New Wine for New Wineskins May 2008

By , May 1, 2008 5:47 am

It Is Time To Build (Part 8)


 

 

 

Haggai 1: 12 – 14

12 Then … all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD. 13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.” 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of … all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God.

Ephesians 2: 19 – 22

19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

IT IS TIME FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE TO BE BUILT!

Acts 15: 14 – 17

14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (church = ekklesia = called out ones). 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘ After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the LORD who does all these things.’

Why the Tabernacle of David?  Because it represented a heart after God!  It was a prophetic picture of the church!

Sadly, in our attempts to build an impressive church on an insufficient foundation we have redefined freedom and made it sound like you can add Jesus to your life and go on doing your own thing!  That is religious nonsense!  Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things that I say?” (Luke 6)  He then went on to address the need for the solid foundation that is laid when we hear what he says and we do it!  We need to understand and acknowledge that our freedom is for a purpose – to live for him in his way and as he directs!  Jesus is the head of the Body of Christ for a reason – so that our words and actions are a result of thinking his thoughts!  Our minds need to be renewed to the mind of Christ!

Our covenant God says “If you get involved in rebuilding my house then I will get involved in rebuilding your house!”

You cannot sing songs like “It’s all about You” and then live like it’s all about yourself.  In case we haven’t figured it out yet that is a LIE!  That is hypocrisy!  And guess what?  The world recognises it for what it is even if we don’t!

Listen to what the LORD says through Jeremiah – remembering that he’s the one who God said that he anointed to root out, cast down, destroy, throw down and to build and plant.

Jeremiah 49: 19 – 21

19 “The LORD has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt!’  (Egypt always represents the world system) Know certainly that I have admonished you this day. 20 For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the LORD our God, and according to all that the LORD your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’ 21 And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, or anything which He has sent you by me.

If we are hypocrites in our hearts we will be hypocrites in our words and actions!  what did Jesus have to say about this?

Matthew 15: 6 – 8

6 …you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘ These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

Luke 12: 49 – 56

49 “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. 52 For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?

It’s time for the LORD’s house to be built according to his plan and his design.  As soon as you proclaim the simple and absolute truth of God’s word and call people up to his standard you invite conflict!  Anyone who has chosen to occupy lower ground and engage in relativism or situational ethics is going to want to pick a fight with you and wrestle you down to their position. 

Many attempts at producing unity are nothing more than finding the lowest common denominator and tentatively gathering together around that.  If that is a Scriptural starting point for progress (the Cross) then we should be willing to humble ourselves and get involved, but we must always remember that our calling is an upward calling – it is a high calling and so there must be an advancement! That doesn’t mean that we strut around arrogantly blowing our own trumpet.  On the contrary, our high ground is outworked in a willingness to serve and to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us.

Listen to this report I received by email recently:

Hindu militants in Chitradurga district of India's southern state of Karnataka have distributed thousands of leaflets threatening Christians with death if they do not leave India, or else cease their 'crimes' and 'return' to Hinduism. Christian 'crimes' are listed as: 'Treating everyone with love and showing compassion to the helpless, helping the poor and converting them, educating the orphans and converting them, promoting freedom to marry, organising free medical care and ignoring the caste system.'

Wow!  If these things are crimes then we need more Holy Spirit criminals!

Romans 12: 9 – 21

9 Let love be without hypocrisy (sincere, a real thing – AMP). Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Our love needs to be real – not just empty words!  We need an understanding of covenant love!

Remember Peter!  For all his bold proclamations of how he would never deny Jesus he ended up denying him not just once but three times in a few hours!  We all know that after three strikes you are out!  Peter should have been a write-off!  He had blown it and so he gravitates back to what he had originally given up to follow Jesus – fishing! 

When Jesus appears to the disciples after his resurrection and prepares breakfast for them (John 21) Jesus turns to Peter and asks him three times if he loves him.  Only what is motivated by love for Jesus can move us out of our self-absorbed life and into the fulfilment of our purpose.  When you love Jesus you will love those he loves and so you will qualify to feed and to tend his sheep!

When Peter is restored Jesus repeats the same invitation that he had first given him three years previously – “Follow me!”  Jesus doesn’t change his mind about his plans for you just because you blow it, but only your love for him can bring you back into the fulfilment of his plan.  It is only by re-ordering our priorities that we can discover our purpose. 

It is interesting that in Matthew 25 Jesus doesn’t once mention sins of commission – it is sins of ommission that people are judged on!  We were created for something bigger than ourselves – to live for God and for others!  Husbands are not going to have a long list read out of the times they were bitter and resentful and the times they cheated on their wives whether in their minds or in the act of adultery.  They are going to hear that they either loved their wives or they didn’t!  Love will deal with all of the other stuff.  Love will keep you faithful to your covenant! Ultimately, Sodom wasn’t destroyed because of its sin but because of a lack of righteousness.

Ezekiel 16: 49 – 50

49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.

If there had been just ten righteous men in Sodom it would have been spared!

Isaiah 61: 1 – 4

1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn, 3 to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil  of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” 4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.

The purpose of the healed heart, the deliverance from captivity, the opening of blind eyes, and the liberty from oppression is so that we can become trees of righteousness – so that we can be the planting of the LORD and so that as trees of righteousness we produce the fruit of righteousness.  He wants trees of righteousness in his house not dead, religious trees!


More next time…

 

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