Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt.28:19-20
These were the words, referred to as the “Great Commission” spoken by Jesus to his apostles. These men had been his disciples, his personal students for 3+ years. It was with these men that Jesus lived and talked with daily; and it was to these men that he gave the secrets of the Kingdom, too. “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables Mark 4:11. But what about the common man? What about the man who reads and still hears parables? what is his, I mean, our “Commission”?
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Rom.12:1-2
These are the words written by the Apostle Paul to the young church in Rome; but what did they mean to them, and what do they point to for us today? How does transformation take place and what is mind renewal? What is the difference between being conformed and being transformed? What is spiritual worship and how does one present your body as a living sacrifice? Paul writes these words to a city that years later would be seeing Christians offered to the lions and people would be literally living sacrifices. I can only imagine that the the commission Paul lays out here is what prepared and enabled those men and women of the future to be able to do what they did. The sacrifice of those men and women change a nation and the world. What was it they did to prepare for that day?
present your bodies as a living sacrifice – Paul first addresses the state of the physical body and the all physical scenes to be offered up fully alive and operational but in a state of sacrifice i.e offering. Offering means “to give”; its a state of being “given too” as one might give himself in marriage or give himself to training for a certain task .
holy and pleasing to God – Holy means to be “set apart” this being a state that is fully acceptable to God.
Here we see a person in a physical body who has set aside that physical body, mind, and, emotions and is fully committed to train and do whatever is necessarily to accomplish the task.
this is your spiritual worship – λογικός, ή, όν – logikos, logical and means divine reason . and the word worship is the idea of divine service – so it could read your Divine Logical service. Or the Service that will transform logic into the Divine.
Here Paul goes with a negative a “WHAT NOT TO DO”
Do not be conformed to this age
Conformed – συσχηματίζω suschématizó; means “having an outward shape” – to conform oneself (i. e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern. In other words don’t try to be like someone else. Paul talks about this further in a letter to the baby Christians in Corinth when he says: What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”…..For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
Paul and Apollos and any man cannot cause growth. At best a man can point you toward the answer within and at worst he can give you a teaching, law, doctrine, practice or anything the natural mind can see, mimic and conform to. Idolatry was the #1 enemy of God throughout the writings of the Old Testament. An Idol is any fixed image, idea, teaching or philosophy that the mind can identify, break apart to study and conform to. Idolatry was the hardest thing for Israel to let go of and today is no different. We might not worship statues made by human hands that much, but, we do worship i.e. serve doctrines, teachings, concepts and traditions taught by men in the place of the Living indwelling Christ.
As I see it, the biggest hindrance to the kingdom of God being on earth is not those who would speak against Jesus Christ but those that would Idolize Him. What do I mean by that? I mean those that would take and turn Christ, the Living Word of God into a book or story to be studied, memorized, worshiped and finally conformed to. The Transformation of a Mind does not take place by learning about Jesus Christ, the Transformation of a mind takes place in KNOWING CHRIST THE LIFE WITHIN YOU.
be transformed by the renewing of your mind –
In other words Transformation takes place by BEING WITH THAT REALITY THAT IS IN YOU!
This is the very essence of Meditation and the practice of Being Still. This is what others have called Union with God and the Practice of his Presence.
The Renewing is the process of making that which is, new again and the Mind is: the comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining; hence, specifically, the intellective faculty, the understanding: (Strong’s Conc)
A Mind made New so it can perceive, understand and feel God to the capacity it was created to. A Mind no longer perceiving its nakedness as shame but a mind freed from the conditioning of Idol thoughts to a New Mind metamorphosed into the instrument of the Divine.
so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God
How many times have I heard people pray to know what God’s will is and yet I can’t recall ever having heard anyone ask or pray about how they could have their mind renewed. People want the ability to know God’s will but are often unwilling or more often are simply ignorant to the process and work of mind renewal.
For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. Rom.8:5-9
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night. Ps.1:1-2
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; Jn.16:13
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jer.31:33
And Finally more of Paul’s words describing this process of Mind renewal in another way. A way in which we all can relate to: When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1Cor.13:11. A childish mind is not a wrong, evil or bad mind it is simply an ignorant childish one.
