New Wine for New Wineskins June 2017

By , June 3, 2017 11:24 pm

iBelieveLogoSilver01iBelieve (Part 4)

John 3: 16

16 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.

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.

Faith speaks. You may meet people who refuse to speak about their beliefs because they say it is a private matter, but the truth is that what people believe will come out of their mouths at some point.

The word of God says that we believe with our hearts but we speak out what we believe with our mouths. I have come to realise that I can tell what someone really believes by listening to them speak for a while. Jesus said that we speak out what is in our heart. And what we believe and what we speak will be demonstrated in how we live because ultimately we live what we believe.

People need to hear and see what we believe in regard to the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus told John the Baptist’s disciples to go and tell John what they had heard and seen.

Matthew 11: 4

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”

This month believers all over the world will celebrate Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church.  For many it will simply be about paying lip-service to a historical event, but for others it will be a reminder of the everyday reality of a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are post-Pentecost believers in a New Covenant church that embraces the priesthood of all believers. That is why it is necessary for all of us to move on to a place of maturity where we recognise that it is time to put down our toy box and pick up our tool box.

Only believe.

Remember the phrase “practical atheist”?  A practical atheist claims to believe in God and then lives like he doesn’t exist. Some folks claim to believe in God and yet they ignore aspects of what his word says on how to live the full life that has been made freely available to them. It was A.W. Tozer who said,  “Christians don’t tell lies – they just go to church and sing them.” I suppose he may have been referring to songs like “I surrender all.” When we talk about surrendering we are not talking in regards to an enemy’s demands upon us to yield our freedom to their control. We are talking about abandoning ourselves completely to the best friend we could ever have. We are saying that from now on we trust him completely with our freedom. After all, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Freedom with purpose.

Only believe.

Every Sunday morning in New Wine Church we enjoy a fresh opportunity to test our faith when it is announced that we are going to receive the tithes and offerings. We have never made tithing a requirement for membership (in fact we don’t actually have an official membership process as we believe that when you are born again you are added to the church and if you are open and willing the Lord will place you in a spiritual home), and no record is kept of individual giving.  So on a Sunday morning we don’t ask people to raise their hand if they have brought their tithe.  But the reality is that if we struggle to surrender ten per cent of our increase then what about surrendering all?

Remember when Jesus stood Jesus the people putting their gifts into the temple treasury? One woman in particular got his attention because he saw her putting in everything she had. The rest of the people were fulfilling their religious obligation according to what they believed, but the widow woman was going beyond religious duty and expressing her complete trust in who she believed. She was abandoning herself completely to the one she was trusting completely with her freedom, including her financial freedom.

Last time I mentioned how the word of God tells us that the sun shines and the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous because our God is an equal opportunity God. I also said that the sunshine and the rain are for the harvest. And so if you don’t take the opportunity to sow seed then you can never expect a harvest even though the sun shines and the rain falls.

Isaiah 55: 9 – 11

9  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing (the purpose) for which I sent it.

Only believe.

As I have said, the reality is that you will live what you truly believe. The word of God is very clear that the life we were created to live is only lived one way, and that is by faith, by what we believe, or perhaps more accurately by what we believe about who we believe.

Jesus said, quoting from Deuteronomy, that man can’t truly live only by eating physical food, but by absorbing and living out every word that God speaks. That’s more about who than what. Man actually fell from his perfect state by eating physical food that God had told him not to eat. It is interesting that in the beginning the one life preserving instruction came as a negative, a “don’t”.

Genesis 2: 17

17 “….but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

In contrast the one life giving instruction of the new beginning came as a positive, a “do”.

John 6: 29

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Only believe.

Last time I said that before we were married Catriona and I had discussed and decided on certain things, one of which was that our home would be an open house, a kingdom tool. Another thing we decided was that we would tithe. At that time we were part of a church that didn’t teach on tithing at all but we had heard of it and believed it to be what Scripture taught.

Malachi 3: 10 – 11

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the Lord of hosts.

Some people save for a rainy day and have a contingency fund for any trouble that might arise which probably isn’t a bad idea. But I can honestly report and testify that although we have never had the luxury of such a financial buffer we have always seen the Lord provide for us when an appliance or a vehicle has suddenly gone south on us or an unexpected need has arisen.

We have also been surprised by our heavenly Father with many exciting and unexpected blessings over the years that would not have been possible for us from our own financial resources.

I believe that all of these things are results of reaping a harvest on seed sown. You might be thinking these things have happened to us because we are pastors, but these things were happening for us long before we ever came close to being pastors.

I remember Catriona struggling to manage the laundry with (at that time) three small children and an old twin-tub washing machine (younger people won’t remember these although it was a step up from going down to the river).  One day a Christian brother showed up at our house with a brand new automatic washing machine and separate matching tumble dryer. Catriona thought she had died and gone to heaven until she realised that you don’t have to die for heaven to come to you.

Only believe.

2 Corinthians 9: 7 – 11

7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over (surplus) to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

On many occasions we have had a houseful of visitors to feed and though we have never had a lot of money in our pockets we have always had more than enough food to feed whoever showed up needing fed.

Only believe.

Jesus taught that investing in the kingdom of heaven will guarantee an abundant return of everything you need when you need it. Paul told the believers in Philippi who had sown into the work of the kingdom that God would supply all of their needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. It is like having a high yield investment account with the Bank of Heaven.

Only believe.

Luke 6: 38

38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.


38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

The Message

38 Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

Tithing is the great equaliser when it comes to giving. There is no such thing as a big tither or a small tither, a big tithe or a small tithe.  There are only tithers and tithes. But a tithe is only a ten per cent downpayment, a commitment that declares you are ready to give your all. It is a deposit of your life because your money is a representation of your life. That’s why they call working making a living. You are paid for the time of your life that you give to an employer. Even if you are on social security benefits what you receive is what someone has decided that week or fortnight or month of your life is worth.

You should never give under pressure. If you feel pressured to give you are missing the point. Always remember that teaching on giving isn’t primarily to get something from you, it’s to get more to you, because the more you are blessed the more of a blessing you can be.

So how do you know when you stop being a believer and become a practical atheist?

John 1: 12

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

They believed in him and so they received him and he gave them the right (authority, power, privilege) to become the children of God with all of the rights and privileges attached to their new identity.

Jesus said that when we continue in his word then we really are his disciples and we will have a personal, intimate, and experiential knowledge of the truth that will result in us experiencing the real freedom that he came to release us into, freedom in spirit, soul, and body. Freedom with purpose.

John 6: 28 – 29

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” 29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Only believe.

Jesus said that to really be his disciple we were simply to believe in him and to take his word seriously enough to actually live it. Paul put it this way:

Galatians 2: 20

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Remember, surrendering to Jesus is abandoning ourselves completely to him and trusting our freedom completely to him. As the old hymn says:

All to Jesus I surrender, All to him I freely give, I will ever love and trust him, In his presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all.

And the more modern song by Robin Mark:

Jesus, all for Jesus, all I am and have and ever hope to be; Jesus, all for Jesus, all I am and have and ever hope to be. All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these into Your hands, All of my ambitions, hopes and plans, I surrender these into Your hands; For it’s only in Your will that I am free, For it’s only in Your will that I am free; Jesus, all for Jesus, All I am and have and ever hope to be.

Let’s not sing one song and live another. Like I surrender some, or Jesus, some for Jesus.

He gave his all for all. How can I give anything less?

Only believe.


Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy