Saturday, November 23, 2013


by Jason Henderson- (Market Street Fellowship.) 

Christianity is not religion; it is life. Specifically, it is the life of Jesus Christ given to the soul of man. It is not a collection of beliefs, although knowing His life will cause us to see and walk in the truth. It is not a kind of behavior, although abiding in His life will affect all that we desire and do. Christianity, at its very root and in every branch, is bound up with a very specific life that God gives, reveals, and forms in the soul of man. Christianity is Christ living in you. But to know and experience the greatness of His life, the soul must be carried on by the Spirit of God to an ever greater view of the cross of Jesus Christ.

     Not I, But Christ in PDF

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Chapter 3 
Chapter 4 
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Chapter 10 
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Chapter 12 
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Chapter 15 
Chapter 16 
Chapter 17 



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Some Thoughts on Fellowship


 Some Thoughts on Fellowship 

     "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. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." - John 4:23-24
     The Lord has been teaching me how our true fellowship is with HIM and how it only comes as we are walking in the Spirit with Him.  He made me to understand how this will naturally bring us together in fellowship with other believers that are also walking with Him in the Spirit. There will be unity even though we maybe at different levels of maturity and at different stages of growth, we are all of the same Spirit and He is guiding us. We may not all be at the same level of understanding yet, as we are all being taught Truth from Him as we "pick up our cross" daily and follow Him, but we are one in the Spirit with Him. In this way, our fellowship is not "based" on "doctrine" or how much we "know", but rather, we are known of Him and we are of the same spirit as we are walking with Him.   
     "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." - John 6:63
     "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
     To understand these different "places" in the Lord I am speaking about let me share a truth that He has shown me.  When we first come to the Lord and are born again of His Spirit, we are set free from the power sin has had over us up to this point.   "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) Most people don't realize what sin really is; sin is living for self rather than living for the will of God according to the "light" His is given us in every aspect of our lives. The process of learning what His will is and a willingness to "lay down our life (will)" to follow Him begins; we will continue to grow in this.  "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." (1 Peter 4:2)
     "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:1-6)
     While the power of sin no longer rules over us, we have need of a "renewing of our mind" as Romans 12:2 and Colossians 3:10 speak of.   Years of living for self, have left many "impressions" on our personalities that must be burned away through many trials and tribulations.  As Jesus...we will learn obedience through the things we suffer. (ref. Hebrews 5:8-9)  We must also walk as He walked. (ref. 1 John 2:6)  He was made an example for us.  Even though Jesus never "lived" for himself and didn't have to deal with the "natural" tendencies that our old self life has produced in us, He still had a will that He had to lay down to only live for the will of the Father. 
     We all have deep fleshly traits that are unique to each of us when we first come to the Lord, He uses different situations that are appropriate for our individual need to reveal in us what has to go. He "brings it to the surface" so to speak, so we can "see" what we must willing surrender to Him. Because of this, we may all be in different stages in this process of learning to walk in the Spirit and not "after the flesh" with its own understanding.  Those that will submit to laying down their own life (flesh) to walk in the Spirit with Him will be taught of the Him and there will be unity in the Spirit with others also walking in the Spirit. 
    However, contentions can come when we "step out" of walking in the Spirit to walking after our flesh with its selfish desires...wanting to be"right" and "defend" what we believe to others...even if it something that the Lord has taught us...we can quickly "get in the flesh" and get offended if we are "crossed" in what we believe is truth. 
     "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God,or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." - John 7:17-18
     These are situations that the Lord can use to "reveal" our flesh to us...let us be quick to surrender it to the Lord.   Then, when we are truly walking in the Spirit, "we" don't "have" to be right in the eyes of others, our peace and contentment comes from the Lord alone, and not in what others believe of us or our "doctrine".  It frees us up to really love one another with no selfish desires in it and no "need" to defend ourselves or "our" doctrine...and in that state, maybe the Lord would give us something to say that would give them some "light" in an area.  But, we would be just as content and at peace if the Lord did not use us so and had us just "walk away" in peace.
     "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." - 1 Peter 4:11



Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Real Church

My heart goes out to both the “new born” babe in Christ, and those that have had a true desire to know God.   Maybe something has happened in the life of a “seeker” that caused them to “seek out” God and have turned to where they believed they would find Him....the church, but lasting answers are not there to be found.  As for the new “born again” believer, if given the opportunity, the institutionalized church will shipwreck their faith as it has done countless others throughout the last two thousand years.   

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." [John 3:5-6]

When speaking of the “new born babes” in Christ, we are not talking about the “seekers” here; we are speaking of those who have been born again... “born of the Spirit” as Jesus said.  They are ones that have come out from the world and its desires and have received a new heart to live the rest of their days for the will of God.  To them, religion or more to the point, “modern Christianity”, comes as an “angel of light” with a form of Godliness that can be deceiving to these unaware new believers, this false “light” the church offers denies them the power to be set free (or remain free) from sin. 

The new born child of God knows that he is but a child and he longs for fellowship and instruction in this new found faith that has become so alive in him.  Here in the western world and its brand of “Christianity” (which has now spread throughout the whole world) he is told he must "go" to “church” and submit to its leadership...get “plugged in” and they will tell you what to do and how to “serve”.  This “seems” right...believing these “Christians” feel about God the same way he does.  He believes they have been “born again” as he was (or why else would they call themselves Christians and go to church if they were not?) and since they are older in the Lord...they must be right, they have “been at” this a long time. Not realizing that it is all a lie, a trap of the enemy, who has come to steel, kill and destroy his faith, it (modern Christianity) has "become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." [Revelation 18:2]  The “church” has become an enemy of the cross of Christ and would “resurrect”, if they can, the new believer’s old self life and hand it back to him...killing the new seed that had once been planted in him.

Do the other members of the “church” realize this?  I believe most do not, that is why it is called a is THE “great falling away” that the scriptures have warned of.  There are many reasons people go to “church”.  It is sad, but most do not go because they were born again and were seeking fellowship with like-minded spiritual brothers and sisters who would encourage each other in the faith, but go for other reasons.  There can be as many reasons as there are people in the pews.

