Category Archives: Thoughts

Can a Rich Man Go to Heaven?

Dollars

Dollars (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, ” Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” – [Mar 10:24-27 NASB]

This is part two of another blog post: Heaven is for Real? I recommend that you read that post before you read this one. I think that Scripture above has been quite troublesome to many of the Lord’s children. Indeed, some have used Jesus’ words to trouble us. Today, I want to lift the burden off of you and clear up some things in these verses. The first misconception is that the Kingdom of God is where we go when we die. No, Jesus was not talking about some place called “heaven”. Jesus is often misquoted as saying:

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God heaven.

The Kingdom of God is where God reigns in Jesus Christ. The heavenly places are indeed part of God’s Kingdom, but Jesus is not referring to the heavenly places. We are the Ekklesia of God and the Kingdom of God is within us and among us! Likewise, as we are the Kingdom of God now, there is a coming Kingdom of God, which we may inherit. Does that mean that there are two Kingdoms of God? No, there is only one. The difference is that we do not yet experience the fullness of the Kingdom of God. But, our Father is bringing us to that fullness, by His Spirit, for His Son. Since, the Kingdom of God is now within us, what was Jesus saying? Jesus was saying that our physical wealth, prevents us from living by the Spirit. It is in our Spirit, that the Kingdom of God is now. That Kingdom is spreading to your soul, or mind, will, and emotions. Someday, we will enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom, when we shed off these bodies of death and we receive our new bodies like Jesus Christ.

So do we have to get rid of all our money? Do we have to sell everything that we own? We can, but Jesus is not giving a command that everyone do so. He is using this wealthy person as an example for us. In Luke 16, our Lord gives us a parable to show that we should be prudent in the use of the unrighteous wealth. He ends that parable by saying this:

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – [Luk 16:10-13 NASB]

Brothers and sisters, don’t be slaves to wealth. Don’t love money and things. If you have wealth, don’t waste it, but use it to help others, especially those around you.

Wealth can be a major hindrance to walking by the Spirit. Through wealth, all kinds of distractions and anxieties come. The more you accumulate, the more distractions and anxieties you will have. But, if you do have the wealth of the world, we have this confidence from our Lord Himself:

With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – [Hbr 12:1-2 NASB]

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Understanding the Kingdom of God

A fish tank at the Oklahoma Aquarium

A fish tank at the Oklahoma Aquarium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each species has its kingdom. There is the human kingdom, the fish kingdom, the bird kingdom, the lizard kingdom, the monkey kingdom, and so on. Each kingdom is divided by its particular life. The human life is quite distinguishable from the fish life. This separates these kingdoms.

With this in mind, suppose you had a fish tank. Every time you came near to the fish tank, the fish swam away in fear. Your desire was to tell these fish the good news that you would provide for all of their needs. Unfortunately, you had no way to speak to them. You would have to enter into the fish kingdom, taking on the fish life.

If you became a human fish, taking the fish life on, you would be able to communicate with the fish. You could tell them about work, laughter, war, cars, planes, televisions, and all the human things. But, the fish, being able to hear you, couldn’t have any understanding. All of these things are human things, belonging to the human kingdom, and the fish just couldn’t comprehend them. The fish might repeat the things that you said religiously. They might shout them with all of their fish lungs. Their little brains might be filled up with knowledge of human things. Yet, they would not be able to understand these things.

The fish would have to take in the human life. You would have to put your life into them, so that they may remain fish, but being able to understand and enjoy the human life.

Do you see that this is the same as what God did?

Jesus, God in the flesh, preached the Good News of God to many humans. But, even those closest to Him, didn’t comprehend the things that He was saying. He was telling them all about God’s Kingdom, but they had no understanding. They could only understand the human kingdom and they interpreted what Jesus’ said, according to the human kingdom. They completely missed everything that He said.

But, praise God! Jesus lived a human life, died, resurrected, ascended, and became the Life-giving Spirit to enter into us. He dispensed God’s Life into us, so that we may enter into the Kingdom of God!

We may now understand the things of God. Things that God has kept secret from eternity are now open to us, in Christ.

Where in the Heavenly Places are We Seated?

I think that God did something wonderful in each heart as they learned to share and hear Christ. – John WilsonGathering in the Garden

Brother John Wilson, has written another wonderful blog post on an organic gathering of some young saints. It has a very fitting title, Gathering in the Garden. I think that you will enjoy it immensely. Pray that these little ones will be built together, with love, in Christ, as a place a place of rest for our Father.

