New Wine for New Wineskins June 2022

By , June 1, 2022 5:50 am

How To Take A Real Rest (Part 1)

 

For a long time I have been really taken by the way the Message Translation puts Matthew 11: 28 – 30:

 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

In particular I have been thinking and meditating on Jesus’ invitation to come and have him show us how to take a real rest and to learn from him the unforced rhythms of grace.

I did consider titling this message “Rest In Peace” which of course is more associated in most people’s minds with death and inscriptions on gravestones, but it is in fact what living a resurrected spirit life is all about – resting in peace.

And so, I have been meditating on what Jesus says regarding how he will show us how to take a real rest.

I believe that the church generally becomes more focused on a gospel of salvation rather than the gospel of the kingdom which Jesus commissioned us to preach – which of course includes the gospel of salvation but also much more in regards to learning from him as disciples and experiencing the fullness of kingdom living. We tend to run with what are considered by many to be the last and ministry-defining words of Jesus in Mark 16: 15:

15 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Even when we consider the expanded commission given in Matthew 28: 18 – 20 we are inclined to place more emphasis on the first part of Jesus’ instructions.

And so we focus on the GO, GO, GO and wear ourselves out because we forget his first words to disciples, which are his invitation to COME.

Come to me, learn from me.

To be honest I have been preaching and teaching for nearly thirty years the need to recognise that Jesus always says to come to him and learn from him before he ever says to go. People even consider their calling in the context of GO-ing and so they say things like, “I don’t know where God is calling me to go,” whereas the call is always to come, and the commission is to go.

Also, many people miss the command from Jesus in Acts 1 not to go anywhere without the power of the Holy Spirit, which is basically Jesus going with us when we go.

A real rest is more clearly defined in the NKJV translation of Matthew 11: 28 – 30.

28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I believe a real rest is when we are no longer trying to do ministry from the inadequate resources of our soul – doing witnessing for Jesus – but we are drawing from the limitless resources of the Holy Spirit in our born again spirit, and we are being witnesses to Jesus.

To be yoked simply means to be joined together.

1 Corinthians 6: 17

17….he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

How awesome is that?

The unforced rhythms of grace. It just sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Well, Jesus did say that being joined to him would be easy and light.

A real rest is living in and from rest – just like Jesus who testified that it was the Father who supplied the words and who did the works.

For years I have taught on what I call the 4D Life. It is as we align ourselves with God’s throne that his kingdom can come and his will be done in and through us as the kingdom of heaven is downloaded into the earth. This always happens best as we come before our Father in worship in spirit and truth. As we worship our spirits are being positioned to hear and receive spirit words of truth.

At one time I thought that if we could just teach everyone who they are in Christ and establish them in their new identity then everything would be wonderful. But I later came to realise that you can teach people who they are in Christ to the point where they are saying all the right things and making all the right confessions etc, and yet they can still remain stuck in a very subjective form of Christianity where it is all about them. And so it tends to stop at getting their personal and individual needs met – which is fine as a starting point, but then they never get to the place of taking their part in being ambassadors of the kingdom.

From a gospel of the kingdom perspective being an ambassador is about entering into the 3-D world where you are surrounded by real people with real needs who are struggling under the stuff of life because they are limited by the inadequacy of their soul to cope with all of the pressures and demands of the 3-D world they inhabit. As born-again children of God we enter that 3-D world and manifest the new creation life that is lived supernaturally naturally and naturally supernaturally from the fourth dimension of spirit.

And so, we reach out beyond ourselves and impact on the lives of others with the kingdom of heaven and help them to see what kingdom living looks like, to get a taste of what the freedom of the Holy Spirit feels like, and to hear what the language of the kingdom of heaven sounds like. 

Having struggled for years (without giving to despair) with the perplexity of born again believers for whom their faith is very subjective I have come to understand that to teach people who they are in Christ is only half the job.  There is actually another side to this that is equally important, as without it kingdom living is incomplete. It is vital that we  teach people who Christ is in them. This releases people into a more objective spiritual life where God’s greater purposes can be fulfilled in and through those who grasp this reality.  After all, Scripture does not say that us in Christ is the hope of glory but that Christ in us is the hope of glory.

