Death, Sterilized. Earth, Shaken. Devil Destroyed.

The sign of Jonah is the greatest miracle in the universe. It is the gospel, the good news to all the people of every tribe and tongue and nation. It is the revealing of God’s heart for His entire creation. It is the announcing of Christ’s death sterilizing, nullifying, abolishing crucifixion. It is the declaration that the seed of the woman has crushed the head of the serpent. That the rulers and authorities in the heaven lies have been triumphed over. it is the declaration that the base of Satan’s rebellion has been shaken, the strongholds of his kingdom broken and the power of death and Hades has been conquered and subdued.
It is to exult and praise and proclaim God’s victory in Christ. It is to proclaim that the resurrected Christ is the living One. He is living forever and ever! Proclaim that He has the keys of death and of Hades and that today we are no longer subject to death and Hades.

Where oh death is your sting? Where your victory?

Hallelujah Christ has triumphed! Christ is victor!

Today, Christ as the greater Jonah is announcing the gospel of peace to all people’s. We, being one with our wonderful Jonah must grasp every opportunity to tell to all of God’s victory through Christ’s incarnation, death, burial, and resurrection.

Speaking of grasping opportunities…
You are needed for the bible distribution in London during the Olympics! Check out http://distribute.biblesforeurope.org/ for more info.
And for free electronic copies of the seven Rhema books, go to http://www.RhemaBooks.org (available in a slew of languages)

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A Life of Failure

If you read my last post you will know that there are many failures in the church. You can see it. The church time and time again has failed the Lord because we are all just failures. It is in our nature. We fail and fail, but just like Peter we have a hope. We have a  precious treasure contained within our earthen vessel. If we look to this treasure, to this One whom we have in our spirit, we can overcome!

However, we must be wary. We must realize the tendency of our fallen nature. We must have our eyes opened to all these failures so that we are not ensnared and so that we do not fall into the same destruction and degradation of the church in the past. May the Lord enlighten us to see the next eleven failures in the churches in the New Testament.

Judging one another in eating and observing of days

We are each so full of tradition and doctrinal concepts. These things, which we ourselves may or may not follow, become our basis for criticizing and judging others. We see this was the case of the believers in Rome in the epistle to the Romans chapter 14. Saints, do we realize that one, we ourselves will stand before the judgement seat of God? We should not concern ourselves with judging others but instead be wary in how we ourselves walk because we will stand before His judgement seat. Do we desire mercy or judgement from Him? As He told us, show mercy that we may obtain mercy. And two, dear saints, do you realize that, “If we cause any one of the believers to stumble by our doctrinal concepts, we break down, destroy, God’s work of grace in him.” ? Oh Lord. May we be those taking care of God’s building work and not our doctrinal concepts.

Making divisions

Though we do not want to cause stumbling in other believers due to our doctrinal concepts and traditions we must be those watchful concerning those who make divisions that are apart from the Apostles’ teaching. This is the teaching of the Apostles which we find in the New Testament. In 1 Timothy 6:3 Paul writes to us regarding the healthy teaching. This healthy teaching is the teaching of the Apostles. How do we know if it is healthy or not? Well, as the point before says, God is concerned with His building. He is doing a building work in the believers. When we place healthy food into the body this food does not damage the body but becomes a supply of life that causes healthy growth. The words and teaching that are according to the Apostles’ teaching supply God’s people with life and produce growth resulting in godliness, that is a life that lives Christ and expresses God in Christ.

Strife and divisions because of gifted persons

Who do you prefer? Paul or Apollos? Or maybe you prefer someone a lot closer to failures like us, maybe you prefer Peter? Or maybe you will condemn them all and choose to be puffed up that you choose Christ. No, saints, we need to set aside our preferences. We need to denounce all these things that lead to our causing strife and division among the saints. We need to be those whose only, unique, choice and preference in Christ. Not as a doctrine that causes strife and our judging others, but as a reality. He must be our unique center, in this way all strife and division will be terminated.

