Is Christ Enough? Changes

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A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
(Acts 10:13-15)
“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”
(Acts 9:3-6)

The Lord has been dealing with us lately with such things as flexibility as opposed to rigidity.  Especially in the midst of change.  Now we have said for many years that the Lord deals with us (both individually and corporately) in “seasons”.  Just like in nature there are seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter; so there are seasons in God’s dealings with us and also in his work.  However, these “seasons” aren’t nearly as predictable as the natural ones!  At least not for us.  Obviously, God knows what is going on and planned these things from before time.  But the problem is that our vision just isn’t that eternal yet!  Our flesh, our natural man likes things that are predictable, revealed way in advance, and things that we are already comfortable with.  But God just doesn’t operate that way when he is dealing with us.  He operates in this completely “other”, eternal realm called faith.

Endless Variety

We must remember that our God is a God of endless variety and beauty. Just a look at the natural world will show you that! Just take a look at all of the varieties of plants, animals, and people. And that’s just the visible creation on this planet alone! Even within the seasons there is variety and changes. What about the “unseasonable” weather we have all experienced?  Even within the seasons that God takes us through there is variety.

Timing

Then there is the whole area of the timing of the Lord.  We know that his timing is not our timing and his ways are not our ways.  He does things his way and in his time!  Most of us reading this post right now agree with and understand these things.  But there is a huge problem.

We so quickly get settled, and even cemented, into the ways that we have been in or are in right now!

God is moving on and we are now stuck in the last movement or enlargement of God.  You see, I am not here even referring to missing the Lord in his timing or ways.  I am referring to getting “stuck” in the past (or current) situation that he himself took us through.

Comfort Zones

I find that the older I get the quicker I am to settle down into a comfort zone.  It’s really quite remarkable.  God is always moving us ahead in him.  But many times (especially if we like the season) we will want to stay where we’re at.

This reminds me of the children of Israel wandering in the desert.  God wanted them to take the promised Canaan land but they wandered around in a wilderness for forty years that only takes two weeks to cross!  Of course, the manna is a classic example.  God (for a season) fed them with the manna from heaven.  It would daily come down to provide their food.  However, they could not store it up for the future or even the next day!  They needed to trust God for their daily bread every single day.  Then, the time came when the manna was no longer being provided and now God was sending quail.  But they were used to manna!

Outside the Box

Then there was our friend Peter.  God wanted to include the Gentiles in his eternal purpose to have an expression of his Son on the earth (the Church).  Actually, he always had included the gentiles, but most of the Jews could not see the true spiritual Israel that Paul writes about in the letter to the Galatians.  Peter had to receive a dramatic rooftop vision to get the picture.  Even then, he was refusing to rise up and eat those “unclean” animals.  You see God was doing a new thing.  At least it was new in the eyes of Peter.  The apostle had always only thought within a very limited Jewish “box” and anything outside of that box was unthinkable.

But then there was our friend Paul! Now this guy was much more ingrained into the Jewish religion than Peter.  He was a real Pharisee, a Hebrew of Hebrews, as to the righteousness found in the Law, completely blameless (Philippians 3).  So you can see why God needed to knock him down and strike him with physical blindness in order that he would receive a vision!  He had to see that the church he was persecuting was the actual Christ Himself! (see Acts 9)  Saul was transformed into Paul and changed from a persecutor of the church to a master builder of the church.

In both of these examples (Peter and Paul) God had to break them out of their comfort zones in order for him to do something new.  It wasn’t something either of them expected or ever considered.

The Main Point

The main takeaway of this post is simply this:

God doesn’t want us to follow “ways”, he wants us to follow the Way!  Jesus Christ IS the Way.  Brothers and sisters, don’t get stuck in ways of knowing Him or doing things for Him.  Those “ways” will change and what worked today may not work tomorrow.  That’s because the way of the Lord is Christ, Himself, the Person!  Knowing Him and following Him and abiding Him is the key to every day and every work.  The true Foundation is only Christ and He is to be everything in our lives.  Not only individually but also corporately.  That’s why seeking him is so important for every step along the way.  Waiting upon him and not moving ahead of him is equally important.