Some go because they want to “clean up” their lives for some reason, become respectable, and maybe ease their conscience.  Going to church doesn't cost them that much, a little time and maybe some money sometimes.  But the music is good, it can be entertaining, they feel like they did something for God, something that pleased Him and that it makes them feel good, they feel justified for a while.  They can hear an encouraging message on how much God loves them and how they can receive all of God’s blessing, especially if they “obey” God (all churches have their own set of “laws” to live by, some more strict, some less), they go to church and “tithe” to it, God might be more obliged to answer some prayers. Others go for the kids, thinking they are giving them some good morals to live by and the church will teach them about God, but none of these were ever born again. 

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." [Matthew 16:24]
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." [Mark 10:21]

Some of these “church goers” think they were “saved”, in fact, I would guess most think they were “saved” when they said a prayer to “accepted Jesus into their hearts” while repeating a few words after a pastor.  But they were never truly born again, they were never told the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God and its requirements of true repentance, or even know what true repentance means, the cross was never explained to them...the cross THEY would have to carry.   They were not told to count the cost and see if they were willing to go the distance with Him no matter the cost.

" And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." [Luke 14:27-33]

"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." [Acts 14:22]

These people had never even heard the true Gospel and they were lied to, Christ is NOT living in their hearts ruling and reigning, but “self” is still the master of their lives and the church gives them a false sense of security that they are “OK” in their self-directed way of life.  But in reality they are still in their sin as they continue to eat of the “human opinion tree” (The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) and the wrath of God remains on them.

But among the masses of people in the “churches” there are some that were true children of God.  This is the great tragedy, they had come as new believers and new born babes in Christ seeking fellowship, some might have even been born again there, and thought the “church” had something to do with it, but later only received a slow death, so slow and gradual they didn’t realize it was happening, or if they did, they didn’t know why it was happening and was powerless to stop it.   There may have been times when something just didn’t “seem right” to them or they saw error, but they excused it, they might have thought they must have been wrong...they thought they HAD to be in didn’t want to be called a “church hopper” or they would be disobeying God if they “forsook the assembling together”... wouldn’t they?  They might have convinced themselves they were just being “critical” or judgmental...they just needed to learn to get along with everyone, after one is perfect....they think....

Wasn’t long before they were accepting the “status quo” but deep down...if they let themselves think... they knew something was missing.   Was this the way it was in the first century church?  Is this the manner of life the apostles lived?       
If the truth was known about the history of the “church” for the last two thousand years, you would know WHY the so called “church” doesn’t have any spiritual power in it today.  All that is left is forms, traditions, rituals and entertainment with emotions that fade away, but no power to change lives to become true Sons of God that walk in the Spirit and no longer fulfill the lust of the flesh.  They have a “form of Godliness but deny the Power thereof”, they have cleaned up the outside of the cup; making it look pretty for all to see its (false) light, but the inside they are ravenous wolves.  They are Christ’s in name only and they are a friend of the world.  We see today, what has happened to the seven churches in Revelations...Isaiah also prophesied about them... 

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." [Isaiah 4:1 KJV]

" Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," [2 Corinthians 6:17]

I pray the Lord would open their eyes to see the truth and to see that there is LIFE outside these dead institutions.  It is a REAL life that doesn’t fade away after the “programs” are over and all the hype and emotions are gone, but it is a power that LIVES in them that will keep them from sin as they submit to it.

“...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.   And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:" [2 Thessalonians 2:10-11]

 Some reading this may even remember having that “Life” years ago but have been convinced that was there just because they were “young” in the Lord and they have “out grown” it now....  COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM while there is still time!  If Christ is still not the most important thing on your mind everyday....if He is not what you live for, if you are not seeking Him with your whole heart every day, wanting to know what His will is for this day, and asking for the power to do it, you will have to ask yourself, have you become lukewarm and has He spit you out of His mouth?  Has He answered you according to the idols of your heart and has put you at ease in believing the lie?   Seek Him while He can be found!

As you “come out from among them”, (i.e. false forms of religion) to be “received” of the Lord, you can expect to see tribulations because of it.  Those still in these false forms of religion will believe you are wrong for leaving and you “must have backslidden”, all kinds of repercussion can happen because of it.  But the root of the problem is....they cannot afford for you to be right...if you are....where does that leave them?  But the neat thing is, the Lord can use these situations to bring a deeper death to “self” in you and teach you to really live for God and not “man”.  As He does this in us, the Lord can give us a deep love for those that are still lost and caught in the church trap with no “need” to defend ourselves and what we are doing, but only answer them as the Lord gives us directions in it.  

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. ... (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:5, 9)

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." [Romans 8:14]

Those that are His, He has given them ears to hear His voice and to be led by Him.  He gives them the Grace (Power of God) to overcome the world.  He will even direct them to true fellowship with other brothers in sisters in the Lord.  NO it is not an organization with a “name” on it and has no “forms” with so-called leaders, no “funds” needed for buildings or anything like that, and no salaries to pay.  Just people that love the Lord and want His will no matter the cost and want to share with others that are just as commented to Him as they are....He IS their LIFE.   Fellowship with others is also called a body.  It is a body that has many members spread out throughout the world.  In this ONE body and we will find more mature brothers and sisters in it that we all can learn fact, we will all learn from each other, from the “least” to the “greatest”.   If all members of the body of Christ are abiding in the “vine” and are learning of Him and feeding from Him, there will be times that ALL will have something to share with others.    It is the Lord that puts these members together as HE so wills it, no “human” hand has to “direct” it; it is led by the Holy Spirit.   

A sister posted a blog the other day that put it very well the way of fellowship and what “church” is all about. 

 Lots of Little Churches - by Loretta Heiden
“and to the church in your house…” Philemon1:2

What Church do I go to? I don’t. I don’t “go to” the ones on the corner with wood, stones, mortar, steeples, pews, lobbys, offices, classrooms, donation envelopes, ATMs, liturgies, confession boxes, “prayer rooms”, membership contracts, State-incorporation, power-tripping Clergy, Spirit-squashing Church traditions, mics, stages, sound systems, lighting systems and elevated pulpits.

But I am a part of lots of little churches, and we are all united; one flock, with one Shepherd.

What do my lots of little churches look like? Where are they located? Who are the leaders? Is there a liturgy or order of service? Do we meet on Sundays?

I had dinner out with J.; we are a little church. My friend K. came over and we sat in the living room; we are a little church.
My daughter and I spent time together; we are a little church. My daughter’s girl friend spent the evening at our kitchen table.
We talked for hours; the 3 of us are a little church. I chat with my blogger friends online, we are a little church. I chat
with many friends via email; we are lots of little churches. One Facebook friend came thru my city on her way across the country and
she stopped by for tea; we were a church of 2 sisters. On Skype, i meet up sometimes with 2 or 3 friends, we are a little church. I talk on the phone to one
dear sister who lives in another state, we are a little church.

