For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;2 Corinthians 2:15(NASB)
To those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13 NIV)
What, in the thought of God do Christians exist for? What does the Church 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 Holy Spirit. What the bloodstream is to the human body, the Divine Life is to and in "the Church which is His body." What the nerve system is in the physical realm, the Holy Spirit is in the spiritual. Understand all the workings of those two systems in the natural, and you begin to see how God has written His great heavenly principles, first in the person of His Son, and then in His corporate Body.
As an individual believer is the result of a begetting, a conception, a formation, a birth and a likeness, so, in the New Testament, is a true local church. It is a reproduction of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Man cannot make, form, produce or "establish" this. Neither can anyone "join" or "enroll," or make himself or herself a member of this organism. First it is an embryo, and then a "formation" after Christ. So, all talk about "forming New Testament churches" is nonsense. The beginning is in a seeing of Christ.
Much in every way! § Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts. § If their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember.
Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers. § In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. § You, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.
Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and … put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” § The bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life … He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me … Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.
A new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh … let us draw near.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19).
Personal knowledge of and fellowship with our risen Lord Jesus is counter-balanced by personal knowledge of and fellowship in the death of the Cross. The principle of balance prevents our slipping past the Cross and pushing into His presence.
"Where do you dwell? Come and see. They came. . . and abode with Him' (John 1:39). The highest satisfaction He can have is that we should be at home with Himself. He has removed the distance from His own side.
"If you believe that, you say, I will approach Him. That is one thing. The next thing is, His love is so great He delights to have your company. It is not that you will feel yourself out of place there - you will be there in all the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ."
"Our Father delights in having us with Himself. Love yearns to satisfy itself about me. It is not only that I can go in, but a much greater thing - my Father, in all His majesty and glory, can come out! All is equipoised. Not only have I entree, but I am shaped to the grandeur of the scene, conformed to the glory of God. Not admitted like a stranger, but changed into the same image; not to equality but similarity; transformed into moral correspondence." -J.B.S.
"If we are not with Him where He is, we cannot be for Him where He is not. We must be inside the veil to be outside the camp."
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Matthew 5:3
Beware of placing Our Lord as a Teacher first. If Jesus Christ is a Teacher only, then all He can do is to tantalize me by erecting a standard I can not attain. What is the use of presenting me with an ideal I cannot possibly come near? I am happier without knowing it. What is the good of telling me to be what I never can be - to be pure in heart, to do more than my duty, to be perfectly devoted to God? I must know Jesus Christ as Saviour before His teaching has any meaning to me other than that of an ideal which leads to despair. But when I am born again of the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come to teach only: He came to make me what He teaches I should be. The Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life, and all the standards that God gives are based on that disposition.
The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produce despair in the natural man - the very thing Jesus means it to do. As long as we have a self-righteous, conceited notion that we can carry out Our Lord's teaching, God will allow us to go on until we break our ignorance over some obstacle, then we are willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him. "Blessed are the paupers in spirit," that is the first principle in the Kingdom of God. The bedrock in Jesus Christ's kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility - I cannot begin to do it. Then Jesus says - Blessed are you. That is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor! The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus Christ works.
For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
What comes to your mind when you think of God and His Christ? What false perceptions of God have you developed in your life-time? Every word of Scripture is a megaphone of warning to the believer, for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Yet many ignore the words of wisdom that pepper the pages of the Holy Bible.
Secular man has borrowed from their pages and produced many great ideals. Philosophy and psychology have twisted truths to support their own pet teaching. Science and medicine have borrowed facts and a library of tomes have resulted.
But unsaved man knows nothing of God’s wisdom, as it is spiritually perceived. Natural man.. the unsaved man, knows nothing of God’s wisdom – for God’s wisdom is spiritually discerned. Natural man knows little of God’s character – and the church mirrors their progress. The Church often shadows the trail of the natural – and discovers half-truths.
But right thinking about God and the Son of His love is critical to spiritual growth, for every thought we have of God, influences the decisions we make. Think about the following.. No nation in the history of the world has risen above their perception of God. No civilisation has peaked above their consciousness of Who God is. No peoples have exceeded their religious thinking of the nature of God.
But like many peoples, civilisations, and nations this is how some people think, and many believers have fed on inaccurate and flawed thoughts of God – and many believers remain bound to the chains of religion, built up in their youth.. and many don’t even realise this.
This is a condition that has permeated the church of God since the days of Paul: after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock Acts 20:29. And one of Satan’s most effective tools is to ham-string the mindread more
Forgiveness not only covers forgiving those that have deeply wronged us, but sometimes we too need to accept that we have been truly forgiven. Guilt often suffocates the breath of life that came from the cross announcing, “It Is Finished”
Too often we revisit forgiven sins and beat ourselves mercilessly for our misdemeanours, but once forgiven, that sin is remembered no more. Once forgiven, your sins are as far away as the east is from the west.
The great D.L Moody once noted that if God promises to cast all our confessed sin into the depth of the sea, we must not get out a fishing line and keep pulling them back in. If God has forgiven you, then accept His forgiveness and forgive yourself as well.
Day by day we need to confess the sins we commit – moment by moment, for if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every wrong. 1John 1:9 But remember – once forgiven, that sin is remembered no more. Once forgiven – your sins are as far away as the east is from the west.
An unknown author once wrote: We are most like wild beasts when we kill. We are most like men when we judge. We are most like God when we FORGIVE.
To forgive others you need to renounce anger and resentment against the other, but have you been willing to accept God’s forgiveness of all of your sins? Are you prepared to bestow on another the gift you received from God? Can you honestly withhold forgiveness towards another, when the Lord gave His beloved Son’s life in order to forgive you?
I once allowed wounds and anger and pain of unforgiveness to build up in my life. I spent time identifying and praying forgiveness over everything: Forgiveness over every person; cleansing over every situation, for I had not been faithful in applying 1 John 1:9 – For if weread more