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The Will of God – A Holy Sanctuary

https://youtu.be/LB0Qy2HtusU

Since the beginning of time, God is seeking a people who could be His holy sanctuary and dwelling place. The story of God’s people provides us with a roadmap for our spiritual growth as an individual but also for the greater body of Christ. 

Removed from the Sanctuary

God’s story with humanity begins in a temple-like garden where we are in perfect, holy union with the divine. Man believes a lie: he must eat some forbidden fruit to be like God and to know good and evil.  Consequently, man is cast out of this holy sanctuary.[1]  Later, God would reveal himself to one of Adam’s descendants, Abraham, who would become the Arch-father of God’s called-out special people.[2] This group of people, a family of twelve tribes, receive their existence from serving God, doing what God says.  If they serve God with their whole heart, they are blessed.  In contrast, when they become passive and indifferent, they are dispersed and lose everything.  

A Redeemer Leads Them Back to a Holy Land

Because of a series of do-it-our-own-way acts of disobedience, they become slaves to the Egyptians, working hard to build their pyramids and shrines. An ex-Egyptian king, a Hebrew called Moses, inspired this leaderless group of slaves to follow him to a promised Utopia-like land of milk and honey – Canaan. God revealed Himself to this group of slaves with divine signs and wonders and a continual supernatural cloud that they learned to follow through the desert.[3]  

Then God asked Moses to build Him a tent of meeting. [4] King Solomon, Israel’s genius, a “Nobel prize winner”, constructed an impressive temple.  Solomon doubted that his temple could contain God almighty,[5] yet continued, and God visited the temple periodically with His cloud. [6]

Rulers and Kings – A Nation Divided

After Solomon, the nation was divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  None of the kings of the ten tribes of Israel served God.  Eventually, God’s judgement came about at the hands of the Assyrians, whose foreign policy was to disperse and divide the nations they conquered among all its various subjects.

On the other hand, eight of the nineteen kings who reigned in Judah served God and brought about some reforms in their lifetime – for example, Hezekiah and Josiah.  

Exile!

Regrettably, they also continued a path of rebellion and disloyalty towards God, and God elevated the Babylonians to destroy everything. They flattened the walls, the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  The best young men became eunuchs in Babylon.  

The Book of Lamentations came about as to how the remnant dealt with corporate grief. Then a young eunuch called Daniel, who became state secretary because of his accuracy of interpreting the king’s dreams, saw in the scriptures that this punishment would only last seventy-years.  During his ministry in Babylon, three pagan kings, one Babylonian and two Persians, acknowledged that the God of the Hebrews was the only true God. 

Return From Exile

God then used Ezra and one pagan ruler called Cyrus to fund and rebuild the temple, a smaller and more humble physical structure, but called it, “greater than the former” by the Prophet Haggai. [7] The Persian King Artaxerxes, permitted Nehemiah the cupbearer to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days.  Malachi is the last Prophet who spoke the oracles of God before a 400-year silence and the arrival of Jesus Christ.  

Following their return from exile, the people of Israel lived as a restored community in the land of Palestine. However, instead of learning from their past negative experiences and serving and loving God will all their heart, soul and strength, they became immoral and careless. The reforms initiated by the post-captivity leaders Nehemiah and Ezra had not prevented a severe spiritual decline among the Israelite population. Malachi, the scribe, was burdened with the spiritual problems of his people.[8]

Sanctuary Restored But People Not Interested

God was reasoning with His people in a question-answer fashion.  God found their religious sacrifices contemptuous, fabricated, and insincere.  This half-hearted religion is evident in leaders who do not speak out against lawlessness while committing the same evils.[9] Their marriage covenants exhibited the same adultery and disloyalty of heart.[10] The withholding of tithes and offerings were further evidence of their passive resistance against God. [11]

Promise of Open Heaven

Surprisingly the tone changes – there is a promise of open heaven!! 

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. “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; “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:10-12) 

A Holy Remnant

Through all these hundreds of years, the goal is still today: I want a people to be my sanctuary, my Eden, my delight, so that I can bless them to be a blessing to the nations. 

The dialogue continues as the people complain by saying: ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners before the LORD of hosts? (Mal 3:14). It seems that the wicked are more blessed than the righteous! This is the accusation against God! 

The dialogue changes; this time, the people of God, the remnant, start speaking to one another! Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,  And the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Mal 3:16-17). 

Heaven has been keeping a record, a book of remembrance, of eternal vindication of all the righteous acts of courage and faith. 

The day of the Lord is coming. A “day” means a moment in time, a change of season. Salvation is always in one day. “shall a nation be birth in a day?” (Isa 66:8) All the great stories of deliverance in the Bible happened in one day! Sacred moments in time, where heaven meets earth. 

But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet. On the day that I do this,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 4:2-3) 

The Will of God – Jesus is Sanctuary!

Jesus is the fulfilment and enactment of this prophecy of an open heaven: Jesus is the day of the Lord. He is the birth of a new nation.  He is the gateway and entrance to a permanent spiritual sanctuary in the Spirit. 

“And Jesus, having been baptized, went up straightway from the water, and lo, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him: and behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight.” (Mat 3:16)

Remember Jesus received this blessing before He did any miracle or drove out any demons. He got this divine heavenly endorsement being an ordinary artisan and faithful to His earthly parents. 

Those in CHRIST experience an OPEN HEAVEN – a here on earth as it is in heaven reality! He showed us to live this reality (Heb 4:14-16). He fulfilled His earthly ministry from an open-heaven reality, temple, sanctuary, mobile, temporary tent-like body displaying and revealing God’s glory.  

The Final Destruction of the Temple Made With Hands

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mt 24:1–2) see Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5, 6. 

Jesus cleanses the temple: John 2:13-22 

Jesus proclaimed the temple would be destroyed and rebuild in three days. (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; Matt. 27:40; Mark 15:29),

“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”  (Isa 66:2). 

“God does not live in shrines made with hands.” (Acts 17:24). 

Roman General Titus finally destroyed the City in 70AD.

His Sanctuary Is His Church

  • The body of Christ is now His temple and sanctuary (John 2:21)
  • Something more significant than the temple is here (Matt. 12:6)
  • You are God’s temple, and God’s Spirit lives in you (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • The temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Cor. 3:17)
  • Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • We are the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16)
  • The whole building is growing into a holy temple (Eph. 2:21)
  • I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God (Rev. 3:12)
  • what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Cor. 6:16).

  • The whole church as God’s temple (Eph 2:21-22)

He is Eden, tabernacle, open heaven, tent of meeting, city, nation, culture, mountain, the glory of God!!!

For more on the Priestly mandate of the Church.

An Empowered Sanctuary

After all that Jesus had done, only 120 people [12] obeyed the command of Jesus to wait until they were endowed by power from heaven.  120 become 3000, and 5000, “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The sanctuary of God is established and demonstrated throughout the earth! Being all of the goodness, and fullness of God and a blessing to the nations!

https://hrco.co.za/raak-betrokke/


[1] Gen 3

[2] Gen 12 

[3] Exo 13:21-22

[4] Exo 25:8 H4720. מִקְדָּשׁ miqdāš: A masculine noun meaning a holy or sacred place, a sanctuary. As a nominal form from the verb qāḏaš (H6942), meaning to be set apart or to be consecrated, this noun designates that which has been sanctified or set apart as sacred and holy as opposed to the secular, common, or profane. 

[5] 2 Chron 2:5-6

[6] 2 Chron 5:14 

[7] Haggai 2:9 

[8] Hayford, Jack W., ed. Spirit Filled Life Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997. Print.

