Monthly Archives: May 2012

In Christ Alone

In an effort to promote other workers in Christ, I plan to promote another blogger’s post at the beginning of each of my posts. We may all minister in different ways, but there is only one ministry: Christ!

We can see Christ and His Body everywhere. We can see Christ in movies, on the highway, in geology, and as David Bolton has blogged…in a puzzle. Have you seen this “Puzzle of puzzles”? Check out Lessons From a Lenticular Puzzle (1) – “The Puzzle of Puzzles” at christcenteredchristianity.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s cultivated field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. – Paul

English: differnts shapes of clay pots.

English: different shapes of clay pots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beloved saints, there is a massive Christian system that likes to keep us “safe” in pots, rather than God’s Cultivated Field. What do I mean by “pots”? There are many shapes and sizes of pots. Some of these pots are doctrines, some are philosophies, some are cultures, some are music styles, some are denominations, some are charismatic leaders, some are methods of gathering, and the list goes on and on.

There are countless pots in Christianity. Each of these pots is a foundation, other than Christ. Pots divide plants from each other. Pots limit the growth of plants.

God doesn’t want us in pots. All of the pots must be broken and tossed out. We must all be planted in God’s Cultivated Field, which is just Christ.

If only we would smash all of these pots and destroy all of these foundations to the uttermost. If only we would be planted in Christ alone! Then we would be free to grow deep roots into Him and what upward growth we would have, expressing Him. We would grow with the growth of God!

Do you have a disagreement about doctrine with another believer? Present your views and if he or she still does not agree with you, agree on Christ. It is quite possible that you are wrong. Unless, you are the only one who has always had perfect and complete beliefs. There are doctrines that we cannot accept, but I am not here to tell you what those are. That is a decision to be made by the Body.

English: Wheat field in Seine-et-Marne (Île-de...

We are united in Christ.

Are you in Christ? That is enough, you are my brothers and sisters. Let’s drop our preferences, so that we may enjoy Christ’s preferences. All of these pots come from our soul, which consists of our mind, will, and emotions. We cannot be governed by these things, but we must be governed by our Spirit. Our soul must be renewed by the Spirit.

Let’s always turn to Christ in our Spirit. Let’s enjoy Him together. Let’s love Him together. Let’s feast on Him, so that we are utterly filled up with Him and He pours out of us and onto each other. Let’s leave our selves at the cross and put on Christ, the Resurrection Life within us.

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The Magnification of Christ

English: Vector magnifying glass

English: Vector magnifying glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. – Paul

Have you seen the surpassing greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ? Do you comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ? Have you enjoyed His unsearchable riches? Do you know Christ’s love, which surpasses knowledge?

How can such a One be magnified? How can He be made greater than He already is?

The problem does not lie in Christ, but in the world. Christ is always the same. His surpassing greatness does not change. But, to the world, Christ is so small. They have no comprehension of His vastness, His wealthiness, His superabundance. The Lord of all is like nothing to those who do not know Him.

But, He has called a holy people, a nation of saints, to be His Body, the fullness of Him expressed to the humanity and angels, alike. We are here to magnify Christ. When we live Christ, He is magnified to those who don’t know Him. They see Him as less than nothing, but in our lives, His surpassing greatness is made known to all.

Even in our suffering, or perhaps, especially in our suffering, He is magnified. As we enjoy His unsearchable riches in the valley of the shadow of death, His riches are made known to all who watch us. You may not think that anyone has seen Christ in you, but you don’t know what spiritual powers are watching you.

You need not try to magnify Christ. Just enjoy Him. He is in you as the life-giving Spirit! Call on His Name. Love Him. Sing to Him in your heart. Take Him as God’s provision for your every need by faith. Do you need faith? Christ is your Faith. O, He is far more than sufficient. He is exceedingly superabundant!

Take Him as your Life and Life-supply. He is our Food, our Drink, our Air, our Rest. He is everything for us. Rest in Him and enjoy Him all day, everyday and you will live Christ. Count your religion, philosophy, culture and self, as loss; that you might gain Christ. Put off these old things of death, which the world values; and put on Christ, the New Man. Whenever someone finds you, they will just find you in Christ and He will be magnified in you.

Enjoy Him as the Nectar of Life at Jamal Jivanjee’s blog, illuminate.

What’s Wrong With Being Naked?

Human body, upper part, front. Model:Mikael Hä...

Human body, upper part, front. Model:Mikael Häggström. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. – [Gen 3:7 NASB]

The shamefulness of our nakedness begins early on in Scripture and it continues throughout the entire Bible.

