Archive for the ‘Incarnational living’ Category

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Ephesians 1:7- 23

November 25, 2010
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Ephesians 1:7- 23

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 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, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)
“In Him” is the point I cannot drive home enough. Other phrases such as “His Blood”, “He made”, “His will and “He purposed “ shows over and over what we contribute to the equation of our salvation, and that being nothing! It was at the “fullness of time” or in perfect timing that Jesus came to gather both the “heavenly things” as well as the things on earth all back “in Him”.
Verse 11 once again starts with “In Him” and presents what we obtain being “in Him”. You who are “in Christ” obtained an inheritance as an adopted son! You see while the natural son might be disowned, yet the adopted son was never natural, but placed in the family and instated by decree of the family that the adopted was now a natural child. The predestination is not some pre-existing clause that somehow initiated you to be created “saved” and some not… and then just one day come to that realization as some Reformed traditions promote. Rather, that according to “His Will” those, “as verses 12 and 13 state, “who “trusted” to accept the counsel of “His Will” after having heard the word of truth would become not only sons, but be the “praise of His glory.
The Glory… is Jesus! (John 17:5) We in Christ are His praise unto the Father for what the Father does in and through Jesus! Now we in turn become the glory unto God through Jesus (John 17:10). Now how does this take place? Through trust! Trust is the responsive action based on having faith and belief in the other, who in this case is God in Christ… and then you are placed “in Christ”! Another note some miss is that the “gospel of your salvation” is not a set of doctrines but rather a person as Paul states “you were included in Christ when you heard” Often the gospel is represented by a series of events, and in some way this is true. However, here Paul is clear that salvation is the Person of Jesus Christ as you were placed “in Christ” when you heard, responded and believed on Jesus.
In verses 13-14 the Holy Spirit is finally mentioned filling out the whole of the Trinity as far as being mentioned. Here Paul states in verse 13 has place the Holy Spirit on you as a seal! A holy seal or decree that shows God Himself seals us. This concept of the “seal” is that of the kings ring which would be leave the insignia of the king on a royal letter in the wax that sealed the letter. The Holy Spirit is that seal that shows we are of the King Himself. The Holy Spirit is given as proof of ownership of sorts and proof that we are His until God redeems those who become His possession, to the praise of His Glory.
Paul spoke of those faithful in Ephesus as the “praise of His Glory”. So as Paul hears of their faith in turn gives thanks to God for their faith, even stating they are mentioned in his prayers. Paul prays that the may also receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Jesus]. Sadly, many traditions today have cut believers off from revelation and reduce it to experientialism (as if experiencing God is a bad thing) or worse claim it to be some sort of occult majick  or Gnosticism. Yet, Paul (who is writing scripture knowingly or not) teaches this as a good thing as he himself prays the believers receive these things. Paul prays “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”. Enlightenment is given that you may know gain understanding in relation to revelation that leads to hope. This enlightenment that leads us to hope can only come by revelation from God through the Holy Spirit.
To grasp the flow to this one might chart it out like this
  1. Understanding the calling that was heard at salvation leads to
  2. Enlightenment unto hope leads to…
  3. The Hope in you were called to… leads to…
  4. Stronger belief in Jesus which leads you to…
  5. The Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead…
This power also raised you! It made you a new creation… yet also power in that the Kingdom of God has and is coming down to us. All authority and power is not Jesus as he rules over His Body… the Church. However, this rule and authority is different that just a king to his kingdom. This is a King to His own Body… it is relational… and in His Body, which is the Church the fullness of Christ fills everything… that includes you who are “in Christ”.
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Three Stages to growing in Christ.

