Tag: discipleship

Are you a Christian Pervert?

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  -Galatians 1: 6-9

Grace is not a message, it’s not a theology, it’s not an idea, nor fad, it’s the Gospel.  If you don’t subscribe to the pure, complete, and full Grace of God in Jesus Christ, you don’t subscribe to the Gospel. There is not another Gospel, there is only One.  There is not one Gospel that saves you, and then another one that sustains and sanctifies you. There is not another Gospel where “God does His part but you must do your part.”

There is only one Gospel, “God does everything, because you can’t, you only need believe.” It’s all Grace, or it’s not the Gospel. When Jesus declared “it is finished,” there was no mixture. He didn’t say, “It is finished… but.”  At the cross of Jesus, life under the Law (religious rules you have to perform to please and access God) ended once and for all, life under Grace (Jesus’ performance on the cross which when believed, makes us new, right, pleasing, and seated with Christ at the right hand of God a part from our performance) began. The Gospel is not a little bit of Grace and a little bit of Law mixed together. It’s a all Grace or it’s not the Gospel.

We are no longer to live an “obedience of trying and striving” to follow the rules, but rather we are to live an “obedience of faith,” clinging on to the loveliness of Jesus and His performance, not our own. For the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about Jesus, not about us. The Law presupposed there is something you can do, the Gospel presupposes there is nothing you can do, but Someone you can believe who did it all, and does it all on your behalf!

There is no Gospel that brings you to Jesus from His Grace only to summon you into a life of striving to please God and merit His favor once you have become saved.  There is no Gospel that makes you (as a believer) into a twisted, two natured person; one part evil, and one part divine who never knows who he or she really is from one day to the next, nor has the assurance of their true identity in Christ, and is simply left to fight an inner battle Jesus already won.  There is no Gospel that sets you on a course of sin-consciousness where you must repeatedly ask God to forgive you even though He has already done so. There is no Gospel that burdens you with performance-driven talks and steps for you to achieve to increase your reputation with God and His desire to bless your life, only to leave you secretly feeling like a hypocrite because you know you can never do everything all the time to be seen as a true, genuine faithful follower of Jesus. There is no Gospel that is soft on sin when Jesus gave all of Himself to defeat it. There is no Gospel that is hard on sinners when Jesus gave all of Himself for them.  There is no Gospel that makes the Church into a legalist club for Christians with a cross on top filled with self-righteous believers who take inner pleasure on raising the sins of others as being more serious than their own. There is no Gospel that treats the Church, it’s purpose, and leadership as a man-centered, performance-dependent venture, or a chasing of the ego’s pursuit to take some part of the credit and glory for the building of the Kindgom. There is no Gospel that sets the believer onto a discipleship series of steps, rituals, and religious activities that appease God, turn His frown upside down, and give you smiley faces on God’s divine chalkboard.  There is no Gospel like any of this.

It’s all Jesus, all Him, all Grace, all His performance, all His work, all His faithfulness, all His mercy, favor, and blessing, received through faith alone, or it’s not the Gospel.  If it’s any other version, it’s a perversion.

In the Bible passage above, Paul identifies the true perverts of the world. Not sex offenders, not homosexuals, not child porn viewers, as evil and terrible as they are. No, rather, he speaks of Christians who turn away from or turn the Gospel of God’s Grace in Jesus Christ into another Gospel that is, in fact, not a Gospel.  At this point, you should either say, “Amen!” or “Ouch!”

The only documented places in scripture where Jesus gets mad or the Spirit is grieved is when Grace is not extended. Not rules, condemnation, religious activities, performance steps, or obedience speeches.  Paul echoes God’s heart and view on the matter as he declares that those who turn the Gospel of Grace into any other version should be “accursed.”

Right believing leads to right living. You can’t live the Gospel day to day into you believe it all the way.  An obedience problem is at heart an identity problem. You will never know who you truly are until you believe in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith is what pleases God, not your performance. Faith is what makes His performance become your performance.  Faith is the root, obedience is the fruit. We walk by faith, not by sight, or might.

Are you a Christian pervert? Repent (change your mind) and believe in the Gospel.

 

The Power of Ignorance

Find me a place in your life (or mine) where Satan is having his way, and you will have found of place where likely there is ignorance. Hard to hear, hard to say, but true.

I have long believed that if you get the first couple chapters of the first book in the Bible right, much of your life will go right also. Unfortunately, most people don’t get the first 3 verses quite right, let alone the rest. Admittedly, this was the case for me for many years, so don’t feel bad if it’s true for you too.

