A State of Being

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I don’t write much about morality. Not that is not important. But it was not Jesus’ over-riding priority, so it is not mine. His priority was that we become one with His Father.

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New Covenant Joy

When Christ is your life!

Today I received news of an excellent new book on the new covenant. I write about the new covenant a lot – because I believe most Believers do not live in it and because it is the key to the kingdom of God realized through us. The new covenant is simply grace in action because Christ is our life. I’m talking about Jesus the Person as my life. Not only as my grace but as the expression of my true self through me. All of us came forth from the Son. We all have been redeemed by the Son, liberated from death to be alive in the sense that heaven is alive. This life is expressed by the person of Jesus in us. How cool!

I am often aghast  at the life of the church and its absorption in itself as though its activity is the presence of God. When Paul talks of Christ our life He does not mean that all the stuff we do with Christ as a back-up is our life. He means that Jesus in us is the expression of our true self and that His life flowing through us is the spirit-life that ignites ordinary things with the life of heaven.

The torpor and ineffectual witness of much of the church results from ignorance of the new covenant. The water of life that flows from some of His disciples flows because Jesus and not ‘his stuff’ is their life. The light and life of the world is found in the simple fact of Jesus Christ manifest as you. You are not God. But you are the next best thing. You are His daughter or His Son! This is a simple fact. The reality and not the shadow. No need for a new regime of effort and worksy discipline. Just agree and step into Him.

See ‘How New is the New Covenant?: Discovering the Implications of: Jesus is Lord.

LIVING IN THE REALITY

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Should we tamper with the gospel by diluting the Christ and adding the law we make it more complicated than it is – we make it another gospel that robs the kingdom of vitality because is is a gospel of the flesh. We get some hybrid concoction similar to the old testament mixture of God and Baal. ‘Law’ in Paul’s terms refers to all self-effort and all performance orientation. Spirit in the new testament means the Spirit of Christ, of Sonship and the incarnate life of God in His people.

A woman said to me once after I had preached, ‘You make it sound so simple.’ ‘That’s because it is,’ I replied. The gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom is simple and profound because Christ is all and in all.

Should you desire sharpness of insight and clarity of vision you will find it in Jesus Himself. But not in His stuff.

Anything that is not Christ serves itself. There is the gospel of the Kingdom and there is the faint gospel of myth and institutionalism. It makes it easier to make a pseudo-jesus out of churchism if we are tied to ‘try harderism,’ a touch of law and a garnish of old covenant but not grounded in the reality of Christ our life. When Christ and not shadows are our life we can discern between shadow and reality. We can discern shadow gospels for what they are and embrace the reality who is Christ.

‘These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’  Col 2.17 NIV.

C Baxter Kruger writes, ‘The gospel [of the Kingdom] does not leave you staring into heaven wondering how you are going to make it like Jesus did. The gospel does not leave you now with yourself and with figuring out how your human existence is going to be convened, how you are going to gain victory over evil, how you are going to become a member of that new covenant fellowship that Jesus has with his Father. The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ has done it. The gospel is not an invitation. The gospel is a declaration of the truth. It declares to us that we have been recreated in Jesus, that we have been delivered from evil in Jesus Christ, that we have been given a new relationship with the Father in Jesus Christ. The gospel declares to us that in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God, we were taken down and cleansed of all alienation; we were refashioned, recreated, born again; and we were lifted up into the circle of life shared by the Father, Son and Spirit, and there and then included in the great dance of the Triune God. Because it was no ordinary man who died and rose again and ascended. It was the incarnate Son of God, the one in and through and by whom all things exist!’

From The Great Dance by C Baxter Kruger.

‘And [we] have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all’  Col 3.10-11 NIV.

One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’  Eph 4.6 NIV.

JUST PIECES OF RELIGION

APIECEOFRELIGIONIn planning for a conference or a gathering of Believers we can have the advantage of  knowing what Jesus is doing now, knowing what is on His heart and knowing which piece of wisdom and revelation He wishes to pass on to His people. We can do this without effort when we are one with Jesus and as a result one with our Father. Here, by reason of our status as sons and union with Father we know what He is doing – mainly because we are one with Him and also because He will have communicated His purpose through the gifts of the Spirit. More here.

Spirit and Life!

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We competently minister the gospel of the Kingdom when we live a new covenant, new creation life. This is as simple as Christ our life being our life. The ministry of a son is strikingly different to the ministry of a worker, labouring in effort rather than in the spirit of sonship. I groan within when sincere friends speak out a sermon that is devoid of spirit and life. I shudder when I see Believers minister clothed in an atmosphere of death of which they are entirely unaware. Unaware because they assume that the religion they were raised in is the gospel of the Kingdom when it is a dilution of the power of God or just a cunningly devised fable. Truth can be denied aggressively or through passivity or naivety.

I am often appalled that people deny climate change and attempt to attribute it to some cause other than the human race. Kind of like ‘The dog ate my homework ..’ Appalled too when Christian friends try to pass it off as a one world government conspiracy, a green fetish, a socialist fraud or a punishment God is doing to naughty humanity. Many of God’s ‘judgments’ are simply the result of living as if He is not real. Prosperity doctrine has its subtle form. It involves talk of heaven and living as if the world is the only reality.

It’s easy enough to talk church and live the world. If we believe, with the world that happiness and security is had in possessing things, then it should come as no surprise that humanity is sucking the life out of the earth. Could it be that it is all too easy to wave one’s hands about in praise and worship and consider ourselves ‘worshipers’ and then go home to immerse ourselves in the world system that God calls Babylon and live as though ‘consuming’ has no effect on the creation and our responsibility to sustain it. Sure, I know we all have to make a living. But the Kingdom starts as a speck and grows to fill the entire earth. Maybe we need to consider that what we have is churchiness and not at all Jesus the King and His Kingdom. We may need to remember that we are representatives of the new creation and stop divesting ourselves of responsibility and stewardship of the earth with our notions of rapture and second coming. When Christ is our life we become His new creation Kingdom in the world. When Jesus comes He will not be coming to commend those who have buried His kingdom in the ground.

‘Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed’ Matt 25.24 NIV.

Sometimes I wonder if people have any knowledge of history or understand what has happened to earth’s atmosphere as a result of  the Industrial Revolution that  spread around the world from 1785 onwards. Not everyone does history at school these days. Maybe they should. Believers need to know that climate science relies on evidence far more substantial than the assumptions of evolution. A friend once imposed on me the observation that those who warn about global warning were some kind of nutter. Really? Remember those who refused to listen to Noah? The word that comes to mind when I am confronted by that kind of talk is “stupid.”

They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’ 2 Pater 3.4 NIV.

I honour wisdom. So does the Bible and so does God. Jesus warned us not to despise others and not to be among the foolish who are unable to perceive the signs of the age.

Solomon contrasts wisdom with foolishness and laments the disposition of folks who engage in self-important talk that verges on verbal bullying. Thoughtfulness grows from humility and the ability to listen leads to wisdom.

I had a mum who had no tertiary education. Yet she had above average intelligence and powers of perception. She did well for someone raised under the law and the religion of a lesser Christ. She did not talk incessantly but when she did she had something to say. What she said was usually correct. Mum was not one of those women who voiced their opinion on everything and talked because she could. She was not a bigot. She evaluated things carefully and had a flexible mind. Mum changed her mind on aspects of theology on which she had been misguided for years, quite late in life. She had an excellent sense of humour and laughed a lot. She did well for a woman formed in the womb of Victorian attitudes and fundamentalism.

Mum was not a bone-headed matriarch with rusted on ideas that expressed itself as a fear of change. As I said, mum was able to embrace new ideas and theological view points quite late in life. Particularly courageous are they who can abandon a life time of belief that has been demonstrated to be untrue. But parlous is the position of all who refuse to accept the new just because it contradicts what is part of them. Better to lose a false identity that lose your ability to manifest the life of Jesus with authority.

When our identity is in Christ we live in security. But an identity built on  a perspective or a version of truth that defines who we are in ourselves and our community rather than who we are in Christ will hinder our development. It stunts us because we deny the truth of who we are in Christ in favour of a religious fantasy about ourselves. This is the folly of ‘other gospels.’

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things [ themselves and their teachings] rather than the Creator–who is forever praised Amen’ Rom 1.25 NIV.

There is spirit and life that grows exponentially. Then there is a light that is really darkness. It is characterised by good beginnings and feeble endings. There comes a time when we need to confront the possibility that the elephant in the rooms is our own religion – a kind of religion that is out of alignment with new covenant life and what God has already done for us in Christ. The beauty of repentance is that it is a door to a fresh start, to fullness in Jesus and our inheritance of authority and fruitfulness as sons of God.

