Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Looking Forward by Looking Back!!

Well Scott and I have just booked our transport to get to Brighton on Saturday 7th July in time to hear Rob Rufus speak at CCK on the Sunday ... and then ... "Together on a Mission 2007" begins!! I know I'm not the only one getting excited. Joel Gill is too and he gave me a good idea as to how best prepare for what God will do this year. He provided his excellent summary reviews of the sessions last year and just reading them through reminded me of how much I have forgotten about the moving of the Spirit of God throughout that amazing week!

So here's a few of my highlights from "Together on a Mission" - last year!

"There are 3 essential components to a good wineskin 1. Authority Structures. 2. Biblical Vision - "To the Nations". 3. Biblical Values. We must not throw these values away if God comes in power!"

Rob Rufus - Seminar 2.

"We are not to look back and live in some triumphalistic euphoria about the past. For example, we are not to 1. Desire to go back to the days of Kathryn Kuhlman or Smith Wigglesworth but we are to desire to go forward to greater works! And 2. We are not to look back with disgust at the mistakes they made but to bless and honour the past".

"We were born for glory! There are possibilities of knowing Jesus of Nazareth at the right hand of the Father more intimately and in experiential closeness almost more intimately than the 12 disciples".

"An Encounter with God Delivers Us from Limiting Theology. Extreme Calvinism moves us towards passivism then fatalism. "Some use the doctrines of Calvin as a bed for laziness. But I use it as a couch for my refreshment" (C H Spurgeon)"

"The reason Newfrontiers exists is because of an experience of the Holy Spirit" (John Hosier). This is surprising! Not our commitment to Ephesians 4 ministries, or even our commitment to church initially but an experience of the Spirit. If we have begun in the Spirit, and are trying to continue in the Spirit - then guess where we are going? In the Spirit! Our own experience of the Holy Spirit should make us want to get everyone to experience Him".

Then of course there were the amazing prophecies that were brought to the conference.

Terry Virgo called us to;

And also to;

John Groves brought an amazing prophecy exploring the wonders of God's creation while Ginny Burgin caused shockwaves to go around the auditorium as she prophecied that the call of God was to wake up!

And finally the worship was wonderfully and sensatively led by Kate Simmonds and Stuart Townend along with Evan Rodgers. My highlight there was to enter into the throne room of heaven singing "Draw Me Close to You" ... yes it does seem possible to be able to draw near to God singing a song so widely disliked by evangelicals. But also the anthem of the week - "Yours is the Kingdom!". As Luke said - you cannot help but be stirred as Kate Simmonds opened the song with her shout; "Let's give glory to God this morning; all the glory is His!"

So there we have it. What a week.

Am I hoping for the "same again?". No - I will be disappointed if it is simply "the same again". Another year - another conference - another CD. God has promised and suggested so much. Hope is rampant across the nation. Prayers have been rising for months. God has to come in power! We gather to worship Him and nothing less than His Presence and glory will do!
PS: I have updated the "Charismatic Resurgence" post - which was long overdue. Go read it! There are some awesome articles and links to follow!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Where Pneumatology Gets Real ...

The three quotes that I posted on "Underlined Bits" from Gordon Fee's latest book (here, here and here) all centred around the concept of the Spirit within us crying out "Abba! Father!". It was Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones who made clear the explicit relationship between this crying out and the assurance of our salvation with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I've noticed that this sort of preaching has died down and the charismatic focus on the baptism of the Holy Spirit is more concerned with a "coming down of power". This of course is true and quite right.

But a recent event made me realise how important it is to revive a discussion concerning the link between the cry "Abba!" and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ern Baxter saw the same relationship and said here;

"The Holy Spirit is much more than we have generally concluded. His coming was the result of Jesus' sacrifice before God. One of the reasons why the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the whole matter of the Holy Spirit has been so fiercely contested by people who should know better - is because the Holy Spirit is the communication of God to men concerning the work of Jesus Christ in the Presence of God.

When God baptises you in His Holy Spirit, you have received a bell-like communication that Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, has accomplished His great priestly work. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a peripheral experience for a few freaks. It is the very normal experience of every child of God. Every child of god has the right to the evidence of the golden bells of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to give him experimental evidence that the legal work of the Cross is real".

The recent event that made me re-consider this was the distressing news about hearing of a number of young people who seemed to have backslidden and walked away from the church they were involved in. I don't know if they have rejected the Lord, but something has driven them away from church.