Genesis 1:2-3 reads…

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

There are three problems this scripture identifies that existed at the beginning of creation. We can know this by digging under the surface to the deeper Hebrew meanings of three of the words.

The Hebrew word for “without form” carries with it the idea of “disorder,” the word actually means this at its root. The word for “void” is the deeper word in Hebrew for “chaos.” Where there is disorder there is also chaos, the two fit hand in glove. The word “darkness” interestingly, is not the word that communicates the absence of illumination. It’s not the kind of darkness you get when you go into a cave or your closet at night. Rather, the word darkness is also the Hebrew word for “ignorance” or “without divine knowledge.”

The problems of disorder, chaos and ignorance/darkness are not from God. In fact, the Bible says the God is light, in Him there is no darkness. It also says that God is not a God of disorder nor is He the author of chaos. Rather, throughout scripture and creation, we see quite the opposite, God has put order into everything and His handwork and character can be seen in His creation. That’s because, in verse 3, God provides the solution… “light.” But it’s not the kind of light that you get when you flip the switch in your house, as a matter of fact, you may be surprised to notice that the “sun” is not given until verse 16. Rather, the word “light” is also the Hebrew word for “divine revelation” or “divine knowledge.”

So, in the Bible, where Satan is referred to as the “Prince of Darkness” it starts to make deeper sense. This reference to Satan doesn’t mean that he is the ultimate expert on how to navigate your car down a back-country road at night. The word “prince” carries with it the meaning “first to rule by.”

So Satan is the first to rule by ignorance. Very interesting.

One of the primary ways that Satan desires to rule your life is through ignorance. Find a place in your life where evil, disorder or chaos of any kind are getting the upper-hand, and I will find you a place where you are likely ignorant of God-knowledge. Either you have never received it or you have rejected it.

In the book of Hosea, the first three chapters put on display just about every problem or manifestation of evil a nation and/or a person can have in their life. The list is pretty exhaustive. Lust, corruption, depravity, violence, unrest, sin, turmoil, fear, and the list goes on and on. Yet what is so interesting is that in chapter 4:6, God reveals the root of the problem, and what He identifies might surprise you. God says, “my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” Really? Not sin, not Satan, our two customary excuses? It really is true, the areas where you and I are being destroyed and discouraged in our life, are probably areas where we lack divine revelation or we have rejected it. There are principals of God that would provide the solution if applied, but either we do not know the principal(s) or we have rejected them.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

For some time, I was ignorant in an area of my walk with the Lord, probably because of a combination of a lack of revelation and a rejection of it. The bottom line is for a time, I was ignorant of how important it is to be “filled with the Spirit.” I was ignorant of the plain teachings of scripture that there is a difference between having the Holy Spirit “in you” and having Him “upon you.” One you receive at conversion, the other you need to ask for, receive, and open your life to following conversion. Yet, I always thought, at conversion, you get the Spirit “in you” and that’s it, game over, mission accomplished. Wow, was I ignorant. But once I heard and received divine knowledge about what Paul taught to converted Christians in Ephesus and elsewhere in scripture “be filled with Spirit” everything changed and my life and ministry moved to a whole new level of power and purpose. Areas where I had been defeated and discouraged, I was no more. As a matter of fact, soon after, God began to do miracles in my life, even a physical healing, and now He is doing miracles through my life, and that’s just the beginning.

If your marriage is in shambles, perhaps what you need isn’t more prayer, but to discover and apply revelation from God about how to have a healthy marriage. If your finances are in disorder, perhaps what you need is not another shouting rebuke of Satan, but to pursue God revelation for how to manage your finances and then apply what God reveals.

Satan can have no more power and authority in your life than you allow him. Where he has authority and power in your life is only where you have agreed with him to have it. Adam and Eve gave Satan authority by agreeing with Satan that eating the forbidden fruit was the best/right thing to do.

And chances are, whether it be in your marriage, your self-image, your finances, your attitude etc., where you are agreeing with him, you are doing so because you either lack divine knowledge or you have rejected it.

Satan would love nothing more than to drag you and me around by the leash of ignorance.

Pray, rebuke, fast, claim, declare, but don’t forget to not be stupid.

“My people are being destroyed by a lack of knowledge…” “The earth was in disorder, chaos, and ignorance, and God said, let there be “divine revelation.”

Thanks to Miles Munroe for inspiration

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