New Wine for New Wineskins September 2017

By , September 2, 2017 10:58 am

iBelieveLogoSilveriBelieve (Part 7)

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.

Only believe.

I was reading the newly published Scottish health statistics a few months ago and I was shocked to hear of the number of young people in Scotland who are self-harming and attempting suicide. Apparently 23% of young women claim to self-harm and one in ten have attempted suicide.  The statistics for young men are similar.

When I read these tragic statistics I had a powerful realisation in my spirit that there is a desperate need for our young people to experience unconditional love. 

There are so many pressures on these youngsters to conform in order to be accepted in their peer groups and such high expectations placed upon them to perform academically in order to be accepted by parents, teachers, universities, colleges, and prospective employers.

God so loved (agapao) the world. That’s unconditional love, it’s unconquerable benevolence and undefeatable goodwill.  It’s not based upon performance.

God says I love you because I love you and I chose to demonstrate the extent of the love that I have for you while you were performing at your very worst so that you will always know that my love for you has never been, and never will be, based upon your performance.

Romans 5: 8

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Only believe.

 The four most basic emotional needs of every person are unconditional love, security, acceptance, and purpose.

I love the account of the woman who came to Jesus when he was having dinner at Simon the Pharisee’s house.

Luke 7: 36 – 50

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. 37 When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. 38 Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” 40 Then Jesus answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. 41 Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. 42 But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”“That’s right,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. 47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” 48 Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?” 50 And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Faith is activated, energised, expressed, and put to work through love.  In her encounter with Jesus this lady has all of her emotional needs met.  She experiences unconditional love, security, acceptance, and has purpose restored as she is released to go in peace, in perfect wholeness.

I have stated many times the word the Lord spoke to me a number of years ago, “I have not been building a ministry through you. I have been building a message in you, and out of the message the ministry will come.

The message is simple. God loves you unconditionally, and he wants you to know him as your Father and to know that your future is secure in him, that you are accepted by him, and that he has a perfect plan and purpose for your life.

Only believe.

Ephesians 3: 14 – 21 (The Message)

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God. 20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! 

Jesus came from heaven with a message.  He came to preach and teach that message and to demonstrate that message in a ministry that extravagantly supplied the needs of the people he encountered in ways that were beyond their natural expectations.

The message is that God wants to save you simply because he loves you.

Only believe.

The message is that God wants to heal you simply because he loves you.

Only believe.

The message is that God wants to deliver you simply because he loves you.

Only believe.

The message is that God wants to prosper you simply because he loves you.

Only believe.

Remember, Jesus who is love personified didn’t come to accuse or to excuse but to provide a safe and secure environment and opportunity to choose.

Only believe.

The message that came packaged in Jesus is that God loves you unconditionally.
Only believe.

The message he has packaged in us is one and the same message. Go into all the world and tell and show people that God loves them unconditionally. Show them that they can be secure, accepted and released to fulfil their true purpose.

I have been involved in and around church all my life, and I have seen some ugly stuff.  The ugly stuff was usually the product of some folks trying to create or continue hierarchical authoritarian structures that required all manner of witchcraft (domination, intimidation, and manipulation) to support and protect them.  Most times it was all because someone in leadership was insecure and didn’t fully understand the unconditional love that God the Father had for them.

Witchcraft in the church is basically resorting to domination, intimidation and manipulation in order to control people through fear.  It is the polar opposite of how the church is supposed to operate and yet it has too often been employed by those who lacked the revelation of the Father’s love and the fullness of the security, acceptance, and purpose that is found in Christ alone.

Galatians 3: 1 – 5

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

It is later in the same letter that Paul says what we have referred to earlier in relation to the lady who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed them with perfume.

Galatians 5: 6

6 For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energised and expressed and working through love.

There are no religious permutations or configurations or legal requirements that amount to anything when we embrace who we are in our new identity in Christ Jesus.  There is only faith activated and energised and expressed and working through love.  And there is no fear in love.  No fear that we are not good enough, and no fear that we might not have done enough to be loved, to be secure, to be accepted and to have a real and purposeful life.

1 John 4: 18

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Only believe.

Jesus came to demonstrate one thing – the love of God the Father. There really are no adequate adjectives to try and describe that love.

And so, there is only one thing that we can have more of that continues to bless and never damages anybody else, and that is the love of God, the God-kind of love. We don’t need more faith.  We need more love that energises the faith we already have and makes it work.

The world is crying out for the demonstration of the Father’s love, the God kind of love. Lust is the counterfeit of love. It is in the world and sadly it is in the church. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The desire to indulge, the desire to acquire, and the desire to impress.

Sometimes you can even discern lust in the church’s outreach as it presents its message in a way that communicates I want you, I need you, for what I can get from you.  I need you to grow my church. I need your testimony of how much I have helped you in order to promote my ministry. I need you to validate the anointing on my life. I need you to donate to my latest project that will help me to show how successful I am. And so it goes on.

Lust is the counterfeit, the temporary commitment that lasts only as long as it feels good and gratifies my immediate desires.

Only love never fails.

You never see lust in the life and ministry of Jesus. Lust demands and coerces and manipulates and uncovers. But love always covers.

Just like with the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus didn’t condemn and he didn’t condone, he didn’t accuse and he didn’t excuse.  Jesus’ love covered this lady and created a safe space that allowed her the opportunity to choose to either continue in a life governed by lust that could only end in death or to respond to the love of God that offered her complete deliverance from lust and a brand new life that would never end.
Lust says I need what you’ve got and I want to take it.  Love says you need what I’ve got and I want to give it.

Lust is a taker, love is a giver.  God so loved the world that he gave.

Only believe.

Lust never ends well.

James 1: 14 – 16

14 ….every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).  15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Love on the other hand always ends well.

Only believe.

The world needs to hear about how much the Father loves them. People need us to be a proactive demonstration of the love of the Father.

Only believe.

The reality is that when there were only two brothers in the whole world one killed the other. That set a nasty precedent that has been repeated many times throughout human history and can even be present in the church. Jesus himself was betrayed with a kiss by one of his own disciples.

Jesus said that people will know us to be his disciples when they see the love we have for one another, the unconditional love, the unconquerable benevolence and the undefeatable goodwill, the love that prefers others before ourselves, the God kind of love. Not the counterfeit lust that tells you that it wants you or even needs you for what it can get from you. You and I were born for something way higher than that.

The heart of every father is to see his sons mature and become fathers themselves and begin to see as a father sees. A father sees differently from a brother or a sister. A father has no rivalry in his heart, he only has the strong desire for his children to experience the best of everything.

God so loved the world that he gave his very best and demonstrated his love at the very highest level with absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that he would get anything in return, no guarantee that anyone would respond to his love.

Lust is always subjective and destructive because it is self-centred and self-serving.

Love is always objective and productive because it serves others.

God so loved the world.

Only believe.

Our objective is to demonstrate the God kind of love that serves and seeks nothing in return but to see the object of our love and service attain to the highest good and freely receive everything our loving heavenly Father has provided for them.

The altar of true worship places you over every principality and power, over every demonic stronghold.

The Father is not seeking worshippers because he needs us or lusts us, but because he knows that it is in worship that we access all that he has made freely available to us out of the limitless resources of his love, his unconquerable benevolence and his undefeatable goodwill.

Romans 8: 32

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Only believe.

As we restore the altar where we lay down our lives as our reasonable and acceptable worship we will be fully equipped as we give ourselves in service as a demonstration of the God kind of love with no hidden or personal agenda, no selfish ambition or conceit, and no counterfeit lust.

And the church will arise and the world will see Jesus.

And anything is possible then.

Only believe.

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