It reminded me of an account that David Holden spoke of at "Together on a Mission 2006" last year. He was asked by a pastor for help with the young people in the pastor's church. Apparantly they were uncontrollable and many different gimmicks had been tried - such as pool tables, chill out lounges, bars etc (not that there is anything wrong with those things in themselves). Dave Holden turned to the pastor and said; "Well have you introduced them to the Holy Spirit?". The result of that story was that the pastor came back joyfully to Dave Holden saying that the young people were now deeply involved in church life and were at the front of the church worshipping passionately.

My heart aches for these young people who are disillusioned with the church. I know how they feel. What they don't need is legalistic, heavy-handed church leaders imposing ultimatums or throwing them out of church. What they need is to be introduced to the Holy Spirit! What they need is to be baptised in the Holy Spirit! What they need is to know the Spirit within them crying out "Abba! Father!". What they need is to know a heart-throb within them knowing that their great High Priest is standing before the Father interceding for them and communicating His love to them!

I would recommend Jesse P's marvellous post; "Leading children in the baptism in the Holy Spirit" and I will also be eager to hear what Terry Virgo has to say at the seminar I will be going to at Brighton in two weeks time on the subject; "Leading people into the baptism of the Holy Spirit". It is a message that I have no doubt I will be transcribing in full as soon as possible. But I think the challenge facing particularly those of Third Wave persuasion is something that Jesse wrote in his excellent paper on the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

"The Third Wave position while not at all cessationist concerning the spiritual gifts ... has not shown itself to be quite as prolific as the traditional Pentecostal view in producing churches that are able to maintain a robust pneumatology and a distinctive charismatic experience over a long period of time".

Dr Lloyd-Jones would say; "Got it all? Got it all? Well if you have it all then where, in the Name of God, is it?". Let us hold our theological positions on this matter but if that theology isn't transmitting into life in our churches and changed lives among our people then something is wrong. Let us commit to seeing the baptism of the Holy Spirit - the sealing of the Spirit - the assurance of sonship come flooding into these young people's lives and set them on fire for God - ready to go to the ends of the earth to die for their Lord!

PS: On that note, I am quite excited to announce that Scott and I are starting up a new blog. It's called "On Eagles Wings" and it is exclusively about worship. I am very careful to note that I am not a worship leader or a musician nor am I a theologian - so if you want or expect something of that calibre then go elsewhere to Bob Kauflin or something. We are simply worshippers and we want to see the bar raised in our corporate settings of worship. We want, like Kathryn Kuhlman, to be able to turn and smile and say; "He's here - we can go now". The first few posts are clips of You-Tube that I have discovered and have been tremendously moved by. I don't quite know how it's going to progress over time but I hope to use it as a personal treasure trove of forms of media that move me and stir me to worship God.

You will notice on the side-bar that I have put the awesome amazing song "Draw Me Close to You". Remember that whole debate? Well I still love it - it's still my favourite song - and the setting was Stoneleigh Bible Week 1998 led by the awesome Kate Simmonds. Enjoy it as you read through the blog!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Pauline Christology" by Gordon Fee

I treated myself to the latest book from the wonderful Gordon Fee - "Pauline Christology - An Exegetical/Theological Study" - as a treat for getting my full time job in Birmingham and am immensely enjoying it. Any fans of Fee's "God's Empowering Presence" will want this latest book as he fashions it in a similar and outstanding way. He carefully works through all the Pauline texts dealing with the Person and work of Christ just as he did in "GEP". However he has made a few subtle touches which make the book far more readable and accessible including putting the English translation of the Greek words that he uses.

There will be some areas of disagreement which will be no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Fee and his viewpoints. One particular area that interested me was how he wrote with and dealt with the "Subordination of Christ to the Father". While I am nothing compared to Fee's awesome intellect and command of the Bible, I was a bit bothered by the way that he seemed to be arguing against the fact that Christ is subordinate to the Father because of the whole issue of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. (Many will be aware that Fee was a consulting editor on the book, "Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy").

