New Wine for New Wineskins October 2017

By , September 30, 2017 10:40 pm

iBelieveLogoSilver01iBelieve (Part 8)

John 3: 16

6 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The Message

16 This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. 17 God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

DST (Donnie Stewart Translation)

God loved all the lost and broken people in the world so unconditionally that at the very highest personal cost to himself he was willing to provide the only possible solution when he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in Him as the demonstration of God’s unconquerable benevolence and undefeatable goodwill can be restored to the true purpose of their lives and have all of their brokenness fixed.

Only believe.

Jesus said, “Only believe.”

I mentioned last time how I had been shocked by the recent Scottish health statistics which revealed that almost a quarter of young women in Scotland were engaged in self-harming and one in ten had attempted suicide. The figures were only slightly less for young men.

And so we recognised that there is a desperate need for all people to experience unconditional love which is the most basic emotional need of every person.  Another three basic emotional needs are security, acceptance, and purpose. When a person truly knows that they are loved unconditionally it provides a foundation upon which to build recovery from any of life’s many struggles.

Only believe.

It is always important to remember that if we can’t reach people with love then they are unreachable for the moment.  It is pointless to try anything else other than to keep on loving and to keep on reaching out, providing a secure space of relationship, showing acceptance while not necessarily endorsing their lifestyle choices, and presenting the opportunity to embrace a future filled with purpose.

We have looked previously at the difference between an objective perspective and a subjective perspective, objective reality v subjective reality, and the difference between the prophetic and the philosophic. The prophetic is objective, and the philosophic is subjective. We saw how love is objective, and how the counterfeit lust is subjective. We saw that truth is the language of love, and flattery is the subtle language of lust.

Only believe.

Remember Gideon? The LORD appeared to Gideon and called and commissioned him to a particular task that involved making a generational shift that required a seismic paradigm shift in his thinking and how he viewed himself.

When the LORD showed up Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress where he was hiding from the Midianites because of fear. Wheat represents harvest.  Wheat was normally threshed in a wide open space where the thresher threw the wheat up into the air and allowed the wind to blow away the chaff. However, Gideon is trying to do the right thing the wrong way in the wrong place, and so he is bound to be struggling. In the same way, we as believers can sometimes be actively engaged in trying to do what we know is the right thing to do but we are struggling because we are endeavouring to get it done the wrong way and in the wrong place, just like Gideon.

Only believe.

In John chapter 20 it is recorded that following his resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples in what is most probably the same room where they celebrated Passover and where he instituted the Lord’s Supper. We are told that the disciples are assembled there in fear of the Jews. Jesus begins with the greeting, “Peace be with you,” and then later he says, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Then he breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” At this point the disciples are born again but it would appear that there is still a lack of spiritual boldness, demonstrated by their tendency to hide themselves away.
Just before his ascension and return to heaven Jesus told his followers to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. He was referring to being baptised with the Holy Spirit who would empower them to be witnesses to him in a much more public way locally, regionally, cross-culturally and internationally.

And so, on the Day of Pentecost we find one hundred and twenty people huddled in an upper room in Jerusalem where they are praying and worshipping behind closed doors. Suddenly, as the Holy Spirit comes upon them, the church is born and immediately pours out into the street and they invade the world around them as a continuation of Jesus’ life, an amplification of Jesus’ message, and an extension of Jesus’ works.

Only believe.

If anything was “up in the air ” in regards to the future of the church that Jesus had promised to build then the wind of the Holy Spirit blew away all of the chaff of subjective perspectives and the harvest began to come in as souls were added to the church. The church is the storehouse where the harvest is kept in a safe environment until it is ready to be used. Whenever the church reverts to trying to produce a harvest behind closed doors it is trying to do the right thing in the wrong way and in the wrong place just like Gideon.

The winepress is for crushing grapes. For generations we have tried to drag the unripe harvest into a church building and crush folks under the weight of condemnation. Or we have implemented the modern way of flattering people into trying to get them to fit into something (the church) that is not designed for them until they are born again. These strategies always require going back to employing either the language of law or of lust when we have been told to stick to love.

Only believe.

Obviously it is always right for the church to gather and meet together to pray and to worship and to be equipped and empowered, but our engagement with the lost and broken people of the world is virtually always supposed to take place in the very real context of everyday life.

