Found a kindred spirit today. Much of what he is expressing is most insightful.
Found a kindred spirit today. Much of what he is expressing is most insightful.
What if… all the churches and denominations in America liquidated all of their buildings, all their schools, all their real estate, all their TV and media assets, all their publishing houses, and all of their investment holdings, then went out into the street with all that money and fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, comforted the needy, clothed the naked, propped up all the hurting families who just need a leg up?
What if… every American missionary sent abroad was brought home, and we simply prayed for the Lord to bring His Life and His Love to the poor and needy in this world?
What if all of the parasites and leaches who make a living off of the name of our Lord were exposed, dragged out into the courtyard, and told to “leave and never come back, just leave and never come back”?
What if …. every named “Christian” group was surreptitiously dissolved, and all badges and labels that divide us were no longer? What if every sign was toppled and stamped into the dust?
What if… we stopped judging sinners and simply started loving and serving them?
What if… the sheep would rise up and turn the tables over, then take back all that was stolen from them in the name of God for over 2,000 years?
What if… if there were no more preachers and priests, no special chairs, no private rooms, no privileged status among God’s little ones?
What if …men and thieves were to stop making merchandise of the things of our Lord, and simply worshiped Him in Spirit and in Truth?
What if… there were no more high places, no Jerusalem and Rome, only a hillside, and a place where we go to meet the Lord wherever He may be?
What if… the world saw something it has never truly seen before, and experienced a truth borne out of love, and enlightenment borne out of real grace?
What if… we finally realized that the One Narrow Way is a Person – not a religion, not a group, not a system, not a book nor a building?
What if… we rendered to Caesar the things that are his, and we rendered to the Lord everything else? What if every Christian and every group employing Jesus’ Name severed all reciprocal political and business ties? What if the singular ideology and imperative remaining was to simply serve the Lord?
What if Christians stopped pretending, stopped lying to themselves, stopped serving two gods, stopped raising themselves above the rest of humanity, stopped taking up arms to shed the blood of God’s children, stopped playing the harlot with the world?
“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,… (Matt 23)
In His life and in His words and in everything He expressed and represented when He came down to walk among us, the Father’s Son rejected everything that is religion.
Religion happens when men, in some manner, touch or interpret the things of Father God.
Religion promises much, but only promotes and advances death. It tends to breed obsequious sycophants who exist only to prop up a small privileged class of priests and preachers.
Yet He, the Father’s Beloved Son, is the Life of the World. He is both the Tree and the Fruit of Life in His Father’s Garden.
He never forced anyone to come to Him or remain with Him. There was never the need to resort to coercion or duplicity.
Religion probes endlessly into the abstract and the metaphysical, exhaustively attempting to draw lines and form boxes. Those with the pens tend to enjoy special titles and letters after their name, like Phd, and Thd. anything to remind the sheep that they are in a class above.
He invited the little children to come and simply be with Him. He allowed the sick woman to touch Him. Real human tears washed His feet.
Religion connotes endless study, the reading and interpretation of texts, the exaltation of teaching and teachers.
He said “Follow me” and “Watch and see”
Religion gives place and prestige to men. It is wholly and miserably corruptible. It has a price.
He worshiped His Heavenly Father and invited us to do the same. freely and simply and forever.
With the touch of men, comes the foul stench of religion, and fetters and toil.
With Yeshua, comes a sweet savor, freedom and rest.
Religions have different names and presumptions, and doctrines but they are all yet the same. They all lead to the same poverty and thirst.
Religions have symbols, and high places and histories packed full of tradition and mythology.
It is all painted gold. Scratch the surface with a child-like heart, and you will see.
Religion seeks out and devours zeal, then steals men’s souls, one by one, it is a consuming fire.
It is proud, haughty, insatiable, shadowy, feeding on innocent human faith like a drunkard with a jug of wine.
The Father’s Son declared a new way to live, in Him, for the Father, from a heart of compassion and tenderness and love.
He was sincere, pure, real, genuine, touchable, always glorifying the Father, never Himself or other men.
For two millennial since He left us, men and demons have leavened everything He did and said with religion, with isms and ologies.
All is a lie.
All is stained.
All leads only to chains and death.
This message is to all or any of the little ones who will hear -
Stand up. Lay down your chains. Set aside your doctrines and presumptions and sacred books.
Walk out that door and through the gate. Go up to the hillside where He is waiting for you. Don’t ever look back.
