March 11, 2018
COVERED IN THIS ARTICLE:
- WRITTEN WORD VS. SPIRIT-SPOKEN WORD
- THE POWER OF GOD IS NOT IN THE SCRIPTURES (the bible tells us so!)
- UNITY IN THE SPIRIT COMES FROM THE LIVING SPIRIT WORD
- IF WE DO NOT HEAR GOD’S WORDS WE ARE NOT OF GOD – SAYS JESUS
- THE RELIGION OF CHRISTIANITY IS AN INCUBATOR THAT PROMOTES LIFELONG SPIRITUAL INFANCY
- SOLID SPIRITUAL FOOD AND DISCERNMENT
- DO YOU HEAR THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM?
- JESUS DESTROYED THE VEIL THAT SEPARATES US FROM GOD’S PRESENCE & POWER
- TO KNOW GOD IS TO LOVE GOD WITH OUR ALL
- CHRISTIAN HYPOCRISY STARTS WITH ACCEPTANCE OF THE WORLD’S LIFESTYLE
- MEDITATIVE PRAYER IS CHRIST-CENTERED MEDITATION
I’ve been a born-again Christian since Nov. 24, 1973. I love Jesus with all my heart, but I am deeply saddened by the lack of commonsense thinking and spiritual maturity among so many of my Christian brothers and sisters.
I know this is mainly due to religious indoctrination and religious traditions.
But let’s be honest, the lack of critical thinking skills and the general unwillingness of believers to set aside time for examining Christianity’s history, for comparing what Jesus said with what Christianity preaches, well, that’s ultimately the responsibility of each and every believer.
The religion of Christianity preaches, and its hundreds of thousands of Sunday Schools teach (over and over and over again), that the Bible is the only word of God.
But this is a lie hiding behind a half-truth.
WRITTEN WORD VS. SPIRIT-SPOKEN WORD
There is the written word of God, and there is the living Spirit Word of God. One is “Spirit and Life“, the original Word received directly from God, and the other it’s copy and shadow, the word about the WORD.
Yes, the authors of the Bible were inspired. And yes, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.“
BUT I WANT YOU TO THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT EXACTLY WHAT THAT QUOTE FROM 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17 MEANS.
What it reveals is the true purpose of scripture, the written word of God. As stated, the Bible’s purpose is to help perfect us, so we can do good works for God.
To clarify this point for point, the purpose of scripture is to instruct us on how to be righteous; to help us develop the right doctrines; and to help us correct and then “reprove” (the dictionary says this means to censor or rebuke) what is contrary to God’s will.
And to be even clearer (because it’s vitally important that Christians understand this distinction between the written word of God and the living Spirit Word of God), the purpose of the written word of God, the scriptures of the Bible, is to instruct us on how we live personally (“instruction in righteousness“), how we think of and relate to God (“doctrine“) and how we relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ (“correction” and “reproof“).
Thus, scriptures provide us with a framework of instructions, doctrines and corrections… all good stuff to know. But this also implies an inherent limitation. All those purposes of scripture are external, they are focused on relationships, on the ideas that lead to actions as to how we relate to one another and to God.
Scripture is NOT Spirit and it has NO life within itself.
When Jesus was about to be crucified He told His disciples that God would be sending through Him the “Spirit of Truth“, i.e. the Holy Spirit, and, “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13).
This “Truth” is of course, God’s Word, as is made clear in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by your Truth. Your Word is truth.” And since every true believer understands the necessity of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, this guidance into the truth of God’s Word continues to this day, both through the written word and through the direct receipt of God’s living Spirit Word. And these two are in alignment, they reinforce one another, because the truth is the truth, whether it comes from the Bible or directly from God.
The Apostles were told by Jesus that they were his true disciples only if they chose to, “Continue in My Word.” What word was that? The Bible? NO, because the New Testament was not yet written. Jesus was telling them to do as He did, talk to the Father and receive God’s living Spirit Word (remember, Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.“).