Knowing who we are in Christ can leave us sitting around waiting for all our needs to be met whereas knowing who Christ is in us assures us that all of our needs are already met and should – through the love of God that is bing poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit – supernaturally naturally move us to go out and meet the needs of others.

Jesus was moved with compassion to minister to the 3-D needs of those who he encountered.

Matthew 9: 36

36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the labourers are few.”

 Matthew 14: 14

14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Human sympathy is the natural 3-D response to the 3-D needs of others, but true compassion is the action of Holy Spirit empowered love that originates in the fourth dimension and knows that it has the supernatural resources to meet the 3-D needs. It is like empathy on steroids.

 Paul puts it this way in

2 Corinthians 5: 14 – 15 (AMPC)

14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died;15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.

It would appear that the church in Laodicea seemed to know who they were in Christ but but it would also appear that they were completely unaware of who Christ was to be in them. In fact he was on the outside of their assembly seeking a way back in. Could this be a picture of the church in our generation and in our community? The emphasis is on being in Christ – initial salvation – but there is very little discipleship to take people beyond that.

Jesus said that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship him in spirit and truth, because God is a spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.

1 Corinthians 6: 17

17 ….he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Jesus said that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father because he was one spirit with him. It should be the same with us if we are true worshippers.

We can often have an experience similar to what Jesus experienced when he continually encountered people who were living oblivious to their rights and privileges as God’s covenant people and so they were unable to accurately represent God’s character to others, leading to a vacuum that was – and still can be – filled by a religious caricature that can be a very poor representation of the truth.

Many in our communities have some awareness of the gospel of salvation but they are generally unreached with and untouched by the gospel of the kingdom. They have witnessed others “becoming religious” and seen them transfer from the world to the church. However, if you bring a “live” kingdom testimony to most unbelievers and even regular church folks it is often viewed with a large measure of skepticism, cynicism, suspicion, and basic unbelief.  This is something that I have been acutely aware of for a long time and which I have felt grieving my spirit as I see so many precious people missing out on everything that has been so freely provided for them.

Jesus experienced this and he expressed his heart in regards to it as he entered Jerusalem for the last time.

Luke 19: 41 – 42

41 As He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it [and the spiritual ignorance of its people], 42 saying, “If [only] you had known on this day [of salvation], even you, the things which make for peace [and on which peace (wholeness, completeness, prosperity of spirit, soul,and body) depends]! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.”

We need to understand that it is okay to experience this level of understanding and discerning of the spiritual atmosphere, and to respond as Jesus did with weeping over the blindness and deafness of the people.

Did Jesus give up at this point? Of course not. He went to the cross for them, and for us and for our people, and so we don’t give up either.

Jesus knew that harvest time was coming, and we need to believe the same.

Psalm 126: 5

5 Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Hebrews 12: 2

2 ….looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.

Galatians 6: 9

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Be encouraged if you find yourself weeping over what you see around you. You are not being negative. You are simply acknowledging the present circumstances. But due season – harvest time – is coming. So stay in the rest of faith and the unforced rhythms of grace.

Listen to this.

John 14: 19 – 24

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.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?””23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

We are in him and he is in us. That is the full message.  Take note of what it all revolves around and is founded upon – love that is manifested in keeping his word, because faith is activated and energised and expressed and works through love. Love is the motivation of faith and love never fails.

When we redress the imbalance created by a merely subjective faith then all of a sudden the scriptures that we have tried to apply from the standpoint of knowing that we are in him but neglecting the reality of what it means to have him in us begin to make sense. And even better, they begin to work. Faith works when it is activated and energised by the revelation of love.

If God be for us who can be against us; No weapon formed against us shall prosper; A thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand but it will not come near me; We are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath; We are more than conquerors, etc, etc.

Just knowing who we are in Christ can leave us in a passive and subjective mode but knowing who Christ is in us will release us into our true role as active and aggressive promoters of his kingdom objectives. This doesn’t happen in a striving and performance-motivated way but arises from the place of rest and refreshing. Whatever we do from a place of rest is charged with a new supernatural ability to be all that we are already equipped to be as we do out of who we already be – as we learn how to take a real rest and live in the unforced rhythms of grace.

More next time….

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