Fornication

We must always be on our guard against our flesh. It will NEVER get any better. Saints, we may think that such a sin as fornication, a gross sin like incest could never happen in a church with a genuine believer. However we have this record in 1 Corinthians 5:1 which states, “It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication which is not even among the nations, that someone has his father’s wife.” Saints, we are failures because in our flesh Satan, the evil one resides. We must be on our guard that we do not fall into such sin, especially fornication since it is not only sinful but damaging to our humanity.

Lawsuits

The believers in Corinth were fighting with one another to such an extent that they filed lawsuits against one another. This is a matter of our being unwilling to suffer loss but instead demand our rights. This came in because of the believers preference and their lusts. The saints in Corinth were quite soulish and fleshly. Saints, may we be on our guard from this. May the Lord have mercy on us to be those walking in our mingled spirit.

Questioning the Apostle’s Apostleship

In Corinthians we see that because of money matters Satan came in to try to damage the relationship between the Apostle and the believers. We, like Paul, must be wise in our dealing with money matters, and we must allow the Lord to touch this matter in our being that we would not be lovers of money, greedy for gain, but would be pure so that the enemy has no ground to come in and destroy our relationship with the saints.

The Lord’s table

First we cannot partake of the Lord’s table and the table of demons. What does that mean? When we partake of the Lord’s table we are being identified with the Lord. If we partake of idol and idol sacrifices, though idols are nothing, we are being identified with idols and behind the idols are demons. Thus we are identifying ourselves with them. Our God is a jealous God, idolatry is utterly abominable and hateful to Him. Thus we must flee from idolatry.

Second, we must not eat the Lord’s bread in an unworthy manner, without discerning the body. To eat the bread in this way is to not see the significance of the Lord’s table. The bread and blood signify His body broken for us and His blood shed for our sins through His death for our redemption. Discerning the body means making the distinction that this is no ordinary bread, it is not common food, but it is our God as our portion. It is also the mystical body of Christ into which we have been placed and of whom we are a part.

Tongue-Speaking

We must not be those who abuse the gift of tongue-speaking. Paul wrote, “In the church I would rather speak five words with my mind that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19). What we need today in the church meetings is not gifted-persons speaking unintelligible words in a tongue, but each believer speaking words of wisdom for the building up of the body.

Saying there is no resurrection

Resurrection is the life pulse of the divine economy. Resurrection is the living proof of justification by His death (Rom. 4:25). Because of resurrection there is the imparting of life (John 12:24). Because of resurrection there is regeneration (John 3:5). Because of resurrection there is renewing (Titus 3:5). Because of resurrection there is transformation (Rom. 812:2; 2 Cor. 3:18). Because of resurrection there is conformation to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Because of resurrection we are members of Christ (Rom. 12:5). Because of resurrection we are the fulness of Christ (Eph. 1:20-23). Because of resurrection there is the Bride of Christ (John 3:29). Because of resurrection there is the new man (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10-11). Yet, the believers in Corinth were saying that there is no resurrection of the dead. However, we must be like the apostle Paul who taught and emphasized Christ’s resurrection.

Walking Disorderly

Having a disorderly walk is a practical point. I enjoyed our brother’s sharing:

“I believe that the disorderliness in Thessalonica came from the misconception regarding the Lord’s coming back. Some believers thought that the Lord Jesus would be coming back soon, and therefore that it was not necessary for them to work. Their concept may have been that as long as they had something to eat and could survive, that was adequate. Those who hold such a concept go beyond the level of proper spirituality and walk disorderly.”

Oh Lord, have mercy on us that we would not be careless in our walk and in our life in the church. May we, by Your great mercy be kept from repeating the same failures in the churches and instead may we be those who excel in the building up work that You may have a built-up Bride, prepared and ready for Your return, for Your rest and satisfaction.

 

(From message 222 of The Conclusion of the New Testament: “The Church: The Failures in the Churches (2)”. This message can be read here.)

Eternal and Unchanging

Psalm 102 unveils Christ’s death and His eternal unchanging existence in His resurrection. Christ Himself is the resurrection and through His death and resurrection He produces the Church. Because the Church has come out of the resurrection life of Christ, the Church is an entity altogether in resurrection, it is resurrectionly, its very essence is resurrection.

