Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Tag
This is from the blog Richard’s Watch:
My thanks go to ‘high plains drifter’ Tim Shey somewhere out on The Road for this excellent contribution to a recent post, which warrants re-publishing in its own right.:
‘When I think on the word “saved” (as in, “I was saved twenty or thirty years ago” or “when were you saved?” and so on), as a Christian, it is probably an incorrect word or concept. To be saved implies the past. The Lord Jesus Christ is past, present and future. As a Christian, I abide in Christ right here, right now.
‘Let’s say someone surrendered their life to Christ a number of years ago. This is the BEGINNING of being connected with the timeless of Jesus Christ. As we take up our cross and die daily, our body and soul life are put to death, so that the spiritual life within us (Christ) grows stronger and stronger every day. As the passions of the body and soul life dies, time dies. Think of the sinful, physical body as shackled to time: the physical body is born on a certain date (time), it lives for 85 years (time) and then dies on a certain date (time).
‘There is a point in physical time when someone surrenders to timelessness—the Lord Jesus Christ. Worldly people and lukewarm Christians are still bound to time; spiritual Christians are timeless.
‘The power and beauty of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that that timeless event (it defied time and space) pierced human time and presented us with the possibility of living a life connected to timelessness and sinlessness (abiding in Christ)—if we act in faith and surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.
‘1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
‘The above scripture absolutely implies, not some historical event (time), but the timelessness of Jesus Christ. To an unbeliever, the phrase “and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” is totally insane: the death of Jesus Christ happened over two thousand years ago (time). To a Christian, what happened at Calvary is happening right here right now (timelessness). If we walk in the light (abide in Christ daily), the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us (not cleansed us) from all sin.
‘Enoch walked with God and then God took him because (after many years of obeying the Lord through proper blood sacrifices [dying to self] and believing in the future Messiah) he walked in timelessness and eventually timelessness (God) took him. Enoch was no longer shackled by time.
‘Prophets are very timeless because the timeless Holy Ghost inspires them to speak of future events as if they are happening right here right now.
‘Time to stop writing.’
Tim Shey – October 18th, 2016
Wherever you are my cyber-friend [2 Chron 16:9], may the Lord bless and keep guard over you.
Time, Timelessness and Jesus Christ
Enoch: The Seventh from Adam
Never the Same
The coming synchronization of heaven’s and earth’s clocks
John the Baptist (Chronos and Kairos time)
God is in THIS present moment
This is from the blog 43: 19:
I am amazed by the first disciples of Jesus. I recently re-read the stories of their call in the early pages of the gospels and considered the simplicity of their responses. These men were not normal, or at least there was something totally abnormal about the incidents in which they surrendered so instantly to follow a man whom they did not know. What made these men abandon there entire livelihood and personal connections in such a radical way, and with such unreserve?
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him… (Matthew 4:20)
Something about Jesus was so totally irresistible.
What is even more remarkable is that this seems to have been the expectation with which Jesus approached each one. Consider for a moment what Jesus said to a disciple whose name we are never given, who in response to the call of the Lord said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
Follow me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead. (Matthew 8:22)
I think that in the modern world, we offer much more trivial excuses for our delay to respond to the call of Jesus. We say that we have an appointment, that our schedule is full, or that we want a few more minutes browsing Youtube, Facebook, etc. We want to see the oh-so important final episode of our favourite tv subscriptions on Netflix. We say this with our hearts every time we choose these comforts over His voice. But Jesus was not satisfied even with the request to be present at the funeral of this disciple’s father. Instead, He uses the man’s response to illustrate the absolute demands of His call, and the emptiness of a life without it. Jesus calls everything which pulls us away from an immediate and total acceptance of His call ‘dead’. And everyone whose life is made up of a life apart from following Him, He also calls ‘dead’. That is stunning. Are you totally submitted to Jesus’ leadership? If not, He says you are dead, and living among the dead. There is no room left for reserve in His call.
