Thursday, January 17, 2019

OT Prophets

A common view is that the OT prophets became automatons controlled by the Spirit to write down his message as he gave it. That is not true. The language style of the various prophets is different, reflecting human influence. Because they were living prior to the cross, their experience of the Spirit was probably even less intense than ours. So the Holy Spirit had a difficult task getting them to write down what he wanted in the scripture recorded accurately. He probably had numerous attempts. And they probably recorded some of them, but the Holy Spirit ensured they were discarded, because they were not up to his standard.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pastor's Wives

I notice that an increasing number of pastor-leaders are using their wives as a prophet to their church. Many women have greater openness to the spiritual realms than men, so this could seem like a plausible solution for a pastor.

I believe this is a dangerous trend, because a husband and wife are one. The wife may have a prophetic edge, but if she is one with her husband, she will be a pastor too.

A prophet can be pastoral, but they should not attempt be a pastor. A pastor can be prophetic, but they cannot be a prophet.

By getting his wife to be responsible for leading and developing prophetic activity in the church is a good way for the pastor to keep it under control, but it will also keep it tame.

In one situation that I have observed, the pastor’s wife has had some powerful visions, but the interpretations do not seem to do them justice. I presume that the interpretations also come through the lens of her husband, so they do not rock the boat.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Church Meetings

Most of the reasons given to justify church meetings are invalid.

  1. Worship. Most Christians think that worship is something we do on Sunday. This is not true. All our lives should be an act of worship. Worship in a large group is an encouraging bonus, but it is not essential.

  2. Teaching. There is nothing in the scriptures to suggest that Christians need to listen to an hour of good teaching each week for the rest of their lives. A new Christian who is serious about following Jesus can be taught the basics of the Christian faith in a few weeks. From there on, they can learn what they need to know by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The main purpose of the weekly teaching format is to give the teacher a place to perform.

    If a Christian is stumped by an issue, they can search the scriptures, or look up the answer on the internet. Most modern Christians have had so much teaching that they are choking on it. What they need is a bit more doing, but they will not learn that at a meeting.

  3. Oversight. Most Christians know how to put on a holy mask while they are at a church meeting (I have done it for so many years, I can do it without thinking). The elders responsible for providing oversight generally do not have a clue about what is going on in their day-to-day lives. To offer credible oversight, an elder needs to see how a Christian functions in their family or at work. The best way to get insight into a person's spiritual state is to share with them in some service in the world.

  4. Training. Attendance at meetings trains Christians to be passive. The best training comes in the way Jesus trained his disciples. Take a few people with you into the world to do the Jesus stuff, so they can see how it is done. When they have watched for a while, get them to have a go, dealing with an easy case, with the leader ready to come in and help if things turn to custard. When they are competent, get them to start training others. That will really sharpen their ministry.

  5. Gifts of the Spirit. Some people may only get help when several people move in complementary gifts of the Spirit to get to the bottom of a holding them back. That could happen at the front of a meeting, but it will usually be less effective, because one superstar will be performing. Good stuff is more likely to happen and be more effective, if a group of Christians friends gather in a friend's living room. The Holy Spirit can really get to work when he has a group of people who love one another to flow through

  6. Learning the Gifts. The front of a meeting is not a good place to learn to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. A better is a place to learn is a friend's home with a few people that are trusted. Once the Christian has learned to move in the gifts, the next step is not to the front of a church meeting, but to go into the world with some friends.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Attend or Follow

When a person comes to faith in Jesus, the standard instruction to the new Christian is to join a good church. The unspoken assumption is that if they attend a church meeting each week, they will be fine (ie meetings save?) But they will not be fine. Millions of Christians have attended meetings for years and years, but remained immature and in ineffective. Issues that should have been resolved in the first few months of following Jesus continue to weigh them down for the rest of their lives.

