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shibu
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

October 2005
[b]2. UNITY IN VARIETY[/b]

There is a God-ordained variety in the Body of Christ.

God uses our different temperaments and gifts to present a balanced picture of Christ to the world. By ourselves, each of us can at best present only a distorted and unbalanced image of Christ. Any single person's ministry, by itself, can only produce unbalanced Christians. How thankful we have to be that there are others in the Body with different emphases and temperaments. For example, if two brethren are ministering the Word to the same group of believers, and one's emphasis is, "Don't be too sure that you are filled with the Holy Spirit, for you may be deceiving yourself", and the other brother's emphasis is, "Be sure you are filled with the Holy Spirit", on the surface they may appear to be contradicting each other. But both emphases are needed - so their ministries could be mutually complementary.

In the Body of Christ, we can have the followers of Calvinistic and Arminian theology working together, each bringing their distinctive emphases - for both viewpoints are in the Bible. As Charles Simeon once said in this connection, "The truth is not in one extreme nor in the other. Much less is it in the middle. The truth is in both extremes held simultaneously." So, we need people presenting both extremes.

Then again, there is room for 'outgoing' personalities as well as for shyer ones. Different temperaments can be mutually complementary. Some people may be over-cautious; never taking a step forward without much deliberation, weighing all the 'pros and cons', and wondering for a long time whether to move or not. Others are more carefree and tend to rush ahead enthusiastically, without thinking deeply about the consequences. Because both these (and other) kinds of personalities are found in the Body of Christ, there is a balance. If the Body consisted only of hesitant, deep- thinking personalities, progress might be too slow. Conversely, if the Body consisted only of impetuous enthusiasts, there might be too many unfinished projects.

Each temperament has its strengths and weaknesses. A variety of people with a variety of temperaments, working together as Christians, can present a more complete and more accurate picture of Christ to the world. So we should not be wasting our time trying to make everyone in the Body like ourselves. We should allow each one to be himself. What we do need to concentrate on, is how our strengths could support another's weaknesses. His strengths could in turn support our weaknesses.

By working together, Peter and John (men of different temperaments) brought more glory to God than they could ever have done independently. Paul and Timothy - strikingly different in their temperamental make-up - could yet labour together in the gospel and form a powerful team.

There are brilliant intellectuals as well as those with mediocre minds in the church. Naturally, their presentations of the truth of God will vary. But neither category can despise or criticize the other, for both are equally needed in the Body, to present the gospel to a world consisting of intellectuals and non-intellectuals, philosophers and housewives, students and farmers, etc., God needed a genius and a scholar like Paul for His work as well as an unlearned fisherman like Peter. They had different styles of preaching the same good news, but each had a distinctive part to play, and neither could have done the work that God did through the other, just as ably.

Conversion does not alter a man's intellectual capacities. Neither does it compel him to change his social status. The gospel does not eradicate the heterogeneous nature of society here on this earth, although social distinctions do become irrelevant in Christ. God had need for a wealthy man like Philemon as well as for Onesimus who was a servant in Philemon's house. Their social levels and standards of living remained unchanged, but each of them had a distinct contribution to make to the Body of Christ, that the other could never make; and so they could labour together in the gospel.

God never intended the Body of Christ to be full of people who were exactly alike in every way - like motor cars turned out of a factory. No. The very ministry of the Body is dependent upon the variety of its members. There would have been stagnation and spiritual death if all were alike.

Even our disagreements with one another can be used of God to deepen our fellowship and lead us on to spiritual maturity. Proverbs 27:17 says, " Iron sharpens iron. So one man sharpens another." Two "iron men" can sharpen each other instead of clashing with each other.

Sometimes God places two people with different temperaments together in His work, and as they labour together, the sparks may fly between them, but this may be God's way of "sharpening" them. If one person is like iron and the other like clay, there will be no sparks and no sharpening either. Instead there will be the imprint of the iron on the clay - one strong-willed person's opinion forced on the weak-willed person. God's intention however is not that one person should force his views on another, but rather that both should learn from each other. We can disagree, but we can still be united, and still love one another. In fact, we can love one another more deeply in such cases.

I believe God permits differences of opinion (on non- fundamental matters) between different members of the church so that there is greater opportunity for the exercise of Christian love. Loving one another would have been an easy matter if we all saw eye-to-eye on every matter. But when we disagree, our love is tested. So we need to thank God for disagreements that do not divide or disunite us.