The kingdom of God is within you and yet we seem to think that the answers to our life is found in holy books or the teachings of men. Inside of us all is a treasure that is waiting to be found and explored, a Christ that wants to be known. As the scriptures says, “Be still and know that I am God”. The practice of stillness seems to be a lost one among those who take the title Christian. They take a name and try to take a commission that is not theirs. Going into all the world without first being transformed is the same as going into battle crippled, blind, deaf, dumb and without one weapon. You want to take up the Great Commission then first present your bodies for sacrifice and your minds for transformation. How do you plan to teach people about knowing God’s will when you yourself have not gone through the process necessary to know it. Moses prepared 40 years in a very quite dessert. Jesus was unheard of from 12 to 30 as he prepared; and Paul 15 years in obscurity going through this practice of stillness and meditation, experiencing the third heaven and having his mind made new and his life transformed. It is only through face to face intimacy that any of us can ever express the light needed to cause the darkness to flee. The practice of meditation is not the answer; it is simple a means by which you can discover for yourself what God has written on your heart. As Paul wrote:
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2Cor.3:2-6
If God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven then it will take men and women who are willing to take the time and effort to discover the reality that lies within them. It will take time in desserts to find the wonderful secrets that have been written down in their own hearts. It will take individual people who want to know God as they are known by God and it will take the brave who are willing to lay down their idols and search for what they do not yet know. Before the Great Commission comes this, the Commission you don’t usually hear about: it’s the One where you have to go outside the gate.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate. So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Heb.13:12-14
Its lonely outside the place where you grew up. No family, no church friends; just the rejects of where you came from. Can you leave your physical, religious, political, educational and spiritual home to discover the truth within you? Can you leave all that you have known to be truth, to stand naked face to face with a God you don’t really know but want to? Maybe this will give you a little different understanding of the words spoken so long ago that said:
How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. Matt.7:14
the earth and all of creation hopes you find it!
June 25, 2012 | Categories: Bible, Bible Study, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Discipleship, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Reimagining Church, Religion, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: living sacrifice | 2 Comments
What I find to be One of the most misunderstood phrases among Christians today is
“The Word of God”
For so many Christians today this phrase has come to mean “The Bible”
The Christian ear hears “preach the Bible; be urgent…..”
Is this what Paul was saying? I guess he could of just said: “preach my letter” since that is what people do today and its what they in practice think Paul was saying.
The Apostle John seem to have a different view of the “Word” than many have today when he starts his gospel off with;
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Can we really say: In the beginning was the Bible, and the Bible was with God, and the Bible was God.
Most Christians would say “NO” with their mouth yet in their practice would agree with the above interpretation.
The author of The letter to the Hebrews wrote:
Heb.4:12-13 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Living, Active and has Sight
Paul writes in his letter to the saints in Corinth:
2Cor.3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
How does the letter kill?
A letter is a description of something living but it in itself is not alive. A letter like a picture can capture a moment in life, freeze it or as Paul says “Kill it”. Life is ever moving, ever changing it is only the dead that remain exactly the same.
So what is the Bible then?
It is a letter recording God’s words to different men, peoples and nations. It records the thoughts of different men who had a revelation of God. It is a record of life, frozen in time, but all this letter can do is nothing more than “bear witness” to the Word of God.
As John has recorded and the Author of Hebrews records the Word of God is not something written or something that can be contained but is a living being. John says: John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” and the author of Hebrews says: Heb 12:13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight.
This “Word of God” that Paul, John and all the men of God speak of is the living Christ within you.
It was the Bereans who heard Paul speak the “Word of God” and after they heard the word preached they went to the scriptures to see if it was so.
Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.
So I ask you, see if these things are so! Every time you see the “Word” mentioned in the scriptures replace it with “Bible” and see if it rings true to you. After that replace the “Word” with “Christ” and read it seeing if it rings true to your Spirit.
I say all this not to put the Bible down but to raise Christ up. Biblical knowledge is not a bad thing but if it replaces a living relationship with Christ then it has become a hindrance and an idol. You don’t need the Bible to hear Christ speak.
The Bible should never replace Christ in being the voice that leads and guides you.
Jesus said: You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. Jn.5:39-40
Lastly – How does one hear the Word of God?
Ps.46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. Still the chatter in your mind, still your thoughts and allow the still small voice of Christ to be heard within you!
There is a lot more that could be said on this subject but I have kept this short and sweet so it can be read by all and I have faith and trust in the Lord’s voice within you to teach you all you need to know!
