Starting Over

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“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his  house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house, but it did not fall  because it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man  who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and  the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – (Matthew 7:24-29 ESV)

Those of us that failed to lay the proper foundation at the beginning of our life in the Spirit, are graciously given opportunities to rebuild. At least that has been my experience. When the storms and floods came against me as a young person – my foundation was severely damaged.

Some of us started our spiritual life trusting Jesus and seeing the futility of a life without God. But as life got harder, we bailed out on Him for a season.

But fear not! If you really belong to God he will draw you back to Himself.

How do we rebuild on the proper foundation? Turn to God in prayer, confessing our inability to live life apart from his saving and empowering grace. Acknowledge the fact that we have made other things in our lives, functional saviors. And make meditation on scripture a priority, with the intention to obey what we learn. It’s also  important to find a community of believers to experience life in the Spirit together.

We were created in the image of God, but born into this world spiritually dead.  We need spiritual rebirth,(John 3:16) but that is only the beginning of our life in Christ. We are presently on a journey, and growth is a process. So, consider going back to revisit the foundation, did you really trust in Jesus to rule your life? If not, consider starting over, and remember opposition in life is for the purpose for spiritual growth, and to help others on their journey.

Craig Keener: How To Hear The Holy Spirit Accurately

 

First of all, the Spirit does not come to testify about himself; He comes to testify about Jesus (John 15:26; 16:14).  He brings to our remembrance and explains what Jesus has already said (14:2 6). What the Spirit teaches us is therefore consistent with the character of the biblical Jesus, the Jesus who came in the flesh (1 John 4:2). The more we know about Jesus from the Bible, the more prepared we are to recognize the voice of his Spirit when he speaks to us. Knowing God well enough to recognize what he would say on a given topic can often inform us what God is saying, because God is always true to his character. But be warned: those who take Scripture out of context thereby render themselves susceptible to hearing God’s voice quite wrongly.

Second,  the Spirit  does not  come  merely  to show us details such as where to find someone’s lost property, although the Spirit is surely capable of doing such things and sometimes does them (1 Sam. 9:6-20). Nor does the Spirit come just to teach us which sweater to put on (especially when it is obvious which one matches) or which dessert to take in the cafeteria line. The Spirit does, however, guide us in evangelism or in encouraging one another (for example, Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12.)  The  Spirit  also comes  to reveal God’s  heart  to us,  and  God’s heart  is defined in  this  context as love  (John 13:34-35; 15:9-14, 17). To walk in Christian love is to know God’s heart (1 John 4:7-8; see also Jer. 22:16).

Third, it helps if we have fellowship with others who also are seeking to obey God’s Spirit. In the Old Testament, older prophets mentored younger prophets (1 Sam. 19:20; 2 Kings 2:3-8). And among first-generation prophets in the early church, Paul instructed the prophets to evaluate each others’ prophecies, to keep themselves and the church on target (1 Cor. 14:29). Spiritual mentors or peers who are mature in their relationship with God and whose  present walk with  God  we can trust can seek God with  us and provide us a “safety  net” of sorts.

If we feel that the Spirit is leading us to do something, but recognize that much is at stake if we are wrong, we may do well to talk the matter over with other mature Christians. Proverbs advised rulers that wisdom rests in a multitude of counselors, and that advice remains valid for us as well. In the end, we may not always settle on  the counsel  others  have given us— like us, they too  are fallible— but if they are diligent  students of the Scriptures and persons of prayer, we should humbly consider their counsel. God sometimes shows us things for the church that others may not yet see; at the same time, God may well have shown some of our brothers and sisters things we have not yet seen.  I have a few spiritual mentors and peers whose counsel I especially treasure and whose wisdom time has consistently (though not always) vindicated.

Many of us as young Christians were intrigued by the frequent experience of supernatural guidance from the Holy Spirit. While most of us who have learned to hear the Spirit in that way still experience such guidance regularly today, after a number of years, sensitivity to the Spirit’s guidance in that form becomes almost second nature and thus becomes less of a focus than it once was. Nor is this guidance, exciting as it may be to one discovering it for the first time, always the most important form of guidance God’s Spirit gives us.