Now for my blog post…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, – [Eph 2:4-6 NASB]

Girl by PernilleH via Flickr

Dear saints, you may not feel like it, but you are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Since you have believed into Christ, you have been utterly and eternally united with Christ. When our Father looks at you He just sees Christ. In Christ, you have been resurrected, ascended, and seated in the heavenly places.

But, what does it mean that we are seated in the heavenly places?

Where in the heavenly places are we seated?

Paul makes it clear that we are seated with Christ and in Christ. So the real question is: Where is Christ seated?

…Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. – [1Pe 3:21-22 NASB]

O yes, dear brothers and sisters! Let’s shout with joy that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Do you see the implications of this? Since Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God, we are seated at the right hand of God.

Everything that is true of our beloved Lord Jesus, is true of us. When you are seated, you are resting. We are resting, in Christ, at the right hand of God!

I hope that you are enjoying Christ and resting in Him, as that is your rightful place. This doesn’t have to be a distant objective reality. We have His Spirit, within us. Turn your mind to the Spirit within you. Love Him and enjoy Him. God is not only in you, but you are in Him. Take pleasure in being in Him. The simplest way I know of turning to the Spirit, is to focus on Him and say, “Lord Jesus, I love You!” But, do not take this as a rule or a method. It doesn’t even require words. Just let the love that God has poured into your heart, flow back to Him. Tell Him how lovable He is. He is the delight of the nations! He is the healing of the nations! O glorious and beautiful Lord Jesus, you are our delight and enjoyment. Make our hearts burn within us, for You. Shine Your Face on us. May we be Your enjoyment. May we be Your delight. O thirsty and hungry Lord, enjoy a feast of our enjoyment of Christ.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. – [Eph 1:18-23 NASB]

Creation or Evolution? An Outdated Question, in Christ

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – [2Cr 5:17 NASB]

Stream

Stream (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT)

Creationists and atheists have long marked evolution as the line of battle. But, the issue is outdated. It has been outdated for about 2,000 years. I’m urging you, my beloved brothers and sisters, to forsake this battle. It is worthless.

Creation is old, aged, elderly, crippled…

It became old when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It continued to age, when Cain killed Abel. With the flood it aged even more. Then, with the final fall at the tower of Babel, creation became old to the uttermost.

God does not desire anything that is old. God desires what is new and what is fresh. He wrote that desire into our hearts as we constantly fight to keep our youth. Old things rot and die.

He has terminated the old creation on the cross. Then, 3 days later, the new creation came forth, in Christ.

Why are you still debating how the old creation was made? It is dead. It is obsolete. It is fully terminated in God’s eyes.

God is looking upon His new creation, with pleasure. It is the apple of His eye. It delights His heart.

As the old creation was in Adam, the new creation is in Christ. Christ is the new creation and if you are in Him, you are new too!

Don’t read this blog post, with a natural, unrenewed mind. I am not saying to stop caring about the environment, creatures, and people. We must shine Christ forth to the old creation. Our lives among the old creation must be to declare the glory of the new creation.

We are new! We are fresh! We will never grow old again! We have joined with eternity fellowship of the Godhead, in Christ!

Even if you are aged outwardly, you can be fresh and new through the Eternal Spirit, who is mingled with your spirit.

Give up outdated debates about the old creation, that only puff up the mind. Speak forth the New Man, Jesus Christ. Make Him known with your words and actions. Always be turned to Him in your Spirit, loving Him, delighting in Him, and resting in Him. Then, He will flow out of you like streams of living water, refreshing those, whom He has called.

The Lord’s Response to Satan’s Accusations Against Us

All Scripture finds its organic center and unity in Jesus. – Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, Jesus: A Theography

Do you know what happened before the foundation of the world? Go read Frank Viola‘s blog post, What Happened Before the Foundation of the World? at Beyond Evangelical, containing an excerpt from Leonard Sweet’s and Frank Viola’s new book Jesus: A Theography.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here. – [Zec 3:1-7 NASB]

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. – [Rev 12:10 NASB]

Fireworks

Fireworks (Photo credit: bayasaa)

Dear saints, we all experience the constant accusations against us by the evil one. He accuses us day and night. What should we do, in light of his harassment? Should we run? Should we hide? Should we deny his accusations?