That difference aside, the book is a glorious wealth of insight into the Person of Jesus Christ and what He has and is accomplishing for us - at Calvary in the past and in heaven ruling and reigning in the present. I have put my particular favourite quotes on the "Underlined Bits" blog - which focus particularly on the work of the Holy Spirit causing us to cry out "Abba! Father!". This quote in particular moved me greatly;

"Here is the ultimate evidence that we are God's own children; we address God with the same term of intimate relationship that Jesus Himself used. We are not slaves but children. The Spirit has taken us far beyond mere conformity to religious obligation. God Himself ... has come to indwell His people and He has sealed that relationship by given to them the language of His Son, the language of personal relationship. For Paul and us this is the ultimate expression of grace".

It is an outstanding book and one that I know I will end up referring to as often as "God's Empowering Presence" and I heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone who desires to understand a little more about Jesus Christ - our Lord and our Saviour.

I note that Gordon Fee will be shortly publishing "Galatians - a Pentecostal Commentary" which will also be on my must-have list!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hillsongs - Consuming Fire

I found this awesome link courtesy of the wonderful Hillsongs. I first sang this incredible prayer at Church of Christ the King when Tom Eaton was speaking just before "Together on A Mission 2006". I'll never forget it.

Rob Rufus at CCK!! July 8th!!

How excited am I?!?!

All By Myself?

I had quite a bizarre and distressing experience yesterday. I came back to Bristol to do some community nursing shifts until my full time job in Birmingham begins and had arranged to stay with my family. However at the last minute they were entertaining from their church and it didn't seem appropriate for me to be there so I had to leave for my night shift early at about 4pm with six hours to kill. It suddenly occured to me that I didn't quite know what to do with very little money and all my friends in Bristol being busy (one away at Glastonbury and Jude away in Cornwall). I ended up going to the cinema which I enjoyed but the film ended early at about 7pm and all the shops were shut. So I ended up sitting in KFC (which I hate) feeling very lonely. I was preparing to indulge in some self-pity (which I felt was well earned) when two quotes came to me.

The first was from C H Spurgeon from one of his sermons on the "Cries from the Cross";

"He will never forsake me, for he forsook his Son on my behalf".

The second was from the famous poem "Footprints";

"My son, my precious child,I love you and I would never leave you.During your times of trial and suffering,when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Although yesterday was desperately hard and lonely, I reflected that it was good for me to experience this. Being single I surround myself with friends and I realised how much I take the Presence of the Spirit for granted. It is only when we are indeed alone that we can truly encounter and walk with Him. My friend Pete is going to write an article soon on the "Spirit of God!" blog about a vital aspect of the Spirit's work that mustn't be neglected in our charismatic resurgence - that He is the Comforter or the Paraclete.

I would call this the forgotten aspect of the Spirit's work. The charismatic resurgence mustn't neglect this in favour of His power. If we would learn to walk with Him and know what it was to be able to call Him, "My dearest friend" then maybe we would be better stewards and conduits of His power.

That being said I am also freshly grateful for my true friends - Pete, Scott (who is now back online and blogging again!), Jude, Michelle, Abi - I love you and appreciate you so much. But most of all I am awed and in wonder that the Lord of glory would stoop to walk with me and carry me and die for me that I might never be alone.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

George Kouri Posts "The Land"

George Kouri (Ern Baxter's spiritual son) and my good friend from the USA has posted my transcript of "The Land" on his website here. It is fitting that this transcript should be made widely available alongside my recently completed trilogy of "Ultimate Triumph". Brother Kouri wrote about "The Land";

“The Land” from the Dales Bible Week 1976 “Where Are We Going?” Series by Dr Ern Baxter. Dr. Baxter was a powerful prophetic voice of the previous generation. Well read and experienced after decades in the work of the ministry, he had an vast and unusually clear grasp of the message of the Scriptures (especially the typology of the Old Testament) and also a clear prophetic sense of the Church’s role and where we are in the outworking of God’s Kingdom purposes in the earth. This series of messages and especially this particular message is timely in helping our generation of Christians understand who we are and what belongs to us today.

This message was transcribed by Dan Bowen, my good friend from the UK and posted on his website, Life On Wings - A Tribute to Dr Ern Baxter".

A good friend of mine (who is both cessationist and pre-millenial) emailed me in frustration yesterday after I had published "Ultimate Triumph" and said; "What do you want??! Are you expecting us all to become post-millenial?!?!". It was a good question. But my answer is - no. I am not expecting "us all" to become post-millenial. I'm not even really sure that I'm post-millenial. One thing George Kouri wrote summarises what I want;

" ... helping our generation of Christians understand who we are and what belongs to us today".

