“My Kingdom is not of this world”…

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom belonged to this world, my servants would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But for now my kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36 ISV)

There’s something very profound about what Jesus spoke to Pilate when He was on trial for His life…

What Jesus said to Pilate still applies to us as followers of Jesus today and will continue to do so until He catches us up to meet Him in the air before we return with Him to earth when His feet touch the Mount of Olives…

Right up until that moment when we meet Him in the air we are to ‘do business’ until He ‘comes back’…

“And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ (Luke 19:13 NASB)

What sort of ‘business’ are we to do with the gifts and talents which the Lord has given us?

Are we to lobby governments for what we would consider to be morally acceptable laws?

If that fails, are we to endeavour to get ourselves elected into governments so we can put what we consider to be morally acceptable laws in place for our nations?

If that fails, are we to physically overthrow governments by means of force majeure or coup to place ourselves in control of our nations so we can put in place what we consider to be morally acceptable laws?

Assuming that we were to succeed in any of the above approaches, what would we do when the people of our nations didn’t comply with the laws we’d put in place?

Would we impose fines on them, take away their jobs, confiscate their property, put them in prison, kill them?

Is this the sort of ‘business’ which Jesus was talking about?

A political business?

No, it was not…

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36a NASB)

So what exactly is it that Jesus does want us to be doing with the gifts and talents which He’s given us in this epoch of time?

But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 NASB)

It seems pretty clear to me that our role is to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded the eleven disciples…

We have been given authority to do this and a promise that Jesus will be with us always in this endeavour until He comes again and ushers in His thousand-year reign on earth…

If Jesus didn’t want his servants to physically fight to keep Him alive (think of how He told Peter to put away his sword) how much less would He want us, as His servants now, to physically fight to endeavour to force some sort of moralism (or legislated morality) over our societies or to physically fight to force the members of our societies to ‘believe in Jesus or die’…

This approach is just plain wrong in light of Jesus’ clear words…

Yes, there is a time coming, when Jesus returns to earth to reign from the throne of His father David for a thousand years – which He hints at in John 18:36b where He says, “But for now My kingdom is not from here” – when things will be very different…

That time, however, is not now…

So, as followers of Jesus in this present age, what should we be focusing our efforts on?

Encouraging free-will heart change in all people, holding out the opportunity for all people to turn freely and willingly to Jesus by sharing the truth and grace of Jesus in love with all people and also by sharing our testimonies of how Jesus has changed our lives and is still, in His grace, changing our lives…

How do we affect change in our own lives?  By having our hearts affected by an understanding of the truth and grace of Jesus and touched by God to turn the desires of our hearts freely and willingly towards wanting to do what He has told us is best for us to do (trusting Him that He knows best for our lives)…

How do we affect change in society?

By sharing what God has done in our lives and encouraging everyone that He can and will – if they want Him to – do this in their lives also…

This involves each and every one of us who knows Jesus surrendering to Jesus, giving up being moralistic ‘try-hards’ and giving up on our efforts of ‘self-improvement’ and allowing His Holy Spirit to do His work in us in His time…

To live honestly in this way before all those around us so they see that we’re real, we’re not perfect, we’re not ‘better than them’ but naturally and joyfully God is doing things in our hearts to turn our hearts, more and more and more towards Him and towards His ways…

As they see our maturing and ongoing relationship with Jesus they taste and see vicariously that He is good and the kindness of God through us leads them to repentance, a.k.a. to come to know Jesus, a.k.a. to submit themselves to Jesus and allow Him to take over in their lives, laying down their lives and dying that Jesus can live His life through them…

There are those of us who believe in Jesus whose ‘day jobs’ involve working in government, God calls us as His people into all different professions and all different work environments but in whichever environment we find ourselves our role is as explained above, one that is focused on bringing as many people as possible into a heart relationship with Jesus because this is the only thing that saves and this is the only thing that preserves (like salt) our nations…

In the spiritual plane, there are prophets and prophetic intercessors who have a call, as Jeremiah did, to their nations…

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:4-10 NIV)

These ones could also be called watchmen or gatekeepers…

What this involves, in the spirit, is the casting down of every spiritual authority and power which raises itself up in our nations against the knowledge of Christ…

