Series: Reproducing the Christ; Changing Seasons
Sun am 1st August 2010 – Kobus Swart
1 John 1:1-4; John 1:1, 14; Eph. 1:20-23; (2 Cor. 2:14-16); (I Cor. 12); Gal. 5:19-23; John 14:14-19; Rom. 5:3-4; Heb. 5:8; Heb. 11:24-26
The challenging issue is how to meet the cry of the world, not on their terms, but how to make the gospel accessible and more real.
Satan is a religious spirit, he comes as an angel of light and his ministers come as ministers of righteousness; very cleverly disguised. When we view Jesus through a religious prism, He is always distant and far away; He’s the historical Jesus. When Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, they couldn’t even recognize Him. Jesus was one of them. Jesus was among them, they could touch Him, feel Him; see Him, hear Him. He was not a ghost (1 John 1:1-4). The Word was God and became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). He was the pattern Son and the many membered Christ cannot be any different. We have to remove the religious paradigm that distorted our picture and understanding of Jesus.
Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, but there’s a sense in which He, His life, the many membered Christ is going to fill all in all here on earth (Eph. 1:20-23). We must spread the fragrance of Christ in the world (2 Cor. 2:14-16). It will not happen if we live in religious isolation. How will the world taste Christ? How will the world handle Him like they were able to do with Jesus 2000 years ago? If you’re a Charismatic you will say He will be manifest through us moving in the gifts of the Spirit. Unfortunately in many cases the gifted brought a reproach on Christ in the world. If giftedness is not backed up by character, it is bound to bring a reproach on the very Person you are trying to represent in the earth. You need both character and gifts. Whenever the Bible talks about gifts, it is always sandwiched between instructions regarding a holy life.
The world out there is not impressed by the Church. How can we correct the situation? We need the powerful demonstration of the gifts of the Spirit, not operating in Church meetings only. We need a whole new experience with and in the Holy Spirit, from a different perspective perhaps than what has been in previous seasons. Gifts have been exalted. Every gift must flow out of sound character. We don’t just want charisma. Gifts destroyed Samson, the man with no character, who was manipulated by a harlot.
We have to look again at the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Gifts and charisma have to be backed up by the fruit of the Spirit. How will Christ then be manifested in His Body on earth? Do I have to wear anything to show I am a follower of Christ? How is Christ going to fill all in all? How will Christ again become somebody that people can touch, see, feel? Not through the religious prism. If you ask me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does no behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. After a little while (a micron of time) the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also.” The answer is the Holy Spirit. Maybe as a family we need to take some drastic steps to get re-acquainted with the Holy Spirit in a new way.
Character building is often helped by going through suffering and difficult times. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope (Rom. 5:3-4). How will you learn patience without being tested? Many times the suffering you go through is the result of your own stupid decisions. Suffering is that process whereby the Lord deals with the weaknesses of the flesh, so that we can be vessels prepared for every good work. Don’t shun the right kind of suffering. It is not always an attack from the devil. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Heb. 5:8).
For the young people: if you fight against being obedient you delay the process towards maturity. Until a certain age you still have to obey your parents. Obedience is worth gold; it teaches you and brings you to a place of maturity. If the pattern Son had to suffer to learn obedience, what about the sons in the house? Do you need to be told in an authoritarian way, “do this, don’t do that” or can you take the Word as it comes as an instruction from the Lord? If the Lord brings a word that spells out certain disciplines that you as a believer should practice, if you don’t obey it, you delay the process of growing up. Jesus listened to His parents. Even when there was an awakening taking place as to who He was, yet He obeyed His parents. Jesus was not a sissy; He was a man’s man. He knew what it was like to cut down a tree and bring it to the carpenter shop. He obeyed His parents until the heavens opened and He was declared a Son.
Young people you need to be trained in righteousness, sometimes through suffering, because it yields the fruit of the Spirit.
Hebrews 11 talks about the heroes of faith. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin”(Heb. 11:25). There are many pleasures on offer in the world, but it is passing pleasure, the pain follows later. Parents, help the plan of God in the lives of your children. Spell out the consequences, show them the way that is right; otherwise we are creating a generation with no backbone, no morals. Where is society heading if it is not for the people of God bringing forth true sons, true daughters; people of faith that can stand up in the crooked world and stand for righteousness?
The cry of the world is “We want to see Jesus.” They are saying to the Church, “Show us your God!” They want to feel the Christ in society, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, where you are interacting with those in the world. What do they sense from you? What do they find when they touch you? It is not enough to come to meetings. Later on they will come and seek you out. I’m challenging you, stand up for the Lord, stand up for what is true; refuse the passing pleasures of sin. This is the challenge to the Church and Church leaders: it’s not the many revelations that will impact the world, it’s the lifestyle.