I Thought the Gospel Incited Persecution

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Often, churches today share the Gospel to a community where they become popular. In fact, they become a friend of the community. Perhaps this is good. Perhaps this is the apt and effective end result. You even see pastors working comfortably with and for politicians, serving as their “spiritual adviser,” whatever that means. It seems the church is finally having considerable influence on society.

However, when you go back to Scriptures, you see something different. And there’s where the problem lies. You see the Lord, rejected, persecuted and crucified. And then he says somewhere that:

The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! [Matthew 10.24-25]

Why are these churches welcomed by the world while their Lord was killed by the same? I sometimes ponder on this as I watch churches enjoy the warm acceptance of the community, and even by crooks and politicians. Are we doing it differently from how Jesus presented the Gospel, that’s why we’re getting a different result?

Here’s how you get the fruit of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Click here.

And we’re supposed to “lose” our lives as we follow Christ to also “find” it, while those who “save” their lives would lose it completely. But then you look around and you see churches winning the approval of the community (which is not christian) and actually prospering. They get more crowds in, get more offerings, and get more money.

And you see their huge, modern buildings rising up, their expensive vehicles lining up in front, and their pastors living like the rich and famous. Just look at how they dress and the jewelry and accessories they wear. Some even have their own planes and jets and choppers, some even their own private airstrips.

While those who lag behind in their small, poor churches try their best to emulate these “successful” pastors by doubling time on their evangelism, church planting and earning all sorts of titles and degrees. The more you have, the better chances of getting higher pays. They work like mad to “save” their lives, not lose it.

No one today buys the idea of losing his life for Jesus’ sake. They want the best of both worlds. They want Jesus and the approval of the world. I remember how Lot chose the portion of the land that was well watered like the garden of Eden and the land of Egypt—best of both worlds, Eden and Egypt.

So, where have all the supposed persecutions and “losing one’s life” gone? The only churches I hear getting real persecutions and losing everything are those in the Middle East and communist countries. They are really losing their lives over there for Jesus’ sake. That’s the authentic Jesus Gospel. Truth is, the true Gospel incites persecutions and losses.

Those in the free world are persecution free. And some of them even enjoy luxury as people in the world enjoy it. Are we really succeeding at sharing the Gospel or are we doing it the wrong way? Worse, are we compromising the Gospel or are we sharing another gospel?

One day I was meditating on Matthew 10, specifically studying Jesus’ instructions to his apostles on how to share the Gospel. Aside from preaching and miraculous healing, genuine ministry from God is one that gives without any strings attached. A lot of ministries today give you lots of freebies, but there’s a catch. They get your personal details so they can follow you up and make you their church members later, and then ask you tithes and offerings (and they invent other kinds of offerings) all your life.

Jesus’ ministry was different: they were to rely solely on God’s provisions. They did not “get any gold or silver or copper to take with (them)” and gave away real benefits for free. And I mean FOR FREE! “Freely you have received, freely give.” They didn’t get people’s names and addresses to follow up or visit later to make members of and then collect money or “love gifts” from. There was no ulterior motive or hidden agenda.

As they preached the Gospel from town to town, God provided them with “worthy persons” to stay with. These persons were those who willingly (of their own accord) took them in and believed in their message—not those they have trapped with their ministries. They set food before them and they were to eat anything offered them, for the laborer deserves his wages.

Reading and re-reading the whole passage, I noted one thing—the Kingdom Gospel they carried had a dangerous message. It made you look like sheep and your hearers like wolves. Because of this “Good News” you will be flogged in religious places, get arrested, be betrayed and probably killed (even by your own family), and finally be terribly hated by everyone! Persecutions everywhere!

And then he concluded by saying that if he himself suffered thus, we his followers are sure to get the same treatment. We are not exempted. We will suffer as our Master did. It’s a given, a surefire thing. Matthew 10 makes persecution because of the Word certain.

But question is, where is the persecution today? Where is the hatred from everybody? The way things are, the church has become the friend of everyone in the world—from barangay officials to mayors, councilors and governors to senators. Yes, even of corrupt government officials. They gladly receive us and actually like our message without being radically changed. I wonder why.

Herod had John beheaded because John exposed his corruption. Where is this now today? Some church leaders run for public office and get elected and then later accused of corruption. Instead of exposing sin, they are exposed.