We feel ashamed because his accusations against us are true. By nature, we are dirty. We were born in sin. Indeed, when Adam and Eve joined in Satan’s rebellion, by eating from the Tree of Knoweldge of Good and Evil, we took the satanic nature into our flesh. Whenever we have tried to do good, our flesh has overpowered us. Thus, Satan has had ground to accuse us before the Lord. Has this been your experience? Have you lived in guilt under his accusations, whether in your mind or from the people around you?

We are standing there in filthy clothes before Christ, who is the Angel of the Lord. Satan is standing to our side, accusing us. Our embarrassment is multiplied as the multitude of angels watch.

Brothers and sisters, the answer is not to argue with Satan. The answer is not to hide ourselves. The answer is not to try to clean our filthy clothes.

Jesus Christ has the answer. He rebukes Satan and proclaims us as a brand, plucked from the fire. He takes away our filthy garments and He takes our iniquity away. We are cleaned to the uttermost, not just our robes, but our turban, as well. He doesn’t just give us ordinary clean robes, but festal robes. He turns our sorrow into joy; He turns our mourning into a celebration!

Jesus Christ is the answer. Joshua is us in this picture, but Joshua is also a picture of Christ. He was never dirty, but He put on flesh, as if He was. This picture of us as the High Priest is a foreshadowing of us as the Body of Christ. We are made clean because we are in Him, we are part of Him, we are utterly and intimately united with Him. We do not cleanse ourselves, but He cleanses us.

Don’t run.

Don’t hide.

Don’t argue.

Just trust in our Lord Jesus. Let Him make you clean. He desires to wash your feet. He will rebuke Satan for His accusations. He will cast down Satan. You are now in Christ and your dirty robes have been buried in the tomb. Now, He will put robes of celebration on you!

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The Man on the Red Horse Among the Myrtle Trees

Seeing each other in Christ and looking to each other, we are asking if we can share. Share the most valuable space in time, the expression of Christ. – Mark Champion, Letters :: Face

Do you look into the face of Christ, when you see your brothers and sisters, in Christ? If you don’t, you should check out Mark Champion‘s blog post, Letters :: Face. May all the saints see Christ, when we look at each other…just as our Father does.

Now for my blog post…

I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. – [Zec 1:8-13 NASB]

Janie's crepe myrtle tree across the alley

Janie’s crepe myrtle tree across the alley (Photo credit: EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin’ hook-y ;o))

Beloved saints, I have comforting words for you today. This blog post is as much for myself, as it is for you. Do you recognize this Man on the red horse, who is standing among the myrtle trees? He is the Angel of the Lord; He is Jesus Christ.

The book of Zechariah was written to the Lord’s People, who had been exiled. God’s People were so very low, while the nations were prospering. So, here you see God’s People as myrtle trees in a ravine. Myrtle trees, when chopped down, will shoot back up. You have to pull a myrtle tree out by the roots, in order to kill it. God’s People had been exiled, chopped down, and were as low as they could go in the bottom of a ravine. So where is the comfort?

Jesus, on a red horse, is among the myrtle trees! He is on a horse, symbolizing his swiftness in coming to His People’s aid. The horse is red, symbolizing the blood He will shed. You can compare this to the rider of the red horse in Revelation, who symbolizes war. Both symbolize blood that is shed. But, in Zechariah, it is Jesus’ blood.

Then, you have another picture of the Lord’s People in the three horses. Notice, that these three horses are following Jesus. There are three different colors of horses: red, reddish-brown, and white. Each one shows the progression of the saints. Some are red, like Jesus’ horse. This is because we are covered with His blood. Next, there are the reddish-brown horses, which shows that there is some mixture. Even though we are covered with His blood, we are not so pure yet. We are often still earthly and natural. Finally, there are the white horses. It is the Lord’s desire that we all be white horses. These horses symbolize purity. They have been washed by the blood, and have put off the Adamic fallen nature.

These horses have been spread throughout the earth and have a report for the Lord. The earth is peaceful and quiet, while the Lord’s People suffer.

While the evil people of this world prosper, we are often suffering. But, the Lord has gracious and comforting words for us, beloved brothers and sisters. He is not slow to come to our aid. He is even among us. Don’t think that He is far away. Even if you do not sense Him, He is intimately united with you in your Spirit. He has compassion on you and will lift you up. Even if you feel utterly worthless, you are a treasure to Him. You may feel hurt, broken, depressed, and like you have nothing to offer the world. Yet, Jesus would not throw you away. He desires to be your Doctor, your Lover, your Father; He desires to lift you out of the ravine and refresh you.

