From Above

Yeshua answered him, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.

To be born from above means to receive (the spirit of) life from the very Source of Life.

The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaks. The One who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, He testifies to that; yet no one receives His testimony.Whoever receives His testimony has certified that God is true.The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Ruach without limit.The Father loves the Son and has given everything into His hand. He who trusts in the Son has eternal life. He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:31-36.

The eternal life from above is available now and received by trust (acts of faith, not mental assent); it is not an “after death experience”.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. By His will, He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. James 1:17&18.

Yeshua said, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. If you don’t believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” John 8:23&24.

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.

Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above—where Messiah is, sitting at the right hand of God. Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. Colossians 3:1-3.

Who among you is wise and understanding? By his good conduct let him show his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth.This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, nonspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil practice.But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in shalom by those who make shalom. James 3:13-18.

But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Ruach, let us also walk by the Ruach. Let us not become conceited—provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:22-26.

But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach,  to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:17.

So then, brothers and sisters, we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim, these are sons of God. Romans 8:12-14.

Judge Yourself

For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment. But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we might not be condemned along with the world. 1 Co 11:31&32.

If we are to judge ourselves, by what standard are we to discern the body  (V.29)? Paul provides the answer to this question in Colossians 2:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col 2:16,17.

Many translations fail to get the gist of what Paul is saying here, and modify verse 17 drastically. There seems to be the notion that “the body of Christ” at the end of the verse seems to just hang. The authorized KJV adds the word “is”, while other translations completely change the text to “the reality is Christ (Messiah). Verse 17 cannot be separated from verse 16 as many translations do, because the point is by what means are we to be judged. It is not by what you do or don’t eat, or any other religious observance, which are a shadow of things that are now established in the body of Messiah.

Allow me to give you an example. I have heard on many occasions a believer say; ”I am in the church every time the doors are open!” That’s great, but here’s what the Lord says about religious observance:

“Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others. Matthew 23:23.

There are weightier matters with which we must concern ourselves, and these are established within the functioning body of Messiah. At the judgment, no one is going to hear; “Ah yes, my good and faithful servant. You were in the church every time the doors were open. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Consider these words of the Messiah:

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’. Matthew 7:22,23.

We may perform many wonderful works, but did we know our Master’s voice. Did we perform His Will, or our own in His Name. This must be given serious consideration. Perhaps you had done many wonderful works, but then decided to take up with another brother’s wife.

When I tell the righteous that he will surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered. But in his iniquity that he has committed, he will die.     Ezekiel 33:13.

The Lord has ordained the good works that we are to abide in through faithfulness.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God.  It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10. Think on these things.

Is the Law Sin?

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.  Romans 7:7.

What is the dynamic here, that we know something is wrong and do it anyway?  The answer is direct, but not at all simple.

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Ro 7:14.

Here is where we must answer a very direct question: are we willing to die to our selves so that the life of Christ can manifest?

Petty Crimes

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  James 3:16.

I read this verse while thinking on the terrible sin that is able to rise up within a
congregation.  Infidelity, embezzlement, even murder.

James says it begins with the problems we often refer to as “petty”.  Gossips and contentious people are often referred to as petty. Minor criminal acts are referred to as “petty crimes”.  But James says where pettiness is tolerated, we will find “every evil work”.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.  1 Peter 4:15.

Notice Peter mentions busybodies along side murderers, thieves and other evildoers. Busybodies are often thought of as petty persons, but they are actually trying to play God in another person’s life in Christ. This is idolatry.

In the kingdom of heaven, there can be no petty crime! This requires mercy, and the wisdom that comes from above:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.    James 3:17.

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 1 Co 10:23.

Found Faithful

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Co 4:2.

To be faithful to the Gospel is to go beyond belief. Those who have heard and believe the Gospel Paul identifies as “the called”.

“among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ”. Romans 1:6.

This is just a first step, in what is “a walk of faith”, while abiding in the gift of the Spirit. For Jesus said this to His followers, many of whom would fall away:

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14.

