Discipline

“Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of Jehovah, Nor be weary of His discipline;12 For whom Jehovah loves He disciplines, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights.13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver, and her income is better than gold.”

When I meditate on the Scriptures God helps me realize how it applies to my life.

Our first realization and our faith must be in the fact that God loves us.  The Bible says God is love.  When we really believe this, it makes the way for God to manifest his love in everything He does toward us.  Discipline is not as difficult for us to receive when we are in this realization.

When I was young I was punished for taking something that didn’t belong to me.   My punishment was being restricted from something that I really liked.  When I felt my punishment was enough to help me learn the lesson, I asked my dad if I could be relieved of the restriction.   He considered my request and said no.  At the time, I was sad and felt the punishment was too much.  Later when I realized it helped me not to steal, I really appreciated it.  It became wisdom to me.  In my early 20s I had even more realization that what my dad did in many things was motivated by his love for my mom, sisters, and I.

Many times, God will use something in our environment or someone we are close to for our discipline.  A work situation may be used, our spouse also may be used.  When things happen to us we shouldn’t be too quick to judge or complain.  Pray Lord help me to see Your hand in my life.  Help me to remember You are working out Your will in my life because You love me and all Your other children.  Perfect us in Your life that we may express Your glory for eternity. Amen!

Excerpt From: Living Stream Ministry. “Holy Bible Recovery Version.” Living Stream Ministry.

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God Wants Christian Pastors Operating by Grace

 

Shepherding by God’s grace vs. by legalism

Set free in the grace of the Holy Spirit

Shepherding or Pastoring can be a Twisted Form of Legalism

 

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When you read the book of Galatians substituting the term circumcision with anything that might become a religious law or ordinance you can gain some insight as to how Christians come under legalistic bondage.  You can also see just how to break free stay free from such legalism.  Today, religious legalism’s imposed by the flesh of men upon God’s children, are one of the most prevailing problems in the realm of Christianity.  Legalisms are also one of the most growth retarding things that happen in the body of Christ.

The Gospel of Grace vs. the Perverted Gospel

Galatians 1:6-12 (NASB) I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!  10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.  11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul is talking in this example, of a works-based gospel verses a faith-based gospel.  This is also a man-made gospel verses a Jesus Christ authored and revealed gospel.

Galatians 2:1-5 (NASB) Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

Paul is talking in this example of “false brethren” who wanted to spy out the liberty in Christ that Paul and his company maintained.  It seems as though these were jealous of their freedom and had a compulsion to bring Paul’s company into bondage by the same regulations that they had subjected themselves to.  They were “false brethren” because they were taking on the appearance of being true brethren, but were not true brethren because they were operating by fleshly legalisms rather than the Spirit of God.  Their faith was in their own works rather than in the gift of righteousness through Jesus’ blood.

Stand against Hypocrisy

Galatians 2: 11-16 (NASB) 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?  15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of [n]the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of [o]the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

In this example, Peter was rebuked because he hypocritically sought the approval of men and righteousness in their eyes and disregarded the righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.  In this action he also drew others away from Christ to follow his bad example.  This amounted to the establishing a system of righteousness or a condition of being made acceptable by the works of the law.  Circumcision or other works cannot make us righteous before God.  The ordinance of circumcision was imposed, to bring people into subjection to men and their corrupt and legalistic system.  This system of theirs drew people away from the blood of Jesus for their righteousness and into dependence on their own works to be righteous.

Peter, when in the company of those from James, withdrew showing that he had been subject to legalism when he was living in their company in Jerusalem.  By acting this way, Peter was implying that you could earn acceptance with God, by observing Jewish cultural and legal practices.  This also clearly shows the contagiousness of the disease of legalism.  It also shows that Peter had broken fellowship with the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 16:16 (NASB) 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:68 (NASB) Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.”  How bold for the truth Peter was in these passages.  This is very interesting. Peter, when filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit says it like it is with great boldness and grace but when influenced by his flesh and legalism, Peter fails.  Today, we may see tomorrow, we can be blinded.  Most often, fleshly pride is the problem.  How dangerous and unproductive we become when influenced by our flesh.  We must, by the Lord’s help learn to walk in the Spirit.

Legalism is equal to “fallen from grace”

Galatians 5:4-6 You have been severed from Christ, you who [b]are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

You can’t have fellowship with God and Jesus based on anything less than faith in the free gift of righteousness which comes by the blood of Jesus.

Caring What Man Thinks rather than God,
a Trap Which Robs Your Faith

Galatians 4: 17-18 (NASB) 17  They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them.