A Christian fellowship that boasts no differences of opinion is 'suspect'. The members of such a fellowship are either failing to think for themselves or being dominated by one strong-willed person.

True Christian fellowship is forged and sharpened on the anvil of healthy, loving disagreements.


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Shibu Clement

 2005/11/8 6:22Profile
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

October 2005
[b]3. FOUR GOLDEN RULES[/b]

1. Receive all whom God has received

"God has placed the members in the Body just as He desired...that there should be no division in the Body" (1 Cor.12:18, 25). God has raised up men at different times in different lands to restore a pure testimony for Him. But after those men of God died, their followers have made their groups exclusive and cultistic. But the body of Christ is larger than any group. And we must never forget that. The bride of Christ is found in many, many groups today. So we must seek for fellowship with all whom the Lord has accepted, even though we may not be able to work together with many of them, because of differences in interpretation of the Word of God.

2. Treat every human being with dignity

"With our tongue, we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way" (James 3:9, 10). Any word or action that degrades a human being is never from God. It is always from Satan who forever seeks to demean and degrade people. We are commanded to speak "with gentleness and respect" (1 Pet.3:15) to all people - whether they be our wives, our children, younger people, beggars or enemies. All men must be treated with dignity. For example, when giving a gift to a poorer brother, we must do so, without robbing him of his dignity as a human being. We must be his brother and not his benefactor.

3. Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit

"Be (being) filled with the Spirit" (Eph.5:18 - Literal). It is impossible to live the Christian life, as God wants us to, if we are not continually filled with the Holy Spirit. It is impossible to serve God as we should without being anointed with the Spirit and receiving His supernatural gifts. Jesus Himself needed to be anointed. The Holy Spirit has come to make us like Jesus in our personal lives as well as in our ministry (See 2 Cor.3:18). God fills us with the Spirit in order to conform us to the likeness of Christ in our character, and to equip us to serve as Jesus served. We do not have the same ministry that Jesus had, and so we won't be able to do what Jesus did in His ministry. But we can be as fully equipped to serve God as Jesus Himself was - to fulfill OUR OWN ministry. All that is required is an adequate thirst and faith, on our part, for rivers of living water to flow out through us (Jn.7:37-39). We must earnestly long for the gifts of the Spirit if we are to have them (1 Cor.14:1). Otherwise we will never have them. A church without the gifts of the Holy Spirit is like a man who may be living but who is deaf, blind, mute and lame - and therefore useless.

4. Know God intimately

"The people who know their God will be strong" (Dan.11:32) Today, God does not want us to know Him second-hand through others. He invites even the youngest believer to know Him personally (Heb.8:11). Jesus defined eternal life as knowing God and Jesus Christ personally (John 17:3). This was the greatest passion of Paul's life and must be our greatest passion too (Phil.3:10). One who desires to know God intimately, will have to listen to Him always. Jesus said that the only way man could keep himself spiritually alive was by listening to EVERY word that proceeded from God's mouth (Matt.4:4). He also said that to sit at His feet and listen to Him was the most important thing in the Christian life (Lk.10:42). We must develop the habit that Jesus had of listening to the Father from early morning every day (Isa.50:4), right through the day; and then to be in a listening attitude in the hours of night when we are asleep too - so that if we ever wake up from our sleep at night, we can say, "Speak, Lord, Your servant is listening" (1 Sam.3:10). Knowing God will make us overcomers in all situations - because God has a solution for every problem that we face - and if we listen to Him, He will tell us what that solution is.


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 2005/11/8 6:24Profile
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

October 2005
[b]4. GOD LOOKS FOR A MAN OF CHARACTER[/b]

Job was one of God's choice servants. God could point him out to Satan, as one man on earth who feared God in all his ways. "The Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'" (Job 1:8). God says nothing about Job's intelligence or his talents or his wealth - for these have no value to God. He only points out his purity and his uprightness. As in the case of Jesus, it was Job's character and not his accomplishments or his ministry that delighted the heart of God. Even Satan has supernatural gifts and intelligence. He has Bible-knowledge too!! What God looks for however, is character. When God tests us, He tests our character - not our knowledge of the Bible. When God looks for a man whom He can boast in, whom He can point out to Satan, He looks for a man of character - a blameless and an upright man, one who fears God and hates evil. We may have a reputation among other believers for our spirituality. But can God, Who knows us through and through, point us out to Satan? Such a certificate as God gave Job is greater than any earthly honour that we can ever get. All the empty honour of Christendom too is as useless rubbish compared to that. So the most important question is not "What opinion do others have of my spirituality?" but rather "Can God point me out to Satan as one Whom He can boast in?"