“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. – [Isa 42:3-7 NASB]

The Letter Kills, but the Spirit Gives Life

 

This “new Canaan” is Jesus Christ, He is outside the “camp” of mans religion. The reports are to be mixed with faith, not in those making the reports, but in the One that is Faithful and True. – Jim Putney, The Treasure of New Canaan

Have you seen Jesus Christ as thew new Canaan, as our Promised Land? Whether you have already seen this or not, I think that you will enjoy Jim Putney‘s blog post: The Treasure of the New Canaan at Treasure in Jars of Clay. His words are encouraging and so is his quote from T. Austin-Sparks. Now for my blog post…

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. – [2Cr 3:5-6 NASB]

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, as I was getting into my car to leave a certain place, I saw a brother reading the Bible on the back of his truck. When I saw him, I was moved to fellowship with him. I went over to him and asked, “What are you reading?”. He replied, “The Bible”. So, I said, “Yeah, but what are you reading in the Bible?”. He answered, “I don’t talk to nobody when I am reading the Bible, so go ahead and get out of here”.

This brother was not only reading the dead letter, but he killed the fellowship that we could have had. We could have shared the Lord together. We could have read the Scriptures together, by the Spirit, to see Christ. But, all he had was the letter, so we didn’t enjoy any Life together. We were not able to partake of the Tree of Life together, because he was busy eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Many are reading the Scriptures in a religious way and the result is death. They are not only killing themselves, but they are killing others. Do not be like this brother, who rejected me for a book.

Don’t reject each other. Instead, love each other and shine your light on each other; let Christ within you be expressed through you.

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. – [2Cr 3:2-3 NASB]

 

Heaven is for Real?

We need special equipment to scale the heights of Him and dive into the depths of Him. But guess what? You already have this special equipment. It’s called your spirit. And He lives inside of your spirit. – Milt Rodriguez, Christ in 3-D

If you haven’t heard, Milt Rodriguez has released a new ebook called, Christ in 3-D. It is quick read and it might just give you a new three dimensional view of Christ! Now for my blog post…

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. – [Hbr 13:14 NASB]

I’m not writing this blog post as a review of the the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. Instead, this blog post is in response to  people’s obsession with heaven, which the aforementioned book exposed. So many religions are about trying to get to heaven or someplace similar(with a different name). Heaven may be the goal of religion, but is God’s goal to get us to heaven?

Heaven by adyyflickr

Getting to heaven is not our goal, nor is it God’s desire for us.

If you are living to get to or to help others get to heaven when they die, you’re living opposed to God’s desire. While people are trying to reach heaven, God desires to live on earth.

God’s desire to live on earth is one of the main narratives of Scripture. In the Garden, you see that there is gold, bdellium, and onyx stone.1 Paul tells us to build with gold, silver, and precious stones.2 Likewise, the New Jerusalem is made of gold, pearl, and precious stones.3 The Garden was to be the construction yard and we are now building God’s City. Look throughout the Scriptures and you will see God’s desire everywhere. Abraham was looking for a City who Architect and Builder is God.4 There is the ark, the tabernacle, and the temple, Ezekiel’s vision of the temple and the rebuilding of the temple. Jesus tabernacled among us, He said that He was the Temple, and He said that we are a City on a Mountain. Paul said that we are the Temple and that we are building God’s House. Also, there are Bethel(House of God) and Bethany(House of Figs), which were both pictures of God’s House.

Is there a place called heaven? Yes, there are heavenly places and we are already seated there in Christ!5

Additionally, those of the Bride, who overcome in this age by blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, will be caught up to God and to His throne, for casting down Satan. This corporate Man Child is the first fruits of the Lord’s harvest. He is the New Man, a living testimony against the Deceiver, wearing the full armor of God for casting Satan down.6 Yet, this Man Child will not stay in heaven, but will come with the Lord Jesus, when He comes to rule the earth.7

I want to add that not everyone agrees that we go to heaven or hell, when we die. In my opinion, we go to a place for the dead, or Hades, with a positive side and a negative side. The positive is referred to as paradise8 in Scripture and Paul considered it as a place separate from heaven. He was taken away to the third heaven and he was taken away to paradise.9 But, it is not so important that you agree with that or not.