The legalistic ones were using a kind of reverse psychology to cause the faithful in Christ to desire to come under their control.  In this example, Paul writes that some are zealously affecting the believers. Paul is showing that it is not wrong to be zealously affected in a “good thing” but this would be a thing which they would do out of their faith which works by love and a good conscience before God, and not looking for approval from him or other men. Faith and desiring the approval of men don’t mix.
John 5:44 (NASB) 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the [k]glory that is from the one and only God?

Jesus shows many times in the gospels that true faith in God and not the approval or disapproval of men should motivate our practices.

                 Walking by the Grace of the New Creation

Galatians 6: 12-16 (NASB) 12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted [d]for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who [e]are circumcised do not even keep [f]the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new [h]creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

 

Test Your Heart and Free Yourself

The word of God provides us with a test for religious legalisms.  The so-called pastors or shepherds in the congregational religious systems (sectarian churches) have skillfully developed legalisms that are sometimes overt and sometimes very subtle.  The purpose is to gain and maintain control over the people participating in those systems.  Here are some questions we can ask ourselves to help us become aware of our situation, abandon our chains and stand fast in the liberty that Christ has purchased for us with His own blood.

All of these tests depend on our truthfulness and willingness to be corrected.  The questions and thoughts are designed to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and help us align ourselves with God’s will.  Prayerfully meditate on these questions and thoughts and allow the Lord to minister to you and set you free in any areas of conviction.

1.  Is the test of my faithfulness or righteousness based on the approval of men?  Am I doing the things to please men or serve and please Christ?

The Bible teaches us that our primary responsibility toward God is a personal relationship of love and obedience through faith.  Sometimes people are compelled or instructed to do things that seemingly are for God, but there’s no witness of God’s Spirit in us or they don’t line up with the word of God.

  1. Is my relationship works-based or faith-based?

If we feel like we have to earn God’s acceptance by our good works, then our relationship has subtly been diverted away from dependence on Christ’s free gift of righteousness, which is completely by faith.  The good works and obedience, which come forth in our lives, should be the fruit of the love having been fully justified by faith.

3.  Does the teaching have men as its source, or does it come by the revelation by Christ?

Clever, brain teasing, entertaining, words or laborious intellectual exercises do not make for healthy teaching.  Healthy teaching imparts the life of God and Jesus.  When the teaching is according to the revelation of Christ, people will know that they are being spiritually nourished.  The teaching that has its source in the revelation of Jesus Christ will strengthen you and cause you to grow in Christ.  The other will keep you occupied, perhaps even running around; but you will never really get anywhere, nor will you grow.

4.  Do I have a jealousy of certain freedoms that others in the body of Christ seem to enjoy?

  1. What keeps us from doing something?  Is it that we have heard from God or sensed His leading in our spirit and the word?  Or is it that that we are under a man-made rule?

Consider that if we have a personal conviction from God concerning something God will give us the grace to do His will.  Don’t be jealous or judgmental if other Christians have the freedom to be different in their convictions.

  1. Am I or others in the group I meet with compelled by a leader or group of believers to do certain things that are not required by either the Word of God, or the Holy Spirit?
  2. Do I accept other Christians based on them keeping practices, or because of love and fellowship in Christ?The proper overseeing of members of the body by other members of the body is right and godly, if practiced according to the WORD.  What is not acceptable is the manner that is practiced by some. That is the practice of legalistic and unbiblical authority and control of God’s people.

Lord, help us to shepherd your flock according to You

1 Peter 5:2 (NASB) shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God

Any kind of leadership or religious system which is not issuing out of God’s grace is not of God.  Christ is not in the business of building organizations or systems of men.  Christ is fully occupied with the building of His body, the Church.  This is what the Bible teaches.  He carries out this building by supplying the many working members of His body, with grace.

The true leaders in His church are servants who teach by example and minister by God’s grace.  The addition of rules, regulations, ordinances etc. that are according to men cannot build up Christ’s Church.  Man-made systems or cleverly designed mixtures of godly and carnal things cannot build up Christ’s Church.

We must purify ourselves of these things and separate ourselves from the things and ways of man.  When a person is a real pastor in the body of Christ, he does not impose legalisms.  Even his own authority is a spiritual authority like Christ’s own.  A true shepherd serves by feeding, nourishing, and guiding the flock that God purchased with his own blood.  The focus and goal of God’s true shepherd is the building up of the body of Christ not the leading of Gods people away after himself.

Dear Father and Lord Jesus, please help us all to get free and remain free in your grace.  Please help your children see how the devil has used man’s supposed goodness to entrap him.  Please give your children eyes to see.  Thank you dear Lord.  Amen.