Why do we get a different result from the result Jesus got? The problem could only be in the message. We’re probably carrying a different message, another gospel. Yes, we’re using the same Word of God in the bible but are carrying a different message. It’s a message that the world likes to hear.  It’s similar to how the Pharisees used the same Old Testament Jesus used. But their results were different from Jesus’ results.

Jesus said, you identify the false by its fruit. “You will know them by their fruit.” And what is the fruit of our gospel? It’s the exact opposite of what Jesus had—a message the world accepts and likes. A message that makes us friends with the world. A message that makes us false prophets.

Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. [Luke 6.26]

But if we share the Gospel and get persecuted:

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. [Luke 6.22-23]

A lot in church think the world is almost saturated with the Gospel except in the 10/40 windows. But what “Gospel” have we brought to the world? Is it the same Gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached and which brought them tremendous persecutions? Or is it another gospel that makes us accepted by the world?

We have adulterated the Gospel to make it so easy for people to get saved. We have watered down its meaning to expedite our church planting efforts. But Peter shows us how real salvation is:

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” [1 Peter 4.18]

Paul and Barnabas said:

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” [Acts 14.22]

The Pharisees added in a lot of extras to make it hard to enter God’s Kingdom. Church today have taken out important things to make church growth easier and faster and eliminate persecutions. But remember, God designed the Good News of the Kingdom to incite persecutions wherever it is proclaimed in its pure and unadulterated form.

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When You Find Yourself Aligned with Pharisees

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Pharisees were highly educated and prominently positioned religious leaders in the time of Jesus, but he saw them as nothing but “blind guides” and hypocrites, experts on minor things but faulty with majors things (straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel). Jesus told his disciples that Pharisees were better left and ignored.

But what if you find yourself aligned with them? What if you find yourself on the same boat or level? This was what the disciples of John the baptizer noticed and were worried about. Imagine being the same as the Pharisees? To them it was the worst nightmare.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” [Matthew 9.14]

In spirit realms, whatever you do, don’t let yourself be caught doing the same things as the Pharisees are doing—or those religious people who are solidly bible-based and active in “serving God” but actually going against HIM and His Kingdom. That was what most of the Pharisees were—bible-based but anti-Christ. They got zero revelation from God. Folks aligned with God get God’s insights on the bible through the Holy Spirit.

Here’s how you can be aligned only with Jesus Christ. Click here.

You see, it’s not your sacrifices for God that matter (like fasting). What matters is if you are really aligned with God in his present move, doing things according to his will. Are you moving with God, like how the tribes of Israel moved with the pillars of cloud and fire in the wilderness? Stopping only when God stopped and moving only when God moved? Are you keeping in step or accurately updated with the Holy Spirit according to God’s spoken Word (not written) in Scriptures? Or are you just following past church traditions?

Fasting is good (especially fasting on worldly things, not just food), if it’s what’s scheduled on God’s timetable in the present. God has a heavenly schedule for everything and you have to be updated with it. For instance, on fasting. Jesus said, as long as the Bridegroom was with them, they shouldn’t fast. They should eat and rejoice. But the Pharisees (and sadly John’s disciples) didn’t know about these things. They just followed tradition, period. Just like what churches are doing today.

So, instead of eating and celebrating (which was on God’s Kingdom timetable) they were starving themselves to death. John and his disciples thought this was a bright idea until they noticed Jesus and his disciples eating all they wanted. So Jesus explained things to them, something like there’s a proper time to fast and to eat.

Do you keep up with God’s timetable? Do you know the proper time for things? Kingdom people never follow men’s religious schedules and even Sunday worship programs. They follow God’s schedules.

…the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, {Ecclesiastes 8.6]

So, such was the dilemma of John and his disciples. They were aligned with the wrong people, not with Jesus. Jesus seemed to be always doing differently than what they were doing. He and his disciples were seen as strangers and aliens in this world. They had a different life, culture, system, procedure, protocol, language, understanding, perspective, habit, etc. And it’s not just for the sake of being different. They were different because they were NOT of this world. They followed God’s system.

You must watch out never to be aligned with the world. For instance, when it celebrates something (like Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentine, Halloween, Easter, etc.) make sure you do not celebrate with it. By all means, love your mother and father 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and celebrate the risen Lord, but never in the way the world does. Love people in God’s love, but not by giving flowers and gifts on Valentine. It’s ridiculous how churches even include easter eggs in their worship programs. Can you imagine Christ doing these things?

