“The way of God’s precepts! Does not that mean that we ought to be acquainted with the relative position which the precepts occupy, for it is very easy brethren, unless God gives us understanding, to preach up one precept to the neglect of another. It is possible for a ministry and a teaching to be lopsided, and those who follow it may become rather the caricatures of Christianity than Christians harmoniously proportioned.
O Lord, what foolish creatures we are! When you do exhort us one way, we run to such an extreme therein that we forget that you have given us any other counsel than that which is just now ringing in our ears….
Is fidelity to the truth your cardinal virtue? Take heed of being unloving.
Is love to God and man your highest aspiration? Beware lest you become the dupe of false apostles and foul hypocrites…
Oh how easy it is to exaggerate a virtue until it becomes a vice.
There is a way about the precepts: there is a chime about them in which every bell gives out its note and makes up a tune. There is a mixture, so much of this and that and the other; and, if any ingredient were left out, the oil would have lost its perfect aroma.
So is there an anointing of the holy life in which there is precept upon precept skillfully mingled, delicately infused, gratefully blended, and grace given to keep each of these precepts, and so the life becomes sweet like an ointment most precious unto the Lord…” (emphasis mine)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, aka The Prince of Preachers
From “The Student’s Prayer” sermon, delivered 1877 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
“Old-fashioned” but never-ending
“Old-fashioned” but never-failing
“Old fashioned” but ever speaking
Give me the old-fashioned power of the blood, that old rugged cross and the exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord and there’s nothing that can stand in my way as a blood-bought child of God.
The old fashioned power of the Blood of Jesus Christ is still there on the mercy seat in Heaven before the Father. It has never been removed, it has never lost its power and it never will.
But the devil doesn’t want the Church to know the power of the blood. In particular there has been a sustained effort to cover it up over these last few decades. So let’s have a look at it.
What power does the Blood have?
What gives the Blood its power?
And how can we experience the Blood’s full power in our lives?
The Power of the Blood of Jesus
- Peace is made between man and God Colossians 1:20
“ and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
- Forgiveness of sins Colossians 1:14
“ in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
- Eternal Life John 6:54
“Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
- Satan is Overcome Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
- Continual Cleansing from all Sin 1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
- Set Free from bondage to a Guilty Conscience to Serve God Hebrews 9:14
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
- Liberty to Enter and Remain in the Holy of Holies of God’s Presence Hebrews 10:19
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,”
What Gives the Blood its Power?
Like the old hymn says “There’s power, power wonder-working power in the Blood of the Lamb”…
The Blood of the Lamb surely has power even now. We can testify to its power to cast demons out of people, save people and set them free..
But it is the power of the blood of the Lamb.
- Jesus Became the Lamb of God
Not a mighty warrior, a conquering superhero, but a Lamb. A lamb has a meek and humble disposition. A lamb doesn’t fight. A lamb is led to the slaughter quietly, a lamb doesn’t protest.
It is the power of the blood of the Lamb
“So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Rev 7:14
Jesus became the Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world. He was the final Lamb in fulfilment of all those thousands of lambs in the Old Covenant that were killed on the altar for man’s sin.
He literally became the physical Lamb as an atonement, but it was more than that.
- The Disposition of the Lamb
He was also the Lamb in disposition. Jesus was meek and unresisting. In total submission to the Father He allowed man to do whatever they wanted to Him and He didn’t fight back, He didn’t resist, nor protest. He yielded the whole time, even to death.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phil 2:8
“He’s not merely the Lamb because He died on the cross, but He died on the cross because He’s the Lamb.” Roy Hession
Hebrews 9:14 says “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God…”
Truly Christ was so humble that He offered Himself to God as the Lamb, willing to do whatever the Father wanted.
It was because of this disposition of utter self-denial, of the complete surrender of the Lamb and of His deep humility that God exalted Him and gave Him the Name above every name.
So we see how valuable this disposition is to God. This was the disposition He was after when He created Adam. But Adam rebelled against his Creator and took the path of Self instead. Thus all mankind has followed Adam down this path of Self and rejected submission to our Creator and God. This is the essence of sin: self and pride.
But God found that disposition in one Man: the Man Christ Jesus.
And His shed blood is the ultimate expression of this humility.
“It was because the shedding of His blood so supremely expressed this disposition that it is so utterly precious to God and so all-availing for man and his sin” Roy Hession
Just as the shed blood’s power comes from the Lamb’s disposition, so too in our own lives, the power of the blood becomes available to us as we follow the Lamb and partake of His divine nature.
Just as He submitted fully to the Father’s will and yielded up His life to Him, so we too can know the full power of the Blood as we submit to the Father, willingly and quietly obeying His will, laying down our own wants, desires, rights and ambitions. As we offer up our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him, He fills us with His Spirit and the disposition of the Lamb becomes ours.
Lord, help us to truly submit to You. To lay down our life for you as You lay down Your life for us. As we do, fill us with your Spirit and may the fruits of the Spirit, such as meekness, gentleness truly become evident in our lives. We thank you for becoming the Lamb who took away our sins, may we become lambs now and follow You wherever you go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
*Based on teaching from Roy Hession’s book “The Calvary Road”
“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him? It would be the druggie every time.”
I said “I agree with you Shaz.”
That stopped her for a second.
We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee. I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well. So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing. Instead she had the sugar bowl. With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke. The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it. Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.
But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,
“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”
Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one. To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her. And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.
Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people. When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch. We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent. They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.
I first met Shaz in March. I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there. Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age. She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented. And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.
As I listened to her story my heart broke. And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her? ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me! I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’
I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried. I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.
Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left. I said to God that I am sorry I failed. I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.
Two weeks later she was back at the mission.
She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life. I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”
Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.