Praise the wonderful, holy name of JESUS!

© 1997 Bruce Archer

 

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Holy Spirit Real Comforting

Jesus said “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, Even the Spirit of reality…” Commandments here in John 14, is like clear firm instructions from a loving older brother on behalf of the loving Father.  He is personal and intimate in His speaking to his closest disciples.  He knows John will be faithful to relay it to us in the same love and intimacy.

Even though I don’t know how far heaven is, The Lord Jesus and the Father are not far away needing to write a letter or leave a long distance voice-mail to communicate.  No, The Lord has come to live right inside those who believe in Him.  Not only this, but as “The Comforter” he is being very intimate and personal.  A person who comforts has good intention even if they don’t know you well, but there is no comforting like that of a loving parent.  To be held, hugged, and patted, by your mom or dad is very sweet and intimate; that is a part of what the Holy Spirit does in us as the comforter.  Here the Spirit is also “the Spirit of reality”, not just truth as in a true piece of information or a teaching.  The Lord is saying the Spirit, REAL AND TRUE as in, I Am real and truly right here in you and with you to help and comfort you.

Thank you Lord for this.  Amen.

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NOT Talking Politics

US President Trump

Enough of politics for today, I think. Something which awakened in my heart is to try to find ways to help people. I also need to do some things for myself and my family to help us. Some Ideas are to start growing our own food as much as possible, so I plan to build a greenhouse in our back yard. Any good ideas? Please pass them along.

I am very encouraged about being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. My new friends from “http://prayer4every1.wordpress.com” encouraged me much with a short paragraph about being saturated with the Holy Spirit. It reminds me that God said “Be filled with the Holy Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”. It is something we choose to do, and He even gives us some directions as to how. I’m reminded also of “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Spirit”. That’ll help me a lot today……………. BA

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Talking Politics

US President Trump

My sweet wife (MK) and I have been discussing politics.  Even though we agree on many things, we don’t on others.  The conclusion we have come to is that God is above all and in control of all.  We can’t really accomplish anything good or bad unless He allows it.  “The One who works all things according to the counsel of His will”.  We both have been concerned about many of the things that are happening with President Trump.  We are “born again” Christians and know that God forgave / forgives our sins and came into us by the Holy Spirit to be our life and conform us to His image.  However we are in the world, though not of the world.  We have a task that only God can help us do.  That is living in the world in the way God wants us to.  Of course, He is always helping us behind the scenes, but He still wants us to seek Him and specifically ask for things we need like “Please help our leaders be humble and help them make the right decisions / actions regarding immigration / security etc.”  The way I understand is that, in many things, if we don’t pray, God won’t work.

May God help us all to learn to be humble, walk in love, and learn to serve others, all by His grace working within us. …………… BA

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Have Faith in God!

Have faith in God

He has blessed you more than you realize

You need the Holy Spirit to make it real

You need to believe in Jesus; that He cleansed and removed
all your sins

Then the Holy Spirit will come alive in you

He will dance and sing and make all things real that the
Lord has done for you

That is His Job, you know, to make all things real that
Jesus has done for you

Have faith in God you His children

Have faith in God you His brethren

Have faith in God you His body

Have faith in God you His bride; His pure and spotless bride
His loved and cherished and tenderly cared for one that is one with Him

Have faith in God

 

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Who Do You Say That I Am?

