Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Extended Hand of Rome

The Extended Hand of Rome
(Understanding Prophetic Events-2000 PLUS! - Series - Part 1 of 6 - T4J)

Pope to Copeland: Catholics and Charismatics must Spiritually Unite!
There has been much talk around the world in regards to Ulf Ekman who resigned from a number of international (church/ministry) boards. Including his position as founder and senior pastor of “Word of Life” (Uppsala, Sweden) to join the Catholic Church.

Then recently Kenneth Copeland received a video from Pope Francis who asked for prayer and unity of the Spirit. Kim Clement, prophesying about a new move of reconciliation around the world, declaring that Pope Francis has been handpicked by God to bring unity to the Body of Christ world-wide (the word catholic means universal).

We need to take a moment to examine how we Pentecostals / Charismatics / Born Again believers / Evangelicals etc., should respond to these declarations. As we all have limited understanding, limited by our own cultures, church experiences and denominational theologies.

Personally I want to embrace all that God is doing throughout the world and one thing I have discovered is that God won’t be boxed into anyone’s traditions or preferences.

After the Reformation many of the formerly Protestant churches were planning to reconcile with Rome and re-join the church our ancestors “protested” against. They (our ancestors) brought back the simple New Testament message of repentance and forgiveness; personal belief in Jesus and His once and for all sacrifice for sin on the cross, be all that is required for salvation. They knew from Scripture that all comes as a free gift from God, totally undeserved. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obeyed him” (Hebrews 5:9). They obeyed Him by believing the entire Bible and living and dying by it - and for it.

In the book “The Battle For World Evangelism,” by Arthur Johnston, he says, “Emilio Núñez had the delicate and demanding task of spelling out the position Evangelicals should take toward the Roman Catholic Church in his paper entitled ‘The Position of the Church Toward Aggiornamento.’”

He claimed that this subject had been imposed on Evangelicals by the solo-religious realities resulting in the post-Vatican II conciliar church. A marked difference exists between the pre-conciliar church in liturgy and biblical renewal. Evangelicals could be most encouraged by the latter.

Of all the changes in Post-Conciliar Catholicism there is none more promising of better things in the lives of thousands of Catholics than that related to the new attitude of the Roman Church toward the Sacred Scriptures. We must confide in the redeeming power of the Scriptural revelation.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 NKJV)

He that believed that the renewal sought by John XXIII had become a revolution threatening the very foundations of traditional Catholicism.

Three well-defined tendencies have developed in contemporary Catholicism:
• First traditionalism that closes the door to any fundamental change in doctrine
• Second progressivism with its concern to reinterpret Catholic doctrine and effect a basis transformation in the structure of the church.
• Third moderate Catholicism in the style of John XXIII, who wanted to renew the church within the context of traditional theology.

This inner struggle for self-renewal is further complicated for Latin American Evangelicals by the unexpected hand of ecumenical friendship extended by the Catholics to the Protestants. Evangelical churches cannot, Núñez said, remain indifferent to this extended hand.

Núñez then entered into the inter-evangelical debate that begins with the confusion created in the mind of one that is converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. It is natural to ask, “If the Roman Catholic Church is our sister, why was I invited to leave it to embrace Protestantism?” (see part 2)

Father God, I want to thank You for the Body of Christ. I am glad to be a member. Help me to love each and every member and to pray for those who are in leadership therein. Thank You for salvation and the hope of glory. Give me a passion for evangelism, so that I can share my faith in Jesus Christ. I am not deterred by the politics within or surrounding the Church. Thank You for unity that comes by the Spirit and not by religion.

Father God I lean confidently and put my trust in You always. I lean not upon my own understanding. I seek You on the authority of Your Word and the right of my necessity. I praise You, the Help of my countenance and my God.

(TAKEN FROM: ISRAEL, THE CHURCH AND THE ENDTIMES, pages 163-164. Published by APMI Publications, Available as PDF version. Other formats available soon.)

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Spirit of Increase

The Spirit of Increase

In my travels recently God gave me a word in regards to the state of the Church and how He wants each one of us to receive strength and remain thirsty so that we can be ready with our own supply-of-the-Spirit, to bring increase wherever we go!

So lets turn to 1 Kings 19:3-5,

Then he was afraid and arose and went for his life and came to Beersheba of Judah [over eighty miles, and out of Jezebel’s realm] and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a lone broom or juniper tree and asked that he might die. He said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers. As he lay asleep under the broom or juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him and said to him, arise and eat.

According to Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary it was totally necessary for God to leave Elijah alone just long enough, for him to arrive at the conclusion that in his own human strength, he was “no better than my fathers.” Only in God’s ability can we be truly bold and courageous.