Better advice would be to tell the new Christian to find someone to follow (this is Pauls approach). If the new Christian has a pastoral nature, they should find someone who is effective in that gifting and follow them around until they have become effective their ministry. If they have an evangelistic calling, they should find an effective evangelist and follow them until they have become an effective evangelist. If the new Christian has a prophetic bent, they should find an effective prophet and follow them until they have learned how to be an effective prophet. If they are confused about their calling, and choose the wrong person to follow, it will soon become clear. They can switch a different person to follow when their calling becomes clear.

Following a more mature Christian is a far more effective strategy for a new Christian wanting to learn the Jesus stuff, than joining a church and attending meetings. We should stop telling new Christians to join a church. Instead, we should say, "Follow me!" or "Follow Fred" or "Follow Freda".

Friday, January 11, 2019

Relationships

The relationships in the church should be circular. The "One Another Stuff" is more important than "Submission Stuff". Most of it will take place within pairs.

In contrast, in the conventional church, all the links go through the centre.
A good test of the quality of relationships is the amount of forgiveness that is taking place.
Forgive one another (Col 3:13).
If people are not interacting, there will not be much stuff to forgive. It is interesting that much of the offence among modern Christians is either against the pastor and worship leader, or against friends and workmates. The reason is that most interaction in the church is with the pastor and worship leader. Most Christians do not have enough interaction with each other to cause offence and need forgiveness.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Bureaucratic Leadership

The early church was structured like a family. The elders cared for their people in the same way as fathers care for their children. But once the church was successful and respectable, it moved away from this biblical model. It dropped the family form of government and took over the imperial form of the Roman Empire. Bishops ceased to be shepherds and became more like monarchs. This imperial stage of the church continued down to the Reformation.

Bureaucratic Government
The Reformation substituted a bureaucratic form of church. The elders sat as boards and committees, ruling over the church. They were more like bureaucrats than pastors. Individual attention was given only to those with special needs. This form has continued up to the present time.

The modern church is often more of an institution than a people, or a community. Christian life is expressed in various activities and projects carried out in a church building. The result is that elders become more concerned with the institution than with people. Their leadership consists primarily in administration, decision making and opinion forming. Their time is spent in meetings organising programs and activities.

The authority of elders extends over the institution, but not over the lives of the church members. These remain private. The result is that elders have very little influence on the way that Christians actually live. Christian growth is limited, and very few strong relationships are formed.

The bureaucratic form of government has severely weakened the church. It has also left elders frustrated, because they are unable to fulfil a true spiritual ministry.

Corporate Management
In recent years the church has begun to copy the corporate management model has become pervasive in the business world. "Electric Jack", the CEO of General Electric has been held up as an example for church leaders. As churches have grown larger the corporate model seems more relevant.

Massive growth in the size has brought tremendous benefits to business through economies of scale. This growth has been made possible by the emergence of the corporate management model. This model has provided a method of controlling complicated and divergent processes. A body of literature has developed to encourage leadership within this model.

However, the corporate model is not relevant to the church. The primary goal of the corporate model is to control complicated processes to achieve quality and efficiency. Quality and efficiency are not important goals for the church.


Activities where there are benefits from size

Activities where there are no benefits from size


Celebration

Teaching

Finances/Resourcing

Specialisation



Discipleship

Fellowship

Evangelism

Charity

Prophetic

Love



The really important things for the church seem to be in the right-hand column. Most of these are very hard to achieve in a large corporate model. All these things need to be done in a personal way in the anointing of the Spirit.

The church wanting to be big so that it can have a greater impact on the world has succumbed to the spirit of the beast. The beast says, "We must come together and pool our resources to achieve more and make a name for ourselves" (Gen 11:1-4).

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Institutions

The modern church is a bewilderingly complex array of structures and activities. There will usually be national, regional and local organisations. At each level there will be a variety of committees, dealing with all sorts of activities. There is a complicated range of ministries: bishops, cardinals, ministers elders, deacons, pastors, priests, administrators, etc.

The church produces magazines, minutes, agendas, vision statements, strategic plans, tenets and doctrinal statements. It owns worship centres, halls, office blocks, training colleges, cars and superannuation funds. And the scene is further complicated by the duplication of all these activities across the various denominations. On top of all this, there are a wide variety of para-church organisations specialising in missions, youth work, children's work, evangelism, Bible distribution etc. The modern church is a large, unwieldy and complex organisation.