When the Lord asked in Matthew 16, “But who do you say that I am?”, Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. This began Jesus’ crucial introductory instructions concerning His “called out ones” (church).
First of all, He tells “Peter” (little stone) that upon this “rock” (the revelation and confession that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the Living God) Jesus will build His church.
Secondly, Jesus said “the gates of hell or hades” (the place of the dead) would not be able to prevail against His church. Because Hebrews 2:14 shows us the one who has the power of death is the devil, we know Jesus is telling us that the one having the power of death (the devil) will not prevail against His “called out ones”.
Thirdly, having brought up the issue of authority, Jesus says that the called out ones (His church) have the authority of God to represent Him; that is to open/close, bind or loosen with the authority of God to back them up.
This is wonderful for everyone who belongs to Jesus’ church. But there is just a little more you should know in order to apply these things correctly:
We should know that the devil got his power over man by seducing Eve and Adam to eat of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. When this happened, all the future generations were separated from God because they had in them the fruit from a tree which caused them to be compelled to make all decisions and judgments independently from God. This separation is the “death” that God spoke of when He told Adam and Eve “in the day you eat of that tree you shall surely die”.
We also should know when Jesus died on the cross for us, He not only took our sins and the punishment for them upon Himself, thus justifying us, He also took our “old” independent nature to the grave. He also resurrected us to walk in the “newness of His life”.
Now, we get to the thing that is on my heart because it is on God’s heart. The Holy Spirit doesn’t fight, quarrel, or argue with Himself. The Holy Spirit always glorifies the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus Himself prayed that our Father would saturate us and constitute us with reality by that Holy Spirit. He also prayed that He would make us ONE, even as the Father, the Spirit, and Jesus are ONE. He spoke through Paul that divisions caused by believers with prejudicial preference for one leader over another were babyish and come from the flesh in its sinful nature. In one place, where Paul through the Holy Spirit addresses works of the flesh like this, “those who practice such things would not inherit the Kingdom of God”. Since works of the flesh proceed out of the part of our being that Christ filtered out through His death on the cross, it will not and cannot submit to God.
Now I know that God blesses His children who are in denominational or sectarian congregational situations. I tell you, though, that His blessings are not always a testimony that we are altogether obedient and consistent doers of God’s will. I would say that most of His blessings are because He is faithful. He counts us who are in Christ (born of God) as raised up with Him into the heavens, justified, and glorified. He knows we are in the process of being conformed to the image of His Son, but He treats us as much as we let him, as though we had arrived. This includes everyone who is born of God; yes, even if you were born and raised in a denomination.
I have heard a few people say I was born a _______ and I’ll die a _______. This only shows they are a little ignorant of God’s will, but God can fix them. Go to the nearest mirror, and you will see another person that has been at least a little ignorant sometime in their life. God loves you and hey, God loves me. We all learn anything of value by the Holy Spirit either directly or through someone or something God has put in our path. What does God mean when the Scriptures say, “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”? It means this life in Christ is one where we are born into the family of God as pretty ignorant infants. God grows in us and reveals Himself so that we can know Him more and more, day by day, and moment by moment.
How about the phrase, “but you did not so learn Christ”? Is Christ a person? Yes! Well then, how are we to learn Him? You learn Christ by living in Him, by talking with Him, and reading His Word. To prayerfully pay attention to all that is going on around you also helps, since God is working “all things after the counsel of His own will”. What about the verse saying “by beholding and reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord we are being transformed into His image”? This and the other verses around it mean that every day that we allow God to speak to us and reveal Himself to us and we set our eyes on Him in His Son Jesus, that we will see continually the Glory of God in contrast with us as natural men. Seeing this, we run deeper into Him, we fight by faith to push off all the old nature inherited from Adam, and we eat and drink God and Jesus to become more and more like Him. By all of our experiences in Christ, especially those in relation to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are changed more and more, day by day, moment by moment into the glorious image of our glorious Lord Jesus.
So, what should our attitude toward other believers in Jesus be? The answer is in 1 John 5:1, which says, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father, loves the child born of Him”. If you are born of God and I am born of God, we should love one another. If I love the Father for all He has done directly and in the person of His Son Jesus, then I will love Jesus and I will love all the other children He has begotten. But what if that brother belongs to a denomination or a non –denomination or to no group at all? The question is answered in the above verse. “Whoever loves the Father, loves the child born of Him”.
If you know something important from the Lord, what does love dictate you do for me (your born-of- God brother)? You must pray and get instructions from the Lord as to how you impart that to me. But that will be hard and you might be rejected. True, but you can find strength in observing the work that Jesus did to save us and also how the apostles and prophets have labored to bring us the good news of that. Pray for me also that I would be open to receive from God the things I need.
PEACE

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GOD’S PURPOSE AND YOU

In the New Testament, we are told certain things that the Holy Spirit will do and be to us. He is the Life-giving Spirit, our helper, our intercessor, the one to guide us into all truth, teach us all things, and disclose to us what is to come. He will glorify Jesus and disclose Him to us, along with all things that the Father has.

We must realize that the Holy Spirit is nourishing us with Jesus Christ as our life so that we, as the body of Christ, may grow “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13, NASV) It is only by this that we may fulfill our part in God’s purpose.

God, who is love, loves His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the “Son of His Love”. (Colossians 1:13, Recovery) We cannot fathom with the natural mind just how deep God’s love is for Jesus. Since we simply cannot understand how great God’s love is apart from Him revealing it, it is a very good thing to ask God to show us. If we ask and believe, He will show us.

