Preaching Without a Pulpit

The idea of preaching without a pulpit might seem a little crazy to some, evoking images of shouty people standing on street corners, waving Bibles at pedestrians. But the concept of pulpit-less preaching is not so narrow not so strange.

Jesus did not have a pulpit. He simply taught and shared with people who were hungry enough to take the time to listen. And, preaching without a pulpit is one of the callings God has placed on each of our lives. Not only are we called to share the gospel with the nations, but we are also called it do it in a fearless way: “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold” (2 Corinthians 3:12).

A question to consider: If you were to ask yourself when the last time you shared Jesus with someone was, what would the answer be? The answer will tell you a lot about your relationship with Him. After all, He did say, “follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). So, if you are not fishing then you are truly not following Him who came to fish – to seek and save the lost (Luke 10:19). 

I work with young people in most places where I am honoured to minister. I love seeing teenagers who are fired up for Jesus sharing His story with people at malls, schools, and grocery stores. Many of today’s youth have more audacity and boldness than those who claim to be mature believers in Christ. 

The quietness of those who are older and more mature in the faith may be the result of “growing up,” and being told to chill out over the years and act more mature. But I believe this is something my generation needs to evaluate and change our view on. We need to go back to being radical. I believe, we can keep that radical way of living in our hearts. We can keep living an audacious life in the Name of Jesus. We are called to be radical. There is no other way to live the Christian life. So, those of us who were once wild stations for Jesus and were tamed and told to be still and be quiet need to regain the enthusiasm and boldness that we once had. Today’s youth are an example of how it should be – how we should be living our lives as believers and disciples of Jesus.

I see youth groups and young believers excited to use the people around them as personal mission fields. I would hope to see my generation and beyond once again passionate for the same thing.

So why do so many of us hold on to the idea that we need a church building, or some sort of official sanction or title to preach the Word of God? There are many events in the Bible where Jesus preaches to the masses. Not in a church building, temple, or religious organization, but in the open for all to hear. Jesus constantly used His surroundings as a platform to share truth and religious liberation. 

One of the most classic examples of this is described in the book of Matthew. The story goes, “One day as He saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around Him, and He began to teach them” (5:1-2). No pulpit, No ushers. No printed bulletins. Jesus saw the people, and dug in for the long haul. He must have looked around and seen the faces of hundreds of people who were hurting – who needed hope. And He reacted with a set of teachings we now call the Sermon on the Mount. It’s one of the most intense streams of wisdom in the Bible. All from a dusty and windy hillside in Judea. 

When you are at work. When you are at home in your neighbourhood and community. When you are out with friends. You don’t need a pulpit. We simple need to share boldly and with confidence what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. As Paul the apostle wrote: “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold” (2 Corinthians 3:12).

Eight Differences Between a Believer and a Follower

1> A believer believes in Jesus. A follower honours His commands

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19 NIV)

2> A believer reads the Bible when things get tough. A follower reads the Bible to engage in a deeper understanding of Jesus Himself.

“Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

3> A believer prays when things get tough. A follower gives thanks no matter the circumstance.

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20 NIV)

4> A believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A follower works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible.

“Some of His comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:16)

5> A believer gives when it is easy. A follower gives out of the abundance of his or her heart.

“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, our in everything – all she had to live on.” (Matthew 12:22 NIV)

6> A believer conforms under the pressure or culture. A follower holds fast against temptation.

“Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13 ESV)

7> A believer will share his or her faith when it’s comfortable. A follower will share his or her faith regardless of the scenario.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15 ESV)

8> A believer knows about Jesus. A follower knows Jesus as his or her Lord and Saviour.

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 ESV)

Which are you? A believer or a follower?.

The Word “Christian”

It’s sad to sit back back and watch the media cover nothing but the faults and failures of proclaimed “Christ-followers,” instead of getting down to the truth of what 98 percent of us do differently than the 2 percent who make us look bad. If the negativity that the media portrays is in fact the world’s view of what it means to be a Christian, please don’t call me one. I’d rather call myself a Christ-follower than be thrown into the twisted view of what we’ve made “Christians” out to be. I understand that Christian actually means Christ-follower, but you get where I am going with this I am sure.

The word ‘Christian’ has become too common over the years. Not for the sake of spreading the good news of Jesus, like we’d hoped for, but instead that of comfort and ease. People say “I’m a Christian” as easily as they would “I like hamburgers.”

