One thing that I have seen consistently over the past decade in Christian organizations is…. a language problem. A language “barrier” you could even call it. Let me preface this by saying I am not being critical by any means- I am not bringing negative attention to anyone or any ministry. See, I just have this inescapable calling on my life…it’s a call to bring clarity to the message of the gospel. Simplicity. Child-like faith for a kingdom that is tangible for the simple minded and pure in heart.
In the past year or so I have been undergoing a serious “detox” with the Lord from church and from all things organized and structured. It has been an interesting, hard, sometimes self-imposed but sometimes spirit-led amazing journey to re-discovering the ability to think for myself, and think with the Holy Spirit.
Paul said something pretty darn amazing in the bible. Yeah, it’s in there. And The Message Bible says it best:
“I’ve written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they’re no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ’s anointing, no less! You don’t need any of their so-called teaching. Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.” 1 John2:27
If I were sitting with you at your computer right now, I would have you read that out loud to yourself and really hear it. “Christ’s anointing teaches you…everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie.” The Holy Spirit himself is our teacher. You have no need that any man should teach you anymore. Yep! Paul said that. (That means church is about community and fellowship, but that’s a different subject for a later day. ;))
In the Old Testament, Moses and the prophets acted as a mediator between the people of Israel and God- speaking and relaying on their behalf. Now that Christ has come and that old covenant has been annulled, Christ is our mediation to God. We have no need to go through any man to talk with our Father now that we have been adopted. That’s pretty amazing! And most of the church has no idea of the real access we have to God. We are learning though! Through amazing men and women of God who have pioneered and seen moves of God through their simple relationship with the Holy Spirit.
But these same men and women can sometimes leave us with unclear perceptions of the gospel. I have NO doubt in my heart that these great fathers and teachers of our day have the reality of what they are teaching in their life, But I will say this loud and clear: spiritual reality is not passed on through just teaching. And when the language is unclear or undefined, it leaves many immature and illiterate believers with a false and deceptive understanding. Aka- Not the Gospel.
I will make it even more plain:
When you have the language without the revelation it is deception.
2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ.] Do you yourselves not know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you-?”
If we hear a message but have no spiritual reality of the words that we hear and well-meaningly repeat- we come into deception. We are in danger of saying the same words as the speaker or teacher or spiritual father, but having no true understanding and no fruit in our lives. We agree with the theology but have no manifest presence in our lives. I think the world calls that “hypocrisy” and they want nothing to do with it. Is it because we have given the role of the Holy Spirit to a man behind the pulpit? I think so. Passionately so.
Let me show you something powerful from John 10. We all know the passage. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and the devil comes to “Steal Kill and Destroy” – Right? Actually…. no. The devil was defeated when Jesus rose from the dead and the Father put all things under his feet. If you read these scriptures in context, Jesus was revealing to his disciples that he is in fact the Christ, and that all other false teachers who came before him were “thieves and robbers” leading the people into deception. When he says the Thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, he is saying what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4:
“But [now] I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!”
He is saying in essense, don’t tolerate another Jesus. Dont tolerate another gospel. Follow Me.
He said, “My sheep know my voice”– So we ought to be hearing it friends! What a precious promise; that we can know him!
I recently heard a very well known speaker talk about being blessed and praying for God’s blessing that we might display the kindness of God, the light of God, the reality of God to the unbelieving world. That they would in essence, “see the blessing on our lives and know that God is with us” and be drawn to him.
I 100% agree with that message with my whole heart.
But see, this is where that old charismatic language barrier comes into play.
I can bet a large majority that heard that same exact teaching heard, “money.” And they heard, “If I follow God, my life should be amazing. It should be full of comfort and physical security and luxury and monetary blessing. If I follow Jesus he will make my life better so others will follow him.”
Man I am burning about this. We cannot afford to have the gospel reduced to “If I follow Jesus my life will be better. I will be ‘blessed.'” Then what will we do when the hardships come? What will we do when the persecutions come? (And if we are truly living the gospel, it will) We will be offended with God and most of all, confused.
Let’s define blessing and then we will have a true gospel message.
Rather than saying the word “blessing”, we could rightly define blessing as, “spiritual stamina, the true riches of his presence, Christ manifesting his nature and power in us, the favor of God that comes through obedience, His tangible love that impacts others as we yield to Him with our whole hearts and lives, giving our all for his sake.”
Suddenly it’s a little clearer now. See, its not our life any longer. It is an exchange of life. No longer I, but Christ who lives in me. I yield, He comes. I give all, He pours out his presence into my life. I lay down my agendas, He comes with power and resources to meet every need. I take up my cross, He displays his resurrection power.
Paul (can you tell I like Paul?) said it again so perfectly in the book of Acts when the jailer cried out to him,
“What must I do to be saved?” Do you know what he said? This was Paul the apostle’s gospel tract message- Haha.
He said, “Give yourself up to Him. Take yourself out of your own keeping and put yourself into His keeping.” AMP Bible
Boom. He didn’t go into deep theology with this man, He didn’t say, “incorporate Jesus into your life.” He said “Give yourself up to Him.” That sounds awfully relational to me. It sounds so pure and so wonderful and so free and full of peace and rest. Why would we want to be our own when we could be His? Why would we want to spend our days worrying when we can lay down our lives and die, letting him live in us and produce the good fruit he promised? “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do [work] for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
The gospel that Christ preached, the same gospel that he preached to me personally
that resonates inside of me when I hear it in the lives of sacrificial men and women is this:
My all for Him, that He may be known.
Self-denial is not a loss, but a means of gaining Him