But again, I say to you, THINK: Is the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) dead, or does it still “Guide you into ALL truth“? “Yes”, you say, “But the Bible is all the truth we need.” And I would say to you, “Then, why would Jesus say we, ‘Live by every WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God’“? If the written word of God was so vitally essential, wouldn’t Jesus have said something like, we “Live by ever word of scripture”?
There is one very good reason why Jesus didn’t put the emphasis on the written word of God, but I’ve never heard one preacher or one Christian teacher reveal what God revealed to me during one of my Christ-centered meditations: Abraham, whom we are told was one of the giants of faith, lived 400 years before Moses wrote the first scriptures, therefore Abraham’s faith was absolutely a product of his direct communication with God, i.e. his receipt of God’s living Spirit Word!
When this begins to sink in, one begins to see the subtle manipulation of religious leaders regarding the word of God. I’m not saying this manipulation is purposeful, just part of their ordination as experts of the written word of God and pastoral leaders.
All pastors and priests in Christianity preach that God’s word is only contained in the Bible because that’s what they were trained to believe, that’s one of the requirements of getting ordained at Universities and Bible colleges. You won’t get a divinity degree if you question or disagree with that which sustains the schools that ordain. Let’s be realistic. If you could bypass those institutions by going directly to God, in other words be taught by God, then why would you need them?
But what I discovered, after decades of reading and studying the scriptures, is a small, never quoted passage of Jesus saying, “And they shall ALL be taught by God” (John 6:45). Now I know that the religious Christian teachers out there are going to say, “That’s exactly what’s happening when Christians are taught from the Bible, God’s word. That is God speaking through the teacher. So, yes, we are taught by God.”
THE POWER OF GOD IS NOT IN THE SCRIPTURES
But such a rebuttal is precisely why Jesus said to the learned Pharisees and scribes, “You do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mark 12:24). Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17? The inspired scriptures help us create our ideas (“doctrine”) about God and they enlighten us as to how to relate to God and others (“instruct us in righteousness“, for “correction” and “reproof“), so we can do good works.
But the scriptures are incapable of imparting to us God’s Life and Power. The scriptures are incapable of giving specific and personal details, as in a prophetic word from God. Scripture is composed of letters and words written down, so as to capture accurately and then share with others, the original words that God spoke. Now we know that Jesus spoke God’s words and He told us those words are “Spirit and Life“, but the letters and words of scripture are NOT Spirit and Life.
The Bible itself makes this abundantly clear to those who have not been corrupted by a religious mindset. In 2 Corinthians 3:3-8 the Bible draws a comparison between what’s “written in ink” (the scriptures) or carved in “tablets of stone” (the 10 commandments) and “The Spirit of the living God“: “You are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart… our sufficiency is of God; Who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; NOT OF THE LETTER, but of the Spirit: FOR THE LETTER KILLS, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather more glorious?“
Notice that “God.. has made us able ministers of the New Testament (translated alternately as New Covenant); NOT OF THE LETTER, BUT OF THE SPIRIT“!
Are you beginning to see how the religion of Christianity, by the very nature of what its many Bible colleges and schools of divinity teach, has made their Pastors and Priests ministers of the letter first and foremost? 2 Corinthians 3 then goes on to warn believers that “The letter kills“! Now, since the very next words are, “But the Spirit gives Life“, we can be certain that what “The letter kills” is indeed the Spirit.
Christians are focused on the scriptures instead of God’s Spirit, because they are taught that the scriptures are their ultimate source of truth. Christians have thus become obedient servants of religion and this is why Christianity has suffered endless divisions into more than 33,800 denominations!
UNITY IN THE SPIRIT COMES FROM THE LIVING SPIRIT WORD
Ephesians 4:3 talks about “The unity of the Spirit” and I experienced this in several miraculous ways with two groups of Christians. In both instances we were living together in Christian community.
In the first instance, I was asked to help teach this new community, some of whose members I helped lead to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. There was however, some disagreement as to the direction of the community… how we would serve others and how the community buildings would be used. The couple who owned the farm had one idea and some another.
When we began to pray about this I felt I should tell them what to do, but God soon let me know that wasn’t His way. Everyone but me came out of prayer quickly. I didn’t because God had made me immobile and unable to speak. So, I sat there and did the only thing I could do, I continued to pray.