By this method of hearing the Spirit, we might help someone in need, because the Spirit specifically directed us to do so. But many of us have also learned to hear God’s Spirit exegetically, as the Spirit has spoken in the Scriptures.  By hearing the Spirit’s voice in Scripture, we might help that same person in need simply because Scripture commands us to do so.  But perhaps the  deepest sensitivity  to the  Spirit comes  when  we learn  to bear the Spirit’s fruit  in our  lives­ when our hearts become  so full of God’s heart that we help that person  in need because God’s love within us leaves us no alter­ native. All three forms of guidance derive from the Spirit and from Scripture. Yet where  needs  clearly exist, God’s  character that we have discovered  by means of Scripture and the Spirit is sufficient to guide us even when we have no other  specific leading of the  Spirit  or  scriptural mandate, provided neither the Spirit  nor  the  Bible argues against it. It is when the Spirit has written the Bible’s teaching in our heart that we become most truly people of the Spirit.

(Adapted from Three Crucial Questions About the Holy Spirit, published by Baker Books.)

Spiritual Gifts In Church History: Sam Storms

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I copied these quotes from church history from Sam Storms, Enjoying God Blog, May 24, 2013.

“The Epistle of Barnabas (written sometime between 70 and 132 a.d.), says this of the Holy Spirit: “He personally prophesies in us and personally dwells in us” (xvi, 9, Ancient Christian Writers, 6:61).

The author of The Shepherd of Hermas claims to have received numerous revelatory insights through visions and dreams. This document has been dated as early as 90 a.d. and as late as 140-155 a.d.

Justin Martyr (approx. AD 100-165), perhaps the most important 2nd century apologist, is especially clear about the operation of gifs in his day:

“Therefore, just as God did not inflict His anger on account of those seven thousand men, even so He has now neither yet inflicted judgment, nor does inflict it, knowing that daily some [of you] are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error; who are also receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, illumined through the name of this Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch.39).

“For the prophetical gifts remain with us, even to the present time. And hence you ought to understand that [the gifts] formerly among your nation have been transferred to us. And just as there were false prophets contemporaneous with your holy prophets, so are there now many false teachers amongst us, of whom our Lord forewarned us to beware; so that in no respect are we deficient, since we know that He foreknew all that would happen to us after His resurrection from the dead and ascension to heaven” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch.39).

“For numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our Christian men, exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those used incantations and drugs” (Second Apology, vi; Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:190).

Irenaeus (approx. AD 120-202), certainly the most important and influential theologian of the late century writes:

“Wherefore, also, those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole. Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practicing deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister [to others]” (Against Heresies, Book 2, ch.32, 4).

“Nor does she [the church] perform anything by means of angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by any other wicked curious art; but, directing her prayers to the Lord, who made all things, in a pure, sincere, and straightforward spirit, and calling upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she has been accustomed to work miracles for the advantage of mankind, and not to lead them into error” (Against Heresies, Book 2, ch.32, 5).

“In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms ‘spiritual,’ they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit” (Against Heresies, Book 5, ch.6, 1).

Tertullian (d. 225; he first coined the term Trinity) spoke and wrote on countless occasions of the operation of the gifts of the Spirit, particularly those of a revelatory nature such as prophecy and word of knowledge.

“But from God – who has promised, indeed, ‘to pour out the grace of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, and has ordained that His servants and His handmaids should see visions as well as utter prophecies’ – must all those visions be regarded as emanating . . .” (A Treatise on the Soul, xlvii, ANF, 3:225-26).

He described the ministry of one particular lady as follows:

“For, seeing that we acknowledge spiritual charismata, or gifts, we too have merited the attainment of the prophetic gift, although coming after John (the Baptist).” This lady has been “favoured with sundry gifts of revelation” and “both sees and hears mysterious communications; some men’s hearts she understands, and to them who are in need she distributes remedies. . . . After the people are dismissed at the conclusion of the sacred services, she is in the regular habit of reporting to us whatever things she may have seen in vision (for her communications are examined with the most scrupulous care, in order that their truth may be probed). . . . Now can you refuse to believe this, even if indubitable evidence on every point is forthcoming for your conviction?” (A Treatise on the Soul, ix, ANF, 3:188).

