Archive for September 18, 2010

Listen v4.6 Looking Unto Jesus

Looking Unto Jesus

The church is fallen and it can’t get up. This is not the first time either. Don’t for a minute think that Judaism was a false religion. No, it became one. Don’t for a minute think that Catholicism was a false religion. No, it became one. Don’t for a minute think that Protestantism is a false religion. No, it is just quickly becoming one. No more than we should think that Adam was a sinner. No, he became one. They have each fallen in their time to the wiles and temptation of the evil one and the lusting of their own heart. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12.

You see each of us begins our Christian life and walk in sincere desire to please God and do His will. But Satan is crafty and patient. He watches and waits and plots and schemes. Now don’t console yourself if and when you have fallen that the devil made you do it. He never made anyone do anything that was not already in their heart to do. He just gave the opportunity, motivation and encouragement you needed to launch out in the lust that was already there in your heart. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:13-14.

Even this is from God, Who uses what the evil one meant for bad for His own good. You see, once we begin to walk with God we are tempted by the “pi” as Oswald Chambers calls it (i.e. short for piety). We begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We take the eyeballs that God so miraculously pointed outwards when He healed our blindness, and begin to turn them back in on ourselves again. Believe me I know this for a fact by experience. Once we do that we do not see ourselves rightly. We must always keep our eyes on Him with Whom we have to do. If we see Him, then we see ourselves correctly.

So here is the vicious cycle. We are brought by God’s Holy Spirit to see our own depravity of heart and need of a Savior. In the crisis of that moment we cry out to God, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” And God hears that cry and responds with mercy through Redemption. In that moment we touched Truth and Eternity when we saw and believed that we need Him and are dependent upon Him alone for Life and Forgiveness.

All the pent up blessings of heaven and Redemption are then uploaded into you in the person of Christ by His Holy Spirit. And what a package it is. Well, lets just say its His Indescribable Gift. He gives you Himself as a deposit and guarantee that He will complete that which He started in you. Now that is something to consider. And consider we do. At first we consider how wonderful He is to do such a thing for me, a mutinous and rebellious traitor to Him. At first it seems too good to be true, we even struggle with believing all of it.

Then by and by we learn about God’s riches in Christ Jesus and His plan and super-abounding love and grace toward us. We begin to feel pretty good about all that He has done for us. But here comes Satan to bring out what is in your (and my) heart. He begins to help you see how wonderful you are. After all you made the decision to follow Christ while all of these have not. They continue in their sins hardly even caring about God even hurling blasphemous insults and profanities toward Him. They are not like you. You do not do that. You are good and a Christian. And before you know it you are eating every lie right out of his hand.

You quit checking those thoughts of self-congratulations and self-righteousness at the Mind of Christ and they begin to flow freely right in the mind, puffing and inflating Self.

The same thing happens to churches, organized bodies. They begin in earnest upon the revelation that God has given them. Then often begins the us and them condition that is rampant and definitive of denominationalism. We think of what “we” believe versus what “they” believe. We begin to brand our style of Christianity as right and theirs as flawed in some way and inferior. It is all so easy to do, because in our heart we still want to think ourselves good, especially now that God has recognized us and set us apart for Himself. Every man actually wants to believe that he is good. There is an amazing temptation to do that.

Lets settle this right here and now. There is none good, not one. That is not a joke or a lie. It is the truth right from the mouth of God. The only good you will ever have or be is the Good of God that lives in you through His Spirit. It is His Good, not yours. He gets all the Glory. Period. And the fact is that if you are not walking with Him in the Spirit in total dependence upon Him, then it is you who is doing all that you do, not Him. And you righteousness is as filthy rags. Even after you are saved. That which is born of the flesh (i.e. your stinking self-works) is flesh. And that which is born of the Spirit (i.e. good works done in dependence upon Him) is spirit.

Once we take our eyes off God and turn them back on our own righteousness by works, we are flying solo, operating apart from the Spirit, carnally. For the Spirit and flesh are contrary one to the other. You see we have the keys to let Flesh rule in our hearts or the Spirit. It is a matter of will and thus the heart. You must determine to not obey the desires of the flesh but to obey God by His Spirit in you. You must decide with a dogged self-denying yieldedness that you do not want your will to be done but His.

And this is exactly how the chruch is fallen. It does not look to God and Christ as its Lover and Head. The modern church has for the most part turned its eyeballs inward to focus and admire Her own beauty. In Her narcissism she has separated herself not only from others but Him as well. She cannot and will not leave from gazing into the pool of her reflection. She is so in love with herself that she is even blinded to Him. It feels so good to be desired and sought that she has lost her desire for Him and left off seeking Him.

