In John 17 Jesus said He has given us His glory that we might be one even as He and the Father are one. This imparted glory is to bring us into union with the Father and the Son in the same way Jesus was one with His Father in His earth walk and now in heaven. The Father, by His Spirit, through Christ is bringing us into a “oneness” with Himself and the Lord Jesus that Jesus said would cause the world to know that the Father sent the Son and that He loves us even as He loves the Lord Jesus! Allow it to sink in what the Father intends for us in this life – not the next one! He wants to come into such a vital union with us through the finished work of Christ that the world can’t help but acknowledge that truly God did send Jesus. So what is ahead for the Church? Glory, ever increasing glory!
The apostle Paul prayed the heart of the Father in his Ephesian prayers. He prayed that God would grant the believers a spirit of wisdom (practical insight into applying truth to our lives) and revelation ( lifting the veil off the Word) in the full knowledge of the Father. He then notes that this unveiling would involve 3 things: Understanding the hope of our calling (which Paul tells us is Christ in us the hope of glory); the riches of the glory of the Father’s inheritance for us; and the exceeding greatness of His power that is working in us who are believing. He says that this power that is at work within us is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and enthroned Him at the Father’s right hand. Later in this letter He notes that the Father, compelled by His great love, made us alive together, raised us up together and enthroned us together with Christ, above the principalities and powers. The revelations of these 3 things can transform the Church if we lay hold of them.
The goal of our redemption is to enter into the Father’s rest. Hebrews tells us that “we who have believed do enter that rest” (Heb. 4:2). What is this rest? It’s when we cease from our own works and rely totally on what Jesus had done for us. It’s not that we become passive, but now our works are done in gratitude, not to earn anything from the Lord. We were recreated in Christ for good works that God predestined us to walk in (Eph. 2:10). You have destiny written all over your recreated spirit. Who you are in the deepest place is totally acceptable to your Father. And, if that was not enough, He recreated you to perform works that you are perfectly gifted to accomplish! Yes, there are challenges we face in walking out our destiny, but Father has graced us and empowered us to overcome everything we face. Every challenge is an opportunity for our Father to show us His wisdom by taking everything the enemy means for evil and turn it for good. There is no calamity or sickness that can attack you that your Father doesn’t have a plan to turn it for your good (Rom. 8:28).
It is foolishness to think you won’t face challenges that will severely try you. But it is unbelief to think that anything that the devil does can surprise God and leave Him without a plan to give you victory. His grace is sufficient for you and His power is made perfect – brought to maturity – in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5). Or, as the Jerusalem Bible translated this verse: Put no faith in your own perceptions. You might not understand the “why” or clearly see the “how,” but know that you are not alone and your Father will see you through. Offer Him the sacrifice of praise and watch Him bring forth victory in you life.
When I was first saved, we were taught the return of Christ could be any minute and just work to get people saved before the rapture. Now, it’s always a good idea to get people saved, but we saw nothing but disaster ahead for planet earth. Great Tribulation, antichrist, the nations united against the remaining Church – those who missed the rapture! No earthly hope for the Church, just escape to heaven.
I was shocked to discover after considerable study that this view was something only recently – the last 150 or so years – in the Church. The popular view so dominated the Christian media and so many Churches that it was hard to believe it was only recently taught.
Think, as an example of a modern doctrine that is not Biblical, of cessassionsism. Cessassatism is the idea that supernatural manifestations such
healing, miracles, tongues etc. are not for today. There are so many healings and supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit today that it is becoming more and more difficult to deny these things are happening in the Church.
Like Cessassionism, the pessimistic view of the earthly destiny of Church is vanishing. In the Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. That is an enormous assignment! And Jesus seemed to think is was possible. Didn’t He know about the Great Tribulation and the antichrist?
When challenged with some of these concepts some years ago I began to investigate what was taught. I set out to prove the popular view was right. A friend gave me a book that proposed that the Great Tribulation was describing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I had never heard of such a thing! As I followed his arguments and compared Scripture with Scripture, his case came together in a way that surprised me. Why hadn’t I heard this before?
As the case became stronger and stronger, the sense of foreboding that had hung over my life lifted. If the Great Tribulation was fulfilled in 70 AD, then I had nothing to fear concerning the future. As I was sorting through all of this, I also began to see the truth about the Kingdom of God. According to Peter on the Day of Pentecost, after Jesus rose from the dead, He assumed the throne of David and began His reign. He must reign until all His enemies are beneath His feet. Isaiah said, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Disciple the nations. Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
These promises gripped me with new optimism. With the tribulation properly fulfilled in the past, Jesus could wash His Church in the water of the Word and eventually present to Himself a glorious Church without spot, wrinkle or blemish.
I said “good-bye” to the Late, Great Tribulation!
In our day many are seeing that God’s grace has been freely given to us in Christ. Someone has defined God’s grace as His willingness to use His power and ability on our behalf even though we don’t deserve it. The Good News of God’s grace will totally remove our fear in God’s presence that we are unworthy and He will reject us. Grace is transforming power. Paul say in Romans 5:17 (Weymouth) that through God’s overflowing grace and the gift of righteousness we reign as kings in Life through the One, Christ Jesus. Overflowing grace + God’s gift of righteousness = reigning as a king in Life. (That word Life is the Greek word zoe which is the Life that is from God). So as we come to believe in His overflowing grace and stop trying to earn our acceptance from God by our works, we take hold of His gift of righteousness and understand that we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4). Freely accepted, given righteousness. Welcome into Father’s presence with no condemnation. All of grace, not of works so no one can boast. Not “I prayed and fasted,” or “I sought God” but rather He sought us and freely offered us grace and righteousness without our works. Not our works, but Christ’s Finished Work. Now, as we grow in faith and understanding we come with boldness to the throne of grace and find mercy and grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Let’s honor what Christ has done by receiving it and thanking Him for it.
