True ministry, the kind that bears fruit, the kind that is of eternal value, that is born of the Spirit is accredited by God one way : through suffering.
I have recently had to re-submit my application for Re-Accreditation for Chaplaincy. Generally it was filling in paperwork, submitting references and governmental checks.
But this world’s ways are not God’s ways. He doesn’t care about university or seminary qualifications, although He can and does use them.
God’s way is to put His man through the fire. Rather than go through courses and units, programs in churches, Gods course and purpose is to get us to the point of death. This is what He wants.
I’m not necessarily talking about physical death, but to that place where we come to an end of ourselves and see we are so weak, so useless, so nothing , that we just go “Lord, I can’t even breathe without Your help! I submit to You wholeheartedly! Use me in whatever way You want”.
Ah this is the place where God can now use us. The place of death.
“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
“The sentence of death in ourselves” Paul says here.
“that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,”
That place of death is where we learn we can no longer trust ourselves, only now on God. We, who used to be so strong, so brave, so efficient, can no longer even get to the bathroom without someone helping us.
This was the point I got to last month, so physically unwell.
I re-submitted everything to God in that place. My family, my health, my life, any ministry I may have left… I lay it all on the altar. I gave it all up to Him. Again.
Whilst I was also re-submitting my chaplaincy accreditation..,
This is how He showed me His ministry, true ministry is birthed through death.
Then when everything is laid on the altar, He sends His fire to consume it, and He raises up what HE WANTS, only what He wants, in the power of His resurrection life.
Now all of Him. Nothing of self.
Just like Jesus. Just like Paul.
This is ministry He puts His stamp on. The stamp of death, in order to breathe His life into it.
God’s ministry credentials are born in the fire. Don’t doubt it my friend. If you’re going through suffering God is doing something in you, something of eternal value.
“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” Philippians 3:10 ,11
Two nights ago I waited on the Lord and asked Him to speak to me . He told me “don’t look back, like Lots wife”
I live in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. While the rest of my country has quashed covid-19, here in Melbourne it is running amok amongst the community and the aged care facilities. We are suffering under the weight of heavy restrictions that are costing jobs, hope and lives. What they don’t advertise is the number of suicides as a consequence of our second lockdown in a few months. Today our state government will be announcing stage 4 restrictions. I don’t know what that will mean for our jobs, my kids education etc. But I know my God and I know He is faithful. I trust Him and I praise Him anyway.
Why Melbourne? Why are we facing such a heavy judgement. Of all states in Australia Victoria is the most wicked. We are the only state where late term abortion has been legal for many years, where there is a safe injecting room, where Christian Religious Ed has been outlawed in public schools, where it is now legal to change your gender on your birth certificate with no surgery required. This is allowed even up to once per year! The only state where medical marijuana is legalized, euthanasia became legal one year ago….the list goes on. God has to judge, our wickedness is heaped up to the heavens and there is an outcry against our state.
As the Body of Christ He is trying to get our attention. He is separating us from every thing in this world that we cling to, rely on, trust in. As we see His judgment upon our own city unfold before our eyes we must listen to Him and let go of everything of the world and cling only to Him. He is our only hope now, our refuge , our strength in times of trouble. We must not “look back”, long for, the things of the world that have for so long captured our hearts .
“With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
“God hath had it much on His heart, from all eternity, to glorify His dear and only begotten Son; and there are some special seasons that He appoints to that end, wherein He comes forth with Omnipotent power to fulfill His promise and oath to Him: and these times are times of remarkable pouring out of His Spirit, to advance His kingdom; such a day is a day of His power.” – Jonathan Edwards
About three weeks ago I had a dream that a couple of people were coming to our house for prayer. But when I opened the front door a stream of people came in and kept coming…and coming. All different races of people. I wondered how they knew to come. They said
“We knew you’d be open!”
Our lounge was packed with people and I lifted up my hands and said “No social distancing here!”
The dream ended.
During the lockdown we had been doing a Bible study every morning and two others had been joining us via Messenger. So we just thought now we are “allowed” to have two people come to our house we will just invite them on a Sunday morning to continue this bible study, but now in person.
That was three weeks ago and every week more and more people have come on a Sunday. We have such a blessed time of worship, bible study, prayer and eat lunch together. Yesterday was beautiful. We had guys join us from a Christian halfway house, where they take in men who have come out of jail or rehab and give them a place to live and a job.
The Lord spoke to us about House of Saul versus House of David and the outcasts going to David in the cave at Adullum….
On Friday I said to the Lord “What is going on?” This home-Church thing seems to be taking off at our place FAST, like it’s almost out of our control.
we have literally just opened the doors and people have come.
He gave me this scripture in our family bible study and confirmed It the next day as I was reading the book “Anointed for Burial”
”Go and join this chariot” Acts 8:29
As my friend Tim Shey has said , I think we just need to follow the cloud at the moment guys.
Be willing to do things differently because suddenly all our plans have been interrupted. Like the old thing is dead now. We’ve got to just follow the Lord.
And as my other friend (and spiritual father) Bill Randles has said – the church needs to meet in flesh and blood.
Most Christians are aware that we are justified only by grace through faith, yet a lot tend to mix Law and Grace in sanctification.
That is, they believe that once they are saved by grace, they then need to keep to some sort of code of conduct to remain saved, be it the Ten Commandments, their own set of rules or their church’s. The church where I grew up had written rules and regulations for everything under the sun. There were also unspoken rules that everybody knew, such as, getting to both services on a Sunday was a must, otherwise you would be considered weak in the faith by everybody else.
Thus often a Christian is still under the Law even though he can easily quote “I’m not under law but under grace”.
We need to understand that Law and Grace are two complete systems in themselves, and they are mutually exclusive of each other. You cannot be under both Law and Grace at the same time, neither can you mix Grace with Law. This was the error of the Galatians. But what did Paul say to them :
”O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? 2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Galations 3:1-3
Under grace our acceptance with God is based on the fact that we are in Christ by faith and He is acceptable to God. How we live after being saved is also by grace. He saves us and He sanctifies us, there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We live now not by rules and regulations but by a new principle : the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:2)
That means that Christ lives His life through us. It is His righteousness , not ours.
”and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness , which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” Philippians 3:9
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
How can we Experience the Blood’s Full Power in Our lives?
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”
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