Good works (e.g. religion) is, and forever will be, the stumbling block to Relationship with Him. It is a perversion to want to be like Him by doing good works of the flesh which rob Him of His glory. Rather, you must seek Him with a strong desire to Love Him and depend upon Him just as a child desires their father and depends upon him, then you will be like your Father. Don’t look into the mirror admiring your Self. Look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith. If you find that you have been looking into the mirror, you must turn—repent from your own good works—and return to Him.

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Cor. 13:12.

Quote Title Quotation Source
Unfinished Life is an Abortion 1 Corinthians 3:1 divides Christians into two classifications. They are the spiritual and the carnal. A spiritual Christian is one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells in his spirit and controls his entire being. What is meant then by being carnal? The Bible employs the word “flesh” to describe the life and value of an un-regenerated man. It comprises everything which issues from his sinful soul and body. A carnal Christian, therefore, is one who’s spirit has been quickened, but who still follows his soul and body into sin. If a Christian remains in a carnal condition long after experiencing new birth, he hinders God’s salvation from realizing its full potential and manifestation. Watchman Nee – The Spiritual Man, circa 1920, copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.
A Life of Blazing Glory How seldom Christians recognize the glory of a life of complete consecration to be spent always in fellowship with God! Andrew Murray – The Blood of Christ © 1935
The Power of Loving Obedience The two trees in the Garden of Eden present choices. Man (Adam) chose The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and thus entered sin. Had he not chosen that tree there would not be sin and the need for the Cross and Redemption. Yet not disobeying is not the same as obedience. We must choose the Tree of Life (i.e. Christ). Being without sin only makes us children of God. Obedience makes us sons, representatives of Him. Tom Van Hoogen
Your Just Desserts? The people are never exonerated for having bad rulers; the reason they have bad rulers is that they are bad people. Those who rule the people do not autocratically crush them, the people are their inspirers; they are the rulers the people deserve. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
The Shoe On the Other Foot Reality is to be sought not in division but in unity, for we are members one of another. The man who lives in division is not a person but only an individual.
I have what you have not. I am what you are not. I have taken what you have failed to take and I have seized what you could never get. Therefore you suffer and I am happy, you are despised and I am praised, you die and I live; you are nothing and I am something, and I am all the more something because you are nothing. And thus I spend my life admiring the distance between you and me; at times this even helps me to forget the other men who have what I have not and who have taken what I was too slow to take and who have seized what was beyond my reach, who are praised as I cannot be praised and who live on my death… The man who lives in division is living in death. He cannot find himself because he is lost; he has ceased to be a reality.
Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
Approach Quietly and Patiently The interior life, that is, the inward life of the spirit, is not a place that is taken by storm or violence. That inward kingdom, that realm within you, is a place of peace. It can only be gained by love. Jeanne Guyon – Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, circa 1680
Band of Brothers And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: they meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation. As such, God permits them to meet together and gives them community. Their fellowship is founded solely upon Jesus Christ and this alien righteousness. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Life Together, circa 1940; excerpted from The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism by Bernard McGuinn copyright 2006 by Random House, Inc.
Watching Over the Souls of Loved Ones Now, thoroughly convinced that their husband and father was indeed going quite mad, they sought to drive his affliction away by treating him with the utmost hardness and disrespect. Sometimes they would scold him, sometimes mock and mimic him. At other times they would totally ignore him. But, as you well know, this it no way to treat a soul in distress. Not only did it fail to help him, it actually added to his burden because he now began to fear all the more for his family s salvation. This added burden of worry drove him more often than ever to his chamber where he would pray for their souls as well as his own. At other times he would walk all alone in the fields, sometimes reading from his book, and sometimes praying. And thus for many a day did he spend his time. John Bunyan – The New Amplified Pilgrims Progress, circa 1660; Adapted by Jim Pappas, Jr. © 1999 Orion s Gate
The Short Cuts Will Cost You I know you want to see the road ahead rather than trusting God. If you continue this way, the road will get longer and your spiritual progress will slow down. Fenelon – The Seeking Heart, circa 1690, copyright Christian Books Publishing House
Prayer Just Do It! This is the only way we can ever learn to pray, by just beginning to do it. Prayer will teach us how to pray, and the more we pray, the more we will learn the mysteries of the heights and depths of prayer. A. B. Simpson – The Life of Prayer – circa 1890, © 2007 Bridge-Logos
Money Worship, the Cruel Task Master Notice the peril of the Christian who is falling under the sway of covetousness, which the apostle Paul calls idolatry (see Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:5). At the end of the process, be it longer or shorter, he will renounce entirely the service of God and become the slave of moneymaking. The slightest acquaintance with commercial circles gives evidence of the tyranny mammon, which compels its slaves to toil day and night; demands the sacrifice of love and health, of home enjoyments and natural pleasure; insists that every interest shall be subordinate to its all-consuming service; and at the end of life casts it devoted, bankrupt, and penniless upon the shores of eternity. Let us not take this choice lightly, for we face it nearly every day. And the choice we make will have repercussions through eternity. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
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