Tertullian contrasts what he has witnessed with the claims of the heretic Marcion:

“Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest the secrets of the heart; . . . Now all these signs (of spiritual gifts) are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator” (Against Marcion, v.8, ANF, 3:446-47).

We also have extensive evidence of revelatory visions in operation in the life of the martyrs Perpetua and her handmaiden Felicitas (202 a.d.). I encourage everyone to read the moving account of Perpetua’s perseverance in faith despite the most horrific of deaths.

It’s also important that we briefly take note of the movement known as Montanism (of which Tertullian was a part in his later years). Montanism arose in Phrygia in about a.d. 155, although Eusebius and Jerome both date the movement to a.d. 173.

What did the Montanists believe and teach that had such a significant impact on the ancient church and its view of spiritual gifts? Several items are worthy of mention.

First, Montanism at its heart was an effort to shape the entire life of the church in keeping with the expectation of the immediate return of Christ. Thus they opposed any developments in church life that appeared institutional or would contribute to a settled pattern of worship. Needless to say, those who held official positions of authority within the organized church would be suspect of the movement.

Second, Montanus himself allegedly spoke in terms that asserted his identity with the Paraclete of John 14:16. The prophetic utterance in question is as follows:

“For Montanus spoke, saying, ‘I am the father, and the son and the paraclete.'” (Found in the writings of Didymus On the Trinity, 3:41).

However, many have questioned whether Montanus is claiming what his critics suggest. More likely he, as well as others in the movement who prophesied, is saying that one or another or perhaps all of the members of the Trinity are speaking through them. For example, in yet another of his prophetic utterances, Montanus said,

“You shall not hear from me, but you have heard from Christ” (Quoted in Epiphanius, Panarion, 48:12; col. 873).

Third, Montanus and his followers (principally, two women, Prisca and Maximilla) held to a view of the prophetic gift that was a departure from the apostle Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14, insofar as they practiced what can only be called “ecstatic” prophecy in which the speaker either lost consciousness or fell into a trance-like state, or perhaps was but a passive instrument through which the Spirit might speak. One of the prophetic utterances that survived (there are only 16), found in Epiphanius, confirms this view:

“Behold, a man is like a lyre and I pluck his strings like a pick; the man sleeps, but I am awake. Behold, it is the Lord, who is changing the hearts of men and giving new hearts to them.”

If this is what Montanus taught, he would be asserting that, when a prophet prophesied, God was in complete control. Man is little more than an instrument, such as the strings of a lyre, on which God plucks his song or message. Man is asleep, in a manner of speaking, and thus passive during the prophetic utterance.

This concept of prophecy is contrary to what we read of in 1 Corinthians 14:29-31 where Paul asserts that “the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophet”. The Montanists cannot be charged with having originated this view, for it is found among the Greek Apologists of this period. Justin Martyr and Theophilus both claimed that the Spirit spoke through the OT prophets in such a way as to possess them. Athenagoras says of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and other OT prophets that they were

“lifted in ecstasy above the natural operations of their minds by the impulses of the Divine Spirit, [and that they] uttered the things with which they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a flute player breathes into a flute” (A Plea for the Christians, 9).

The point is that, at least on this one point, the Montanists were not espousing a view of prophecy that was significantly different from what others in the mainstream of the church of that day were saying.

Fourth, the gift of tongues was also prominent among the Montanists, as was the experience of receiving revelatory visions. Eusebius preserved a refutation of Montanism written by Apolinarius in which the latter accused these “prophets” of speaking in unusual ways. For example, “He [Montanus] began to be ecstatic and to speak and to talk strangely” (quoted in Kydd, Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church, 35). Again, Maximilla and Prisca are said to have spoken “madly and improperly and strangely, like Montanus” (ibid.). Finally, he refers to the Montanists as “chattering prophets”. We cannot be certain, but the word translated chattering, found nowhere else in all of Greek literature, may refer to speaking at great length in what sound like languages, i.e., speaking in tongues.

