Friday, March 20, 2009

7 Promises from Revelation

I was reading Revelation this morning, a book that is very daunting to me as well as to others. I have had a strange relationship with the book throughout the last few years.

I know that there are immense truths hidden within, but there is also incredible ability to find lies, about God's will and about God's plan for the future. It is a book that is by no means straight forward, therefore it lends itself to crazy theories of all sorts.

In this post, I would just like to point out 7 truths/promises that are found within Chapters 2-3. These chapters consist of messages written down by John, from Jesus, to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern Turkey).

At the end of each letter, Jesus has a word of encouragement for each individual. He starts them off (in my translation) with "To those who conquer"

In order to clarify what the word "conquer" means in the greek, I decided to looked it up.

The greek word is: Nikao
  1. to conquer
    1. to carry off the victory, come off victorious
      1. of Christ, victorious over all His foes
      2. of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions
      3. when one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, maintain one's cause
For our purpose and considering the context, the second definition would seem to fit best. It isn't conquering in the sense of capturing other people's lands, but rather, conquer in the sense of prevailing against evil, etc. (for more on prevailing against sin, read some of my earlier posts).

Now that that is cleared up, I'm just going to list the scriptures and hopefully let them do the talking.

Rev 2:

7. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

11. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.

17.
To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

26. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28And I will give him the morning star.

Rev 3

5.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

12. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

21. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.


While I would love to go through and comment on all of those, it would take me far too long, and it would ruin the fun for you!

I would like to point out that the each of the promises is in somewhere related to the body of the message to each church, so to get the full context and all that, read Rev 2-3.

The one promise that I would like to discuss in brief is that of Rev 3:21: The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

I honestly do not know what to do with this. Jesus is saying that we will sit on his throne, as the Father let Jesus sit on his throne. I don't know how to wrap any theology around this idea.

What I do know is that Jesus and the Father apparently view us far, far, far higher than we give ourselves credit for. Not to say that we should be prideful of how great we are, but rather, we should take encouragement in the fact that God has an infinitely high view of us.

Reminds me of Jeremiah 9:23-24
23Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD."

Let us boast that we KNOW the lord, and let us live a life of glory and honor, conquering death and sickness, depression and disease, a life lived from the victory of Jesus, from this side of the cross and not that side, setting our eyes on the things above, where Christ is enthroned, knowing that if we do this, if we life a life for him, denying sin and shame in the body and living for glory and honor, eyes set on him, then indeed, it is him that we will gain, him and him alone, while (apparently) cuddling with him on his throne for all eternity.

Praise Christ Jesus, the one who was and is and is to come!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Christ that Is...

Hello friends, before I dive into my new post, I'd like to point out that most (if not all) of what I write in these blog posts doesn't come directly from me. Most of it is me re-articulating the arguments of great men like John G. Lake, Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, or many others. But that isn't to say that I'm stealing from them, because they would openly say that they borrowed their ideas from elsewhere as well. I say all that so that you aren't in awe of me and my amazing revelation (though maybe you should be in awe of my ability to read, underline, remember, and borrow :P ).

With that said, I want to talk about Christ as he IS, not as he WAS. I have been talking all along about this idea of the Church and its necessity to be glorious. Today I'd like to take another crack at it.

Romans 8:29 says:

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

The end of 1 John 4:17 says:

"...as he IS, so also are we in this world. "

We are to be as Christ is, now, to the world.

How is Christ now?

In all my previous posts you can read all the verses about Jesus being lifted up at the right hand of God, in a glorious state. He once was lowly and meek, bearing our burdens, and suffering and humbled.

But that was before the cross. Before he died and rose again. We are called to be "as he IS", not how he WAS, to the world.

So how IS he?

Revelation 1:17-18 says:

"Fear not, I am the first and the last,and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."

In Matthew 28 He says:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

And again in Eph 2, Paul says:

"[God] raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."

Jesus is alive and glorified. He holds the keys of life and death, he knows no death any longer. All things are placed under his feet. He has total authority and dominion over all.

As Christ IS, so we are to the world.

That verse in Eph says that he gave all things to the church, which is his body. If Christ is over all things, and we are his body, where does that place us?

How can somebody be over all things if his body is under all things?

He can't. If we are his body, we ARE over all things. So why do we still struggle with sin and shame, and why do we look at the cross as our example of how to live in this world, a cross that that brought suffering and shame to our savior in order to set us free!

We are not slaves to sin, Jesus freed us on the cross.