How do you develop leaders in your church? Through schools adopting the educational system of this world? With tuition fees and professors and exams and grades? Jesus never used them. He trained leaders through discipleship. He developed apostles through discipleship. You do it through the ways of the world and you produce Pharisees and law teachers in your church who will always oppose the new move of the Holy Spirit as the Pharisees (and as Ahab and Jezebel) did. These folks are experts at sticking with tradition, not being led by the Holy Spirit.

It’s funny how bible schools and seminaries also have their cum laude and valedictorian as secular schools do. Jesus and the Acts church never did.

Moreover, God doesn’t want you doing what others who are not in God’s move are doing. “Only pagans run after these things,” Jesus said. Don’t be aligned with pagans. The end result of everything pagans do is for profit. They do everything to attract people to their side because getting more people means getting more offering. More money. So they make their worship services attractive, glamorous and entertaining.

And often, all they make is meaningless noise although they sound good to the world.

Why do they pursue titles and degrees? So they’d be paid higher fees when they are asked to speak in churches. Or higher salaries when employed. Or gain people’s respect.

But God doesn’t want us doing the same things. Anything found in pagan worship must not be found in our worship. If you are a genuine Kingdom person, God will lead you to new and unique moves in the Holy Spirit. The idea is not to sit down together and think of new programs or songs or  gimmicks. We must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Led people are naturally made unique by God.

You must not worship the LORD your God in their way. [Deuteronomy 12.4]

Jesus introduced a new form of worship when he sent his disciples as sheep among wolves. Sheep are common worship offerings in the Old Testament. They are sacrificed mercilessly. When you live as sheep in wolf territory (a meek believer amid cruel and corrupt people), persecuted and hated because of the Jesus they see in you (and yet you persevere and overcome unaffected), you are doing one of the highest worships in the Spirit realms. You no longer live but Christ lives in you. It was how Jesus lived when “that LIFE became the light of men.” However, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

Paul also introduced a new form of worship when he declared how presenting our “bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God” is really our spiritual worship.

Worship in church buildings on Sundays is old worship. I mean, what church today doesn’t do that. Even paganistic churches packed with idols, images and statues do this worship. They even sing Don Moen songs and songs by Hillsong and worship expressively as do Pentecostal Christians. So, where’s the difference?

If you’re in the move of God, you cannot remain of the world. You can’t go on using the world’s ways and standards. You can’t use new clothing and sew it on old clothing. It will “tear away” from the garment. You can’t pour new wine into old wineskins. Everything will be ruined.

You may look good in the eyes of the world, but you’re nothing in the Spirit. “You have the reputation of being alive but you are dead,” [Revelation 3]. You can’t be in Christ and yet be aligned with Pharisees and law teachers who worship their church traditions.

Are you a true worshiper? A worshiper, says Jesus, worships in spirit and in truth. True worship has nothing to do with how good you sing or play musical instruments or perform on stage. It has all to do with being in Christ and aligned with his Spirit.

Kingdom Classified Ad: Experienced Servants Wanted

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One time, I was meditating John 3, particularly Nicodemus’ meet with Jesus one night. Being the first time that the term “born again” was used in the history of the universe, naturally, Nicodemus knew nothing about it.

So he asked Jesus how anyone could be born again. But Jesus didn’t answer it. He just stressed how important being born of water and Spirit was. If we were Jesus, we’d automatically say, “Repent of sins, receive Jesus Christ, and surrender your life to him.”

But Jesus said nothing of the sort.

So, why didn’t Jesus answer him?

In the Spirit realms, it’s useless to explain truth to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Well, you may try to, but often it won;t work. Saul was a topnotch Pharisee knowing all the bible doctrines of his time, yet he didn’t understand a thing until he experienced it. When he went blind, that was time he asked, “Who are you, Lord?”

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In ministry, I have seen how it’s useless to preach to people who haven’t experienced their real need for salvation—a real desperation in life.

Jesus then explained everything to Saul and he just obeyed everything. Without experiencing truth, you have nothing, even if you are so active in church or ministry or if you memorize all Scripture.

If people receive Christ as Savior just because they are afraid of hell—or because they need recognition, a pat on the back, new friends, position, entertainment from the choir or worship team, etc. they will never understand church as Jesus designed and builds it. A lot of people are church members because they need to go to a church on Sunday. Any church. They think not doing so makes God angry.