We, those of us thus called, have a mandate from God, to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow and also to build and to plant in the spiritual atmosphere’s of our nations an environment of peace which facilitates the sharing and expression of the good news about Jesus to all in our nations…

We have authority as specifically led by the Holy Spirit to remove the demonic principalities and powers from the spiritual environments over our nations and regions as we are given this authority by the Lord…

This opens the way for things to change, flourish and grow in the natural plane in our nations…

The prophet and prophetic intercessor – along with the apostle I believe – has an authority to build and to plant into their sphere of influence, under the jurisdiction that God has given to each one – what they release will come into being in time in the natural in their sphere of influence…

All this is done in the spirit, God works all this out ‘behind the scenes’ – no one in the natural plane is forced or coerced to change – as that wouldn’t be heart change, i.e. wouldn’t affect any change in any of our hearts – no government ‘strong-arming’ is required – however over time there will be changes in the way our societies operate as a result of these prayers and proclamations…

Why will there be changes in society?

Because every time in history where God has moved on His people to focus on helping others to come to know Jesus in truth, the society in which those people lived was also changed as a result of that focus…

The changes in society were an after-effect of the changes that had occurred in the members of those societies’ or communities’ hearts – a natural and free-will outcome, they just didn’t want to do certain things anymore…

Any authority structure which presently exists, we are told in Romans 13, presently exists because the Lord has set it in place…

This doesn’t mean that He’ll not remove it at some point if this is His will, as He lifts up and He casts down…

Nebuchadnezzar learnt this in Daniel 4…

“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17 NASB)

We, thus, shouldn’t be surprised if the Lord chooses to rearrange those who hold the highest positions of authority in any of the authority structures which He chooses to remain in place from here on out until He comes again…

Again, even if some of us (who know the Lord) find ourselves as the Prime Ministers or Presidents of our nations – we are only servants of Jesus in that role and Jesus has very clearly told us not to politicize our mandate but to encourage freedom for all who know Jesus to share Jesus through their life and testimony with all those who are yet to come to know Jesus while giving those who do not yet know Jesus every freedom to reject giving their lives to Jesus and every freedom not be penalized, via any government ‘pressure’, for making that decision…

Our roles, those of us who know the Lord, as Prime Ministers and Presidents of our nations, is to ensure free-will is honoured for all members of our societies, which includes freedom of speech and freedom of religion for all, including ourselves…

We pray, as Paul tells us:

for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:2 NASB)

We pray that those in authority would govern our nations in such a way so that every believer in Jesus would have the freedom to live this way so that the sharing of the good news about Jesus can continue unhindered…

If there are those presently in positions of authority who are not acting in a way which enables what Paul instructs us to pray for then we are to ask the Lord to show them His truth and grace so they could have a change of heart, if it becomes clear that those ones do not want to have a change of heart then I believe our role, in line with Daniel 4:17, is to pray that the Lord would remove them from this position of authority and place someone in that position who He knows will enable those of us who believe in Him to live the way Paul instructs us to…

Jesus, after all, is the Ruler of the kings of the earth…

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5a NASB)

He has this right, He was the lowliest of men…

With respect to those in our society who knowingly choose not to believe in Jesus they should not be punished at all for this decision in this lifetime – they should enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion in our nations – this is what Jesus instructed us to do (emphasis mine) in the scripture below…

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30 NASB)

So is the Lord calling those of us who know and follow Jesus into political activism or political lobbying?

I don’t believe so…

If He calls us into positions of authority in society (as our ‘day job’) I believe He does so to put forward (without any force or pressure) Jesus’ truth and grace to those who don’t yet know the Lord who are also in positions of authority in the hope that we all (in those positions of authority) will freely choose (in unity) to agree with God’s will for our nations – (a) to protect the peace and tranquility of those who know Jesus in our nations so that we can humbly and joyfully share Jesus and His free gift of eternal life and rescue from eternal death to all those who do not yet know Him in our nations and (b) to protect the free-will (freedom of speech and freedom of religion) of all in our nations (without vilification, ostracism or punishment)… 🙂

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To Israel Folau – I am standing with you in prayer brother…

Hi Israel, I’ve been following what’s been going on recently with great interest and the Lord has placed you on my heart to stand with you and support you in prayer…

I’ve read your article, Israel Folau – I’m a sinner too and hear your heart in your article and know in my heart that you belong to the Lord and are my brother in Christ…