In the modern day, we accommodate a very half-hearted approach to Christianity. We ‘encourage’ new believers not to be ‘too extreme’ and to stay ‘balanced’. But there is nothing even slightly balanced about Jesus’ command to follow Him.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37)
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)
The call of Jesus is the call to reject all competing affections, personal and material. It is the call to hate and refuse to be drawn aside by everything in our lives that wrestles with His call. Saying yes to His call to follow requires that we refuse everything else. It is not possible to simply live. Every part of life must be lived through Him. Anything less amounts to a rejection of His call.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
There seems to be a very prevalent attitude that we can have Jesus as a convenient and helpful addition to our lives, which can otherwise remain essentially unchanged. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. The call of Jesus has to be an interruption. Things cannot continue as they were on any level. There must be a death. Everything must initially be put to an end, and then there must be a subsequent holy upheaval. Everything must be disturbed and reordered. All our associations in life prior to the call of Jesus essentially master us. When the perfect Master invites us to be mastered by Him, we must despise all of our old masters. We must count them, and ourselves as dead.
We often try to have many leaders and many masters in our lives – the most dominant one being self. I think this is the source of much of our sense of entitlement, which in itself amounts to no less than rebellion. We still think we are entitled to our opinions. We still think we are entitled to our decisions and our place in the world’s social structures. But Jesus says, ‘Come and die that you may live!’
This same sense of entitlement often causes us to refuse God’s heart and our prayers become weak and selfish. We are stuck in the affections of the world, and do not see that things that constantly break His heart – abortion, human trafficking, antisemitism and the global maligning of Israel, divorce, extreme poverty and epidemics that steal the lives of millions. Where is the gospel’s outworking? Too often it is bowed at the knees of comfort and complacency, or even legitimate natural affections which are given a place higher than His heart.
I am reminded of the cry of Elijah on Mount Carmel, “If Baal is God, then follow Him!” But Baal is not God. He is a deaf and dumb idol that cannot speak and cannot hear – he can give no remedy to the desperate need of the world for Jesus. It is time to call an end to Christianity that tries to dip its sore feet into the soothing waters of salvation after a long day working for Baal.
The call of Jesus is a death and rebirth, represented in the burial of the waters of Baptism. May the work of the Cross take effect in every place in our hearts and lives that we serve the perfect Master with total devotion. May our answer to the call of Jesus be like Elisha’s response to Elijah. He was plowing with oxen when Elijah threw his mantle upon him. It says that Elisha slaughtered the oxen, boiled their flesh and gave it to the people. Elijah knew the heavy demand that he had placed on this man. He said, ‘What have I done to you?’ (1 Kings 19:19-21). We must know the intensity of the call which is given by Jesus. If this kind of absolute service was demanded by Elijah, how much more is it demanded by the Saviour of the world and God Himself. May the grace of God empower us to understand the costliness of His call, and to say a radical yes to that cost in the same way as the twelve, that God’s power may flow freely through our lives.
This is from the blog unseenprophet:
Here in the America, we live with a sense of false security. I think that other countries mock us and make fun because we feel like we are untouchable. After events such as 9/11 we realize that we are a little vulnerable, then we hear of “progress” in the retaliation and think, “No one will dare do that again.” We are self proclaimed as untouchable, but it just isn’t true. I don’t pretend to understand all that goes in to this, but the truth is that anyone can attack the U.S. at any time. In history, yes, we have been blessed and guarded by God. Is that the case today? I guess we really can’t know, but a brief look through the scriptures might give us a little insight. Though this be true, the reason for this post isn’t to discuss our national pride or security, but to warn the American Church of the same. Much like the American people, the Church has been given a false sense of security.
Generally speaking, the church in America is secure in our standing. We believe that we are not only in good standing with God, but in comparison to the rest of the world, the leaders in theology and doctrine. We believe that it is our responsibility to teach and train the pastors and leaders of the Church worldwide, when the truth is probably that we should be learning from them. Have we been deceived? Comfort and sustainability are not things that I see Jesus promising His followers. Looking throughout history, I don’t see that these are things that often accompany those who carry His name. Yet we have church buildings with thousands upon thousands of people attending at no cost other than a financial pledge (sometimes). We have somehow come to believe that the “American Dream” is ordained by Christ and sustaining a comfortable life is His will. After all, He has blessed us with abundance because He loves us.
Our abundance was never for us, but so that we can be a blessing to others. The truth is that our upper and upper middle class lives paycheck to paycheck, much in the same way as the lower working class. Why? Because we have taken on so much comfort and material “blessings” that our funds are all spoken for. I actually had a conversation with a person, who owned a pretty successful business, who stated that God would not want him to take food out of his children’s mouth to help someone in need. As dangerous of as statement that is to make, I find it interesting that the help would come from his food money and not his two car payments, maybe his recreational vehicles, beach condo, oversized home, and membership fees for his golf club. This is exactly what Isiah wrote:
The Lord will enter into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured the vineyard,
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts. Isaiah 3:14-15
We claim that God wouldn’t want us to take food off of our tables for others, if this is true, He certainly wouldn’t want us to use the money He gave us to feed the poor to buy a boat.