Fifth, Montanus did assert that this outpouring of the Spirit, of which he and his followers were the principal recipients, was a sign of the end of the age. The heavenly Jerusalem, said Montanus, will soon descend near Pepuza in Phrygia. They also stressed monogamy and insisted on chastity between husband and wife. They were quite ascetic in their approach to the Christian life (which is what attracted Tertullian into their ranks). They strongly emphasized self-discipline and repentance.

Finally, although Montanism was often treated as heresy, numerous authors in the early church insisted on the overall orthodoxy of the movement. Hippolytus spoke of their affirmation of the doctrines of Christ and creation and the “heresy hunter” Epiphanius (a.d. 315-403) conceded that the Montanists agreed with the church at large on the issues of orthodoxy, especially the doctrine of the Trinity.

Epiphanius wrote that the Montanists were still found in Cappadocia, Galatia, Phyrgia, Cilicia, and Constantinople in the late 4th century. This assessment was confirmed by Eusebius who devoted four chapters of his monumental Ecclesiastical History to the Montanists. Didymus the Blind (a.d. 313-98) wrote of them, and the great church father Jerome (a.d. 342-420) personally encountered Montanist communities in Ancyra when he was travelling through Galatia in 373. The point being that Montanism was alive and influential as late as the close of the 4th century.

Ironically, and tragically, one of the principal reasons why the church became suspect of the gifts of the Spirit and eventually excluded them from the life of the church is because of their association with Montanism. The Montanist view of prophecy, in which the prophet entered a state of passive ecstasy in order that God might speak directly, was perceived as a threat to the church’s belief in the finality of the canon of Scripture. Other unappealing aspects of the Montanist lifestyle, as noted above, provoked opposition to the movement and hence to the charismata as well. In sum, it was largely the Montanist view of the prophetic gift, in which a virtual “Thus saith the Lord” perspective was adopted, that contributed to the increasing absence in church life of the charismata.”

God Still Speaks: Part Two

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“Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each person the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the benefit of all. For one person is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, and another the message of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another performance of miracles, to another prophecy, and to another discernment of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.It is one and the same Spirit, distributing as he decides to each person, who produces all these things .” ( 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NET)

” And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  – (1 Kings 19:12-12 KJV)

The key to learning, or discerning the “still small voice” of God is to have a daily devotional time of meditation in the Scripture, and to pray for others. And to learn the lost art of silence. The best way I know to develop the gift of prophecy is in small group meetings. This is a safe place to develop your gifting. Just as someone with the gift of teaching needs to practice, the same principle applies to all other spiritual gifts. God often reveals things  that bring encouragement in these meetings. He desires to reveal himself in our present circumstances, and over the years, I have heard words given that have impacted lives powerfully. Many of these words have been simple words of encouragement, some have been very specific, but the result is always a sense of awe that God is truly among us.

God still speaks  apart from, but not contrary to his Word. And yes, I believe in the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. But it’s actually contrary to the Word of God to teach that the Spirit only communicates through the Bible. Spiritual gifts as well as providential circumstances are means that God uses to communicate to us.

While Scripture is the way we learn sound doctrine, he still likes to guide his children by the Holy Spirit, in very personal ways. We must seek to operate with discernment, (not suspicion) and  within Scriptural guidelines. God didn’t give us supernatural gifts just to study about them, but to use them! I believe those who have fed on the Word of God, and embraced sound doctrine, are good candidates to receive prophetic gifting. These believers can better discern true prophecy from  false prophecy. Fear of being lead astray can hinder our ability to hear the” still small voice” of God. I would encourage anybody that would like to grow in their ability to hear from God more clearly, to pray for the gift of prophecy.(1 Cor. 14:1)  As Dr. Sam Storms says:

” My prayer is to those who have such a high regard for the written word of God would come to see the importance of the “still small voice.” This gifting is meant to be practices . It’s meant to bring comfort and encouragement to believers and to open the hearts of unbelievers to the supernatural God. This gift can be best used in our intercessory prayers for others.  Storms also says:”I believe that when people pause and pray, when they linger over one another with intercessory cries, the Spirit is more inclined to speak to them than if they simply pat each other on the back with the standard Christian cliché: “I’ll be praying for you.” Don’t promise to pray for people. Practice praying for them. Just do it! ” – Sam Storms, Practicing The Power, Page 46.