When God told Satan about Job, Satan said that Job was serving God because he had benefited and profited thereby. "Satan answered the Lord, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face.'" (Job 1:9-11). God refuted that charge and allowed Satan to test Job to find out for himself that his charge was not true. God did that because He knew Job's integrity. How about us? Do we serve God for material profit? Would God have to acknowledge that Satan was right, if Satan pointed to any of us as one who served God for personal gain? God had such confidence in Job that he could permit Satan to test him. Even though Job lost all his children and his property in one day, yet he continued to worship and serve God. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:20-22). He knew that all that he had - children and property and even health itself - were God's free gifts to him and that God had every right to take these away when He so desired. One cannot truly worship God until one has forsaken all - that is, given up the right to possess anything as one's own.

God then allowed Satan to go one step further and to afflict Job with boils from head to foot. Sickness is from Satan. But even that can be used by God to sanctify and perfect His servants.

Satan's third step was to afflict Job through his wife. "Then Job's wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9). It can be quite a test of your sanctification, when your own wife turns against you and accuses you. If you have a difficult wife, instead of complaining of your lot in life and envying others who have godly wives, you could look at your circumstances as a means to your own sanctification. God tests you under those very circumstances to see if you qualify to get His certificate of approval. He tests you, when your wife shouts at you and taunts you, to see whether you qualify to be a true representative of Jesus Who was even called insane by His own relatives. The gospel record says, "Jesus' own people......went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, 'He has lost His senses.'" (Mk.3:21). Jesus bore that insult with patience. We are called to follow Him and to represent Him.

Satan's fourth step was to accuse Job through his preacher- friends (Job chapters 4 to 25). This was the hardest blow for Job to bear - because those preachers came to him and acted like prophets of God telling him that all his sicknesses were due to his secret sins. Little did those preachers realise that they were unconsciously acting as agents for the 'Accuser of the brethren' (Rev.12:10). But God permitted them to do that in order to purify Job.


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Shibu Clement

 2005/11/8 6:25Profile
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

October 2005
[b]5. TRUE WORSHIP INVOLVES OBEDIENCE AND SACRIFICE[/b]

In Genesis 22 the paragraph begins with the phrase, "After these things.... ." As we look at the circumstances that immediately precede this hour of testing, we find Abraham in a triumphant position. The heathen had come to him and said, "Abraham, we've been watching your life and we know that God is with you in all that you do" (Gen. 21:22). No doubt they had heard of the miraculous way in which Sarah conceived, and were convinced that God was with this family. Ishmael had been sent away. Isaac was now the darling of Abraham's heart. Abraham stood in grave danger, at this time, of losing his first love and devotion for God. And so God tested him again, and told him to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice.But Abraham had ears to hear, and a heart that was willing to obey anything that God commanded. He rose up early the next morning and went forth to obey God (v. 3). The record does not tell us what the old patriarch went through, during the previous night, after God had spoken to him. I am sure he did not sleep that night. He must have kept awake and gone and looked at his beloved son again and again; and the tears must have rolled down his eyes as he thought of what he had to do to him. How difficult it must have been for Abraham to offer up the son of his old age. But he was willing to obey God at any cost. Fifty years or so, earlier, he had put his hand to the plough when God called him in Ur; and he would not now look back.There was no limit to his obedience and no end to his willingness to sacrifice for his God. No wonder he became the friend of God.

There was faith in Abraham's heart as he went up to sacrifice Isaac, that God would somehow raise his son from the dead. Hebrews 11:19 tells us that. God had already given Abraham a foretaste of resurrection-power in his own body and in Sarah's, through the birth of Isaac. Surely it would be no problem for such a God to bring back to life an Isaac who was slain on the altar. And so Abraham tells his servants when leaving them at the foot of Mount Moriah, "I and the lad will go yonder and worship and (we will both) come (back) again to you" (v. 5). That was a word of faith. He believed that Isaac would come back with him. Notice too that he tells his servants, "We are going to worship God." He is not complaining that God is requiring too much from him, neither is he boasting about the marvelous sacrifice that he is about to make for God. No. Abraham did not belong to the category of those who subtly inform others about the sacrifices they make for God. Abraham said he was going to worship his God. And there we understand something of the real meaning of worship. Remember how Jesus once said, "Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it and was glad" (John 8:56). Surely it must have been here on Mount Moriah that Abraham saw the day of Christ. In prophetic vision, the aged patriarch saw in his own action, a picture (faint though it be) of that day when God the Father Himself would lead His only begotten Son up Calvary's hill and offer Him up as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. And that day on Mount Moriah, Abraham knew something of what it would cost the heart of God to save a wayward world. He came to a place of intimate fellowship with the heart of God that morning. Yes, he worshipped God - not just with beautiful words and hymns, but through costly obedience and sacrifice.