I want the Church to understand who she properly is and for my generation to realise what rightly belongs to us and is our inheritance. I don't bang on about the baptism of the Holy Spirit because I am defending something that happened to me almost 7 years ago now. I go on about it because I want to see new believers released into the sealing of the Spirit so that they KNOW - that they KNOW - that they KNOW that God is their Father!! I dream of the day when church after church releases thousands of Spirit-baptised and empowered men and women walking the streets shining like stars because they know the Spirit of God is within them crying "Abba! Father!". When that day comes - then we will be ready to take the Land. Or as George Kouri put it;

"The revelation that will enable us to see Jesus as He is and His Bride as an unstoppable force".

Do you see your Church as an unstoppable force? If you don't know what "taking the Land" means - then go read the transcript. It might change your life, and then maybe your family's life, and then maybe your town's life, and then maybe your country's life.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Finale to the "Ultimate Triumph" Series!

I have finally manage to finish and transcribe Part 3 to the "Ultimate Triumph" Series - entitled; "Ultimate Triumph – Consummated in the Epistles and Revelation". For those who haven't been following, this series was a 3 part series that Ern Baxter preached in the USA. The transcripts of the series are as follows;

This final part of the series is particularly interesting from a biographical point of view. Ern Baxter had said elsewhere that at one point or another in his ministry he has had each of the eschatological viewpoints. In this message he shares frankly why he was convicted about the biblical inaccuracy of the dispensational viewpoint and how he had to move his church away from that - and the results of how that changed eschatology affected the life of his church. It's quite an incredible story.

I don't think for a moment that this series will persuade any who persist in an eschatology of fatalism and pessimism. I don't think Ern Baxter did either. What he said at the end of the series in his concluding remarks was this;

"Well if I have challenged you to think even if you don’t agree then that is worth something. But let me ask you to spend a little time researching ... Will you do that?".

I actually have John MacArthur to thank for transcribing this series. If he hadn't preached his address to the Shepherds Conference entitled; "Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millennialist" then it wouldn't have made me think. I appreciated that impetus and needed that. I think until I transcribed this 3-part series by Ern Baxter I haven't really thought through why I believe what I believe. I still wouldn't have the audacity to say I am firmly cemented in my position but I think I'm more persuaded by Ern Baxter's glorious picture that he paints for us in this series than I am in John MacArthur's. I wrote something after I heard MacArthur's MP3 of the session;

"What I DO know is that I am confident that the Bride of Christ is going to wind up glorious. What I DO know is that all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. What I DO know is that the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former. What I DO know is that all nations shall flow UP to Mount Zion and that isn't something that will happen in heaven. What I DO know is that Jesus SHALL reign where'er the sun doth it's successive journeys run. And what I DO know is that there are a lot of Scriptures that suggest an optimism in the sovereignity of God's right to exert His authority over His universe is biblical!"

And I see no reason to change that.

Ultimate Triumph – Consummated in the Epistles and Revelation

Part 3 – Ultimate Triumph Series.

(*Applause*). Thank you. One of the reasons I’m here this week is because I want to be. Now I go to some places because I have to go. I have got an obligation or I owe somebody. But I am here because I want to be here. Frank doesn’t know I am going to say this but I consider him to be one of the emerging young princes in the church and anything this aging old cadaver can do to support and strengthen his hand – I want to be able to do it. He is the kind of young man I would want to invest in and when you get older you start to look around for people to invest in – like who you are going to leave your notes to. (*laughter*). So for him to thank you for coming is a bit over-humble. I think you are blessed in coming. He has not only got a studious heart and a devotional spirit but he has got a record of integrity – that is a rare combination nowadays. It is hard for clever people to maintain their integrity. The clever man that can maintain his integrity is a world-beater. Alright enough of my meanderings.