Soon, the others began to be convicted about their quick decision and thought they should join me and continue praying. The miracle was that everyone came out of that prayer time in 100% agreement, with 100% certainty about what we should do.
I can tell you this, that experience was quite humbling… and for more than just me. My fiancé (from a previous marriage), unbeknownst to me, had sided with the other faction and had talked behind my back against me. When I got up and walked into the other room to stoke the fire, she came running in, dropped to her knees and began crying, confessing her lack of trust in me and asking my forgiveness.
In the second instance, there were four of us who founded the Northwood Christian Community. We got together in the evening, as we often did, to pray together. During this one prayer time each of us became overwhelmed by God’s Power, so much so that we each began to shake. So, we held onto one another because it helped make the shaking more harmonious. It was in the midst of this shaking prayer time, that God spoke directly to all of us at once. Us two men were directed to go visit a couple and the two women were to stay. During this entire process of getting our shoes, getting into the car and the women knowing where we were going and why, not one word was spoken by any of us. We just knew… with zero doubt.
After driving for about 5 minutes, Joe said to me, “This has got to be God… I would never wake someone at 2am otherwise”. We arrived at the couples converted school bus and knocked on the door. The lights came on, the door opened, and the guy gruffly said, “What do you want?” I said, “The only thing we know is that God sent us.” Immediately he dropped to his knees and began to weep. Between sobs he told us that he and his girlfriend had the worst fight of their life, and feeling remorseful he said to God, “If you’re real, you’ll send someone to help us”. That night we led both of them to forsake sin and receive Jesus Christ into their heart.
The scriptures provide further clarity on the nature of God’s Word being “Spirit and Life“.
In Revelation 21:6 we read, “And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts’.“
The Apostle John refers to Jesus as “The Word” in this passage from John 1:1-2, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him.“
However, as is stated in verse two, “He [Jesus] was in the beginning with God“; therefore, being the Son of God, who had a beginning and end (“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end“), Jesus could not possibly have been God, who always was and always will be.
Furthermore, when John says, “All things were made THROUGH Him [Jesus]“, he reveals that God made them through Jesus. Ergo, Jesus was not the creator of all things, God was.
Finally, I once met the author of Sermons from Prison, Richard Wurmbrand. He was an Episcopal priest and a Greek scholar. I asked him the meaning of John 1:1, and although he said he believed Jesus was God, that passage was misinterpreted from the Greek. He said it should read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was AS God.” This implies Jesus was like God, but not identical with God.
Revelation 22:1 magnifies this distinction, “[God] showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb“. There are two thrones, not one, the throne of God and the throne of the Lamb, Jesus.
So, this “River of [the] water of life” is obviously God’s Spirit; God’s Spirit is a “Spirit of Truth”; and John 17:17 tells us, “Your [God’s] Word is truth“… i.e. the truth is the life is the Spirit, is the Word of God.
Since God’s Word, under the New Covenant, is what the Holy Spirit is charged with writing on each believer’s heart and mind (“I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts” Hebrews 8:10 and “I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them” Hebrews 10:16), and this “Word of God is living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12), and we no longer “Live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), it becomes obvious to the unindoctrinated that God’s Word is still flowing, still proceeding from God’s “mouth“, still giving life, still empowering the faithful, and still able to be received by those with “Ears to hear“!
IF WE DO NOT HEAR GOD’S WORDS WE ARE NOT OF GOD – SAYS JESUS
Jesus makes this even clearer: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore, you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47). Jesus didn’t say, “He who is of God reads God’s words”… He said, “HEARS God’s words“.
In my head I can already hear the religious quoting Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God“. All Christians have been brainwashed into believing this passage is only talking about the written word of God in the Bible.
But there are few problems with this idea of God’s word being exclusively contained in the Bible.
First, Romans 10:17 doesn’t say, “Faith comes by READING the scriptures”, it comes by “HEARING“! Reading the scriptures is not hearing God’s voice. Of course, some may say we shouldn’t take the word “hearing” literally, that it’s a figure of speech. But if that’s the case, then what we read in the Bible would be the voice of that scripture’s author; we would be indirectly “hearing” the author’s voice, not God’s.