Most of the activities and structures that make up its complexity are not necessary for its essential work. The church has become so complicated that people cannot see the wood for the trees. And yet we find it hard to imagine a church without all these things. We need a radical change in our understanding of the church.

The institutionalisation of Christianity has severely weakened the church. It has also left elders frustrated, because they are unable to fulfil a true spiritual ministry. Fortunately, this form of church is dying, and people are instinctively going back to meeting in small groups in their homes.

The main responsibility of the church is to bear witness to Jesus Christ. However, all the peripheral structures and activities of the church stop people from seeing Christ. For most non-Christians, a church building is part of a strange institution, which they do not understand. They will only go into it if they really have to. In contrast, they will be quite happy to go into another person's home. If churches go back to meeting in believers' homes, people will feel free to join them. To be successful in evangelism, the church must meet in the homes of believers.

More in Being Church.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Two Reasons

If the Holy Spirit is not moving powerfully in a church, there are two possible reasons.

  • The people have grieved the Spirit or are rejecting his leading.
  • The leaders are refusing to make the changes that the Holy Spirit needs.
God is never the problem. He is always wanting to move.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Righteous in Romans

As I have been reading Romans, I am struck that we no longer use some of the key English words used in the translation of the letter. This makes the message hard to understand.

Righteous
Paul declares that God is righteous. The problem is that we do not use this word much anymore. No one speaking of another person says “He is a righteous man”. Rather we would say, “He is a good man”. We sometimes use the expression “self-righteous”, but in a negative context, to describe someone who thinks they are better than they are.

Describing God as righteous is not very helpful in the modern world, because the word has become anachronistic.

A better option would be to say that God is good.

The righteousness of God might be better described as “moral integrity”.

The letter to the Romans says that we have been “declared righteous freely by His grace” (Rom 3:25). What does that mean?

God has put us right. We are okay.

Justified
The other common statement in Romans is that we have been “justified”, usually by faith. This is another word that we do not use much. When a person says that “their actions justified”, they usually mean they had good reasons for doing what they did, even if other people did not approve.

Being justified means “being right with God”.

In a legal context, it means being declared “Not guilty” by a judge. The technical term is being “acquitted”, but that is too narrow for Romans. In that context, we should think of it as being “made right with God”.

Upright is close, but it is also a bit anachronistic.

Innocent is probably too strong.

However, "as if we are innocent" could work,

or "as if we never sinned".

Friday, January 04, 2019

Nones

Josh Daffern on Why the ‘Nones’ Are Walking Away From Church.

People come looking for community and we give them a program.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Preaching


Weekly Sermon

Pastors put a great deal of energy into preaching a weekly sermon to their congregation. In the modern world, this is misdirected energy.

  1. The weekly sermon implies that the pastor hears God better than his people. This contrasts with 1 Corinthians 14:26, where everyone has a word or revelation.

  2. The weekly sermon encourages Christians to be passive and not to seek God's word for themselves. Perhaps this why Christians are so easily
    manipulated by false prophets. They are trained to be passive.

  3. Many years ago, the pastor or priest was often the only person in a church who could read. He had to teach the people what the Bible says. This need no longer exists.

  4. There is an abundance of excellent teaching on television, radio, audio tape and the internet.

  5. If the Church needs a word of direction or challenge, it should come from one of the prophets and not the pastor.

  6. The Holy Spirit has been poured out on the Church, so there is no need for an intermediary between God and his people. The Holy Spirit has
    promised to teach us all things (1 John 2:27, John 16:13-15).

Parable

An army is not trained by getting together all the soldiers, from brigadier to private, for an hour and half a week and spending the first 30 minutes singing battle songs and the next hour listening to a general lecturing on tactics and the history of war.

Soldiers need to learn discipline, obedience and weapons skills. These skills are learned by doing. The generals concentrate on tactics and planning. Most private soldiers are trained by NCOs. Troops need to be battle-hardened before they are fully trained.

