New Wine for New Wineskins May 2019

By , May 2, 2019 4:11 am

Perfect Means Perfect

The word of God is clear that as new creations in Christ we are designed to live by faith – faith that is activated by hearing what God says.

Jesus said it very simply when he told us to “only believe.” He also said that all things are possible to those who believe. Believe what?  Everything he says.  God’s word contains an answer to every question, a solution to every problem, and a way out of every dilemma, and so it is important that we can hear what he is saying to us in every given situation.  Jesus also said that we don’t just live by eating physical food but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  He was referring in this instance to the rhema word of God – a particular portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit quickens to us in a time of need and which equips us with the most powerful weapon we can employ in the battles that we encounter.  This is distinct from the logos word which refers to the whole of Scripture.  One simple way of distinguishing between the two is to see logos as the message and rhema as the communication of the message.

There are many people who possess a copy, or even multiple copies of the logos but have never pursued the rhema word that God supplies as the answer to our questions, the solution to our problems, and the way out of the dilemmas that we face.

The only one who can convert logos to rhema  is the Holy Spirit. Without him the logos can simply be written words on a page – and even though they are programmed with the DNA of God they can remain as apparently lifeless as a seed that is left in a packet on a shelf.  Even though the logos contains the message of God’s heart to all people everywhere the tragedy is that many may never truly hear that message.

It is only the Holy Spirit who can take a portion of the logos and communicate it as a rhema to supply us with supernatural strength so t
hat we can live the new creation life of faith that we are recreated to live – a life of faith that is activated, energised, expressed, and put to work by love.  The Holy Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts and the communication of his love and the expression of his love is his word – the rhema word.  I have met husbands who claim to love their wives, but they will freely admit that they never tell her that they love her.  So how is she supposed to know? 

God’s rhema word to us is the com
munication and expression of his love for us.  It is a word that is supercharged with hope that never disappoints and will always result in our experiencing victory over whatever challenges we face.

Faith doesn’t come by having heard what God says but by hearing what God says.  The word of God is clear that if we hear his voice today then we should act on what we hear. We simply need to hear what he is saying, believe what he says, and then because faith speaks, we say and go on saying what we believe.

The only way this can stop working is if there is a breakdown of communication.  And the only way there can be a breakdown of communication is if we think we can live new creation life without the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
I am writing this month’s newsletter from the island of Fuerteventura, which is one of the Canary Islands.

Catriona and I are here for seven nights courtesy of the generosity of our family who blessed us with this all-inclusive holiday in honour of my sixtieth birthday.

We spent the night previous to flying out here with our daughter Ruth and her family in Edinburgh.  Our son-in-law Matt dropped us off at the airport on the morning of our departure, and as you are only allowed a limited time in the drop-off zone we very hurriedly removed our luggage from his car and quickly said our goodbyes.  We then began to make our way towards the terminal building and were about to enter when I realised that my mobile phone was missing.  I initially thought that I must have left the phone in Matt’s car and so Catriona tried to call him from her phone but
couldn’t reach him. We then remembered that he had said that he had left his phone at home to charge it up.  I walked back to the place where he had dropped us off but there was no sign of the phone.  We succeeded in contacting Ruth at home and when Matt arrived home he searched the car and got back to us to say that the phone definitely wasn’t there.

Several hours later when we arrived at our hotel in Fuerteventura and had internet access I eventually figured out a way of utilising Google’s “Find My Phone” service for locating Android phones.  It showed that the phone had been with me from the house to the airport and then a couple of minutes later had left the airport and travelled to an address a few miles away.  In other words, someone had picked up my phone and rather than deciding to hand it in to lost property had apparently taken it with them to the address shown on the Google trace. This matter is now in the hands of the Edinburgh Police who no doubt will have many other things prioritising their time and my lost / stolen phone will be a long way from the top of their list.

I have shared the account of this event with you because I believe it has some prophetic implications and also some parabolic value.