There are many scriptures which drive home this idea of hearing God’s voice: “Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 11:4); and, “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.” (Acts 22:14).
Reading the Bible guides us towards perfection, it helps keep us on the narrow path, it provides plenty of examples of leading a Godly life, and carefully lays out which ideas lead us towards our goal, but that goal is not flawless attendance at church and Bible study.
Our ultimate goal as Christ believers and emulators, according to the prayer of Jesus Christ recorded in John 17, is ONENESS WITH GOD, THROUGH THE HEARING AND DOING OF GOD’S WILL.
DEAR CHRISTIAN, HEAR ME OUT! I WILL NOW PROVE TO YOU THAT JESUS PRAYED FOR US TO ALSO BE ONE WITH GOD.
WHEN CHRISTIAN LEADERS TELL US JOHN 10:30, “I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE”, MEANS JESUS IS GOD, THEY EITHER LACK UNDERSTANDING OR THEY ARE LYING. READ THESE PASSAGES FROM JOHN 17 AND SEE:
“I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them… I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours… I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world… Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth… I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
OBVIOUSLY, IF WE ARE TO BE ONE WITH GOD AS JESUS IS ONE WITH GOD, NEITHER WE NOR JESUS IS GOD!!
THE ONENESS WITH GOD JESUS PROCLAIMED, AND WHICH HE PRAYED FOR US TO ALSO HAVE, WAS NOT A MERGING ONENESS IN WHICH WE BECOME GOD, BUT RATHER A ONENESS WITH GOD’S SPIRIT-CENTERED PERSPECTIVE, A ONENESS WITH GOD’S PURPOSES AND OUR ABILITY TO SHARE GOD’S POWER!
Our goal as Christians then, is two-fold:
To KNOW God – by learning how to enter God’s kingdom within, understanding how to come into God’s Presence and communicating one-on-one with God.
To ABIDE in Christ (Jesus says abiding in Him is being one with God) – by the self-discipline of #1 we become the answer to Christ’s John 17 prayer for all believers to be one with God’s Perspective and Purpose, and the sharing of God’s healing, soul-liberating Power.
THE RELIGION OF CHRISTIANITY IS AN INCUBATOR THAT PROMOTES LIFELONG SPIRITUAL INFANCY
But, as we learn in Hebrews, chapters 5 and 6, too many believers were (and still are) stuck in going over and over the “Elementary principles of Christ” (Hebrews 6:1), which the author calls “Spiritual milk“. And it is this constant diet of spiritual milk that prevents Christians from being skilled in the Holy Spirit delivered “WORD of righteousness.“
Here are all the passages, first from Hebrews 5:13-14, followed immediately by Hebrews 6:1-2:
“Everyone who partakes only of milk (those six “Elementary principles of Christ”) is unskilled in the WORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.“
Hebrews 6 identifies six “Elementary principles of Christ“: Repentance, Faith, Baptism, Healing, Resurrection and Judgement. These are the spiritual milk alluded to in Hebrews 5, also referred to as the “foundation.“
However, once these foundational “Elementary principles” are understood, we are supposed to “Go on to perfection” by “Leaving the discussion of [those] elementary principles of Christ.“
Are you beginning to see? Those six “Elementary principles of Christ” are the eternal subjects that preachers preach from pulpits throughout Christendom! Christians, WAKE UP, you are being fed spiritual milk ad nauseam and its preventing your spiritual growth!
SOLID SPIRITUAL FOOD AND DISCERNMENT
So, what is the requirement for Christians to be weaned off this spiritual milk and begin eating “solid food?“
We are to use our senses to learn how to discern good from evil.
In other words, we HEAR the Word and then we DO the word. For it is by stepping out in faith (gaining experience by the exercise of our senses) that we learn spiritual discernment.
But this ability is not something we’re born with; it doesn’t come to us naturally. And to truly discern good from evil we must first learn to discern God’s voice from our own inner voice, something that requires discipline and practice.