Preaching in the World
Preaching belongs in the world. In the New Testament, preaching was used for evangelism. The good preachers in the church should be taken out of their pulpits and sent into the marketplaces to proclaim the good news to the world.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Quality Gifts

On Christmas day, my three-year-old granddaughter received as a present a small electronic fishing game, which had been designed and manufactured in the United States. There was only one problem. Before the game could be played, a C battery was needed. There are plenty of AA and AAA around the house, but Cs are not used much these days. So the present could not be used until her parents were able to purchase a battery in a couple of day’s time.

In contrast, all the presents that were manufactured in China were ready to use. They had batteries in them, with just a small piece of plastic to be removed, or the batteries were included in the box ready to install.

The difference seems obvious. Chinese manufacturers understand the needs of their customers. They know that most toys are given as gifts, and that small children want to play with their presents when they receive them. Customers have come to expect that with Chinese-made toys.
American manufacturers seem to think that customers are privileged to be able to buy their products.

If the United States manufacturers want to become “great again”, they will need to get better at customer service.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Whose Shoulder?

Isaiah prophesied boldly about Jesus.

For to us, a child is born,
to us, a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

Of the increase of his
government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign … over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
The government will be on his shoulder.

Who?

The Child
Jesus.

The simple reading of this text is that Jesus will be the government
from that time forward and forever.

So why does Donald Trump think that he should be the government?
or Teresa May, or Angela Merkel, or Xi Jinping, or Vladimir Putin, or Jacinda Adern?

Why do we put our faith in democracy?
Why do we think that we can vote in a new government,
At the next election?

Herod understood Isaiah's prophecy.
He knew that his government was a goner,
so he tried to kill Jesus,
but he was still a goner.

Mary understood it too. That is why she said,
Kings would be thrown down from their thrones
and the humble raised up.

Satan understood the threat.
That is why he came up with clever deception that
this prophecy is "Not for now, but for later",
"Jesus government comes at the end of the age."
You could trust Satan to thrust his shoulder in.

The government is on Jesus' shoulder.
He will govern with justice and righteousness.
and his government will never stop increasing.
The Zeal of the Lord will do it.

When?

Not in the future.
No!
From that time on and forever.

We had better work out what this means.
Soon!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

All Ready

God knew that the powers of evil would not give up their stolen authority without a fight, so he did not send Jesus until everything he had planned on earth was ready. This is why he waited so long before sending him. He had to wait until the political situation was right and the people he needed were willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and do his will.

The Roman Empire was ruling most of the earth. Roman law established peace in Israel, allowing Jesus to move around freely. Israel was divided into three provinces with the Romans ruling Judea directly through a procurator. The sons of Herod ruled the other two provinces. This allowed Jesus to operate below the Roman radar by doing most of his ministry in Galilee. He could move across the Jordan, whenever he needed a place of safety.

  • Messianic expectation was at a high level. People were longing for the peace and justice of God.

  • The Jewish establishment controlled the temple in Jerusalem. They were ready for confrontation with Jesus.

  • John the Baptist was ready to announce the messiah.

  • Peter was being toughened up ready for when the church would get going in Jerusalem.

  • Paul was being trained up ready to take the gospel to the gentiles and write his letters.

  • John was ready to begin a journey that would end with him writing the book of Revelation. His prophetic work would give God authority to act long into the future.

  • Mary was willing to care for a baby, a huge burden for a young woman.

  • Joseph was willing to obey the voice in his dreams. He was brave enough to flee to Egypt; very scary for a Jewish family.

  • The wise men were ready to come and provide Mary and Joseph with economic security. They did not give Jesus toys for play. They provided his parents with gifts that could be sold in any economy at any time for their survival.

If any of these people had failed to fulfil their calling, God’s plan would have turned to custard.

The devil probably knew that something was up, but sending a messiah as a baby was so strange, he was confused. He would have killed Jesus, if he had the chance. The wise men set the cat among the pigeons by going to Herod to find the king, instead of following the star to Bethlehem. The devil stirred Herod into a killing frenzy in Bethlehem, in a futile attempt to get rid of a threat he did not understand (Matt 2:16).