We are not slaves to the cross either. The cross was for Jesus, not for us. Jesus died on the cross so that we wouldn't have to. He died on the cross so that we could be seated in glory along with him.

But we always turn to the cross as the way to live our lives. Surely Jesus says to pick up our crosses daily, to die to our selves and to live for others, I do not deny that. I am calling you to view it differently though.

We live in a place of victory. Jesus won, we share in his victory. We are his body, set over all things.

In our hands are the keys of life and death. Let us unlock the chains of sin and death, of sickness and disease, of poverty and hungry, but most of all, let us do it hidden is Jesus' glory.

We are called to be a people so inundated with God's weighty presence that we can't help but change the world around us, not by what we do, but by the mere presence of his presence upon us.

We are not sinners, but saints. We are not losing the battle, but have already won. We are not slaves to sin, but called to be covered in His glory.

We need to get over our small view of our selves and realize that Jesus views so highly that he would die on a cross, he would suffer long, not for us to suffer as well, but to set us free, that we can live in the presence of God all of our days.

We need to be leaky people. God's presence must seep out of us onto others, like a heavenly perfume that changes the world.

We must be as Christ IS, not as he WAS. Being Christ to the world is being his glorified presence in the world.

Christ IS glorified right now. We ARE his body, his presence in this world. We MUST get over our small, broken view of our humanity and view ourselves as Christ views us, as glorified, as holy, as his.

And the only way I know to do this is to soak ourselves in his presence so that we leak to the world. To just be in his presence.

If you are a believer, you have legal access to his realm (but only if you believe ;) ). We must enter into his throne room and bask in his glory, that we might know what it means to be Jesus to this world. We must see the glorified Christ to get the blueprint of what he means us to be in this world.

Surely this comes through reading the Bible and finding truth, but it must go further than that.

I've written about this in previous posts, but we must have the experience of a transformed mind. While he is to an extent, God isn't entirely concerned with our logical pursuit of him.

Like a fine steak, we must marinate in his glorious presence until our very beings smell and taste and look like the glorified Jesus.

Because we're called to be as Christ is...

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Experience of a Transformed Mind

There is a certain amount of ambiguity in the call to transform one's mind. It seems quite possible that this call could be nothing more than an intellectual pursuit, something to consume the mind and the mind alone.

As I wrote in my first series of posts, there is an inherent short coming in the solely intellectual pursuit of God. If rely only upon our minds for interaction with and understanding of God, we are missing a whole side of God that he is calling us to.

I'd like to call that side "Living in the Glory". The physical, tangible manifestation of God's glory. The glory that made the psalmist say
"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple."

We need to learn a pursuit of God that goes beyond a simply intellectual approach into a way of interacting with God that is beyond understanding and reason. Our pursuit of God needs to go beyond good doctrine. Sure, good doctrine is a necessity, but it necessarily needs to be formed out of more than writings in some old book, or in a blog post, or what our pastor tries to convey with broken metaphors. Our doctrine must be formed out of a real relationship with a real God.

Doctrine has no power to transform a mind, but God does.

Our relationship and interaction with God shouldn't "make sense". He is too big, too glorious to fit into our tiny, broken schemata of how God functions. As Paul says, "If I am beside myself (crazy) it is for God, but if I am in my right mind, it is for you". He is too good to comprehend. His very nature is that of giving of himself unto the point of death only to bring blessing and joy into our lives.

Our God is so good that he died for us.

I won't even begin to pretend that I comprehend the magnitude of that love. It is not something to be comprehended, but experienced.

Somehow we as Christians substituted goosebumps during worship for an experience with God. Our sites are set too low. The bible calls us to set out minds of Heaven, on Jesus, on His love.

We were made to live in the glorious, weighty presence of YHWH. We were meant to feel of the weight of his love crushing down upon us, to the point sheer bliss and utter fear of his goodness.

There is a story about Smith Wigglesworth, a great revivalist from the past. God's weighty presence showed up so thick in a prayer meeting he attended that people began to leave the room in fear of being crushed to death. One by one, they left the weighty glory.

But Smith remained. The weight of His glory was so heavy that there was a literal fear that he might die, but he resolved not to leave. If God was going to kill Him by revealing His goodness so purely and tangibly, Smith decided there was no better way to go.

That is the kind of transformation of the mind I am talking about. The kind where Heaven invades earth and there is now to turning back, no denying the reality, the tangible presence of YHWH, our God. I am convinced that we worship a shadow of what we are meant to because we haven't pressed in to the point of being willing to die just to experience even a second more of His weighty glory.