Those who live in denial of the truth spend a huge amount of energy maintaining their beliefs as though they are the truth. They become particularly inventive because they have to. Truth has a way of continually  revealing itself so as to undermine their error. In the spiritual sphere they are assisted in this project by the father of lies. He has a door to their lives because they preferred there own gospel rather than the gospel of the Kingdom.

“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them”John 12.40 NIV.

Conservatism has never appealed to me. I have seen it resist new life in the world and in the church. Someone on my radio recently equated conservatism with greed and a compulsive clinging to what one has. Personally I believe its cause is found in self interest, fear of losing what one has and losing a measure of control. And also in lazy thinking. It should not surprise us that compulsive hoarders can be obstinately conservative. We need to ask ourselves if we are hoarding religious detritus.

When Christ is our life we have no need to hoard religious junk. Nor do we need to live from dimensions of right or left. By living in God we live in life. However, only when Christ is our life are we alive in God. With our being transfused by the Spirit of Jesus we are sons of God in spirit and in truth. This is not so if we have a generalised god or have made a jesus out of our pet ideas or bad theology. To live as sons in spirit and in truth is to be joined to our Father and one with our Father to the extent that we can say, ‘I and my father are one.’ This is not some ‘try harder deal.’  It’s your inheritance already in Christ. This is how we release spirit and life into our situations.

The Kingdom is not about liberalism or conservatism. It is about life and it is life. This life is in His Son and this Son of God is in you.

Jesus cannot be made to fit into a right or left wing position. For Jesus positions were valid and true when they gave life. Invalid and sinful when they ministered death. Things grounded in God are life-giving. Things defined by the knowledge of good and evil are iniquitous. They come from a self cantered view point, from tradition or just plain ignorance. This is the Adamic life from which all have been delivered. Stop living in what is dead!

‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ Eph 2.10 NIV.

Life and life-giving action can only be defined accurately when Christ is our life and we are participating in a Father-centric universe. When Christ is our life, we have the security, comfort, safety and love that is ours from our position in Fathers Heart. Here there is no need to create a pseudo fatherhood from the status quo and our position in society. Our security comes from another source who is alive, sympathetic and intent on letting us know that we belong – that we belong in the trinity which is the family of God.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ John 14.23 NIV.

When we are secure in Father; when we know that we are sons; when we are confident in who we are because we have a personal Jesus and a secure identity, we need not cling to what we have. We are liberated from a life-long need to hang on to our stuff. We do not have to impose our ideas. We need not ensure that our opinion is the only one that is heard in the room. We can enquire as to others views and position ourselves to learn in humility rather than be a representative of rusted on views and the power of iniquity. When Christ is alive in us we are alive. We have a history in God before the world began. We are part of the community of witnesses in the heavens. We have a daily adventure with the Ancient of Days who is new every morning. We have an infinite and eternal life courtesy of Jesus. We are daughters and sons of our Father. As such we are multipliers of His life.

EVERY DAY

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If we find ourselves to be rusted on ideologues of the institutional church, it may be that we are largely removed from what Jesus and His Father are doing. Any life that  that is genuinely spirit and life  is sourced from heaven and channeled by ourselves into the situations we live in. Any situation. This is how we are channels of living water, rather than channels of institutionalism and the un-life of the ‘structured-letter.’ More.

All Life!

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There’s a passion for Jesus. Some have it. Others have accommodated themselves to the routine of religion. Orthodoxy is what they like. It demands little of them other than turning up. And it allows them to use the name of Jesus while essentially living their own lives. The former are ever eager to enjoy fullness in Christ and offer its joys to others. The latter are often unwittingly part of the war against fullness in Christ. More..

God is Love and Truth is a Person

1lifeofgodGod is no respecter of persons, which means that He is not constrained by our categories and labels.

Today I read about a Muslim woman who hugged a bitter and poisonous Christian woman demonstrating outside her mosque. This was remarkable for two things. Firstly the Muslim woman said, ‘Something just came over me and I was moved to hug her.’ The something that ‘came over her’ was undoubtedly the spirit of Jesus. The agitated Christian woman with her anger was melted by her love. More here.

Fruit That Lasts

We can produce fruit that lasts. This is fruit that is rooted in eternity past and eternity future. The roots of this fruit are located in our Father. This is how Jesus lived – not as  Jew, not as a representative of religion but as the expression of His Father’s life. This is what sons do. They produce fruit that lasts.

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