November 9, 2011 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Old Testament History, Organic Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment
There is reality and there is what we think is reality and the two are not the same. Reality is what eternally is. So what really is eternally true? Oneness, connectedness of all things the non-two of everything, this is eternal truth. In the physical world ,that appears so divided, the truth is unity. Fear, frustration, worry, hate and division are manifestations of a mind not accepting the eternal unity that is. Because my mind sees what appears to be two I believe in what my physical eyes see over what eternally is. Our bodies are not eternal, from dust they came and to dust they shall return. Our minds are not eternal, from dust they came and to dust they shall return.
That which animates the body, that which we call life is eternal and it is this life that all beings share in. It is not many lives but one life that animates every physical body on this earth. This is why it makes no sense to say “I hate the life in that person but I love it in this person” – there is only one life. To awaken is to see the reality of that one life and to live in the truth of that reality, this is how a physical mind can be renewed in the light of truth. Life imprisoned by a mind in the darkness of division is a life unrealized and unfulfilled. As the left hand does not say to the right hand I have no need of you, so no one can say to his neighbor “I have no need of you”. If the attitude of our hands was I am not one with you and have no need of you how difficult would it make our life on this earth? If this is the attitude of people toward each other what a difficult task it would be to get anything done (this is the curse) .
To believe in a savior, calling or mission does not alleviate or free your life into the oneness that is unless you yourself see the reality of that oneness. Religions have often mistaken mission for identity and used this as a reason for separation from others. Its disheartening to hear that “To love your neighbor as yourself” is often read as a command or goal and not a revelation that your neighbor is you.
Its not so much about what you believe is its more like
“Do you see what really is”
. Do you have eyes that see or eyes hidden behind the veil of divided flesh. Before Jesus was taken to the cross the gospel of John records a pray his disciples could hear and part of what he prayed was “that they may all be one”. Many read this to be a prayer about becoming one but it is my belief that this was not Jesus asking the Father to make them one in the future but simply to open their eyes to the reality of the oneness that all life shares. It was the mission of Jesus to destroy all perceived divisions not only between God and man but between man and man and man and creation so that all can share in the freedom that comes from the destruction of division through the revelation of Oneness.
God is One and all his children are One. This is love, that a man sees and lives his life One with everyone, not because he should, but because it is what is real and eternally true.
Something I Miss
The past 22 years have been quite an adventure for both my wife and I. We left the church we had known and been raised in and went on an adventure to find something higher or something more. During these years, we have been involved with 10 different churches or groups for an extended period of time. Each group having its own style, doctrine, traditions and focus. I can honestly say that we have learned something valuable from each group we have been a part of. As of now, we are part of a Filipino Christian and Missionary Alliance Church that we have been attending for the past seven months. Very nice group of friendly, hospitable people that love potlucks (a big thumbs up in my opinion). We also are a part of a Mystery School that meets once a month on a Saturday for about 7 to 8 hours. The Mystery School is a 12 session school taught by Christopher and Yolanda who are a very wonderful couple that Vina and I feel share the same heart that we have for Christ, people, and the world in general. The School has been an excellent opportunity for exposure to ideas, history, science and others forms of Christ that I was unfamiliar with. Christopher’s style of teaching is great without legalism and yet he has authority that comes from his experience with the things he teaches us. The school will be coming to an end in the next two months and we will be onto something new. One of the main ideas or truths Christopher constantly is reminding us of is the simple words of Jesus which is to
“seek first the kingdom of God or Heaven”
. These few words are simple but expose a tremendous dimension if you see it. The Kingdom of God is within you Lk.17:20-21 and Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – I am going to consider the the Kingdom of God and Heaven are the same for the purpose of this blog – The word Heaven means both the abode of God and Expanse (TWB 2407). Consider this, the Universe, God, Heaven are all ever expanding and it is this constant expansion that is happening right within us. Growth in Christ is not only inevitable, it is eternal. It is not a stagnate well that Jesus talked to the women at the well about – it is not a finite kingdom of God that is within us but and ever-expanding Christ that we are called to be conscious of, draw from and express on this earth. This eternal ever-expanding Christ within us can be called Christ Consciousness.