In my article, Is Jesus a Bigot? and the articles referred to within that article I enunciate what I believe is important for us as believers in Jesus – to be both pro-grace and pro-truth at the same time – which I believe Jesus was, and from reading your article on Player’s Voice above, I believe that is what you’re endeavouring to do also…

I would like to encourage you that as the Apostles said,

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19b-20 NASB)

And as Peter the Apostle said,

Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATIONAND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; (1 Peter 3:13-18 NASB)

I’ve been praying for you that the Lord would give you peace, would give you wisdom and that no matter what happens you will keep your peace and your wisdom and that the Lord will direct you in the path which He has for you…

I would encourage you to forgive everyone who is speaking evil against you – from your heart – as this will protect your heart…

Remember, any authority which is set against you only has power over you as is given to it from above, as Jesus said to Pilate,

Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:11 NASB)

Also, remember what the Apostle Paul did when he was falsely put into prison,

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. (Acts 16:37-39 NASB)

And finally, from the Apostle Paul, remember that,

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:26-39 NASB)

I believe that everyone has the God-given right to do whatever they want to under the sun (good or bad) – I don’t think any of us should try and ‘legislate morality’ or ‘bully anyone into change’ – but that doesn’t mean that we’re not all responsible for what we choose to do under the sun (good or bad) in light of eternity…

From reading your article above, I believe you believe this too…

I would encourage you to continue to speak as the Holy Spirit leads you, from the peace He gives you in your heart and remember that those speaking against you are not your enemies, they are the ones for whom Christ died, it is the entities which have been controlling them which are resisting the grace and the truth in you because they see that combination as a powerful threat to their continued presence in our region…

What is happening to you is more than just about you, it is about our region and what the Holy Spirit is doing in our region to turn our region to Jesus…

Be strong and keep surrendering yourself to the Lord, keep up your physical training also, don’t lose heart, be encouraged, don’t rush to speak but when the Holy Spirit gives you a peace to speak, then speak and know that as we acknowledge the Lord, He will make straight our paths…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB)…

I will keep praying for you until this season of fiery trial is over for you, I believe you will come out of this much stronger in the Lord and knowing/experiencing the Lord much closer to you and supportive of you than you do even now… 🙂

And the future is bright for you, wherever the Lord chooses to lead you, just follow Him, follow His Voice through His Holy Spirit and the peace He gives you and stay true to the scriptures… 🙂

I believe you are right where the Lord wants you to be (keep being humble and meek before Him) and He will honour and protect you and provide for your every need, in every area of your life, Jesus’ Blood is over you, He is your Passover and you are safe in His Hands… 🙂

Love you brother,

Andrew

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Is Jesus a Bigot?

There’s something going on over in Australia at present which the Lord has put on my heart and in my prayers and as I’ve been praying about this situation, this question has come up…

Is Jesus a Bigot?

I went to the Oxford Dictionary to see what they defined this word as…

Bigot:  A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

Then I went to the Oxford Dictionaries definition of intolerance…

Intolerance:  Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

In my last blog post, Viewing Freedom From God’s Perspective, I believe I laid out a pretty clear picture of how tolerant God is of all the behaviour which occurs in His world which He doesn’t agree with…

It seems pretty clear to me that God is not a bigot – under the sun, while people are alive on earth, God has given them freedom to make choices and to live their lives however they want to, no one is forced to do anything against their will by God, anyone who wants to know Him can and those who do not want to know Him don’t have to…

Thus, as far as I can observe and based on all the evidence I have at my disposal (including the scriptures), God is very tolerant of all human beings who presently reside on planet earth…

Jesus is God, He said this of Himself, “…before Abraham was, I AM”…

Jesus could have taken Himself down off the cross and undone all the injustice which had been done to Him but instead, He was tolerant of all those who have ever resided, were residing or would ever reside on planet earth and took all of our sin on Himself asking God, His Father, to forgive us all…

I can’t think of a more unbigoted or tolerant action which anyone has ever undertaken…

Jesus didn’t shy away from telling us the truth about our sin but then He doubled down and paid the penalty for our sin Himself…

He was full of Grace & Truth as I endeavoured to explain in Balance (Grace & Truth)…

Does this make Jesus a bigot?  Does this make Jesus intolerant?

