A.S. Since teaching this topic at the conclusion of a conference on March 6th (link below) inspired by Holy Spirit to ask and bring the message for that day; It did not take long for my words to be placed at my feet; A true test for the veracity of my truth with the Father, as it should be. I welcome the fact that God answered my prayer for ears to hear and eyes to see as He pointed out to me that my time had come to truly repent from dead works. As John Sanford (Founder of Elijah House) said in one of his books: (I paraphrase)
When your dry well is filled with the Holy Spirit, some of the debris of your past will rise to the top and try to distort the light inside you.
I understand this to mean it is my job to skim the top so the Holy Spirit will flow out of us without obstacle. I am happy to report that my discernment and acknowledgment of what Holy Spirit wanted to reveal in me prepares me for an every growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Selfie Killer Teaching presented on March 6
Have you ever felt the pain, inflicted by the Lord, at the very center of your being, deep down in the most sensitive area of your life? The devil never inflicts pain there, and neither can sin nor human emotions. Nothing can cut through to that part of our being but the Word of God. My Utmost for My Highest March 1st-Daily Meditation
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2. of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. Hebrews 6: 1-2 NASB
But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:22 NASB
I have a hard time watching regular TV. I find it challenging, engaging in political conversations unless I know it is with like-minded persons. Everywhere I turn, it seems like I am told to embrace a non-biblical principles or feel shamed for holding them. I am told that the beliefs I hold are not relevant, or outdated or based on hate. And like the Constitution, it may have been relevant before, however it is an obstacle to progress for humanity today.
Now, if I am part of the “in crowd”, I can do or say almost anything, promote anything, as long as it furthers a cause, that is helping in stifling those religious fanatics from presenting a front and center standard of self-elevating values and practices based on amoral values.
As I watched the Academy Awards 2016, I heard people celebrate gender confirmation surgery (sex change surgery), transgenderism, racism denounced and reverse racism embraced in the same breath and gay lifestyles promoted as a normal way of life. Then the assumed courage it takes to come out from the shadows of sin on the movie screen or real life. People looking for affirmation of just the way you are and never point out there might be something that needs addressed. And like a wife unhappy who can only discover herself in the arms of another man, you must understand that everyone has a right to be happy. You are not the problem, but it’s those stupid, bigoted, homophobes attempting to force those limiting morals, laid down by a God, that if He loved us wouldn’t judge us. It’s really a case of “Bless me Father for I am sinning.”
Then I saw a commercial for a sitcom where a young adolescence boy comes out, a dating site commercial that showed two men kissing. Planned Parenthood described as an institution that has helped millions of women straighten out their lives. Black Lives Matter propaganda articulating in so many words, unless you accept our brand of racial justice this fight will always continue. Everywhere I turn, I hear in the background, “YOUR GOD IS DEAD AND IF YOU KEEP IT UP SO WILL YOU; ACCEPT IT OR ELSE!!!!!”
When someone opposes your views, what is the condition of your heart towards them?
As the progressive culture increases their antics pushing their causes to the forefront, with a mob rules mentality, thus many Christians, keep to themselves and hope they are not in the line of fire. We pray that those people will one day hear the Good News, sparking their interest in God through attraction rather than promotion. Then the Holy Spirit will convict them and they will change. All you need is love…… and if we can catch them when they are down and out as they come to us we have a chance. No need finding them, just hope that they will find their way.
Many of us are mad at these stances; the world is not changing for the better, should we be angry? From which perch are we pontificating: dead works or works of faith?
If the absorption principle is “The Way”, why didn’t Pentecost seal the deal? Why after Jesus’ resurrection and all the sighting and works of Spirit did not the world bend their knee in Reverence. Why didn’t the parting of the Red Sea work? It did not work because the question (Will you follow Me?) still needs to be asked with pin-point accuracy and answered by each one of us regardless of the state of the world and the lens in which you see it.
We live in a culture where we are told that our civilization is moving toward a state of enlightenment and entitlement. Everything that is old is no longer valid and history is portrayed with snapshots of a grim world, that God’s adversaries want to promote to encourage us not to cling to the past. They present the picture of a family structure riddled with incest and molestation, female oppression, and warped Christian values as the real reasons for our current societal decay. Broad brushes that paint the sins of old, as obstacles to humanities evolution, preventing us from embracing our true unabated potential. And while the portrait is of a horrid past, they try to crush those that attempt to hold on to that which was good.
Sometimes Hollywood gets it right. In the movie, The Devil’s Advocate, Satan (Al Pacino) tells his advocate (Keanu Reeves), that he should be honored because he provides humanity what it wants; Their humanity, and because of that he should be worshiped. Outside the door of this room, the streets stand in ruin as a prophecy of that wish fulfilled.