But, back to the point – Because of these 22 years, today I was reflecting on what I really treasure or miss, and I think I might try to put into words what that is. When I hear someone share something real, something that comes from their heart … (and what I mean by heart is that place inside of you where Christ is enthroned – the heart then is the mercy-seat of divine unconditional love. The ability to express the heart of Christ and the ability to hear that expression with “ears that hear” takes the functioning of Christ Consciousness within you. It is this interaction of speaking and hearing that is the true communion or re-member-ing of Christ i.e. joining the ears and mouth to the head and heart) … it is this type of communion with a group of people that I miss. So much of what is called “fellowship” today is simply from the head, sharing information about God, the Bible, history or your work, but the sharing that comes from the fountain deep within oneself, I have found to be a rare and treasured experience. Heart communion and Head fellowship are not the same thing. I am not saying that one is right and one is wrong. Head fellowship does have its place – mentally learning things is a good thing but I have found that it does not give you the same satisfaction that the things that come from the well within bring. Heart words that people have shared have caused me to be conscious of another dimension of Christ that I had previously not been aware of. And like a drink of cool sweet tea on a hot day, I am refreshed and enjoy the new view given me by a sister or a brother in that moment. Heart words are like pearls created from deep within ones heart – the Love that is Christ not removing but encompassing an irritation and then bringing forth the pearl for all to see and appreciate what Christ within hath created from that irritation (Matt.13:45-46). Oh that I be not a pig, unconscious to the pearls brought forth by others (Matt.7:6). I long to see and hear of the pearls of my brothers and sisters and not just hear puffy leaven stuff that looks like it should be so much more than it really is (1Cor. 8:1).
Recently I heard a classic message out of the book of Malachi. Mal.3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!” You ask: “How do we rob You?” “[By not making the payments] of 10 percent and the contributions. The importance of tithing! The fact that the Church needs money to pay the bills and the ministers is a given but should we use Mal. 3:8 to support the need to give 10% of your money to the church?
Is tithing a law we should follow?
Should we pick and choose what Old Testament laws to follow and which ones we won’t?
Deut 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother….. bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown. ….Then all the men of his city will stone him to death……
Most just ignore this Biblical Law, but not all.
Paul wrote: For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace. Rom.6:14
So what does it mean to be under Grace and not the Law?
I believe it has something to do with the “Why” we do things and not the “What” we do.
As Paul wrote: So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Rom.7:12
There is Law that is placed upon us and law that is discovered within us.
As Paul wrote: For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. Rom.7:22
Following laws like tithing, honoring thy Father and Mother, Being faithful to your spouse, not committing adultery – is not what the message of Jesus.
Jesus said: But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt.5:28
Simply not breaking the law is not what life is all about. Spirit Life is lived from the heart not the brain. Laws are brain things – The work of Christ is within the heart of man
Jer.24:7 I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD. They will be My people, and I will be their God because they will return to Me with all their heart.
Heb 8:10 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts, ….
Prov.23:7 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “ Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
Am I saying the law is bad? No. What I am saying is that the law is descriptive not directive. The law was not given for you to follow but for you to read and then discover these realities within your own heart. Its within your heart that Christ has hidden these things and they are meant to be discovered and lived out because they come from the depth of your being, they come from Spirit. The laws are not meant to be read and obeyed like a traffic sign would be.
Paul said in writing his first letter: I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? Gal.3:2-3
Paul calls works of the law “The Flesh” When Paul speaks of the flesh he is speaking of things external or things not coming from within your own spirit. The Galatians were being told to have the men circumcised because the Bible commanded it. Gen.17:14 If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Paul makes clear the difference between Law and Love –
For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and [true] circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. His praise is not from men but from God. Rom.2:28-29
The outward following the letter of the law has nothing to do with God –
True union with God is in Spirit expressed in Love.
DO IT BECAUSE YOU (your heart) WANTS TO NOT BECAUSE YOU (your mind thinks [ego]) ARE SUPPOSED TO!
To give out of the abundance of your heart is a joy and gift to God. To give because you think you are supposed to or you have been guilted into it is the true robbing of God.
How is that robbing God?
When you discover God within your heart you discover that you and the giver are one. From that revelation you give, not because you are supposed to, but because it is who you are. You don’t give to prove something your giving displays your real self. Following the Law takes that away – Law is then lifted up replacing Christ. The Law was meant to point us to God not be our God – The Spirit of Anti-Christ is that which replaces Christ, don’t let the law be that to you.
Who knows the difference between the giving of the widow and the rich man? – they do. Only you and God know why you do what you do, but isn’t that enough. Are your actions coming from a heart overflowing with the discovery of the Love of God buried deep within your being or are they the actions of a man leaning on his own understanding of what the Bible says is the right and godly thing to do. Again, only you and God know.