I find the followers of Jesus all the time out in public. We stand there on the sidewalk together, we are a little street church. Out in the parking lot
with a girlfriend, we are a little church in the sunshine. I send a letter in the mail…. the postman delivers “love one another” to my far away friend.

P. comes over for dinner, we eat, share, cry, read scripture and pray. We hang out in the backyard sitting in lawn chairs near the vegetable garden, just being together. We are a little church every time he comes over.

My FB friend sends me an encouraging email. We are a little church thru the miles.

My little churches, “gatherings” really, happen wherever I happen to be with another saint, and we are sharing time together, and sharing encouragement together. Jesus is with us. The leader is the Holy Spirit and there is no clergy, no order of service or liturgy, there is no “Hierarchy”, no power- trips, no committees, no board and definitely no “proper Church clothes”. There is no required day.

There are only a few of us at a time, with Jesus, together with one another. We are a little church in my house.  When we communicate with one another in any way, we are together and we are a little church. One body, one Spirit. Lots of little churches.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

We Must Die to Live

If Christ is the kind of Savior He claims to be, He can obviously save His people from the bondage of sin. This is not to support the man-made doctrine of “sinless perfection”; it is rather to declare the God inspired doctrine that it is possible to “walk in the Spirit” and so “not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5: 16 NKJV) The Spirit has the power to enable us to walk in all the light that we have received and to no longer walk in willful sin. God has made provision in the cross of Christ for His children to be delivered from the yoke of sin.

John 12:24 KJV - [24] Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

There is no other way to this Life in Christ except by the cross of denying ourselves daily, as Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “…If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” 

Many insist that this is beyond our ability. Our real trouble, however, is in our unwillingness to die to our own will and ways. The Cross touches self and exposes the old willful nature. Here is the inbred sin that everyone receives from Adam. But we must go into our own Garden of Gethsemane and choose to take His way of the cross. Only then can He begin to work in the supernatural, which includes His scourging work, to bring about the end of the old flesh-life.

When we have a hunger or thirst for something from this world, when we are being tempted by the devil, there are two ways of quenching those desires. It will either be by giving into them by taking the easy road that the Lord called the “wide road” that leads to destruction, or by fighting the good fight of faith and submitting to the cross of Christ in a willingness to suffer with Him by denying those fleshy evil desires and desiring only His will to be done.  This is the “narrow way” that leads to Life. Only after being approved by continuing to choose the harder path, i.e. the “narrow way”, will the Lord impart a new life in us and begin to display His nature through us.

James 4:7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:10 KJV - [10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

Every downward step, every dying to self, every embracing of the cross—whether in the form of denial or degradation, of suffering or separation, of false accusation or humiliation— all these and a hundred other things that might be mentioned, are not a descent into misery but actually an ascent to life and power on the throne. Our call to embrace the Cross is a call to reign with Christ.

Have you truly become a follower of Christ? There is no other way to find His life. If you are attempting to find a way into the heavenly realms other than through the cross, you are deceiving yourself. Listen to Jesus: “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.” (Mark 10:39)

L.E. Maxwell said:  “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17) Listen fellow believer. The promises of the Lord are sure. “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:21) It was only by overcoming the self-seeking and self-exalting ways of this world that He gained this eternal position. The only way up is down.

Epistles of Christ

"2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God," (2 Corinthians 3:2-5 NKJV)

Just like the “written” epistles, do our lives point to Christ,  taking no “honor” to ourselves?  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 A Day to Be Remembered
(From the Book "The Saving Life of Christ"  by Ian Thomas)

     It is truly a blessing to enter the promised land. "There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you...shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you." (Deut. 12: 7) God's continuous presence is experienced in His promised Sabbath-rest.

     In the land, everyone has sacrificed their self-life to be an instrument of the Lord's life and work. And by taking this path of the cross, these children of God are enabled to enter into the good, pleasing and perfect will of their Father. (Rom. 12: 1-2) Everything you do will be a sheer delight! The whole of your activity under the control and power of the Holy Spirit will be bathed in joy!

     "You are not to do as we do here today, everyone as he sees fit..." (Deut. 12: 8) That is what they were doing in the wilderness! Every one of God's called out people were still doing whatever was right in their own eyes. There was no sense of the absolute sovereignty of God - His absolute right to control their every step in life. Remember, man was never given the right to direct his own life as an independent god. "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps." (Jer. 10: 23)
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Eph. 2: 10)
     The flesh-life is still alive and active in the desert wilderness. And so the people continued to do what was right in their own eyes. Even though this conduct was controlled by their own sincere beliefs, and even though it often included a service and worship to God, this life continued to be prompted by the carnal nature, which inevitably promotes its own plans to gain its own praise and glory.

     We can easily recognize this carnal nature because it will continue to be "worried and upset about many things." (Luke 10: 41) When we are living by human effort, according to our own will, the flesh will have much to become worried and upset about. Even God interferes with the plans of the flesh.

     A man living by his own strength in the wilderness, even though prompted by sincere motives to serve God, is subject to certain patterns of conduct that rise up from the fallen flesh-life. As long as you remain a self-seeker and feed your fleshly lusts {desires} and your pride, the devil will continue to influence your life.

     For example, James describes "envy" and "self-seeking" as common traits that will rise out of Satan's work in this world. It comes from the "spirit of the world" (1 Cor. 2: 12) - "This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual{not spiritual}, demonic {of the devil}. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there." (James 3: 15-16) All self-righteous anger, bitterness and fighting flows out of this active work of the flesh, whether it's between nations, among families or in the church.

     So, if your eyes are still enviously looking at what others are doing; or if your life is still centered around your own ambitions, including how you will serve the Lord; or if you still find yourself worried and upset about things, including when someone or something interferes with your plans - then you can know that you are still living under the control of the flesh-life in the desert wilderness. There will be no rest for your soul while you continue to live by human effort, as you see fit, in the desert wilderness.

     In contrast, a man who has entered the promised Sabbath-rest of God through a supernatural circumcision of the flesh-life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and has thereby begun to participate with Christ in His divine nature, is set free from the power of Satan. The spiritual Christian receives "the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2: 16) The Lord, who becomes our life, provides us with His own humble and submissive nature.