“Jezebel sent Elijah a threatening message. Carnal hearts (such as Jezebel’s) are hardened and enraged against God, by that which should convince and conquer them. Great faith is not always alike strong. He might be serviceable to Israel at this time, and had all reason to depend upon God's protection, while doing God's work; yet he flees. His was not the deliberate desire of grace, as Paul's, to depart and be with Christ. God thus left Elijah to himself, to show that when he was bold and strong, it was in the Lord, and the power of His might; but of himself he was no better than his fathers. God knows what he designs us for, though we do not, what services, what trials, and He will take care that we are furnished with grace sufficient.”

As depressed as Elijah might have been, and no matter how earnest his plea to die, God preserved his life. Even had an angel prepare his food!

“And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree... Being weary and fatigued with his journey… behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, arise, and eat; so far was the Lord from granting his request to take away his life, that he made provision to preserve it; so careful was he of him, as to give an angel charge to get food ready for him, and then awake him to eat of it!” (Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

God’s strength is always made perfect in our weaknesses. Therefore it was vital for Elijah to recognize his own frailty once again. Who he was in his own strength! Only then did God move in to get Elijah back on his feet! All the time God was Elijah’s strength he could face anything and anyone. But the minute he took his eyes off of God and allowed fear to overtake him, a single woman had him on the run for his life!

The Juniper Tree:
The juniper tree was a shrub found in abundance in southern Palestine. It had long slender branches with small leaves and provided insufficient shade or protection from the sun! Representing man’s failed attempts to remedy his predicament and provide inadequate solutions to his own pain.

The Local Church:
In a similar way people tend to treat the local church like a juniper tree. They want a place of refuge, shelter and meeting with God. But it’s actually meant to be a place of re-commissioning and hearing the voice of God, (a place of obedience) Matthew 28: 19-20. NOT a place to dump-oneself-give-up-and-die! It’s sad to say that many Christians are dead or inactive, even though they are in a RESURRECTION place!

There are Several Steps that we Need to Consider:

An angel touched him and said to him, Arise and eat. He looked, and behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a bottle of water at his head. And he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you. So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God (1 Kings 19:5-8).

Step 1. Elijah was told to “arise and eat.” In verse 8 it says that he “ate and drank.” If we take this literally we can then say that Elijah was first instructed to eat, which corresponds to the Word of God. The Bread of Life that sustained and energized him, for a journey that was “too great” for him. Life is too great for any of us, especially without the provision of God’s Word in our lives.

Many have the Logos Word of God. They know and can quote what the bible says, but they don’t live it. Add to this fact that many can be part of a church and their lives are no different to those who aren’t. Their struggles are just the same and there are no overcoming victories in their lives. What we really need is the Rhema Word of God for every circumstance and situation. Only then can Christ stand in our midst and perform His Word in and through our lives.

Step 2. Elijah drank. Representing non other than the Holy Spirit. For who can survive without life giving water? And who can function without the Spirit’s operation in their lives?

Step 3. According to Ephesians 4:16 (KJV) the word “increase” is directly linked to the word “supply.” It speaks of the supply of the Spirit, that each member of the Body (Church) can make, through “seeing, knowing and doing.” Increase comes as a direct result of each member making his or her supply of the Spirit. Contributing such things as time, talents, efforts, gifting and finances (Philippians 1:19).

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:16 KJV).

The word “supply” in the Greek means: to furnish and to nourish. EACH MEMBER must contribute their supply of the Spirit (what God has given to them) if the Body is to increase or flourish in any way. Therefore we must make our supply of the Spirit to that part of the Body that we are connected with.

Step 4. A supply of the Spirit is directly linked to prayer. In other words, prayer is always connected with a supply of the Holy Spirit.

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19).

Step 5. How do we make our supply of the Spirit? By SEEING/KNOWING/DOING 
This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and how He communicates with us and directs our lives. Only when we step out, (being responsive to what He’s showing us) can the anointing and the power be released. We must therefore always seek to be responsive to the Spirit and stop being dignified-stuffed-shirts that do nothing (contributing no supply of the Spirit to the rest of the Body).

We must see what the Holy Spirit wants to do through us, then DO IT! Only when each member brings his or her supply of the Spirit, can there be true INCREASE.

Father make Your supply-of-the-Spirit through my life; through my ready willingness. Give me courage. I want my life to secure genuine increase for the rest of the Body. I want to make a difference to those around me. In Jesus name, amen.

I confess that today I am in a resurrection place! I have not dumped myself anywhere, waiting to die. I recognise and stay small in my own eyes, so that God can be great through me. My life is a supply-of-the-Spirit that edifies and brings increase to the lives of others.