It is much more important that you see God’s desire to live on earth and that you are already seated in the heavenly places in Christ. When you read of the New Jerusalem, which is the culmination and fulfillment of God’s desire, you see that it is coming out of heaven to the new earth.10 Right now, we are building this City with God, by the Spirit. We are building this City in the heavenly places, so that it may fill the new earth. This City is the mingling of God and Man, a mutual Home for each other and in each other.

Do you see, brothers and sisters? God wants to live in and among us on earth. God is Spirit, but He desires a physical Body, through which, He may express Himself. That is why we have a spirit, so that we may be united with God; so that He may enter into us and form us into an expression of Himself.

It doesn’t matter so much if you agree with all of my interpretations of Scripture. I want you to see God’s desire to live and express Himself on earth, in and through us. If we are all seeking to leave earth for heaven, how will our Father have His desire on earth?

Footnotes
1 Genesis 2:12
2 1 Corinthians 3:12
3 Revelation 21:18-21
4 Hebrews 11:10
5 Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6
6 Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 6:11; Revelation 12:5-9
7 Revelation 19:11-16
8 Luke 23:43
9 2 Corinthians 12:2-4
10 Revelation 21:2

666: The Number of a Man

Today God lives inside us. In one sense, if you want to find God, you need to find the believers in Christ. – Each One Has, Where Does God Live Today?

I haven’t shared a video blog post yet, but here is a quick one, with an important message. It’s called Where Does God Live Today? and it’s at the blog Each One Has. Everyday, we need to remember that we are all the House of the living God.

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. – [Rev 13:18 NASB]

666

666 by 12th St David

There is much that can be said, or argued, about this beast, who is described in John’s letter. I do not care to guess who the beast is, but to show what he represents. The beast represents the culmination of fallen humanity. In Scripture, the number 6 represents man. The beast is not merely 6, but three 6’s. The beast is the fullness of the natural man.

In Revelation, you will find that everything has increased, both the satanic and the godly. The Serpent has become a Great Red Dragon. The Tower of Babel has become Babylon the Great. The Garden has become a City. The Tree of Life has grown along with the River of Life and branched out on both sides of it. Likewise, Man has become a Beast, much like Nebuchadnezzar became like a beast for 7 years.

This beast is the fullness of that old man, who was created on the 6th day. The line of Adam is altogether summed up in the beast.

We, who are in Christ, have died to the Adamic race. We have been born anew into the race of Christ. Although, we were born in Adam, through the cross and the resurrection, we have been reborn in Christ. We are no longer in Adam, we are just in Christ.

So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. – [1Cr 15:45-49 NASB]

Brothers and sisters, do not worry so much who this beast is. His rise to power and subsequent judgment has been ordained by our Lord. The former race, which he represents, has already been judged on the cross. We are no longer just earthly, we are heavenly. We are the New Man, who is eternal in Christ.

Faith Without Works is Dead, So We Have to Do More…Right?

And yet the best is yet to come. For as the saints assemble, each telling about their experience with the risen Lord, Christ himself appears in their midst! And together, as one body, they encounter Christ. – Joshua Lawson

Does your heart burn within you for the Lord Jesus? If it does, then you will enjoy Joshua Lawson‘s blog post, at In Search of the City, called The Fellowship of the Burning Heart. We all need to enjoy this fellowship with each other and our Lord. It’s His desire to give us such a hungry, burning heart and to satisfy us with Himself.

DSCN3909_1_72 - Plum Tree With Fruit on it.

DSCN3909_1_72 – Plum Tree With Fruit on it. (Photo credit: bterrycompton)

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. – [Jam 2:26 NASB]

This verse from James’ letter is commonly used to spur saints on to do more works. Unfortunately, this lays a burden on saints and takes what James was saying out of context.

James’ exhortation to works is actually in the context of the gathering of the saints; in the context of the ekklesia.

The saints were treating each other in an evil way. Instead of showing each other love and mercy, in Christ, they were showing each other partiality and judgement.

Everyone has works. The question really is: What kind of works are you doing?

James was writing to saints that claimed to have faith in Christ, but treated each other in an evil, worldly, manner. Such a faith, resulting in evil works, is dead.

A living faith in Christ, results in works of love; in the fruit of the Spirit.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – [Gal 5:19-25 NASB]

Do you see that it is not about doing more works, but a change in works, because of the exchange of our natural life for the eternal Life, through faith in Christ?

Walk by the Spirit, dear brothers and sisters, and you will express Christ.

