Saturday, 15 October 2011

Beyond Belief Part 1; an Introduction

Word and Power
 Part 1; an Introduction

1 Peter 4:10-11 “10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” NKJV

It’s been 9 posts in the last two and a half months all focusing on reinforcing our foundations, to know the name of God, the power of Jesus, the gift of covenant, the function of the church and how each one of us should be acting 7 days a week.  I’ve spent all this time preparing in order to present these messages that will follow to the next few weeks.  With out these foundations these messages would do more harm than good and leave us to put our trust in things other than a love for Christ.  For those who have missed the past messages, the Archive is waiting for you.

For the better part of the church’s 2000 year history we have been consistently working at one thing, talking.  We can preach from dozens of different translations (just in English), attend hundreds of universities and Bible Colleges.  And leave merely with an ability to talk the gospel each and every Sunday.  We have even created our own dialect called “Christianese” glory hallelujah amen, in order to explain the deep things of God without actually explaining the truth behind them.  We can talk yes, but so can the Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Mormons and Scientologists.  A gospel in word only is like a bird trying to fly with only one wing, or a car racing without tires, or Christmas tree with out electricity.  This is a safe gospel, an intellectual hands off gospel, one where converts are birthed through our own limited wisdom rather than the grace and power of I AM.  One that never takes the risk of relying on the Holy Spirit to show up and move in a miraculous way or even in a subtle whisper.  No, this is a gospel Paul warned us about in,

2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…”

It can be hard to break centuries of tradition, from 300AD to 1700AD, what I am going to talk about would have been called blasphemous or reserved for only the most senior and elderly ministers.  But over the past 300 years Christ has given us back our Bibles, the knowledge of our Identity and Authority and the truth of

John 4:21-24 “21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. KJV

Yes, now is a time for us to receive all that the Father has for us and to go out and show every creature that salvation has come.  Not merely in vain words that may erode the minds defenses but leave the heart untouched.  But rather in the power of the Gospel that is accessible to every believer and follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Removing vain excuses administer by those who have rejected the power and mercy of Christ.  Those who have raised their voices and decreed that “those things were for a different time”.  Such words are a farce, in our day we live on a world with 6 970 000 000 souls compared to the 250 000 000 that walked the earth in the days of Jesus and the Apostles.  And we are to believe that despite these numbers that the Hand of God is no longer needed or wanted?  Far be it, in these days we must shine brighter and brighter we have 1200 years of history were the church looked more like the devils “butt-crack” than a shining city on a hill.  And relying merely on our natural tongues will do nothing to rebuild the church of God into a Lighthouse for the planet.  There must be something more, something that was and must be again.  There have been glimmers and flashes of this light, yet were extinguished through pride, religion, fear, and the lack of knowledge of who we truly are as children of God and joint heirs of Christ immersed in the Holy Spirit.

Many speak of revival, praying for God to wake us back up from slumber, but I am calling for a Revolution, a returning to the ways of the first church.  In the ways they loved, helped each other, spread the gospel and moved in miraculous power with no fear.  It is time for the circle to be completed and the children of God to march with the Word in one hand, the power of God in the other hand and the love of God written on their hearts.  I am not saying that we are to abandon the knowledge of the Bible, never so I am saying that we must have both the Word and the Spirit.  Again I invoke the perfect circle; you cannot have one without the other.  This is why foundations are needed in matters such as these.  If we focus solely on miracles we eventually loose our holiness and honor, and if we focus solely on the word we eventually loose our compassion and love.  Our lives must revolve around Christ, in His fullness not in fragments.

I am not alone in this way of thinking and believing, even the Apostle Paul himself expressed to the churches at Corinth, Rome and Thessalonica that the Gospel of Christ was not some made up story peddled by clever men, but it was ordained and confirmed by the demonstrations of God power and mercy.  That Christ had truly risen from the grave and is alive, and continues to operate in our lives today in the same way He operated in His own life.  That he continues to show compassion, to heal the sick, restore sight to the blind,  raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, open deaf ears, cast out demons and most importantly cleanse our sins and unrighteousness.  Let us look at the exact words used by Paul in,

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” NKJV

And he repeats himself a few chapters later in,

1 Corinthinas 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. NKJV

Here we have two utterances of this truth, that when ever the gospel was preached signs and miracles followed (in that order!).  That God is always ready to move and act, and that we ourselves are the anchor keeping the ship at bay.  As I said before Paul also spoke this to other churches, so must turn to, 

1 Thessalonians 1:5 “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  NKJV

Romans 15:18-19 “18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient   19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” NKJV

Paul calls it to “Fully Preach the Gospel of Christ”, we can only achieve this when we work with the Holy Spirit in all of our actions inside and outside of the church.  One can assemble a three point salvation sermon without the Spirit of God but no one can heal the sick or speak a true prophecy without the Spirit.  And how much more a sermon that would be if God was allowed to intervene and speak clearly through that person.  I eluded to this in “Pentephonics” where what would happen if an unbeliever entered the church and saw the Spirit prophesying through them.  This is not for the church leadership alone this is for every believer of Christ. 