A deep and intimate knowledge of God can come only through such obedience. We may accumulate plenty of accurate theological information in our minds; but real spiritual knowledge can come only when we give up everything to God. There is no other way. Abraham was being tested here as to whether he would love the Giver or His gifts more. Isaac was undoubtedly the gift of God, but Abraham was in danger of having an inordinate affection for his son. Isaac was becoming an idol who would cloud Abraham's spiritual vision. And so God intervened to save Abraham from such a tragedy.

God was teaching Abraham on Mount Moriah the blessedness of being emptied of everything and possessing nothing. Before that day, Abraham had held Isaac with a possessive spirit. But after he laid his son on that altar and gave him up to God, he never possessed Isaac again. Yes, it is true that, God gave Isaac back to Abraham, and Abraham had him at home. But he never possessed Isaac as his own again. Isaac, thenceforth, was God's. And Abraham held Isaac as a steward holds the property of his master. In other words, he had Isaac, but he never again possessed him.

This is to be our attitude to the things of this world. We can have them and use them. But we are never to cling to any one of them. Everything we own should have been placed on the altar and given completely to God. We must possess nothing. We can then keep only that which God gives back to us from the altar - and we are to keep even such things only as stewards. Only then can we truly worship God.

This principle does not apply to material things alone. It applies to spiritual gifts as well. It is possible for us to hold even the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a possessive way. Was not Isaac the gift of God? Why couldn't Abraham hold on to him then? To have to send away Ishmael was understandable, because he was not the promised seed. But Isaac's case was different. He was God's gift, produced in God's strength. Why should Abraham have to give him up as well?And so we may argue too. We can understand the need to give up our attachment to the things of the world. But surely, we feel, we can hold on to the gifts that God Himself has given us. But God says, "No. Lay even your spiritual gifts (which I have given you) on the altar and give them back to me, lest they fill your life and cloud your vision of Me, the Giver." God would have us delivered from any inordinate attachment to even the most sacred gifts of the Spirit that He has given us. He wants us to sacrifice even the "Isaacs" that we have received from Him and not cling to any one of them. Isn’t it this that many believers have not seen? They have given up their Ishmaels but not their Isaacs. They have given up sinful things. But the gifts that God gave them they are now using to glorify themselves - like the prodigal son, who took his father's gifts and spent them on himself.

What is it that fills our vision - our gifts and our ministry, or the Giver Himself? This is what we need to ask ourselves constantly. We are most in danger when God has blessed us much and used us greatly. It is so easy at such times to lose the vision of God. We need to go back to the altar on Mount Moriah again and again and give our all to God repeatedly. True worship begins when the Giver Himself fills our hearts and our vision. Only then can we safely use His gifts. Otherwise we shall abuse God's gifts and prostitute them to selfish uses. Isn’t this the reason why there is so much misuse of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our day?


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Shibu Clement

 2005/11/8 6:26Profile









 Re: Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

I enjoyed Zac's preaching untill he said all the old testament prophecies refer to the new testament church!
What gall. It is called replacement theology and insults the God he worships
How can such a great guy miss it so obviously I wonder
Gen 12:3

 2005/11/13 16:26
shibu
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

November 2005
[b]2. WATCH YOUR DECISIONS[/b]

Every day we make decisions concerning various matters. We make decisions in relation to how we are going to spend our money or our spare time, or how to speak to, or about someone, or how to write a particular letter, or how to react to another's behaviour, or how much time to spend in studying the Word or in prayer or in serving the church etc., We react to the actions and words and behaviour of people around us from morning till night. We may not be realising it, but we make at least a hundred decisions every day - and in each of those decisions we decide either to please ourselves or to please God. Many of our actions are not the result of conscious decisions. But even then, we do them in one of these two ways - either seeking to please ourselves or to glorify God. Our unconscious actions are determined by the way we make our conscious decisions. Finally, it is the sum total of these decisions that determine whether we become spiritual or carnal. Think of the millions of decisions that we have made ever since we were first converted. Those who have consciously and consistently chosen to deny their self-will many times each day and to do the will of God, have become spiritual. On the other hand, those who have rejoiced merely in the forgiveness of their sins, and who therefore chose to please themselves most of the time have remained carnal. Each person's decisions have determined what he has finally become. You are today as humble and as holy and as loving as you yourself have chosen to be, through the thousands of decisions that you have made in the various situations of life in past years. Spirituality is not something that comes through one encounter with God. It is the result of choosing the way of self-denial and of doing God's will CONSISTENTLY day after day, week after week, and year after year.