Place your weary head upon His breast.
Until you feel His ageless heart beating beneath you.
And be at peace my brother, just be at peace.
Lord forgive us all.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. (John 15:1)
One day a farmer went out into his orchard, eager that his apple trees would bring forth many apples. He had his notebook, and a lesson plan, and walked among the trees.
“Today, my dear trees we are going to learn about fruit, what it is, what it looks like and how to bring forth a bountiful supply of fruit. Please turn to page 12 in your text books….”
Then one of the younger trees interrupted the farmer….
“But master, we are trees and you as a good husbandman have cared much for us, planting us in good soil, keeping the birds and insects away, pruning our branches… we need no instruction on how to bear fruit, for this is what we are, and the life that flows through us up from our roots to each branch will most certainly bring forth fruit. Please be patient and in time you will see our many branches filled with life-giving fruit.”
“But…” interrupted the farmer, “we must labor, we must be diligent to ensure that we most perfectly understand how all of this works, we must study and learn all there is to know about fruit. I thought if we met every Wednesday and… “
“We do enjoy your company master and of course you are always welcome to walk among us and to care for us, but in the matter of fruit all that has been done is all that needs to be done. Life will take care of the rest; do you not see this?”
So the farmer went back into the house confused, His father had always taught him that there was more required, that a good farmer had to do this and do that, and to actively participate in the life of the orchard.”
Dear ones, the propagation, the maintenance, the perpetuation, the stimulation of life – these are grand subjects indeed. Yet in the end, life just is, and all bounty is bound up in the seed. And inside the seed is a germ, the smallest essence of life in which all that comes forth is marvelously coded and defined.
IN THE NEW CREATION, THIS GERM IS NONE OTHER THAN JESUS CHRIST!
The soil is the desert of this world.
This precious seed has been planted in the desert of this world, and all life in the new creation springs up from this one seed.
He alone is the genesis of the new creation, the originating and animating principle of all life therein.
This seed fell from the Father’s hand (He had only one seed in His bag for this is all that was required) and in the very midst of the dragon it fell to the hard, cold, ground of this fallen, cursed world.
This Tree, this Vine has been growing ever since, and it will continue to grow until its roots, and vines and branches and fruit fill all the earth, indeed perhaps more.
As you begin your day today, consider what you are, what you are attached to, what you are part of – then rest superfluously in the revelation that His fruit will come, His life will flow through you, His love will supplant everything in time. Resist any teaching or any teacher who tries to make fruit-bearing some kind of religious exertion or effort.
Let life happen. Just get out of its way. Pray His Spirit will be Your life today.
Yes you and I are housed in broken bodies and broken minds and hearts, and these will manifest from time to time. But what is really important is the life within, this new life within each of us.
Be careful of assuming that the more knowledge you have, the more life you will have, the more fruit. (Remember the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil”)
Be equally careful of thinking that toil, labor, self-discipline (call it what you will) have an active part to play in the new creation of God. It doesn’t. Pray the Spirit will impart a fuller revelation of rest (the sabbath) and fruitfulness. These to the fleshly mind seem incompatible to each other, but we must remember that the Father and the Lord are always working. This does not require that we are always working as well.
Walk out among the trees and the plants and consider how peaceful they look. It is a sabbath all around certainly but much life is springing forth. This, dear ones, is how the Father works. He speaks forth life by His generative word. Then He allows it to come forth.
The very first and last scene in the Bible is a garden (not a school, not a temple, not a church).
And there are trees (vines) all through the Scriptures.
Our Lord often used the living things of nature to convey profound truths having to do with spiritual life and death, and how the Father is working and how He is working.
There is not seven steps to more life, or twelve principles of the abundant life – THERE IS ONLY LIFE! THE TREE OF LIFE! THE TRUE VINE!
So first be very certain that He alone is now your life.
Then once you are sure, enjoy it, choose it, praise Him for it, thank Him for it, move freely in it, wait for it, contemplate it certainly, experience it, allow its fullness, allow the Father to prune and protect this life to bring it to even greater fullness.
Lord, please let this be so as it is Your will and pleasure. Amen
Especially here in the USA, when we think of Jesus we think of Christianity. Actually Christianity is just another religion. Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. Men started calling those who followed Christ as Christians, but in our modern era, Christianity is thought of as a religion more than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t belong to any particular religion. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe. He came to show the love of the Father to the human race, not start a new religion for people to fall in line and follow.