Like “born again.” Church people know about it. They know where it can be found in the bible, memorize the passage, teach and share about it, evangelize people on it, post it on Facebook, make doctrines and human theologies out of it. But the problem is, so few have genuinely experienced it.

The same with “peace.” You go around churches and you’d see people who don’t know what peace is about. They’re stressed and tired and sickly.

Evangelicals keep telling people born again is not a religion. And yet, look at them—they do nothing but religion. They have nothing in their churches and ministries but religion. Obviously, they don’t know what they’re talking about. You compare how Jesus did ministry with what they are doing today, and you’d see how they are worlds apart.

Churches don’t look anything like Jesus. In fact, they look more like Pharisees. No kidding.

Unless truth is genuinely experienced, it remains a fact. A head knowledge. Head knowledge does not save. Even demons believe and shudder, said James. It’s not believing with our minds that saves. Believing with our hearts does.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. [Romans 10.9]

Imagine how many are in “born again” churches who know everything about it except experience it genuinely?

Genuine Experience radically transforms, as in the case of Saul on his way to Damascus. Jesus breathed on his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit [John 20.22] and several days after the Spirit was on them in Acts 2. They were radically changed forever.

If you’re truly born again, you’re radically transformed forever. Like Jesus, you will be different without meaning to. Like Jesus, you will think, live and do things differently, and lots of people will hate you for it—especially church people. God’s bible-based people were the first to hate Jesus Christ and were the first to want him crucified.

Before the experience and the change, Jesus specifically told his dicsiples not to do anything but to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Father [Acts 1.4].

The passage in Luke 24.49 is more revealing:

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

It is clear then. You cannot do anything for God or his Kingdom unless you genuinely experience the truth first hand.

In church today, you get to do any ministry if you have credentials—after you have attended bible school, seminary, seminars or conferences, earned units, earned titles or degrees, etc. Your genuine experience of Jesus alone won’t qualify you.

If you want to lead in worship, you have to have a good voice, know how to play an instrument, have good stage presence and projection, and all that crap. You have to be an expert stage performer.

You get easily elected in a position if you are a professional—doctor, teacher, engineer, etc.

Nicodemus was “teacher of Israel,” said Jesus. Now that was a big and powerful credential. The best, in fact. Yet, Jesus said Nicodemus didn’t know a thing about the genuine born again experience.

You are Israel’s teacher, said Jesus, and do you not understand these things?

Just because you have the facts or you know a lot about the bible, doesn’t mean you have the experience.

If Nicodemus were alive today, churches would surely put him in the highest positions in their churches. Jesus would not. Only those with genuine experience of the truth fit a position in God’s Kingdom.

The Born Again Experience

Paul explained it clearly enough in 2 Corinthians 5.17. Anyone in Christ is a new creation. This is radical. In a way, Nicodemus was right—you re-enter a womb and come out a baby again. Hence, newbies in Christ are babes in Christ. They feed on spiritual milk. They need to grow.

What most churches do today is grow people still in their old, fleshly nature. All they get in the end are religious old people who have become experts in church politics, skillfully able to maneuver and control things using some passages in the bible their theologians have adulterated for the purpose.

You have nothing if you don’t start with a new creation in Christ—the old is passed, the new has come.

Imagine what disaster it will be if all the people in church know everything about God and the bible and church and religion, but have no genuine experience of Jesus Christ.

Why Sons are Exempt

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It’s a Kingdom secret—God made a lot of laws in the Old Testament and commands in the New Testament—but true sons and daughters are exempt from them. They are free from all strictures and yet imbued with a high standard of  discipline. I know how this can raise some eyebrows, but it’s true.

Consider this—God declares you righteous in Christ by grace through faith. Therefore, the law, or anything similar to it imposed in churches, is NOT for you, because laws are for lawbreakers and rebels. No one righteous in Christ can be like that.

We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, [1 Timothy 1.9]

In Paul’s time this was common knowledge, but not today. A lot of people still prefer to be under the law, observing Old Testament rituals and special days. Not only so, Christian churches invent their own “laws” to keep their denominations intact. The church’s life, in fact, is its “laws” expressed through its church manuals, policies, doctrines and other rules and regulations they strictly adhere to.

They continue to create a lot of these man-made laws and put in lots of bible verses to make them sound legit and authoritative. In fact, they even have worship “programs” (which serve as the “law” during worship services) which everyone is expected to follow during worship. It’s how they view “order,” through laws.