[9] Malachi 2:6-9.

[10] Mal 2:14-16.

[11] Malachi 3:8-11.

[12] Acts 1:15

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The Governmental Church in the Locality

The Ephesus Model

Background: 

Paul planted the Church in Ephesus during a stop-over leaving Corinth to travel to Jerusalem in 53 AD.  He visited the synagogue in the city, and left Priscilla and Aquila, dedicated elders and custodians to the truth.  (Acts 18:18-22) 

On his return from Jerusalem, Paul travels to Ephesus and establishes there his longest ministry in any one location. Paul’s first works was to relay apostolic foundation re-baptise twelve disciples in the name of Jesus, and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 19:8–10) Then he established the first NT Bible Training Centre first in Jewish Synagogue“arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God” then for 2 years daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus” with both Jews and Gentiles. (Acts 19:8–10) From the scriptures in Acts, Ephesians and finally in revelation captures almost 44 years of local church history in Ephesus. 52 AD – 96AD sadly by 200AD the church died out. The point is that although there is no longer a city of Ephesus, the church in Ephesus used to be the strongest church in Asia Minor, and now there are hardly even any Christians to be found in all of Asia Minor, let alone a church of any strength or size. Turkey is 99.8% Muslim, leaving only .2% as Christian. And even this .2% is in rapid decline. Turkey, although it used to be a fortification of Christianity, is now the largest unreached nation in the world and one of the strongest propagator’s of Islam. Most of the nation’s 55 million Muslim’s have never even heard the gospel. [1]

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” 

A deeper study of these two key words in the Great Commission is: 

“Teach/Disciple” Mathēteúō means not only to learn, but to become attached to one’s teacher and to become his follower in doctrine and conduct of life. 

Nations: éthnos; A multitude, people, race, belonging and living together. We have a mandate to disciple the local Ethos! Because of globalisation, the separate boundaries of nations, and ethnic groups has become vague, schools, the work place, shopping centres and public spaces do not belong to a specific nationality anymore. Ethos : Sociology. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs thebeliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period:

We are not only leaders of the church, but also of the city. 

The Book is written to: “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus” [2] not to an individual, and possibly the most well taught church that ever existed.  The letter/thesis was thus written to all the people of the way, believers in Jesus Christ in the Locality/city of Ephesus.  I believe God is calling us to be shepherds to whole communities of people in a location. 

Restoring the reign of God like Eden in every Location. 

In the Genesis Story we find a description of Eden as a lush garden with four rivers (Gen 2:10–14). Eden was also a mountain (Ezek 28:13–14), the administrative “seat of the gods” (Ezek 28:2), situated in “the heart of the seas” (Ezek 28:2), a description that reiterated the well-watered imagery of the divine council headquarters. [3]  What makes God’s earthly home/kingdom different from ancient comparative narratives, the biblical version of the divine council at the divine abode includes a human presence.[4]

God wants humanity to share His rule and governance over the earth.  

Not all the world was Eden.[5] And Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Gen 2:8) The garden was perfect in balance harmony and order, yet the rest of the earth was waiting to be subdued. 

The distinction helps us see that the original task of humanity was to make the entire Earth like Eden.[6] Eden is where the idea of the kingdom of God begins. And it’s no coincidence that the Bible ends with the vision of a new Edenic Earth (Rev 21–22).[7] The Bible begins in a garden, ends in a garden city, and the in-between is full of stories of God’s encounter with humans in vineyards, orchards, gardens, mountains, fields, and forests. Take out the gardens (Eden, Gethsemane) and the mounts (Sinai, Hermon, Ararat, Nebo, Carmel, Olives, Zion), and you’ve cut the heart out of the Scriptures.[8]  

And for the purpose of the study: Ephesus was an example of precisely just that: To him who overcomes I will give ito eat from jthe tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’[9]

How do we exercise authority? 

The first work man ever did was naming the animals. (Gen 2:19-20) God made Adam to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. (Gen 1:28) How did he subdue it? By shouting at the animals? How did he rule over it? By giving them names. You control that what you can give a name. If you give time a name you will rule over it. If you give money a name, you will rule over it.  

Good governance begins with good administration.  You rule over that what you control or administrate. The measure of your administration equals the measure of your authority.  God is order. When we get saved, He brings order in our lives. When God’s spirit hovered over the earth, the earth was without form (order) and void. When God created all living things, He created order. His order. There are always two orders: The order of man and the Order of the Spirit. 

When the order of the Spirit was followed anointing flowed.  Temple in order – Shekinah. Lev 1:7,8,12 Bringing order in your life, creates flow and currency to your anointing. It flows easier, less obstructions and distractions.  It focusses the anointing on one thing.  They had to pack the wood in a certain order to receive the fire. Order in Levites, Priests, Offerings Num 10:28 Do (divine) measurements really matter?

  1. Noah Obtained God’s Grace when he Applied God’s Measurements, Gen. 6:8.
  2. Israel Obtained God’s Presence by Building Tabernacle as Directed, Exo. 25:8; 29:44-46; 40:34-35.
  3. Israel’s Sacrifices Were Acceptable to God from Solomon’s Temple,  2 Chron 7:12, 16.
  4. The Holiness of God’s People is Accomplished/Protected/Maintained When His Measurements are Applied, Ezek. 42:20; 43:10-12.

A New Order

Christ is our perfect pattern, measure, topos, logos, blueprint, design. 

“the knowledge of the Son of God” (Eph 4:13) 

1922. ἐπίγνωσις epígnōsis; gen. epignṓseōs, fem. noun from epiginṓskō (G1921), to recognize. It is more intens. than gnṓsis (G1108), knowledge, because it expresses a more thorough participation in the acquiring of knowledge on the part of the learner. 

IN other words: The ultimate goal of discipleship is to get people to internalize the truth of Jesus Christ, so that they naturally have an inner ear or modulator to remain focussed on Him. (Heb 12:1) We can fulfil the social gospel, building needed schools and creches, but if we do not teach people to become followers of Christ we have failed our mission.  We are in this mess, because of people’s ignorance of Jesus, and the church in a big way misrepresenting Jesus.  

Ekklesia by its original definition a governmental assembly to implement the pattern, logos, measurement, doctrine, values, structures, and practises of the reigning kingdom into the old nation. The OT temple was located in one place Jerusalem, enclosed garden, temple city. This model get’s replicated to everywhere where believers dwell.  

God’s purpose for Creation 

Ephesians 1:9-10: “making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him” (ASV)

God’s purpose for Church

 “so that now to the rulers and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God”(3:10, NKJV) Governmental position to declare the reigning Kingdom’s values to the captive state.  A new form of community. Whether one talks about economics, public safety, healthcare, or personal achievement one study after the other proofs the best way to do life is through healthy community.  Community policing, community micro-finance banking, home-base-care, and the community that supported and help someone to achieve their olympian dream. There is also the dark side; cults, gangs, dead religion, structural sin where a culture embrace for instance a sinful belief system that devaluate, dehumanise people like racism, feminism, slavery, entitlement. 

The Ruling Kingdom has already taken its position

Chapter 1:1-23 – 2:10 deals with the Victory that has been won in Christ: 

He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22-23)

even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Eph 2:5-6) 

we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:10) 

Jesus told the disciples: And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give (Mat 10:7) 

The sad truth is how few believers and followers of the way of Christ, walk in this victory, as ambassadors, statesman, a holy priesthood, mediators, reconcilers, peace-makers, miracle workers, disciple-makers, of the most high God!! We are officials of the reigning Kingdom!