‘And you shall not go up by steps to My altar, so that your nakedness will not be exposed on it.’ – [Exd 20:26 NASB]

‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, – [Rev 3:17 NASB]

Our nakedness was not a problem before the fall. We were innocent. When we ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that changed.

Do you understand what happened in the Garden of Eden? We ate from that Tree of Death and joined in Satan’s rebellion. Adam and Eve were empty vessels, designed to be filled with God’s eternal Life. Instead, we took the Satanic nature into our flesh and thus, our nakedness became something shameful.

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” – [Gen 3:11-12 NASB]

The bodies, made for God’s glory, became bodies of humiliation. Our flesh became the expression of Satan; our flesh became the enlargement of Satan. This is quite clear in Paul’s writings where Sin in our flesh is personified.

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? – [Rom 7:14-24 NASB]

What a burden these bodies of humiliation are to us!

For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. – [2Cr 5:2-4 NASB]

So what is God’s answer to our nakedness? From the very beginning, He clothed us. In the Garden of Eden, God killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve with its skin. This animal was a type of Christ, who would die because of our nakedness so that He could clothe us!

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. – [Gen 3:21 NASB]

‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. – [Rev 3:5 NASB]

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. – [Rev 3:18 NASB]

and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – [Eph 4:24 NASB]

that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – [Eph 4:22-24 NASB]

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— – [Col 3:9-10 NASB]

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy. – [Psa 132:9 NASB]

Clothed with white garments, the new self, righteousness, and I am sure you could find more. What are these things? All of these are Christ. We must be clothed with Christ. He is our White Garments, our New Self, and our Righteousness.

But what does it mean to be clothed with Christ?

To be clothed with Christ is to express Him outwardly. Instead of expressing our old sinful self(nakedness), we express Christ. Let the One who is within you, flow out and be expressed through you.

We were made to express Christ.

Someday, we will have bodies conformed to the body of His glory, but now we must be clothed with Christ, so that we express Him and our old self is not expressed. Someday, we will shed these bodies of humiliation and shame, so that we can put on bodies conformed to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, [that it may be] conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself. – [Phl 3:20-21 ASV]

Don’t glorify your body of humiliation. Don’t buy such expensive clothing for your body to wear. Don’t buy such an expensive car for your body to ride around in. Don’t buy such an expensive house for your body to live in. You may buy all kinds of excellent things, but your body still remains poor and dying.

But, you must not hate your body either. You must take care of your body, so that you may live long on the earth for the Lord.

We take care of our bodies, without glorifying them, until our bodies of glory are revealed. But, don’t you realize that your body of glory, will be according to the measure of Christ you experience in this age? Put on Christ, that in every situation you might be found in Him, and you will express Him even more brilliantly in the age to come. O Father, clothe us with Christ in glory and splendor for your eternal purpose!

You Are Who You Eat

Tree of Life

Tree of Life (Photo credit: Adamo Photography)

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” [Gen 1:26 NASB]

We were not created as “Mankind”, but we were created according to God’s kind. We were created in His image and according to His likeness. The only thing we lacked was His eternal Life. We were an empty vessel, designed to be filled with Him. Like a glove, we were to be filled with a the heavenly Hand.

So God created a way for us to take His eternal Life into us.

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. [Gen 2:9 NASB]

He placed two trees before us: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By eating of the Tree of Life we could take His eternal Life into us. Through the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we could take Satan’s sin into our flesh and partake in His rebellion.

One Tree was of Life and the other Tree was of Death.

We chose the wrong Tree. We rejected God’s eternal Life and joined in Satan’s rebellion. We took something of the poisonous Satanic nature into our flesh. But, God kept a Way for us to come back to the Tree of Life, someday. First, He sentenced our flesh to death. Secondly, He guarded the Tree of Life, so that we couldn’t eat it and  be sentenced to eternal death.

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— [23] therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. [24] So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. [Gen 3:22-24 NASB]

O, but the eternal Wisdom of our God, that in Christ Jesus, He opened the way to the Tree of Life again! When we believe into Christ, we join in His death and resurrection. We die in Him and we are resurrected in Him. We have died to self. Our satanic flesh was crucified on the cross and Christ, who is the Tree of Life, has entered into us. He is now our eternal Life and our Life supply!

But, you may say that you still have the flesh. Even though you may not yet feel it, it is true nonetheless. It may be an objective reality to you right now, but if you press on to gain Christ, it will become something experiential. You must press on by faith. Faith is the substantiation of unseen things. We walk by Faith, not by sight.