Does this make any follower of Jesus who speaks truth and practices grace (who ‘accepts’ but does not ‘approve’) a bigot, intolerant or a ‘hate speaker’?

Jesus’ kingdom is “…not of this world”…

Jesus isn’t stopping anyone doing whatever they want to do during their stay on planet earth…

Jesus loves everyone…

Jesus isn’t expecting anyone to change themselves before they come to Him…

He is just asking each of us to come to Him so that He can change us to be like Him…

He will do all this for us, even if this involves a complete makeover of our entire inner beings, spirit & soul…

God isn’t putting any pressure on any of us to ‘sort ourselves out’ or ‘pull ourselves up by our boot laces’ – He tells us to come to Him as we are and “…taste and see that the Lord is good”…

He promises us that our relationship with Him as it grows will transform us into His likeness but that how transformed we get before we leave planet earth shouldn’t be our concern (it is our desire but not our focus) as He just wants us to enjoy that process and our experience of our relationship with Him, which He knows will end in its perfection when we leave this planet and go to be with Him where He is… 🙂

All we have to do is believe what He has done for us and trust Him to do whatever He still needs to do in us until we leave planet earth…

There is nothing for us to do but to receive His love and give ourselves to Him for Him to do everything in us to free us to know and understand Him more and more…

If we choose that we don’t want to spend our time on planet earth getting to know Him, or having a relationship with Him, then He will honour that, which will mean that we will spend eternity in the presence of His wrath – which is His anger against sin…

He doesn’t want any of us to experience this, which is why He tells us that the lake of fire and brimstone is real and eternal and warns us that all who choose not to believe in Him will experience this as the consequence of their decision forever…

He gives freedom but He does not give freedom from consequences…

Our decisions (to either believe in Jesus or not to believe in Jesus) have consequences but if we believe that Jesus is the best thing for us to be spending our time on while we are here on earth then we’ll reap the harvest of that focus once we leave earth and will know Him fully for eternity – His love for eternity – even as we are fully known by Him…

That’s the positive side but there is also a negative side…

The only thing we can do to avoid the negative side is to thank Jesus for dying on the cross for us and give ourselves to Him so He can live His way through us, this is a decision which we make on the inside, He then comes and lives in us through His Holy Spirit and begins to transform us into His image… 🙂

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Viewing Freedom From God’s Perspective…

This thought has been on my heart before but it is strongly on my heart tonight so I feel to share it…

Have we ever thought about what it is like for God to give humanity so much freedom?

I mean, God is the ultimate parent, operating primarily as a Father but also at times scripture tells us operating as a mother…

Imagine the daily dealings we have in our family homes, our interactions with our children, what we allow them the freedom to do, the boundaries we may or may not set, how much freedom we choose to give our children…

Now God has a guidebook, the scriptures, where He’s recorded a pretty clear path as to the heart we would want to exhibit if we were to enjoy life on His planet and with the other planet dwellers who He has created to cohabit with us during our time on earth…

The reality is that not many of us follow that heart, revealed in that guidebook and so many times during every day God looks on in sadness because we’re missing out on the happiness which He wants for us all…

But does He step in and force or coerce us to follow His Heart, the way He lives from His Heart, in our everyday lives?

Based on my observations during the first forty-seven years of my life, I’d say, in summary, not very often and especially not over the last nearly two thousand years since Jesus rose from the dead…

He seems, in my observation, to allow all sorts of things which many of us would be very uneasy about allowing our children to practice in our homes (the earth is His ‘home’, He is the Ruler of the kings of the earth) with no obvious interference or consequence…

If we look at all the things which are done and said on earth in opposition to His revealed Heart and especially the things which are spoken against Him by His children (as in some ways whether we believe in Him or follow Him or not, by His own definition, as He is our Creator, we are all in that sense His children)…

I marvel at how ‘un-controlling’ and ‘permission giving’ God is…

I truly do and am endeavouring to model my life, with the way I treat myself, the way I treat my wife, the way I treat my children, the way I treat my grandchildren, the way I treat people who work with me and in all other social interactions (which aren’t many for me to be fair), after this ‘un-controlling’ and ‘permission giving’ God…

It’s not like He’s disinterested, it’s just that He’s not smothering…

He gives a lot of freedom for us to do the exact opposite of what He’s said will make us the most fulfilled, He doesn’t seem worried when we ridicule Him or when we put Him down, He seems to be so ‘even’ and able to see things in terms of what would benefit us the most…

