January 17, 2015

Christianity




The Lord sent an angel to check out a disturbing report about a gathering of people. The angel watched as men and women began staring into a great light, seeing what their ascended masters wanted them to see. A voice over the region spoke saying, “All who know the way to bow, bow before me now!” Everyone in the room fell prostrate — some laughing, some crying. The floor was a shiny surface that reflected the image of everyone and everything in the room. Worship truly began when everyone’s eyes were opened to the wisdom they were seeking to obtain: each was a god in his or her own right who now had their very first worshiper — SELF. The angel shook his head and turned away, awaiting the day that people would turn to Jesus Christ instead of religion made in the image of man.

 
“Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless.” (Hebrews 7:18 NLT)

The Melchizedek Order of Priesthood is humanity’s only real hope for a biblically founded, holy and non-dysfunctional ministry. The entire religion of Christianity — including its denominational heads, the way its ministries function, its connection to the kosmos, and its supposed God-given authority — is not found in the Word of God. And since Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-4, 14), Christianity is not found within the resurrected Christ or His Kingdom. Not being found in Christ, it is “weak and useless” and will inevitably and eventually pass away.

The disambiguation of the above statements is not to imply that blood-washed believers are not found within Christ or His Kingdom. Saints are simply not meant to be found within the religion or priesthood of Christianity. This is also not to imply that there shouldn’t be gifts or callings or ministries functioning with Christ’s Body. But there shouldn’t be ministry/layman distinction, and there shouldn’t be ministries that could not or would not operate without parishioners’ “faithful” giving. All Yahweh’s sons and daughters are meant to function in some capacity within Christ’s Body and potentially for the benefit of humankind, but not within an unbiblical principality of a religion called Christianity.


We will now look at some of Christianity’s weak and useless belief-systems and practices:


“GOING” TO CHURCH —

“God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” (Ephesians 1:22 NLT)

Humankind has many concepts of the church. Some people think it to be an organization raised up to house and care for God’s people. Some think it to be a place for saints to come and worship. Some think it to be a family-based, morally-founded organization. Others think it should be a Bible-based one. Still others see it as a building on the corner open every Sunday morning and Wednesday night to come hear “good preachin’.” None of these concepts are correct.


The church of Jesus is a spiritual and physical entity; it is a many membered body (cells and body parts) that together forms the Body of Jesus Christ. People who are filled with and living by God’s Spirit are the Body of Christ; nothing else is the Body and nothing else is the church. Part of the Body of Christ is on earth and part is in heaven. The church is not a building or an organization or denomination or any such idea. The church of Jesus Christ meets together under the headship of her Husband and Lord, but the church cannot be and is not meant to be a physical meeting place.

The practice of “going” to church (or mass or cell group) every Sunday after Wednesday after Sunday is an unscriptural paradigm. How can a person go to something they are? Jesus and His disciples met in gardens, on the road, and on hillsides; the Early Church met in homes and wide-open spaces. Only the spirit of religion would presume to organize the gathering and presence of the Holy Spirit. The true church of Jesus Christ would never wear an organization for a robe; the manmade church does. This is not to imply that there are no true Christians within the organized church. There are many wonderful and anointed individuals who haven’t been freed — or even seen the need to be freed (and sometimes fight like ogres not to be freed) — from the world-religion of Christianity. If these people will continue in a vibrant relationship with the Heavenly Father, He will seek to set them free from worldly entanglements — and this will include religion.

[NOTE: Both Jesus and Apostle Paul went into synagogues. They did so to fulfill the Law and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. They sought to set people free from religious bondage. But unless you are Jewish, this probably doesn’t apply to you. The foundation for worship for the Jewish people, including Jesus and His disciples, was the Temple/Synagogue system, which was originally designed by Yahweh. All the requirements of the Jewish religion were fulfilled on the cross. The foundation for the gentile (non-Jewish) person isn’t the same; it is rooted in paganism and pagan temples. The religion of Christianity is a mixed bag. A few ideas spoken by Jesus have been mixed with the Mosaic Law, religious paganism, and a whole lot of ignorant Christians — along with their usually legitimate giftings and anointings. Unless a person is going into the religious system to set people free from bondage and/or to preach the Kingdom, as did Jesus and Apostle Paul, it’s best to steer clear from the whole twitch-worthy mess.]


TRAINING —

“All those who want to be my disciples must come and follow me, because my servants must be where I am.” (John 12:26 NLT)

Sunday School, Bible School, Seminary, parachurch training and other human concepts of training and discipleship do not qualify people for ministry in the Kingdom of God, but only in the world system of Christianity. One does not need a denomination’s authority or license to be qualified to minister to Christ’s Body, but only to minister to that particular organization’s body. It is vain to seek advancement in a church as to receive the exalted position of “Senior Pastor,” just to find that there is no such position — in title or in deed — anywhere in the New Testament. Honor is given to people who humbly serve the Lord and His people by giving their time, lives and resources away. Honor is not reserved for people of mixed intentions who seek position, leadership or money.

Instead of attempting to climb some imaginary ladder of success, men and women should be seeking truth and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. By diligently seeking Him, they will be trained in spiritual matters by sitting at the Master’s feet, looking into the Master’s face and presence, hearing the Master’s voice, and doing what the Master commands. The training Yahweh gives sons and daughters is exceedingly more useful than can be gained through Bible School, Seminary or Sunday Morning sermonettes.


FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY —

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NLT)

Christ’s five-fold ministries are being conducted today with extreme mixture within Christianity. Its apostles are being sent by “mother” churches to birth and raise “baby” churches everywhere. Others are using their apostolic and administrative proclivity to “cover” already existing churches. (Money and/or power, of course, are involved with the “covering” service.) Prophets are prophesying apocalyptic messages from street corners; others are encouraged by the all-too-polished pastor to prophesy only “uplifting” words during church gatherings. Evangelists are converting people into Protestantism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Assemblyism and every other “ism” except repent-ism. Pastors often act like corporate CEO’s leading 10,000 member congregations; teachers are teaching people how to lead 20,000 member ones.


Is there anyone with enough light (and guts) to stop the madness?

