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Showing posts from July, 2010

A DISCUSSION OF LAW, GRACE AND GOOD WORKS

Brothers and Sisters:
Absolutely--good works will flow from our life in Christ.  We are called in Christ to a life of love and sacrifice for others.  As is made clear throughout the New Testament, these works will come from the power of Christ within us.  He is living in us, as we have died to self, and died to the rules and regulations of this world, and can now be free to live His life.  
As our Lord tells us, "If a man remains in Me and I remain in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."  (John 15:5)  As Paul reiterates in Colossians Chapter 2, we must no longer judge ourselves or others by any outside standards, including any law.  "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules..." (Col. 3:20,21)  
It is only Christ now.  It is only Him, working in us by His Spirit, empowering us to do the impossible, which is to love.  Truly love is the greatest miracl…

THE RELATIONSHIP OF LAW AND GRACE

This letter is written in response to a sincere question from a brother who just read, "The Law Brings Death", one of my previous blogs earlier in July.  He asked, "then what is the relationship between grace and law?"


Dear Brother--

Great question.  One that Scripture answers loudly in many places...I would ask a favor of you, dear friend.
Go back to my blog and look down the list of titles and find: "The New Way of the Spirit", which gives Word about the relationship of law and grace.  
In a nutshell, the Law of Moses was given to Israel to lead them to faith and grace.  Those who understood that, like David, built relationships with God based on faith and love, and had a deep understanding of God's grace and mercy.  From Abraham on, faith is the theme of the Old Testament.  Those who knew God knew Him by faith, not by adherence to the law.
The earliest challenges faced by the apostles, beginning in Jerusalem and continuing throughout the early growth ar…

WHY MILLIONS ARE BEING MISLED BY NEW MOVEMENTS

THE SIN OF LOOKING FOR SIGNS AND WONDERS A. Brother ©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it but the sign of Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  --Matt. 15:4
          Many today look for miraculous signs to convince them that Jesus is the Way.  They, like the Jews in Jesus’ day, demand that they be shown bigger and bigger things in order for God to “prove Himself” to them.           Many people who claim to be Jesus’ followers want to provide those signs and wonders.  There are whole movements that emphasize spiritual manifestations, the outward show, the circus, the balloons and candy, the excitement and the ceremony.           In order for them to be convinced that something is real, they have to feel, and touch and taste it.  They must, like Thomas, see with their own eyes some miracu…

THIS TIME I WILL TEACH THEM

"This time I will teach them--this time I will teach them my power and might.  Then they will know that My Name is the Lord."  Jer. 16:21


          There are times we learn things ABOUT the Lord.  Most of us, if we've been in church many years, will have learned many things about the Lord.  We have the knowledge in our brains, this head knowledge of Christ, and His Word.  We can tell people many things ABOUT the Lord.
          Here God is saying something different.  His people are going into exile soon.  They will see their homes, cities, farms, and crops destroyed.  They will experience pain and hardship like they've never known in their lifetimes.  God is looking at them and He sees a people caught up completely in themselves, fascinated by their own culture, in love with their own ideas, intent upon their religious duties, and with a great knowledge ABOUT Him, but little knowledge OF Him.  These, His beloved, are immature, bound up in sin, trapped in the world, an…

GOD NEEDS MEN.

NOTE:  This list is a great reminder of all the things we can become in Christ as men, if we just lay down all else but Him.  This is not a law, but the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.  Let us each rest in Christ as we work to become this New Man in the Lord Jesus.  This is what we should be striving toward, as we trust in Christ for all!
God Needs Men - by Zac Poonen, www.cfcindia.com God needs men today -Men who will stand before His face and hear His voice daily,Men who have no desire in their heart for anyone or anything other than God Himself,Men who fear Him so greatly that they hate sin in every form and love righteousness and truth in all their ways,Men who have overcome anger and sexually sinful thoughts, and who would rather die than sin even in thought or attitude,Men whose daily lifestyle is one of taking up the cross and pressing on to perfection, and who are constantly working out their own salvation with fear and trembling,Men, full of the Holy Spirit, who are so rooted…

