go whether the word of God is the final authority in a believer’s life or in a church. And where the church system has been flourishing for any length of time (like here in the NE) this is more pronounced.

A revelation of Jesus without a revelation of the authority of His words is not a true revelation, it is a counterfeit.

The Olivet Discourse

January 29, 2014

The Jews must be in Jerusalem when Jesus returns, so satan does everything he can to keep them out of Jerusalem – he figures that if he can keep the Jews out of Jerusalem he can stall the second coming of Christ, which must be the thing he dreads the most.

The bottom line

January 29, 2014

As I besought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to myths and endless genealogies, which cause questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talk; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor the things they affirm. 1 Tim. 1:3-7

Don’t teach any other teaching than what Paul taught. He says teach no other doctrine.

Anything else will not build up and will not produce the result God requires, which is love out of a pure heart, and out of a good conscience, and a faith without pretense – in other words – Christ-likeness.

If it doesn’t cause you to become like Jesus in your character, to have His love from a pure heart and clean conscience, then of what good is it? It’s just a waste of time, at best.

Beating the drum again…

January 28, 2014

When you come across a really sick patient who seems to have every ailment in the medical register you may want to try and find the root cause of his problems – where it all started.

If that patient is Christianity then we would diagnose him the same.

If i take all that Jesus taught about His Church and His Kingdom, and all that Paul taught, and John and the rest, concerning the Christian life, we can summarize that God works thru personal relationship – both to God, and to man, and the vertical and horizontal are inseparable – you can’t say you have a good relationship with God but not with His people for in His book the two are one. How you love His people is how you love Him.

Whenever we go beyond the simple truth that the Church Jesus said He would build and stand in the midst of is simply His people in a true, spiritual relationship of love to one another, then we lose the plot and the spirit of religion kicks in and it’s Hello Revelation 17 !.

This seems to be the crux. This is the root problem of the sick old man. He wants to “attend a church” for whatever reasons, but he doesn’t want real relationship, real fellowship. He “attends church” but he doesn’t really have fellowship with anyone.

Please read Ephesians 4 and 1 Cor. 12 again, if you will.

Jesus builds up His people and perfects them in Him ONLY by their fellowship in His body, for He supplies thru the members of His body. That supply takes place within true spiritual fellowship, when we are laying down our lives for the brothers and sisters.

So, what the spirit of religion is is simply the thought that church is something more than simply relationship – it supplants that simplicity by adding something else, which then turns out to be counter to relationships being formed and sustained.

For example, when you go to church what are you going to? A show? A program? An event?

Or are you going to meet your closest friends and build one another up in the One who glues you together by His love?

Chronology in Revelation

January 28, 2014

A brother writes me:

Last night I was just thinking of the Second coming of Christ and i couldn’t get what is going to happen in chronological order. Do you know which events (from the book of Revelation) will take place in chronological order? I was just curious. Or is it a mystery and no one knows.

My reply:

Hi brother, Why not read thru the seven seals, Rev. 6 – 8 as that is a chronology. The book of Revelation is not in chronological order, but the sections are, like the 7 seals, which is a subset, a panorama set within the whole. Other parts of the book explain the parts of the 7 seals in more detail, like Rev. 13 for example.

What it means is that there is no pre-tribulation rapture, but the rapture happens after the 6th seal in Rev. 7, which is after the persecution and the beast, but before God’s wrath is poured out.

Passive or active or both?

January 28, 2014

The true Christian life is often lived out in a tension zone between parallel truths, like grace and responsibility: Grace should never be used to avoid responsibility and responsibility never a hindrance to grace. But this often happens.

In seeking God’s will are we to be passive or active? And is faith passive or active? Is it resting or working? Relaxing or striving? It has both elements to it.

When we cast all our cares on the Lord we should not think this means we can then take the passive option and sing along with Doris Day, Que Sera, Sera, Whatever will be, will be... There’s pressing into God by faith and casting all your cares by faith – two parallel truths. In one sense we are passive and in another sense we are active. So the spiritual man or woman is just as much an enigma to the world as Jesus is, for such a person is hidden in Him.

After you’ve cast A-L-L your cares on Him by faith then press in by faith even more to know Him and to do His will.

Lack of love is a sign of unforgiveness

January 27, 2014

If you have anything less than the pure and holy love of Christ toward someone then unforgiveness may have crept in. If so, forgive, even if you’re not quite sure you need to.

Where there is unforgiveness God refuses to work, and He won’t forgive us if we don’t forgive, Jesus said.

How do you know if you’re “successful”?