After thousands of years, the time was right and everything was in place, so God sent his son. The prophets had announced the Messiah and described his ministry in full. Their declarations gave God authority to send his Son as a Messiah, but they were dead. He needed people on the ground to give life to these prophecies.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (Luke 2:25-26).
Simeon’s prayers and prophecies gave God permission to send his Messiah. Anna’s prayers also gave him authority to send Jesus. She recognised him when he was born.
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher... She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying… she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38).
Anna and Simeon knew God intended to send the Messiah in their time. They announced his coming to those “who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”. Their prophecies and prayers gave God authority to send his son (Kingdom Authority pp.80,81).

More at God's Big Plan.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Preparation

We focus on the night that Jesus was born, but God had been planning and preparing for this moment for hundreds of years.

God had a plan to restore authority on earth, by sending his son and then the Holy Spirit to establish the kingdom. This was a good plan, but God did not have authority to implement it.

Most Christians assume that God is all-powerful and can do whatever he chooses, but if that were true, God could have put the situation right as soon as sin came into the world. He did not do that because he had freely given authority over the earth to humans. That gift was unconditional and God is faithful and true, so he could not go back on his word.

When humans sinned, God did not grab his authority back. That would turn it into Imposed Authority, and he was not interested in that. Although humans had surrendered to evil, God still recognised them as the legitimate authority on earth, so he could not intervene until he was invited by people with authority on earth. Getting that authority took thousands of years.

God was not slow to send Jesus, but sent him as soon as everything was prepared. During the thousands of years that had gone by since humans sinned, he was not sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He was waiting for people with authority on earth to give him permission to act. Because most humans had surrendered their authority to the powers of evil, this permission was quite difficult to get. He needed dozens of prophets to complete the task (Kingdom Authority, p 79).

God ultimate goal was to send Jesus to destroy the powers of evil and restore authority over the earth to humans. However, many things had to be made ready first.

  • The right governments had to be in place on earth to prevent the powers of evil killing Jesus before he had grown up. (If the spiritual powers of evil had killed Jesus while he was a baby, God’s plan would be foiled. He did not have a plan B).

  • The border with Egypt had to be open so that it would be available as a place of safety for Jesus.

  • Control of the land of Israel would need to be divided between different rulers (Herod and Pilate), so Jesus could move from place to place in safety.

  • A relatively peaceful empire must be in power, so the gospel could travel freely around the world.

  • God also had to get some key people ready to obey: Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Anna, Simeon, and the twelve disciples. Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Stephen, Timothy had to be ready to proclaim the gospel.

Before he could send Jesus, God needed permission from humans living on earth. The prophets gave God authority to send Jesus by specifying every detail of his life and ministry in written form. The declarations of human prophets gave God authority in advance to do what he wanted to do through Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied the suffering servant. Jeremiah promises the coming of the Kingdom of God. Ezekiel prophesied the season when Israel would come to faith in Jesus. Micah announced that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. This prophetic ministry reached a climax with John the Baptist. Jesus explained the prophecies about him to his disciples.

Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).
These things were written to give God authority to act on earth.

Getting the prophets to understand his plans and write them down was a difficult task. When reading the prophetic books, we assume that the Holy Spirit controlled the prophets and could make them write exactly what he wanted. That is not true. They were sinful people just like us. The Holy Spirit had to get them into a place without distractions and spiritual disturbances, so they could hear and record his words. They often got it wrong and their writings had to be discarded.

The Holy Spirit used many prophets over hundreds of years to complete this work. The enormity of the task delayed the coming of Jesus, but God could not risk sending Jesus before he had authority to do everything he needed to do to protect him from the powers of evil (Kingdom Authority p.77).

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Predictions

This is the time of year when the internet prophets share their predictions for the next year. I have never seen the point, because marking off years is a human way of viewing history. God thinks in terms of seasons.

This year I am going to make a prediction.

I am not expecting the Holy Spirit to change his mind and do things that he has been unwilling to do up till now.