It is difficult to explain how I felt in this technology-driven and technology-dependent world when I discovered that my phone was gone and that I would be travelling a very long distance away from home without it.  I suddenly felt a great sense of loss that didn’t seem to correspond with my separation from what is after all just a piece of hand held plastic containing some very clever and intricate components, and with the capability to enable me to carry out what
have become everyday tasks but which are impossible without access to the technology.

I started to think of how my ability to communicate with others and they with me had effectively been cut off. I then thought of all the financially sensitive password information and other data that is stored on my phone even though we are always advised against it. I grieved over the loss of my phone camera as my ability to capture and record moments of our holiday was now gone, and there were several other things to cry about that began to assault my mind.

Catriona, being the spiritually discerning lady that she is, counselled me that this was simply an attempt to steal my peace [through stealing my phone] at the very start of what was designed to be a much-welcomed time of rest and refreshing. Of course, being the (ahem) spiritual fellow that I am I said, “Of course, dear, you’re absolutely right,” and instantly abandoned all thoughts of my lost phone.  If only that were completely true, but unfortunately the mental and emotional trauma produced by my absent phone continued to plague me for a while longer.

So, what prophetic message could there possibly be in the loss of my phone? Well, recently someone asked me how I have continued to pursue the fullness of God’s Spirit and the freedom which he brings in the face of opposition and resistance to the message we have been entrusted with.  My reply was short and simple.  Many years ago the Holy Spirit transformed my life in such a radical way when he opened up a line of communication with the Father in heaven that I
hadn’t known to be possible or available, and he has continued to lead me on a journey of adventure that has been crammed so full of supernatural blessing upon blessing that I could never trade my relationship with him for anything.  I know who I was before the Holy Spirit baptised me with his presence and his power and I know that I know that I know that without him I am and can do nothing.

In some ways the loss of my mobile phone was a picture to me in the natural of what it would be like spiritually to lose my relationship with the Holy Spirit.  And so, I began to think of all of God’s people who have been robbed of the
supernatural peace and joy and strength that Holy Spirit baptism brings because someone decided to withhold that blessing from them even though they knew it belonged to them.

Another incident occurred later on that day that served to compound the notion that there was in fact a prophetic dimension to what was happening.

During the flight from Edinburgh to Fuerteventura my ears “popped” and my hearing was seriously impaired. Although this is quite a common occurrence during a flight and is something that normally remedies itself over a short period of time, in this instance it became worse until I really struggled to hear what others were saying. Then as a further complication it seemed that I could no longer properly regulate the volume of my own voice and that others, including Catriona, found it hard to hear me even though it seemed to me that I was talking normally. This of course created a major communication problem.

And so, as I meditated on this I beg
an to think of how in a spiritual context many people can struggle to hear the simple prophetic message that we carry, particularly the message of the righteousness that is already ours – the righteousness of Jesus that declares that in the eyes of the Father we are already perfect.

Colossians 1: 19 – 23

19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

The Good News is that as far as our Father in heaven is concerned we are already perfect.  There is nothing that will ever change his opinion because our perfection was not accomplished by anything we did and so it cannot be diminished by anything we do.  Paul’s exhortation to stand firmly is in regard to continuing to believe this truth because what you believe
will impact how you live and how much of the superabundance of supernatural life that you access and enjoy.  He is not saying that you better watch out how perfectly you live from now on or else you might lose everything.

Jesus said that he came that they (those who are as lost a lost can be) might have and enjoy life in all of its fullness – a superabundance of life, more than sufficient life. He also said that his words are spirit and life, and so his words can only be received and processed and interpreted by our spirit man and so only those who are born again of the Holy Spirit can have this capacity. When Nicodemus, who was an influential and respected member of the Sanhedrin and well schooled in Jewish law and theology came to Jesus and acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher who had come from God, Jesus told him that it is essential to be born again in order to see the kingdom of God because what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus was telling Nicodemus that his spirit words can only be received and interpreted and processed by our spirit man.  Otherwise – just like Nicodemus wrestling in his mind with the impossible concept of having to go back into his mother’s womb – Jesus’ spirit words are reduced to soul words and can be interpreted endless different ways to suit our emotional state or intellectual position or can be manipulated to support the choices we make according to our own will, and all because our soul lacks the resources to process spirit words. Even Jesus’ disciples misinterpreted his spirit words until they were born again and baptised with the Holy Spirit who began to remind them of what Jesus had said and now gave them understanding of what he was actually saying.