Demonstration of our Proclamation

Spiritual play-off 

Evident Supernatural, healing, signs and wonders (Acts 19:11-12) Jesus’ ministry can be summarized with two words: Preaching & Demonstrating. Mat 4:23-25; Mar 1:35-39; Luk 4:40-44  Scriptures on the preaching, teaching focus: (Matt 4:17, 23; 9:35; 11:5; Mark 6:34; Luk 4:43; 8:1; 9:11) Healing, driving out Demons, sign &wonders. (Matt 4:23) Miracles are part of the gospel proclamation, demonstrating that the kingdom of God has come. (Mt 9:35; Lk 9:6; 11:20) In fact, Jesus used His authority over demons as a sign that He had brought the kingdom of God near (see Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20). Furthermore, He gave to His followers authority over evil spirits. See Luke 10:19; 2 Cor. 10:3; Eph. 6:12. His discipled was send to go do the same. Mat 10:7-8. The NT church is commanded to follow the same example: 1Co 2:4-5; Ro 15:18-19; 1Th 1:5; Heb 2:3-4.

“Miracles Glorify Christ” interweaved with everyday life – Two Greek words gives us the answer.

– Soudarion – Handkerchief used for wiping of sweat

– Simikinthion – A narrow apron or linen covering worn by workmen and servants

Real Spiritual power tested: Sons of Sceva (Counterfeit) (Acts 19:13-20) This story reverts to the vital importance of individual anointing. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.  (1 John 2:13) 

Sizable national display of tipping point towards new order.  (Acts 19:21-41) Like Jesus prophesied that the temple will be removed, and in 70 ad it did happen. To this day there can be no temple. The religious cult of Diana Worship ended and is no more. [10]

So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed Acts 19:20 (Acts 6:7; 12:24; 13:49.)

New Multicultural Jesus Culture. 
New equity in Christ. No more Jew or gentile, male or female, 

of a set of new values. (Eph 2:11-18)   so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks (Acts 19:10) The Jesus Culture is the only way how we can redeem each diverse culture back to its own unique redemptive purpose.  There is an oppressor and enslaver/pharaoh in every culture. We all need to be redeemed from our Egypt/enslaved cultures.  No nation has suffered so much persecution than the Jews. Several times at the brink of extinction, they rise again. One of the pillars of this theocentric society is the bedrock of the family. and the important role and function of the father. God is a family. The absolute primary way how Christianity rules and governs society like yeast, salt and light is through the restoration of Godly families.

New economy of Mutuality: 

The Roman economic gateway to Asia, became the gateway for the message of the Kingdom of God. Resulting in a Deculturalization of the economy and religious order. (Acts 23-40) On the great day of Pentecost, when the new covenant was sanctioned, a Spiritual Jubilee took place. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44) It is our testimony that when people truly turn to God and become full of the Holy Spirit, they relinquish ownership of their own bodies and possessions.   The Tri-Sabbatical Jubilee of restoration for Mankind and the Earth fulfilled in Christ’s resurrection. The tri-sabbatical rest: The seventh day, the seventh year, and after seven cycles, the 49th year Jubilee is a divine rhythm instituted by God for the benefit of man and nature. God knows humankind, how work and profit can consume us, how we do not know when to stop and rest. The end result is work gets a bad name and what is intended to be a blessing becomes a curse. The truth is; however, work is good for us. All mankind should work and earn a living through their skill and contribution to each other. [11]

New Leadership/governmental Spheres 

The Fivefold Ministry lays the foundational worldview, practises, patterns and structure of the Kingdom of God.  (Apostle – Government, Prophet – Law & Order, Evangelist – Economy, Pastoral – Health, Teacher – Education) Social structures are complex, but by reforming the mind of people working in government, business, lawmakers and enforcers, health practitioners, and educators back to their redemptive calling in Christ we will see a whole community follow the Way. 

Unity is not pursued, it is received as a fruit of right living. 

Unity is a gift: Eph 4:1-5 

Final Warning 

Warning to return to first love, and doing the first things. (Rev 2:1-7) 


[1] https://redeeminggod.com/sermons/ephesians/ephesians_6_21-24/

[2] The New King James Version, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Eph 1:1.

[3] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 160.

[4] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 47.

[5] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 49.

[6] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 51.

[7] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 51.

[8]  “So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church” by Leonard Sweet.

i [Rev. 22:2, 14]

j [Gen. 2:9; 3:22]

[9] The New King James Version, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Re 2:7.

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis

[11] https://www.janenchantal.com/the-tri-sabbatical-jubilee-of-restoration-for-mankind-and-the-earth-fulfilled-in-christs-resurrection/

Live Sermon on “The Governmental Church In The Locality”

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Sermons

Collective Spiritual Connectedness

When God said: “let there be light” (Gen 1:3) He connected the spectrum for all created things to connect. Light is formed by the connection between frequencies, the relationship between particles. The links give us the light that transforms our world. Darkness is in essence not to feel or be conscious of any connection.  Healthy connections, relationships, links is essential to social, economic, mental and spiritual well-being.  Jesus is the great connector! He reconnected us to God, our true selves, and the right people.  

When Jesus uses you in ‘You are the light of the world,’ (Mat 5:14-16) it is actually a plural form of the word, meaning ‘you all’ or ‘you, yourselves’ (or if you’re from the American South, ‘y’all’). The word light in the Greek is strikingly singular.” One Bible commentator goes on to say that “we are not a thousand points of light; we are a corporate city on a hill.”[1]

Made in the image of a communal God, we are most fulfilled when we find a community that makes us not only feel we belong but propels us to become more Christ-like in altruistic thought, habit, values, purpose, work and existence.  

Oneness, peace, shalom, wholeness, flourishing life; this is what the gospel has always been about; this is God’s dream for creation. In Cornelius Plantinga Jr.’s “breviary of sin,” shalom is described as: The webbing together of God, humans, and all of creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. . . . We call it peace, but it means far more than the mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts are fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.[2]

This is beautiful imagery of what the NT ecclesia, the body of Christ, church, a holy priesthood, the bride is all about. It is interesting to note, how healthy new connection networks grow, because of the introduction or referral of a friend.  This is called the small world theory. [3] So by connecting with a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, of a friend, you can connect with anyone, anywhere.  Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. [4]

The Kingdom is also compared with yeast: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Mat 13:33) The living network of yeast is well researched to understand how fungi, who in essence desires to grow and multiply, transform the dough into bread. The following image shows the invisible process in circles (Proteins) and the network of links and connections.  

In the Pre-modern era, people lived in an enchanted world, where they have little control. The powers to be ruled over the masses without their political consent, leading to fatalism. People saw human agency controlled by either the spiritual forces or stronger tribal adversary’s will.  In the Modern era, people became more educated, realising their own will and desire.  Self is seen as a person, with rights, independence and self-rule.  At no time in history, one has more regular heard of people describing their husbands, or employers as narcissistic.[5] The post-modern person begins to question this self-ness obsession and seeks deeper meaningful relationships and pursuits of lasting purpose and meaning.  

The NT Church and God’s purpose for its divine glorious existence answer these desires. EDEN is about the meeting, connecting, engaging, interdependence, growing collectively into the fulness of Christ! There are many counterfeit communities who either limits or controls the potential of the one, at the cost of the whole. These communities are also one- dimensional based on conformity. The true church holds the key to a unity of diversity, where the individual’s potential is unlocked and celebrated for the sake of the whole. Where unity is achieved as a gift in Christ Jesus, not by compromise. We are all followers of Christ in the Jesus Movement, having the mind of Christ to love what He values, abandoning self-interest to obey his instructions, with His attitude and emotions (fruit).  