Though these are only a few sentences, they are so packed with meaning, the depths of which are not so easy to search out. But the Lord is so very amazing, He, as the Lord Spirit has so many unique ways to work in each one of us, and because of this our brother asked one question at the beginning of this message:

Are you willing and ready to be touched by the Lord Spirit in your natural being?

Of course, our response, after the amen, might be to inquire, how would the Lord Spirit touch us? Our brother therefore gave us 17 points of possible application:

1. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit in our natural being to be helped to know Christ Himself as the resurrected One. (Phil. 3:10)

2. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit in our natural being to know the Church as an organic entity in the resurrection life of Christ.

3. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to be willing to experience the cross as in Song of Songs chapter 2. We would be led out of our introspection, out of our self examination and brought to the cleft of the rock to abide in the crucified Christ.

4. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to aspire to know the power of Christ’s resurrection.

5. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to advance in the divine romance. We would not continue in our juvenile, undeveloped love, stranded in the first chapter of Song of Songs, but we would advance deeply until we become the Shulamite.

6. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to participate in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and make up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ. Saints, if no one participates in this, the building up of the body will be delayed!

7. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit  in our natural ability and strength.

8. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to serve in the Church, in the ministry, and in the work through the principle of death and resurrection.

9. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to have the longing to experience the out-resurrection from the dead. We would experience the gradual resurrection of our entire being. As our days in our human life are declining we would be those whose inner being is thriving in resurrection.

10. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit that we would be those who by the God of resurrection, the God of all comfort we may comfort those in affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted.

11. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit so that our prayer would be in resurrection. Our prayer would be the incense with the frankincense. Saints, natural prayer inhibits the release of the resurrection power. May we, in this coming year, endeavor to touch the hem of His garment. We would pray, “I must touch, Lord, the hem of the garment of the resurrected Christ!”

12. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to be a living testimony of the resurrected Christ, not preachers or teachers, but living testimonies.

13. We all, but even more some of the leading ones among us, would be touched by the Lord Spirit to be those with the budding rod in our God appointed ministry that would make us the representatives of the Lord.

14. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to be those trained to detect the attack of death upon the Church. Those trained to defeat it. Today this is the ultimate war: the gates of Hades and the resurrection life. Praise the Lord that Satan’s power ends at death, but the Church, the body of Christ is in resurrection.

15. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit that He would produce in us ministry in resurrection. We need some to be produced as beings in resurrection that the ministry would be continued in resurrection. This is not a matter of gift; if in the Lord’s recovery, we only have gifted brothers, we are finished.

16. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to be those who consecrate ourselves out of an aspiration to be useful to the Lord in His ministry.

17. We would be touched by the Lord Spirit to live in the reality of the body of Christ. There is only one lesson we need to learn: to be in resurrection for the body of Christ.

Saints, Christ is resurrection, He is in resurrection. Resurrection is the focus of the entire bible. From the land rising from the depths on the third day, to the city of resurrection life, the New Jesrusalem. Resurrection is God’s goal for YOU! Cease trying to stop Him.

Resurrection is total termination and the emergence in newness of life. That resurrected person, matter, or thing is beyond all manner of death, it is transcendent!

There is a crucial point that we all must come to see, that in this world, NOTHING LASTS. No experience lasts. No situation lasts. Nations do not last. Great empires, though seemingly invincible, didn’t last. No relationship lasts. Marriage, however sweet, desireable, and God-ordained is temporal and when death closes ones eyes it is over, but in the midst of the temporal something eternal happens and this is something altogether in resurrection.

I repeat, Christ is resurrection. The Church, produced through Christ’s death and resurrection, is therefore an entity absolutely in resurrection. The entire bible is focused on resurrection and resurrection is God’s goal for us.

Saints, will you take this way? Will you set your course to resurrection? Will you allow the Lord to show you that everything in the old creation needs to be terminated? Will you treasure more the new creation than the old? Will you open your being to the Lord and pray:

“Lord, I long to know this resurrection life. Lord, give me the experiences I need to know resurrection life.”

Oh, Lord Jesus. Amen dear, Lord. Do this in us.

