All churches have been closed since March here in Victoria, Australia. Seven months now and not a whimper from one church leader. Pathetic.
Yesterday we went to a park and sat outside and had church. There were 20 of us. We spaced out in household groups. I’ll admit not many of us were wearing masks.
We worshipped amongst the trees , my husband and I dedicated a baby and we read the Word.
And then someone called the police.
“Who’s the leader here?” they said as they walked over, fully armed. My husband said we were. I showed them my Bible and said that we are having church.
“It’s illegal” she said “you’re having a mass gathering”.
I asked if I could speak to her aside. She reluctantly agreed and I explained to them both that amongst our group there has been two attempted suicides in the last fortnight.
“It’s no excuse for breaking the law” she said.
“I will have to fine each of you $5000 . I have to, we no longer have discretion”.
Before you judge me as being irresponsible and for not obeying the government, just try to imagine yourself in Melbourne . Please try to imagine being in lockdown since March. Stage 4 lockdown since July. Not allowed to leave our homes 22 hours a day, not allowed to see anyone except one person outside and, up till recently, only if you’re walking. Not allowed to leave a 5km radius of our home. Now we are allowed to actually sit in a park with no more than 5 people total and from a maximum of two households. Masks are mandatory at all times. Most workplaces are closed still. Kids have been out of school for months. Suicides are at an all time high for boys under 18.
And churches are shut.
Peope in other states of Australia cannot even grasp what we have been going through down here and I don’t blame them for that. Nobody should have to live like this. There have been moments where I felt I would lose my mind…But for the grace of God…
Many people have though. A couple who owned a beauty business which has been shut for many months, dropped their two kids off at their grandparents and then went and took their own lives.
And yet we count daily covid cases like they’re the only thing that matters now. For the last three weeks our daily covid cases have been 10-15.
So judge me if you like, tell me I’m being irresponsible but I honestly couldn’t care less. We have been smuggling people in to our home for months. We have been running an underground church. We have cast out demons, we have lead people to Christ and we have baptized people. This week we will be baptizing another in our bathtub.
Tell me, can this Anti- Christ government stop Gods work and Gods kingdom? No.
For those who have told me I should submit to government, I want to ask you, what side would you have been on when the Nazis were in power?
The police didn’t end up fining us $5000 each, thank You Lord, they let us off with a warning after all. Even ended up thanking us for the work we are doing. “Just find a way to do it legally,” they said. That is something I cannot figure out.
Our churches will not be open for months and months here.
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
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-3
In the presence of the awesome holiness of God, Isaiah’s sinfulness was utterly exposed. He stood naked before a Holy God.
“ So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5
In the presence of God, our true state is exposed, just as Hebrews 4:13 says:
“And no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
Where we once considered ourselves as pretty ok or good enough, in the light of the glory of God, we see ourselves as we really are: sinful, sinners and deserving of hell. I had this experience myself when I met the Lord. For six months afterwards I felt the weight of my sin and sinfulness. No matter how often I repented I couldn’t get rid of it.
In this place Death is certain, there is no way we can stand before a holy God. Yet it is here that the Altar comes into operation.
“Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs
from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.” Isaiah 6:6, 7
The Throne of God in His holiness does not operate apart from the Altar. It is by the Altar that we can make our approach to God, and it is by the Altar that His Throne reaches out to us in grace.
“The throne, in all its wonderful power, moves by way of the altar”. T Austin Sparks
Grace works only through the shed blood of the cross (ie. altar)
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 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?” Hebrews 9:11-14
It is on the basis of the shed blood of Christ that we can now come in to God’s presence, and there is no other way. After carrying my guilt for six months the Holy Spirit showed me that it is through the shed blood of Christ that my sins are forgiven and my guilt removed. Once I received that revelation I knew I was forgiven and ‘the burden of my heart rolled away’.
Because of the shed blood of our Saviour, the throne of judgement becomes the throne of grace to all who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16
The Contents of the Ark & How They Reveal Christ
There were three items contained in the Ark: the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the unbroken tables of the Law.
These items reveal not only Christ’s work, but also His very Personhood.
The Golden Pot of Manna: reveals Christ as Prophet
The Manna in the wilderness was sent from heaven to feed God’s people. Christ Himself is the true Bread of heaven, sent to feed the world.
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:32, 33
He not only is the Bread of Life, but He also gives bread ie. The Word of God, to others as Prophet.
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
Just as Aaron presented the blood of the atonement before God and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat in the Tabernacle of Moses, so too has Christ, as our Priest, presented His blood before the Father in heaven and sprinkled it on the mercy seat there before God. (see John 20:17 & Revelation 11:19)
Aaron’s rod budded and blossomed as proof that God had chosen him as High Priest in Israel (see Numbers 17). The life which sprang from his dead rod is a picture of the resurrected Christ Himself. Christ’s resurrection proves He is God’s chosen priest on behalf of sinful humanity.
The Tables of Law: reveal Christ as King
These were the two unbroken tables of Law. The first two were broken by Moses when he found the people in the sin of idolatry. These are a picture of humanity’s constant breaking of God’s law.
However the second set of tables were not broken, representing the one Man who never broke God’s law – Christ. These tables of law were constantly in the midst of Israel as the standard God required. This is a picture of Christ as the holy standard. He is the law-giver and the law-keeper. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Yet these tables of Law were under the blood. The blood-stained mercy seat was above the Law and it was through the blood that God beheld the Law.
As we consider the timeless truths contained in the Tabernacle of Moses, let us be reminded that the way is open now in to the Holy of Holies for every believer in Christ. No longer do we have to stay outside in the outer court, we are welcome to enter into the place of fellowship and commune with God around His table. But let’s not stop even there, let us go on into that most intimate place with the Lord, the place of worship in the Holy of Holies.
“ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, …” Hebrews 4:16
Because of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, we are able to approach a high and holy God, the God of Israel and know that He is delighted with us when we come to worship Him. Let us look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, let us seek Him and spend time with Him, because the way through the Veil has been made at the expense of the Son of God’s life. This is no trifling matter, but one of great importance and privilege. Let us not squander so great a privilege but go in to the presence of the King and meet with Him there at the Mercy Seat.
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you knot know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
This is strong language…..Adulterers….Enmity with God…
Obviously friendship with the world is serious business in God’s eyes.
Definition of “The World”.
We all know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
So God does love the world. However in this sense the scripture is talking about the world of people that Jesus died for. It was God’s love for all men under heaven that prompted Him to send His Son into this world to redeem us from the curse of sin and death that entered in with Adam.
However James 4:4 is talking about “the world” as a system. A system that is opposed to God.
The World is Opposed to God
Just as the devil is opposed to Christ and the flesh is opposed to the Spirit, so the world is opposed to all that is of the Father.
It takes its place in the “unholy trinity” as the very antithesis of all that is of the person of God the Father. This opposition to the Father manifests in a determined effort to undermine the Bible, especially Genesis. The creation account, the Flood have come under heavy fire in the last few years, even from Christians.
The World is Independent of God
The world system is not only opposed to God, it is also independent of God.
It is the spirit behind this system that attempted to build the Tower of Babel as a way to reach heaven without God. It is the spirit of independence. It is the same spirit that drives the UN and all other organisations that attempt to play “god” in this world and to re-define “good” and “evil” independent of His laws. It is the reason that God warned Adam and Eve about partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” Psalm 2:2,3
Choosing the way of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the way of opposition, independence and rebellion to God. Remember that to eat of that fruit was a sin, a breaking of a direct command of God not to partake of it.
The world is a system that is totally separate and apart from God. It’s a system that says “we don’t need God and His laws” and then makes their own.
The World is in Rebellion to God and His Laws
It is a system that rises up in defiance of God the Father, as Creator and Sustainer of Life.
God created male and female in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply. This world system calls into question gender and sexuality. God says there are two genders. The world says there is a sliding scale with multiple gender possibilities. God says to male and female to pro-create, to bring forth life. This world says homosexuality is fine and promotes it as a way of keeping the human population under control.
This world undermines the very laws of nature. Breaking the laws of nature always brings death.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of one is Life, the fruit of the other is Death.
This world is in open defiance to God. The spirit behind it knows that God is its enemy. God knows the world is in enmity to Him. It seems that it is only the believers who struggle to realise this truth.
The World System Has its Own Philosophies and Principles.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
God has His principles, laws and the way of salvation clearly laid out in His word, the Bible. But this world rejects God’s Word and instead promotes the philosophies of man, which are opposed to Christ. Atheism, psychology, nihilism, post-modernism, you name it, they are philosophies of man and each are totally opposed to God and His Word.
These philosophies of man essentially become counterfeit gospels which are opposed to the true gospel of Christ. Satan promotes them through the media, social media, books, TV, Hollywood and false Christians.
And yes that includes psychology. This deception has infiltrated the Christian church and taken the place of true Biblical counselling, deliverance from demons and healing. Do not be deceived, it is a counterfeit of the gospel of Christ and brings believers in to bondage rather than setting them free. I am aware at how deeply this has rooted itself in the Church and so I encourage further study of the roots of psychology. Briefly, it is founded and rooted in atheistic philosophy and no amount of applying Biblical words to this philosophy will change the fact that it is of man and is opposed, and therefore in enmity, to the gospel of Christ.
Man’s principles in his “gospel” include: tolerance over truth; love over sin; self over Christ; and the salvation of this planet over the salvation of man.
This World is Under Judgment
This world is under judgment my friends.
No amount of recycling and “climate change” theory will save it. It began in the garden of Eden. When man fell into sin, so too the creation fell with him. God cursed the ground at that point. Praise God that Jesus came and redeemed fallen man from the curse of sin, but this world has not be redeemed. This world and all its systems and man-made philosophies are under God’s judgment and are reserved for fire.
Jesus said “Now is the time for judgment on this world…” John 12:31
The unleashing of God’s wrath on this world because of sin is only being held back by one thing – His Word.
“…the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
But at the moment we can see the birth pangs of judgment are beginning all over the world. Jesus warned us of increasing earthquakes, pestilences, wars, rumours of wars and huge deception in Matthew 24.
Friend of God or Friend of the World?
God considers friendship with the world spiritual “adultery”. We cannot be divided, we are either a friend of God or a friend of the World.
Jesus is ever faithful to His Bride and He in turn wants us to be faithful to Him – the lover of our souls.
Just as a husband would be jealous if his wife had eyes for another man, so too “the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” (James 4:5) for our undivided, wholly devoted love. And who can blame Him? He has laid down His life for us! How much more should we be faithful to such a loving and gracious God?
Therefore “come out from among them and be ye separate.”
We are in the world, but we are no longer of the world. We are other-worldly now. Our true home is in heaven, not on this earth. Therefore I encourage you to look up, enlarge your vision. Be a Friend of God, rather than a friend of this world.
Let us be like Paul and be able to say:
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galations 6:14
“If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of ‘the plan of salvation’ in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airwaves and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, and the Law of God until sinners would cry out, ‘What must we do to be saved?” Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them…. Such drastic action is needed because we have a gospel hardened generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.”
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