Don’t be afraid of change

Don’t get stuck in a rut

Don’t get comfortable in past ways of doing things or systems of thought and procedure

Be flexible, be open

God’s change always brings about enlargement!

God’s new thing always brings in an abundance of Life!

 

He Himself – The Dissolution of Christ

Dissolution of Christ

dis·so·lu·tion
[dis-uh-loo-shuhn]
noun
1.) the act or process of resolving or
dissolving into parts or elements.
2.) the resulting state.
3.) the undoing or breaking of a bond,
tie, union, partnership, etc.
4.) the breaking up of an assembly or
organization; dismissal; dispersal.

Ladies and gentlemen, what we see before us in the current state of the Christian religion referred to as ‘Christianity’ is the dissolution of Christ.

He Himself, the Person of Christ has been broken down into many pieces and everyone takes the piece or pieces that they like the most.  The problem with this is that what you end up with is not Christ at all!  But rather, different works, teachings, or aspects of the Person which no longer accurately represent Him when taken out of context.  The parts do not equal the whole because the whole is actually a living Person, not some kind of cornucopia of different (separate) items.  Syn-er-gy – noun – the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.

Let me give you a few examples of how we have done this.  It basically breaks down into the character, power, and works of Christ.

His Character

We have taken different aspects of the character of Christ and broken them into pieces or slices and then blown them way up out of proportion as if we are no longer even referring to an actual integrated Person.  One of the best examples is love. Now we know that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8) and that love is a part of his character.  However, if we take love as a thing in and of itself then we do a great disservice to the whole Person of Christ.

I know many believers who only ever talk and write about love.  Of course, they are referring to God’s love, which is Christ.  But they only mention the word “love”.  Pretty soon, after hearing and reading this time and time again you forget that love and Christ are synonymous.  You actually begin thinking (and believing) that love is actually something separate from God in Christ and not part of who He is.  Everything, for these folks, is about love.  Love this and love that.  If we can only love one another won’t everything be wonderful?  The main thing is love, it says that in I Cor 13 doesn’t it?  But what you hardly ever hear is that I Cor. 13 is a description of the character of Jesus Christ!  Go back and read that passage again and you will see what I mean.  No one could live that way except God Himself – yes folks, He Himself!

And what about the new commandment?  You know, “love one another”?  Most believers see that as another mandate that somehow we need to live by.  But the Lord Jesus dashes all hopes of that when he includes this little statement: “as I have loved you!”  Wow!  Now what are we going to do with our dissolution tendency?  Do you actually believe that you, yourself are able to love someone as Christ does?  No way, dude!  Only He Himself can love this way.  Read John 15 again and you will see that abiding comes before loving!  Why?  Because it is actually the indwelling Christ Himself who does the loving in and through you as you abide in HIM – the WHOLE Person!

Also, if you read the “sermon on the mount” again with a view of seeing the eternal purpose of God it will totally change your outlook.  This is not a collection of commands, but rather a description of the King and His Kingdom!  It’s not about you as an individual believer apart from Christ and His Church.  It is a corporate context (a kingdom) of a people who express the character, nature, power, and works of their indwelling King!

His Power

Notice how Christians love to dissolve Christ?  This tendency is totally of the self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-obsessed flesh of the fallen race.  Believers (especially Charismatics) love to separate the power of Christ into categories, compartments, and “giftings”.  “I have this gift.”  “I have that gift.” “I have that ‘ministry'”.  “You have that ministry.”  I love how Paul cut through all of this nonsense in his correctional letter to the Corinthian church.  In I Corinthians chapter 12 he puts the power exactly where it belongs; in Christ.  But notice how he does it, he writes to the church (that is obviously dissolving Christ by making it all about gifts) and he puts all of the gifts into the context of the Body of Christ.  In essence, he just tells them that the gifts are simply functions of the Body!  But you may be asking, “yes Milt, but how does that make it about Christ directly”?  Well folks, Paul makes it all very clear with this one statement:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.  (1Co 12:12)

Wow!  What a Christ!  What an all inclusive Christ.  The body is Christ.  There is no other way to translate this verse.  So, if the body is Christ then that must mean that all of the members (and gifts of power) are all a part of Christ.  The problem is that we modern day believers have even dissolved Christ into being separate from His own Body!  But how can the Head and the Body be separate from one another?  Together (as one) they make up the one New Humanity.