I am not looking for a political leader to rescue the church.

My prediction is simple.

More of the same will produce more of the same.

If the church carries on operating in the same way that it has for the last thirty years, it will experience more of the same. People will sing lively worship songs; listen to challenging sermons; a few people will be healed; and some people will decide to follow Jesus; but the tide of secularism, humanism and paganism that is sweeping Western culture will not be turned back.

But I do have hope. I know that God wants to do something spectacular in Christchurch, the city where I live. I know that he has a strategy to establish his kingdom here in a special way as a demonstration to the world. See God’s Strategy for Christchurch.

But God can only accomplish his purposes for this city, if the church will change the way that it operates; and do things his way. I know that God has plans to establish his kingdom here, and I know that the Holy Spirit is willing and able to do it, but I am not confident it will happen, because the church is unwilling to do things differently.

The entire church does not need to change. He just needs a remnant. A couple of hundred people who are sold out for Jesus, and willing to follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads, could get things started.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dry Bones

Ezekiel 37 records a vision of the valley full of dry bones. After Ezekiel prophesied,
they were joined and raised to become a mighty army. However, there is an important sequence which is often missed.

When Ezekiel prophesied, the bones came together bone to bone, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. First, they had to come together in relationships, (bone to bone = pairs). The tendons and muscles joined the bones together. This is the work of the elders: to build a church with a network of relationships.

Then Ezekiel prophesied again. The breath (spirit) came into them and they stood up and became a mighty army. The Holy Spirit came in the fullness of power.

We often think the solution is for the Holy Spirit to come in power and revive the body of Christ. That is getting the order wrong. Before the Spirit can come in power, the bones must be joined together bone to bone, by tendons and muscles. In other words, the structure of the church must be corrected first. The correct leadership pattern must be established and the members must be joined together in a network of relationships. Only then can the Holy Spirit come in power.

Jesus was making the same point when he said, "you can't put new wine into old wineskins". The individual bones can only become a might army empowered by the Spirit, if they are joined together, bone to bone.

Notice also that both stages of the process were marked by the prophetic voice. The body will not be joined together, the Spirit will not be released in power, the church will not become a mighty army until the prophetic ministry is established in the church.

The real problem is that the church is dislocated and disjointed. The body will have to be joined together again before the life of God can flow through it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Church and Kingdom

To understand the difference between the church and the kingdom of God, we must grasp the importance of territory in God’s purposes.

When the followers of Jesus living together in one place engage in spiritual warfare, they can force all the spiritual powers of evil out of that territory. Once they achieve victory, this territory belongs to Jesus, not to the spiritual powers of evil.

Within this territory, there will be two types of people.

  • Citizens of the Kingdom who given their allegiance to Jesus.
  • Residents living within the territory, but who have not given allegiance to Jesus. Most of them just keep their heads down and try to remain invisible. A few will be outlaws, looking for a chance to rebel against the King, but they will be outnumbered.
Jesus is the king of everyone living and working within that territory.

An ekklesia is a gathering of the citizens living in a place (Act 19:39). In terms of the Kingdom of God, the ekklesia is all the citizens of the Kingdom (those who have given allegiance to Jesus) living in that piece of territory. Not everyone living within that territory is a citizen.

Citizens are a body of followers of Jesus, who are:

  • rescued by Jesus
  • in allegiance with him
  • living close to each other, and
  • walking in the Spirit
The citizens (ekklesia) in this piece of territory engage in the following activities.
  • proclaiming the good news
  • loving one another
  • serving each other through giving and sharing
  • celebrating the Lord’s Supper
  • prayer
  • eldership
  • discipling new believers
  • prayer
  • spiritual defence of the territory against all spiritual attacks.
Citizens can operate in the spiritual realms. They can go into the king’s presence because the King is their brother and friend.

Residents live within the territory of the king, but they are not citizens, because they have not yet given allegiance to the king. They only know the king by hearsay. They cannot go into his presence, because they are confined to the physical realms of life.

Residents are not interested in the activities of the ekklesia listed above. However, because they belong to the Kingdom, they are entitled to the following benefits.