During COVID 19, we experience a great RESET: God restored the family altar. God restored individual commitment and solitude. God showed us what is truly essential. We felt common solidarity with the global village. NOW it is time for God to draw this NET of living NODES together into a web of influence, where His glory can cover (fermenting) the earth. We are SALT and we are LIGHT! 

THE CORPORATE MEETING is more than just one person preaching a sermon! It is more than just singing a few songs as spectators! It is God’s people meeting with their God!! It is a spiritual meeting, for God is a living SPIRIT who wish to dwell amongst His people! It is Christ in and among us the hope of Glory! It is a healing, restorative, regenerative, reconciliatory space of deliverance and freedom! It is a place where the HOLINESS of God prevails and fills all in all! It is a place of LIGHT! It is a place of togetherness, oneness and union! It is heaven on earth! 

Households of faith MEETINGS 

The English word, church, comes from the Latin word, meaning circle. Our word, circus, is a derivative of the word, circle. You know, “three-ring,” as in a “three-ring circus.” Perhaps, very early-on when meetings, or assemblies, convened, they sat in a circle like a “round table;” from that, the word, church was coined. This makes sense as the first church had no formal church buildings or temples, they met in houses. Acts 2:46 The bigger the meeting, it becomes impossible for everyone to speak and participate, but in house meetings, one person should not take over the discussion, only lead and facilitate it, in order that everyone gets an opportunity to participate. 

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  (1 Cor 14:26) 

ψαλμός psalmós: A song: the song sung with musical accompaniment. This latest stage of its meaning was adopted in the Sept. In all probability the psalms of Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.

διδαχή didachḗ: to teach. In an act. sense it means the act of teaching, instructing, tutoring (Mark 4:2; 1 Cor. 14:6, 26; 2 Tim. 4:2). Heb 5:11-6:2 Search and seek “sound doctrine” sound doctrine: 1 Ti 4:6; 2 Ti 4:3; Tit 1:9; 2:1 (cf. Pr 4:2; 1 Ti 6:3; 2 Ti 1:13) 

γλῶσσα glṓssa: qualitatively new, to speak languages not known to them before, means to speak in or with tongues other than their own native tongue (Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12:30; 14:2, 4-6, 13, 18, 23, 27, 39). It is significant than speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues be listed as main ingredients to the NT gathering of believers. As to emphasize its importance.  If you thus want to participate, get filled in the Holy Spirit by speaking in Tongues. 1 Cor 14 

ἀποκάλυψις apokálupsis: to reveal. Revelation, uncovering, unveiling, disclosure. The revelation of the mysteries refers to divine purposes and doctrines which before were unknown and concealed (Rom. 16:25 [TR]; 1 Cor. 14:6, 26). Of revelations from God the Father or Christ (2 Cor. 12:1, 7; Gal. 1:12; 2:2; Eph. 3:3). In Eph. 1:17 “a spirit of . . . revelation” means a spirit which can fathom and unfold the deep things of God

ἑρμηνεία hermēneía: to interpret. Interpretation, explanation (1 Cor. 14:26), metonym for the ability to interpret, as a charisma (1 Cor. 12:10), gift.  Although the word interpretation in this reference refer specifically to the interpretation of tongues, I do propose that most of the activities is a form of interpretation. The word hermeneutic is used by theologians of the science of bible interpretation.  Having visions and dreams, and spiritual experiences has to be interpreted and judged. 1 Cor 14:29

All things are actually spiritual by definition, prayer to a God who is an invisible Spirit John 4:26, our unity and bond as believers 1 Cor 12:26, spiritual warfare Eph 6:12.  This is why a person operating from a point of religion, sets of rules and liturgy, cannot function in a NT Church meeting of spirit-filled believers.  It is two completely different operating systems.  

The most important point however one needs to remember is: “let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all” For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Mat 18:20 Paul actually says that he is spiritual present although absent in the flesh. 1 Cor 5:3-4 This reveals an unspoken thread, bond, connectedness, seamless robe, with the Spirit of Christ as revealed in His body, Him being the head, Eph 1:22 The simple way is, pick up the thread of the meeting, connect to the flow, listen to each other and resonate, harmonize. If the message you have prepared does not fit, discard it, it is not for now.  

Tune in to the Spirit of the meeting, from the first song the worship leader scans the spirit, the dance leaders resonate in body what is sung, then while we are corporately tuning in, we experience an open heaven of revelation, and spiritual insight. Then as we begin to declare and share what we have seen and experience the visions become clearer and it grows, so that we can fulfill God’s original plan to be among His people. Heb 12:18-23


[1] Duncan Watts, Small World: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

[2] “Thy Kingdom Connected (ēmersion: Emergent Village resources for communities of faith): What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks” by Dwight J. Friesen. https://www.scribd.com/book/234999681

[3] Duncan Watts, Small World: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissism

Categories
Sermons

EDEN – CHURCH

We are not here on earth as museum keepers, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life.

Pope John XXIII

As a church we are on a journey with Jesus. Along this journey we are slowly awaking to the presence and reality of the person of Jesus, learning His ways, what He values, How He thinks, how He acts, who He was and is, and is to come.  Along the journey, we began to notice metaphors and teaching aids to help us understand and remember, what is the best way to do life.  

Last year Pastor Morne Bailey and Nadia Smith opened our thinking to Eden – the walled, enclosed garden.  I believe there is much to learn from gardens, trees, and forests.  Let’s looks at a few examples.  

In the following video, you will learn the importance of the circle of life, and how all the diversity of species, plays an important role in the balance of sustainable life being preserved.  When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable “trophic cascade” occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.[1]

Would we all not love to take a hike and experience the magic of old-growth Redwood forests, where giant Sequoias reach 115 meters into the sky for sunlight[2]

Now that I have your attention, let’s look at the Bible’s garden story! The brilliant guys at the Bible Project will get us on the same page first: Union of heaven and Earth under God’s rule is what the Bible is all about. [3] Mankind always seeks out a form of community: political parties, gangs, clubs, peer-pressure-groups, family trees, etc. According to Dr Henry Cloud we thrive on 3 basic things: Our brain/body (the physical), our relational connections, and our minds, which regulate the energy and information needed to live and perform. We are connected in such ways that the reality of how we function always involves these three elements: our physical make up, our relationships, and our minds.[4] But most importantly: A community that does not disciple and nurture you into becoming more like Christ fails your creation purpose.  Let’s, therefore, find our queues and direction from the Bible, and discover God’s true intention for community and life on earth. 

For the serious Bible students, here is the literal Hebrew meaning of the Garden of Eden

H1588. גַּן gan: A common noun meaning garden, enclosure. It is used to indicate the Garden of Eden (pleasure) where the first human pair was placed (Gen. 2:8-10, 15, 16; 3:1-3, 8, 10, 23, 24; Ezek. 36:35; Joel 2:3). Hence, it refers to a place of abundant trees, water, fruits, and vegetables—where conditions for life are maximized. It could be enclosed (Lam. 2:6). It is combined with Lord to designate the garden of the Lord (Gen. 13:10) and with God to refer to the garden of God (Ezek. 28:13). A garden, however, could feature many things: vegetables (Deut. 11:10; 1 Kgs. 21:2); spices, fruits, plants (Song 4:16; 5:1; 6:2). Assyria is referred to figuratively as a garden that surpassed even the garden of God (Ezek. 31:8, 9).

H5731. עֵדֶן ‘ēḏen: A proper noun designating Eden: The place where God placed Adam and Eve to live and where they rebelled against the Lord’s words. Satan was permitted in the garden and fostered the rebellion of the first human pair. They were subsequently driven from the garden by God (Gen. 3:21-24). Ezekiel takes the event seriously and notes the presence of an archetype of the King of Tyre in the Garden of Eden (Ezek. 28:11-15).