Our culture tends to think that intellectual knowledge about God and agreement on right doctirne is the essense of Christiainty. In reality, it is only what the Spirit reveals about Christ, to us and in us, that changes us. Paul’s prayers in his letters often focused on God granting revelation to the saints. This revelation knowledge is what changes us. As we prayerfully meditate in God’s Word, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminated it and write in on our hearts, there is an impartation of His Life to us. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, Paul admonishes the Colossians, (the Word) teaching and admonishing you. Satan greatly fears that we will come to understand how to feed our inner life on the written Word. The Holy Spirit takes the written Word and reveals Christ – the Living Word – within us and to us. This is New Covenant Christianity. The Word of His Grace build us up and gives us our inheritance in Christ.
For God to move mightily He must have a people willing to examine their beliefs and compare them with the Word. Men’s traditions make the Word of God powerless. In our intellectual culture the simplicity of the Word sometimes escapes us. Many popular beliefs have crumpled as I have examined the Word. One of the greatest doctrinal shake-ups in my own belief system has been rejecting the idea that everything that touches my life has a divine purpose and is sovereignly allowed by God. God is certainly sovereign but He has given to mankind authority which mankind release to Satan. But at the resurrection Jesus won back for redeemed humanity the dominion that Adam lost. Many in the Church today are accepting evil and calling it God’s sovereign will. Jesus conquered Satan and now has all authority in heaven and on earth. He said, “Go in My name and make disciple – healing and delivering people and baptizing them. We have authority and passivity in the life of a New Covenant believer is deception. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, not from God. If you don’t resist him, God will not. God doesn’t do our job for us. He’s already done His part.
The Church needs a revelation of God’s grace. Many believer’s are trying hard to gain God’s acceptance when Christ has already made them acceptable in HIm. Christ has done a perfect, flawless work on our behalf and our part is to learn how to receive out of His fulness. Faith is the hand that receives what the grace of God freely gives..If you have a revelation of grace and now you are the critic of those who don’t yet see what you see, you really haven’t got the revelation yet. Any supposed revelation of grace that doesn’t make you more gracious and less critical of those who do not yet see it, is not yet the true revelation. When grace dawns of you in reality, you “drop your rocks” and see others through eyes of grace, not condemnation. So what kind of grace to you have? Can you pass the grace test? For us to receive God’s love and then turn around and act like we somehow out of our own brilliance obtained it, is the height of human conceit. God resists the proud and gives GRACE to the humble.
The End is Near!!
I have been a Christian for over 40 years. When I was first saved, Hal Lindsay’s book The Late, Great Planet Earth was sweeping the Christian community. As a young, ex-hippy musician, this meant that there was no point in planning much for the future because Christ would return shortly. With Israel becoming a nation in 1948, we now knew that within a generation – which we were told was forty years – Christ would rapture His church. Actually, we were told Christ would return in 1988 but would have raptured His church 7 years earlier.
This made for great discussion! We were looking for the antichrist. First it was Henry Kissinger. Then Ronald Reagan. Of course, we didn’t realize that these names were added to a long list of previous candidates who had come and gone.
Some might remember “88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988.” When that failed, the author refigured his calculations and wrote another book that assured us that it would happen in 1989!
Another predictor had been certain that we would see the rapture in 1995. Wrong!! He recalculated and was convinced that it was 2011. Wrong again. Now many are concerned because the Mayan calendar points to December of 2012. Shortly, we will see that this idea is also false.
Then there was the mark of the beast! We heard about a computer in Brussels, Belgium that was going to be used to give us the mark. More recently, some are fearful that we will receive a computer chip that we are all going to have to have implanted to buy and sell. One thing was for certain, we really needed to escape before all this happened! Oh, how awful to be Left Behind!
Studying the history of end time views, I found out something shocking. The view that I had been taught only had a history in the church of about 150 years. I was so shocked by this fact that I began an investigation of whether or not this was true. To my amazement, it was true!
After around 3 years of intense study I began to see my way through the end-time maze. As someone said, “What’s popular is not always right, and what’s right is not always popular.” I have found that to be a very accurate statement.
I, and most of my contemporaries, had been postponing Christ’s reign until His second coming. We had totally failed to see the tremendous victory He accomplished in His first coming, death, burial and resurrection.
When Jesus sat down at His Father’s right hand after His resurrection, the Father granted Him all authority in heaven and on earth. Why do so many believe that Satan, using a human person, is going to take over the world? Satan has been stripped of his authority and is no longer in any sense the ruler of this world. Jesus commissioned His church to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Note that descriptive term all. That doesn’t leave any that aren’t made disciples. Every nation on earth will have heard the gospel and have those in it who become disciples of our Lord.
Probably one of the most troubling passages for those who accept the popular view is 1 Cor. 15:24, 25
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
This amazing passage suggests that death will not be destroyed until all (other) enemies are under His feet. Then He will defeat death.
How does that fit with the popular end time scenarios? Frankly, it doesn’t. And it’s not as though this idea is only mentioned in one place in Scripture. It is a reference to the 110th Psalm. This is the most-quoted passage from the Old Testament in the New Testament. You’d almost think the Lord was trying to make a point!
I think it is time we abandoned the whole system of interpretation that much of church has embraced. It produces nothing but fear and abandonment of the culture to the pagans. Before the church embraced these ideas, she thought long-term and was filled with earthly hope. The gospel will triumph! But the fear-filled, short term thinking of the modern church has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We have given away the culture and then said that its decline was fulfilled prophecy!
Jesus instructed us to be salt and light. To invade the culture with men and women who are on assignment from King Jesus and enter every area of the culture with godly wisdom and Kingdom favor.
It’s time to advance, not to retreat!