     God has the power to provide His dependent children with a supernatural rest from the spiritual enemies that normally defeat our spiritual life. While the attacks may still come from the world, their arrows cannot enter the soul of a Christian who is living in the Sabbath-rest of God.
     "They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord...with all their heart and soul...All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side." ( 2 Chron. 15: 12-15 Emphasis added)
     Christ, who has already gained the victory over the flesh and the devil, fills His disciples with His divine life when they have truly given up their self-sufficiency and submitted themselves to live under His control and power. When they seek to be filled with Christ's Spirit with all their heart and soul, in due time they will be clothed with power from on high. These Spirit-filled Christians have truly died to self and entered into a wisdom that is from another world.
     "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle {considerate}, willing to yield {submissive}, full of mercy and good fruits {of the Spirit}, without partiality and without hypocrisy {sincere}". (James 3: 17)
     Furthermore, all work that is done for the Lord in the flesh will drain energy rather than provide that sheer joy that God has planned for His redeemed people when they are walking under the control and power of His Spirit. When we have been lifted out of the carnal life and into Christ's spiritual life, the all-surpassing power of God begins to flow through our soul. (2 Cor. 4: 7)
     If you are still living by the efforts of the flesh and are therefore experiencing the dryness of the arid wilderness, "you have not yet reached the resting place and the inheritance the Lord your God is giving you." (Deut. 12: 9)
     "There remains therefore a rest for the {regenerate} people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his {own fleshly} work..."(Heb. 4: 9-10)
     What have you been doing since your redemption began? Are you still doing what is right in your own eyes? Do you still claim the right to choose your own career? You do not have that right! Do you still claim the right to choose the wife or husband you will marry? You do not have that right! Do you still claim the right to use your time as you please? You do not have that right! Do you still claim the right to spend your money as you please? You do not have that right! Do you still claim the right to serve God as you please? You do not have that right! The only Christians who are still claiming these rights will also recognize how they are still living in a dry and arid land - the desert wilderness!
     There is only one way out of the desert. "If anyone desires to come after Me {into a union with the divine nature}, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me {through a death to the flesh-life}. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it." (Luke 9: 23-24)
     The moment an individual gives the Holy Spirit the right to re-establish the sovereignty of Jesus Christ within their soul, they do not even have the right to work for the Lord according to what is right in their own eyes. The children of God must completely die to self-will and depend on the Spirit of the Lord to lead them into His life and work.

     Here was a redeemed people. They had been brought out of Egypt {a type of the world} and were on their way to the "land of promise," but their thoughts, their ambitions, their appetites, were still being fed by an old way of life in a world they were supposed to leave behind. "We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic." (Num. 11: 5) They remained enslaved to the memories of the old worldly pleasures of the flesh from which they had been redeemed!

     With what does your mind busy itself? What are your ambitions? Where are your appetites? Have you been weaned from the things of the world {including its people, events, concerns, ambitions and activities} and the {self-sufficient and independent} ways of the world? Do not forget, it was Jesus Christ who said that everyone who is looking back at the fleshly ways of this world will never be fit for service in the undivided kingdom of God. (Luke 9: 62) And He also said, "Remember Lot's wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." (Luke 17: 32)

     James describes this love affair with the ways of the world as spiritual adultery - "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity {hatred or animosity} with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4: 4 Emphasis added)

     Christians today are continually praying for God to give them the temporal things they have set their eyes on in this world. They honestly think their happiness is dependent on their temporal circumstances. There is an assumption that if only they had the right spouse, or home, or job, or reputation, or ministry, you name it, surely they would find fulfillment. They never seem to learn how everyone who drinks of this temporal water will be thirsty again.
     Only those who turn wholly to Christ and seek out the Living Waters of His divine nature will be filled with the firstfruits of His eternal life. They are the only ones who will "never thirst" again. (John 4: 13-14)

     The people of the wilderness knew nothing of the absolute sovereignty of God's will. Even though God had given them such unrelenting evidence of His willingness to provide for their basic needs with the daily manna, they never acted as though His ways mattered. And even after receiving such lavish promises of a land to be possessed, they continued to feed their mind with thoughts about the world they had left behind.

      So what did this willful people have to say to the men who were attempting to lead them into the promised land of true righteousness and holiness? (Eph. 4: 22-24) "They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them.'" (Num. 16: 3) Even while their flesh-life was alive and active, they claimed to be living in the presence of the Lord. In their own estimation they were holy - "every one of them"! How holy? Holy enough!

     How holy can you be when your life is still being directed by your own self-will? Holy enough? Can a carnal nature be holy? Remember, the flesh-life cannot go into the presence of the Lord. "Make every be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." (Heb. 12: 14)

     Today, believers have an opportunity to participate with Christ in His divine nature, but they think they are already holy enough! God's "called out" people are still making the same serious error in judgment that Israel of old once made.
     For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud {of the Holy Spirit}...They all ate the same spiritual food {that every Christian receives in the desert testing period}...for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things {desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and the self-sufficient ways of the world} as they did...We should not test the Lord...And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall. (1 Cor. 10: 1-12)
     "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you...Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from every-thing that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Cor. 6: 17; 7: 1)
     While feeding on the ways of the world and grumbling about God's requirements for being holy to Him {set apart for His exclusive use}, can you honestly call yourself a Spirit-filled child of God? Maybe you have recognized the witness of God's Spirit through His supernatural work of spiritual regeneration. Maybe you still have some hunger and thirst to be like Jesus, yet you remain perfectly content to live out a self-directed life in the flesh - which by its very existence is a life that renounces and repudiates the lordship of Jesus Christ. You will never be raised up into a participation with Christ in His divine nature while you continue to follow the worldly course of self-sufficiency and self-will.

     Jesus said, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." (Luke 13: 24) The effort we must exert is directed toward putting off our heart idols and the self-willed way of life.
     "Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt. 7: 14)
     The "many" have always thought it would be easy to enter into the kingdom-life of God. But the gospel describes how the old flesh-life will resist giving up its own will and its rights. The fallen nature wants to be its own god and claim its own possessions. This is why Jesus emphasized the need for pressing forward, and even doing violence to our flesh-life if we want to have the undivided kingdom of God established within our heart. (Matt. 5: 29-30; 11: 12; Luke 16: 16) "For many are called {out from the ways of the world}, but few are chosen {to enter the land [life] of abundant fruitfulness}." (Matt. 22: 14)
     It may well be that as you began to read this book you were firmly convinced that you were holy enough - still ready to resist the idea of being anything other than what you have already become while still living under a bondage to the sinful {self-willed} nature. But do not miss the purpose for which this message comes to you; for full redemption is "a day to be remembered" in a "land to be possessed."