Yes, I know that He’s sad and yes I know that there’s an ‘accounting’ coming after we die but His attitude is one which I like and am endeavouring to emulate…

He’s put His truth out there…

He wants us to seek it out…

Anyone who does seek it out, He’ll start talking to and guiding them along the path to find Him and His way of living…

But He’s not afraid, He’s not swayed by our rejection of Him…

He doesn’t change depending on how we treat Him…

He is still Himself…

I AM WHO I AM…

He’s not falling over Himself to make sure at every step we know that we should be following Him, He’s not ‘needy’ like that…

He wants us to be ‘with Him’ but if we choose not to be, He’s OK, He’s sad but He’s not going to change who He is because we reject Him, His Purpose will continue, He honours our rejection of Him…

He is not desperate, He lets us go, it pains Him but He accepts our choice…

In any sphere of our lives, I believe we take ourselves too seriously when we believe that we hold, for example, our children’s futures in our hands and we get so overwrought trying to make sure we spell out to them all the pitfalls and things which may go wrong…

So much emotional energy is expended by ourselves as we ‘micro-manage’ every relationship in our lives, trying to ensure that it all works out perfectly…

God desires the best for us but His way is that we choose to seek Him out – to engage trustingly with him in open dialogue to find Him, He doesn’t ‘overshare’ – He’s shared enough, He’s demonstrated enough – through Jesus – He’s given us enough witnesses – and even the people who are getting to know Him who we come across – to be able to start that relationship – an open ‘back and forth’ with Him – if we so desire…

But He doesn’t force Himself or His way on us – He is (as I believe I’ve said before) the Perfect Gentleman… 🙂

Love You Lord… 🙂

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Balance (Grace & Truth)…

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)

Back on the 22 Mar 19, I shared the below publically on my Facebook page…

As a follower of Jesus, it is my aspiration to simultaneously accept everyone (including myself) as they are in love yet only approve of those things which anyone (including myself) does which are in accordance with Jesus’ character and written word in truth, I believe this is the balance which Jesus walked when He was on earth… 

I had a situation here in New Zealand which was playing out in mind as I shared that, and it seemed appropriate to put forward my position publically…

There is another situation over in Australia currently playing out which I feel to share this post in relation to…

Whilst accepting everyone (including myself) as they are in love, this does not mean that I accept them (or myself) based on their (or my) behaviour (whether it be good or bad)…

Jesus died for everyone, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins, all died in Jesus, everyone has their pardon fully written out with Jesus willing to act as their Advocate with the Father, waiting for them to sign it and say, “Yes, I want to receive Jesus as my substitute before God, I want Jesus to stand in my place before God and have His Perfect Life credited to me so that my sins can be forgiven and His Righteousness will be permanently and forever credited to me so that I do not need to face God’s Judgement for my sin”…

Anyone who believes they are a sinner (i.e. have fallen short of God’s Glory) and have not lived (in their heart, actions and character) as Jesus lived (in His heart, actions and character) while He was on earth, can accept Jesus’ offer to be their Substitute and give their lives to Jesus for Him to live through them…

He does all the work…

No eternal judgement…

Eternal Life instead…

That is an amazing offer from God, the most amazing offer any of us will ever get in our lifetimes…

So I accept everyone whether they are believers or unbelievers as those for whom Christ died and as those for whom Christ longs to be reconciled to Himself, I treat unbelievers as ‘pre-believers’ or ‘potential believers’, i.e. ‘potential brothers or sisters in the Lord’ and I treat believers as brothers and sisters in the Lord whom the Lord has told me to accept…

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. (Romans 15:1-7 NASB)

But here’s the flipside…

God is God and what God says in His word, the scriptures, is the truth…

There is no wiggle room on that…

God doesn’t water down what He’s said or lower the bar on what He’s said the truth is to make people feel better about themselves…

None of us (period) can feel good about ourselves, we’re all sinners outside of Christ…

So God is the great leveller…

It’s not just some people who need to repent and give themselves to Christ, it’s all people, everywhere, in every nation and for all time…

None of us is any better than anyone else – this is what scripture tells us…

We are all sinners and none of us can save ourselves…

So to say that God singles anyone or any group out as being bad while siding with any other person or group as being good is just plain wrong…

