Category Archives: Church

Born of God

Many psychiatrists think wrongly that we are only two-part beings. One part is physical, the other is some combination of soul and spirit, something that is intangible or untouchable, but which undeniably exists. The fact that they cannot perceive the difference between soul and spirit accounts for the fact that they have only two avenues of assistance to persons in their care. They can counsel, and they can administer drugs. In either event, the techniques that they use to help us are all limited to the flesh as a vehicle for change, because even counseling can affect my soul only by using my eyes and/or ears, which are flesh.

When I perceive that I also have a spirit, I have had revealed to me another avenue of assistance. It is this avenue (my spirit) that God (Who is Spirit) uses most of the time to effect change in me. The first change is to allow my spirit to die, as it was doomed to do, since I was born in Adam’s image. “Now, wait a minute,” I can hear someone cry! “I thought God said He created us in His own image!”

Actually, He only created Adam and Eve in His own image (Genesis 1:27). Adam He created from dust, and Eve He created from Adam’s rib. Cain and Abel were born, not created. Look at the comment regarding Seth’s birth in Genesis 5:3. He was born, and born in Adam’s image in every way. I am a great, great, etc. grandson of Adam, born in his image in every way, including the spiritually dead state he was in by the time he begot Seth, because he had been thrown out of the garden of Eden by then. He was already doomed to spiritual death.

Very good news came to me when it was made known to me that I could go ahead and suffer the spiritual death that I was doomed to, and then in its place receive the spiritual life that Jesus died to give me. If I had died physically in the spiritually dead state that I was in, I would have stayed in my spiritually dead condition for eternity.

Praise His holy Name, He gave the privilege to me of accepting my spiritual death and receiving His Spiritual Life! So, in being born again, I was born in His image this time! Adam was the first person created in God’s image, but Jesus was the first person born in God’s image (Matthew 1:18; Matthew 3:17; John 5:19)! Father desired that Jesus would be the firstborn among many children (Romans 8:29).

Fruit From Your Labors

He also said to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
(Luke 14:12-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Some of the people we serve show no signs of being influenced by the blessings we make sacrifices to offer them. They may be greedy, deceitful, demanding, unbelieving, and have no intentions of changing. Some will be changed, though, in spite of their hardness.

Don’t be discouraged or angry if you don’t know it until after your death. If we only serve the thankful or the growing or the loving people around us, we will miss opportunities to work with the Lord of the harvest as He brings it into His storehouse.

In fact, picking the most unlike Him in the crowd might be the best way to decide which people to invite. How very good it was that Ananias was obedient when the Holy Spirit sent him to baptize Saul of Tarsus. That has even blessed you, not just Saul.

Seeing Him in Us

The impossibilities of being able to see Christ revealed in the believers around us and of being able to see Him revealed in ourselves should be yoked together in our minds. We should expect Him to be able to do things through us all that are beyond our abilities, our qualifications, and our worthiness. We should expect Him to be revealed even in the poor or uneducated or annoying, just as He did in His first round of apostles.

Discerning His body in the believers around us is seeing in the Spirit the presence of the Head of the church in each body part of the church over which He is the Head. It requires faith and love and patience and forgiveness being accomplished in our hearts and minds by His Spirit for us to see what He sees when He looks at a group of us.

Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep.
(1 Corinthians 11:27-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

No Constitution

The government of the newly formed United States of America was founded on a document that outlined and detailed what constituted its identity and its powers. The document is a descriptive “constitution,” or list of ingredients for its recipe.

The early church’s government did not have such a document. It had Spirit-led leaders who gathered to discuss things in the presence of the Holy One and listen for His advice and directions.

This government was the manifestation of the King’s domain – His Kingdom. In Acts 15, Luke recorded a letter written by that government to new believers in Jesus who had been Gentiles. One line of that letter is very telling regarding the perception the leaders had of their Leader’s influence on their leadership:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:”

(Acts 15:28 New King James Version)

Consuming the Lord

“I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
(John 6:47-58 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

If you want Life, you are qualified to partake of the body and the blood of Jesus. Everyone is welcome, or Jesus would not have served the bread and the wine to Judas and Peter. Even unbelievers are invited, or I would not have been born again while eating His body and drinking His blood.

You are also qualified to serve the body and the blood at any meal you want to bring Life to. Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that they were making a serious mistake by not discerning the body of Jesus in each other, so receive Him in the bread, the wine/juice, and the rest of the people who are with you.

Right Living

Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But

If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

(Romans 12:9-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

Growth and Impact

Jeff Christopherson, in his book, “The Kingdom Matrix” lists these four marks of a Kingdomcentric church:

  1. New Believers
  2. New Disciplemakers
  3. New Communities of Faith
  4. Transforming Communities

Knowing both the differences between and the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom changes the way we think and do and interact and can give us greater understanding of our identities and our purposes.

The book is available by clicking here if you would like to read it.

The Author’s Voice

One of my heroes passed from this life last year. I picked up a couple of his books to give him fresh opportunities to influence me. I knew his voice from hours of listening to him teach in large groups, small groups, and in conversations that he and I had. As I read what he wrote, I don’t hear my voice in my head. I hear his.

As we read the Scriptures, we should come to a maturity of knowing our Shepherd’s voice. We should hear His voice in our heads, maybe. It was costly for Yahweh to gain your life. He doesn’t intend to neglect your preparation or your inform-ation with regard to your presence and work in the earth.

The preparation and information become transformation when we let them. When we add our part of the revelation that He is giving to the church to the parts that other believers bring into the relationships we allow, the transformation multiplies for each of us.

However, among the mature we do speak a wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew it, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written:

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard,
and what has never come into a man’s heart,
is what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Now God has revealed them to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the concerns of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? In the same way, no one knows the concerns of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order to know what has been freely given to us by God. We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to know it since it is evaluated spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. For:

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct Him?

But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

The Priesthood

Moses went up the mountain to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob, and explain to the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine, and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation. These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
(Exodus 19:3-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for His possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises
of the One who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
(1 Peter 2:9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

We are the only authentic priests on the planet. How should that influence our lives and our work? Ask the Spirit.

The Slain Lamb

Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world.

Time and space are limitations that we are not naturally able to step out from under the control of. Not so with Jesus. Before Abraham was, He still is.

All the intentions Yahweh has had toward humanity for blessing and Life were accomplished outside of time, and poured into the earth through Jesus while He was on the cross. All His Father had intended and promised to His faithful in the earth became “Yes” and “Amen” through Jesus in a moment on the timeline, and Jesus declared them “finished” when they were manifested in time.

Revelation 13:8 / 2 Corinthians 1:20 / John 19:30