Jesus Christ, Life and Light

Before, I get into the blog post today, I want to share the deep writings of a wonderful brother in Christ, T. Austin-Sparks. All of his writings are free at The Online Library of T. Austin-Sparks. He was a mature saint, who suffered much, and through whom, Christ has been magnified to many. I highly recommend T. Austin-Sparks’ writings, The School of Christ, The Stewardship of the Mystery Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and The Centrality and the Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, I think you will see more of Christ in all of his writings.

Brothers and sisters, I have always loved the song Silent Night. Since it is such a simple song, it is one of the first songs, that I am learning to play on the guitar. I realized that I don’t really care for the words too much anymore, considering Jesus Christ is far greater than that song shows Him to be. Thus, I wrote a new hymn to the tune of Silent Night called: Jesus Christ, Life and Light. Enjoy Him!

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
You’re our Calm, You’re our Sight
Around the Head, the saints gather
Holy ones loving each other
Rest in our Father’s House

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
Demons quake at the sight
Glories stream from Heaven within
Living stones sing Jesus, our Kin
Christ the Lord is displayed

Jesus Christ, Life and Light
In You there is no night
We look to You with unveiled face
Receiving Your Life as our Grace
Marriage of Christ and His Bride.

Us in Christ and Christ in Us

“Just as Copernicus came to see that the sun is the central component to the solar system, today we are seeing the absolute central importance of the Son, the Son of God, who became the Son of man.” —  Jim Putney

Have you seen the centrality of Jesus Christ, in all things? That is the topic of a wonderful blog post by Jim Putney at Treasures in Jars of Clay. Jim’s blog post is called Treasure of the Son and I think that you will truly see that the Son is our treasure, when you read it.

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. – [Col 1:26-28 NASB]

“Us in Christ” and “Christ in us”, are two foundational phrases to the Life in Christ. Unfortunately, in modern Christianity these two aspects of our faith, have been relegated. They have been made far less important, than they actually are.

Us in Christ

If you have believed into Christ, you are in Him. By faith, we are included in His death and resurrection. It is likely that you already know that Jesus died for us and in our place, but do you know that we have died and resurrected in Christ?

Nowadays, it is rare thing for Christians to know this. It is not considered as something important.

I’m not saying something “revolutionary” or sharing some “higher knowledge”. Our sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection are absolutely basic to our Life in Him.

We have entered into a whole new world, in Christ. Our Father no longer sees us, but He sees Christ. Everything that is true of Christ is true of us, who have believed into Him. We share in His death, His resurrection, His perfection, His holiness, His righteousness, His wealth, His purity, His sonship, His eternal life, His everything! The list is eternal, as He is. Indeed, our Father has made Christ everything to us and for us.

If you want to read about being in Christ, in more depth, check out The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee.

Christ in Us

The other side of the same coin is “Christ in us”, our hope of glory. Not only are we in Christ, but He is in us. He is in us as the Spirit, energizing us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

When the Father sees us, He just sees Christ. This is something objective to us; but the Spirit in us, is bringing us experientially into that Reality. You see…the Father sees the Reality, that we are so intimately united with Christ, but we don’t see it yet. The Spirit is bringing us into that Reality of the new creation.

We don’t see the glory in its fullness yet, but the Spirit within us is the promise. We have the Seal of the King in our Spirit.

We are like plants, growing nice and green. The flower is our glory. The flower has been within us from when we were just seeds and seedlings, but it has not yet manifested. We look forward to that glory, that outward manifestation of Christ. Christ in us is the hope that we will fully manifest Him outwardly.

O, saints, “us in Christ” and “Christ in us” are the beginnings of the journey, through to the end of the journey, and on into all of eternity. We abide in Him and He abides in us. Everything flows from this! You can meditate on these things your entire lives, and never fully grasp them.

Take these things by faith. Whenever you feel unrighteous and fleshly, make an audible statement of faith by saying “I am in Christ” or “Christ is in me”.  Encourage each other with this Reality.

We are in Christ and Christ is in us; we are altogether One!

Introducing Prince, a Shadow of Christ

“In the journey of salvation, we do not transform ourselves … we are transformed by the indwelling presence of God.” – Bernie Webb

Bernie Webb at Believing IN Christ Jesus through ALL things wrote a blog post that relates very well to my post, today. His post, CAUTION: MEN AT WORK or … GOD AT WORK, is a quick and encouraging read.