The Melchizedek Priesthood of Christ is significantly different. Titles such as “Senior Pastor” or “Father” or “Bishop” are unnecessary because sons and daughters of Almighty God get crucified to the self-nature, no longer needing to flash badges. They often function in Jesus’ roles of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher, but not in the way seen in churches today, but in the way Jesus operated in them while upon the earth:


Jesus fathered men because He is the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6); this made him Yahweh’s Apostle. Jesus spoke and lived by an eternal reality not connected to time and space; this made Him Yahweh’s Prophet. Jesus had a very spiritual and charismatic draw about Him; He also had a unique and compelling message; this made Him Yahweh’s Evangelist. Jesus followed the Heavenly Father as a sheep to a shepherd; this made Him the “Way” to follow, Yahweh’s Pastor. Jesus was a storyteller — very esoteric, very parabolic. He revealed His life — the life of the Kingdom of Heaven — through His stories; this made Him Yahweh’s Teacher. And this is exactly how we, the Body of Jesus Christ, are meant be functioning within Jesus’ five-fold roles. The Heavenly Father visits the earth through the five-fold ministry of Jesus Christ found within His Body. He uses selected sons and daughters to reveal the person of Christ: Evangelist; the path of Christ: Pastor; the mind of Christ: Teacher; the heart of Christ: Prophet; and the passion (the death, burial and resurrection) of Christ; Apostle.


ORGANIZING THE HOME CHURCH —

Many Christian gatherings begin in homes. When they grow, leaders often do the wrong thing and organize the gathering with the world-system (tax exempt status, name and bylaws, leasing property, establishing roles and paid positions, etc.), as to make growth happen and within a building.


Inventive and exploitive “apostles” today are creating a hybrid concept of church-life by organizing home meetings, yet under the headship of an organization. Though the members usually meet in home-groups, the groups periodically come together for worship. The organization and inventive apostles (of course) get something out of the deal ($).

Many denominations and organized churches have taken their prompts from Seoul Korea and have organized “cell” meetings in homes as a form of outreach and personalization and accountability. These meetings are never as vibrant as real church life, because they are not solely under the headship of Christ. “Cell” meetings should happen in prison cells, but not in homes under the headship of a “mother” organization.

The authentic church meets in homes without the interference of denominations, “mother” church or political kosmos. Just Jesus and His Body. It is just like religious-kosmos to take something natural and beautiful and dress it in snappy clothes. It would be nice if gifted Christian men with Babylonian hearts would take their gifts to the marketplace and make some money, instead of further exploiting the church.


LAWS AND LEGALISM —

“Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.” (Colossians 2:20-22 NIV)


“For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.” (Hebrews 7:19 NLT)

Laws and legalism are big problems in the church today. Jesus is the only standard and law there should be. To love Him with all the heart, soul and strength, and love others because of His powerful love inside us, causes people to live out the obedience of Jesus’ heart without external and legalistic bondage. Laws seek to change people from the outside in; Jesus changes people from the inside out.


Practices such as sixty-minute-a-day prayer disciplines, scripture-memorization rituals, accountability partnerships, covenanting with television ministries, searching for keys to sinless living (and listening to people who purport such intent), submission to people higher in the food chain (denomination or non-denomination), claiming and confessing only positive scriptures, voting republican, kissing holy relics, evangelizing the neighborhood with silly “Jesus is the reason…” signboards, and a thousand and one other vanities connected to the world of religion, are usually empty attempts at achieving things that can only be found in an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Living the Christian life externally, obeying ancient laws and traditions, also more modern notions and rules and moral guidelines set up by ignorant and arrogant men, is hollow religion and the error of fallen angels. To live by the grace and life and love of the Lord Jesus Christ is true religion that benefits self and benefits others.


FAMILY —

“‘Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?’ Then he looked at those around him and said, ‘These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’” (Mark 3:33-35 NLT)

For the disciple and son of God, the Body of Christ must take precedence over the natural family (Luke 14:26). The covenant bond between Christ and His Church is spiritual and eternal. Natural relationships are transitory and of the earth. Perhaps if we stopped focusing on the family so much, and instead would give our lives and attention to the Master, our natural relationships would miraculously and impressively fall into order within the Kingdom design of God. Once we have matured enough within the heavenly family to see our spouses as brothers and sisters in Christ, and our children and parents as younger and elder saints, then we have been set free from natural limitations, becoming greater servants to the whole Body of Christ.


PRIORITIES —

“You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 NIV)

Christians tend to prioritize. They often think they are giving God their first and best, but then everyone and everything else is found in the pie chart too. Such as family, friends, work, vacation from work, church, social work, shopping, paying off what was bought while shopping, movies (without much sex or violence, of course), time to relax, a little evening news, a tiny sin or “goof-up” here or there, a bit bigger sin there or here, an abomination once in a blue moon. Shall we continue?


The only true priority within God’s Kingdom is (meant to be) Jesus Christ:

“…You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind….” (Luke 10:27 NLT)

Jesus Christ is meant to mean everything. Everything.


When we were called to follow Christ, we were called away from everyone and everything — including family, friends, home, job and the self-life too (Luke 14:25-33). God’s wisdom in this was to separate us from everyone and everything as to become wholly dedicated to and dependent upon Him. Single-minded devotion and dependence upon Christ should have become our way of life. It should have.

When reading the New Testament Gospels it is strikingly apparent that Jesus loved the Heavenly Father with all His heart, soul and strength. The Father was His Pearl of Great Value, His magnificent obsession. Because of love, Jesus lived out the nature of the Heavenly Father (a person will typically be transformed by what they obsessively behold) to the point of saying:

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30 KJV)

Most everything Jesus said and did was the Father’s heart and voice and actions through Him (John 15:15). Jesus’ transparency and sacrifice and compassion toward humanity had everything to do with the love of the Heavenly Father through Him. Similarly, we as believers have the Lord Jesus Christ living inside us. Similarly, we as believers have the power and mandate to love the Lord Jesus with all our hearts, souls and strength, and then love our neighbors as ourselves. With the Holy Spirit living and reigning inside us, the Lord Jesus and the Heavenly Father will express their passionately loving and sacrificial heavenly life through us as we abide in Him and walk by faith.

So much for priorities and pie charts.


CHRISTIAN COUNSELING —

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:24 NIV)

Christian counseling, therapy and self-help are mostly useless to the spiritual life, mostly only useful for strengthening and establishing the already too strong self-nature. Jesus never analyzed or counseled anyone, instructing them to better themselves. Instead, He taught them to die to themselves, becoming resurrected into His own selfless nature. Apostle Paul never analyzed or probed anyone. Instead he instructed his churches to put off the old and corrupt nature, instead putting on the new nature of Christ:

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)

Most Christian counseling and therapy would be useless if Christians would stop striving and simply PULL THE PLUG on the old nature, trusting Yahweh to resurrect them into Christ’s spiritual nature. Seeking to improve the old nature into a more righteous version is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil arrogance, far from the intention of Jesus and the intention of Apostle Paul.