This should be obvious, but when Christians equate the easy reading of the written word of God with knowing God and hearing God’s voice, they’ve entered the realm of hypocrisy.
This is the pitfall of all religions and Christianity is no exception. It is easy to read and learn from a human teacher… it is much harder to discipline oneself, to set aside time to be with God, to focus every atom of one’s being on God, through meditation, listening with concentrated effort for God’s “still small voice.“
Knowing God is hard work.
But having been on both sides of this issue, having actually “heard” that inner prompting of God’s “Still, small voice“, I can tell you unequivocally that Christians who only read ABOUT God, do not KNOW God! And they have very limited discernment too.
True discernment is a never-ending process of listening to hear God speak a Word of wisdom (directly, from God’s “mouth” to your ear) regarding each and every unique situation a believer faces.
Are you about to go to a party but you don’t really know the person who’s invited you, so you aren’t sure whether the party will involve drugs and too much alcohol? You need spiritual discernment.
Are you thinking of booking a trip to a distant land and you want to KNOW, without a shadow of doubt, whether the trip will end in disaster? You need spiritual discernment.
Have you just met someone on a Christian dating site who seems genuine and dedicated to Christ, but you’ve recently had some bad experiences with “Christians” who put up old pictures, lied about their jobs and proved to be nominal “Christians” at best? You need spiritual discernment.
For an in-depth example of a situation just like the last one I described, you can read my testimony about how my wife Vonda and I met on a Christian dating site, the spiritual discernment that required us both to step out in faith, and the miracles that resulted: https://3circles.org/testimony
DO YOU HEAR THE WORD OF THE KINGDOM?
Look at Matthew 13 and Christ’s Parable of the Sower for another example of God’s living Spirit Word. Here God’s Word isn’t called a “Word of righteousness.” Rather, it’s called “The Word of the Kingdom“: “When anyone hears the Word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in the heart.“
Since God’s Word is “Spirit and life“, this “Word of the kingdom” must be the living Spirit Word, which Jesus and every true believer receives directly from God. And since Jesus told us, “The kingdom of God is within you“, that is where a believer goes to find the “Word of the kingdom”, God’s living Spirit Word.
Notice also that Jesus says, “HEARS the Word of the kingdom“; Jesus doesn’t say, “READS the Word”.
God is there, inside every believer, waiting for you to understand the meaning behind the Lord’s prayer and act. “Thy kingdom come [you need only go inside to come into God’s kingdom], thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.“
In Heaven there is this instant and continuous KNOWING of God. There, God’s River of Life, God’s living Spirit Word, streams continuously through one’s mind. For more on my Heaven experience please READ MY BOOK:
The scriptures also teach us that there is this “Hope we have as an anchor of the soul“, that we, like Jesus Christ, are able to, “Enter the Presence behind the veil.” (Hebrews 6:19).
That hope is indeed the anchor that tethers our soul to God, allowing us to visit and revisit that spirit realm wherein God resides. This is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE that Jesus Christ opened up to us. And only through that knowledge, which only Jesus provides the world, can we hope to come into the Presence of our Heavenly Father. Those who have “ears to hear“, let them hear!
However, this hope we have, this ability to “Enter the Presence behind the veil“, comes with a warning to those who fail to understand.
The first warning is from Jesus.
Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?… not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! Therefore, whoever HEARS these sayings of Mine, AND DOES THEM, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock. and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.’ And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:15-16; 21-29).
The second warning is from the Apostle Paul.
Paul said, “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
The key to being spiritual fruit producers, is hearing God’s living Spirit Word and then doing what is heard. Which means we must first enter God’s kingdom within and meditatively listen to HEAR God’s voice (directly from God’s “mouth” to our “ears”), so we’ll KNOW what to do!
But, as was symbolized in the Jewish temple, there is a fleshly veil that separates man from God, from that holiest of holiest places, God’s kingdom within.