December 8, 2009
      What did happen at the Cross of Jesus and what do many people miss about the Resurrection? Many have tried to answer this so to attempt it in a blog post seems rather ridiculous, yet, to me by gaining an understanding that there is a distraction between the Cross and Resurrection one can gain insight to what God is doing for, in and through you as a believer.
      When I first came to Jesus I was told the basic, “Come to Jesus and give Him your sins and he will save you.” But I never really asked what I was being saved from, let alone realized that maybe that was not the real point and that I was not being saved “from” but into something greater and more wonderful than myself. For years I walked with a “self” focus. “I am not going to hell.” “I am going to heaven.” “God loves me.” And yes all that is true and I am grateful, yet as in the biblical book of Song of Solomon, one must move from “My lover is mine and I am his…” (Song of Solomon 2:16) to “I am my lover’s and my lover is mine…” (Song of Solomon 6:3) and again move onto “I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.” (Song of Solomon 7:10) from where we grow more in the knowledge of the grace of Christ and knowledge of what God has for us. We become like the beloved who states, “But my own vineyard is mine to give…” (Song of Solomon 8: 12) freely giving all we are to God through Jesus.
      Each stage is like a step unto a fuller and richer life in Christ. Yet so many stay at the first stage and never realize that there is more. We fall at the Cross and never realize it is not only Jesus on that Cross but our self… dead. Some may realize this yet not move into the next stage where we find that “I am Christ’ and He is mine” as we try to still assert ownership of “self” and not relinquish our self to the death that is required of us. Even less find the richness and greatness of the third stage where one finds their wholeness and life comes only from the Beloved. One at this point has found themselves dead, the old is gone! And behold I am now a New Creation!
      Now I know many are saying, “Oh this is basic 101 stuff, yet is it? I do believe one must pass through the stages to develop as a new creation. Do you need each stage to be saved? No, you need Grace for that, yet to grow, God must become all in you through Christ. You must relinquish your life and receive His life. How? The Life is in the Son. By receiving all that Jesus has for you. Have you done that already? Great! You are now on your way to learn how to become the beloved of God!
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Being "perfect" and being "in Christ"

October 1, 2009

Interesting to me is that many see the phrase “be perfect” and believe it is not possible when Jesus states, “be perfect” (Matt 5: 48. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.) At the time Jesus spoke it I think that it was laid out as a challenge for one to “try” to do under the Law, yet was not attainable until after Jesus died and rose again. If you couple that thought with Jesus’ prayer in John 17 he states:
“20. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21. that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Now in a sense we are not yet “Perfect”… as Paul states; Phil 3: 10. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11. and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Yet Hebrews also states: Hebrews 7:28. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
Now go back and re-read the prayer of Jesus in John 17.. He is in the Father; the Father is in Jesus. Jesus is in us as He is in the Father… we are in Jesus as Jesus is in the Father.
When we come to new birth in Christ, we are “Baptized” into Christ (now please do not take that as getting wet… as the word “baptize” has more meaning that just getting dunked)
Gal 3:26. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27. for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Here as in other places “baptized” means “placed in or immersed” (to immerse something you need to place that “something” into the water.)
Now read this passage where “baptizes” is mentioned in Romans:
Romans 6: 1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3. Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– 7. because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Notice when you start thinking of baptism as “placing something into” instead of dunking, that it sort of changes the meaning?
Now, we are place into Christ Jesus… we die to sin and live in Him. We then are “placed into” Jesus just as Adam was “placed into the Garden”…
Now there is not sin in Jesus so therefore if we are in Christ, and He has not sin, we have not sin!
In fact Paul states this of us: 2 Cor 5: 21. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This is how we are made righteous and “perfect” in God’s eye… later we will be clothed in the imperishable… and raised incorruptible, but right now as we depend on Jesus totally we are being “perfect” as our Father in Heaven is perfect… by being “in Christ Jesus”.
iggy

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Amazing Story of Rev Scott and the hymn All Hail the Power of Jesus Name

August 19, 2009

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What is to become of the Emerging Church?