One astonishing thing is that as much as God loves His Son, Jesus, He loves us enough to allow Him to live amongst us as the testimony of God and then subject Himself to the shameful and painful torture of being spit upon, mocked, and beaten, then led away in humiliation and crucified in order to take away our sins and make the way to come as the Father and the Son into us in the Spirit. We can just begin to fathom the love of God when we believe this great truth and enter into His covenant. What God would like to further reveal is the desired end of His purpose – that this Jesus, whom God loves so much, is who He wants to fill us with so that He sees us, whom He loves so much, filled with Him that He loves so much.

Seeing God’s purpose is a key to us arriving at God’s goal. We must never lose sight of God’s goal and purpose for us as the church, otherwise, the things we do as Christians will become meaningless activities. We will be like wild horses, unrestrained and running wild. Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision (revelation), the people are unrestrained (run wild).” (NASV & Hebrew) Psalms 32:9 says: “Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” (NASV) The Lord’s people need to be restrained by the vision of God’s goal and held in check and brought near to God by their understanding of His goal and purpose for them as the body of Christ.

Knowing God’s Purpose

How may we obtain a revelation of God’s purpose? The answer is that we must spend time with the Lord in His Word. Through prayer in God’s Word, He will enlighten, teach, and give us a vision of His eternal purpose.

Enlightenment of the understanding is a process, which takes place, by degree, as we behold the Lord through His Spirit and His Word. II Corinthians 3:18 says: “And all of us, as with unveiled face, (because we) continued to behold (in the Word of God) as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; (for this comes) from the Lord (Who is) the Spirit.” (Amplified)

We receive light from the Lord as we come to Him in the Word. The light is just the Lord, Himself, transfusing us with Himself. As we continue to behold Him, the light becomes part of us, as much as we can receive at a time. As we receive many such “shinings”, we are transfigured and transformed into the glorious image of the Lord, from one degree of glory to another. Therefore, we can expect to receive fresh and living light and renewed vision every time we come to the Lord in His Word.

God’s Purpose Revealed

Ephesians 1:4-6 reads: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons (sonship) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (NASV & Greek)

As we see what God has prepared for us, we won’t be able to stop saying, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” We will want to bless Him every minute of the day for all the blessings that He has given to us and for the revelation of the reason He has blessed us. What we have, in this portion of Scripture, is a window that extends from eternity past to eternity future to show us our position and condition before God, according to His eternal purpose.

We see, first of all, that before the foundation of the world, God saw us in Christ Jesus, His Son. He saw us, and He chose us in Him. He determined that those of us who would believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, would be completely set apart unto Him and saturated with the life and nature of God. Knowing beforehand about the fall of man, God determined that He would perfect us, make us absolutely righteous and without one trace of a blemish. Knowing that man would be bent on self and filled with bitterness and hatred, as a result of the sin nature he was to inherit, God determined to fill man to overflowing with His selfless, holy love.

God’s Purpose – Sonship

This is what is called sonship: to receive the life of God and be conformed to the image of God’s Son. God, in His great love, and according to the good pleasure of His own will, predestined us into sonship. When this sonship is fully manifested, we will be radiant with glory. The glory will be the result of the operation of God’s grace, which is operating in us. We will be standing in God’s presence, saying, “WONDERFUL! GLORIOUS! MARVELOUS!” We will be praising the glory of His grace with which we are now being graced.

In the book of Revelation, there is a picture of some of the sons of God manifested. Revelation 7:9-12: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever, Amen.” (NASV)

God’s Purpose – Heading Up Of All

Things Ushering in God’s Goal

The sonship is only one aspect of God’s purpose. Ephesians 1:10 says: “with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up (heading up) of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth, in Him.” (NASV & Greek) Everything in the universe is being headed up in Christ, and we, the church, are called “His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23, NASV) Wow, what a calling! We, as the church and body of Christ, are called to be participants in Christ in heading up all of the things in the universe.

Once all things are made subject to Jesus Christ, then He will be subject to the Father “so that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28) A few verses prior to this, Paul writes, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” (I Corinthians 15:24) So we see that the sons of God being brought into glory, which is at a point in time, is the means to the end that God will be all in all in eternity. God saved us from eternal death by destroying him that had the power of death, the devil, and by giving to us eternal life. It is by the power of this life, God’s life, which works in us, God’s sons, to transform us and conform us fully to the image of Christ. As this is happening, and in the degree that it happens, we, in and through and with Jesus Christ: (1) glorify God and (2) defeat and subdue God’s enemy and fulfill God’s purpose. God gets great pleasure in beholding the process. This shows that God’s purpose and His good pleasure go hand in hand and really are one and the same.