This isn’t a post about finances and caring for the poor, but a post about the problem with our sense of security. The problem is that we even think this way. We believe these things, not realizing that what we are doing is even wrong. Our churches celebrate testimonies that are more like success stories than stories of Christ changing our lives. I rarely if ever see a testimony of a homeless man coming to faith and remaining homeless, but for Jesus. Testimonies of people who were once on the streets coming to faith and now being business owners or having a good job, a house, three kids and a dog.
So many of us point to the sky, warn “sinners” of the return of Jesus, examine wars and rumors of wars as a sign of the end of times, yet still live as a part of the world and all of it’s comforts. Yes, Jesus will return and set all things right. When He does, what will He have to say about the church in America? Have we been making disciples of Jesus, or have we been making disciples of the American church?
Zion and Babylon Compared
This is from the Daily Meditation blog:
Leviticus 4:6: and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary.
There is no running away from the blood as the means of salvation. It does not matter what you feel about it, and how offensive you think that is.
There are three things about the blood of Jesus that makes it important. Where it is from, what it conveys, what it buys.
It is the blood of God (Acts 20:28). It is therefore an eternal statement of the commitment of God to humanity. The impression you may get after God chased man out of the garden because of sin, may be that God wanted to wash his hands off the case of man, as he chased him out with words of judgement, the judgement of death. You may think that was the end, that the holy God has separated himself from man because of sin for good. But with the incarnation of Jesus and the shedding of his blood, the life of God, his acceptance and commitment to man were eternally accented, to make manifest to man.
God is love, and because of that he sets out to make a way for man to come back to him, opening the door, His Son (John 10:9-10, 14:6). And Jesus because he shed his blood became the way. And understanding the truth about the blood is nothing less than liberating.
The earth received life coming from the blood of Jesus (Genesis 9:4), heralding a new dawn for it. Whatever is in Jesus is made available to humanity, which the dust on the earth represented (Genesis 3:19), on which the blood of Jesus which was shed fell.
He had on him a crown of thorns, which those who are persecuting him thought was punishment but they did not know that he was being crowned king indirectly (John 19:3).
Note that the authority which put the crown on Jesus was the number one ruler on the earth at that time, based on the revelation of Daniel about the kingdoms that would dominate the earth, was the roman empire, the iron kingdom (Daniel 2:31-49). When the Roman Empire put a crown on Jesus, and its army bowed to him in mockery, they transferred rulership on the earth to him. What they did was a prophetic act though they were ignorant of that fact.
Pilate inscribed these words on the cross of Jesus: “the king of the Jews (John 19:19-22).” The Pharisees protested against this, but Pilate refused to budge.
You might think that it was just something written in the bible for the story interest, but everything written about Jesus, e.g. events surrounding his death, have prophetic purpose. It was not for fun.
As the “truth” everything about Jesus manifest truth. Even the inscription on the cross communicated truth. He was truly the king of the Jews and the king of the world.
In the book of Zechariah, the bible says that they children of Israel will realise in the future that they have crucified their promised king and they will weep in regret of their action (Zechariah 12:10).
So Jesus, at his lowest moment, nearing the time of death, was “declared” king. He became king by death. This is because the one from whom he wanted to take over at that time was not really the man who was the emperor in Rome, but the devil. He went into the grave, triumphing over the devil in the cross (Colossians 2:15), and came out to declare that all power in heaven and on earth is given to him (Matthew 28:18), because he shed his blood.
He shed his blood to take on another life, another identity. He became a life-giving Spirit (1Corinthians 15:45). He is the Lord of life, rescuing people from death and hell, from damnation.
We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus (Revelation 5:9). What exactly is the purchasing power of the blood of Jesus? It is unlimited, because it is the blood of God. Paul warned the leaders of the church to know how to handle the Christians because they have been purchased by God with his blood. The blood was the ransom paid for our release from the bondage of death. Since the rule of sin was via the dominion of death, offering his son to death, God exhausted the power of death on him (Hebrews 2:14), death was swallowed up (1Corinthians 15:54-55), making all of us free, delivered from the fear of death.