About a week and a half ago, our little bird, Prince, went to be with Father. You may find it strange, but Prince was more than a bird to us. He was our one and only beloved son. He was so very unique. He was always so filled with life and love.

Today, I want to share Christ with you, through this small, beautiful bird, so loved and cared for by God.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. – [Mat 10:29 NASB]

The Love of Christ

Through Prince, I gained a glimpse of Christ’s love for us. Whenever I was sad, Prince would climb off of his cage and come try to comfort me with kisses. You could see the concern in his eyes for me. He treated me like one of his own. He would  pull on my beard hairs, like they were unopened feathers. He would try to take care of me by cleaning my face and straightening up my hairs. This little bird took me as one of his own and tried to take care of me the best that he could. Christ has taken us as His own and is caring for us, who are in Him.

An Example of How We Should Be Towards God

This is the most wonderful thing about my beloved, Prince. I was his daddy and he always wanted to be with me. He wanted to go wherever I went. If he couldn’t see me, he would cry out. He would yell when I left the house, and he would yell for me when I got home. My house is full of memories of Prince, because he was with me wherever I went. There was little that he wanted, but to be with me and to have my attention. Whenever I talked, Prince would talk. Whenever I laughed, Prince would laugh. He always wanted to be like me, doing the things that I was doing; He was always mimicking me.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: – [1Cr 1:2 NASB]

Do you see that this little bird is a shadow of Christ? Prince was a son to me, like Jesus was a Son to the Father. Jesus always went where the Father went, did what the Father did, and said what the Father said. Jesus didn’t have to mimic the Father, because they were altogether One. But, Prince’s life was an example of that desire of the Son to be One with the Father.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. – [Jhn 5:19-20 NASB]

In Christ, whether male or female, we are all sons of God through the Sonship of Jesus Christ. As Prince always wanted to abide with me, we should always desire to abide in Christ. We should just want to go where our Father is going and do what our Father is doing. This is Christ in us as the Son, desiring to do the will of the Father.

My Love for Prince an Example of the Father’s Love for Us

O, how my wife and I love our little Prince. There are many places that we have wanted to go. We have wanted to go on vacations, cruises, hotels, and other places, but we would not leave Prince. If Prince could not go and we would have to leave him for too long, we would not go. It wasn’t a loss to us, because we would rather be with Prince than go on the most fantastic vacation.

We are closer to our Father, than I could ever be with Prince. Prince could be with me, but he could never be in me. Likewise, I could never be in him.

Do you know that our Father is always with us and is even in us? Perhaps, you do know this, but do you realize that He wants to be with us and in us? He has put us into His Son and when He looks at us, He sees His beloved Son. He is not in us because He has to be, but because He has desired to have His eternal Life in us from eternity past.

We were created to be vessels containing God and expressing His immeasurable fullness. We were created to express God’s image and exercise His authority. We were created to be One with God, like a glove is one with a hand.

Life was a Lemon

Before getting into the my post, I want to share a great post from a brother in Christ, who I know personally. I can testify to you of seeing, hearing, and feeling Christ in this brother, so loved by God. His name is John Wilson and he blogs at JohnSWilson3. His most recent post “…SINCE WE ARE RECEIVING A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN…” is a great encouragement to all of us who are suffering.

When I was a teenager, I was trying to figure out what kind of music I liked. I looked through some of my step-dad’s CD’s to try out some of his music. I saw one that looked pretty cool called Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell by Meat Loaf.

I’m not writing this post to advocate Meat Loaf’s music, but to share something of Christ. The other day I remembered one of the songs that I had listened to on Meat Loaf’s album called “Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back“. Here are some of the lyrics:

It’s all or nothing, and nothing’s all I ever get
Everytime I turn it on, I burn it up and burn it out

It’s a never ending attack,
Everything’s a lie and that’s a fact
Life is a lemon and I want my money back

And we’re always slipping thru the cracks
Slippin’
Then the movie’s over, fade to black
Life is a lemon and I want my money back
Back, back, back, back!

In case you don’t understand the reference to life being a lemon, a lemon is a new product that has severe defects.

Do you feel that way about life? I imagine that some of you do think that life is a lemon and some of you think that it’s peachy.

Life is a lemon…the natural life that is.

We were all born with the sinful satanic life. From our first heartbeats, our fallen human life is defective. We are not born the way that we were suppose to be. We come into this world through pain and we often leave it in pain. For many, there is more pain in this life, than happiness.