We Must “See” to “Be”

This is what brother Paul was so desirous of: that we would have our heart enlightened to see with the eyes of our heart what the awe-inspiring hope of our calling is and what are the riches of glory of God’s inheritance in us which is this precious, glorious, sweet Jesus worked into us day by day until finally He takes us fully over and the glory of His unsearchably rich life breaks forth. Oh, how God desires to see the manifestation of His inheritance in us! How He loves to see His Son, Jesus, overflowing and oozing forth! Jesus, we need more of You. Amen, Lord, we love You.

Paul states in Ephesians 3:8-10: “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places, this was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NASV) Paul had a full realization of the fact that he was not worthy in himself of the grace or the task of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. This was mainly because he had been an enemy and persecutor of the church. Now Paul, through his preaching and his letters to the churches, was imparting the revelation and the grace by which he received it.

“To bring to light” is to reveal. “The mystery” is God in Christ in the church. “The dispensation of the mystery” is the plan, the means, and the carrying out of the plan of the church becoming the fullness of Christ, and Jesus Christ (the Head) with His body subduing and heading up all things in the universe.

Part of this dispensation is taking place now, even as it was in Paul’s day. As a result, God’s wisdom (which has many parts, elements, and forms) is being made known through the church to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies.

For this reason, Paul had a strong burden for prayer. With the understanding of what we have covered, we should have much deeper insight into Paul’s prayer and the end of his speaking at the end of chapter 3 in Ephesians. As we read this prayer, be aware of the intensity of inspiration, love, and purpose which moves Paul, and allow yourself to be deeply moved as well. Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” (NASV)

Paul realized that only the Spirit of God can transmit revelation, love, power, and life into the saints. So, he prays a prayer that is more than obviously inspired of God’s Spirit, the words of which have inspired many saints throughout the centuries. The words, themselves, are so rich that if we take them as food, they will nourish us and transmit God’s life into us to accomplish the very thing that Paul was praying for.

The first thing we must realize is that God’s work to accomplish His purpose with the church takes place mainly in the inner man. There is a place in God’s administration for healing of the body and outward signs, wonders, and miracles, but the main work is done by God’s Spirit in the inner man. The resurrection life of the Lord Jesus Christ must flow richly into us and spread into all our mind, will, conscience, emotions, and intuition. This is what it means for the Lord to make home in our heart. When this fully happens, whatever the Lord’s thoughts are will be our thoughts and, likewise, with all the other faculties and operations of our inner man.

This does not mean that we will have no thoughts of our own, but all of our thoughts and functions of our inner man will have been transformed completely to correspond in perfect harmony with Christ’s through the process of co-death and resurrection. By our union with Jesus Christ, we have died with Him, and thus, the sin nature is destroyed. The manifestation of this co-death is only partial while we are in our mortal bodies and is accomplished simultaneously by resurrection. The sin is destroyed through death, and the place it occupied is then filled with the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus.

Here is a great mystery unveiled: (Genesis 1:27) “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them”, (Colossians 1:15) “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”, and (I Corinthians 12:12) “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (NASV) In Genesis, we see that man was created in God’s image. Colossians shows us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. I Corinthians shows us that the church, as the body of Christ along with Jesus, is the Christ. In one sense, we have an individual identity as members in particular of the body of Christ. In another sense, we are filled with the life and nature of Christ and are blended, fused, and mingled to form the corporate expression of the body of Christ. In both aspects, we become absolutely transformed by the life of Jesus Christ into the very image of God. Praise God! We become partakers of the very life and nature of God.

To really understand and lay hold of all the vast riches of our wonderful and inexhaustibly rich Lord and Christ, we must learn to function as the body of Christ. It is only as we apprehend with all the saints all the many and varied aspects of Christ and have the blending of the knowledge and experience through our interaction with the other members of the body that we may become the corporate expression of Christ. For the corporate expression of the body of Christ, we need to know and experience the love of God in a dimension, which we have not yet. As we enter into the the kind of church life that Paul was praying about, we will both see the extreme need and find the inexhaustible supply of God’s love. It is our absolute need and God’s deep desire that we come to know His love in a way that we can now only begin to comprehend.