  • justice
  • security and protection
  • economic support
The King cares about all residents of his kingdom. He wants them to prosper, so they do not rebel against him.

Kingdom Communities serve citizens and residents, although most of the work will be done by citizens because they are committed to the king and his kingdom. Residents will also be glad to receive:

  • education
  • employment
  • sanitation
  • healthcare.
Kingdom Communities make human government redundant. Political power takes plenty, but has nothing to offer, because what the Kingdom Community delivers everything better.

For more see Government of God.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Substitution

Jesus dies on our behalf, so how is it that his death counts for our sins.

If a someone is convicted of a crime, then a family member can pay the fine on their behalf.

But if the sentence is the death penalty, it is not so easy. If a young man has been convicted of a serious crime and sentenced to death, the father cannot say,

My younger son died in a car accident, so let his death count for my older son who is sentenced to death.
A court would not accept that. If the father offered to die for his son (because he was old and did not want to live), the court would probably not accept that either. The court would probably demand that the son who had committed the crime pay his own penalty.

The answer is that when we trust Jesus and surrender to him, we become one with him. Through faith, we became part of Jesus.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13).
When we heard the message of truth and believed the gospel, we became “in Jesus”. God made us “those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). From that point on, everything that happened to Jesus also happened to us. When he died, we died with him.
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death (Rom 6:3-4).
Strictly speaking, Jesus did not die as a substitute in our place. Rather, through faith we are joined with him, so when he died, we actually died with him.

Jesus died for everyone. Potentially, his death has the potential to count for everyone who has ever lived on earth. Legally that does not work. A judge will not just accept the death of one person in place of another. To receive the benefit of Jesus death, we have to trust him and surrender to him so God can put us in him. In Jesus, his death becomes our death, which satisfies the powers of evil who demanded that we die for our sins.

Jesus death has the potential to cover everyone. Legally, that potential can only become a reality for those who are united with Jesus through faith.

Because Jesus died, we do not need to die, so in that sense, he died in our place. However, from the legal perspective, we are in him, so we died with him. And because we died with him, we share in his life too.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection. (Rom 6:8).
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him (Rom 6:8).

That means that his death counts for us

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Authority and Intercession

Evil spirits generally have to respond to authority. They played the authority game to steal authority on earth from humans to get their power on earth. So if they deny the validity of authority, they are undermining their position. Of course, a few are cheats, but generally they acknowledge authority. If they refuse, the Holy Spirit will force them out. (I explain the working of authority in Kingdom Authority).

The power of our intercession depends on how much authority we have in the situation. If a person has given evil spirits permission to be active in their lives, then our prayers might not be effective, because the person has greater authority over their life that we do. If they are tired of the evil and want rid of it, then our prayer will be effective, because their will, our will and God’s will are aligned, so the evil spirit has to go.

There are various ways we can get authority in another person’s life. Parents have authority over children. When we submit to elders, we give them authority in our lives. When someone asks us for help, that gives us authority in their life. When we submit to each other, we give the others authority to resist evil on our behalf. That is why submission is important in the NT.

One way to increase our authority is to bless the other person in some way. They then owe us something, which gives us authority, (the borrower is the servant of the lender). Of course, our motive must be love, and we must not expect anything in return.

Another way to increase authority is to submit to a trusted friend (or two). This gives them the same authority in the situation that we have. If we all agree with God's will the power of our intercession will be amplified.

We should concentrate our intercession of people where we have some authority because they will be more effective. I only have very little authority over a President or Prime Minister, because my only authority is my vote which is miniscule authority. So, it takes a large number of people with a small bit of authority to be effective in intercession for them. On the other hand, I have considerable authority in the life of a friend who asks me for help.

If I want someone to pray effectively for me, I need to submit to them and give them authority in my life. Then when we agree with them and with God, evil cannot resist.

When evil spirits leave, they do not clean up their mess before they go. The remaining mess does not mean that they have not gone. We often need to ask the Holy Spirit to come and restore the damage that they have left behind.