For many reasons, the word Christian has stopped being associated with the word “love.” It’s stopped being associated with “grace.” This isn’t a matter of theology, doctrine, or philosophy, but instead of the actions people take – or don’t take – in the name of Christ. Jesus called us to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34). Simple. This means we are to relentlessly, passionately, and fervently love one another just as He has loved us, no matter the circumstances. But does this really happen?

The ideology of “hate the sin, not the sinner” has not converted well into today’s culture. If you take a moment to look around, you’ll notice that we are very good at showing hate to the people whom God has called us to love. Regardless of what the Bible says about cursing, drinking, drunkenness, homosexuality, sex, cheating, lying, or stealing, we are still called to ‘love one another.’ It’s that simple. No questions asked, regardless of how you interpret Scriptures.

Does this frustrate anyone the way it frustrates me? And before you say anything about seeking to keep your brother or sister accountable, please remember that you and I both sin as much as the next person. The goal isn’t to look away when someone is struggling, but instead to engage and embrace people in a way that reflects the loving comfort of Christ. A way that shows the love of Jesus. A way that turns from anything to do with hate, rejection, and judgmentalism. Period.

So, we are to love without limits. You know, I can’t ever recall a person who came to know Jesus because of hate. And, I am certain you cannot argue someone into the Kingdom, either. Jesus clearly stated that the non-believers and skeptics would come to know that we are His disciples by the way that we love one another and most certainly they way we treat others who are not believers and thus do not yet share fellowship with us and with our Heavenly Father. 

As I have been thinking about this in the last few days I realized that there are four things that God’s love won’t hold against you…

1> Your past

2> Your mistakes

3> Your confusion

4> Your addictions

Let’s look at those next time we are together…

The Individual

Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis, apostle and teacher

People, precious people. Individuals, humans, all shapes and sizes, various races, multiple cultures, habits, traditions, all these stirred into one earth. Basically, it is the individual. It is the one soul, one spirit, one body that makes a human being. This human being is birthed, grows an awareness of self and family. The awareness continues to expand to the society that forms their culture. Later the awareness may expand to recognize and appreciate other cultures and individuals of various ethnicities.

The individual becomes aware of life and its progress. Early the individual learns that they will grow, mature, and at some point, die. Some recognize their mortality early. Some do not pay attention to it at all. It is lingering there, but they refuse to look at it. Some just give up and take it as a fact, but one that needs no attention.

The statement of John, the apostle, sets an interesting thrust of intervention. “For God so loved the world…” Into this awareness of mortality, a hope was given. It speaks of a creator. There is a God. This God loves humanity. He loves the individual. It is personal and it is the collective world. He loves His creation and particularly each individual.

When men govern, they do so collectively. They do not know each person in their constituency. It is purely collective. They can love the idea of everyone, but they do not know everyone. But God knows the individual. He knows the number of hairs on their head. He cares for each and can communicate love to each. He can speak to each, not collectively, but personally to that individual heart and mind. Each individual can respond to that love and communication. Sometimes it is so personal that it seems no one else matters; yet He can do that with everyone at the same time.

John, the apostle, again writing the things that God shows him in the Revelation, reports that all of us have been created for the pleasure of God. Individually, we are to bring pleasure to our creator. The Westminster Confession states that the sole purpose of man is glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

While human history marches along, God has a divine plan that is unfolding as well. Whatever man does, it will move toward God’s ultimate intention. On the macro scale, God is preparing a kingdom to rule and serve man without death. On the micro scale, each individual is important to Him that each enjoy eternity with Him.

From the hovel to the palace, God loves the individual. Each person is important. God has made provision that the awareness of mortality can be changed to the joy of immortality. The inevitable, fatalistic doom of death is changed into the glorious hope and the internal guarantee of life forever with our creator.

This hope is accomplished by God through Jesus. God made it possible for mortals to become immortals through Jesus’, death and resurrection.  The story of this amazing love and sacrifice is staggering in its sheer genius. It covers stealthily ever facet of dealing with eternal requisites and blindsides the enemy of mankind while defeating sin and death. The story is known as the gospel, the good news. Individuals who listen and believe, live forever.

Asian, African, European, it does not matter what part of the globe you live on. The individual counts. Cultures, traditions, habits, make no difference to Him. He loves each and is seeking each person. That one body, one soul, one spirit is important.