When Jesus was communicating with the seven churches in Asia Minor as recorded in Revelation he repeated the same admonition to each one, “He
who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Where is that ear located?  In our born-again spirit.  Spirit words can only be truly heard and processed in our spirit.

Listen to the following words of Jesus and try and process them with your soul:

Matthew 5: 43 – 48

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors
(pagans – NLT; any run-of-the-mill sinner – The Message) do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

To the listeners that day these would have seemed like impossible words to keep and to live by because they didn’t yet have born-again spirits and so they lacked the resources to process the spirit words of Jesus.  But Jesus concludes by giving them what is
actually a prophetic promise when he says you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. In the soul what can be interpreted as an impossible goal doomed to failure and leading to bad consequences is to the born-again spirit an invitation to enjoy in all of its fullness what is already ours and not a fear-inducing order to get our life sorted out.

When Adam (man) was created he was placed in a perfect environment where everything he would ever need was provided in abundance.

He was then told to keep, watch over, guard, protect, cultivate, and reproduce that abundance.

And so, all he had to do when the devil came with his lie and its deceitful implication that Adam didn’t in fact already have everything he would ever need and that he actually needed to do something extra in order to obtain what was supposedly lacking was to say, “I already have everything in superabundance.”

The following is an example of a similar action that is based on a common misconception within the contemporary church:

When we as the church adopt an old covenant prayer and ask God to revive us again Jesus our Lord wants to know why we call him Lord and don’t
do – or live – according to what he says. He is asking us if the life he came to give us is in some way insufficient for us, so that we think there is something extra we have to do in order to obtain what is supposedly lacking.

I don’t know about you but I am choosing to stay in the place of humility that acknowledges that what Jesus did and provided on our behalf is always, at all times, and in all situations going to be more than sufficient and supply us with a superabundance of everything we will ever need and always in such a way that he gets all of the glory.

Jesus cried out from the Cross, “Tetelestai! ” Literally translated the word tetelestai means, “It is finished! ” It means perfectly perfect and completely complete. The only two places in the New Testament where this word are used
are John 19: 28 and 19: 30.  In 19:28 it is translated, “After this, when Jesus knew that all things were now completed (tetelestai), in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, he said, ‘I thirst.’” Two verses later, he uses the word himself: “Then when he received the sour wine Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ (tetelestai) and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  The word tetelestai was also written on business documents or receipts in New Testament times to indicate that a bill had been paid in full.

And so, even when sin abounds his grace abounds much more because the debt raised by our sin has already been paid in full. That is why Paul had t
o address the question of whether we should continue to sin so that grace could abound. His answer of, “Certainly not! ” is because the very purpose of having your debt cleared is to live in freedom from that which caused the insurmountable debt in the first place.  Our freedom in Christ is freedom from sin and not to sin – but even if sin abounds in our lives with all of its chaos and destructiveness there is always a way home. In fact, when sin is abounding at its most abundant in our lives is the point when the Father demonstrates his superabundant love for us by Christ dying for us.

And so, when satan entered the serpent and showed up alongside Adam and his wife it wasn’t necessary for him to take a machete and chop up the serpent into tiny pieces to try and exorcise the devil. All he had to say was, “I’ve already got everything, and I have it in superabundance. I am living in perfect shalom where there is nothing missing and nothing broken, everything is perfectly perfect and completely complete.

That one statement would have been more than sufficient to break the power of the satanic lie. Of course we know that things turned out differently which is why God didn’t start again looking for a good guy, another earth man with a bit more strength of character who could hopefully be an example and show the rest of us a better way.

He sent a heavenly man, born of an earthly woman, a man who is one hundred percent God and one hundred per cent man who would be everything we could never be, and do everything we could never do, and to be and to do these things for us so that he could take the punishment that was ours as a result of all of our weakness and imperfection, and declare us to be strong and perfect with his strength and his perfection.  And then to seal it all he recreates us in his spiritual ima
ge with the nature of the heavenly man.