When we were born again, we became new creations within the Second and Last Adam Jesus Christ, translated from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son. The Heavenly Father has no intention of fixing up the first Adam and old creation; His intention is to raise up a whole new creation within His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. “PULL THE PLUG” is some of the best advice you can offer a brother or sister in Christ.


PROSPERITY GOSPEL —

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)

Word of Faith churches are growing at superabundant rates. These congregations are learning how to be healthy, wealthy and wealthier. Much of the doctrine being taught is positive and necessary — faith, healing and deliverance — but some is misleading. Mostly, people are being misled by their own secret desire for gain (greed). They desire all the riches of Abraham, and know with all their scripture-quoting hearts that it’s God’s will to give — that is, if they faithfully do their confessing and bowing and standing calisthenics. So they follow their misdirected beliefs all the way to the illogical conclusion: God eventually corrects bad doctrine by correcting the heart.


The true gospel of prosperity is Jesus Christ — Jesus alone. The way Jesus lived and lives His life is the way people in Him should live theirs. If that does not seem prosperous enough to us, perhaps we should be examining our hearts.


KINGDOM BUSINESS —

“Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!” (John 2:16 NIV)

Christian business organizations and businessmen teach believers “Kingdom Business,” yet there is no buying, selling or trading in Christ, and only Christ is God’s Kingdom. People today are shaping more and more bricks to help the Babylonian system grow tall and strong, often deluded into thinking they’re helping the Kingdom of God along. The business world as we know it is part of the kosmos, not part of the Kingdom of God. Most of the church today is operating their churches and church finances fully within the Babylonian system. Christians who run businesses are doing so within Babylon.

[NOTE: When Satan took Jesus, in the realm of spirit, to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the kosmos, no doubt He looked at all future denominations, tax-exempt ministries, Christian websites, Christian marketplaces, and other fish-symbol related kingdoms. After seeing all those dazzling “Christian” works, Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8 NIV)]


The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom, not one needing successful businesses and their resources. Jesus was a carpenter trained by His natural father who grew up to become the builder of the church trained by His Heavenly Father. As Christians grow up, they too must abandon their natural talents to walk in the Heavenly Father’s divine plan. Not so much with the goal of becoming successful or rich, but with the desire to fulfill Yahweh’s better Kingdom plan.

[NOTE: None of this is to imply that making money is bad or evil, for many of Jesus’ parables taught the faithfulness of stewardship and the wisdom of turning a buck. But, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that there are businesses and buying and selling and trading within God’s Kingdom. All commerce is part of the world-system (kosmos, Babylon). We should simply keep our focus on Jesus while we’re in Babylon and the Babylonian marketplace. Hopefully, we can turn some hearts toward the Master while we’re there.]


THE TITHE —

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple.” (Malachi 3:10 NLT)

Though clearly not the same thing, the religion of Christianity feigns privileges similar to that of Old Testament Judaism. They should not.


Biblically speaking, the Temple of God in the New Testament is the multimembered Body of Christ; it is not the unbiblical religion of Christianity that presumes to organize, house and lead people, actually exploiting them (albeit ignorantly — usually) in the process. Yahweh’s Temple is people (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) and not a religious order or church building or doctrinally enlightened thinking paradigm. By New Testament standards, Malachi’s “storehouse” would equate to individuals within the Body of Christ (and perhaps their pocketbooks), and not a church order (and their pocketbooks).


Giving ten percent is called tithing. The first mention of the practice began with Abraham who gave King Melchizedek a tithe of battle plunder (Genesis 14:20). Over 400 years later when Yahweh ordained Israel’s Levitical Priesthood, he also ordained a national tithe to support the priesthood — also to support the needy of the land. As New Covenant people, we should honor the example of our faith forefather Abraham who yielded tribute to someone who exhibited the nature of Christ. But understand this: Abraham is not the father of religious expectations; and we should not be duped into thinking that some newer form of the Levitical Priesthood and Jewish Tabernacle/Temple system exists for the New Testament believer. It does not. The law of tithing is not a New Testament law or expectation. But the practice of yielding tribute to a person who exhibits the nature of Christ, as did our faith-example Abraham, is a smart and beneficial idea.


[NOTE: Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21 KJV). It would be a wise idea to sow into sons of God and the Kingdom of God, because that’s where the Heavenly Father’s heart is — and will be in the future). It would also be a smart idea to cease sowing into religious kosmos, because the future of it is destruction along with the rest of Babylon (Revelation 17 & 18). A person’s heart will always follow his or her treasure, so if you desire a Kingdom heart and the heart of a beloved son then sow into the Kingdom of God and sons of God.]


People love money. It’s part of the fallen human nature. And religion has a special exploitive advantage they have been using for millennia: Threaten people with heavenly displeasure and even damnation if they don’t comply with the Priesthood’s (and they say “God’s”) financial demands. It was for the sake of freedom that Christ went to the cross. It would be best to throw off the demands of religious strong-arms and follow Christ’s heart and leading on how and where to give. Apostle Paul meant it when he said:

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1 NLT)


SUBMISSION AND AUTHORITY —

Some apostles and prophets are propagating a more advanced theology today, one that uses the terms “kingdom” and “dominion” for more profitability. They teach top-heavy and often heavy-handed authority concepts, usually stressing submission to people higher in the church and kingdom and home. Children are to submit to parents, women to men, and men to God — and, of course, everyone is to submit to God’s ministries who are God’s voice and representatives on the earth.


Kingdom churches use what they believe to be true biblical principles to purport their intent: To see the Kingdom of God reign upon the earth by preparing the saints for reigning. They train people in prayer and warfare, healing and deliverance, positional truth and righteous living, but are also being trained in dominion and authority concepts — in actuality being drafted into paltry acquiescence to people higher in the chain. The authority this movement wields is mostly human and devilish, not much different from other authoritarian powers.

True apostles and prophets understand that the foundation of a house is UNDER the house and not over it. They understand that five-fold ministries are there to build up the Body of Christ and not lord it over them. They understand that a husband’s role is to love and follow Christ, leading and loving his family as an overflow to that relationship. They understand that submission and authority scriptures and concepts work wonderfully in concert with humility and love. The church would be in better shape if ministers would spend less time biblically ranking people for lordship purposes, and instead get to know the love of God.


