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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]

 

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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.

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]

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]

We Bear Fruit by Abiding in Christ

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – [Jhn 15:5 NASB]

I’ve noticed that a lot of visitors arrive at my blog with searches pertaining to bearing fruit. Although, I have already written a blog post about bearing fruit “What Does it Mean For a Christian to Bear Fruit?”, I want to revisit this very important subject. Hopefully, I have experienced Christ to a greater extent, so that this post will flow with more of Him than the previous post.

In the above verse, we see that if we are to bear fruit, we must abide in Christ.

Yesterday, I read a good blog post on abiding in Christ by a dear brother in Christ. You can read Daniel Norlin’s blog post called “Abiding” at By His Feet. You should go read it. It has a great quote from Andrew Murray and its a quick read. Here is a quote from his post:

“…All the work is the Lord’s. All is done by the might of the Spirit (and we get to be vessels for Him and His power). Even remaining in Christ, remaining in Love.” – Daniel Norlin

Have you ever wondered what a tree must do to bear fruit? Does a tree have to find food? Does a tree have to go find water? Does it strive to reach the soil. What a silly idea! We are not even the tree. We are branches on the tree.

We are branches on the Vine Tree, the Tree of Life, the risen and living Christ.

In my previous post on bearing fruit, we saw that the fruit that we are to bear is the fruit of the Spirit.

So, now we see that we bear the fruit of the Spirit by abiding in Christ by the Spirit. We have the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us. We are deeply and intimately connected to our Life Source. Christ’s Life is in our Spirit and we just turn to our Spirit that the Life may spread and saturate us.

Let me get one thing out of our way that may cause us to stumble. Objectively, we are always abiding in Christ. But, I don’t think that is what Jesus was referring to. We may not always be abiding in Christ in our subjective experience.

If we are not living and walking by the Spirit, we are not abiding in Christ, and we cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit.

We must always be turned to our Spirit, seeking the will of our Father. There is no method. Even turning to the Spirit is nothing of ourselves, but it is Christ within us.

If we are to abide in Christ, we must rely on the Spirit every moment. Turn to the Lord in your Spirit and speak words of love to Him. Listen for His voice. Talk to Him about everything you do. Just sit quietly and enjoy Him. Share Him with your brothers and sisters in Christ. There are no rules to abiding in Christ and bearing fruit, but whatever the Spirit is prompting you right now.

Let God do all for you, in you, and through you.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – [Gal 2:20 NASB]

The Spirit as the River of Life, is the flowing Life of God. Open yourself up to Him and drink in the Living Water. Christ as the Tree of Life is the growing Life of God. Open yourself up to Him and eat of Him. You will find that the River of Life and the Tree of Life are inseparable and you cannot experience one without the other, for they flow and grow together, spreading the eternal Life of God.

So by turning to our Spirit, the Life of God flows and grows in us and through us, saturating us and spreading to everyone that we contact. This Life, which is just Christ Himself, brings forth the fruit of the Spirit from within our innermost being.

but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. – [2Cr 3:16-18 NASB]

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