Consider the spiritual state of two brothers (both converted to Christ on the same day), ten years after their conversion. One is now a mature brother with spiritual discernment, to whom God can commit much responsibility in the church. The other is still a child, without discernment, and needing to be fed and encouraged by others constantly. What is it that has made such a difference between the two? The answer is: The little decisions that they took during each day of the ten years of their Christian life. If they continue on in the same way, in another 10 years, the difference between them will be even more pronounced. And in eternity, their differing degrees of glory will be as different as the light emitted by a 2000-watt bulb and a 5- watt bulb!! "One star differs from another star in glory" (1 Cor.15:41).

If you determine to be faithful from now on, you will have no regrets in eternity, no matter how much you may have failed in your past life up until now. Take life seriously then. Think of how Jesus lived in the days of His flesh in Nazareth, and follow His example. Say to yourself, "I have been born on this earth, to DENY my own will, and to DO the will of my Heavenly Father". Let Jesus alone be your Example. You have a calling over your life and you cannot afford to lose that, no matter what else you may lose on this earth. Think often of the day when you will have to give an account of your life at the judgment-seat of Christ. So forget the blunders that you have made in life. Repent radically of your sins and be wholehearted in the days to come. God forgives you and blots out your past. Don't mope over your failures now, or you will be a drifter in the future too. The memory of your failures will help you to recognise that you are what you are only by the grace of God. It will also enable you to keep your face in the dust at all times before God. Determine that you will become a true man/woman of God.


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Shibu Clement

 2005/11/13 22:38Profile
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

November 2005
[b]3. REST AND FELLOWSHIP[/b]

The Old Testament sabbath was a picture of rest for God's people in the new covenant (Heb. 4:9,10). It is rest in God that has to come first before we can do anything of eternal value.

When God made Adam on the sixth day, He sanctified the very next day as a day of rest. Though it was chronologically the seventh day, yet for Adam, it was his very first day. The law, which came 2500 years later, stated "Six days shalt thou work and the seventh day thou shalt rest". But for Adam God instituted first a day of rest and fellowship and then six days of work. That is grace. Under grace, the "day of rest" comes first. We have to enter into rest before we can serve the Lord. Then every day of our earthly life can be a sabbath. And that is God's intention for us.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus why Moses permitted divorce under the law, He replied that it was a temporary provision made for man as long as his heart was hard (Matt. 19:8). But, Jesus said that it was not God's perfect will from the beginning. Many things in the law were part of God's permissive will - not His perfect will. But now that the new covenant has been established, God desires that we live in His perfect will - as He intended man to live "from the beginning" (Matt. 19:8). And so for us, as for Adam, it is this rest that must come first. Life must be a perpetual sabbath of rest in God.

Only when we enter into rest can we joyfully testify that God's commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3). Where God's commandments are considered to be a burden, and the message of denying oneself and obedience to all the commandments is considered to be bondage, it is evident that such a person has not yet come under the yoke of Jesus. He is still labouring under his own yoke, under the law.

In the Outer Court of the tabernacle and even in the Holy Place, there is plenty of activity. But in the Most Holy Place, inside the veil, there is no activity - only fellowship. Even service for God flows out of that fellowship. That is the difference between Old Testament service and New Testament ministry. This is clearly illustrated by Martha and Mary, in the incident described in Lk. 10:38-42. Mary was (symbolically speaking), in the Most Holy Place - at rest, fellowshipping with the Lord. Martha was in unrestful service ("for the Lord") in the Outer Court. Jesus said that what Mary had chosen was the one thing everyone needed.

The veil has now been rent by Jesus and we can boldly enter and dwell in the Most Holy Place - of fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, all our days. If only we could see this: That what God desires from man first of all, is not service, not Bible-reading, not fasting and prayer, etc., but fellowship.