January 18, 2011 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment
Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” (NASB)
These are bold and spectacular words. They open the treasure house of the Eternal King
to the children of clay, the privilege of God’s own omnipotence and all the possibilities of His infinite resources. Side by side these two astounding declarations stand, “All things are possible with God;” “All things are possible to him that believeth.” (A.B. Simpson)
What is Faith
Dictionary.com definition – –noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
We have the English word “faith” but what are the Bible writers talking about when they use the word “Faith” ? For this we look to the scriptures to discover what they are talking about when they write we need to live by faith.
Heb.10:38-11:3 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NASB)
what the righteous live by
This is a quote from the scriptures Hab.2:2-4 Then the LORD answered me and said,”Record the vision ……For it will certainly come, it will not delay. “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. (NASB)
Here we see two lives portrayed One is Proud the Other is Faith – Pride comes as a sign of self-righteousness not faith-righteousness.
Self-Righteousness is a righteousness achieved by following rules – it comes from human effort and human will not from the faith of Christ within the heart of man.
Paul also quotes Habakkuk in Rom 1:17 For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed, out of faith for faith, according as it is written: “Now the just one by faith shall be living.” (CL)
When Paul says “out of faith” he is indicating that faith is the source and foundation of the hearing of God’s holiness “to faith” indicates that faith is the receiver and container that receives and contains God’s holiness unto righteousness.
assurance of things hoped for
In other words it is the guarantee of what you believe. The word “hope” here is not something you are wishing for but something you are assured of. Hope speaks of a true belief
conviction of the unseen
Conviction is the Greek word “elenchos” and it means: a proof, test or evidence. Faith is the evidence of the unseen. Such as – the proof the unseeable wind is moving is the fact that I see your hair being blown around by the unseeable wind.
Jn.4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NASB)
Spirit in greek “pneumati” it means spirit, wind. God himself is unseeable but you can know Him or perceive Him by His affect in you and the things in creation. He can be seen through touching things in creation by blowing on them as it were.
The True Living Faith of a Believer is the Evidence of God’s Existence
Faith comes by:
Rom.10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hearing – Jesus said: Mark 4:9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23; )
Matthew 13:11-17 Jesus answered them, “To you (his disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,…. while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,………
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
“For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (NASB)
Jesus distinguishes a very important difference between His Disciples and the Religious Leaders of the time was the ability and or lack of ability to both hear and see spiritual realities. The disciple John addresses this again to each of the churches in his letter the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
To each of the 7 churches in Asian John wrote : Rev.2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches ….”
The First step in a walk of faith is the willingness and openness to hear. In order for someone to really hear they have to be open to listen. Those who “KNOW” cannot hear because they are already filled up with knowledge. Living from a Knowledge of Good and Evil is not the same as living from the Life of Faith.
Hearing the Word of Christ
What are we to be hearing? The Word of Christ and what is this Word?
John 1:1,14 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 saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word is the expression of God i.e. Jesus – The Word of God is a person and his name is Jesus.
A though may form in the brain but it is not know to another until it is expressed by the person. The thought forms the word and expresses it by wind through the mouth. Jesus is the Word of God – the expression to us of the thought of the mind of God.
Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Jesus refers to what we call today the Bible as the “Scriptures” Jn.5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
In the scriptures we do find expressions of the Word of God i.e. Jesus, like the one above – We can say it like this “The word of God said “you search the scriptures because you think….” When one says “The word of God said” this is not quoting a book but a person who is called Jesus. The Bible quotes the Word of God but it in and of itself is not the Word of God and this can be very confusing to a lot of Christians. Jesus above tried to bring clarity to this point when he spoke to the religious leaders and said “You search the scriptures” Paul also tried to bring some clarity to this point when he wrote the saints in Rome.