The precise location of the garden is not known, even though the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were part of it. It became a symbol of beauty and fertility (Ezek. 31:9; Joel 2:3).

In the Genesis story we find a description of Eden as a lush garden with four rivers (Gen 2:10–14). Eden was also a mountain (Ezek 28:13–14), the administrative “seat of the gods” (Ezek 28:2), situated in “the heart of the seas” (Ezek 28:2), a description that reiterated the well-watered imagery of the divine council headquarters. [5]  What makes God’s earthly home/kingdom different from ancient comparative narratives, the biblical version of the divine council at the divine abode includes a human presence.[6] God wants humanity to share His rule and governance over the earth.  

Not all the world was Eden.[7] And Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Gen 2:8) The garden was perfect in balance harmony and order, yet the rest of the earth was waiting to be subdued. 

The distinction helps us see that the original task of humanity was to make the entire Earth like Eden.[8] Eden is where the idea of the kingdom of God begins. And it’s no coincidence that the Bible ends with the vision of a new Edenic Earth (Rev 21–22).[9] The Bible begins in a garden, ends in a garden city, and the in-between is full of stories of God’s encounter with humans in vineyards, orchards, gardens, mountains, fields, and forests. Take out the gardens (Eden, Gethsemane) and the mountains (Sinai, Hermon, Ararat, Nebo, Carmel, Olives, Zion), and you’ve cut the heart out of the Scriptures.[10]

It is also clear that Eden was a temple, or that the temple design was based on Eden. 

  1. In the later OT the Temple was the place of God’s special presence where He made Himself known and felt to Israel. That is exactly how His walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden is depicted. (Gen. 3:8)
  2. Adam is placed in the garden to “cultivate (abad)” and “keep (samar)” it (Gen 2:15). The same two words are translated elsewhere as “serve” and “guard”, and when they appear together, they are either referring to Israelites serving or obeying God’s word, or more usually, to the job of the priest in guarding and keeping the Temple. (Num. 3:7-8; 8:25-26; 1 Chron. 23:32) Elsewhere Adam is portrayed dressed in the clothes of the high priest, functioning as a high priest. (Ezek 28:11-19) 
  3. The tree of life served as a model for the lampstand, which was clearly shaped as a tree, in the Temple.
  4. Israel’s later Temple was made with wood carvings of flowers, palm trees, etc. meant to recall Eden’s garden brilliance  (1 Kings 6:18, 29, 32, 35); pomegranates were also placed at the bottom of the two stone pillars in the Temple. (7:18-20)
  5. The entrance to the Temple was to the east, on a mountain facing Zion (Ex. 15:17), just as the end-time temple prophesied in Ezekiel is (40:2, 6; 43:12). Well, turns out the entrance to Eden was from the East (Gen. 3:24)
  6. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the ark of the covenant both were accessed or touched only on pain of death. Also, both were sources of wisdom.
  7. Just as a river flowed out of Eden (Gen 2:10), so a river is supposed to flow out of the end-time temple (Ezek 47:1-12; Rev. 21:1-2)
  8. Ezekiel 28:13-14 refers the Eden as “the holy mountain of God” whereas everywhere else in the OT, it is Temple and Tabernacle language.[11]

What is IMPERATIVE to see however is!!! Eden was a place of MEETING.  The first tabernacle, was called “the tabernacle of meeting” Exo 33:7 

This fellowship, meeting, communion, community, the family was disrupted and annihilated by sin, disobedience and rebellion!! Jesus is the mediator of the new better covenant to reinstall that unity, bond, the union we once had with God.  But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Heb 12:21-24) 

The spiritual nature of our “garden” is confirmed by Christ as the angel of the church in Ephesus: “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise (Eden) of God” (Revelation 2:7). 

A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protected environment, trees can live to be very old. Apparently, the trees synchronize their performance so that they are all equally successful. The rate of photosynthesis is the same for all the trees. The trees, it seems, are equalizing differences between the strong and the weak. Whether they are thick or thin, all members of the same species are using light to produce the same amount of sugar per leaf. This equalization is taking place underground through the roots. There’s obviously a lively exchange going on down there. Whoever has an abundance of sugar hands some over; whoever is running short gets help. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. [12]

So what do these beautiful imageries mean for you and I today? The place of meeting is the EDEN where God reconnects us to all the provision, gold, rivers, nutrition, safety, and protection one needs to not merely survive, but thrive in this life! For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. This glorious opulence is found when we as church meet together! 

Beware of restricting the concept of meeting: Jesus met people in the streets and said: “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” This Kingdom is within us. (Luk 17:21) Thus the meeting is happening already in our hearts! Because of our glorious union with the Father though Christ being filled with the Holy Spirit, we are in unity in our hearts with the church! This heart-union is expressed in various kinds of meetings happening constantly! 

This is why we need to be so careful to not be eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and build an offence against the other because of some partial knowledge we think we have about one another! The tree of life inside makes you eat with tax collectors, and sinners, (Mat 11:19) and is constantly creating a feast in this life. It is multiplying food, healing people, delivering people and eating and feasting with people! Jesus embodied the living temple, EDEN, God’s delight here on Earth as it is in heaven, calling us to do the same!! 

Our lives, homes, business, towns and cities should be temples, Eden’s, sacred enclosed gardens of delight, where God’s order and world is restored.  This is God’s ecclesia! This is His church in movement! 

In order to stay healthy like trees, we have to withstand climate change, wind and storms, fallen trees damaging each other, disease, parasites and infestations. As humans and the church, we have to withstand the storms and difficulties of life.

There is so much sinning going on! Sin brings separation, destruction, and death. It is a severe battle! God has provided for us an Eden habitat in the church, a heaven-on-earth reality, to draw from one another and flourish! 

Next week we will learn about my responsibility as a tree of righteousness: “That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isa 61:3)

Tree planted by living waters: (Ps 1:2-5; Jer 17:5-8, Eze 47:10-12)


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWi2bn40ma4

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy2AQlK6C5k

[4]  “The Power of the Other: The startling effect other people have on you, from the boardroom to the bedroom and beyond-and what to do about it” by Henry Cloud.

[5] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 160.

[6] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 47.

[7] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 49.

[8] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 51.

[9] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 51.

[10]  “So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church” by Leonard Sweet.

[11] Beale, G., 2011. A New Testament Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, pp.pp. 617-621.

[12] Wohlleben, P., 2018. The Hidden Life Of Trees (Illustrated Edition). Melbourne: Black Inc., pg. 15, 25.

Categories
Sermons

Eternal Perspectives – Generations

ETERNAL GENERATIONAL MULTIPLICATION

God’s grace is always in the now. (Every day has its own trouble Mat 6:34 His mercies are new every morning Lam 3:22-23) The truth is a paradox where two opposing truths are equal in value and importance. The opposite truth to living in the now is focusing on eternity.  We are living in the now with our eye on eternity. This seems impossible and contradictory; how can you be in the now, and yet focused on eternity? Is eternity not in the future? No, eternity is now.