January 21, 2014

(My comment from FB) It’s a good and relevant issue, Mike. The issue is hyper-spirituality. You could never be led too much by the Spirit, or on the other hand, too much by the Truth of God’s Word. Hyper-spirituality means a wrong view which leads to a departure from reality but the person still believes it is God in it, and it is just as common on both sides of the pentecostal-evangelical fence or divide.

And worth noting that Jesus also said that many who are first now will be last then, their “results” when tried by the fire will be seen to be nothing. I think the greatest danger is in Christians redefining the meaning of truths, like the meaning or paradigm of Church, so that “results” can be produced without God. Can you quantify character, love and holiness and put it up as objective results or data on a power-point presentation? Can the “success” of a church be measured objectively, or is it subjective? A church is a set of relationships, so how do we “rate” the quality of the love in those relationships?

Anything which conflicts with the Bible is very hard to believe

January 17, 2014

Some things are easy to believe, they are believable, and other things hard to believe. For me, the Bible is easy to believe. Even before I was a Christian I knew the Bible was true, anytime I would pick it up and have a read of it. It just struck me as being presented as fact and not mythology, it had the ring of truth to it ringing like a bell in my conscience. The alternative beliefs the world offered seemed so absurd, far-fetched and hard to believe. It would require an enormous leap of blind faith to believe that the facts presented in the Bible about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are not true. It is harder to believe that these facts were invented than to believe they are true. The historicity of Jesus should be just as easy to believe as that of any other great historical figure. If anyone told you that Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte were mythological figures, or they existed, but no one really knows what they did: to believe that would take a giant leap of blind faith.

Jesus is historical in the sense that He really was on the earth and therefore His life, death and resurrection were historical events and therefore part of human history, and of course He is the center of human history bcos He lives.

History only immortalizes people who actually existed and who accomplished something great. Early Christianity was built on the fact of many eye-witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, so if there was no resurrection there would have been no Christianity. Therefore, the place Jesus has in history is due to Him rising from the dead and ascending to heaven.

The belief that the Biblical account of Jesus is not true is a lot harder to believe than the belief that it is true. Why are people willing to crawl out on a limb and believe something so absurd as the denial of the Biblical record of Jesus? What you don’t believe is also part of what you believe. To say, I don’t believe that, is in itself a statement of belief. For Christians, false interpretations of Scripture should be harder to believe than true ones. For the Christian, to believe the truth about Jesus and His way, commands and Kingdom means also to not believe the lies presented about Him and the ways in which Scripture is twisted in order for man to justify his own ambitions and goals or greed. Believing will also mean identifying those things which you cannot believe or accept.

The nothingness…

January 15, 2014

“Ray, what would you think, if it were possible, if you died and found out there is nothing after life?”

Ray’s reply: I would think about how I had just ruined all the nothingness by being there.

~ Ray Comfort

Does God have a problem with you?

January 15, 2014

The authentic Christian faith goes like this: If God no longer has any problem with me and has forgiven me bcos of the Cross of Calvary then what problems do I really have? If God doesn’t have a problem with you then why do you have a problem? Just be sure that God doesn’t have a problem with you. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit will settle that either way…….Take time to ponder on ALL the attributes of God…His goodness, righteousness, truth and love. Do you consider Him good? People always go after what they think is good. If people don’t go after Jesus Christ it’s bcos they are not convinced He is good.

God works in you

January 14, 2014

God works in you. He does many things in you. One of the great works of God in the disciple of Jesus is to be actively building our faith so that our faith grows and becomes stronger in Him. Consider how God the Father is at work today in you to build your faith. How is He working to produce that result? Were you aware that He is working in you to that end? Did you know He is committed to you to build your faith to full maturity? How is He orchestrating all things so that your faith will need to be stretched beyond its present position? See how He is weaning us off everything which is not of faith, like a gentle nursing mother, so that we can really know Jesus Christ by faith. See how He will only allow Himself to be known by faith and by no physical or natural medium. Now cooperate with Him and allow Him and His words to work in you mightily and be the perfecter of your faith.

Sincerity

January 14, 2014

Back in the ol days we used to consider sincerity as being the desired quality in human relationships. It’s worth finding out if God the Father considers the way you relate to Him as sincere or not. Does sincerity characterize your relationship to Jesus Christ? If people are insincere with one another they are most certainly insincere toward God. If there’s one thing which defines what Christianity and Church has devolved into it is insincerity. Years ago we would sign off letters, Yours Sincerely, but now even the concept has been lost, for the most part.