The Practical Need –

God’s Great Provision

The major part of the church is in babyhood. We are far from the place where all the members of the body can function in a coordinated and harmonious way. We must break loose of the traditions of men and get to a place where each member can respond to the directions of the Head of the body, Jesus Christ. Some Christian people are so set in the ways of the clergy-laity system that if someone in the meeting stood up and began to function in the way of teaching or sharing a revelation (as the Bible says to do in I Corinthians 14:26), they would be severely rebuked, if not kicked out. The saddest part is that they are so steeped in tradition they feel that they are fully justified in doing so. Sometimes, it can be discouraging when we see what God wants, in contrast with what we are prepared to give Him, but it is the words of Paul’s at the end of chapter 3 of Ephesians that give me great encouragement and faith that God can and will accomplish what He has set out to do, even with us. Ephesians 3:20 & 21: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (NASV)

It is my full heart’s prayer that you may know by revelation of the Spirit the great power and love that God has waiting for you in the person of His Son, Jesus, and that this may be yours in all His fullness in your experience of Him. Amen!

© 1997 Bruce Archer

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To God you are valuable

Do you think that statement becomes any less true if you are white, black, brown, male, or female?  Do you think that other people who aren’t the same denomination, religion or a person who doesn’t believe in God at all as you are just as valuable to God?  How about people in a different division of the place you work like “the mail room people” VS “the clerical staff”?

What is it within us that makes us judge one another?  Do we think that God feels the same about other people as we do?

It is the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  We inherited it from our great grandparents Adam and Eve.  It makes us judge everything independently, that is, without God.  God knew this would happen and warned “in the day you eat of it you will surely die.”  Well one proof of that is that God had said man was “very good”.  Now man was judging himself and said “naked and ashamed”.  “Who told you that you were naked?”  “Did you eat of the tree I told you not to?” (Genesis 3:)

God knew man ate of the tree as soon as he started judging good and evil for himself.  Man’s new found knowledge wasn’t complete though and therefore not correct.  God is perfect and has perfect knowledge.  He can see the beginning and end of a thing even beyond time.  He can correctly judge good and evil.  He made them.

Man, now judging good and evil judged himself and saw himself as imperfect.  This is sin.  Much later, in the book of Hebrews (9:13), God says through the writer “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  It is the consciousness of sin that kills man (separates him from God).  This is what the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil does.  In man’s little imperfect knowledge and judgment, he can’t be with God because he is less than perfect.

Another aspect of the working of this insidious tree is that it makes people self-centered.  One example of this is the situation between Cain and Able (two sons of Adam and Eve).  The one had offered God a sacrifice of a lamb.  This indicates a consciousness of personal sin and the need of payment (the lamb representing Able).  Cain on the other hand offered Grain (the work of his hands) and became very angry and jealous of Able because God showed respect to Able’s sacrifice and not to his.  There is a lot going on here but the main element is Cain doesn’t understand why his hard work isn’t worth much more than the Lamb that Able offered.  In answer to Cain’s expression of anger God told Able that sin was lying at the door and that he must overcome it.  Rather than submitting to God against this wrong Cain felt he had been dealt, he decided to kill his brother.  This marked the climax of Cain’s self-righteousness, anger and jealousy.  All of these have their root in the knowledge of good and evil, self-centeredness, and self-exaltation.

We tend to think of “sin” as something wrong we have done.  While this is one aspect or manifestation of sin, it can be more clearly defined as that element that separates us from God and all that issues out of that element.  The element is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If we act apart from God we manifest sin (the independent nature inherited from our great grandparents Adam and Eve).  God actually designed man to become one with Him, to live in and with Him.  This tree separates us from Him and compounds that separation by driving a wedge between us every time we act independently of Him.

Now God has brought man a cure for his consciousness of sin.  The God Himself came down to man in the form of a man (His son Jesus).  As a man, He suffered on man’s behalf all the punishment man deserved for his sins and then provided a new life.  God himself with His resurrected Son comes into us by the Holy Spirit that we now can receive Him because we have the consciousness that we have been forgiven and cleansed from our sins through Jesus the Christ.  This new life within helps us and teaches us how to live according to God so that we can please him and because of our cleansed conscience, we are able to have continual fellowship with God.

Even when you know what God has done for us, it takes special progressive revelations to really get it.  We are so dull because of being used to judging according to our own ability to understand or, as I should say, inability.  As we grow in Christ, we are taken from one degree to another in our ability to grasp bit by bit what God has done and why.  I could say thousands of times “God really loves you” and you might start to get it some special day as you think and dwell on those words.  Then when you really believe it, you start to grow more and realize it more.  God says that when all of the believers together, each sharing their own grasp/understanding/comprehension/apprehension/experience/fellowship with all the others through God’s indwelling Spirit; while being continually infused with the flow of His pure divine love that we will eventually be filled up with the fullness of God.

(2 Corinthians 3: and Ephesians 3:).