ETERNAL NOW

John 8:58 before Abraham was I am 

Rev 1:4 his who is, and who was, and who is to come 

Rev 1:8 Alpha & Omega, who is, who was, and who is to come 

2 Pet 3:8 with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thought years like a day

Exo 3:14 I am what I am

God is past, present and future all at the same time. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” Eccl 3;10-11

God declares the end from the beginning, Isa 46:10

THINK GENERATIONS

One of the practical ways of living in the now yet having your sight on eternity is making disciples.  Making disciples is the purest way of duplicating yourself, your life, your principles, and ways for generations.  Raising your children in the ways of the Lord.  Having children, and raising them is a form of discipleship.  God values family very highly.  The family is God’s way of maturing us into adulthood.  Physiologists and educators can list the adverse effects of a broken family, absent parents, child abuse due to bad parental role models and low-income family structures.  We can suppose that most of the social problems we experience today are because of a broken family unit.  This lack of being conscious of the following generation is clearly evident studying the Kings.  Not many leaders in the Bible succeeded to raise their kids in the fear of God.  Eli, the High Priest, became vile because he did not restrain them (1 Sam 3:13) Samuel’s children also did not serve God. They turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. This speaks of a lack of godly character. (1 Sam 8:3)

Interesting that some of the righteous Kings in Judah did not follow their own father’s legacy but chose to go back and follow in David’s footsteps. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or the left. (2 Kings 22:2) There were also Kings who did not consider the legacy they left for their Children, knowing that their children would suffer the consequences of their father’s doings. So Hezekiah showed off all the riches of Judah to the son of King of Babylon and consequently received the damnation by the Prophet Isaiah that this very Kingdom will come and carry all these riches away.  He was only so happy that the judgment will not happen in his lifetime. So Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good!” For he said, “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” (2 Kings 20:15)

GENERATIONAL CURSES

Numbers 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and — fourth generation of them that hate me;

GENERATIONAL BLESSINGS

Ps 12:7 Preserve the Word from generation to generation

Ps 78:3-8 Declaring and showing to the following generation the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.  — That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

THE CULTURE WE INHABIT CREATES THE HABITAT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

While adults can switch religions, this is rare. The recent Pew Research study of the changes in world religions estimates that of the 8.1 billion believers in 2050, just 65 million (less than one percent) will have switched into their belief (chart).

People don’t pick their religion by throwing a dart at a grid of the hundreds or thousands of religions of history. They don’t even roll the dice and pick a religion based on its popularity at the moment (31% Christian, 23% Muslim, 15% Hindu, etc.). The religion of young adults is very strongly correlated with that of their culture.

In a groundbreaking study, Johns Hopkins University researchers followed nearly 800 Baltimore schoolchildren for a quarter of a century and discovered that their fates were substantially determined by the family they were born into.

“A family’s resources and the doors they open cast a long shadow over children’s life trajectories,” Johns Hopkins sociologist Karl Alexander says in a forthcoming book, The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood.

http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/06/02/karl-alexander-long-shadow-research/

Only 33 children moved from birth families in the low-income bracket to the high-income bracket as young adults; if a family had no bearing on children’s mobility prospects, almost 70 would be expected. And of those who started out well off, only 19 dropped to the low-income bracket, a fourth of the number expected.

“The implication is where you start in life is where you end up in life,” Alexander said. “It’s very sobering to see how this all unfolds.”

CHURCH FAMILY GOD’s HABITAT

Fathers, Young Men and Children – 1 John 2:14-15

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good thingsTit 2:3

In church we create an habitat of extended family, where all the adults demonstrate the same godly values and character to the children.  Together reinforcing godliness in the children. Everyone sees every child as their child. We take collective care of another’s children.

We therefor worship expressively as a family. Children models and follow the parents in worshipping God. Children grow up in an environment where worship is normal, spontaneous and engaging.  God is intimately close in our worship and children who are sensory focused experience God in various ways in the meeting. People telling emotional testimonies being vulnerable is a powerful sign to children. The power of the spirit manifesting in meetings through healing, miracles, and the gifts of the spirit effects them deeply.

DECLARING GOD’s WORKS

We are sometimes more concerned as parents to see our children succeed in the goals and accomplishments of secularism, materialism, individualism, and selfish ambition.

Bill Johnson shares on Ps 78 and the importance of children experiencing the works and deeds of God, so that they will have hope and keep on serving God. He then also reveals how he and his wife deliberately exposed their kids to:

–    Family Church Life

–    The Supernatural

–    Poverty

We are not only called to provide for our children financially, once they are earning their own income they abandon God and church.  We should provide our children with an eternal rooted lifestyle.  Children learn through their experiences not their ears.  Prepare them for eternity.

In our journey with God we are very conscious of those who walked before us, and also those who are following.  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.John 4:38

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Holy Communion / Nagmaal

KINGDOM DYNAMICS
1 Cor 11:23 Faith At the Lord’s Table, FAITH’S CONFESSION. Just as the act of water baptism outwardly declares or confesses an inward experience of salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus, each observance of the Lord’s Table is a powerful occasion for faith’s confession. In the ordinance, the Christian confesses before all heaven that he not only has believed, but that he has not forgotten. “In remembrance” involves more than just memory; the word suggests an “active calling to mind” (Wycliffe).
The word “for” introduces the reason the Supper is continually repeated. It is an acted sermon, for it “proclaims” the Lord’s death. The outward act of faith, as the bread and cup taken, is explicitly said to be an ongoing, active confession—literally “you are proclaiming” (1 Cor 11:26). Each occasion of partaking is an opportunity to say, proclaim, or confess again: “I herewith lay hold of all the benefits of Jesus Christ’s full redemption for my life—forgiveness, wholeness, strength, health, sufficiency.” The Lord’s Supper is not to be simply a ritual remembrance, but an active confession, by which you actively will to call to memory and appropriate today all that Jesus has provided and promised through His Cross.
At Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper with His disciples (Matt. 26:26–29; Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:15–20) the bread and cup were part of a meal, with the bread probably broken near the beginning (cf. “when He had given thanks,” 1 Cor. 11:24) and the cup taken at the end (cf. “after supper,” v. 25). By the time Paul wrote, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in two stages which consolidated the partaking of the bread and cup at the end of a communal meal. The worship with the bread and cup came to be called the “Eucharist” (Didache 9:1; Ignatius Letter to the Philadelphians 4), from the Greek word for “thanksgiving” (eucharisteō). The communal meal was called the Agapē (Jude 12; Pliny Letters 10. 96. 7), a Greek word for “love.”
one factor contributing to those divisions is evident here, namely, economic differences in the church (1 Cor 11:21).
1 Cor 11:20–21. The Lord’s Supper should have been the remembrance of a preeminently selfless act, Christ’s death on behalf of others. Instead the Corinthians had turned the memorial of selflessness into an experience of selfishness and had made a rite of unity a riotous disunity. While one brother went hungry because he lacked the means to eat well, another brother drank to excess.
The Communion:
1 Cor 11:24 Broken for you refers to both Jesus’ substitutionary role as Savior as well as the One who bore our pain and sicknesses (Isa 53:4-6)
1 Cor 11:25 The new covenant, sealed by the blood of Jesus, was prophesied in Jer. 31:31-34. That covenant was new in its nature and in its content, securing the forgiveness of sins and writing the law of God in the hearts of believers. The old ritualistic system is replaced by the gospel of Christ, which He established by His death (see Heb. 8:7-13).
To act in a spirit of selfish disregard for the needs of a brother was to despise the church of God, composed not of lifeless stones but of living people who could be grievously hurt. The bread represented the incarnate body of Christ unselfishly assumed (Phil. 2:6–7) and unselfishly given on the cross for the benefit of others (2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:8), that kept needing to be remembered (cf. 1 Cor. 4:8–13).
1 Cor 11:25. The wine was a poignant reminder of Christ’s blood, without the shedding of which there could be no forgiveness from sin (Heb. 9:22) and through which cleansing and a new relationship (covenant) with God was made (Heb. 9:14–15). The word “covenant” referred to a relationship in which one party established terms which the other party accepted or rejected. The focus of the Old Covenant was the written Word (Ex. 24:1–8). The focus of the New Covenant is the Living Word (John 1:14–18). Christ intended the cup to be a representational (cf. John 10:9; 1 Cor. 10:4) reminder of Him: do this … in remembrance of Me.
The body of Christ is the church, which consists of individual believers (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12, 27). His body, the church, is also pictured by the bread of Communion (1 Cor 5:7; 10:16–17). Thus to sin against another believer is to sin against Christ (1 Cor 8:12).
One body of diversity – (1 Cor 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11)
They should seek out the wronged brother and ask his forgiveness. Only then could a true spirit of worship flourish (cf. Matt. 5:23–24)