CHRISTIAN RIGHTS —

Today’s Christian Rights mindset is weak and useless. Christians are being taught to stand up for social rights, not allowing the world to push ‘em around anymore. They campaign against abortion clinics and do their civil duty by voting men and women with “Christian” or “family” values into office. Jesus never taught this, thought this or acted this way. His mind was not set on the kingdoms of the kosmos or on making them Christian. His mind was fixed on someone higher.

People with a Christian Rights mindset desire social change. Jesus requires repentance and faith (Luke 13:1-5, Hebrews 6:2). People of prayer (they like to call themselves “prayer warriors”) pray and pray. In their prayers they push God, push faith and push angels to do what they ABSOLUTELY know to be God’s will. Sometimes God acts, and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes by acting He allows to the Kingdom of God to be built; other times the domain of Babylon. Believers need to understand that Christ’s focus is not on social change or a more Christian looking kosmos. The kosmos will keep growing until God judges it fully. And the Kingdom of God will continue being formed in hearts as to provide a new and righteous way of life, government and economy for the people of His pleasure.

[NOTE: Jesus spoke to seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. The last church was much like this current church age — very rich, very worldly and much in need of Jesus. The name LAODICEA means: JUSTICE OF THE PEOPLE; RULE OF THE MAJORITY; DEMOCRATIC.]


COMMUNION —

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Corinthians 10:21 KJV)

Communion is meant as the establishing and remembering of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. It is the remembrance of our Covenant Mediator’s pact with His Father, and His invitation to us to become one with Him. Taking communion is a remembrance of the bond we have with Christ, also the bond we have with every other member of the Body of Christ. Taking communion without properly discerning the Body of can be a risky thing. Apostle Paul said:

“That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.” (1 Corinthians 11:30 NLT)

Communion being offered today within religious kosmos is risky and sometimes dangerous. Many ministers are ignorant of covenantal things, making them propagators of potential covenant violations and curses. Disciples of Jesus would do well to follow the Master’s biblical example: Jesus shared a covenantal meal with His twelve closest friends only once after three or four years of discipleship. Before the table had even been cleared, one of Jesus’ disciples jumped up and betrayed the Lord. It’s always wise to share communion circumspectly, with Christian brothers and sisters who share a similar bond with Christ.


MANMADE HOLY-DAYS —

Manmade holidays taught and observed by most believers today are weak and useless and primarily pagan. The main ones, Christmas and Easter, are not biblically based Holy-Days, but are sham imitations of Yahweh’s ordained festivals: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Christmas and Easter are not part of the Kingdom of God, because the realm of the Kingdom of God is Jesus Christ, and there are no non-covenantal (not biblically established) celebrations in Him. Biblically ordained festivals are natural reflections of Christ (Colossians 2:17), celebrated automatically, supernaturally and eternally by those who are in Him.


Jesus is the reason for sunrises… and sunsets… and kittens… and mama’s home cooking… and fingernails growing. But is He really the reason for Christmas?


The word CHRISTMAS derives from the Old English word, Crīstesmæsse (Christ’s Mass), and has been around since the eleventh century. Its roots are found in paganism, the worship of winter deities. The Early Church reportedly refused to celebrate anyone’s birthday as was pagan custom, but lost out to secular ideas when Constantine, world ruler in the fourth century, mixed a few Christian ideas into his primarily pagan bag. Most Christians today use Christmas as a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth, insisting that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” not realizing — and mostly not caring — that the Heavenly Father did not ordain the festival. The Christmas celebration is not found in Christ — nor was December the likely time of His birth — therefore the many things ascribed to Him, e.g., plastic nativity sets, Yuletide miracle stories, Christmas candlelight services, Advent Season and “Peace on Earth” cards, are mostly done in vain.


[NOTE: People who send “Peace on Earth” cards should balance things out by getting ones inscribed with Jesus’ own words: “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to bring strife and division!” (Luke 12:51 NLT)]


The word EASTER reportedly came from the name Ēostre, the pagan goddess of fertility and dawn. Easter was given to religious Babylon as a way to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. Easter, unlike biblical Passover, is not a picture of Christ Himself, but merely a festival about resurrection and fertility passed on to humanity from a few imaginative, fallen angels. The Jewish Passover festival celebrated about the same time of year, bereft of Jesus Himself, is equally empty and vain.


[NOTE: For the past number of years, Christians — inspired mostly by Christian television ministries — have been substituting the pagan name Easter with a newer and more righteous sounding title, “Resurrection Day.” We should understand that changing the name of something doesn't somehow make it biblical. Spray painting a pea to look like a pearl does not make it a pearl; it makes it a spray-painted pea.]


ESCHATOLOGY —

There is a popular belief in some Christian circles that the righteous will eventually be removed from the earth. Many call the event THE RAPTURE; some call it THE CATCHING AWAY or SNATCHING AWAY. Though the highest percentage of Christians do not support such a belief — nor does the Word of God use the term “rapture” — this eschatological stance is taught and believed by multitudinous people. The concept first came into being in 1830, through a vision from a fifteen year old girl named Margaret Macdonald, then was later scripturally dressed and popularized by men such as John Darby, Clarence Larkin, C.I. Scofield, then further popularized during the Azusa Street Revival (modern Pentecostal movement), and later by the Dallas Theological Seminary (evangelical Christianity). Today it is heavily promoted by TV preachers and teachers; it was also the basis for a dizzily successful fiction book series.


The concept of a “catching away” is a thirtyfold escapist doctrine that causes many evangelical believers to give up their birthright, inheritance and position as priests, kings and inheritors of the earth. The Holy Bible teaches the return of Christ, and not the escape of the saints. This manmade doctrine revolves around mankind’s need to escape “tribulation.”


Pre-tribulation, Mid-tribulation, Post-tribulation, Amillennialism, and Preterism are all non-biblical terms that describe end-time doctrines of men, not from God. Jesus is Yahweh’s only end-time doctrine. To understand the design of God regarding His Body, one simply needs to look at the life, crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We, the members of Christ’s Body, will experience exactly what He experienced; no more and no less and certainly not within the context of any set doctrinal or dispensational understanding.


The idea that the righteous are meant to be removed from the earth is non-covenantal (not supported in the Abrahamic, Davidic or New Covenant), and is actually opposite from what the Word of God teaches. The Bible teaches that the righteous are the ones that the Lord will embed and establish upon the earth, and the wicked are the ones slated for elimination and death.