And pretty much that has been our relationship since. She clings to me, she pushes me away. She seeks me out, she runs and hides. Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again. One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me. She literally clung to me. The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back. And she clung and clung. Then she ran out of the building.
As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time. It was exhausting.
I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.
Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.
She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.
I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.
Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to. The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends. To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have. I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.
I cry for the church.
*not her real name
So it looks like Israel (Izzy) Folau may be a Oneness Pentecostal.
Izzy’s “non-mainstream Christianity” is the new line the media is taking in their reporting of this whole fiasco.
When I first read about it I didn’t believe it. I just thought that it was another way the media was attacking him for his faith. But having looked into it myself and going by his own words in his own tweets, which I will share, it looks like it may be true.
This is disturbing to me, for two main reasons:
- I was brought up in a Oneness Pentecostal cult and so I know the false doctrine that pervades this system of false theology and
- I have supported him thus far, what should I do now?
My Upbringing in a Cult
I have hesitated to share my upbringing in a cult for the sake of my parents. I love and respect them as parents, grandparents and Christians and so I don’t want to bring any dishonour to them. So before I begin my brief discourse here, I will say that although they brought me up in the Revival Centres International cult, they left when I was in my 20’s and then they were absolutely instrumental in getting me out of the cult. When I was still indoctrinated with the false teachings they would give me sermons to listen to by Bill Randles, David Wilkerson and Paris Reidhead. In fact it was by listening to “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, which my mum had given me, that I was convicted of sin and turned to the true Christ. So I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and I honour them for that.
So back to Oneness Pentecostalism… I was taught and fully believed :
- that there was no such thing as the Trinity, or Godhead, that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit was an impersonal force and not a person.
- that you must speak in tongues to be saved,
- Acts 2:38 was the go-to scripture that we preached, it was the 3-step formula for how to be saved
- that once you spoke in tongues you could not sin ever again because there is no more forgiveness for sin after that cut-off point,
- that the devil was also an impersonal force of evil, not a person, or he was just “the world system”,
- that there was no heaven nor hell,
- Adam and Eve were not the first people on earth, they were the first farmers,
- British Israelism was true
- That we were the only ones really saved etc etc
I remember clearly the head Pastor, Lloyd Longfield, specifically saying “Jesus is not deity”. (After I left RCI I prayed and do hope that he may have repented of everything before he died.)
I spoke in tongues when I was 9 years old and so from that moment on I believed I could never sin again, because “there remained no more sacrifice for sin”. Can you imagine the uncertainty, the bondage, the guilt that was provoked by this doctrine? I remember as a teenager, and even into my 20’s trying to work out whether I had done such and such a sin before or after I was 9 years old, so was I forgiven? Was I saved? Salvation was a tenuous thing that you could lose at any moment. We viewed God as an exacting tyrant looking for any little thing we’d done just so He could wipe our name out of the Book of Life. The pastors would say there was no way of knowing if you’re forgiven, so “just do your best”.
So then a religion of works would kick in… have I done enough to expiate my earlier sins? Will God forgive me now? Legalism was rife. There were rules for everything. People were encouraged to “dob” others in when they broke a rule otherwise “their sin would be on your head”. I remember the fear of that. I dobbed in a fellow teenager for using magic mushrooms because I was terrified his blood would be on my hands.
But all PRAISE TO JESUS, who is God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14) for leading me out of false doctrine by His Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Godhead, (John 14:15-17) and revealing that “it is by grace I have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works…” Ephesians 2:8-9. I thank my loving, Heavenly Father that He is not a tyrant but a good God who is ever so faithful to keep me and love me just as I am. I am ever so grateful for the BLOOD of Jesus that even when I do sin it continually cleanses me and that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just and forgives me. (1 John 1)
So back to Izzy’s beliefs…
Izzy Folau’s church is called the True Church of Jesus Christ. I have no idea whether they believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or not, or any of the other things I used to believe, but they are Trinity-deniers as Izzy’s own tweets show:
This goes against orthodox Christianity as well as the Word of God. (See 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14; Matthew 28:19)
He does also seem very focussed on Acts 2:38 as a 3-step formula which rings alarm bells for me coming out of that false theology:
So What To Do Now With this Knowledge?
I cannot support Izzy’s false doctrine, because it is a denial of the true Christ of the Bible. I cannot and do not agree with him or his church in what they believe or teach. I have written to him in love on his Twitter account to inform him of his erroneous beliefs and how I cannot support them, especially since I have come out of similar beliefs myself.
However I still do support his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech. I still believe he should not have lost his livelihood because he quoted a scripture. I still believe the scripture he quoted, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is right and he had a right to quote it. The fact is that many non-Christians will not understand the difference in orthodox or non-orthodox theology and so I still believe he should fight this as a champion for freedom of speech and Christianity in this country.
It’s not perfect but I guess it’s along the lines of what the late, great Francis Schaeffer said about “co-belligerence”:
“An ally is a person who is a born-again Christian with whom I can go a long way down the road . . . A co-belligerent is a person who may not have any sufficient basis for taking the right position but takes the right position on a single issue. And I can join with him without any danger as long as I realize that he is not an ally and all we’re talking about is a single issue.”
I pray for Izzy that he will see the truth and repent of his erroneous beliefs, just as I had to do.
Happy to hear your thoughts on this!
”Looking back to that day, I can clearly see what I did not then understand : that God’s Holy Spirit was leading me step by step, convincing me of my need, convicting me of my sins, and pressing the awful and tremendous fact upon me- if I die as I am,I shall die without Christ.”
page 22, Seen and Heard
James McKendrick, born in Scotland 1859, left school at age 9 to begin work in the mines. Saved in 1881 He soon became a preacher and evangelist, leading many to Christ in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.
More to follow…