We have tried in these night sessions to talk about “Ultimate Triumph” under three headings; 1. Prophesied in the Old Testament. 2. Inaugurated in the Gospels and Acts and tonight; 3. Consummated in the Epistles and Revelation. I am assuming of course that we all believe that the Kingdom started with the coming of the King and that when Jesus Christ said, “The time has come!” – that He meant the time has come. He meant the time has come! He meant that time that we talked about when we dealt with the Old Testament prophecies – that time has arrived. All the things the Old Testament prophets spoke about futuristically were started to be fulfilled with the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. As Peter said on the Day of Pentecost; “Men of Israel know this – that the Jesus Christ who you crucified God has made Him both Lord and Christ”. Christ is anointed King! Messiah! So the kingdom started dynamically at that point – Resurrection and Ascension. It started potentially when John introduced Jesus at the Jordan but it didn’t start dynamically in its permanent form until Christ sat down at the right hand of God and the Father said, “Sit here at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool”. Now what do we know about the consummating acts of the Kingdom? Do we have any idea where it’s going? What it’s like? Have we any word from God as to what we should expect and what we can expect? Do we have any inspired scenarios or scenario about the end? Is there any kind of a divine agenda? Have we any systematic understanding of how it’s all going to move along?

These are all important questions that have exercised the minds of the greatest Christian thinkers from the days of Christ. You have a considerable literary history of men wrestling with these problems biblically. Then of course philosophically and existentially and sociologically and many other ways men have applied their thinking and whatever apparatus they’re using even in their unregeneracy to try to anticipate what is going to happen to world. Scientists, cosmologists – they want to anticipate whether the world is going to burn up or freeze up and they’ve got all their theories but you see the problem with unregenerate prognosticators is that they are confined to the realm of their senses. They can only make limited judgements based on the empirical evidence that they can acquire through their senses - whereas the Spirit-filled Christian who applies his mind to the Word of God has a dimension of information that the unregenerate man doesn’t have. We sometimes sell ourselves short on that. You say “We don’t a PhD – I don’t even have a graduate degree in any science. In fact I don’t have an arts degree – I didn’t even finish high school for that matter!”.

I don’t want to encourage sloth in the area of education but at the same time I don’t want to bar you from understanding this – that the most illiterate char-woman who maybe has no education at all yet is born-again has more cosmic information in her little finger than the most erudite academic has in his whole swollen head! (*laughter*). Any little char-woman who knows that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – she is plugged into cosmic information that outstanding philosophers in the world aren’t even aware of. So I don’t want you to feel that we are ruled out because we don’t have graduate degrees and all of these things. We have got the Word of God. I don’t want to sound defensive about it. I just want to say that I am a canonical person. I stay within the boundaries of this book. If I ever stray out of the boundaries of this book to listen to what people have to say then I judge what they say by this book. They think that’s narrow and obscurantist and antiquarian. They can say what they like – everything that I believe has to be according to Christ. Christ is the touchstone of all knowledge and it is the lack of Christ at the centre of contemporary knowledge that has brought us now to the hapless state that we have in our society.

Alright. When you consider the Kingdom consummately you want to look at two things. 1. Gradualism. 2. Crisis. The whole matter of the kingdom has to do with historical process and final crisis.

A. Consummated Processively.
This introduces us to the theory and observable gradualism that the Bible calls for us to observe.

1. Biblical Illustrations of Gradualism.

a. Creation.
We talk about Creation because Creation is our number one illustration. We talk about fiat Creation (and by “fiat” we mean that God by a “fiat” of sovereign power spoke the worlds into existence). They didn’t evolve out of some nebulus – they came into being by an act of God. When something was not there one second and the next something was there – that is “fiat” creation. “Fiat” creation is the position of one who is biblically orientated but interestingly enough it was not “fiat” in the sense that it was all there in that second. It took Him six days. So right from the beginning we see a gradualism in creation. If you are a 24 hour person, it is still gradualism. If we are a geologic ageist person it is still gradualism. But God who spoke things into existence did it in a gradual period of six days and on the seventh He rested.

b. Revelation.
God had created in six days and early on He started to communicate. God is not only the Creator of the Universe but He is the Communicator to that which He created – which is equally important with His creation. It is tremendous that He created. But can you imagine how it would be if He had created us and given us a shove and said, “Lots of luck”? And go on to let us wander through space on our own? Having created, He communicated His purpose in creation. All our trouble tonight – the tremendous trouble that Frank was so devastatingly documenting last night – that is all the result of rational man on a God-given creation and not listening to the communication of the Creator! What God created, He communicated to His rational vice-regent man how to govern it. And man has thrown away the manual! He has got the bicycle but he has thrown away the manual that tells you how to put it together. So he can’t go anywhere! He can’t get the bicycle together! The Scripture for this is Hebrews 1:1-2;

“God who at sundry times”. Sundry times = gradualism. “And in diverse manners spake unto our fathers by the prophets hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son”.