You count! You are important. Your awareness should grow to being aware of eternity and the necessity to do something about it. You are so important that Jesus made provision for you to live eternally with him!

Think about it, you, among billions is known as an individual by your creator and you really count, stand out, are worthy of individual attention, and loved,

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner! WRONG!!

“Hate the sin, not the sinner” isn’t working. Honestly, I am not sure it ever did work. When hating the sins of others, people just simply don’t know how to separate the sinner from the sin. Let me encourage you to instead “Love the sinner, not the sin.”

Remove the word “hate” from your vocabulary, and start reflecting an image of Jesus that portrays Him differently than a man standing on a soapbox wielding a megaphone. I can’t ever recall a person who came to faith because of hate. Let’s start a movement of people who are willing to take hate out of the equation and love people regardless of their sins.

When Jesus called us to love one another, it wasn’t limited by guidelines or parameters. The commandment was simple and to the point: “A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).

There are no regulations on who and when to love. Love is not ours to control, monitor, and divvy up. Love was never intended to be kept to ourselves. It was meant to be shared with anyone and everyone willing to accept it.

The idea of loving without limits may seem a little intimidating, but that’s the raw beauty of it. Sometimes loving people might not make sense, but it still makes a difference. 

There is a man named Emmanuel, who was part of the Rwanda genocide in 1994. As part of the Hutu majority, he assisted in the killings of nearly a million people, and one of those people was the husband of a Tutsi woman. Emmanuel later came to find shame in his actions, and he then asked for the forgiveness of the man’s wife. Not only did she express that God had already forgiven him for his actions, but that she did as well.

What reckless love was shown through the actions of this woman. Where the rest of the world might give her an excuse to eternally hate this man, she instead harnessed the love of God and offered a place of forgiveness and grace.

If anyone should be leading the way for love and compassion, it should be the followers of Love Himself – Jesus. When we begin to view people through the eyes of Jesus, we are less likely to see their flaws and more likely to see their need for love. 

All throughout Scripture we see Jesus loving people whom others deemed foul, broken, dirty, and unworthy. For us that may mean the homeless drunk guy, the prostitute hanging out downtown, the person in jail, the drug addict – even the convicted sex offender. People may criticize you for giving your time and attention to people who are ostracized or considered permanently broken. They may say it’s not safe, that they’re not worth your time, and that these people gave up the right to be treated well when they made their bad decisions. They said that to Jesus too. But while self-proclaimed followers of God sat back and criticized the openness of Jesus’ love for people, He called them out for their lack of it:

“And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2:14-16 ESV)

Take note that even the Pharisees and other religious leaders are confused as to why Jesus is extending love to those who are sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, and thieves. The love Jesus showed to these people was without boundaries or regulation. He was giving it all to people who might not even recognize Him as the Son of God. The beauty of this is that Jesus knew these people couldn’t offer Him anything in return, and yet He still embraced their friendship and presence.

Jesus’ response to the religious elite was nothing short of jaw-dropping: 

“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17 ESV)

The sick, or the sinners, were the people who needed the most urgent shot of love. You probably have someone in mind right now who could be classified as one of “those who were sick.” Hey, it may even be you. But no matter the person or their beliefs, when you show them love, you show them the Spirit of Jesus Himself. 

Six Things Jesus Didn’t Die For!

We often hear a sermon on all that Christ’s death on the cross accomplished for us. If you haven’t heard one recently it might be a good indication that you need to switch church fellowships and find one that majors on the Gospel of the Kingdom. Just a thought.

However, I can’t ever remembering hearing a teaching on things that are not ours because of Jesus’s death on the cross of Calvary. In other words, “six things Jesus didn’t die for.” So, let’s summarize them because there are many church assemblies that think – or at least live life – as if these are part of the work of Christ’s death and resurrection. These have become part of a number of false gospels preached in many churches in many nations.

1> Jesus didn’t die so that we could take advantage of His Grace

Grace is never deserved, and it also is not to be taken advantage of. While God’s grace flows in abundance, this does not give us the right to missue it for the benefit of our selfish desires.  This doesn’t mean we are expected to be perfect, but instead progressing toward real righteousness, God’s way.

Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…”

2> Jesus didn’t die so that we could reflect Christianity in a hateful way

Whether in person, on social media, or even through the grapevine, Jesus did not die on a cross so that you could claim to love Him yet reflect an opposite result to others.