His Works

We have also dissolved Christ to the point of separating He Himself from his works.  His finished work on the cross and his work of salvation are two good examples of this.

But is the cross simply something he did, or is it the very heart of God?  In other words, was there a Lamb of God even before creation and the fall of man?

And bow before it shall all who are dwelling upon the land, whose names have not been written in the scroll of the life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;  (Rev 13:8)

This Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world!  This gives us a little hint at the nature of our Lord.  He is one who is more than willing to lay down his life for others (also see Jn. 15:13).  The work of the cross came out of his divine nature which is always laying down his life for God and others.

Also, Paul makes it very clear that the preaching of the cross of Christ means a fatal blow to our self life!  And that is the culprit in all of this dissolution of Christ.  We try to slice Him up into doctrines, gifts, character traits, agendas and works because we are looking for something for our flesh to glory in!  And yet the cross of Christ, IS Christ!  And that, if received, will put an end to all of this dissolution nonsense.

For indeed Jews ask for signs (power) and Greeks search for wisdom (doctrine); but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  (1Co 1:22-24)

And don’t forget that He Himself is also salvation!

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption (1Co 1:30)

Sisters and brothers, this Christ is a WHOLE Christ.  This Christ is a complete “package”.  You cannot separate He Himself from His aspects, power, works, or any other thing.  If you take any one of those items and emphasize it you will lose the glory of this one, whole, complete Christ who is so much more than anything or anyone that we can ever imagine!

but Christ is all, and in all.  (Col 3:11c)

 

 

The Gathering – A Novel by Milt & Mary Rodriguez

The Gathering

The American landscape is changing as a radically conservative, right-winged Christian organization called the United Christian Movement is pushing their religious and political agendas on the American people. They succeed in placing a so-called “Christian” in the White House. They have also begun placing many institutional churches under their umbrella of control and initiate a heresy witch hunt. All others are condemned by them as “new age mystics and heretics”. Many true believers are forced to go underground due to penalties of incarceration.

Our story follows the journey of ten of these heretics who dare to place Christ and His church at the center of their lives. God calls these out of different situations and organizations by the use of dreams. He is using these dreams and their interaction with one another to transform their lives. This journey becomes very dangerous as they must elude the powerful U.C.M. to arrive at the goal of their dreams…The Gathering.

Click here to read excerpt from the book (opens window)

What People are Saying about the Book

“The Gathering kept me on the edge of my seat! A Novel Yes, but eerily familiar.”

Vinny Oliveira
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

“The narrative is a good blend of novel and truth without being heavy handed. As the characters grow and learn new things, the reader does as well, even up to the last chapter. Personally I am not a fast reader but the enjoyment and simplicity of the story allowed me to get through it in just over a week. My favorite part of the novel (spoiler alert) is that there isn’t a neat and tidy resolution: the reader is left understanding that these characters lives will continue on and experience ups and downs as the continue to press on towards the prize of knowing God. Read it: its worth your time!”

Thomas Fortson
Gainesville, Florida

“For those who desire to know Christ better, to live by His life together, to fulfill the Father’s eternal purpose through His Son you will see glimpses of what gatherings with Christ as Head could look like in this story. You will see beautiful examples of faith and love and the variety and creativity of Christ in God’s people. After reading The Gathering the dream to truly want to know Christ better, in a deeper way with other brothers and sisters was stirred. The story will quicken His Spirit in your spirit and perhaps help you hear Him better as a result. As you hear Him, by faith follow Him, do what He says, you will be amazed! The story describes how the characters learned to live by their spirit, their conscience and intuition, communing with the Lord. The Gathering is a must read! After reading the last chapter I was hoping for more. The Gathering must have a sequel! Perhaps that’s what Acts in the Bible was meant to do for the brothers and sisters who read it. Hoping for more.”

John S. Wilson III
Houston, Texas

You can order the book now from these sources:

The Rebuilders Website

Amazon