Now Paul was not the only one to understand the connection between the Mouth and Hand of God, we have another witness the Apostle Peter also spoke of this in

2 Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” NKJV

Next week we begin to reveal exactly what Jesus has given to us and how we are to operate in our lives and in the church.

To Be Continued
Written by Cameron Conway

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dust Upon The Crown

Dust Upon the Crown

It seems we will be remaining in the basics for one more week, though this is not a bad thing.  Perhaps a return to our roots and the core of our existence is worth re-examining now and again.  It is easy sometimes to actually forget what it means to be a Christian and a child of God.  And I’m not talking about just going to church on Sundays and voting conservative.  Or wearing a cross around our necks in public, or following the list of social don’ts.  I fear that with everything going on in our lives day in and day out we tend to forget that we actually saved and redeemed from something to something else.  That the core of our lives is based on Someone, and not on somewhere we go week in and week out.  Amidst the toil and turmoil have we forgotten Christ?  And have we as Christians unknowingly forgotten Christ and become “ians”?

It isn’t something we consciously do, no one wakes up and says I’m going to be a Christian without Christ.  A detachment from Jesus comes slowly and isn’t realized until our own strength has failed us.  And we are left looking up, asking for forgiveness for our stubbornness and blindness.  Even when it comes to prayer, we can speak without thinking and race to finish our shopping list, never stopping to think of who we are talking to.  At the greatness and nearness of His grace and power, we unload and move on never stopping to know that “He is God”.  Yes, the enemy does want to separate us from oneness with the trinity, to bring us back to a state of “self”.  Truth is our weapon, but what truth is that?

1 John 5:19-20 “19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.  20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”  NKJV

The constant realization that Jesus the Messiah is with us always should be the cornerstone of our entire existence.  He is always here, yet we are rarely here, rather we are there and everywhere else.  At work, at church, at the game, at the store, in bed, on the couch, always alone (by choice) on the inside.  It is one thing for those outside the new covenant to feel this way, it is entirely different for the adopted children of God to do so.  We need to be reminded that we are “set apart” that we are saved, that we have been given eternal life. By no merit of our own, but by Christ alone, and at one point we turned and accepted Him and our lives changed.  All was stripped away, and all that was left was.

1 John 5:1-5 “5 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  NKJV

How often do we stop to think of ourselves as overcomers?  Now compare that to how often we think of ourselves as believers and lovers of Christ.  Answer that question and you will see where your heart lies.  You cannot have one side without the other.  If you want to overcome the world, believe and truly know Christ and keep His commandments.  Then and only then will He reveal all He has to you.  This again comes down to spending time knowing Jesus, by worshipping, reading, praying (with Him not at It), or just being still (psalm 46:10) and silent.  Most often it is in the silence that we see the clearest, when we silence our heart and ignore the chaotic world around us, we can remember who He truly is.  And all the assumptions from the world, radio, TV, internet, leaders, church-goers, and unbelievers about Jesus fade into the abyss of silence.  Then we can remember and know with all our being.

John 3:14-21 “4 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." NKJV

Do we as light still cling to the shadows, is there still corners of our heart that long to be re-assimilated into the night.  Now I’m not talking about becoming a murderer (hater) or a adulterer (luster) I am talking about the most dangerous manifestations of the darkness.  The little whispers that kill us, thoughts of our own strength and ability and the amnesia of grace and truth.  Becoming a Christian the experience of being born again is not a “set it and forget it” experience.  Everyday we must humble ourselves, come to the throne of grace and know that He Is, not was or will be.  We must create a lifestyle of being aware of Christ and God and Holy Spirit at all times.  A lifestyle of not relying on our habits and traditions to get us through the days and weeks.  We are children of God, joint-heirs of Christ first and foremost, above all else, be it families, denominations, nationalities or color.  If we keep Christ first in our actions and thoughts and not just in words then we will be the light spoken of in John 4. 

If you have drifted in anyway from God in anyway, there is a way back.  I’m not talking of just being unsaved or if you are backslidden and running from God.  But in any situation where we have forgotten Him in any degree, or have become a mere Christian by association.  Drifting in and out clinging merely to our first cry of salvation.  There is a promise and a path back into the arms we never actually left.

Romans 10:8-13 “8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."   12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."   NKJV

Remove the dust from the crown that Christ has given you through his shed blood.  Remove all in your hearts that distract us from Him, and abandon all thoughts of life without the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  A choice must be made: are you a Christian never forgetting or watering down all He has done for you?  Or have you taken the Christ out of Christian becoming an “ian” always running without ever stopping, claiming the traditions of others as your Source and declaring to know Christ yet never seeking, never knocking, never asking.

Written by Cameron Conway