Death was spent on Jesus (displayed by the fact that he rose up from the dead), and now sin and death no longer have dominion over us, we therefore enter into life.
Jesus said that what shall it profit a man to win the whole world and lose his soul (Mark 8:36-37)? This means that the value soul of a man which is saved by the blood of Jesus cannot be quantified. That goes to show that the only kind of blood that can redeem the billions of people on the earth is the blood of Jesus. Jesus had to be God or else the redemption work was not going to work.
If a soul is really precious, how much value do we have in the blood that saves us?
Therefore we cannot sing enough about the blood of Jesus. How precious it is, its cleansing power, its limitless power. The writer of the book of Hebrews while describing the church says that we have come to mount Zion the city of the living God, to the blood of sprinkling which speaks better than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24).
If the blood speaks anything, it is life, because life is in the blood, its life speaks power, because the spiritual power that led to our deliverance is packed in the blood. Jesus walked in the power of the Holy Spirit on earth to set people free from the oppression of the devil, but he needed to take his blood to heaven to buy up a place with his father. He has told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them so that where they are he may be also (Ephesians 2:13). The blood brings us to God.
To the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world
By Tim Shey
Death and Resurrection
Alpha and Omega
You shall know the truth
Offering for our sin
Friend of thieves and outcasts
Adam’s curse is broken
The truth shall set you free
One death for so many
Not a single bone was broken
Enemy is vanquished
Early you shall seek Me
No more tears and weeping
Today is now eternal
Leviticus 17: 11: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Isaiah 53: 5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Revelation 1: 5: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
A Letter from Israel
Yom Kippur–Day of Atonement
What Church is NOT: Reviewing Some Basics
By Roger Thoman
Church, by definition is not a building, not a place of worship, not an organization.
As Neil Cole likes to say: “We are the church. Where we go the church goes.”
“God does not dwell in temples made by human hands.” Stephen, before being martyred.
Church is not a come-and-sit service to attend.
“The church’s true nature is best seen by the life that Jesus modeled: he took the life of the kingdom everywhere that he went—out into the world that he was ministering to.” Roger Thoman
Church is not a passive gathering where some participate and others just listen.
“The bleachers are beginning to empty as 707 million action-oriented Christians start to pour out onto the playing field and discover the joy and challenge of every-member ministry.” Jim Rutz
Church is not a professionally-led entitity.
“In the New Covenant we do not need a human priest (pastor) to mediate or pray for us as we now have a High Priest as our mediator… Having a pastor as our priest violates our own priesthood as it leads to hierachization, compartmentalization and fragmentation and makes us lazy laity… Priests do not lead worship but the Body of Brethren (Body of men, women and even youth) minister to each other.” Victor Choudhrie
Church is not a business.
“In the first century in Palestine Christianity was a community of believers. Then Christianity moved to Greece and became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome and became an institution. Then it moved to Europe and became a culture. And then it moved to America and became a business. We need to get back to being a healthy, vibrant community of true followers of Jesus.” Priscilla Shirer
Church is not a club that isolates from the rest of the world………………………….
Read the rest of the article here at SimpleChurch Journal and post your additions.
Called Out: Now What?
This is from the blog Called Out: Now What?
The Early Christians Were Intensely Christ-Centered
by Ray Spellbrink
The early Christians were intensely Christ-centered. Jesus Christ was their pulse beat. He was their life, their breath, and their central point of reference. He was the object of their worship, the subject of their songs, and the content of their discussion and vocabulary. The New Testament church made the Lord Jesus Christ central and supreme in all things.
The New Testament church had no fixed order of worship. The early Christians gathered in open-participatory meetings where all believers shared their experience of Christ, exercised their gifts, and sought to edify one another. No one was a spectator. All were given the privilege and the responsibility to participate.
The purpose of these church meetings was twofold. It was for the mutual edification of the body. It was also to make visible the Lord Jesus Christ through the every-member functioning of His body. The early church meetings were not religious “services.” They were informal gatherings that were permeated with an atmosphere of freedom, spontaneity, and joy. The meetings belonged to Jesus Christ and to the church [Ed: the people]; they did not serve as a platform for any particular ministry or gifted person.
The New Testament church lived as a face-to-face community. While the early Christians gathered for corporate worship and mutual edification, the church did not exist to merely meet once or twice a week. The New Testament believers lived a shared life. They cared for one another outside of scheduled meetings. They were, in the very real sense of the word, family.