I would recommend  reading commentaries, and books by those who believe in the present day operation of spiritual gifts. Wayne Grudem, Craig Keener and Sam Storms are three of my favorites. I will be posting Part Three soon.

God Still Speaks: Part One

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“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 (ESV)

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” – I Corinthians 14:1 (ESV)

“But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. – I Corinthians 14:24 – 25 (ESV)

I believe every Christian has heard the voice of God, even if they didn’t recognize it, at the time. Those fleeting thoughts, mental pictures, the still small voice, the feeling of being prompted to speak a word of encouragement, to call someone that’s been on your mind, dreams that strongly impact you, or the times while meditating upon the Scriptures, they just come alive to us. The Holy Spirit also gives supernatural direction on how to pray for others, during intercessory prayer.

I really believe the lack of balanced teaching on the gift of prophecy, and on the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit, has hurt the  effectiveness of the Church, in advancing the Kingdom.  I have seen the abuse of prophetic ministry, but I have never stopped believing that God  still speaks today. Why? Because the Bible teaches it, and I, and others that I trust, have experienced some of the unique ways that he communicates to believers. The Scripture discourages the practice of speaking in tongues in the congregation, if there is no one to interpret the message. And that’s  because of the presence of unbelievers, but prophesy is always encouraged.

Dr. Wayne Grudem says: “Mature thinking about prophecy would see it as something to be encouraged in the congregation, even when unbelievers are present. If prophesy is encouraged and allowed to function, it will convict both unbelievers and believers of sin, and will bring to the congregation a much more vivid sense that God is truly among them. It will be a “sign” of God’s approval, of his presence, of his blessing on his people. We ought to see it as this and give thanks for it.”1

I might add that the gift of prophecy is normally easier to facilitate in a small group setting.

Source:

(1) Wayne Grudem, The Gift Of Prophecy, page 154.

A Journey Into Freedom

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So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
(John 8:31-32 ESV)

I have never really understood the type of Christianity that teaches that you can ‘accept’ Jesus without following him. Some say,” just repeat this prayer and you will go to Heaven.” But true salvation requires genuine trust in Jesus, and turning from your own way of life to follow him. I do understand what it means to become spiritually dry, and the feeling of distance from God because of my own sin. Sin and rebellion against God causes a hardness in our hearts and has a negative effect on our relationship with Him and others.

Following Jesus puts us on the path of life and causes us to walk in the light. Spiritual darkness will have you perceiving evil things as good and good things as evil. Walking in the light allows you to learn from Jesus, and to see life from a Biblical or Kingdom perspective. You will be empowered to spiritually discern what is going on around you, and in the culture in general.

Jesus made a startling statement,, “unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24) This belief is much more than mere head knowledge or intellectual assent, this is trusting Jesus in all that he said and did. Following Jesus requires us to acknowledge his Deity, absolute Lordship, and authority over everything.

The truth that sets people free is only given to those who walk with Jesus. If  we are in Christ – we are a work in progress. Even though we struggle with sin, we no longer desire to continue our lives in rebellion against Him. Following Jesus is a journey into freedom. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” ( John 8:36)

The Holy Spirit In Our Daily Lives 

 

 

As I was meditating on the Spirit’s presence in my life, I could not help but be overwhelmed with the thought of how the Holy Spirit’s guidance works on a daily basis. We need the Spirits power to stand strong during the personal trials that we all go through, as much as we need Him to heal the sick or supply us with  powerful manifestations.

The power to persevere is accomplished by the Spirit, not by self effort alone. Left to my own self discipline I would have fallen away a long time ago.  It’s important that we stop treating the Holy Spirit as a impersonal force instead of the Person he is. We need to take  time to meditate on  the Spirit’s activity in our daily lives.