With that in mind, here are some supporting scriptures:

“For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” (Psalm 37:9-11 KJV)


“For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.” (Proverbs 2:21-22 KJV)


“The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.” (Proverbs 10:30 KJV)

In light of what Jesus understood from Old Testament scriptures regarding the wicked being cut off, He said:

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30 NIV) 

“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous.” (Matthew 13:47-49 NIV)


“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken [removed, judged], and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken [removed, judged], and the other left.” (Matthew 24:40-41 KJV, brackets added)


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January 01, 2015

2015

For decades the Lord has been preparing me (and hopefully the Body of Christ) for this coming season. Starting this year, 2015, the Lord's saving grace will be seen and experienced more so than at any previous time. Now is the time for the fulfillment of the promises; it is the time the Lord moves His people from "I will" to "I have." In other words, "I will heal you, bless you, restore you" moves to "I have healed you, blessed you, restored you." Expect abundant grace and miracles in the coming season, year and years. The Lord's "I have" is upon His people.




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December 07, 2014

Jesus, Our Elementary Foundations


“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from works that lead to death, and of faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (Hebrews 6:1-3 PAR)
 
This section of scripture, though wholly divine, assumes much. It assumes that we, the Body of Christ approximately 2000 years after the writing of the Book of Hebrews, have been instructed in the elementary teachings of Christ. But have we?

There are six elementary foundations or “milk” bottles to the life of faith. These elementary truths, doctrines and experiences make up the rock on which we stand, Jesus Christ. Without them our Christian lives are built upon the sinking sand of the adamic nature.


The six foundations are:

Repentance from works that lead to death

Faith toward God

Instruction about baptisms

Laying on of hands

Resurrection of the dead

Eternal judgment

We are about to address each foundation individually. Although we cannot cover them as thoroughly as would be proper, we will discuss each level enough as to give a hunger and drive to seek the Holy Spirit for more. As we go through the levels individually, you will see that not one mention is made of Bible reading, praying, confirmation, going to church, tithing, or believing in pre/mid/post-millennial tribulation/rapture as foundations. Nor are Immaculate Conception, communion, submission & authority (headship, covering, ring kissing, kissing up, and other hierarchal misconceptions), spiritual warfare, biblical watchdog-ism, voting republican and witnessing two-by-two on bicycles. Nor are daily devotions, confessing for Cadillacs and Rolexes and handsome, financially viable Christian husbands, biblical correctness and the conviction to rebuke those who are not believing correctly, being on the prophetic cutting edge, and myriad other goofy and not as goofy Christian concepts and practices. We will understand that the Lord Jesus Christ, JESUS CHRIST ALONE, is every believer’s elementary foundations.

Now, let’s look at the foundations individually:


Repentance from Works That Lead To Death

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 NIV)

To repent from something means to turn and go a different direction than before. The Greek definition for the word “repentance” as found in Hebrews 6 is —


Change of mind, repentance, the state of changing any or all of the elements composing one’s life: attitude, thoughts, and behaviors concerning the demands of God for right living; note that this state can refer to the foundational salvation event in Christ, or to an on-going repentance in the Christian life.

To repent essentially means to change the heart and direction and actions from something bad to something good. Yet not everything that needs to be repented from is outward and evident. Often to repent from something means to turn away from a practice or a belief that is considered positive or even godly by society, even Christian society, thereby turning to Jesus.

For instance, religious externalism is something that needs to be turned from — even externalism with the Christian label attached. True religion — a biblical term found in the Book of James — is not something believers are expected to be affiliated with, but is the Christ-inspired actions that flow from lives filled by and yielded to the Holy Ghost. In living by the compassionate nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, sons and daughters of God care for widows, orphans, the hurting and the poor, doing many charitable acts for them. These acts are not done as to lead people to faith in Christ, nor are they done to promote a religious order or organization, but because Jesus within His people loves and serves others.

Many people are attracted — and some are addicted — to religion because of the good it does. And that’s a reasonable opinion: religion does good. There are many godly people, anointed messages, soul salvations, miracles, feeding of the poor, etc., within organized religion. Yet mixed within all that good and godly stuff is that which is ungodly and antichrist. Jesus Christ dwells within His people, even when His people gather within godless organizations and temples. But to think that Christ’s presence DESIRES to be mixed and clothed with that which is ungodly is false.

Many of God’s people are held captive to the Babylonian system (Revelation 17 & 18), and God’s Spirit is held captive inside them. The Heavenly Father desires people to leave their chains and bondage, no longer being much needed bricks for Babylon’s steeple to reach to the skies. Jesus will eventually call and lead His people out of captivity if they will allow themselves to be internally led by Christ’s unconventional, non-religious Spirit. 

Isaiah 52:11 reads,

“Go now, leave your bonds and slavery. Put Babylon behind you, with everything it represents, for it is unclean to you. You are the Lord’s holy people.” (NLT)

Apostle Paul said,

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.’” (2 Corinthians 6:16-17 NIV)

Revelation 18:4-5 reads,

“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.’” (NIV)

Repentance from religion is important, but the spirit of religion is not the only thing that must be turned from. Believers should also turn from other influences — both good and bad — in the kosmos or world-system. As stated in an earlier chapter of the book, the New Testament word WORLD is the Greek word KOSMOS, meaning: DECORATION; AN ARRANGED ORDER OF THINGS. The world-system is a worldwide web, humanistic blueprint and invisible organization that seeks to unify everyone and everything to it. Today to think and act according to the world system is to function as a normal human being. The kosmos typically looks good, feels right and appears spiritually, socially and politically correct. But it is still a man-centered and godless beast of a system, and a lie and an offense to Almighty God!

Jesus had plenty to say about the kosmos —

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:16 NIV)


“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18 NIV)


“I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me....” (John 17:9 NIV)

Jesus desired for His disciples to know what the kosmos was about; and by understanding it, they would choose to live free from it. (Though in it, not of it.) His desire has not changed.


James 4:4 reads,

“I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can't be a friend of God.” (NLT)

Jesus took no thought for the world. For Him, the world and its enticements were passing away. Jesus found His citizenship in heavenly places (Philippians 3:20). Believers in the church today should be seeking Christ’s Kingdom and His righteousness, no longer desiring to be conformed to the pattern of the kosmos. Instead they should conform to the reality that they are merely sojourners on the earth, not citizens of the kosmos in need of further entanglement.