We must resolve to live for nothing else. Nothing else will satisfy. Nothing else is worth living for. It is questionable whether life outside His weighty glory is actually life at all.

I pray that this is cry of all our hearts. Everything else will fall into place, if only this would be all that we live for:

"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple."

And

"My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God."

And

"Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked."

Let us live in your glory.

Where do Christians go when they die?

It is a really simple question that everybody knows. Christians go to heaven when they die. My next post will probably be more about what heaven is like (as far as we can know), but this one is about what we do in light of my last post.

You are already dead. If you don't believe me, read my last post, or basically any of the letters of Paul in the New Testament.

So where do Christians go when they die?

Heaven.

"Am I in heaven right now?" you might ask.

That is a tougher question. It is a yes and no kind of deal. You have legal access to the realms of heaven now that you are dead.

But the important point to catch is that you are not only dead, but raised again. Raised by the same spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. That spirit not lives in you, bringing life to your mortal body. (Romans 8:11 paraphrase).

Colossians 2-3 and Romans 5-8 are very similar. You could probably safely say that Col 2-3 is a layman's version of Romans 5-8.

In Col 2-3, Paul says that you have died and were buried with Christ in baptism, but that you were raised up and seated in heavenly places.

You are seated in heavenly places right now if you are in Christ.

Col 3 says "1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Verse 2 holds an incredible key to the Christian life.

If our sinful nature has already been killed through the baptism with Christ, and we are raised again into heavenly places, why do we continue to sin?

It isn't a heart issue, your heart has been renewed and redeemed.

It is a matter of non-renewed mindsets.

Set your mind on the things about, not on this things of the earth. Col 3:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rom 12:2

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12

3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and [i]we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.[/i] 2 Cor 10


Our problem as Christians is not that we are sinners struggling to find grace, we should be so incredibly overwhelmed with the oceans of grace that we already have.

Our problem is not that we are stuck in our sinful nature. Our sinful nature is DEAD!

Our problem is that we honestly don't believe any of this is true.

We don't believe in the finished works of the cross. It is too good to comprehend, too immense to wrap our minds around, so we don't....

Eph 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

Raised. Not is going to raise. Not will raise sometime soon, or sometime far off.

Raised.

Right now as a current reality, not a far off hope.

We are saints called to live in His glory, not sinners saved by grace.

We are told to come boldly before the throne with our requests. Boldly before the throne, as one without an sin or shame attached, because we have no sin or shame attached.

We are told that our life is hidden in Christ in heavenly places, that we are seated at the right hand of God.

We are called to live in his weighty presence, his shekinah glory, for all the days of our lives.

We are called into divine encounters. To visit Jesus in His throne room, right now.

To live a life of bringing Heaven to Earth by being the very vessels by with the substance of Heaven is transmitted to Earth.

We are called to be carries of the Divine.

But first, we must realize that we have died, but like Jesus, are not dead for good, but raised with Him by the same spirit.

We live in heavenly places right now. Lets live like it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Christian Necromancy

If you believe in Christ Jesus, then you have died and rose again. Not in some metaphorical sense, but in a very literal sense.

As Paul says in Romans 6 "How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."

Or again in Col 2 "having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, "

When Paul says the word dead there, you might be surprised to find out that what he actually means is this, you died. Like no pulse, flatlined, 6 feet down buried with Jesus in the ground kind of dead.

Your old nature is gone.

You are alive now because the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you. The literal Spirit of Life lives in you.

So if your old, sinful nature is dead, and your new nature is that of spirit and life, why do you continue on in your sinful ways?

We are no longer sinners, but saints.

We are no longer sinners saved by grace, but saints living by and in His glory.

There is a word for people who talk to dead people.

"Necromancers"

Necromancy is the act of interacting with dead people through divination. When we interact with our "sinful nature", we are practicing necromancy. Necromancy is frowned upon in the Bible. Its not a good thing.

We were set free from sin when we were raised with Jesus into heavenly places. Sin is a characteristic of somebody under the curse. If you have died, you are no longer under the curse. If you have been raised again by the spirit of God, then you are under the curse even less so.

If you are in Christ, sin is no longer your nature. Righteousness is. Royalty is.

You are no longer bound to your sinful nature. In fact, to interact with it is a sin in itself. You are set free from your sin, from your past, from all evil in your life, and you are freed from interacting with it.

You can't bring back what Jesus killed. Please stop trying.

Life is so much easier when you realize that you've died...