Seek the Lord for a personal  dispensation, and be among the elect.

if indeed you have heard of the dispensation (=stewardship) of the grace of God which was given to me for you. Ephesians 3:2.

Now you will have a direction to allow your faith to be transformed to faithfulness.

and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Rev 17:14.

And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mk 13:27.

Jesus told Thomas, who doubted:  “be not faithless;  be faithful”,  not “believing”, as most translations render John 20:27.

Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Rev 2:10.

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.        Rev 3:11.

All Things New

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  Rev. 21:5.

Recently I have taken up the command to Write, for inspiration is found in the words that are true and faithful. The Greek word kainos, for new,  is used 44 times; which isn’t surprising since we are partakers of the New Covenant.

For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28.

Spending time with my fellow blogging brethren has caused me the think often on this parable of Jesus:

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better. Luke 5:37-39.

 

Now that I am older, I look back at my youthful zeal and in comparison I think, old is better. That being said, I have really come to enjoy the fresh insights shared by younger Christians as they grow and receive revelations from the Spirit. Clearly both are of great worth. The Church cannot neglect the wisdom of the elders, but they also must continue in the right way and not fall into trusting only in their own experiences.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. Pr. 16:31.

I have also found that many bloggers like to include lengthy passages from the teachings from saints of the past. Many people seem to find a continuity by reading the sermons and writings of well respected men and women of God. This too can be a blessing, while avoiding becoming dogmatic and creating opinionated conflicts. His Grace is Sufficient.

who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Co 3:6.

May we always seek to build up the church, by being led by the Spirit at all times. The presence of the Lord is our WiFi connection for the Truth. We may need to offer correction, even rebuke, for instruction in righteousness. Let their be first a strong bond of Grace and Love in our fellowship that this can be received. For us the Ten Commandments have been condensed into One.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34.

We are being prepared by the Holy Spirit to stand as the bride of Christ without spot or wrinkle. We seek a new heaven and new earth where righteousness abides  (2 Peter 3:13). We should take advantage of every opportunity for fellowship to pursue a mature faith. Let us rid ourselves of all things carnal!

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 2 Co 5:17.

 

Who is running The House?

You may be familiar with a Greek yogurt in most supermarkets called Oikos. The word means house/home in Greek and at some level may suggest “homemade” goodness. On the other hand, I have never seen Oikos milk, cottage cheese or sour cream. They are dedicated to making good yogurt, therefore, they are “building their house” on yogurt, the way the Hersey family built their house on chocolate and the Busch family built their house on beer.

Oikos is the root of many important words found in the New Testament, none more important than Romans chapters 7 and 8. Three times in chapter seven Paul uses the word oikeo in regards to sin which is translated dwells in, or living in me. He describes  our struggle with a carnal nature, and the ineffectiveness of the Law to overcome the “law of sin and death.”

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  Romans 7:15.

So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:17.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. Romans 7:18.
Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. Romans 7:20.

And so we see Paul repeat this word three times to emphasize the nature of sin as a “resident” in my house, who is a home wrecker. The will of sin is contrary to our own and leads us  to self-destructive behavior that man was unable to overcome without a Savior. This he purposely presents to serve as a contrast to the point he intends to make in chapter 8. He closes the chapter and builds a bridge to the next with this proclamation:

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man,
but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.  Romans 7:22-25.
Only now, with a thorough understanding of chapter 7 can a disciple grasp the victory described in Chapter 8. Many times I have heard preaching directly from Romans 8 that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells in you by faith. This is not the point that Paul was trying to make at all. This is not,”the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” theology.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  Romans 8:9.
We now see Paul using the same word that he used three times in Romans 7, to say that if the Spirit of God directs your will the way the sin nature did before, then you will walk in victory.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.  Romans 8:11.
When he says “by his Spirit that dwells in you”,  he uses enoikeo, a strengthened form of the word oikeo used five times previously that implies dwelling in harmony and cooperation. This is what the Lord and the apostle John referred to as “abiding in” the Spirit.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  Romans 8:13&14.
This is working out your salvation with “fear and trembling.” Ph 2:12.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Ga 5:24.