Repentance from man-made systems of government, networking, science, education, medicine, news media, entertainment, morality (the good side of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), business, world-finance and worldly relationships is part of the separation and cleansing needed to live as righteous heirs to Yahweh’s Kingdom. Through the work of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Repentance) inside us, our hearts become disconnected from worldly entanglements, and properly connected to the Lord Jesus Christ and to our new and true family: the Body of Christ. This turning away from the worldly realm unto Jesus is part of the daily relationship we share with Him, and not just a one-time event. Every day the Spirit of Christ and the Word of God washes our minds and hearts, transforming us into Jesus’ nature. With minds and hearts renewed, the remaining step is to turn away from actions and relationships that were once inspired by and tied to the kosmos. Repentance from the world system unto Christ ultimately separates us from what is commonly known as the religion of Christianity.


Faith toward God

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NIV)

Faith is a small thing, a very small thing. But when planted, watered and allowed to grow, it becomes a big thing, and sometimes a really big thing. As faith becomes a big thing in a person’s heart and soul, wonders begin to occur. And the at-one-time impossibilities of life start becoming possibilities, realities, and “Thank you, Jesus!” things.

A person’s faith grows in thirty, sixty and hundredfold fashion. The thirtyfold is the blade, the sixtyfold is the head, and the hundredfold is the full grain in the head (Mark 4:28). Anything that a person desires to obtain from the Lord while upon the earth must be sown for to obtain. To harvest a crop of forgiveness, salvation, healing, deliverance, gifts of the Holy Spirit, administrative gifts, favor and/or prosperity means to faithfully operate within the principles and seasons of seedtime and harvest. It was Jesus who taught the thirty, sixty and hundredfold harvests (Matthew 13:8). The Word of God also supports a thousand-fold harvest (see Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 1:11).
The Word of God is seed for every need, powerful seed with the nature of Christ in the composition. Sowing seed by speaking God’s Word eventually manifests fruit in the form of blessing, healing, deliverance, salvation, etc., upon the earth. Faithful perseverance toward God and His Word yields increasing and profitable blessings: blessings for the flesh, blessings for the soul, and blessings for the spirit. It also yields a wonderful and eternal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, the awesome Holy Spirit, and the precious Heavenly Father.


THIRTYFOLD FAITH —

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23 NIV)

Thirtyfold faith is the seed of saving grace — the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Himself — planted within the humble human spirit, that cleanses, saves, heals and delivers a person, supernaturally translating him or her into the Kingdom of God. It’s the newly redeemed, blood washed, Spirit-filled, hungry-for-the-next-riveting-word-from-God sort of faith experienced by passionate new believers. It’s the kind of faith that stretches out its withered hand toward Jesus, and is restored in the stretching. It’s the faith that believes Jesus can do absolutely anything, and He wants to do it all today. It’s the radiant-glow kind of faith that jumps up at church testimony time and praises God for life and breath and showers and flowers. It’s the I’ve-just-realized-my-spiritual-authority kind of faith that never turns a doorknob or walks past a liquor store without exercising some sort of spiritual dominion. It’s the twist-arm kind of faith that seeks to convert everyone in the neighborhood to love Jesus, and the I-always-say-what’s-on-my-mind sort of faith that challenges those who already do. Thirtyfold faith is wonderful, but it needs to grow.


SIXTYFOLD FAITH —


“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him....” (Philippians 1:29 NIV)

Sixtyfold faith is the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ operating through a son or daughter of God toward the Heavenly Father. It’s the faith that is ready to wear the mantle of Jesus that hurting people desire to touch:

"...and all who touched it were made whole." (Matthew 14:36 PAR)

This faith is the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ inside a person toward the Body of Christ and toward the needy of the world. This faith is not only unto salvation, healing, deliverance and prosperity, but is also unto persecution and hardship, death and resurrection. This faith accepts the destruction of the self-nature so that the Son of God is able to live His nature through the broken soul. This faith is the communion and communication of Christ and the Heavenly Father inside the human spirit — one that walks and talks with God in gardens of glories and gardens of Gethsemanes, and thrusts God’s chosen sons and daughters beyond the realm of time and space, supernaturally setting them at the right hand of God. And though this faith is amazing, it needs to grow.


HUNDREDFOLD FAITH —


“But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” (Hebrews 10:38 NIV)

Hundredfold faith is the Heavenly Father’s faith inside the mature Christian soul. It’s the faith that takes a man or woman beyond the painful experiences found in sonship training to the glories and mysteries beyond. It’s the faith that propels trustworthy people beyond the Outer Court and Holy Place, beyond the sacred veil of Jesus’ flesh, into the Heavenly Father’s forever being. It’s the faith that uses few words to say much. It’s the faith that operates in God’s power without pride or pretense. It’s the faith that yields and rests and does not strive. It’s the spirit of true sonship, where the Father and Son are no longer separate identities but have merged together as ONE; and the matured soul becomes part of the merging.

“...so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11 NIV)

Such is the faith that calls people to the Father’s side and into His holy breast; and once they enter that place of rest, they never ever leave.


Such is the thirty, sixty and hundredfold progression of faith.


Instruction about Baptisms

To be baptized means to be immersed into —become one with — someone or something. There are a number of foundational baptisms the New Testament refers to, yet all are a revelation of Jesus, who is:

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism....” (Ephesians 4:5 KJV)


BAPTISM INTO REPENTANCE / WATER —


“John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:4-5 KJV)

Baptism into repentance for the forgiveness of sins was the immersion that John the Baptist was known for. He prepared men and women’s hearts for Yahweh by baptizing them in the Jordan River. By doing so, he pointed people toward the Messiah who would later take God’s children into further baptisms. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River as a sign that He, too, was identifying with mankind’s brokenness and need for repentance.

Matthew 3:15 reads,

“Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’” (NIV)

Isaiah 53:12 reads,

“...and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (KJV)

Paul said in his letter to Colosse,

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3 NIV)

This is what we as believers understand as the reason for water baptism: By going into the depths we are prophesying the death to our old nature and simultaneously participating in the death and burial of the Lord Jesus Christ. By being lifted up out of the water we are prophesying of new life in Jesus’ resurrection. But note: Being baptized into Jesus’ death and burial is merely vain drama unless accompanied by a resolve to live out (become united with) the Lord’s experiences of death, burial and resurrection on an ongoing basis.