     We will only receive the "mark" and "seal" of Christ's divine nature after we have entered the promised land. Only after the natural flow of the flesh-life has been "cut off" at our own miraculous Jordan River crossing through a circumcision of the heart, by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, are we truly able to participate in the full benefits of Christ's life.

     The Lord now has the authority and the power to make each of His disciples holy by providing them with an "undivided", (Ezk. 11: 19) or "purified" (Acts 15: 8-9) heart. This supernatural heart-purity is truly a glorious blessing: "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God {as an indwelling nature of Christ's self-sacrificing love}." (Matt. 5: 8)
     "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into theheart of man the things which God has prepared for thosewho love Him. But God has revealed them to us {spiritualChristians who have truly entered into a participation withChrist in His divine nature} through His Spirit." (1 Cor. 2: 9-10)



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Living By Every Word of God by Michael Clark

Living By Every Word of God

I have been a reactionary most of my life, sad to say. One day about 20 years ago I was praying and I heard Father say, “Michael, is there a Book of Re-Acts?” I said, “No Lord, just a Book of Acts.” Then He said, “Learn from this.”
As I read the Book of Acts again I was amazed at how much of it was the acts of the apostles and saints as they listened to and obeyed the Spirit. I had to do some serious soul searching after this encounter as to how many things I believed that were simply a reaction to what happened in my past. And He STILL is showing me things that are more a reaction rather than walking in All Truth as the Spirit was sent into our lives to make happen.
Did I get this message from the Bible? No, I got it from the mouth of God. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that PROCEEDS from the mouth of God.” Did the Word who created all things stop talking with the closing of the cannon as most Biblicists believe? I think not! We talk about a “Personal Saviour” and “Personal Salvation” and then set out to depersonalize our walks in Christ by following the traditions of men and what THEY say about the scriptures.
What is most interesting to me is that the early church members had no personal copies of the scriptures or personal Bibles as we have today. That eunuch from Ethiopia had to pay much for a copy of Isaiah to read on his way home and he was stumped by what the prophet said until the Spirit in Philip revealed it to him and he was converted on the spot!
The early church had ears that could “hear what the Spirit was saying to the churches,” but by the end of the first century their hearing had become dull and as a result they had gone off coarse as they had heaped to themselves teachers to tickle their ears teaching Gnosticism and Judaism. This is what 1 John is all about, trying to get them to return to the voice of God instead of the voices of the deceivers that were among them in the form of many anti-christs.
As for the power of tradition, God had to rebuke Peter, who was hung up on his Jewishness, for isolating himself from the Gentiles who would and did come to Christ. Concerning this matter, he even said to the Spirit on one occasion, “Not so, Lord!” Nowthere is the worst from of religious blindness possible! Calling God “Lord” and refuting his commands because of our perception of what the scriptures say. Like Jesus said to the Jews, “You make of no effect the commandments of God with your own traditions.” “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man.” “If you had known what this means, ‘I will have mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless”… His concept of obedience to the Word of God and theirs was miles apart.
It is obvious to me that if we are truly of the NEW Covenant we are not to live by the letter of the law or the letter of the scriptures, but by the Spirit that God has put in us to “lead us into all truth” (Jesus’ words, not mine). The sin against listening to and obeying HIS voice is what must be dealt with, which is mostly a result of our reactions to the past. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a REACTION of the reformers to the Papal decrees called “bulls” and such and it is flawed because of the flesh which seeks to enforce it even to this day.
Something deep and lasting happened to Paul between his Damascus road encounter with the living Christ where he said, “Who are you, Lord?” and when he was able to write many years later, “For me to live IS Christ and to die is gain.” That something is called the way of the cross of Christ which puts to death the First Adam and makes way for the pre-eminence of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ in a life.
Whether we search the scriptures because in them we think we will find life like the self-righteous Pharisees of old or whether we become spiritualists and listen to every voice that speaks to us from the ether waves, we are equally deceived. Why? Because the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. It will always grasp on to a message that fortifies its position and pre-eminence over its own life and the lives of those around it. Unless we have been converted and given an NEW heart, the heart of Jesus, and Christ’s Spirit within to lead us and then take up our crosses and follow Him, we will be deceived. That which is born of the flesh IS flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit.
Knowing this I often pray, “Oh Father, don’t let me miss the high calling IN Jesus Christ you have on my life. Search me out and root out everything in me that is not of your Son. Conform me into the image of Christ, the Last Adam, and put on the cross all that is in me of the First Adam.” I know that only when His deep cleansing is going on will I hear His voice clearly and will be able to read the scriptures with HIS full Light bringing them forth to accomplish what they were intended.
 “In Him was life and the LIFE was the light of men.” It is always Life then Light.

see A Wilderness Voice Blog

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anxiety and Faith

 Anxiety and Faith 

{From the book -"Living Through Christ" - by G.D. Watson/Steve Bray}   

     Anxiety and faith are just the opposite of each other. By contrasting the two we will learn how to lose the one and acquire the other. It will also help us to see how our faith has begun to recede as soon as anxiety begins to develop.

     Anxiety has its center in the creature, but faith has its center in God. Anxiety can only occur when the soul has placed some of its trust in something other than God.

     Reason is the parent of anxiety. Because it naturally looks at the creature, at friends or foes, at works of nature, at circumstances and probabilities, which are all unstable, it can never produce perfect confidence.

     In contrast, faith pierces through all creatures, and all circumstances, and fastens itself upon an infinite, loving, and Sovereign God - a God who knows all and superintends all.

     Faith is the eye of the human spirit looking at God; and, in a certain lofty sense, ignoring everything but God. In childlike faith it trusts in His promise to work out all things for the good of His children.

     Anxiety originates in the unfulfilled desires that come out of the fallen state. Faith, on the other hand, has its origin in the fullness of the provisions of God. The fallen condition of the soul causes it to have many overreaching desires and excessive feelings of want. Its spiritual life is dependent on what is taking place around it in the natural realm. Reason is therefore always busy with these wants, constantly searching for ways and means to improve the situation and gratify its desires. It sees the many instances where its plans are hindered - where these wants are not supplied - and this creates anxiety. And since these wants tend to grow as they are brooded upon, the natural life eventually becomes an endless reaching out to do something about these unfulfilled desires, which continues to compound anxiety.