Jesus is God’s advocate and says the path to the Father’s Messianic Era is through Him.
Will you follow yourself? Following yourself is like a cat chasing its tail.
As we see, our culture is embracing their God given humanity; Satan is being worshiped; the God of Abraham is denounced; and the church, to a large degree, stands silent. It focuses on converting believers instead of growing disciples, and when a church counts tithes, baptisms and seeks to entertain, we end up with a church without spirit and only empty words that do not pierce a readied heart. A church body that proclaims ethics within the confines of their church body and situational ethics when it best suits them or it is safe to do so in public. If we do not repent of dead works as individuals or as a church body, the harvest field will be ripe but farmers missing.
Many a day, I scream at the top of my lungs proclaiming the Glory of the Lord, but only in my mind. It is not only the Non-Believer mission field that needs attention, but our own backyard, our church members as well. The majority of Christians are taught a brand of Christianity that does not resemble what Jesus taught or the Disciples walked out. As stated in the Elementary Principles-Six Fundamental Principles of Ancient Jewish Christianity by Thomas D. Lancaster- The wedding guest in the parable of the Wedding Feast illustrates that all are invited but if you do not change your clothes we will not be allowed to stay.
I keep seeing in my mind’s eye, “But we proclaimed and preformed these works in your name, Lord.”
In large churches, small churches and home churches, once we feel comfortable in our surroundings, we tend to make compromises to remain comfortable. Eventually, unless we hold each other in check in a kind and loving way, we alienate Holy Spirit’s effect on us with the admirable goal of not rocking the boat within our Fiefdom. WE ALL hold on to that sense of security through our routines and alliances even within our closest circles.
Please know that I am not faultless in this. I want to be accepted and loved and have chosen being accepted over living in the Truth.
However, when that happens, whether you are God’s adversary or a believer living out life the way we want; is not a life of “repentance from dead works”. We are following ourselves and living our life the way we want, hoping we accomplish enough to get to heaven instead of doing what Jesus asked, “Repent for the Kingdom is near.”
The world is obsessed with Selfie’s. Look at me. See what I am doing. See what I just did. See, See, See…… Me, Me, Me, Me…….
When Jesus asks you to follow Him whoever and wherever you are in life, no matter the answer, you will die to self. Jesus is the Ultimate Selfie Killer. With one answer you will either live a new or die, because the “wages of sin is death.” You will die following your own wishes or you leave your old self behind to follow and have faith toward God.
There is no conditional acceptance with God, it is Him or us. The call of a disciple is not only salvation. When you follow Christ through your heart, you will view the world as Christ does and leave all your worldly views behind.
But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” Matthew 8:22 NASB
(I believe God has said this a gazillion ways from Genesis to Revelation)
This perverse culture is attempting to tighten its grip around us. Comfortable Christians are trying to hold to as much of this world as they can while attempting to serve God their way. Jesus did not live comfortable serving His Father. There was not list of things God gave Jesus to do and Jesus, picked the ones He wanted to accomplish. Each moment of the day was on the list. The disciples did not get comfortable serving Jesus; they were in constant threat of death, but because of Holy Spirit’s access into their heart they pressed in.
The Jewish community of old, tried holding on to a way of life that was comfortable amongst the chaos. They bartered with the Romans who were pushing their own brand of adversarial culture no different from want we see today. Peter wished for a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman tyranny and when Jesus showed up everyone’s spirit was rattled. With His presence, He either shook them to the core with fear or they shook with joy.
Once Peter was faced with the three questions posed by the Resurrected Jesus, Do you Love Me? Then “Feed my Sheep; was he then able to repent of his dead works, have faith toward God, cleansed himself from the world, lay hands on future disciples, resurrect people from the dead and face the world head-on without fear. The church was built on that rock.
However I mourn through my spirit and:
…when I do not stand up for God, afraid I might lose what I have;
… when I see people embrace a path that leads to death.
…when I see people being murdered; physically, spiritually, financially.
…seeing someone try to get a leg up by tearing down or destroying someone else.
…when people want to solve a spiritual problem through a political solution.
…when addressing women’s health issues, means murdering an unborn child.
…when the church stays silent and by statistics resembles the world.
…when men and women do not accept who they are in their God-given sexuality and do not reach to God to bring them back to a point of innocence.
…when the world says it would be better without Jews, God’s chosen people.
…when the line of perversion is moved further out as our tolerance dulls.
…when certain religions and groups see a world that might be better if the half the population was eradicated.
…when I see a President, passively aggressive towards his political foes and his own country, allow enemies to cross a border under the cover of helping the down-trodden while proclaiming compassion. He declares edicts that destroy one life to build-up another.