FOREHEADS OF FLINT

PAUL AND EZEKIEL A. Brother ©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to Me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.” Ezekiel 3:7,8
“I served the Lord with great humility and tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you…” Acts 20:19,20
To preach the whole gospel, the Word of God in its simplicity and power, will require everything of a man.This calling is high—so high that it requires the utmost in humility and godly stubbornness—which are qualities sorely lacking in most of us.
This man Ezekiel was called to speak the Words of God to the people of God.He was not sent out to preach to strangers in a strange land (Ezek. 3:4-6).He was sent to speak to Israel, which is the spiritual Israel, including all of us who by faith are descendants of A…

THE CULT OF SELF

THE CULT OF SELF A. Brother ©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world did not know us is that it did not know Him.” --1 John 3:1
When we look around at our cultures and our churches, we see a self-focus that has become so pervasive it has twisted even many of the faithful into mere shadows of what God intends us to be.This self-focus is a worldly focus, and turns our light into darkness, our good deeds into nothing.
Scripture teaches that our “self”—this unique, God-created person—is prone to sin, subject to decay, and that we must deny our “selves” in order to enter the Kingdom of God. (Mark 8:34)Christ in us completes us.When Christ inhabits us by His Spirit, He helps us let go of the old man, and behold, all things become new in Him. (2 Cor. 5:17)This new man is not full of self, but full of Christ, and led and empowered by the Spirit of Christ within. (Col. 3…

WHEN THE CHRISTIAN THING BECOMES AN IDOL

NOTE:  This is as contemporary as when T. Austin-Sparks spoke these words many years ago.  Today we have become even more fascinated and dependent upon our "Christian" institutions and ministries, our work for God, and thus are in great need of this Word again from the Lord.
WHEN THE CHRISTIAN THING BECOMES AN IDOL
T. AUSTIN-SPARKS

Shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God). (1 Corinthians 10:14).


There are many things which are not only harmless, but good in themselves, which have, nevertheless, been allowed to take the place of the Lord Himself, and good things can therefore embody the principle of idolatry in the one in whom the devotion is found.
Touch some Christians, or Christian institutions, and let the touch be even in relation to something more of the Lord Himself, and you will find an uprising of jealous regard for the institution which utterly blinds to that possibility of an extra mea…

THE UNSHAKEABLE

THE UNSHAKEABLE A. Brother ©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“…but now He has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken— that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Heb. 12:26,27
The created things spoken of here include all religiously-crafted things.There is nothing standing after this great and final shaking, except Christ, and those in Him.There will be a landscape devoid of man-made things, and this new spiritual landscape will have only those things worked by the Spirit of God left upright.All monuments to us will be thrown down.
Each year it is a tradition for the President of the United States to read his “State of the Union” address.In it, he gives his assessment of where the country is at, and what progress has been made.
In 1952 a great teacher of the Word of God, T. Austin-Sparks, wrote a year-end synopsis of what he and his people had observed of the life of the chu…

THE EXPRESSION OF CHRIST

THE EXPRESSION OF CHRIST T. AUSTIN-SPARKS What are the purposes of God in His people?
Born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13).
What, in the thought of God do Christians exist for? What does the Church exist for? What do local churches exist for? There is only one answer. The existence and the function is to be an expression of Christ. There is nothing less and nothing more than that.


Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, and all between! Let that be the starting-point; let that be the governing rule and reality in all matters of life and work, and see at once the nature and vocation of the Church. This vast, incomprehensible heavenly system, of which Christ is the personal embodiment, touches every detail of life, personally and collectively.
But remember only the Holy Spirit sees and knows how it is so; hence, as at the beginning, there has to be an utter submission to and direction by the Lordship of the H…

BREAKING THE RELIGIOUS RULES

NOTE:  T. Austin-Sparks' teachings from the Word were not known to me until very recently, though I grew up in the evangelical churches.  Now that I know the content of them, I'm not surprised.  His was a great ministry, but unlike many brothers today, a quietly effective one.  He is a brother who lived from 1888-1971 on this earth.  For Austin-Sparks, the centrality of Christ was everything, and God also has shown me through Scripture that this man of God was absolutely accurate.  It is all about Christ, not about us.  Read this with humility and the unafraid attitude of the Spirit, and you will see.
A. Brother
BREAKING THE RELIGIOUS RULES T. AUSTIN-SPARKS
"The Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. But Jesus replied, 'My Father is always working, and so am I.'” (John 5:16-17).
A true knowledge of the Lord Jesus will reverse a good many of our ideas, and a good many of our procedures. A true knowledge of Christ and union with Christ, with…