September 13, 2008
What is to become of the Emerging Church?
I have thought about this for a while. I see two paths…
1. The emerging church is only a phase, not to be confused with a passing “fad”. God will move in phases. If you look at history, there are many cycles that seem to happen. Often there is growth and then persecution which moves into greater growth. Often the underdog become the new power. For example, early Christians were persecuted, yet not to the extent that was to come later. In this time there was growth as in the example of the 3000 that come to believe after Peter preached in Acts 2. This growth seems almost spontaneous as the Apostle often hear “rumors” of other towns who come to believe. Saul was one who also heard of this group call “the Way” and wanted to stop it as he saw them as apostate and following another “Messiah” other than that of the tradition of the Jews. Yet, as we read in Acts, God had other plans… and Saul became Paul and began planting even more churches.
Again, this pattern kept up until the time of Constantine. Nero and well as other Roman Emperors began harsh persecution until Consisting saw his vision of a Cross and the promise that under this banner he would win his battles. Then after Constantine’s battle at Battle of Milvian Bridge 312 Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of Rome.
Now all that is very abbreviated and the debate could go on for some time whether Constantine declaration was a good thing or not. Yet the pattern is always there. We can look at the Reformation as following the same patters before and after and so on.
Now, we can look at the present situation in the same light, though I would not say the persecution is at all close to the violence of the past. It is in some countries, yet as far as here in America the persecution has only been in “words” and not the violence of the past. Yet, these words are aimed at twisting the message of the emerging church into something hideous. Now the path I see is that of persecution and growth. In fact I see this persecution of words is actually helping the emerging church gain more of an audience. People who have never heard of the emerging church now have thanks to those who write against it. Curiosity is a strange animal as people who are “warned” often see it as forbidden fruit and thus are attracted to the thing they are warned about. Now, that sound negative, yet, as in the early church there were those who sought out Christians to persecute them, found that their own lives were changed in dynamic ways. The bible speaks of the message of the cross as “foolishness”: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”” (1 Cor 1:18-19) Those that have decided to use the ways of the world to attack and persecute the emerging church have actually exposed the authenticity and grace that is the foundation of the emerging church.
I see that this persecution is dying… and in that dying hard. People are seeing those for what they are and starting to look into deeper things of God and what the emerging church has to offer. This should bring new growth and though I hate to say, the death of the emerging church to bring out this new growth.
2. The second thing is that we of the emerging church are also growing and changing. Maturity comes with growth. This may be that the emerging church is really only realizing what God has been doing since the beginning. God gave many tools to the early church that have been covered over by man’s traditions. Now that is not to say traditions are evil and bad, rather to say that the traditions we hold often taint the truth of scriptures be that mainline denominations or looking at theology from the Reformed point of view. I will caution that not all these traditions are wrong, yet that they should be held out for examination in light of scripture instead of holding scripture to those traditions.
In this we have authenticity and can continue in the values we hold as the emerging church. I believe God has raised up leaders and many others again to see these values the emerging church holds. These values are things such as authenticity, living incarnationally, (allowing Christ to live in and through us), living missionally, (living out the Great Commission of sharing the gospel and making disciples of Jesus), removing personal agendas as we approach others, and seeing God working in peoples lives even before they have come to Jesus for salvation. Of course there are many more, but to me these are the big ones.
In this we have become reacquainted with these values that God holds. I see that as we walk in these values God will begin even a greater growth or awaking of people to the Message of the Gospel
Be blessed,
iggy
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What is to become of the Emerging Church?