I can understand why Meat Loaf was so dissatisfied. I find no lasting satisfaction in this world either. You may find satisfaction in a person, but then, they are gone. You may find satisfaction in an object, but then, it is gone. Every slightest grip on happiness seems to slip through the cracks. In a world without hope, what can be done?

When you have a lemon car, there is nothing you can do to change that car. It wouldn’t be worth it if you could afford the necessary changes. That’s why it’s a lemon; it leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

You can’t change a lemon, you can only exchange it. My grandmother had a car that was a lemon. The company didn’t offer to fix the car for her, it offered her a new car. We all need to exchange this lemon of a life for the Life that we were meant to have.

The eternal Life of God embodied in Jesus Christ is the Life that we were made for. Adam and Eve took a different life for us, a defective life, a lemon life. But, through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus cleared the way to the Tree of Life, that we might eat from it.

Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life.

We were branches on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Tree of Death. But, we have exchanged that lemon life for God’s Life. In Christ, we have died to that Tree of Death and we have been grafted onto the Tree of Life. We are here to abide in Him and to enjoy His Life; we are here to express Him. We grow with His growth and we bear fruit with His bearing fruit.

In Christ, we are now the enlargement of the Tree of Life.

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]

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.

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.

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!

God’s Household Administration

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River K...

The Nant Llancarfan flowing toward the River Kenson at Llancarfan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you already know about God’s eternal purpose, to sum up all things in Christ. This is God’s desire and He will attain it.

But, do you know how God is attaining such a high desire?

He will attain His desire through His household administration. In Greek, the word for this is oikonomia. It is such a rich word, it is helpful to look at the various meanings of oikonomia.

  • (literally) household law
  • stewardship
  • administration
  • economy
  • dispensation

A household administration was necessary for wealthy families. Wealthy families needed a steward  so that the riches of the family could be dispensed as needed.

The riches of Christ are unsearchable. We are in the family of God, the unsearchably rich family.

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, – [Eph 3:8 ESV]

God’s household administration is to dispense this unsearchably rich Christ into us, through the Spirit, as our Life and as our Everything. As Christ is filling and saturating us, He is overflowing out of us into each other. This economy is God’s Way of attaining His desire. We are being built up into the fullness of Christ, to be a dwelling place for God, expressing His image and exercising His authority.

We are stewards of this divine mystery. We are called to receive Christ and dispense Christ into others, by the administrating Spirit. This is discipleship. We have a well of Living Water within us that springs up, and streams of this Living Water flow out from us. Our streams form just one river, the River of Life, God’s flowing.

We should read Ephesians with this view. We should read the entire Bible with this view. We should live with this view. This is not just dead knowledge, but this is the living Christ, moving and growing on earth. He is the Vine Tree of Life that grows in and with the flow of the River of Life.

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]

What a mystery! We are the enlargement of the immeasurably abundant Christ!

Scripture or Experience?

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: – [Mat 2:1-5 NASB]

Today, I want to settle the debate on which is more important: Scripture or Experience. So many brothers and sisters in Christ have wasted words arguing over this subject(myself included). It really is a pointless debate.

Scripture and experience are both necessary.

The magi had a special experience. They had the star that led them to Israel, but they did not have the scriptures. The magi had a revelation, but not the necessary knowledge. They saw the star, but they didn’t know where to go.

The scribes had the scriptures, but they did not have the experience. They had the knowledge about the Messiah, but no revelation of Him. They didn’t see the star and they had no desire to go see Him.

Do you see that both, the scriptures and experience, were necessary to come to the fullness of Christ?

For those of you who value the scriptures above experience, do you not realize that the scriptures we born from experience? Those of you who value experience above the scriptures, do  you not realize that the scriptures will bring you into a greater experience?

When you come to the scriptures, you should touch something of the Author. He is a Person to be experienced and enjoyed. While you read the scriptures, pray them as well. Take God’s words and return them to Him. Make them your own. Look for Christ on every page and learn how to experience Him as God’s provision for your every need.

But, don’t think God will reveal so much to you, when He has revealed it to others already. Our Father is always working on the principle of the Body of Christ. He reveals something to one and something else to another. If we want further revelation of Christ, we must stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Then we will be able to go deeper into the Promised Land, that wonderful, all-inclusive Christ.

Let’s learn Christ from each other and those who have gone before us. O how we love you, Lord Jesus!

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