But Kingdom “order” is different. It’s not by laws or man-made rules or policies or manuals. It’s by the Spirit of God. Believers who have the Word of God alive in them daily are moved by the Holy Spirit to be one in nature—Christ’s nature. Their lives and thoughts agree without meaning to. They move and think freely and yet are always in one accord—exactly as the three Persons in the Trinity do—because they have God’s nature in them through Christ.

Laws and rules are only necessary if there’s a chance that someone might violate protocol—or some ignorant guy might do something contrary and not know it. Like in church, someone may act or move contrary to established norms or programs. So laws and rules are needed.

However, laws and regulations just make you inclined to break them. “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.” [Romans 5.20] The more you rely on them the more you want to disobey. Rules and laws tend to make you rebellious. “But when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died,” [Romans 7.9]. No wonder churches always have dissenters and detractors in them.

But in a place or gathering where grace is sufficiently lavish and everyone is a true son and daughter genuinely intimate with the Father and imbued with His nature—possessing everything that is His—no laws or rules or doctrine are necessary. Sons and daughters are exempt. It’s in their nature to simply flow with God’s will.

“From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” Jesus asked. “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. [Matthew 17]

I don’t impose rules or laws in my household. But my sons know me and know exactly what I want. By living with me daily and being so familiar with my character, they’re aware of the “protocol,” and it’s something embedded in their hearts. Yeah, they slip now and then and do wrong. But when they do, all I have to do is look at them in the eyes and the protocol in their hearts start working again immediately. Often, no scolding is needed. They understand at once and behave accordingly. Why? Because they are my sons and I am their father. There is true relationship. A common DNA with me binds us.

But with our household helpers, we impose rules and regulations. There has to be some kind of “manual” or rules for everything because they often just do things their way. We also use some kind of a “doctrine” so they’d know what kind of family they’re serving, and the difference between our family and the family next door—or other families for that matter.

Unfortunately, sometimes you’d see the most undisciplined people in church.They’re often difficult to coordinate because they stubbornly refuse to cooperate. Probably, that’s their idea of freedom. I was once asked to help some young people from a church with their fitness activities. I was to teach them some steps but I found it hard to make them. They utterly lacked discipline. I had to keep telling them to be serious about it.

On the other hand, I’ve also seen how some fathers disciplined their sons by cruelly hitting them physically. Sure enough, they easily control their children because they have successfully enslaved them. Their sons obey them more out of fear. God disciplines his sons and daughters differently. He puts his spoken Word into their hearts and minds. His principle is always that perfect love casts out fear. Notice how the father disciplined his prodigal son in Luke 15.

A lot of church people misconstrue discipline. They think it has to be harsh. I’ve seen how some church leaders shamed other people publicly and abused them with words as a way of “disciplining” them. God is not like that. He disciplines his children rigidly, but not with cruel punishment, rules or laws. God disciplined David and Moses with severe punishment, but that was Old Testament.

And if you’re a true son or daughter of God, you should be highly disciplined by nature, though totally free.

In Christ, disciplining is different. Rigid discipline is still there but it’s more on character honing than mere punishment per se (or as a resultant punishment). For instance, did Jesus punish Judas for stealing from the ministry offering bag or Peter for disowning him three times? Ananias and Sapphira were given a chance to repent instead of being punished outright, but they preferred to stick with their lies.

When David sinned, he was given several choices for punishment, all of which were severe. When Moses disobeyed, he was not allowed entry into the Promise Land though he begged God to. All these involved breaking some law.

God’s discipline in Christ comes more as his expression of fatherly love than kingly wrath. But beware. If his discipline is ignored after warnings, you can suddenly just fall flat on your face dead like Ananias and Sapphira did.

In God’s Kingdom, there are no rules or regulations or laws—because the Word of God is inside every believer, indwelling them. It has become flesh in them. In fact, it has become them. You and the Word have become one and inseparable. In a sense, you have become the Word because the Word has become your life. “They are not just idle words for you–they are your life,” [Deuteronomy 32.47].

It’s a powerful Kingdom concept. For instance, you don’t have to read the bible like how they do it today because THE WORD IS IN YOU, the Word is the LIFE that runs your body and mind, occupying every cell, molecule, fiber and circulation. It’s your system, your culture, your mindset, your personality, your life, your DNA. You move and act and have your being in the Word.

More on this if you buy the e-book, God’s Flesh. Click here to buy a PDF copy of it.