…when I see that I have turned from Jesus.
…when I weigh a decision to follow Christ’s lead or myself.
…when I choose to keep the peace over bringing truth to a friend until I say, I am sorry Father for what I did not do for you today……..
…when I turn to myself for comfort.
…when I realize that my life should be as a disciple but I choose to be a convert and continuing to ask for forgiveness and opt for spiritual chocolate milk instead.
…when I realize that my eyes and ears look and listen for my wants over God’s.
…when my anger prevents me from speaking God’s words and instead spew my words.
No words describe the feeling inside of me when I miss an opportunity to pierce a heart for God, when I prefer to prove a point or win a debate, instead of a soul for Christ, with my words instead of Holy Spirit’s. Nowhere in the Bible did it say there would be justice and civil order prior to Jesus establishing His kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. But that does stop me from trying to attain it over saving a soul.
I quoted Hebrews 6:1 at the beginning of this because many think, “repentance from dead works” might mean to you must turn your back on everything Torah, Sabbath, Festivals etc… BUT! What if your dead works is how you live your life today. Hebrews is a letter to the Jews that were followers of Jesus, and a plea to get with the program and work towards being a true disciple of Jesus. We know that Jesus told his Disciples that it was their job to make disciple of all nations, but to be a disciple one must accomplish and understand a few things first. Discipleship and being Saved are two different things. The message was not believe in me, I will forgive your sins and you will end up in Heaven. Yippie!!! Repeatedly Jesus said and so did His Disciples, Repent for the Kingdom is at hand, and Salvation was only part of that message, but if you listen many pastors who preach a just believe message, show up and you will be good.
In all cases, what Jesus taught to the public and his followers was easy to see but difficult to understand. They were in a constant struggle between their worldly beliefs and the direction Jesus said they should go. In the end, the disciples taught the new wave of believers and prepared them for their commitment. Why do you think Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphira? They were taught about The Way and went in with their eyes wide open. They held on to dead works, did not display a faith toward God, and kept money to the side. The first two principles that someone must establish himself or herself as a mature follower of Christ were not followed.
JESUS DID NOT SAY COME AS YOU ARE, STAY AS YOU ARE, BELIEVE IN ME AND I WILL FORGIVE YOUR SINS AND OFF TO HEAVEN YOU GO? NO!! Jesus accepts us where we are but a change is required and you need to change your clothes. There is a space of time between Belief, the forgiveness of past sins and Heaven. That is what a Disciple of Christ must accomplish for Christ.
He said, “Let the dead bury the dead.” This world is already dead that is why it will be renewed. He wants you to be a new creation with no ties to the world AND FOLLOW HIM, because the Kingdom is at hand. When it is established, every knee will bow and only then will the answer to the world’s problems be solved. We need to bring as many people with us as we can, not as believers, but as disciples and followers in Christ, as Christ Instructed, in Matthew 28.
“19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He did not say follow me unless (fill in blank) happens or when this is taken care of first or you see a move of Holy Spirit. We are to follow, stub our toe along the way and learn from it.
But before we end, please remember that God will use ANYONE to bring the truth out of you. Your reaction to anything or anyone places your heart on display. There are two stories in the New Testament that demonstrate the two path’s a person’s heart may take upon an encounter with the truth about oneself; One is the rich man and the other the woman at the well.
The young rich man when posed the question about his wealth was stabbed in the heart. A follower of Christ and boasting about his righteousness was not so righteous. He would not release himself from his wealth, a dead work indeed. The woman at the well was actually confronted with her sin, and while the rich man’s heart was slain with the pain of ‘his” truth, the women at the well was filled with joy at the uncovering of hers.
So, who are you; The woman at the well, who upon hearing the truth about herself ran to the village with joy; Or the rich young ruler who heard the truth about himself; and turned and walked away with the weight of this world on his shoulders.
My soul cries out in anguish when my spirit shows me when I haven’t repented from dead works. This is how we know Jesus has us in our heart and we are on the path of discipleship, Love Hurts. Jesus absorbed our pain on the cross and when I revert back to old ways after I promised and committed myself to Christ, the pain ushers into my heart.
This is only the first principle of a mature Christian with a smidgen of the second, imagine what Christ will do when you allow the truth of His love to settle in your heart.
I love you all and there is nothing you can do about.
Hey man, you can not make this stuff up! ALL OF US experience some or all of these instances in our walk with Messiah… the truth is how do we respond? This piece challenges me to look again in the natural and in the spirit realm to see what adjustments I need to make! Thanks Roland for putting thoughts in print that make a statement that compels action! Love is what changes things, love, Fred. ..