“I AM the bread of life” – Jesus
For I have come down from heaven,not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. – John 6:38 HCSB
Do I understand that, for Jesus to make that statement, He had to be completely emptied of His Heavenly place of honor, leave His throne, and become one of us? He humbled Himself and served God’s will by serving man. Jesus left His own personal will behind, was filled with the Spirit of God at His baptism, and served God’s Will. Not out of law, compulsion, or as a slave, but out of Love for His Father. Jesus served God by serving man. And He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit that had filled Him.
I grew up believing that if I sang in the church choir, went to all the youth rallies, worked in the annual church “revival”, attended the Summer Camps, and basically behaved myself, I would be a good christian.
When I became an adult (Not to be confused with growing up), I attended church because I wanted to please God. I confused the scripture that says, “Hebrews 10:25 – KJV – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Again, I saw a lot of “activity” and heard a great deal about God and Jesus, but it came across as a knowledge gained through consensus, a creating God out of parts of scripture that appealed to the idea of what I want God to be, rather than learn what the Bible actually says about God, His will, and Jesus, the Lord.
Let me be clear, and I will probably be pilloried over this, but you can research this yourselves. The “Church” is the ekklesia…the body that consists of those who genuinely believe. The “Church” is NOT the building you go to and socialize in. These edifices are full of people who have no real belief or understanding of the scriptures. They gather to serve themselves. The “Church” was never called to serve itself, glorify itself, or do its own will, expecting God to approve its’ own agenda. When we are filled with our own purposes, we have immediately forsaken the will of God. Today’s churches have become irrelevant for this very reason. It is a fortress that expects the sinner to come to it for help, and offering only trite messages, based on the popular psychology of the day, and “supported” by whatever scripture they can find to support that view-point. They are the “Hucksters of the Gospel” you read about in the New Testament. Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.
Christ’s church, His ekklesia, consists of those who have believed in their hearts that Jesus died for and became their sin. That Jesus became every sin that ever was and ever will be, and died and went to hell, a sinner, for our sake. Christs church understands that, while Jesus was dead in Hell, cut off from God, but receiving the complete and full wrath of God, God reached into Hell and brought Jesus back to life. Jesus, having been restored, preached freedom to the captives in Hell and took the captives and freed them. Then Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He has the right to be called “Christ the Lord”. Jesus did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He put all sin and death away for our sakes. If you accept this simple truth in your heart, and declare with your mouth that Jesus did all this and rose from the dead, YOU HAVE SALVATION. THAT is all there is to it.
Those are the people who are the ekklesia, the church. And believing these things, are sold out, in faith, and grace, and have determined to follow their Lord. These are the people who need to stick together. These are the people who need to support each other. Wherever two believers are gathered, Jesus is in their midst. It is there they can support, exhort, teach and worship together. You will not find that in the established church. If this were not true, the established church would have no idea what religious dogma is, nor would they be trying to force their own agenda down the throat of the Living God.
Results matter, and what has become the modern church is proof that they have abandoned their first love, and taken upon themselves the idea that they know God’s will better than God does.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ESV
I cannot do what Christ wants me to do. Not if I intend to do it on my own power. The only way I can “walk after the lord” is to rest in what HE accomplished on my behalf. The minute I abandon the power and will and faith of Christ, and attempt to do His will on my own, I have abandoned the very thing Christ has asked us to do…ABIDE IN HIM. Abiding means to rest, pitch your tent, make Him your home. Know Him through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is what every New Believer experiences. Unfortunately, because discipleship is a lost art, that new Christian becomes a blown out candle. Then when he asks his pastor, or some other respected elder why has the joy left, that respected adviser usually tells them, “Well, this is all part of maturing . ” God worked in you because you were a baby christian, but we all have to grow up, and do for ourselves. We have to obey God through our effort”. I actually was told that at Seminary. We were taught that we must abide, but we were taught that it is an effort to do so, and we just have to work hard to get ourselves to abide. I actually believed that, and the result was, I became as bad a sinner as I was before I was saved. I didn’t understand what abide really meant.