Traditional church people are required to read the bible daily. They “study” it in cell groups or small bible study groups, which are all good. They memorize verses and passages and study them as the world does academic subjects in universities.

But you don’t. Instead, you “eat” and “breathe” the Word day and night.

Every son and daughter of God in Christ eats and breathes the Word. They don’t need to be told or encouraged about reading the bible daily because it has become their natural daily sustenance to breathe-in the Word—taking it without even thinking about it. Do you need to be told to breathe everyday, or else you’re going to die? Do you need to tell yourself each moment that you must breathe air? You don’t. You do it quite naturally, without a single thought, because it is in your system. The same with you and God’s Word.

Jeremiah the prophet prophesied about true sons and daughters in church (which finds fulfillment in these last days) when God showed him what the genuine coming Kingdom on earth through Christ would be like. True Israel, in the glorious church of Jesus Christ, will be the complete unity of Jew and pagan believers worldwide.

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. 

I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. [Hebrews 8.10-11]

In that condition, there is nothing that isn’t allowed. No more prohibitions. No more don’t to this or don’t to that. You are like the wind that blows wherever it wills. The wind can go through locked doors and windows, secret passages, underground, and all prohibited places. Others can’t but you can. You have permission and access. Others set limits on themselves but your are FREE. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom [2 Corinthians 3.17].

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. [Colossians 2.20-23]

Rules, including denominational manuals and doctrines (though “bible-based”), are all human inventions. They prove that you are still part of this rotten world which is destined to perish. Many Christians cannot live without the limiting (or enslaving) effects of some law or regulation they impose on themselves. They choose to be bound by them (like the Pharisees and teachers of the law did) rather than live and do ministry freely as Jesus did. Jesus was not just “bible-based.” He was (and is) THE WORD.

They couldn’t break the Sabbath law but Jesus “broke” it anytime he wanted to. They couldn’t speak to Samaritans (especially Samaritan women) but Jesus easily did so. They couldn’t walk on water or change water into wine, but Jesus easily did both. They couldn’t touch the unclean, but Jesus touched and healed them. No one could be both perfect God and perfect man. It defied all logic and reason. But Jesus was exactly that. He was the Son—he was exempt. They couldn’t but he could. Jesus was free to do anything. Why not? He is the only begotten Son. And you are a son or daughter of God through Him. You are co-heir with Christ.

They all thought Jesus was breaking the law. But how could he, when he was the Word of God and the final interpretation of it himself? He was God’s own Son found to be faithful as “the Son over God’s house” [Hebrews 3.6].  And in Christ by God’s grace, we share the same position.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. [Romans 8.17]

In another breath, the Word says:

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [Ephesians 2.6]

As sons and daughters, laws, regulations and doctrines formulated by men (even if “bible-based”) do not govern us as they never governed Jesus. Only the spoken Word of God dwelling in us does. It dwells in us richly [Colossians 3.16] as well as increases, multiplies and flourishes in and around us [Acts 12.24]. Our only reason for existence is the spoken Word [John 6.57].

True sons and daughters grow deep in the spoken Word in ever-increasing glory, not as an obligation or requirement, but because God has made it their unchanging nature. It’s all the work of God. It’s one of the marks of being born from above. You have no struggles with the Word. The Word makes its home in you and creates a huge, abundant and unfailing source there, welling up to eternal life.

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. [John 4.14]

In any given situation you face in life, the Word quickly and automatically takes charge and moves your mind and body to God and His present move. It’s something like digestion. You don’t need rules or regulations or laws to set your digestive system to work. It simply works according to the digestive system God put there.

But don’t get me wrong. A lot of individuals I shared this wisdom with twisted it around and thought they could just do anything they wanted with the “freedom” they thought they had in Christ. They even thought they could sin freely and disobey every rule or law they saw around them. God’s truth can do two things in you—get it fresh from Gods’ own mouth unadulterated and have LIFE, or twist it around and become a slave of the devil—like what happened to Adam and Eve. God had told them personally what to do but they twisted it around.

One thing noticeable about people who try to get this teaching without being transformed into the likeness of the Son is that they are NOT deep in the spoken Word. They may know the bible (or the letter or the printed Word), but NOT the spoken Word of God in the bible.

They struggle with the Word and need to follow a program so they can read it one or five or ten chapters a day. Some of them cannot understand anything unless they listen to Sunday sermons. Most Christians don’t get anything from the Old Testament except history. Many of them struggle a lot just getting the spoken Word straight from the Father’s mouth. All they get are earthly teachings.