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What to do when God feels distant

WHAT TO DO WHEN GOD FEELS DISTANT
We all regularly experience moments where God feels distant. There is a difference between sin and sins. Ultimately sin is our arrogance to break relationship and union with God, thinking we can live without Him. Sins are the things we do as a result of a broken relationship. But we have made peace with God through Christ Jesus. Rom 5:1
David knew about this feeling Psalm 27:8-9
IT IS ONLY A FEELING GOD IS OMNIPRESENT
the Bible instructs us when God feels absent, remember it is a feeling because God is omnipresent. omnipresent (i.e., God is everywhere present): 1 Ki 8:27; Job 26:5–6; Ps 139:7–12; Pr 15:3; Je 23:23–24; Ac 17:27 (cf. Ge 28:16; De 4:36; Is 57:15; Jon 1:3–4; Mt 28:20; Ac 2:25; 17:24, 27–28; Eph 1:23; Heb 13:5; Jam 4:8 He is always with us. will never leave or forsake us. Jos 1:5; 1 Chron 28:20; Heb 13:5
So we are talking about His manifest presence: God making Himself visible to our senses.
WAITING FOR THE LORD
♦ general references: Ge 49:18; Job 35:14; Ps 25:5; 62:5; 119:74; 130:5; Is 8:17; 25:9; Mk 15:43 ♦ exhortation concerning: Job 35:14; Ps 27:14; 37:7; Hos 12:6; Zep 3:8 ♦ results of: Ps 25:3; 37:9; 40:1; 147:11; Pr 20:22; Is 40:31; 49:23; 64:4; La 3:25–26; Mi 7:7; Heb 6:15 (cf. Je 8:15) ♦ lack of: Ps 106:13
WHAT DOES BIBLICAL WAITING LOOKS LIKE?
It is more clearly seen in setting up an ambush for the one who promised, “I will be found by you” (Jer. 29:14). Like fishing, i am actively waiting with expectation.
REST H1826. דָּמַם dāmam: A verb meaning to be silent, to be still; to stand still. It depicts the state of being motionless (1 Sam. 14:9; Jer. 47:6). It can be used to command something to be motionless, to stand still (Josh. 10:12, 13), such as the sun. It means to refrain from speech (Lev. 10:3) at an appropriate time (Amos 5:13). It refers to persons being traumatized, rigid, or frozen from fear and fright (Ex. 15:16) like a stone or the silencing of persons through war or other means (Jer. 8:14; 48:2; 49:26; 50:30). It indicates, on the other hand, the absence of emotional distress and churning and the ability to be quiet and relax (Job 30:27; Ps. 4:4[5]; 30:12[13]; 131:2), which Job could not accomplish.
WAITING PATIENTLY H2342. חוּל ḥûl, חִיל ḥiyl: A verb meaning to whirl, to shake, to fear, to dance, to writhe, to grieve. This word has many different meanings, most of which derive from two basic ideas: to whirl in motion and to writhe in pain. The first of these ideas may be seen in the shaking of the earth (Ps. 29:8); the stirring of the waters (Ps. 77:16[17]); or the trembling of the mountains (Hab. 3:10). At times, this word is used in a context of shaking with fear (Deut. 2:25; Jer. 5:22); worshiping in trembling awe (1 Chr. 16:30; Ps. 96:9); or anxiously waiting (Gen. 8:10; Ps. 37:7). It is also used to describe dancing women (Judg. 21:21, 23). The second idea of writhing in pain can be either physical, as when Saul was wounded in battle (1 Sam. 31:3), or emotional, as when Jeremiah grieved in anguish over Jerusalem’s refusal to grieve (Jer. 4:19). This word is often used to describe the labor pains of giving birth (Ps. 29:9; Isa. 26:17, 18; 51:2) but can also imply God’s creating work (Deut. 32:18; Job 15:7; Ps. 90:2; Prov. 8:24, 25).
OUR ACCESS TO GOD HAS BEEN OPENED
Through a new and living way: Heb 10:19
We have access through his righteousness Mat 6:33
Permanent Glory 2 Cor 3:9-18
ABSOLUTE FOCUS:
I was once driving from Northern California to Southern California on Interstate 5. South of Bakersfield I found myself in a dust storm that almost completely blinded me. It covered the entire freeway. There were cars immediately behind me, so I knew stopping could be disastrous. As I got into this cloud of dust I could faintly see cars and trucks scattered all over both sides of the freeway with people waving frantically. Talking with friends, listening to music, and the like are acceptable activities while driving, but they could have been deadly in this moment. Absolute silence filled the car as I worked to maintain my speed and focus on the lane ahead of me. After a minute or two, we made it through that terrifying cloud of death by God’s grace alone. Intense focus restricts what you are willing and able to see. And while this approach will keep you from seeing many things, it will also open your eyes to see more of what you hunger for. Self-control is not the ability to say no to a thousand other voices. It’s the ability to say yes to the one thing so completely that there’s nothing left to give to the other options. Bill Johnson Hosting His presence Unveiling Heaven’s agenda
In die onlangse fliek ͞The Avengers͟ word dit uitgebeeld hoe een van die Agente Phil Coulson besig is om te sterf: In sy sterwens oomblik sê hy: Agent Phil Coulson: You’re gonna lose. Loki: Am I? Agent Phil Coulson: It’s in your nature. Loki: Your heroes are scattered, your floating fortress falls from the sky… where is my disadvantage? Agent Phil Coulson: You lack conviction. Loki: I don’t think I… [Coulson shoots Loki with his BFG, causing Loki to be blown through the wall behind him]
Heb 11:1 NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report. By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
Heb 10:22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness),
 
 

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SIT – Always our First step in the Spirit

If you learn to rest more, you will see more provision, more victory, more revelation, more healing in your life! Mat 11:28 

We do not know how to rest:  The world and schools has only taught us to compete, strive, contend, fight for your rights.  Jesus taught us to give up our life. (Mat 16:24-26)

Peace is eternity now. The Kingdom within Luk 17:21 is to have peace within. Rom 14:17

Romans 14:17  [After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We war with peace: In the Kingdom everything works to the opposite of man.  First will be last etc… When we are at peace we win, conquer, rule, reign, overcome! 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Rom 16:19-20)

A baby learns to sit first before he starts to stand and walk. The Christian life also begins with sitting. God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. (Ephesians 2:6) How well we walk after that depends on how well we sit and rest in the finished work of Christ.

The only “work” left for us to do today is to enter His rest. We are to labor every day to enter His rest. We are to rest inwardly and believe that the work is done because it is a finished work, and trust in God’s undeserved favor toward us. We are to rest in Jesus our true ark, who will carry us through tempestuous waters. One of the first doctrines of the church foundations is – repentance of dead works.  Heb 6:1

So today, “if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts… be diligent to enter that rest”. (Hebrews 4:7, 11)  Let’s enter His rest. Let’s enjoy sitting together with Christ in the heavenly places, (Eph 2:10)

Rest implies “waiting” – then we will run and not be weary! (Isaiah 40:31)

Eze 44:18 The priest should not wear anything that causes sweat.