     In contrast, faith goes out from the creature and looks upon the fullness of God. It searches into His character, His benevolence, and His inexhaustible power to supply whatever is needed, including His heavenly spiritual life, and then simply rests in Him.  This vision of the fullness of God destroys anxiety.

     Anxiety is related to what it can see through the natural perceptions and is attached to how the human will chooses to deal with its immediate surroundings. But faith has a wonderful expansiveness to it, and is attached to God's will wherever His will leads. It enters into His Sabbath-rest, ceases from its own works, and learns to trustingly live by God's Spirit.

     The natural reason is nearsighted and sees things only that affect the present hour and emergency. It sees things fragmentary, and so it becomes perplexed at the problems and complications of men and things. It attaches itself to this or that thing or enterprise, and when something does not work, or there is a disappointment, it is in consternation.

     In contrast, faith is long-visioned and is expanded whenever there is trust in God. It is firmly attached to the Divine will, so that it does not cling to any creature, or human plan, or circumstance, or nation, or position, or church, or earthly prop. It is internally united to God Himself, and thus it can easily let go of all things and circumstances to be in harmony with God's providences. And in this place where the will is in complete union with God's will, it finds perfect rest of soul.

     Faith looks at passing events from the standpoint of eternity, as they will appear thousands of years from now. On the other hand, anxiety results from seeing all creatures and events out of their proper proportion. With its microscopic view, it sees things to be giants - things that faith is able to look at in the light of eternity and regard as only tiny insects.

     Human reason, which is the instrument of anxiety, fixes its hope first on this person, then on that, first on this party or government, or enterprise, or prospect, or plan and then on that. Anxiety is therefore like a person crossing a river of floating blocks of ice, stepping on one and hoping it will float them over, but when they find it is melting or sinking they step on another. The mind never reaches a solid rest and deep repose in God.

     In contrast, faith has gotten down through the shifting sands on the earth's surface and is anchored in the primeval rock of God and His promises. It never changes its object. Because it has learned to find its perfect rest in an infinite God, it spurns everything that is separated from God's eternal purposes. It has complete assurance that the will of God is always accomplished. And the more it expands and apprehends God, the farther it gets from ever wanting to look to the temporal realm for hope.

     Perfect faith in God reduces all things in life to a state of simplicity. The reason, the judgment, the affections, the words, the labors of such a soul all move in straight lines under the dominion of a deep and simple faith in God. It knows that nothing can occur that is not according to God's will. It therefore shuns the complex where reason naturally goes in an attempt to work out its own results.

     We should begin to see how those who still become anxious and uneasy have a mixed religion. "For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." (Jam. 1:6) It comes from trying in some way to depend on human reason rather than walking by the Spirit with faith in God. It results in chronic worry and distress. These souls find themselves continually caught up in a fruitless effort to accomplish their own will rather than simply trusting in what God is already working out for their good according His Sovereign will.
     "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good  part {enjoying the peace of God}, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)
     There is a sweet satisfaction when faith in God has become perfect. It drinks continually from the sun bright fountains of God Himself through the person of Jesus Christ and by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. With the soul always satisfied, and with the reason and the will always in harmony with God's perfect will, it finds a heavenly rest. And nothing can take it away. It is able to wait on God to bring about His purposes, without ever depending on the outward signs of apparent success or failure. It is set free indeed from all anxiety that originates in the laborious, demanding and tiresome struggles of the natural mind.
     "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)

Christ Our Life

Christ Our Life

{Chapter 9, From the Book - The Way to Eternal Life - Steve Bray}   

In our service of making God's truth known, we have purposely drawn on the spiritual insight of a number of different writers. This chapter uses some of the lessons provided by Ruth Paxson in Rivers of Living Water.

Our great desire is to open up the real meaning of Christianity. The church in general is not making people aware of what Christ has come to do. The implications of this can be seen in the following example. It refers to young people raised in "Christian families," some of which had ordained ministers as fathers, and who have attended Bible college without ever learning what it means to be saved by Jesus Christ.

A small Bible college has former students who owe money to the school. Attempts to collect the fees are rejected. And yet the majority of these individuals profess to be Christians while spending money that is owed to the school for their own pleasures. Some of them honestly think they have a good relationship with the Lord, even while choosing in self-will not to pay their debt. And yet the Scripture says, "Owe no one anything..." (Rom. 13:8) This speaks of people who are expected to repay a debt and can repay it. Paul would say to them, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived..." (1 Cor. 6:9) And he includes thieves among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. We are amazed at how people can be raised in the church, and even attend Bible college, and never learn how sin separates people from Christ unless they repent.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord... (Heb. 10:26-30)

Now if we were to stop at merely revealing how God's Word will one day judge sinners for not keeping the laws of God, we would be describing Old Testament standards. But the New Testament teachings raise the standard much higher. When Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and gave His Sermon on the Mount, He went beyond the requirement of obeying outward laws. He insisted that the heart also be right. That being the case, if someone else were to pay the debt owed by these students, or even if they were to pay it under compulsion, they would not gain anything when it comes to being right with God. If the heart is still willing to do something wrong without confession and repentance, it has not been saved from sin by the grace that Jesus supplies. While the law was designed to constrain this kind of sin, the grace and truth that comes through Jesus Christ changes the very nature.

There are many so-called "good people" who do not rob banks. Of course, many of them would take the money if it was somehow put in their hands without anyone knowing it. But they avoid being an outright thief because of a concern for their reputation. They resist this sin without even professing to be a Christian. But when Jesus puts His Spirit within our heart, He changes our nature so we cannot go on sinning.

If people are ever to be saved from sin, they must be taught what Jesus has come to do. And they must not be permitted to think they have become Christians until they have fully submitted to the salvation He offers.