Sermons are good, but each true son or daughter should be able to get the spoken Word fresh and direct from the mouth of God supernaturally, any time of the day.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him. [1 John 2.27]

People who cannot get fresh wisdom straight from God even have to go to seminary to try to understand what God is saying in the bible, to no avail. All they get are human theologies which cannot exempt you as sons and daughters. Only what God puts in you supernaturally and permanently renders you exempt and this only happens when God re-creates your body composition with the DNA of the pure Word. And then you begin to experience what Paul said about how it’s not you who live but Christ—the living, spoken Word—who lives in you.

It’s genuine—it’s not really you who live but Jesus in you. Some guys mock me about this and ask if the DNA of the Word can be seen through a microscope in a blood chemistry test. It is there in your blood and muscle fiber, believe me. But the eyes, even if aided with the best tools of Science, won’t be able to see it.

But if your spiritual eyes are opened, you will. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” [2 Corinthians 4.18].

A true child of God will first “crave pure spiritual milk” [1 Peter 2.2].

What young believers “crave” in church today are concerts, musical performances, choir, stage worship and instrument playing as their favorite rock star does it. Do you “crave” for the Word? “Crave” means “feel a powerful desire for” says Google. This is among the marks of a true born-again believer. He first craves for the Word. A desperate longing. An insatiable greed for the Word.

Then, a true child of God will later “leave the elementary teachings of Christ and go on to maturity” [Hebrews 6] by letting or allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in them richly [Colossians 3]. The Word “dwelling” in you is not just about bible studies or winning bible quizzes or attending bible school or seminary.

I know a lot of folks who have seminary degrees and titles but do not have the Word dwelling in them richly. This is something more than being able to explain passages in the bible through hermeneutics or present sermons in scholarly, intellectual fashions.

Most theologians today only end up sounding like some Western philosophers or psychologists—or some smart Aleck or politician trying to outsmart everyone. They try hard to sound scholarly. But they never sound like Jesus Christ. When they speak, there’s discussion. But when Jesus speaks, there’s LIFE.

When the Word indwells richly and God looks at us, he sees Christ (the Word), not us. Angels and all creation also see Christ in us (not us) and obey our every beck and call. It’s when mortality is swallowed up by LIFE.

God’s plan is that we first “crave” spiritual milk. “Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” [1 Peter 2.2]. After drinking lots of it, we let it “dwell richly” in us. Without the “craving” part, nothing will dwell richly in us. It is important for true born-again believers to crave for the pure Word, or feel a powerful desire for it. Covet it and greedily devour it.

Then spiritual milk transforms in you as you meditate the Word of God day and night. The “letter” becomes the Sword of the Spirit that pierces through soul and spirit. The more you hear God’s spoken Word in the bible, the more you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then you learn deeper things in the Holy Spirit, what Christ calls his “heavenly things” (and which I call third-heaven revelations). As you nurture in God’s spoken word, rivers of living water are created in you. God places a great Source of LIFE in you so that you never thirst or hunger.

You become what you eat. The spoken Word becomes your life.

Unfortunately for most people, they never get past spiritual milk. They drown themselves in church activities, denominational ministries and human theologies and have no more quality time left for the spoken Word from God’s own mouth. This food is the only thing that can exempt you.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready, for you are still worldly. Are you not walking in the way of man? [1 Corinthians 3.21]

While there is still even a tiny, minuscule measure of the world or man in your ways, you are still carnal. You cannot receive the solid food of the Spirit. Things like worship programs, tradition, Christmas, Easter, church anniversaries, church buildings, human theologies and church denominations all keep you from hearing the spoken Word of God—and most likely, what you call your “spiritual life” revolves around these earthly things. They make you still part of this world and therefore not exempt from its laws and principles.

Remaining on the spiritual-milk level will get you nowhere in God’s Kingdom except what you achieve in the physical realms—what the eyes see and what the flesh appreciates. “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world,” [1 john 2.16].

I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. [John 16.12]

And also:

Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to reteach you the basic principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food! [Hebrews 5.12]

This explains why most churches today are a far cry from the ministry that Jesus did. They do not look one bit like Jesus. Instead, they look more like community or cause-oriented groups like the Rotary Club. Traditional churches have all become like that, so that any church that radically looks like Jesus becomes odd to them.