People are facing all manner of situations that are “up in the air,” a phrase which is defined as “uncertain, unknown, undetermined, unsettled, unresolved, unsure, pending, in the balance, in limbo, in no man’s land, debatable, open to question, in doubt ”. When people are facing things that are “up in the air ” they are vulnerable to all manner of subjective and philosophic perspectives. But when we show up equipped and empowered with the Holy Spirit as a continuation of the life and ministry of Jesus, an amplification of his message, and an extension of his works, we can bring a heavenly objective perspective, a prophetic perspective that blows away the chaff of uncertainty and doubt and brings in the harvest.

Only believe.

And so, when the LORD appears to Gideon he addresses him in a way that doesn’t really fit where he’s at from a subjective perspective. “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour! ” Some other translations are, “mighty warrior, mighty hero, mighty man of fearless courage.” But the LORD never has a subjective perspective, he always has an objective perspective.

Whenever the LORD shows up in your life and addresses you in a particular way it is because he is speaking to you as the person that you are designed and destined to be in relationship with him, and not who you are on your own. That’s why the genuinely weak can say, “I am strong”, and the dirt poor can say, “I am rich.” That is why Paul could say, and why you and I can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Only believe.

Gideon responds to the LORD’s greeting with a list of non-credentials and disqualifications, all of which are actually true from his subjective perspective. The interesting thing is that the LORD doesn’t try and validate Gideon by flattering him and telling him that all of the things he says aren’t true.

In my experience flattery is a very poor substitute for truth, because flattery is the language of lust and not of love, it is the language of coercion and emotional arm-twisting and not comfort and affirmation. Flattery seeks to get an advantage over you in order to use you for the flatterer’s benefit.

The LORD said to Gideon, “Surely I will be with you and you will defeat the Midianites as one man.”

The LORD’s promise to be with us is all the validation and provides all the credentials that we will ever need.

Only believe.

Because the LORD sees objectively he also speaks objectively. We simply need to receive what he says objectively and resist the temptation to slip into subjective mode.

The LORD said to Gideon, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” As I have been meditating on this I have realised that almost every time I experience fear it is because I am making a situation primarily about me. It is because I am too often focused on self-preservation. Gideon was trying to do the right thing the wrong way in the wrong place because he was motivated by self-preservation and fear of dying. But Jesus said that if we want to be his disciples we should deny self, take up our cross, and follow him. We should deny self, and focus on loving God and loving others, and let mature, perfected love cast out all fear.

All fear is rooted in the fear of dying.

Hebrews 2: 14 – 15

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The LORD said to Gideon, “Do not be afraid, you will not die.” Gideon responds in worship as he builds an altar and gets the awesome revelation that “The-LORD-is-Peace”, “YWHW Shalom”, the LORD is nothing missing and nothing broken.

Only believe.

The LORD then tells Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal that his father has erected and to build an altar to the LORD on top of this previous stronghold in the right order and to offer a burnt sacrifice there. In Judges 6: 34 it says that the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon. The literal translation from Hebrew means, “The Spirit of the LORD clothed himself with Gideon.” From then on if you were to judge what was happening by numbers or what you saw from the outside from a subjective perspective you would get it very wrong.

Galatians 6: 3

3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Even Jesus said in John 5: 30 that of himself he could do nothing. He did everything that he did as he was directed by his Father in heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit who anointed him.

And so, when you look in the mirror don’t see yourself just as who you are in and of yourself.  See yourself as clothed with the same anointing as Jesus was clothed with.  The awesome thing about new covenant believers is that we also have Christ in us as the hope of glory.  We are double-wrapped and double-protected as the Holy Spirit has clothed himself with us and then clothed us with himself.

John 14: 15 – 21

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

Romans 5: 5

5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Only believe.

On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit clothed the church with himself. When we are born again the Holy Spirit clothes himself with us, and when we are baptised in the Holy Spirit he clothes us with himself. He does this so that we are fully equipped to engage with the lost and broken people of this world on their own turf and to help restore them to their true purpose.

Acts 10: 38

38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Jesus said that we would do the same stuff that he did.  We can expect to have the same anointing that he had, and so we can speak this same word over our own lives.  God anoints ________ of ________ with the Holy Spirit and with power, who goes about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil, for God is with him / her. Or you can try it in the first person.  God anoints me with the Holy Spirit and with power and so I go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed by the devil, because God is with me.

Just keep the love switched on.

Only believe.

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