Christianity was the first and only religion the world has ever known that was void of ritual, clergy, and sacred buildings. For the first 300 years of the church’s existence, Christians gathered in homes.
On special occasions, Christian workers would sometimes make use of larger facilities (like Solomon’s Porch [John 10:23, Acts 3:11] and the Hall of Tyrannus [Acts 19:9]). But they had no concept of a sacred edifice nor of spending large amounts of money on buildings. Nor would they ever call a building a “church” or the “house of God”.
The only sacred building the early Christians knew was the one not made with human hands.
The New Testament church did not have a clergy. The Catholic priest and the Protestant pastor were completely unknown. The church had traveling apostolic workers who planted and nurtured churches. But these workers were not viewed as being part of a special clergy caste. They were part of the body of Christ, and they served the churches (not the other way around). Every Christian possessed different gifts and different functions, but only Jesus Christ had the exclusive right to exercise authority over His people. No man had that right. Eldering and shepherding were just two of those gifts.
Elders and shepherds were ordinary Christians with certain gifts. They were not special offices. And they did not monopolize the ministry of the church meetings.
They were simply seasoned Christians who naturally cared for the members of the church during times of crisis and provided oversight for the whole assembly.
Decision making in the New Testament church fell upon the shoulders of the whole assembly. Traveling church planters would sometimes give input and direction. But ultimately, the whole church made local decisions under the lordship of Jesus Christ. It was the church’s responsibility to find the Lord’s mind together and act accordingly.
The New Testament church was organic, not organizational. It was not welded together by putting people into office, creating programs, constructing rituals, and developing a top-down hierarchy or chain-of-command structure. The church was a living, breathing organism. It was born, it would grow, and it naturally produced all of what was in its DNA. That would include all the gifts, ministries and functions of the body of Christ. In the eyes of God, the church is a beautiful woman. The bride of Christ. She was a colony from heaven, not a man-made organization from earth.
Tithing was not a practice of the New Testament church. The early Christians used their funds to support the poor among them, as well as the poor in the world. They also supported traveling itinerant church planters so that the gospel could be spread and churches could be raised up in other lands. They gave according to their ability, not out of guilt, duty or compulsion. Pastor/clergy salaries were unheard of.
Every Christian in the church was a priest, a minister, and a functioning member of the body.
Baptism was the outward expression of Christian conversion. When the early Christians led people to the Lord, they immediately baptized them in water as to testimony to their new position. The Lord’s Supper was an ongoing expression whereby the early Christians reaffirmed their faith in Jesus Christ and their oneness with His body.
The Supper was a full meal which the church enjoyed together in the spirit and atmosphere of joy and celebration. It was the fellowship of the body of Christ, not a token ritual or a religious rite. And it was never officiated by a clergy or a special priesthood.
The early Christians did not build Bible schools or seminaries to train young workers. Christian workers were educated and trained by older workers in the context of church life. They learned “on the job”. Jesus provided the initial model for this “on-the-job” training when he mentored the Twelve. Paul duplicated it when he trained young Gentile workers in Ephesus.
The early Christians did not divide themselves into various denominations. they understood their oneness in Christ and expressed it visibly in every city. To their minds, there was only one church per city (even though it may have met in many different homes throughout the locale). If you were a Christian in the first century, you belonged to that one church. The unity of the Spirit was well guarded. Denominating themselves (“I am of Paul”, “I am of Peter”, “I am of Appolos”) was regarded as sectarian and divisive (See 1 Corinthians 1:12)”
I do believe these are some of the aspects of God’s vision for His church. Remember, the goal in our lives and in our church should be the absolute centrality of Jesus Christ. Nothing less will suffice.
We need more revolutionaries today who will stand against the religious system of our day. I encourage you to catch the vision God has for His church! The freedom His plan and will brings is beyond words! Let’s “buck the system” and seek a complete upheaval of those church practices that are so engrained in our churches today that are contrary to biblical principles. Let’s build on the right foundation – Jesus Christ. Anything less results in defect.
Let’s return to Bible basics and New Testament Christianity where Jesus is Lord!
BE A REVOLUTIONARY!
Until next time, enjoy the journey!
“If someone proved to me that Christ
is outside the truth, and that in reality the truth were outside of Christ, then I should prefer to remain with Christ rather than with the truth.”