Some of them even need to associate with politicians or be used by them just to gain some influence on the community. They haven’t gone past the spiritual-milk level. Jesus never did anything like that. And you’d see how rules, regulations and denominational doctrines run their ministries and also keep them apart. All these keep them bound to the world, not exempt from it.

In heaven, believers are governed by the Spirit of God, not by rules or regulations or laws. “Do not steal” or “do not covet” lose their meaning in heaven because they do not apply. In heaven, your nature easily flows with God’s will. And Jesus said that God’s will in heaven should be done on earth as well.

If you’re a son or daughter, you are exempt from the world.

Two Kinds of Worships: Acts Church and Modern Church Worships

audienceofoneworship.com

audienceofoneworship.com

How did the Acts church worship God? Do church worship services today look anything like it? Are there any similarities or would the Acts apostles wonder what “church worship services” today are if they see them?

The Acts church was solely dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Not churches today. They are helpless without their man-made worship programs. Instead of being Spirit-led, they are led by their worship programs. I’ve seen churches unable to start worship without their programs.

Anyway, man-made programs are predictable. They start with prelude, Scripture reading, opening prayer, and so on. They end with closing prayer and benediction. I don’t know why they have to “open” and “close” in prayer. Now, the question is, did Jesus or the Acts church do these things? Did they even have “special numbers”? If not, what did they do then?

For sure, there were no printed worship programs then. No “assigned” persons who’d lead in prayer, worship or read passages. There were no message titles, written objectives, Scripture passage or a list of the speaker’s credentials. No outlines. They just came to worship and worship simply started naturally, as the Spirit led.

To be sure, a worship “service” then usually had the following [Acts 2.42]:

  • They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching
  • To fellowship
  • To the breaking of bread
  • To prayer
  • Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe
  • Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles

Nothing of this sort happens in churches today. Apostles’ teachings? What most churches have today are pastors’ teachings or how pastors interpret the bible because they have no genuine apostles. They say there are no more apostles today because God has abolished their office. And they have become obsolete in church so only pastors now run the show—wherever they got the idea. They just decided among themselves that apostles and prophets in churches are no more.

What they refer to as “apostles” today are missionaries. The bible does not teach that. Apostles did mission works but they were not missionaries as we have them today. Apostles did signs and wonders continuously.

I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. [2 Corinthians 12.12]

Fellowship? Fellowship during the Acts era was when they worshiped together, and worship was when they had fellowship. What fellowship they have in church today is party time with bible study, parlor games, special numbers and food, a far cry from the fellowship the Acts church had. Well, food is a good idea. But parlor games and bible quiz?

Often, fellowship is more like a college prom where the boys try to impress the girls and vice versa, and then they decorate that with bible passages. Fellowship in the Acts church was a gathering of Jesus’ family.

When Jesus gathered with his disciples they had the Word. They broke bread. People got healed. Demons were tormented and fled with cries. No games, no entertainment. They had signs and wonders which then was almost always part of their gatherings.

Breaking of bread? Do you know a church that breaks bread during fellowship? They only do that in church services, not fellowships. But the Acts church did. And what most churches use today for breaking “bread” are those small, round, white crackers which they borrowed from the Roman Catholic Church.

And they use powdered juice drink for their “wine.” Jesus and the Acts church never used them. I wonder where they got the idea.

Church fellowships today have prayers, but a sense of awe? They just keep claiming that, “God is here,” but you very seldom have a sense of God’s true awesome presence. It is often more imagined than real.

And many wonders and signs taking place? Where are those in churches today? Often, the few that are claimed to be happening are either doubtful or downright bogus. For a terrible lack of genuine supernatural moves of God in church, they try to make up with showbiz entertainment, hi-tech musical instruments, rock-style worship leading, concerts, and beautiful programs.

Worse, some pastors make fun of God’s signs and wonders because they can’t produce them. No real presence and power of God.

The Acts church had a simple “worship program”—Word, prayer, fellowship, and power of God. In short, they pursued after the Jesus LIFE and pleased God and turned the world upside down. Churches today use worldly ways and do everything to attract people, to no avail. You don’t see God anywhere. Just man’s programs and efforts. The world turns it upside down.

But they do have mega churches today, full-packed with people. That’s what they go crazy for. As long as they gather a lot of religious people in their church buildings, they call it “church.” But whether God’s awesome presence is there remains to be seen. What’s sure to be there is God’s omnipresence—God is everywhere, even in beer houses and motels.