Rom.10:4-9 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
Many Jews read the Bible as a book of rules and laws to be followed. When Jesus, the Word of God came they rejected him in favor of their written rules and laws. They ended up quoting scripture in order to reject him. In Paul letters to the saints in Rome he declares that Jesus Christ is the end of following rules and laws to make one righteous and that “faithing Christ” – The Word of God is now how the righteous live. That the righteous live by the Word of God in your heart and mouth and not from a legal reading of the Bible like the Jews did.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)
It is the Word of God (Jesus) that dwells in your heart, He dwells in your brothers and sisters hearts as well. You will find the Word of God expressed within the scriptures. For those who have eyes and ears to see they will find the Word of God within all of His creation as well as hearing it from within your heart. John 7:38″He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
Under nervous and physical exhaustion, Simpson became convinced that he was to die at a certain day and hour and was overwhelmed with despair and the inability to find God and receive eternal life. When that moment passed, he rallied some, but he felt as if his life was hanging upon a thread. At length one day in 1858, he stumbled upon Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification in his pastor’s study, and his eyes fell upon a paragraph that he took as a message from God: The first good work you will ever perform is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Until you do this, all your works, prayers, tears, and good resolutions are vain. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is just to believe that He saves you according to His Word, that He receives and saves you here and now, for He has said — “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The moment you do this, you will pass into eternal life, you will be justified from all your sins, and receive a new heart and all the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. This was like a shaft of light from heaven. He fell upon his knees, looked up to the Lord Jesus, and prayed believing that God received, saved and forgave him. An inward assurance and spiritual blessing followed. The Word of God became as divine revelations to him personally. pg.5 AB Simpson – An Integrated Spirituality with Christ as the Center by Rev. David John Smith
Faith – Alive or Dead:
James 2:14-20 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
In the Christian world their has been a battle since the time of Jesus with his friends Martha and Mary. Martha was a doer for Jesus and Mary was one who loved being with Jesus. Both are necessary but there is a time and order to things. Jesus said to Martha –
Lk.10:39-42 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Doing is necessary but it must follow and not precede hearing Christ. Jesus was speaking and that meant it was time to listen and not do. Often doers are more concerned with doing than listening and listeners more interested in listening than following what is being said. The reality is both are needed but listening must be first then the doing follows.
Faith and Believing
Faith begins with hearing then moves into believing but proof of believing is seen in ones actions. If you really believe in your heart that eating a certain type of food is the best for you then you would do it and if you believed in your heart that eating Big Mac’s is very bad for you then you would not do it. Everyone lives out their belief’s no matter what they say or even think they believe – true belief is found not in the mind of man but within the heart of man.
Prov.23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….(KJV)
Matt.12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. (NASB)
Lk.6:45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (NASB)
It is within the heart that Christ i.e. the Word of God, desires to dwell or incarnate –
Eph.3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (NASB)
Col.3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB)
Are we ones who have ears to hear Christ speak to us? Are we wealthy and rich in our knowledge about God and in real ‘need’ of nothing? Are we a people on fire for Christ or just warm toward Him? Such was the church in the city of Laodicea. Christ said to them:
Rev.3:20 20’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (NASB)
In Revelation the Door that Christ is knocking on is that of a church and not to someone of the world. It is to Christians that the Word of God~Jesus is desiring fellowship. The Word of God is asking for anyone who HEARS HIS VOICE i.e. The Word of God. You see the works the people were doing were good works but they were not being directed by Christ – they were coming from a people trying to be like Christ – doing things he would do but not getting direction from Him.
A Doer of the Word
James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (NASB)
You know you believe when you willingly do.
Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (NASB)
Unbelief is the greatest sin and in reality the only sin.
“He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” This is strong language, but there is no doubt that the sin of unbelief, according to the divine standpoint, is the most hurtful of all spiritual conditions. It destroys the very contact of the soul with God as effectually as the cutting of a telegraph wire would prevent the transmission of a message. The Life of Prayer Ch.5 A.B. Simpson
Faith is –
1. Hearing the Word of Christ (not just reading but hearing with spiritual ears Christ
speak to you personally)
2. Believing the Word of Christ (true heart belief not just metal acceptance or brain belief)
3. Doing the Word of Christ (If you truly believe what you have heard it finds a home in
your heart and you always do what comes out of your heart)
November 29, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Reimagining Church, Religion, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: A.B. Simpson, Faith, Scripture | 1 Comment
TO STAND FIRM ON THE GROUND OF OPENNESS
For a fulfilling Spiritual Walk one needs to be Open. To be open does not mean to believe in a certain aspect or expression of God but openness recognizes the vastness and the ultimate unknowableness of God. What we know of God is so small that we cannot possibly understand all His means or ways with our finite minds.