It is the veil of our flesh, this physical universe, our physical sense-based knowledge, which prevents us from piercing this veil. The Jew’s religious symbolism for man’s separation from God and God’s Spirit realm was their Temples inner room, a sanctuary within the sanctuary, which only the High Priest could enter. And within this inner room, separated from the outer sanctuary by a ceiling to floor veil or curtain, a room they called the “Holy of Holies“, rested the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of God’s presence and power on earth.
JESUS DESTROYED THE VEIL THAT SEPARATES US FROM GOD’S PRESENCE & POWER
At the very moment Jesus died on the cross, God sent an earthquake, which split this veil in two, “From top to bottom”, indicating an end of man’s need for religious mediators between us and God. God revealed by this tearing of the veil, that all believers now have access through Jesus Christ to God’s “Holy of Holies” inner sanctum within. It also symbolized our equality before God, through Christ, for if only the High Priest could enter this Holy place, but now we can all enter, we are all, as Peter declares in 1 Peter 2:9, members of the “Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people, so that we might proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light!“
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh… Let us hold fast the confession of our HOPE without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19-23).
This ability to enter the Holy of Holies, where God is Present in Power, is what the Bible instructs us to seek after, wherein we find God’s Spirit and God’s Life, and the same Word of God that Jesus continually received from His Father. This is how we come to KNOW God. This is the New Covenant.
The New Covenant is not learning ABOUT God’s instructions and doctrines, and how to get along with others. That’s the purpose of the Bible, the written word of God.
The New Covenant is about what man cannot teach, each individual believer going behind the veil to be with God, hear God’s voice and KNOW God, know what God’s Perspective and Purposes are.
Here is how the New Covenant is described in Hebrews 8:10-11, “I will put My laws [which is my Word] in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.“
TO KNOW GOD IS TO LOVE GOD WITH OUR ALL
Again, I ask you to THINK. What is the main thing the religion of Christianity focuses on? Is it not teaching one another ABOUT God? And even though it is useful to learn about the experiences of those who actually knew and conversed with God, the New Covenant says this experience of knowing God is not something you can teach: “NONE of them shall teach his neighbor, and NONE his brother, saying ‘KNOW the Lord.’“
There is an important distinction I need to make here.
Teaching others from the perspective of the history of religion, of man’s interaction with God, and everything others have said ABOUT God is necessary and normal.
But what is not normal, but nonetheless implied by today’s religious teachers, is that when we learn lots of scriptures ABOUT God, we are also getting to KNOW God. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The above scenario would be like me teaching a primitive native from the Amazon jungles how to read, then giving him an ice cream magazine with lots of pictures and articles ABOUT ice cream, saying, “Read this and you’ll KNOW ice cream.” Ha! Until this native from the tropics touched ice cream and tasted ice cream; until that person saw how ice cream melts at room temperature, and experienced a brain-freeze, they don’t really KNOW ice cream! They would just know a lot of information ABOUT ice cream.
Now everyone who’s studied the Bible for any amount of time learns this, that when the Bible says some guy KNOWS some woman (or man), they’re talking about sexual intimacy! Here’s a prime example: “And they called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may KNOW them carnally.’“(Genesis 19:5).
Thus, the Bible tells us this, that to KNOW is to be with, to be intimate with.
Obviously to KNOW God couldn’t involve fleshly intimacy. But, if as the Bible says a husband and wife knowing each other in this way makes them “One flesh”, then that act of knowing another human being comes closest to enlightening our understanding as to what it means to KNOW God. Shouldn’t this knowledge make Christians think about the usual nonchalant way they say they “KNOW” God?
Reading about God, going to church, attending Bible study, and doing the usual short prayers that list the needs of friends and family, all these are religious things that cannot bring us into God’s Presence, they cannot impart God’s Power, and they certainly won’t help us KNOW God!
If we want to KNOW God, we must spend time with God. We must develop our spiritual “ears” so we can listen, so we can hear God’s voice and do the Word thus received.
Think of it this way. Who among us would claim to really KNOW a friend or acquaintance if we only got together with them for a few minutes or even a few hours a week?
If that’s our measurement, then the truth is that we spend far more time with people at work than we spend with our brothers and sisters in Christ, implying we know our secular friends at work better than our brothers and sisters in Christ. Actually, that’s often the case!