BAPTISM INTO THE HOLY GHOST —


“And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost...’” (John 20:22 KJV)

Before Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Heavenly Father, He breathed upon His disciples giving them the Holy Spirit. They received the Holy Spirit by faith, yet didn’t utter a sound. At Pentecost — at the time of the birth of the Early Church — Jesus’ selfsame breath entered the room where 120 people were waiting and worshiping. They were all filled with the breath of heaven, the Holy Spirit, and began speaking in other languages. Jesus Himself was filled to capacity with the Holy Spirit, yet the Bible never details whether He spoke in tongues. All of us too should desire to be filled to capacity with the Holy Spirit, causing us to live and speak and work and thrive by Jesus’ own life. Some believers will speak in other tongues, others will not. Most importantly, we should focus on living our lives by the breath of heaven, the Holy Spirit, and not focus so much on the tongue.


BAPTISM INTO THE CLOUD —


“They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud....” (1 Corinthians 10:2 KJV)

As followers of Christ, not only are we to be baptized into the sea (water baptism) but also into the resident cloud. The Holy Spirit inside His people as an abiding presence or cloud, lifts and moves individuals within Yahweh’s divine leading (whenever and wherever the Spirit goes, we go too). Apostle Paul said:

“...those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 NIV)




BAPTISM INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST —


“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body....” (1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV)

To be baptized into Christ also means to be baptized into His Body. This is not referring to the Sunday morning and Wednesday night practice of goin'-t'-chu'ch, but the day in and day out LIFE of the Church. To be baptized into the true form of the Church means to leave the worldly religious mindset with its me-centered spirituality, and thrive within a new form of humanity — the many-membered spiritual Body of Christ whose head is Jesus Himself. Being baptized into Christ’s Body means to lose one’s own sense of separateness and individuality for the sake of the fullness of the Church.


BAPTISM INTO FIRE —


“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11 NIV)

Jesus came to baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The fire of the Father burns away the chaff (the non-essentials) in our lives, causing our minds and affections to become purified into Jesus’ mind and affections. This is what happened to Jesus as He was purified by the fire of the Father into the Father's passionate nature. The work of the Spirit of Fire is a laborious but wondrous work of sanctification. Through it, the Lord leads and settles His people within His intended place of rest for them — life beyond the veil within the Holy of Holies. Apostle Peter said:

"...don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world." (1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV)




BAPTISM INTO JESUS’ SUFFERINGS —


“‘You don't know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?’ ‘We can,’ they answered. Jesus said to them, ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with....’” (Mark 10:38-39 NIV)

Jesus was immersed into Yahweh’s sufferings. He encountered sufferings from the time of His infancy in Bethlehem and His family’s escape into Egypt, until the time of His agony in Gethsemane and His death on the cross. There is a certain measure of hardships and sufferings — a covenantal cup to drink — that every man and/or woman on the road to sonship in Christ must drink. It is within these sufferings that humility is obtained, maturity is gained and authority given.

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)


Laying On Of Hands

“But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” (Luke 22:69 NIV)

In Bible typology God’s right hand signifies His mercy, power and authority. Jesus Christ is not only at the right hand of God, Jesus Christ IS the right hand of God! He is the Heavenly Father’s power and authority who holds the universe and heavens together (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus shares His power and authority with His followers. Here’s how that is realized:


GREAT EXPLOITS —


“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.’ Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.” (Matthew 9:18-19 NIV)

Jesus laid His hands upon sick people and healed them by the power of the Heavenly Father’s incredible love. All the people He touched were made whole. To experience Jesus’ healing touch means to yield to the wonder of His powerful love. The Heavenly Father SEEKS healing and health for all who have faith; Jesus heals ALL who have faith.

“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2 NIV)


Jesus conferred spiritual authority upon His disciples to heal people — to lay hands upon the sick and to anoint them with oil. Compassion is the open door to God’s wonderful and powerful healing touch. People of faith lay hands upon the sick; the power of God heals them.


TRANSFERENCE OF BLESSING AND SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY —


“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.” (Matthew 19:14-15 NIV)

In this scripture Jesus transferred the Heavenly Father’s blessing to children through the laying on of hands. We, Jesus’ disciples, can transfer God’s love, approval and spiritual blessing to people through the laying on of hands. Acting out the compassion of Jesus is Christ’s life lived through us.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV)

Apostle Paul laid hands upon his spiritual son Timothy for the impartation of a spiritual gift. Transference of spiritual authority shows that the Heavenly Father’s nature has come to maturity and is being duplicated through the matured son or daughter. Paul’s apostolic gift came through sonship maturity, yielding a wonderful harvest in the raising up of spiritual sons (Timothy and Titus were sons) that he could impart spiritual authority to. He took Christ’s example of discipleship to another generation, showing a beautiful example of the yielded life, one of living by the Heavenly Father’s life-giving nature.


GOD'S HAND EXTENDED —


“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)

The Heavenly Father visits the earth through His five-fold ministry within the Body of Christ. He uses selected sons and daughters to reveal the person of Christ: Evangelist; the path of Christ: Pastor; the mind of Christ: Teacher; the heart of Christ: Prophet; and the passion (the death, burial and resurrection) of Christ: Apostle. The Heavenly Father’s matured sons are the right hand of God.


Resurrection of the Dead

We as believers experience Jesus’ power over the grave as we mature in Christ. The foundation of Resurrection of the Dead touches the Body of Christ on three levels:

RESURRECTION OF THE FLESH —


“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NIV)

Jesus’ flesh rose from the grave after three days in the tomb. Because all believers share Jesus’ experiences, we have the promise that though our flesh dies, it will again be raised. One day all saints in Christ will again inhabit the earth. They will do so not in perishable bodies, but imperishable ones — bodies with elements from both perfected realms, heaven and earth.

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8 NIV)

Jesus gave His disciples the authority to raise corpses from the grave. The Bible reports several resurrection accounts, ones not performed at the Master’s own hands. Great miracle power is meant to be upon the earth today through the ministry of the Body of Christ. Disciples of Christ can raise people from the grave because Jesus within them is Resurrection and Life, and can’t help but manifest that powerful nature upon the earth.


RESURRECTION OF THE SOUL —


“I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:31 NIV)

As a believer grows up into the nature of Christ, something unsettling occurs: hardships and persecutions increase! These hardships and persecutions enter as participation in Christ’s sufferings, persecutions and cross. They enter as lethal blows to the carnal mind, will and emotions. This is the cross that Jesus invited His disciples to carry (Luke 14:27), the death that all mature Christians undergo (1 Corinthians 15:31). The disciple dies to his or her self-nature again and again, becoming resurrected into the Lord’s selfless nature.


SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION —


“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4 NIV)

Salvation is the experience of moving from spiritual death to spiritual life. Thus, God raises people from a spiritual grave when they’re born again.

“Then he said to me: ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.”’ So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.” (Ezekiel 37:9-10 NIV)

Not only must every disciple come into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection (experientially, not merely doctrinally), but the hundredfold revelation of resurrection from the dead moves a step beyond that of resurrection for the individual to a multimembered resurrection of the Body of Christ from the dead. (The whole Church undergoes the same experiences as Jesus Himself does.) In this unfolding revelation is found one of the greatest mysteries of all: Christ resurrected and reigning in every member of the Body of Christ individually, and in the Church as a whole.


Eternal Judgment

The left hand of Yahweh signifies His hand of judgment. That makes Jesus the left hand of God as well as the right hand. Matthew 25:33 reads:

“He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.” (PAR)

It seems that the bulk of common knowledge of Bible judgment consists of, “Judge not, lest ye be judged!” “You’re judging me!” is a pretty common statement intended to keep probing Christians from getting too close to a person’s golden heifer.

The biblical teaching of judgment is a massive one, occupying more space in the Bible than any other subject. It is also the last of the elementary foundations for the disciple and the Church. Jesus said:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Matthew 7:1-3 NLT)

Jesus’ chat on the hilltop (men have coined the term “Sermon on the Mount”) was a lesson on the Kingdom of God given to a motley crew of young disciples. The principles Jesus outlined there were foundational principles meant to be implemented by the junior believer. Those principles — along with the life of the Judge, Jesus Himself — are to mature within the disciple’s heart, resulting in a Kingdom that perfectly reflects the nature of King Jesus Himself. That makes it pretty important to know how Jesus judges things.

Jesus judges from the position of one who was judged. He was judged by Yahweh God, hanging upon a cursed tree in punishment for mankind’s treason. Now because of the cross, Jesus judges. But His judgments are not like human judgments that spring forth from human law, moral fairness or the shifting sands of rightness and wrongness. Instead, His judgments are divine judgments rooted in humility and complete understanding. The only safe way for a person to judge anyone or anything is by the humble nature of Christ Himself manifesting through a contrite heart.

Jesus Christ is the Judge of the universe — His authority was bestowed on Him by the Heavenly Father. Even when Jesus was walking upon the earth He was a judge, but not like a human judge or arbiter. He came representing the Heavenly Father’s nature, and set a new and perfect standard for mercy, righteousness and judgment. Jesus said:

“You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.” (John 8:15-16 NIV)


“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30 NIV)

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was one of showing the nature of the Heavenly Father; it was not so much in judging sin. Jesus seemed more interested in revealing the hidden nature and motives of men than outwardly judging them. But take note, when Righteousness walked into a room, town or nation, sin was automatically and immediately uncovered and judged. Without the need to speak a word, Jesus lived the righteous nature of the Heavenly Father and set a perfect standard for judgment.

Let’s elaborate on what is meant by a “standard.” A standard is a rule of measure, something that other things are measured by. The Lord judges people by setting up standards. Those standards are usually selected people, sometimes things that God has ordained to measure other people and things by. Jesus is the most obvious standard, but there are others. Let’s look at some:


THE QUEEN OF SHEBA —

The Queen of Sheba visited Jerusalem during Solomon’s reign; she recognized and honored the sovereign order of Israel’s king and Israel’s God. Jesus said:

“The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.” (Matthew 12:42 NIV)




THE MEN OF NINEVEH —

When Jonah gave a message of condemnation to the people of Nineveh, they repented by fasting and wearing sackcloth. Jesus said:

“The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.” (Luke 11:32 NIV)




THE MIRACLES OF CHRIST —

Jesus said that the miracles He performed would stand as a witness to condemnation —

“Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.” (Matthew 11:21-22 KJV)




WEALTH —

Apostle James rebuked the rich, claiming that their gold and silver would eventually condemn them —


“Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.” (James 5:3 NLT)




MOSES —


Moses was a standard of judgment that Yahweh raised up before the Jewish people, especially before those who opted to live by law instead of grace. Jesus said:

“Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” (John 5:45-46 KJV)




THE DUST —

When Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into towns and villages to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God and heal the sick, He said that if the townspeople were to refuse and reject the message, they were to shake the dust from their feet. Here, even the smallest particle of dust can be a standard of judgment —

“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them." (Luke 9:5 KJV)




THE TWELVE DISCIPLES —

Jesus’ disciples were also made a standard of judgment — they were given authority to judge all Israel. Jesus said:

"I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matthew 19:28 NIV)

Besides the authority to judge all Israel, the disciples were given the power to judge the Church under their care. The death of Ananias and Sapphira at the command of Simon Peter, spoke resoundingly to Early Church believers (Acts 5). Apostle Paul was the standard of judgment raised up for the non-Jewish churches.


The Church of Jesus Christ itself must become mature enough to judge difficult situations that arise. Such tasks should be left — whenever possible — to more mature Christians. If a disciple has been faithful to walk in his or her elementary foundations and is maturing into the Lord’s nature, the Lord will set that person apart as a standard of judgment in the Church (whether aware of it or not). Elder believers should take oversight in matters concerning younger believers. Not with an attitude to lord it over them, but with humility that is willing to oversee them — perhaps like a caring parent or elder brother — so that their lives go well.


As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are meant to be standards of righteousness and judgment. But first we must take on the attitude of Jesus Himself. Though He was Judge of all, His greatest mission to the world was showing love and mercy to people, paying a price to redeem humanity with His blood. Most of the judging that the saints of God are meant to do is relegated to the future. But meanwhile, faithful believers are called to be witnesses, standards and prophetic voices for their generation.




There is one final aspect of judgment we will take a look at. Apostle Paul said:

“Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3 NIV)

It is pretty obvious which angels are in need of judgment. The fallen angels — one third of all angels — will be judged both now and in the future by the Body of Christ. Ever since Jesus instructed His disciples regarding their newfound authority (men have coined the term “The Great Commission”), disciples have been displacing and judging the fallen angelic realm. Disciples cast out demons and overturn the works of Satan, offering no respite. This work of grace will continue until every enemy is made a footstool for every believer’s feet.


Jesus said,

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19 NIV)

Isaiah 24:21-22 reads,

“In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days.” (Isaiah 24:21-22 NIV)


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