...You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matt. 1:21)

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned {lived by his own will and out from his own resources} from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin {go on resisting the teachings in God's Word}, for His seed {the Son's submissive nature} remains in him; and he cannot sin {he cannot rebel against the light of truth}, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you {with His submissive nature}—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor. 13:5 NIV)

We have already described the various stages in God's work of saving a soul from sin. The new Christian, who has truly surrendered their will to walk by the Spirit, will still lack light on many matters. And we should not be loading them down with unnecessary burdens that come from our personal convictions. The Holy Spirit can be counted upon to lead them into all truth if we will continue to encourage them to remain in this Spirit-directed way of life. But there are fundamental issues of obedience they must be taught if we are ever to keep them from being deceived by the devil when he masquerades as an "angel of light" and by his so-called "ministers of righteousness" he now has working in the church. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

There is only one Christian life. Receiving into our heart, through faith, the "light of life" that is in the Son is what makes us a Christian. (John 8:12) We receive New Testament justifying grace and the gift of the Spirit when we lay down our will so that Christ may begin to live through us and reveal the same divine nature that He revealed through His mortal body. While there will be some preparation work that needs to be worked out through the power of the Spirit before we are "filled" with His "light of life," we can only remain justified by walking in all revealed light.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another {with God – what an awesome privilege!}, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

...If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom. 8:13)

God in heaven is invisible. But He wants to reveal Himself in this world. Our choice to live through Christ in the heavenly realms provides Him with an opportunity to walk again on this earth. The spiritual blessings that are now residing in the Son—His love, joy, peace, victory, spiritual power, holiness and others—can now be revealed through us when we give Him an opportunity to fill the temple of our body with His Spirit. (Eph. 1:3; 1 John 4:9)

So what does it mean to be a Christian? It means we must submit ourselves in a way that permits the Son to reveal Himself through our mortal body. To be a Christian is to have Christ become for us our wisdom, our righteousness and our holiness. It is a life of faith where we continually look to Him to manifest His rivers of Living Water through us so we can do by nature what the law requires.

It is not unusual to hear a modern Nicodemus say, "How can these things be? How can I live such a life in my home where I receive ridicule rather than help and where I have experienced so much spiritual defeat? How can I live this kind of spiritual life in a place of business where everyone around me is living for self? How can I find the highest plane of Christian living when I remain unfed in a church filled with worldly-minded people?" But Jesus still has an answer for every Nicodemus. He has an overcoming life that makes human beings in this world "more than conquerors," regardless of their circumstances.

Let us remember that the life is in Christ. We should not be thinking in terms of what we can and cannot do. "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son {through His shed blood}, much more, having been reconciled {a past event}, we shall be saved {from our self-willed nature} by His {indwelling} life." (Rom. 5:10) We also know that Christ has previous experience in manifesting this very life in a world where evil surrounded Him. He continued to reveal the divine nature, even when He was misunderstood and maligned. The people ridiculed, scoffed, opposed and finally crucified Him. But His spiritual life held up. The heavenly "light of life" continued to shine.

Christ has a spiritual life that is able to reign over the most difficult conditions. If you find yourself failing to manifest His righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in any situation, it simply means that you are not currently filled with His Spirit. "Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:17)

Christ's first disciples were also perplexed about how they would get along after Jesus was no longer with them in the physical realm. But He insisted that their spiritual life would be improved when He came back in the power of His Spirit to dwell within them. His indwelling Presence within the soul is better than having Him physically present in the room.

It is now possible to come into a far more vital and real relationship with God than the greatest saints of the Old Testament. The Life of the Vine can now become the very essence of the life of the branches if we will choose to live through the Son. We can now become "perfect in one" as we share with Him in His life. (John 17:22-23, 26)

And all these {the greatest saints of the Old Testament}, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Heb. 11:39-40)

These truths about living through Christ were the center of Paul's teachings. He wanted everyone to understand the riches of the glory that was now available to the saints. He had but one aim in everything he did—that Christ might be formed in every believer. "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you." (Gal. 4:19) His whole being was given over to the work of furthering this eternal Kingdom-life in the hearts of those who would listen to him. "Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present ever man perfect in Christ Jesus." (Col. 1:28)

Christ is in the heavenlies. While He is the Head and the Source of what His Spirit-led disciples are doing, He is the invisible part of the church. His followers here on earth are to be the visible part of His body. This is a staggering thought. It plainly implies that you and I are to bring Christ down from heaven to earth so that others may see His eternal life.

The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us {by sharing in the same life}; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:2-3)

True Christianity involves entering into this fellowship that takes place within the Trinity by sharing in the eternal life. It was this sharing with the Father and the Son in their life of love that led to such a rapid spread of Christianity in the first century. And if we are to continue drawing others into this true Christian life, we too will need to become vessels of the same "light of life."

Perhaps you are saying, "The truth regarding this life on the highest plane is Biblical, but it does not match my experience or the experience of most other Christians. It therefore seems to be impractical and beyond the realm of possibility." But our response is to exhort you to take your eyes off people and begin looking to the Word of God and His teachings. The fact that only two of all the Jews that came out of Egypt were prepared to enter the life of promise does not mean that it was impractical and beyond the realm of possibility for the multitude. It is unbelief that prevents God from fulfilling His promises. "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief." (Heb. 3:19) "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27)

In the same way that refusing to come to Christ to be justified is the great sin of every unbeliever, refusing to look to Christ for His abundantly full spiritual life is the great sin of those who are in the church. God does not hold us accountable for our inability. He will however hold us accountable for not using the provision He has provided. Christ shed His blood so that we could live through His sanctified life. He has provided a salvation that makes it possible to consistently live in true righteousness and holiness all the days of our life.

{The Messiah came} To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies {everything that causes sin}, might serve Him without fear {of the carnal nature}, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74-75)

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:4)

The Father and the Son are now prepared to come and make their home within our eternal soul. They have prepared a banquet feast that is to take place within us forever. "All things are now ready." Since the provisions are now ready, we can expect to be held accountable for refusing their invitation.

...If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)

Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.'{His property was more important.} "And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.'{His business was more important} "Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come {His wife was more important to him than the will of the Lord.}...For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper." (Luke 14:16-20, 24)

God has set a feast before you, but He cannot compel you to eat. He has opened the door into His life in the heavenly realms, but He cannot compel you to enter. Do not permit the things you have invested your money in, or your plans for a career, or the house you have planned, or even your family to keep you from entering into this heavenly life today. "But seek first the kingdom of God {His heavenly Kingdom-life} and His righteousness..." (Matt. 6:33) If you make excuses and put it off today, you can expect to be turned away from His Presence in the day of the Great Feast.