To stand on the ground of openness is a recognition that our human minds like to box things in. We like to construct neat and clean understandings. The human mind is comfortable with black and white and when our minds attempt to understand a Spiritual God we tend to understand Him in our image of black and white, good and evil. Ultimately, in our minds attempt to define God we create, as it were, graven images. A graven image is a lifeless image like a photo of you. It is an image of you in a moment in time but it is not you. One of the 10 commandments was to not make any graven images.
Exodus 20:4-5 (The Message)
No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous
When the children of Israel began to worship the golden calf at the base of Mt Sinai in their minds it was Jehovah they were worshiping it was not another god. The calf was a physical representation of the characteristics they understood and had seen demonstrated by Jehovah. Another way of saying it was this that this golden calf was their theology, their understanding of God. Today in evangelical western society we don’t create statues to worship but we do create theology, creeds, teachings and doctrines that are worshiped the same way that golden calf was.
You see at the base of Mt Sinai the children of Israel made a fatal decision that would ultimately lead to them wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and never entering the promised land. God called the Israelite’s into intimate fellowship with Him. They were called to come up on the mountain and meet with God face to face. It was God who told Moses to tell the people to prepare and when: Exodus 19:13 ……. ‘ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.”
But because of fear they rejected the call to come up and remained at the base and eventually began to worship what they understood Jehovah to be like in the form of the golden calf.
Exodus 20:18-21 (New American Standard Bible)
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.
Man’s fear of God comes from his lack of faith and trust in God and ultimately from his not knowing the heart of God. People need an intimate knowing of God
– As the Prophet Hosea says: 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. And the Prophet Isaiah in 5:13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge This knowledge that people lack is not head knowledge but a knowledge that comes from an open heart. The Hebrew word here is daath with the root word being yada and it speaks of the intimate knowing that happens between a husband and his wife. When man rejects intimacy with the uncontainable, unknowable God, usually because of fear, he turns to what he can know in his mind and that is simply an image of God. In the case of Israel they built an earthly kingdom instead of being apart of the spiritual kingdom that God had called them to. Today when God calls man into intimacy with Him we go to Seminary or Bible College or some other way to begin to learn about God. We do this until we discover that God is not really known that way. It is in the stillness and openness of heart that we can know and have a revelation of God.
Often Men and Women experience God intimately and share of their experience to other brothers and sisters. Others instead of desiring their own intimacy with God fear what they do not understand and begin to reconstruct, with their minds, that experience with God into a modern day golden calf’s that we call movements and denominations.
It was Peter who saw an amazing event and immediately he wants to build something. He wants to try and close the door and contain it, capture it with his mind and memorialize it.
Matt 17:1-4 Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
The only thing we memorialize are things of the past or things that are dead – God is neither! God simply is – and this is something our fleshly minds just don’t comprehend but fortunately they don’t have to because we have a spirit that does and it in this spirit that we can live.
Our flesh needs to define our spirit expresses
Our flesh needs protection our spirit explores
Our flesh wants to contain God our spirit experiences God
Our flesh needs to see in the physical realm our spirit has eyes and ears in the spiritual realm
Our flesh fears God our spirit is Love with God
Our flesh sees us as separate from God our spirit knows oneness with God.
Openness of heart and will is the ground on which Christ, the Word of God, is planted, takes root and can grow.
Openness is not a revelation of Christ it is having a faith and trust in Him that He will reveal Himself to you in the way He chooses to do so.
When Jesus walked the earth he found that hearts were closed and hard they were not open. The gospel of Mark records the story of the minds of men in action. These minds had so captured their God that they could not accept a work of God if it did not fit into their present picture and understanding of God.
Mark 3:1-6 (New American Standard Bible)
He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.
The hardness of heart is a condition of many in the religious world today. “If it is not said the way we say it, it is a sin” Theology and doctrine often rule over love!!!! Jesus is recorded as saying : John 10:33-34 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?
What was he doing that they wanted to kill him? Nothing, he simply said something they did not have revelation about themselves. He said something their minds could not wrap around and all mind wants to do is kill what it fears because it does not understand.
It is only on the ground of openness where revelation can happen!
Matt.16:16-17 – Not flesh and blood but My Father revealed this to you!
It is only on the ground of openness that Jesus says (Matt.16:18 “I will build my church and the gates of hell (or the things which try and contain, capture, memorialize and bind up God i.e. religion) will not prevail!!!!
The gates of hell, the abode of death wants to contain God but Resurrection life has defeated this forever! You want a fresh Revelation – STOP REJECTING WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND – stand in faithful and trusting openness before the Lord – turn to that resurrection life within you and see the Revelation of God. Stop fearing a defeated enemy and Trust God.