Gordon Fee says,”…Paul understood the Spirit’s power in the broadest possible way. On the one hand, the future had broken in so powerfully that signs and wonders and miracles are simply matter-of-fact (1 Cor.12:8-11; Gal 3:5); on the one hand, the Spirit also empowers for endurance in the midst of adversity (Col 1:11; 2 Cor 12:9-10) – and for everything else as we endure, awaiting the final glory, of which the Spirit is the guarantee.” –  Gordon Fee, God’s Empowering Presence.

The Weakness Of Church 

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The picture above is the Primitive Baptist Church my Great Grandfather who fought for the south in the Civil War, belonged too. And now,  over a century and half later, I’m a member of a racially diverse church  in the deep south.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. – (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

“The  church  was  first  known  as  the people  of  the  Way  (Acts  9:2).  The  “Way”  these  people  embraced  was the  way  of  Jesus— the  way of  power in  weakness for the sake of  love. This  was  not  a  loosely  connected  group  of  individuals,  a  social club  of  sorts,  but  a  family  united  in  Christ  (Eph.  2:19).” 1

While many in our culture have given up on the  Church,  God hasn’t. The Church as flawed as it presently is, is God’s vehicle to bring the Kingdom of Heaven  to earth.  The Church is where the people of “the way” live out the life of the Kingdom together. Gathering together with a group of imperfect people  is God’s plan to help us to grow up in Christ. And one of the fruits of a gospel-centered church is racial reconciliation.

Gathering together with a community of believers is a demonstration of Gods power to form a supernatural people. That is why both Jesus and Paul urged us to gather in corporate worship.  As we gather in Jesus name to sing songs, hear the public reading  of  Scripture, we are testifying to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies  to Satan’s ultimate defeat.(Eph. 3:10)

Holy Communion is the most neglected part of church life among many Evangelical churches. The power of the Lord’s Supper is not fully grasp by most.But this seemingly weak act,  celebrates the death, and resurrection of Jesus, which defeated Satan and his evil cohorts. Every time we  partake of the elements the devil is reminded of his fate. If we could see what happens at the weakest church service in the spirit realm,  we would desire to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus even more!

“A  rejection  of  the  church  is  a  rejection  of  Jesus’  way.  Christ  made this  known:  His  way  of  power  continues  to  pour  forth  in  this  world by  the  Spirit  through  the  church.  When  we  come  to  think  that the  Christian  life  is  about  our  own  development  rather  than  about our  calling  in  Christ  as  a  family  of  God,  we  inevitably  confuse  the church  for  a  secular  entity.  The  church  simply  becomes  the  sum of  its  parts,  which  need  to  be  slick,  skilled,  and  led  by  a  guru  with a  strong  vision.  Too  often  people  give  up  on  the  church  because,  as a  secular  entity,  it  is  impotent!  But  the  church  is  a  different  sort  of venture,  on  a  different  sort  of  mission,  with  a  different  power  system  up  and  running.  People  reject  the  church  because  they  have failed to grasp what it is.” 2

Source:

(1) The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb, Jammin Goggin and Kyle Strobel, page 167.

(2) ibid, page 166.

The Un-Created Creator

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See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, (Colossians 2:8-9, ESV)

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)

 

To see Jesus is to see God himself. He is the exact imprint of the heavenly Father. Jesus is the source of all that is in existence. He is the un-created Creator. All genuine revelation and knowledge has its origins in God. Jesus has no equals among those who have founded the other world religions.

Those philosophers who speak the wisdom of the age have all received their intellect from the very God that they mock. They only have enough wisdom to observe the natural order of things. They are blind to the unseen realm where the un-created trinitarian  God dwells in perfect light, wisdom, might, and power. God is manifest in three distinct persons. Not three ‘god’s’ but three individuals living in perfect harmony making up the one true God.

As we experience God as our source of truth and life we see the vanity of following the rebellious ideologies of fallen men with minds that are not informed by Scripture. Buddhism and New Age philosophies that are growing in the west offer a false self-centered enlightenment apart from the Creator.

Self-centerness is pervasive in the western world both in Christian and non-Christian movements. The trinitarian God is anything but self-absorbed. Each member of the Trinity points to the other members and desires to share their glory and love they have together with humanity.