The basic principle that governs whether or not we will share with Christ in His spiritual life is control. The Holy Spirit must bring each one of us to the place where Christ is given sovereign control over everything we do. Those who will yield unconditionally to Him, which entails permitting Him to be the Head who directs their every step, will become filled with His Spirit.

It is not enough to simply believe in some Bible truths. Andrew Murray said, "We are too easily content with the thoughts suggested by the words of the Bible." For example, Christ's Sermon on the Mount sounds good in theory. But these words often remain in the abstract and never become an innate part of the Christian's life. We do not mind having Christ as our hero and thinking highly of His teachings as long as we can remain in control of our own life. But we will one day learn that singing praises to the Lord on Sunday and living for self the rest of the week will result in being turned away from heaven.

We are now coming to the fundamental reason for so much confusion within the Christian church. We have developed hundreds of individual religions that consist of varying beliefs in mere words. Each one has a little different emphasis on which "words" it stresses. And because there is so much confusion about who has the correct words, everyone seems to think they have a right to believe whatever they want. No one seems to realize that the kingdom of God—the Kingdom-life that needs to be established within the heart-"is not in word but in power." (1 Cor. 4:20) It does not matter what words we believe if Christ does not come to us in "the power of an endless life." (Heb. 7:16) He is the One who determines if we have truly submitted ourselves to be a vessel of His life.

Jesus has provided an exact pattern of how His true disciples are to walk. "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40) True Christianity comes from studying the spiritual image that Jesus revealed through His mortal body, and fully yielding ourselves to the same divine life. This is the only way to enter into the full salvation of the Lord. He will manifest within us whatever we truly yield to with our whole heart.

Once we begin to understand these truths, it becomes easier to see why people are not being saved from sin. What keeps Christ from revealing His heavenly life through the multitude of people now filling our churches is their unwillingness to fully yield to the light that Jesus revealed. Since He is the source, it has nothing to do with inability. Of course, we also need to realize that most of them have never received these teachings. They do not know that Christ is waiting to reveal His eternal zoe life within their mortal bodies.

Our greatest need today is not more preachers. What we need to see is Jesus Christ walking up and down our streets and living in our homes. How will He do it? – By individual believers choosing to walk by His Spirit! There must be a real death to the old self-originated form of life {the independent and self-sufficient nature that Satan fostered on the world}. "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Gal. 5:24-25)

This is where many of Christ's disciples turn back and follow Him no more. The devil convinces them that their life is their own and the requirement to die to their psuche life is too much to ask of them. They say to themselves, "Do we not have an inalienable 'right' to have freedom to do as we please? Is that not what freedom is all about – to provide personal liberty to pursue life and happiness from the world as we desire?"

What?! "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price..." (1 Cor 6:19-20) The kind of freedom that is in your mind – the kind that gives you a "right" to find life from the world – comes from the spirit of this world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15 KJV) And if you do not renew your mind and choose to be a vessel that Christ can use as He pleases to display His life and works, you will end up separating yourself from Him forever. Jesus only gives His eternal zoe life to those who listen to His voice and continue to follow Him wherever He leads. (John 10:27-28)

We pray that "the many" will begin to see the hypocrisy of trying to be a Christian while living by self-will. "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, Lord, but only with justice – not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing." (Jer. 10:23-24 NIV) We must be converted from the lawlessness of a self-directed life to a Spirit-directed life before leaving this world.

Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matt. 7:22-23)

If we are to separate from lawlessness, there needs to be a crisis point where there is a definite, voluntary transference of the control of our life to Christ. Even though Christ has already purchased the vessel to be used for the display of His glory, each individual believer is required to deliver the property to Him. Purchase gives title to property, but it requires delivery to provide possession. Let us therefore fear coming before the Lord on the Day of Judgment as a thief who refused to give Him full possession of the property that He had purchased with His own blood.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

This absolute yielding to God includes everything within—intellect, heart, will; and everything without—home, children, business, possessions, friendships, time, money and every future plan. Let it be clearly understood that God is able to see into the heart. And He will not accept a blemished offering. He will not fill the temple with His glory while anything is being held back. Whether the refusal is little or great, it is still an act of rebellion against God. If Christ is to be Lord, He must be Lord of all.

Again, the banquet feast has already been prepared. We can now live in the Presence of God and dine with Him. But He will not make Himself known within our inner being until the door has been opened through absolute surrender. It is impossible to be a true follower of Jesus if we are refusing to follow Him in His way of the cross.

The devil has deceived many into thinking they can direct their own steps through life. It has cut them off from the life of promise. As Jesus has said, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Only the few are now enjoying the banquet feast that Jesus has prepared.

Some may say at this point, "As far as I know I have yielded my whole life to Christ, yet I still seem to be living on the natural plane." We will find that yielding alone is not enough. Many have failed to begin looking to Christ with the kind of expectant faith that believes He will do what He has promised.

Full surrender says, "Lord, I am no longer my own. I present my body a living sacrifice for your exclusive use." Faith says, "Christ is my life."

Faith is what enables us to rely on Christ to reveal Himself through us. Whatever we see in Him, whatever light He opens up to our understanding, we must then look to Him in expectant faith to reveal the reality of that life within our inner being. In other words, "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..." (Gal. 2:20)

Many seem to think they must make themselves right after presenting their body to Christ. Like Abraham of old, they attempt to help God produce the life of promise. But these efforts will never produce anything more than another Ishmael life. It always falls short of the life of promise. We cannot develop the eternal zoe life through our human efforts. The life of true righteousness comes from Christ. He is our righteousness. As Paul went on to say, "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law {trying to obey written commandments through our own efforts and strength}, then Christ died in vain." (Gal. 2:21)

We all have access to a life of consistent spirituality. But this heavenly life must be appropriated by faith. Grace supplies the life, but faith must receive the life. Faith makes real what grace has made available to every believer. "According to your faith will it be done to you." (Matt. 9:29)

Andrew Murray says, "Abiding in Him is to consent with our whole soul to His being our life, to depend on Him to inspire us in all that we do, and to absolutely surrender everything for Him to rule and work in us. We rest in the full assurance that He works in us what we are to be and He enables us to maintain that perfect surrender in which He is free to do all His will."

Mr. Murray helps us to see how our part is in the surrendering and in the looking in faith for Christ to do what He has purposed to do. Everyone who remains in this kind of yielded walk of faith will find that Jesus is able to begin manifesting Himself through their mortal body. The power truly comes from God.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us...that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:7, 10)