God says that everyone outside of Christ is 100% bad – because even if you only sin once God views that as having committed every possible sin – there is no hope once any of us have committed even one sin – we are lost without Christ…

But on the other hand, you have this most amazing offer – to be credited with Jesus’ Righteousness and be accepted, loved and forgiven by God and placed into Jesus so that all that Jesus enjoys and will enjoy you too will enjoy for all eternity…

All that Jesus has, you too will have for all eternity…

That’s amazing and I’ve just got to shout, “Hallelujah!!!”… 🙂

Then on the flipside, scripture tells us that Love rejoices with the truth…

This is the approval side of my quote above…

To give approval is to agree that a particular action, in motive and deed, was an enactment of the truth – the character of Christ – in a particular situation…

Only those with the Spirit of God within them and living through them can complete such acts…

Thus the only approval I can give is to those (including myself) with the Spirit of God within them who (including myself) are yielded to the Holy Spirit in those areas and committing those acts under the control of the Holy Spirit…

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23)…

The ‘fruits’ of those who either don’t know God or do know God but aren’t at that moment experiencing the Holy Spirit living through them are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21a)…

If we were to drill into immorality, impurity and sensuality, from scripture we would find that all of us are guilty of these three sins in some way or another, whether we would categorize or identify ourselves as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender…

God has a very clear and narrow path – His prescribed path – for our lives with respect to doing the opposite of immorality, impurity and sensuality – (unless we are gifted as a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom in which case we have no sexual interaction with ourselves or anyone else at all, either on the inside in our hearts or physically out through our bodies) it consists of men marrying women, treating them as more important than ourselves, never forcing ourselves on our wives sexually, never abusing our wives sexually or in any other way, in laying down our lives for our wives, never being interested in or attracted to anyone other than our wives and giving only our wives our hearts and our attention in the deep matters of our hearts (those things that should be shared only between a husband and a wife), becoming one with our wives and with respect to our bodies, only experiencing sexual intimacy – which is a two-way free giving activity – with our wives…

Any heterosexual activity which doesn’t conform to the above is a sin in the eyes of God…

Even if that sin only occurs in the heart and not in action…

That’s how serious it is…

In terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender behaviour, all this is sin in the eyes of God…

None of this behaviour conforms to His prescribed path in scripture at all…

Those are the facts from scripture…

Now having said that, the Lord protects us all by saying that none of us has any right to judge or condemn or look down on anyone else…

Why?  Because we’re all just as guilty as each other…

There is only One Lawgiver and Judge the One who is able to Save and Destroy…

In dying for our sins Jesus earnt the right to have all Judgement entrusted to Him by the Father…

He is the Only Judge…

So is it right for ‘christians’ to look down on ‘non-christians’?  No, it is not…

Is it right for ‘christians’ to condemn ‘non-christians’?  No, it is not…

Is it right for ‘christians’ to condemn ‘Christians’?  No, it is not…

In fact, in the area of morality is anyone better than anyone else?  No, they are not…

Even for those who scripture tells us have been released from their sins, even these ones aren’t to think they stand but to take heed lest they fall…

Even for those who know God and do fall, those who haven’t fallen are to restore such ones in a spirit of meekness (submission to the Lord) watching themselves lest they also are tempted…

Scripture paints a pretty bleak picture of any believer who gets forgiven and freed by the Lord and then goes out and starts trying to lord it over or look down on or condemn those who are yet to be forgiven and freed by the Lord…

Scripture says that the Lord allows that one to be chained up by the tormentors and I believe to be reacquainted with their past bondage to sin until they realise that they must forgive others for their sins in the same way as the Lord has forgiven them…

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NASB)

If we refuse to forgive others then practically the Lord will let us wallow in our past sins until we do…

Scripture paints a pretty bleak picture for anyone who wants to set themselves up as being better than anyone else, eh?