Naturally, increasing the amount of time we spend with someone we care for increases our interaction and increased interaction increases the bonds of affection and love.
CHRISTIAN HYPOCRISY STARTS WITH ACCEPTANCE OF THE WORLD’S LIFESTYLE
These facts expose one of the most glaring hypocrisies of religion: as Christians we talk a lot about loving one another, but when we remain content with only seeing our brothers & sisters in Christ for a few hours a week, our love is weak at best, and certainly doesn’t approach Christ’s example of how He loved His disciples.
Jesus called His disciples to forsake all and follow Him. They traveled together, they ministered together, they ate together, and they were in truth the first Christian community. The certainty of this fact in made plain by their sharing a common purse (“[Judas] was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.” John 12:6 NRS).
Jesus Christ set the example for all Christians in terms of “Love one another as I have loved you.” But that example of His creating the first Christian community is never preached or taught by the religion of Christianity! Why is that?
By comparison with Christianity’s adoption of the modern secular lifestyle — wherein career choices, proximity to jobs, freedom from others seeing us at our worse, and location near shopping outlets are more important than Christ’s call to “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” or “Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead” — the promotion of Christian community by the religion of Christianity would only serve to accentuate their poverty of Spirit and lack of Christ-like love.
Even more important than Christ’s example of Christian community is His example of meditative prayer. We see that example in Christ’s regular trips to the Garden of Gethsemane and the wilderness, often alone. Jesus revealed thereby, the necessity of spending quality time with God.
MEDITATIVE PRAYER IS CHRIST-CENTERED MEDITATION
The reason I use the phrase “meditative prayer” instead of just meditation or prayer, is because all meditation is prayer, but not all prayer is meditation.
Meditation indicates a deeper experience with God. It involves more concentration and therefore more self-discipline. The goal of meditative prayer, or Christ-centered meditation as I like to say, is to enter a contemplative state of mind wherein we are totally focused on God, listening to hear what God might say. Prayer without meditation, on the other hand, is focused more on talking to God then listening, more about beseeching God for help.
Further understanding on “meditative prayer” is found in Matthew 6, where Jesus instructs us on how to pray: We are to use few words; we don’t enter into hypnotic like states through vain repetitions; we don’t pray in public, that others might see how pious we are; and we focus on spending meditative listening prayer time with God (see Matthew 6).
That last idea isn’t obvious at first, but I know of no one who follows Christ’s advice when they pray, “Go into your closet and shut the door”! The full passage states: “When you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and the Father sees in secret shall reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6).
Matthew 6:6 is symbolic description of meditative prayer, i.e. meditation. By going into a dark closet and shutting the door we block out all external interruptions and quiet those voices everyone hears rattling around in their head: the voices of the world’s experts, the voices of advertisers, the voices of salespeople & professionals, the voices of teachers & preachers, and even the voices of opinionated friends and family (now you don’t have any strongly opinionated relatives do you?).
It is in the silence of that secret place, the “Kingdom within you“, where each believer can stand face to face with God’s glory.
In 2 Corinthians 3:14-18 we learn of the transformative Power of meditating until one is able to bask in God’s glory: “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.“
I cannot begin to describe the immense peace and joy I feel during my daily Christ-centered meditative prayer time! The closest I can come is found in the descriptions contained of these two Bible passages: “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV) and “A joy unspeakable and full of [God’s] glory” (1 Peter 1:8 KJV).
My dear brother or sister in Christ, if you want to experience that same infusion of God’s great Peace and Joy; if you’ve now begun to understand the difference between God’s written word (God’s instruction book) and the “Spirit and Life” of receiving God’s living Spirit WORD; if you want to experience and KNOW God intimately, not just settle for the usual daily Bible readings about God; if you want to learn how to be taught by God, how to receive God’s living Spirit Word and discern the difference between God’s voice and your own inner voice; and if you now realize Christ’s John 17 prayer for your oneness with God is an opportunity that can never be realized via traditional preaching and church attendance; then please, don’t waste any more time supporting a religion that spreads #FakeNews denying those truths… JOIN US!
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