Death cannot hold the resurrection life,/The life of God eternal manifest;/ ’Tis uncreated, indestructible,/ ’Tis Christ Himself, unconqu’rable, expressed/ Death cannot hold the resurrection life,/Though all its force against it may combine;/ Death only gives it opportunity/ To show the boundless pow’r of life divine.// Death cannot hold the resurrection life,/ The more interred, the more it multiplies;/ All kinds of suff’ring only help it grow/ And fruits of life abundant realize.//Death cannot hold the resurrection life./ Thru every block and barrier it breaks;/ Conqu’ring the pow’r of darkness and of hell,/ It swallows death and victory partakes.// Death cannot hold the resurrection life,/ All of God’s fullness it will manifest;/ God’s righteousness and holiness it yields,/ His glorious image by it is expressed.// Oh, may I know this resurrection life,/ In every kind of death its pow’r outpoured,/ In my experience ever realize/ This life is nought but Christ my living Lord. (Hymns #639)

Life of Sufferings

It is a well established fact that our human condition is one of suffering. The only thing worse than suffering is the desolation of going through our suffering alone. It is a comfort of exceptional magnitude to know that our God is one that is touched by the feeling of our weakness. Today, having passed through pain and suffering of the acutest kind He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us in our hour of need. Because He is our great High Priest and also our Pneumatic Comforter we have a friend to whom we can confide all the worries in our heart, all the needs of our soul, all the anxieties which vex and trouble our mortal bodies. He inclines toward us His listening, loving ear, hearing all our sighings, and even our complaining. Yes, in fact, He loves to hear us complain to Him because through each heaving breath He is able to sooth our bruised souls and tenderly add more of His life element into us. I have always enjoyed this fact, that I have someone to whom I can complain about everything.

Today, however, I read this:

“The first important lesson we must learn is that whenever we are in a situation of suffering ordained by the Lord, we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty. If we do not acknowledge God’s sovereignty in our situation, we cannot be at peace. Instead, we will be resistant and unhappy, we will protest and complain that things are not fair. Our being will be in a state of turmoil, and we will begin to doubt God because of the sufferings that we are passing through. However, once we touch God in His sovereignty, everything will change. We will feel as if we have emerged from night to day. The outward situation may not have changed, but our knowledge of God’s sovereignty will cause everything within us to be different. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty is a great lesson that we all must learn. It will cause us to be at peace, to be obedient, and to say Amen to our situation. After all, our situation has been raised up for us under God’s sovereign hand. In this way we can see beyond our present situation, see God’s hand, and even realize God’s mind.” (Crystalization Study of the Psalms (1) msg 11.)

Yes, the Lord is there when we are complaining to Him, He listens, He cares. But I realized after reading this that if we are so busy complaining about our situation, we are not open to listening to what He has to say to us. However, if we acknowledge, in whatever situation we are in, His sovereignty over that particular situation, we become open to receiving His speaking, we are open to seeing beyond what lies just in front of us and we see God’s hand, we can apprehend God’s mind. In this way we can enter into the very heart and mind of God, we can know all His secrets, even all that is in His heart for us.

How do we become this type of person? Just grin and bear it? Just religiously repeat a mantra of “God is sovereign, everything happens for a reason, etc”? No. But there is a person whose life was a life of suffering, whose life was plagued with sorrows, and yet someone whose entire being was always submissive and obedient to God even unto death. We see this man in Psalm 69 (vs 1-3; 19-20): “Save me, O God; for the waters/ Threaten my life./ I sink in deep mire,/ And there is no place to stand;/ I have come to the depths of water,/ And the flood flows over me./ I am weary of my crying;/ My throat is parched;/ My eyes fail/ While I wait for my God…You know my reproach/ And my shame and my humiliation;/ All my adversaries are before You./ Reproach has broken my heart,/ And I am sick;/ I looked for pity, but there was none;/ And for comforters, but I found none.” This was the life of the Man of Sorrows. In his epistle to the Philippian believers, Paul writes: “To know Him.” This is to know the Man of Sorrows. Today this is our desperate need. To know, in a deep and experiential way this person. Know Him and the power of resurrection because it is only through His life and the power of His resurrection life that we can look at our complicated situation, at our sufferings, our problems and acknowledge the sovereign hand of God working in that very thing to gain every inch of our being.