September 13, 2008
What is to become of the Emerging Church?
I have thought about this for a while. I see two paths…
1. The emerging church is only a phase, not to be confused with a passing “fad”. God will move in phases. If you look at history, there are many cycles that seem to happen. Often there is growth and then persecution which moves into greater growth. Often the underdog become the new power. For example, early Christians were persecuted, yet not to the extent that was to come later. In this time there was growth as in the example of the 3000 that come to believe after Peter preached in Acts 2. This growth seems almost spontaneous as the Apostle often hear “rumors” of other towns who come to believe. Saul was one who also heard of this group call “the Way” and wanted to stop it as he saw them as apostate and following another “Messiah” other than that of the tradition of the Jews. Yet, as we read in Acts, God had other plans… and Saul became Paul and began planting even more churches.
Again, this pattern kept up until the time of Constantine. Nero and well as other Roman Emperors began harsh persecution until Consisting saw his vision of a Cross and the promise that under this banner he would win his battles. Then after Constantine’s battle at Battle of Milvian Bridge 312 Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of Rome.
Now all that is very abbreviated and the debate could go on for some time whether Constantine declaration was a good thing or not. Yet the pattern is always there. We can look at the Reformation as following the same patters before and after and so on.
Now, we can look at the present situation in the same light, though I would not say the persecution is at all close to the violence of the past. It is in some countries, yet as far as here in America the persecution has only been in “words” and not the violence of the past. Yet, these words are aimed at twisting the message of the emerging church into something hideous. Now the path I see is that of persecution and growth. In fact I see this persecution of words is actually helping the emerging church gain more of an audience. People who have never heard of the emerging church now have thanks to those who write against it. Curiosity is a strange animal as people who are “warned” often see it as forbidden fruit and thus are attracted to the thing they are warned about. Now, that sound negative, yet, as in the early church there were those who sought out Christians to persecute them, found that their own lives were changed in dynamic ways. The bible speaks of the message of the cross as “foolishness”: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”” (1 Cor 1:18-19) Those that have decided to use the ways of the world to attack and persecute the emerging church have actually exposed the authenticity and grace that is the foundation of the emerging church.
I see that this persecution is dying… and in that dying hard. People are seeing those for what they are and starting to look into deeper things of God and what the emerging church has to offer. This should bring new growth and though I hate to say, the death of the emerging church to bring out this new growth.
2. The second thing is that we of the emerging church are also growing and changing. Maturity comes with growth. This may be that the emerging church is really only realizing what God has been doing since the beginning. God gave many tools to the early church that have been covered over by man’s traditions. Now that is not to say traditions are evil and bad, rather to say that the traditions we hold often taint the truth of scriptures be that mainline denominations or looking at theology from the Reformed point of view. I will caution that not all these traditions are wrong, yet that they should be held out for examination in light of scripture instead of holding scripture to those traditions.
In this we have authenticity and can continue in the values we hold as the emerging church. I believe God has raised up leaders and many others again to see these values the emerging church holds. These values are things such as authenticity, living incarnationally, (allowing Christ to live in and through us), living missionally, (living out the Great Commission of sharing the gospel and making disciples of Jesus), removing personal agendas as we approach others, and seeing God working in peoples lives even before they have come to Jesus for salvation. Of course there are many more, but to me these are the big ones.
In this we have become reacquainted with these values that God holds. I see that as we walk in these values God will begin even a greater growth or awaking of people to the Message of the Gospel
Be blessed,
iggy
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Tozer Devotional: God in "People" Expression

October 28, 2007

The Next Chapter after the Last
Chapter # Twenty-Five
The Logic of the Incarnation
God in “People” Expression

If in the infinite condescension of God, mankind was made with a nature somewhat like its creator, then is it not reasonable that God could clothe Himself with human nature in the mystery of incarnation? and all within the framework of easy possibility without the embarrassment of uniting things unlike each other? When the ancient Word stood up in human flesh, He felt at home. He was not out of His element, for had He not heard the Father say, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”? There was nor jar, no wrench caused by the forced union of dissimilar natures. It is our humble opinion that the “exile” element in the earthly experience of our Lord has been greatly overplayed. That He was sad and lonely and far from home, a stranger in a strange land, is an idea that has grown up around the beautiful and the simple fact, but it is not necessarily a part of the fact. So far as we can recall there is nothing in the record to give the impression that His presence in human flesh was an unnatural or painful experience. He happily called Himself “the Son of man,” not an exile among men. All this is not to attempt to take away from the valid mystery that surrounds the Incarnation or to lessen the awe with which we contemplate the wonder of the Word becoming flesh to dwell among us. It is rather to clear away unauthorized notions and give the beauty of the Incarnation a chance to make its own impression upon us. That impression will be deep enough without our adding anything to it.

Prayer
Father, I see in Christ living among people what You desire in my living by means of the indwelling Spirit. He produces the product of His control-the fruit of the Spirit. May that fruit characterize my life!
Scripture

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.— John 1:14

Thought
In Christ, God becomes “people”-you and me kind of people except for our sin. He exuded the glory of the Only Begotten. The eye of faith could perceive His origin and sense that He was full of grace and truth. All this in “people” expression.