Adam was created by God in His image - not because God wanted a gardener for Eden, but because He wanted someone with whom He could have fellowship. God did not save us out of the pit of sin in order that we might serve Him, but rather in order that we might have fellowship with Him. It is due to a lack of understanding of this, that multitudes of believers are weary and heavy laden today, just like Martha.

At the age of 95, having walked with God for over 65 years, the apostle John decided to write a letter - inspired by the Holy Spirit. The theme of his letter was 'fellowship' (1 Jn. 1:3). Having seen churches and leaders who had left their first love (Rev. 2:4) and who now had a name that they were alive (with all their varied Christian activities) but who were in fact dead in God's sight (Rev. 3:1), John certainly saw that the great need was to lead Christians into the joy of fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, inside the rent veil.

There may be joy found in several fields of activity. Some find it in sport, some in music, some in their profession, and some even in Christian work. But the purest joy in the universe is to be found only in fellowship with the Father (1 Jn. 1:4). The psalmist says, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy" (Psa. 16:11). This was the "joy set before Him" that made Jesus willing to endure the cross daily (Heb. 12:2). The fellowship with the Father was Jesus' most prized possession. He did not value anything else in the universe in comparison with that. This fellowship was what Jesus knew would be broken on Calvary, when for three hours He would have to endure the agonies of an eternal hell for lost humanity (Matt. 27:45). Then the Father would have to forsake Him and the fellowship that He enjoyed with the Father from all eternity would be broken for three hours. He dreaded that break of fellowship so greatly that He sweated great drops of blood in Gethsemane. The cup that He prayed to be removed from Him was just this: A break of fellowship with His Father.

If only we could see this and be gripped by it! How lightly we speak and sing about following Jesus! To follow Jesus means to value fellowship with the Father like He did. Sin would then become exceedingly sinful to us, for it breaks our fellowship with the Father. An unloving attitude towards another human being would not even be tolerated, for it would break our fellowship with the Father, etc.

May the Lord give us revelation so that we see clearly that true Christianity is nothing less than a life of unbroken fellowship with a loving Father in heaven.


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Shibu Clement

 2005/11/23 23:03Profile
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 Word For The Week - by Zac Poonen

November 2005
[b]4. Three Levels Of Spiritual Development[/b]

In John's gospel, Jesus used the symbol of water to describe three levels of spiritual development possible through the Holy Spirit:

Level 1: In John 3:5, He spoke of being "born of water and the Spirit". This is "the cup of salvation" (Psa.116:13), with which we begin our Christian lives. With this cup of water, we are cleansed and brought into God's kingdom as his children.

Level 2: In John 4:14, Jesus went further and spoke of that cup becoming "a well (spring) of water". This is a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit, where all our inner longings are met by Him, so that we live in perpetual victory and joy, lacking nothing. A man who has a well in his own compound is not dependent on the city corporation's water supply. No outsider can turn off his water supply, for he has the source of water within his own compound. This is how it is with the Christian who has found the secret of perpetual abundance in Christ. No-one outside of him can cut off his supply of joy or peace or victory (Jn.16:22).

Level 3: In John 7:38, Jesus went still further and said that the well would now become a river, and many rivers, flowing out of the believer. This is a picture of overflowing abundance. Such a believer is able to quench the thirst of many needy people around him. Whereas a well satisfies only our own longings, rivers of living water make us a blessing to many people, wherever we go.

The blessing with which God blessed Abraham was, "I will bless you....and in you ALL THE FAMILIES of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen.12:2,3). This is the blessing that can now be ours through the Holy Spirit (Gal.3:14).

When God blesses us to the point of rivers flowing out of us, many families in many parts of the country and even in the whole world can be blessed through us.

Only a cursed person hurts and injures other people wherever he goes. This is how most of the children of Adam live. They only know how to wish evil for others, hurt them with their rude remarks and defile them with their backbiting. Unfortunately even many "believers" live like this, proving thereby, either that their conversion was false or that they have backslidden to the point of having lost their salvation.

The good news of the gospel is that we can be saved from such a miserable existence. We can now have rivers of living water flowing out through us constantly, and be a blessing to every family that we meet.

We can be merciful to others just as God has been merciful to us.

We can release others just as God has released us.

We can bless others just as God has blessed us.

We can give freely to others just as God has freely given to us.

We can be large-hearted to others just as God has been to us.

It will be a good thing if all of us make that decision today - never to pass on anything about another that will hurt him or his reputation - and keep that decision, for the rest of our lives.


_________________
Shibu Clement

 2005/11/27 5:52Profile





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