Paul writes to Timothy and says:
2Tim.2:23-26 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
The snare of the Devil is the rigidity and rigor-mortise of your understanding of God. The hardness of ones heart is not the rejection of the God you have know but a rejection of a living God today. A God that is new every morning and wants to reveal Himself to you in a new and fresh way. You who are not standing in openness will reject the God you claim to love because He is not coming in the same form He did last time.
To those standing in openness Jesus said:
Matt.25:37-40 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
These followers of Christ didn’t understand who they were loving they just loved. They were open to all and unknowingly ministering to God through their openness to all. They didn’t ask if you were a Christian or what kind of Christian or what your belief’s were they simply gave to everyone those who came to them what they had to give and what they had to give was the love of Christ in whatever form worked at that time!!
Much fellowship and Church Life is lost because it is not being built by Christ upon the ground of openness. Openness does not mean agreement in everything it means I can be open to hear your experience or revelation of God in whatever form, words or images who choose to do so. Openness means I am not going to judge your experience or revelation. For some reason man has come to the conclusion that he needs to be the one to build the church and he wants to do it based on his understanding of God. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom built with spiritual stones by Christ. All we can do is stand together in that open field and let Him do His work.
Does it really matter if your loving brother believes that sprinkling with water is baptism. Does he really have to be fully immersed because that is the way it has been revealed to you. Is this required for you to consider him a brother or sister.
If one sees a demonstration of the Love of God in the story of the Buddha or hear the wisdom of God in the writings of Lao Tzu can you not accept it for what it is. You are not required to see it just as you are not required to see the love of God in the story of Job. Can you hear it on the ground of openness and simply ponder these things in your heart like Mary did with the things she did not understand. Now I know that minds will read this and fear of the enemy will being to enter – “Oh if we did that it will be the way the enemy will get in and corrupt us” – Fear of the enemy is a lack of Faith in Christ and his work on the cross. If you don’t stand in openness you leave no way for the Spirit to do anything new in or with you. Can we be people who ponder instead of judge the things we don’t have revelation on?
The Christian faith was started upon a revelation of God that was seen by at least 120 people after Pentecost. It was the 120 in the upper room who were standing together in that room of openness and expectation. It took the 3.5 year ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus to get those 120 to stand together in openness. When the new manifestation of God came in the form of Spirit the 120 received this new way and for the first time saw the life of Jesus through spiritual eyes and God was made new to them. Paul had a revelation of this same God in Jesus not because he believed the stories of the Apostles but because he got knocked down off his horse, physically blinded, and placed on the ground of openness and then saw and heard God speak through Jesus to him. On the ground of openness you will shocked and amazed at the places you find God. If you have ever had a revelation of Jesus Christ then you know that ground of openness because you were standing on it when you first saw or heard Him. The ground of openness is the ground young children play on – they don’t ask for a list of belief’s or statements of faith they just want someone to come and play with them.
Here we read the story of Peter and the Baptism in the Spirit given to the Gentiles on the ground of Openness that Peter stood on. It is throughout the gospel stories that Peter is being asked to take a stand on the ground of openness. Peter was a very black and white person but Peter had faith in God. It is Peter’s willingness and understanding of his lack of understanding God that allows him to do what he does.
A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, …...While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. “But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” …….As he talked with him, he entered and found many people assembled. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. “That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.” ……Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, ……. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Peter was perplexed in mind – this was against what he believed to be right and true. Peter responded by reflecting not by accepting or rejecting. Peter did not judge the vision he simply reflected on it, gave it time, he remained open to what it might mean. The scriptures say “while Peter was speaking.…..because he was open and operating in that openness the Lord does the work of building the church. It was not the words of Peter that opened the way for the Spirit to fall but the Spirit of openness that Peter demonstrated that gave way for God to move on a People that Peter didn’t even believe God could accept. It says that Peter was amazed at what happened. When we stand on the ground of openness we will be amazed at what God is capable of doing it is beyond our wildest dream and hopes.
I understand that the fleshly mind fears openness but I ask you to be open to these words and reflect on them. Trust and have Faith in God that He will be your protection and give you a new Revelation of Himself.
September 10, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Bible Contradictions, Church Life, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Friends, House Church, Organic Church, Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, Religion, Simple Church, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | 1 Comment