Scripture is the great equalizer…

We are all equally guilty…

None of us has a leg to stand on…

We are all offered God’s mercy (not getting what we deserve) and grace (getting what we don’t deserve) and our eternity is in our hands, in what we do with that offer…

If we gratefully accept that offer and trust God through scripture that Jesus has paid the price and risen again from death and ascended into heaven then we’re ‘all good’ (Eternity in the Presence of the Love of God which starts when we believe in Jesus)…

If on the other hand, we choose to try and establish our own righteousness before God (and remain steadfast in that pursuit until death), we will spend eternity in the Presence of His Wrath in the lake of fire and brimstone…

The things which scripture tell us are God’s will for us are the things which the Holy Spirit will do through us…

The Holy Spirit won’t do anything through us other than the things which God’s word in scripture tells us He will…

The Holy Spirit won’t sin through us, He can’t – He’s the Holy Spirit…

The only way we as believers can know God is by letting the Holy Spirit live through us…

As we do this we start to see the Miracle which God has created in Christ and the Church – who is Christ’s Bride – and we start to see why male and female fulfilling their unique roles within the covenant of marriage is so important to God…

It’s His Blueprint, His Plan, His Purpose, to reveal Himself in all His Fullness, to us… 🙂

But, to those who believe in Christ, there is no condemnation as we move from ‘glory to glory’ in Him and are transformed in an ever-increasing measure (strength to strength and grace upon grace) into His Image…

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Love, Acceptance & Forgiveness…

I woke up from a dream yesterday morning where the Lord was telling me that all that was important for me – with respect to myself and others – was love, acceptance & forgiveness…

I remember attending a Church service back in late 1999 or early 2000 just before my wife and I got married where the Pastor invited up to the front anyone who felt they needed to forgive themselves…

I remember getting a lot of freedom that day as the concept of forgiving myself wasn’t one that I’d thought about before then…

To truly forgive myself is to remove all expectations that I have on myself from myself…

It is to accept myself and to accept the fact that only the Holy Spirit through my new self can make any change for the better in my life…

It is also to accept who I used to be and that who I used to be might still be seen although hopefully in diminishing amounts through me at various points in the remainder of my life on earth…

It is also to forgive myself for everything I’ve ever done, for the things which I haven’t been able to undo and for the effects on others which these actions have had or will have…

To understand God’s Sovereignty is very helpful in these considerations…

How could I come to a place where I’m so at peace with my failings that I’m not trying to stop myself from them but am completely surrendered to the Lord to work His new way through me in His time and for His glory?

It is in understanding that the Lord has absolute control or the last say in everything which either happens or doesn’t happen in His world…

All souls are His…

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…

The enemy could only do to Job what the Lord permitted him to do…

The Lord didn’t purpose Job’s suffering or instigate it but He definitely allowed it…

What the Lord allows through my imperfections to be experienced as pain by those in my sphere of influence has the potential to draw them closer to Himself…

Our response to the sinfulness of others who are in our sphere of influence will either make us or break us as human beings…

And so it turns outward from being an inward facing thing to being our response to all those around us…

Having loved, accepted & forgiven ourselves we start to see that all the people around us need our love, acceptance & forgiveness also…

And so we see in that place that our freedom is in forgiving them for the impact they have had on our lives…

In accepting them and in loving them in spite of the impact they have had on our lives…

There is nothing to cause us to stumble in this place…

This is the place of freedom…

The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10 NASB)

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When there’s nothing left to fear…

When the anti-Christ spirit, the religious spirit and the Jezebel spirit have been removed from the Church what is there left to fear?

False teaching & Pride will no longer be there…

Expectation & Striving will no longer be there…

False authority, Injustice & Condemnation will no longer be there…

Rejection & Apathy will no longer be there…

When everyone, irrespective of the gifts and mantles they have been given by the Lord, takes their place in considering others as being more important than themselves and takes the place of a servant in the Church, then there is unity, then there is peace and then there is harmony…

Then, in that genuine place of knowing that only God does anything of value in our own individual lives and only God sets us free from our sin to enjoy Him and enjoy serving others, in that place we can be (within the bounds of peace) truly transparent with each other and as the Lord releases it, we can receive freedom from the Lord from our besetting sins as the entire Body works together to nourish itself in love…

When the anti-Christ spirit, the religious spirit & the Jezebel spirit are not ruling in a meeting where God’s people come together (i.e. they are given no place) and the Holy Spirit is given His Place to have absolute freedom to minister to His Church, then where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty – absolute liberty to share and be healed without fear – in an atmosphere of acceptance – in the Presence of the Lord…

I long to see that day in the Church, I long to be a part of a Church where this occurs and Revival follows… 🙂

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