The ultimate prize, nourishment, comfort, ecstasy, rapture, peace and rest the whole world is seeking are found in God. He is our rest. The more you’ll know Him, the more you will rest.

We do not trust Him, because we do not know Him.  The world’s alternative of Devine rest is drugs, holidays trips, money etc.

Isa 50:60 “They have forgotten their resting place.

Faith is a place of rest:  Running with the medal in my pocket.

The thing that steals your peace will reign over you

The battle is not to get peace, but to keep it.

The enemy’s intend is to steal you peace.

Remain in the rest of faith

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Heb 13:20-21)

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Why persecution is a blessing, and how to endure it

Scripture indicates that believers can expect to face hardship, ridicule and oppression, from individuals and state authorities, on account of their faith. It encourages believers to remain faithful in the face of such persecution and to draw strength from the example of Jesus Christ himself.

THE SOURCE OF PERSECUTION

Jesus warns of the leaven of the Pharisees (Religious order) and Herod (Government Order) Mark 8:15 A reminder that this persecution can also be very subtle.
In Revelation we see the Beast rising out of the sea (Worldly Governments) and the Beast from the Earth (Religious Order) These two orders Crucified Jesus – Rome and the Jews. Since the beginning these are the two greatest enemies of the true church. Gal 4:29 The greatest persecutor of evangelical Christianity is probably liberal Christianity.
Persecution is an intrinsic part of Christianity. In Acts 4:1- 32 are some tremendous insights that we can learn from the way the Apostles handled persecution. For the early church, persecution was a blessing. That is still true today–persecution is a blessing to all churches and all believers.
Persecution is characteristic of this world
Ps 10:2 See also Amos 1:6,9; 2:1; Hab 1:6-11; Rev 6:8; 9:7-10

EXPECT PERSECUTION

2 Tim 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution Mk 10:29-30; 1Th 3:4
Persecution for doing what is right not your own wrongs 1 Pet 3:13-17 “rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” 1 Pet. 4:13.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
We need to endure persecution so that the seed of the Word can take deep root
Mark 4:16-17 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
Family and friends can also be guilty of persecution Mt 10:36 See also Mic 7:6; Ge 4:8; Mt 10:21; Mk 3:21; Gal 4:29
Fear of persecution leads to doctrinal error: Gal 6:12 

TOOLS TO ENDURE PERSECUTION:

Against the Culture, feels like aliens – Citizenship in Heaven Phil 3:20 
Keep yourself unspotted from this world. James 1:27 Do not love the things of the World John 2:15 
“If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also (Luke 6:29);
do not resist an evil person (Matt. 5:39);
A soft answer turns away wrath Prov 15:1 
Let the Spirit speaks Mark 13:11 

ENCOURAGEMENT:

the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world 1 Pet 5:9 
it hated Jesus before it hated you. John 15:18-20 
blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Matt. 5:10)
a crown that will last forever 1 Cor. 9:24–25

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Discover what makes God happy – Multiplication

We often equate faithfulness with being steadfast, consistency, being dependable, reliable, dependable, loyal, true, trustworthy, devoted, truthful. Jesus equates faithfulness with something else – multiplication. Whatever God gives to us, He expects us to multiply and present it back to Him. John Bevere

The Parable of the 10 Virgins (Mat 25:1–13) does not reveal the meaning of “taking oil with you”, and thus many sermons suggested oil, referring to the Holy Spirit. But you cannot buy the Holy Spirit. It is evident that the parable’s focus is about being prepared for the coming of the Lord. These two parables are interrelated, both starting with “then the kingdom of God is likened” and both ending with God’s judgment. The second parable explains the first. The wise virgins were preparing for the unexpected delay of the bridegroom (v. 5). The best way we can prepare for the delay of his coming is, making disciples who can continue after our death. We need to duplicate our lives so that the flame of the gospel can keep burning. Freely we have received, freely we need to give. Mat 10:8

Read the rest of the portion of scripture; Mat 25:14-30

His goods – The money was His, and they were only stewards. My farm worker who uses my car, cannot come and give me back my car, and demand a blessing for returning it. We cannot twist God’s arm with our tithes and giving, to give us more. It is all His in the first place. He wants us to look after it, and make it grow, cultivate it.

Trade: to work, perform by labor, to do, produce, cultivate the earth. Gen 1:28Mat 25:15 five talents The Greek text indicates an amount equal to 75 years’ wages thus the average years of a person’s live. The talents were of silver (money in Matt. 25:18 is argyrion, which means silver money). A talent weighed between 58 and 80 pounds. Again the average weight of a man. Our lives should reproduce, multiply, and cultivate the righteousness, and God-given abilities we have received. The old Protestant preachers would always ask: “what are you going to do with Christ you have received?”

Each according to their ability: we all have received intrinsic natural gifts talents, and influence. Righteousness is receiving sonship; now God wants us to cultivate what we have received.

“you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed” The wicked and lazy servant did not know the character of hIs master. This scripture in-plicately reveals the true meaning of the parable; God wants to reap a harvest where He has not sown, he first sown seed in us, not we sow, and reap a harvest exponentially for Him.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away”

25:29 have abundance, perisseuo (per-is-syoo-oh); Strong’s #4052: To superabound, have in excess, greatly surpass, excel. The word shows the generosity of God’s grace, giving assurance that faithful use of one’s talents and gifts sets the stage for one’s own advancement. The abundance of life is already within you. Your provision is within you. Give yourself, serve others with your abilities and gifts, and provision will follow you. He who chase after money never finds it.

Let’s look at Jesus’ example:

Jesus worked – John 5:17 what was His primary work?

Taught and disciplined 12 men – 2 Tim 2:20 and in the end He presented them back to God. Joh 17:4 He prays for them but eventually pray for their fruitful offspring. Joh 17:20 The seed principle is part of God’s nature, He created every living thing from this principle. Man cannot duplicate this original reproducing seed. The seed man creates cannot reproduce after its original kind. OMG Disciples are gifts. They are added by God in our lives, for a period to raise. Like, children.

Acts 10:38 – went about doing good

Works of faith – Multiplied bread Mat 15:32-39

The circuit of ministry – Mark 6:6 Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

He died – Joh 12:24

Why did the servant hide the talent in the ground? He was afraid of losing it. Scared of taking risks. He did not believe in his own ability. He was also called lazy. This servant was only seeking an excuse to do nothing and not be productive. Excuses are what keeps most people from doing: they try to justify their actions. Excuses like: “evangelism is not my gift or calling, or I cannot sell anything. We become good at anything we practice. We only need to start. We all receive a mostly healthy body, but being lazy we do not cultivate it, we become over-weight, and more and more restricted to do what that the body was made to do. When we exercise we discover that the body is capable of much more, and we begin to do what we thought was impossible.

“Enter into the joy of the Lord” God is well pleased. We enter into Him being happy and delighted at our work, and faithfulness. The end of both these parables concludes: those who did not multiply was not given access to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

We were naturally made to reproduce. Like a tree multiplying its fruit, it is doing what it was made to do. It is natural for a healthy tree to reproduce. Fear, laziness, and stubbornness is not natural. God gave to each one according to their ability, and they had the means, they only had to obey.

May our eyes be opened to the riches that God has placed within us in Christ Jesus. Let us break loose of the lies and excuses that hold us back. Let our lives be productive and multiply that what He has placed in us.