Jesus resisted the devil’s taunt to prove he was the Son of God by turning stones into bread because he knew he already had a dinner date and was about to partake of a feast served up by angels and so he didn’t want to ruin his appetite.

Jesus dismissed satan’s twisted use of scripture and attempt to provoke him to act in a foolhardy way because he knew that God had already given his angels charge over him to keep him in all of his ways whenever a legitimate need arose and so he didn’t need to prove that to himself or anybody else.

Jesus rejected the adversary’s offer to give him all the kingdoms of the world in return for worshipping him because no matter how high the place was that satan took him to it was never going to come close to the highest place that he was en route to –  the right hand of the Father in heaven, complete with a name that is above every other name, a name at which every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

This is the same place that he has brought us to, and sat us down with him in that place. It is the secret place of the Most High, where we abide under t
he shadow of the Almighty. These names should mean something in our understanding – the Most High means you can’t get any higher and so there is no place more secure.  The Almighty means there is nobody mightier which forever reinforces our sense of security. 

And so, as a result of the these eternal truths all we have to do in every situation and circumstance that we face is to declare with confidence, “I already have everything that I need in superabundance; I am already perfect; I am fully furnished, fully armed, and fully provided for.”

Our guard is Jesus’ righteousness – the breastplate of his righteousness, accompanied by the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation on a mind renewed to the terms of the new covenant, feet that are always ready to supply the answer to anyone who asks for a reason regarding the hope that is supercharging our life, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God that simply responds to every attack of the thief with the proclamation, “I already have everything that I need in superabundance.” And the glory of God is our rearguard as the Holy Spirit confirms our declaration.

So I don’t need what you’ve got or what anyone else has got that the devil would try and convince me that I can’t live without, but I do have an overflow of his supernatural provision that can kickstart the same superabundant provision in your life if you want it.

Jesus said that he spoke his spirit words to us so that we  could have peace – nothing missing and nothing broken – and the fullness of joy that is our super
natural resource of strength.

Many people think that we need one another in order to give from our meagre resources to one another, but from a new covenant perspective what we actually need from one another is simply a testimony of resolute steadfastness to live and enjoy the superabundant life that we have been given and a complete and utterly determined refusal to accept anything less than what Jesus was willing to do so much to provide for us.

After all, he said that nothing shall by any means harm or hurt us when we simply and humbly accept the authority we have been given to live over and not under.

The most important thing for all of us is to find people of like (renewed) mind and to encourage one another daily so that we fulfil our role as world-changers and  ensure that every person everywhere gets to taste and see that the LORD is good, that his love endure
s forever, and that his faithfulness continues to all generations.

Recently I have seen afresh the vital need to maintain active relationships with people who are feeding from the tree of
life, the tree of superabundant life – people for whom the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has no attraction
since they know that they know that they know that they already have everything because Jesus provided it all.

We need to believe that we no longer have the nature of the first man of dust, but as new creations we now have the nature of the heavenly man, and so we are as perfect as Jesus. This is how we guard our heart – our spirit – out of which flows all of the supernatural and superabundant life, just like Jesus said.

But we can’t continue to vacillate between the old and the new covenant. The new is in the old contained, the old is in the new explained. The new is in the old concealed, the old is in the new revealed. Nothing was hidden from us, it was hidden for us – but Jesus came as revelation from heaven as the living word that revealed God’s heart towards fallen man, and he became the reconciliation [not just a temporary atonement] as God the Father cut a covenant with God the Son that included
us and is sealed in us by God the Holy Spirit.

Scripture is clear that the double-minded man [this can apply to trying to live back and forth between two covenants] is unstable in all of his ways.

I have heard testimonies of people who have overcome every type of addiction – to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc – by simply declaring that they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that they are already perfect.

Jesus said only believe because you will say what you believe and your experience will begin to come up to match your position.

Just be and never try to do perfect because as far as your Father in heaven is concerned you are already perfect.

And perfect means perfect.

He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying….


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