Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
“So what did you learn in Sunday School today darling?” said the father to his young daughter as they got into the car.
“We learned that God is love. That love is the thing that God is most known for”, she replied.
“A wonderful lesson my dear, so true, so very true. He loves us very much.”
As they drove through the thick, green countryside, there was a period of long silence, as the young girl seemed to be deep in thought.
“When we see people who are not Christians acting with love towards each other, does that mean God is there with them?” she asked curiously.
“Hmm.” said the man pensively… “I suppose it does, doesn’t it.”
What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today. The time when people could be told everything by means of words, whether theological or pious, is over, and so is the time of inwardness and conscience–and that means the time of religion in general. We are moving toward a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore. Even those who honestly describe themselves as “religious” do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by “religious.”
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.