By pressing on by Faith in Christ, Christ will be magnified in us. Christ is our Faith and He will be enlarged in us. He is immeasurably vast, but in our experience He may seem so very small. We must eat of Him, by Faith, as the Tree of Life everyday, all day.

All of our natural lives, we have eaten of Satan as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in our flesh. We have not known any other way to live. But, in Christ we have the Tree of Life within our spirit. We must learn to turn to this Spirit, that we may take this Life into our souls.

We are tripartite beings, consisting of body, soul, and spirit. You are a soul, in a body, and you have a spirit. Our bodies are poisoned, unredeemable. Our bodies are things of humiliation. But we must still take care of our bodies, so that we may live long on the earth for our Lord. The soul consists of the mind, will, and emotions. The spirit is where the Life-giving Spirit lives in us.

who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, [that it may be] conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself. [Phl 3:21 ASV]

By turning to the Spirit, daily, He spreads and saturates our soul. He fills us with Christ. Our mind, will, and emotions are renewed by Him. We die to our natural soul-life, which is governed by the flesh and we live by the Spirit.

So, we are still living between those two trees. A Tree of Death in our flesh and a Tree of Life in our Spirit. Satan lives in our flesh and Christ lives in our Spirit. If you eat fish all day, everyday, you will smell like fish. If you eat of the Tree of Life everyday, you will have the sweet fragrance of Christ. By eating of Christ, as the Tree of Life, we are the enlargement of Christ; so that He may grow and flow throughout the earth.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. – [Rev 22:1-2 NASB]

The Excellence of Knowing Christ Jesus

But what things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is out of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith, to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, If perhaps I may attain to the out-resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward. Let us therefore, as many as are full-grown, have this mind; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, this also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless whereunto we have attained, by the same rule let us walk. [Phil 3:7-16]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know what the purpose of our salvation is? The purpose of our salvation is to gain Christ. Christ has gained us, that we might gain Him.

But, you must first gain the vision of the excellence of knowing Jesus Christ. In the past, we sought to gain many things. If you have seen the excellence of knowing Christ, you will consider all others things as lost.

Don’t think that “all things” are just physical possessions. These verses come directly after Paul profession of who he was, before He was in Christ; he was Saul:

Though I myself have something to be confident of in the flesh as well. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day; of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, become blameless. [Phil 3: 4-6]

We must count all things, except Christ, as loss. Give up your vain religion, philosophy, and culture. These things are good to the world, but they are not of Christ. We cannot bring these things into Christ. Give up these things that you might gain Christ!

If we are to gain Christ, we must always be found in Christ. In every situation, at every place, among every people, may we be found in Christ. Whether we are found by people, or angels and demons, we must be found only in Christ. It is our shame to be found in ourselves. Only Christ is pleasing to our Father and may everything that we do, be an expression of Christ in us.

Are you suffering? Are you prospering? Don’t be found in yourself. Let others find you in Christ, no matter what your circumstances are. Do you think that Paul was in prison, hanging his head in defeat? Would Cesar’s household have believed into Christ if Paul was murmuring and complaining about his poor circumstances? By no means! He was there, in prison, expressing the unsearchably rich Christ, through the superabundant and all-inclusive Spirit. Paul was not a super-believer, he was living the normal life in Christ.

But, it is not so easy to be found in Christ. Everyday, we must be conformed to His death. Whatever the expression of the cross is today, we must bear it. It often seems like too much to bear. Fortunately, we do not have to bear it by our own life. Indeed, we cannot bear the cross in ourselves. The only way to bear the cross is by the Resurrection Life of Christ. We have the One who is the Resurrection within us.

It is by being conformed to the death of Christ, everyday, by the power of His resurrection, that we will gain Christ. What will the outcome of gaining Christ be? What will this special Prize be? It is the out-resurrection from among the dead. You see, everyone will be resurrected. Some will be resurrected to judgement. Some will be resurrected to glory. The out-resurrection, as the Greek states it, is something special for those who have gained Christ. It is for those who have been filled and saturated with His resurrection Life, having  died to self. It is a special enjoyment of Christ in His coming 1,000 year reign.

O, brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how much of Christ you have attained, do not think that you have already obtained or have been made perfect. We must always press on in Christ!

Our growth in Christ, must not become stale. Forget what is behind you. Don’t just forget your failures, but forget your successes. Clinging to these things will keep you from continuing on in Christ. Have you achieved something great in Christ? It is nothing now. You must press on. Not just for your sake, but for the entire Body of Christ.

We are not here to gain Christ, just for ourselves. We must gain Him for the Body. Gain Christ so that God may dispense His riches into others through you. Gain Christ for our Father!

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