1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

3> Jesus didn’t die so that we could pursue money, fame, and materialism

The cross points us to Christ, not creation. The gift of grace was not presented so that we could become infatuated by the pursuit of riches, titles, and glory. The cross of Christ gives us a new hope, a new vision, and a new purpose – beyond all that. We are called to be “not of this world.” As a Christian, your life should reflect an image of grace and selflessness, not greed and self-entitlement.

Romans 12”2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

4> Jesus didn’t die so that we could wear crosses around our necks honouring the sacrifice that was made on one

A cross isn’t just a fashion accessory. The significance of the cross has more weight than any symbol in the world. And while many use this symbol as nothing more than a piece of bling, God highlights it as the very thing He sent His Son Jesus to die upon.

1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

5> Jesus didn’t die so that we could make money off His Name

Biblically there is nothing wrong with having a Christian company. The problem is when one uses the same of Jesus to strictly make a profit, with no vision of expanding the reach of His hope and His Kingdom. It all comes down to one’s motives.

2 Corinthians 2:17 “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

6> Jesus didn’t die so that we could live a life free from pain

Free from pain? Nope. But with strength to lean on during trials? Yes. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that life will be just peachy, but it does mean you will have Someone to rely on during times of pain and suffering.

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

There are so many other things we could say here …

Jesus didn’t die so we could have religion. Just the opposite. He came to destroy religion.

Jesus didn’t die so you could have an easy life. He died that you could have eternal life

And, on the list could go. If you think of another one – jot me a note and we can together add to the list I have started….

Gathering and Scattering

There are five stages of God’s relationship with man.

1> God and us … Adam and Eve walked naked in the garden with God. They had no shame. God and man lived in perfect harmony with one another. Unfortunately, this was short-lived.

2> God for us …After the fall, man couldn’t be in the presence of God. God, however, sent guidance. Whether He did it through prophets, judges, commandments, or covenants, God was still for us.

3> God with us … Then God took on the form of man. He sent His Son to preach the good news and call people home. His Son was born in Bethlehem, and His name was Immanuel, “God with us.”

4> God in us … As Jesus predicted, the temple was later destroyed (in 70 A.D.). Fortunately, God’s presence was no longer bound to a temple and accessed through a high priest. Jesus put an end to animal sacrifices when He became our sacrificial lamb. The temple’s curtain was torn. The altar closed. And the temple was multiplied. The cross of Jesus changed the church. God moved from being for us, to being with us, to being in us. We became the temple of God. And the Bible states, “Christ in you [is] the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This idea of God being in us is laced throughout the New Testament.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
  • 2 Timothy1:14 says, “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
  • Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

All these verses point to one revolutionary idea. The Church is no longer a place. It’s now a people. Wherever we are, there the church is. Basically, Christians turn buildings into churches. Churches don’t turn people into Christians.

How you view God’s Church changes how you view God’s mission. And vice versa.

According to the Barna Group, 71% of Christians say the main influence in their salvation was not going to church but a personal relationship with a Christian. This is so important for us to recognize, because this generation don’t trust institutions. But they will trust someone who represents one.

Things have changed in this generation. Young people don’t read the Bible. They read Christians. Although millennials and Gen Zers may not be going to the event on Sunday, they are meeting Christians throughout the week. They’re meeting us at their job, in their neighbourhood, in their daily rhythms. We have ambassadors all over the world. But many don’t realize they are called to be ministers of reconciliation right where the live, work, and play. 

One of the issues is that churches are strong at gathering and weak at scattering. Barna found that within two years of conversion, 80% of Christians give up their former friendships with unbelievers. We subtly construct holy huddles. We become comfortable with the 99 and forget the one.

Remember, the Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news” (Romans 10:15). Not, “How beautiful are the churches we bring people to.” When we shift our focus from creating great temple experiences (Sundays) to training Great Commission disciples, we leverage the full benefits of the cross. After giving us His commission, Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). So God is with is, because God is in us. 

Do people in the pews live like this? What a shame if they don’t realize it’s “through the church [that] the manifold wisdom of God should be made known” (Ephesians 3:10).

5> God and us … One day Christ will return and all things will be made new. God and man, back in harmony. What a redemption story! The beautiful irony is that there is a fifth stage, which is simply a return to the first stage. 