If we mean Christian as being a follower of Christ, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use Christian as a sense of belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine and set of rules, then I would rather not have anything to do with that term.
Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. He doesn’t see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. He loves people. He sees people who need the love and acceptance of God. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Christ…not Christianity.
It’s time we stop looking to the organized world of religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to Christ and allow Him to live through us and let Him love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let God work in them the way He sees fit.
We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true sense of the meaning of Christian, being someone who is doing the works of Jesus, and letting Him reign as Lord of lords and King of kings.
Dear ones -
A drunken man has no discernment. All is haze and confusion. And this is a serious business. Notice the following passages -
“Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, ‘Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between the holy and the unholy, and between the clean and the unclean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.’” (Lev. 10:8-11)
“Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” (Ez. 22:26)
“No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court…and they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ez. 44:21-23)
Now notice this relating to our very day -
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (Rev. 17:1-3)
Babylon, at its heart, represents confusion and mixture, where the holy is not distinguished from the unholy. All is worked in together. Tares and wheat, leaven and meal. Babylon is a quasi-religious system where all is mixed together, the natural and the spiritual. And those who are drunken cannot discern the difference; their eyes simply do not see it. They have no spiritual clarity. It has gone long beyond understanding. The “Lie” has worked itself into them deeply, into their heart, their desire; their lives. You cannot convince them otherwise for they are wedded to Babylon and all she represents. Her uncleanness runs far too deep. Like the harlot who cannot merely change her clothes to become other than she is. Her fornication refers to her unholy communion (becoming one spiritual body) with the powers of the world, the political, the economic, anywhere and everywhere the enemy has principalities and strognholds.
The product of the harlot’s illicit union with the world is “the wine of her fornication.” This wine is the intoxicating influence of the mixture of this religious system. The mixed system does not try to sort out the things of God from those not of God. It mixes them all together into one confusing mass. This mixture influences all people on the earth in the realm of religion. All people, including genuine Christians, are put into a stupor, being unable to discern the pure truth concerning knowing, serving and following God. They are influenced by the teachings, and the natural and worldly philosophies, ways and practices of this religious system, Babylon. As a result, people cannot distinguish between the holy and the unholy. (Tom Finley)
The harlot is. perhaps, the very woman who has hidden the leaven in the meal.
Next notice how Austin-Sparks suggests this will only lead to trouble for those attempting to stand outside of this confusion, this mixture -
I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in Me. You will find trouble in the world – but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world! (John 16:33 Phillips)
When the spiritual stands to confront the merely formal, traditional, nominal and “natural,” then there is going to be trouble. This is not now merely the reaction from the world: it is the reaction from religion. I would go further, and say it may be the reaction from Christianity. There is a very great difference between formal, traditional, nominal, “natural” Christianity, on the one side, and spiritual Christianity, on the other; a great deal of difference. So much so, that this also becomes a battlefield – the battlefield of a lot of trouble.
Leave formalism alone, and everything will go on quite quietly. Leave traditionalism alone – that is, the set order of things as it has always been; that framework of things as it has been constituted and set up and established by man; that Christianity which is the fixed, accepted system of things – and you will escape a great deal of trouble. But seek to bring in a truly spiritual order of things, and trouble arises at once. And YOU are the trouble maker! The truth is that the trouble lies in the existing condition, the situation, the state; but it is only brought out by your action. And so spiritual men and women, and spiritual ministry, are called “trouble makers,” because the two things cannot go on together. That is where Israel was. They had the traditions, they had the oracles, they had the ordinances, they had the testimonies; they had the forms, they had the system – they had it all; but, in the days of the prophets, there was ever this vast gap between the “externals” and “internals” of life in relation with God. The heart is far removed from the lips. The spiritual reality is not found in the formal. You may have it all – but then bring in the truly spiritual meaning of things, and trouble begins in that very realm. It is the trouble which arises when what is external and traditional comes into conflict with something which is truly spiritual.
They tolerate us now, but the animus will be loosed soon, the restrainer will be removed, the locusts will swarm out of the pit. And then where does that leave us dear ones, all those who seek the true, the holy, the clean, the pure?
Where are you in your heart? Whose side are you on really? Is there mixture in your life? Are you intoxicated like the priests who brought unholy fire into the temple of the Lord? What do you tolerate, or reason away? What is the Lord Jesus to you anyway, deep down where spirit touches bone and life is revealed for what it truly is?