A wonderful thing I want to leave with you, that is PRAY.  God wants us to seek him out and talk to Him.  He is more than ready and willing to manifest Himself to us; we just need to keep on asking him, be thankful, and believe that He hears and will answer out prayers.

 

 

 

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ONENESS

Joined to the Lord as One Spirit

From God’s point of view, all of the believers are one with Him by His Spirit. The Bible shows these in many ways- two of them are:

I Corinthians 6:17 (King James Version) “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”

John 17:21 (King James Version) “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”

Oneness, which redeemed believers have with God and Jesus is that His Divine Spirit, has been mingled with the human spirit of that believer. This truth transcends any earthly church group or worship system. All that does not exist in harmony with this truth is outside of God. The oneness believers have with God is an absolute reality and a supreme truth in the Word of God; it is of supreme importance. It is the essential element in the fulfillment of God’s plan for us. It is the reason Jesus Christ died on the cross.

John 16:7-15 (King James Version) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth(reality), is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Jesus was demonstrating the fullness of the Father to the world when He was manifest in the flesh, ministering on Earth. He spoke of going away (through His crucifixion) saying that it was necessary or expedient that He go so that the “Comforter” would be able to come, take up residence in the redeemed believers, and be the fullness of God in us. This Holy Spirit of God and Jesus, which He has caused to dwell in His redeemed believers is our oneness with Him.

Dear Lord, by your faith working in us, may we live in the oneness we have in you. Lord we take our stand in you against all opposition to this and every adversary.  May the power, love, and joy of Your Spirit overwhelm and overtake us. Dear Father saturate us with the blessing of Your continual presence.  Let us live in this oneness with God and enjoy this resurrected and mingled-with-God life.

Galatians 2:20 (King James Version) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

I am sorry to all the unbelievers for all that I have not lived according to this oneness I have with Christ.  Had I and all the church lived more in this wonderful oneness, it would be much easier for everyone to realize the reality of God.  Living in the oneness with Christ causes us to be shining examples of the reality of God to all.  When we don’t realize or forget what being born again is, we get stuck in a life of futility.  This is it; we become one spirit with God.  Then to the extent we live and walk in the spirit, we walk in God.

It is a relationship that is designed to last forever. This relationship is that of a son and a father. You actually will receive the very life and nature of God into your human spirit. Once this happens, you will have the way to live by His Spirit in your spirit, and your very soul may become renewed; that is, His Spirit may be lived out through your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and your will. Your whole life will be revolutionized to be a shining expression of God in you if He is given the place in your life that He desires.

Let’s talk about oneness with God a little bit. What does it really mean? When a person becomes one with God, it is a spiritual thing. God’s Spirit is able to search all things, including the depths of God, and reveal an understanding to us. This is just one aspect of His working in us, but we can see from this that knowledge and understanding are conveyed via the Spirit of God in our human spirit. Though it is conveyed by means of the Spirit, we gain understanding in our soul. The Holy Spirit, mingled and made one with our spirit, becomes the vital link or connection between God’s mind and our mind.  This is what happens to all our soul.  Our emotions are filled with the emotions of God.  Our thoughts and even our will can just be filled with God.

God’s Desire – That Man Take Him In

In the beginning, God desired to be man’s everything, but not without man’s free-will choice. God desired that man would willingly choose Him and see that he was incomplete without God. God wanted man to desire Him and see the value of relationship with Him. God intentionally gave man a free will and wanted him to exercise it. His hope, plan, and intention was that man exercise his free will to receive Him into him and become one with him. God, from the beginning, wanted man to exercise his created, independent, free will to choose Him and take Him in.

God knew man was ignorant, so He gave instructions in the form of a command and a warning: “Eat freely of every tree of the garden including the Tree of Life, but not of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the day you do eat of it, you shall surely die.” This is, in essence, what God said. Had man continued in the garden, taking in his nourishment according to God’s instructions; he would have eventually become a partaker of God’s life and nature. All that God is would have been combined with man. As it is now, having been redeemed through the precious blood of His Son, Jesus, we are positioned again to take in God. All that He is can be ours in His Son, Jesus.

So, the call is to all who would come to the Lord and drink. Jesus has become “the Life-giving Spirit.” A perfect human life, now in resurrection, has become available for us to partake of in the Holy Spirit. God has done this so that He may get into us and become our life in order for us to become one with Him. Let us come before the Lord right now and say from within: “Lord, I open my heart to You that You may fill me with the living water. Wash me and make me thoroughly clean through the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your life, and use me to do Your will. Lord Jesus, be the Tree Of Life to me, and let me eat and be filled with You. Amen!”

 

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