This is good news. This is worth sharing. 

Uber and Airbnb

Jesus had 5,000 people following Him, far away from their homes, without food, and with no clear idea of where they were heading. And yet they went anyway. They followed because that’s how badly they wanted to hear Him and learn from Him. This wasn’t a seeker-sensitive group. This group was hungry to learn more than they were hungry to eat.

But what is even more intriguing and inspiring is not what the masses do but what Jesus does when He gets His largest audience to hear His life-changing message. He doesn’t start a megachurch, He doesn’t create a conference, and He doesn’t launch a podcast. He preaches the Word of God, feeds the people physically, and then jumps in a boat with His disciples to sail away somewhere else!

What was He thinking? Most church leaders today would call that a wasted opportunity. Possibly even foolish. But not Jesus. Jesus was not using the same scorecard we use to measure our ministries.

Jesus saw His main ministry as discipling His chosen twelve. So, he left the multitude and went off to have quality and focused time with His disciples. We often see discipleship as a burden and something we don’t have time for because we are busy ministering. Jesus knew that faith a mile wide but only an inch deep could never compare with a few good men and women who were fully devoted to the cause. Most of us in ministry are focused on building an audience, but Jesus was committed to building an army. It’s far easier to build an event people attend than a culture people adhere to. 

John Wesley, one of my heroes, understood this when he said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen, [they] alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven upon earth.”

John Wesley discipled young men reproducing himself so that these young men would buy into the cause of the Kingdom and multiply the work that he was doing. 

Jesus changed the world, even though He lived in only one tiny corner of it. He discipled people who discipled people who discipled people who discipled people, creating an unbroken chain that continues today all around the world.

The great thing about discipleship is that when we start making disciples, we stop relying on the church to feed us. Instead we start relying on the church to launch us. We move away from being a mere member and turn towards being devoted owners. We move from an audience mentality to an army mentality. This is not only what most people want (especially millennials); it’s what they need. It’s what we all need.

The irony is that the business world is doing a better job at this than the church is. Here’s what I mean.

Do you know what car company has more cars on a global scale than any other?

More cars across the world than Ford?

More cars across the world than Volkswagen?

More cars across the world than Toyota?

That company would be Uber.

Do you know what company rents more property globally than any other hotel chain?

More properties across the world than Hilton?

More properties across the world than Marriott?

And definitely more properties across the world than Motel 6?

That company would be Airbnb.

You know what’s brilliant about their strategies? The companies don’t own any of what makes them so powerful and successful. Uber’s platform has access to millions of cars globally, but they don’t own any of it. Their people do. Airbnb’s platform is disrupting the hotel industry, but they don’t own any property. Their people do.

These companies are benefiting from the perks of discipleship and multiplication. They haven’t just gained an audience off fans (like the charismatic leaders of churches). They have raised an army of owners and have thus decentralized leadership. What is beautiful about decentralized leadership structures is that they’re not dependent on their charismatic leader for survival. It’s the devoted contributors who are the real heart and soul of the operation. 

This is what discipleship is all about. Training. Growth of the person. Ownership! Decentralization! Multiplication! 

And in the process, taking a greater market share which is what Jesus meant when He said, “Occupy until I come.” Uber and Airbnb are doing what the Church should have been doing. But, it is never too late to adjust the way we do church and become biblical. It is time to tear down the church that man has built and allow Jesus to build His church, His way.

Living For Jesus! Really?

We are all busy trying to live life for Jesus. Live a life-style pleasing to Him. Fulfilling His command to love God with everything we are. Loving others as He would love them. We are “living for Jesus” or, at least, trying to. 

But, I had a thought the other day. Yes, I do think and often think deeply about things we simply take for granted or look at but only with a surface glance. I hate living life on the surface. I detest life being an inch deep and a mile wide. So, I give a great deal of thought to a great many things.

Why are we “living for Jesus?” After all, most times we would have to admit that we fail when we try and life life for Jesus. We simply are not Jesus. We don’t love like He does. We don’t forgive as freely and deeply as He does. We are not as accepting and understanding as He is. So, we try to be like Him and end up, most times, failing. Then we feel guilty We condemn ourselves. We feel like we failed again. 

Here’s a question… Where in the Bible does it say we are to be “living for Jesus?” You know what? It isn’t in the Bible. It is something man has made up and we were taught to do because it sounds biblical and spiritual. Could it be simply more religion?