Abide is a very intimate term. Get to know Him through spending time with Him. This starts with reading the word and prayer. The Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead is the same spirit that now lives in you. As long as you abide, you grow, and produce fruit. But is done by resting in Him. Believe as simply as you did when you were first saved. Trust that He will guide you, teach you, uphold you, love you, and instruct you. Give up your ideas of God’s will, and learn what His will actually is. Rest in Him. You cannot do this by your own strength. You are already forgiven. You are already His child. You are already adopted into the Kingdom of God. When you learn to relax and trust this truth, you will abide in Him. When you do this, you will be shown how things look from God’s point of view. You will, out of love for Christ, WANT to please him. This is not something you can ever do on the power of your flesh. It is only when you abide in the rest of the Lord that HE will guide you and teach you. Your desire will be to do as Christ leads you. He will make sure you have all you need to do His will.
John … said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” – Luke 9:49-50 NASB
You do not need “The Church’s” permission to serve Christ. You already are a co-heir to the throne of Christ. You have within you all the same power that God used, through Jesus, to create the heavens and earth. The kingdom of God dwells in you. You are now His child. God is not sitting “way up there, in the distant by and by, sitting on a throne, unapproachable”. He dwells in you. His kingdom is in you. You have all the power and authority and grace and love of God. You are Saved and belong to Him as if you were Jesus Himself. When He sees you, He sees his beloved child.
That “someone” who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, was obeying the will of God because it became his heart to do so. He did not need the permission of the disciples because he already had the kingdom of God in his heart. He had a change of heart. He learned a new thought. Repent simply means to think again. The disciples were already jockeying for position of authority, and desired to rule over others since they were the “First Disciples”. This may be why Jesus chose Paul to do what others refused to do.
It is as simple as understanding that the price Jesus paid on the cross, in hell, and through His resurrection, Jesus gave you, the believer this free gift, that you are also the adopted son of God. You have God’s permission to rest in Him and watch him use you as he moves you in your heart. No church, ever, was able to do this for you. It is simply and ONLY the completed work of Jesus Christ. It is a free gift. It goes beyond eternal life. It goes beyond your resources, your thinking, your will, and your ability.
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. – Acts 3:1-7 KJV
All of what I have written is because I am going through a transition state of understanding what Jesus actually gave himself for. It was not a religion. It is so that we can be restored to the place we were before the fall of man.
Peter and John were on their way to the church (Synagogue) to pray. They were obeying the edict of the assembly. But on their way, Christ showed them an opportunity to do the will of God. This is because the Holy Spirit had taught them the Mind of Christ (Read the first few chapters of Acts).
Interestingly enough, it was the established church of their day that had a huge problem with this behavior. They, however, had the joy of the Lord in them, even under persecution, because they had obeyed their Lord.
They didn’t have permission from the local church to obey Christ. They simply were moved in their hearts and minds because it is what moves Christ. Serving man is more important than serving your church. Giving freely of all you were given by Christ is true obedience.
SILVER AND GOLD HAVE I NONE
The transition state I am going through is a real object lesson. All I ever had, believed or possessed has been taken away from me. I own nothing, I have nothing but my clothes, a wife who loves me unconditionally, and a wonderful family. We live in a basement. But we are discovering a joy that we would never have understood had this not happened. We are learning that, out of our need, we give, we serve, and we obey. We do this, not because we are trying to please God. We please God because, when He moves us to be like His son, and we follow that lead, we get to see Christ at work. We are finding that you do not have to have a lot of resources to give. You do not need things to serve. You start with what you do have, and let God guide you. You do this because you are abiding in Christ. You learn to hear his voice. Our joy has multiplied because of this transition. We are being remade into the image of Christ through resting in Him and knowing His word.
Where others have disassociated from us, where finances have fled from us, where all we ever thought important has been lost, we find that we have been given a new heart, a new mind, and a living Holy Spirit.
I do not need things to serve man. I just need the same Love in my heart that drove Jesus to do for me. I did not have to follow any rituals, or attend a church to get this knowledge or understanding. My heart didn’t change from some church activity or program. My thinking was renewed into the will of God by trusting that what Christ said he did, He did. And trusting that what Christ said he will do through His Spirit in me, HE will do. I can do nothing of my self. I can only be useful to God if I let Christ make me into something completely new and different from all that I was.
I have learned that it is better to abandon my religion and pursue Christ. I am inviting you to do the same thing.
Let’s be about it.
I Love You
David G. Perkins