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Posts Tagged ‘covenants’

“If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous. Though thy beginning was small, yet they latter end should greatly increase.”   Bildad the Shuhite (Job 8:6)

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“…For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” Paul, (Philippians 1:29)

There has been a shift in our view of the personality of God.  I noticed it taking hold of the evangelical church world about 30 years ago, and it has established itself more firmly ever since.

The old fashioned view of a God of judgment was mollified to one of a kinder, gentler God who was more attuned to a loving relationship with His children.  The old brush arbor revivalists were considered too hard in their outlook, mocked in Hollywood films, and brushed aside as narrow-minded zealots who did not understand the mercy of God.  We assumed that we had a better understanding of God because we are somehow more enlightened.

We shifted our focus to the blessings, the love and mercy, and the goodness of God.  Yes, judgment was still there, but was more relegated to the shadows off-stage than out in the spotlight.  The Fear of God, although undeniably written in the Word of God, was analytically digested and has been presented as being more by the precept of men (Isaiah 29) than the emotionally charged issue of actual dread and fear.  God is now our Daddy.

Because there was no momentous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in recent memory, we, like the Israelites of Sinai, felt that Moses had taken too long to come down from the mountain, so we’ve fashioned our own gods that have supposedly delivered us out of Egypt.

Seems to work pretty good.  It feels much better, and it is much more palatable than walking around under the cloud of intense holiness like our forefathers did.

After all, it makes much more sense to the carnal mind.  If you get saved, God will love you and pour out His unconditional Love all over you.  No more dark valleys to walk through, no more refining fire to strip away your flesh, and no more sufferings of the Cross to bear.

It made sense to Bildad the Shuhite.

But not to Paul.

We are inundated with an easy Gospel that promises a wonderful time in Jesus.  We proclaim that there will be a great revival soon, and we sing and dance to the rhythm of the message, but we have not considered the price.  Our pastors who have taken the pulpits in the last 20-some-odd years have regurgitated the message they heard in Bible College, and are not even aware that something is missing.  But hey, it sure feels good, doesn’t it?

So we continue to sing and dance, and line up for someone can touch us so we can fall down on the floor in euphoria, but we never notice our lack of depth and brokenness, nor do we consider that old crucified walk that our fathers have trod to establish the Church.

We want to touch the Cross; not bear it.

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I got a letter from a pastor in Nigeria that I thought I’d share with you. When I read these letters, it really brings home some themes that are important in snapping us back to the reality of the spiritual war we face – even if we don’t see it here in America.

“Brother dale,

         No doubt we have our problems out here in Nigeria, I believe that this is a good platform for the power of the cross to crush the satanic stronghold over our land.
         As for me and some of my colleagues out here we have made a covenant with God to wait on Him in the revival labour room of prayer until Nigeria be made a praise in our generation.
         As for the newsletter I will be so glad to receive it regularly. I pray that the Lord of harvest will make your ministry fruitful in the field of souls. Shalom.

                               Pastor Kayode”

Wow. Tell me that doesn’t grab you!  They made a covenant – a promise, a vow unto God. These guys are so determined that they have sworn that they will overcome, no matter what. They will stay the course through whatever storms or tribulations come their way. They have claimed Victory and believe that God will honor His Word unto them.

And they are willing to wait for it.

Where will they wait for it? In Sunday services where they wave their hands in Praise & Worship songs? In church basket socials? In fellowship ministries where they hug each other? In theological discussions of doctrine? In wearing “Jesus T-Shirts” or putting a fish on their bumper? Or in being nice guys?

No. In the revival labor room of prayer.

They will claim victory by waging war. They will storm the Throne of God until they break through and force the Almighty God to move. They will wait in the intensity of battle. They will not be denied; they will not give in; they will not give up; they will never surrender. They will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.

And how much will they believe God for? How big is their Faith?

Is it for a job, or a new house, or more finances? Are they praying for Aunt Mary to feel better? Or even for God to “enlarge our tent stakes”?

No. They believe that God is able to turn one of the most wicked countries on Earth into a “praise in our generation”. And they don’t think that’s too much to ask for — not if they are willing to pick up the Blood-Stained Banner and fight for it. They don’t see a problem – they see an opportunity!

They have Rachael’s Cry – “Give me children, or else I die!

When is the last time you have heard a message like this over the pulpit that inspired you to pick up your weapons of war and charge into the battle for lost souls?   Have we become so sedate in our prosperity that we no longer feel the need for sacrifice? Are we no longer cut to the heart for lost souls so that we are willing to prevail in prayer?

Whatever happened to our all-night Prayer Meetings? When is the last time we fasted for days for revival? Where is the focus of our hearts?  Has our Faith diminished to a level of profane dimensions where we only believe God for what is before us in our daily lives? … Or do we no longer care?

If you want it to rain, you gotta pray like Elijah.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18

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Just a quick thought I had …

One of the recurring issues I hear about is that the Old Covenant is still valid because Jesus had said that He didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it, and that until Heaven and Earth pass, not a jot or tittle would pass from the Law until all be fulfilled.  How is that possible if the Old Covenant is no longer in place?

The other day I was reading Colossians slowly, trying to absorb each thought Paul was delivering.  I came to the passage about legalism in Colossians 2:16-23, and I stopped in my tracks –

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. “  

The first word that made me curious was “rudiments”.  In the Greek it is “stoicheion”, which mean to put or to go in a row, as in a series.  Basically it means the primary principles that other things are based on … or in a word, the rudimentary elements. Paul is in a discussion here about the Old Law so it is obvious that these “rudiments of the world” are pointing to the carnal ceremonial elements of the Mosaic Law.  Okay, I don’t want to get over complicated here – this is just about the carnal ordinances of the Law – I got it.

The next word that reached out and grabbed me was “the world”.  This word is Kosmos, or cosmos for all you Carl Sagan fans.  This is an interesting word in that it means that which pertains to space, the sum total of the material universe, all the beauty in it, and all the persons … but not time! Are you with me so far? This is huge!  Not time!

If I am reading this passage from Colossians correctly, it is saying that all the carnal ordinances that constitute the covenant of death that Paul repeatedly disavowed (see: http://www.revivalfire.org/covenants.htm) are not supposed to affect us because we are no longer in the Kosmos.  We are outside time! When we received Eternal Life, something more than a warm feeling happened to us – our soul transcended the dimension of Time.  The Law hasn’t passed away – it’s still valid in the carnal world and will never pass away and it still stands as a testament of judgment against all flesh – but we are no longer part of that world.  We are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, we don’t live in that old system, and so therefore we are no longer subject to those old ordinances that Christ nailed to His Cross.

Wow. I was stunned. When we accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we passed from death unto life and left behind the ordinances of touch not, taste not, handle not. We no longer have to put the blood of bulls and goats on our right ear, our right thumb, and our right toe. We don’t have to keep the dietary laws or the festivals that foreshadowed Christ and the New Testament. We don’t have to deal with the sacrifices of dead animals.

The Old Law is still there and still valid as a condemnation to all who live in the Kosmos, but we left the building when we got saved! We are no longer creatures of Time. We are free.

 

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