The time is at an end, and Babylon is rising dear saints. A new epoch is upon us. Babylon is not so much a place but a condition, a delusion appreciated only by those who are drunk with the wine of the harlot’s fornication. It stands for everything opposed to the Kingdom of our God, and her King! Once the seduction begins, it will grow increasingly difficult to resist, as every man knows all too well.
Do we have eyes clear and sound to see such things? Are we drinking the pure water of the Word, and leaning in to hear the Masters voice? Is the Spirit groaning within us in unspeakable ways, in a language only God knows?
Where then are those who will stand apart? Where are those who will resist the seductive wiles of this harlot and the beast she rides? Where are those who love their Lord beyond everything and anything this world has or represents?
Dear saints, it is all under water – America, the nations, the world system – the Lord of All Judgment has declared it, and although He will never flood this earth again, He will bring His fire, oh yes, He will bring down His holy, cleansing flame, to extinguish the chaff.
And so I ask again – where are you? Where are you right now at this very moment?
Dear ones, I appeal to the life of Jesus Christ within you – Choose life, choose Him, Choose the Holy One! Flee Babylon, for her gates are never high enough for the Lord of All Light!
Dear saints – It is with some fascination that I contemplate what men try so creatively, so ingeniously to do for the Lord. It is as though we don’t trust Him, or somehow feel we can do things better in terms of bringing about the fullest expression of spiritual body life. I absolutely relish this description by Sparks here of what really transpired shortly after He ascended -
“While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.”
Now if I may speak quite frankly, such a thing positively scares the life out of many believers, especially those who feel that everything of Christ must be branded, named, organized, systematized, collectivized, boxed, replicated, scheduled, itemized, etc.
Where I wonder in what Sparks has described is there a place for one such as Diotrephes, who loves to be first, over others, standing apart, in some place of self-importance?
I dare say that such Nicolaitans create these unnatural religious mechanisms so that they can control them, lord over them and derive no small degree of stature and importance from them – all in the name of Christ, all for Him ostensibly.
“THESE THINGS I HATE!”
…said the Master.
Rather than step back and glory in what the Lord through His Spirit was doing back then, we rather pull a verse out of the Book of Acts and create a system, a methodology from it – oh what a wonderful idea.
“They met in homes” – Oh so the pattern for church is to meet only and always in homes.
“The church in this city.” – Oh so we must organize city churches with spiritual headship over each jurisdiction.
“They all sold what they had…” oh so we are to give all of our resources to a centralized church body and have them manage and distribute it as they deem suitable.
Dear saints, what is so delicious, so marvelously impressive about the Book of Acts, is not only these things specifically, but that the wind was blowing, and that these saints allowed themselves to be swept up and away in its moving. Nothing of men, All from the Lord. Attempting, even with the very best of intentions, to replicate, simulate or return to the various particulars of what happened HAVE AND WILL FAIL EVERY TIME!
This book is a book not of patterns and templates, but of free-flowing life. It is the most un-religious book ever written.
May we open all of our doors, tears down all of our walls, open all of our windows – and simply let the mighty wind of the Spirit bring forth life into our fellowship and union with one another in the Lord. May we lay down all pride and lust for power and control. May we learn from John in his first letter which speaks of real heaven-blown fellowship and oneness in the LIGHT, LIFE and LOVE of God.
May He breathe on these words as they pass through your day today… amen
From TAS -
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)
It is a seeing of the immense significance of Jesus in the eternal and universal order. With the Apostles that seeing was subsequent to the days of physical association. During the forty days after His resurrection it was like the dawning of a new day. First, those intimations, as when the uncertain light just passes over the heavens. Then more steady and certain rays, leading to the Day of Pentecost, when the sun appeared in full glory over the horizon dispelling the last shadow of uncertainty. On that day they saw Him as by an opened heaven. The mystery of the past was dispelled. The Bible lay open like a new book. They saw Him in the light of eternity. They began to see that, while He was the glorified, personal, Son of God, He was Himself the embodiment of a great, a vast heavenly and spiritual order and system. This seeing was absolutely revolutionary. It was a crisis out of which a new world and a new creation was born. True to this fundamental principle, all that vast revelation, which has come down the centuries from and through the Apostle Paul took its rise from that crisis described by him as “It pleased God… to reveal His Son in me” (Gal. 1:16). “I received it… by revelation of Jesus Christ” (vs. 12). All the implicates were in the crisis; the full content was a progressive and ever-growing revelation.
While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.