How did I get started going down this path of thought? Good question. I was reading my Bible and I saw that Paul said: “I have been crucified with Christ (so we are dead). It is no longer I who live (because we are dead), but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

The Passion Translation puts it this way… “And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives His life through me – we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that He gave Himself for me, and dispenses His life into mine!”

So, instead of living for Jesus we are to die to self and let Christ live His life through us. That is much more biblical than the former way of trying to live life.  

This means we must yield to Him and trust Him. This is what Ephesians 5:18 is all about. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Paul is stating that just as the alcohol in the wine, when you are drunk, controls your thoughts, words, actions, and attitude. So, yield to the Holy Spirit and trust Him so that He can live life through you and your words, thoughts, actions, and attitude would be that of Christ Himself. 

Henry Blackaby wrote, “We are so activity oriented that we assume we were saved for a task we are to perform rather than for a relationship to enjoy.” I agree. Remembering that out of that amazing relationship with Jesus will come things He will want us to become involved in (Ephesians 2:10). These involvements are so we are in the right place at the right time to release Him to minister through us.

Thus the initial call and ministry of every believer is to “Follow Me.” As we do He works in us to form and mould us into people with hearts for the lost. Then He works through us touching lives with His love, acceptance, and forgiveness. We simply yield and follow His lead allowing the Spirit who lives in us to flow from us touching others and setting them free. This was plainly set out for us through the teaching and words of Jesus…

John 7:38-39a “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of the hear will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this He said about the Spirit…”

“Believe in Me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says! Jesus was prophesying about the Holy Spirit…” (The Passion Translation)

Again, please note, it is the Spirit flowing from within you not you trying to live for Jesus or being like Jesus. Just trust Him and follow Him as He said. And He will live His life through you and touch many others with His love. Jesus

The Knowledge of Jesus

Last time we were chatting about “the spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). And, we saw the necessity for releasing revelation in our lives as believers and disciples of Jesus. Let’s continue with the verses we are looking at.

Ephesians 1:16-18a “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened …” (ESV)

The Passion Translation: “… my heart is always full and overflowing with thanks to God for you as I constantly remember you in my prayers. I pray that the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would impart to you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation to know him through your deepening intimacy with him.

I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination …”

The key to receiving revelation is found in coming to know Jesus better and deeper every day. The spirit of wisdom and revelation is released in direct relationship to our level and depth of intimacy with God the Father and Jesus His Son. When we are born again God, our loving heavenly Father, gives us a gift. This gift is deposited in our born again spirit. Romans 6:23b states, “… the gift of God is eternal life.” This is not ‘to live forever’ because all human life ever conceived lives forever. The gift called ‘eternal life’ is defined for us in John 17:3 … “This is eternal life, that you may know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent…” The word ‘know’ means “intimacy with.” We have the supernatural ability to ‘intimately know’ God the Father and Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

The more we come to know Him the more godly wisdom we will have. Not worldly wisdom but godly wisdom (James 1:5). The more wisdom our hearts hold the more revelation we will receive. So, our focus in the coming months must be to know Jesus better. The real Jesus. The radical revolutionary that we see in the pages of the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The same radicalness that transfers over to the apostles and the early believers when they were born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Their story starts in the book of Acts and continues through all the letters addressed and written to the church fellowships in various cities and towns as the gospel was preached and the Kingdom spread pushing back the darkness.

Get to know Jesus. Look at how He lived. What did He value? What did He say and how did He say it? How did He treat people? Who were His friends? How did He disciple and mentor His followers and disciples? What was His relationship with non-believers like? His attitude? His prayer life? His heart for the people? These and many other questions can be answered as we read the four accounts of His life and ministry. But, as we read we need to read slowly and let the words and actions of Jesus sink deep into our hearts. We need to dwell on what we see and discover. We need to apply the truths we are observing about His life to our own lives … so we can become more and more like Him as the Scriptures state so clearly.

There is much that can be said in this regard …

John 15 – He is the Vine and we are the branches

John 14 – You will do what I do 

Acts 17 – “In Him we live and move and have our being”

But, like Paul the apostle we should pray a second prayer…

Philippians 3:10 “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…” (ESV)

The Passion Translation: “And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death.”

Let’s view 2020 as a gift from the Lord to come to know Him intimately; deeper and better than ever before.