Those two verses cover 1,500 years. God dropped a little here and a little here. There is a classic book called “The Progress of Doctrine” – it is not a new book, it’s about 100 years old but it is by Canon Bernard. I am sure you can buy it today – they keep re-publishing it because it is something like the Bible – it’s become just a classic. The thesis of that book is very simple but very necessary for us to understand. That as God starts growth with a seed and then the shoot and then the branches and so on as Jesus referred to it; this is the gradualistic process of God. God has given us illustrations of it in nature. Canon Bernard has established classically for us that it is the same with revelation. That revelation starts with Genesis which is the seed plot of the Bible. We dealt the other night with Genesis 3:15. If we couldn’t take subsequent revelation and go back at 3:15 we wouldn’t be as puzzled as Adam and Eve probably were when God said it. We have lived to see the day when the woman’s seed has crushed the serpent’s head. All down through the centuries there is an accumulation – there is a widening like Ezekiel’s river and revelation becomes richer and richer until it eventuates in the coming of the Messiah and He becomes the final voice of God.

But even then, there is a gradualism. For what He says as recorded in the Gospels, “He Himself says” is not the full thing. “I have many things yet to say to you but you are not able to bear them but when He the Spirit of truth is come” – so Jesus warned them. He said, “Look I am who you say – I am the Son of God – but I can’t tell you everything not because I couldn’t tell you but because you are not presently able to receive it and that’s not totally your fault – it’s because the Revelator has yet to come”. So you can’t receive any more than I’ve given you but when the Comforter comes you will all be personally equipped with an advanced technical receiving set and then I will have apostolic voices and Peter will talk to you and James and somebody you don’t even know right now – a little beetle-browed, hooked nosed Jewish rabbi and he is alive right now! He doesn’t know it yet but he is going to be My apostle to the Gentiles”. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh had already stamped Paul’s words with the impromata of His authority and He was a rabbi that hated Jesus. Isn’t that amazing? That makes you hope in all your outreach that you might be winning an apostle to Christ. It’s not just winning a soul and saving him from hell – you may be winning someone who is earmarked for divine fame. So Revelation is an illustration of gradualism.

c. Taking Over the Land of Canaan.
(Deuteronomy 7:22) “The Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little, thou mayest not consume them at once lest the beasts of the fields increase upon me”.

One of the necessities of gradualism is that you shouldn’t conquer what you’re not prepared to control. How many of us in our greed have gone to a smorgasbord and by the time we have got to our table we knew we have overdone it? We conquered what we couldn’t control. We have come away with a trophy of this bulging platter but we get it to the table and say, “If I eat that it will kill me!”. (*laughter*). Now God said! This wasn’t Mosaic strategy – God said! You wanted to go in there with your expansive greed and beat up all the Canaanites and then find out that you don’t have the resources. Do you know the ratio of suppliers to fighting men in an army? For every one of our pilots, tank drivers and so on there are probably 10 supports back on base. The beauty of a well organised church is not just that you have got a good general who is capable of strategy. What Frank is doing here and men like him is not just to get people to come and preach but people to come and be a part of the army – not necessarily the out front ones but the entire support apparatus that is essential for the success of the army in the field. Don’t conquer what you don’t plan to control.

d. 2 Prophecies of the Messianic Kingdom.
I have chosen two although there are others. Daniel’s stone and Ezekiel’s river. Daniel 2:35;

“The stone that smote the image became …”. Let’s say “Became” – that is gradualism. “Became a great mountain and filled the whole earth”.

Now here’s the gradualism. All of the human systems of government which have been tried through the centuries have failed and they are going to be blown away like the chaff in the wind and there will be no place found for them and the stone that crushed them is going to grow until it fills the whole earth. Now we’re not even to crisis yet – we’re still on gradualism. Don’t make that a crisis situation because that isn’t crisis. That is gradualism. Now you see we have opted out of gradualism. Dispensationalism with its “any-moment-coming-of-the-Lord” mentality has paralysed us and we have no plans for the future! Evangelicals for 150 years have said, “We don’t plan”. Their watchword was you don’t polish the brass on a sinking ship. Who has got the right to call God’s creation a sinking ship? It may be in trouble but it is being rescued! Well what did evangelicals do? They opted out of the public square. I started to tell you in one of my sessions about this, but I got lost and didn’t finish it but they have opted out of the public square.

One of our very influential modern theological sociologist writers who is the editor of an influential publication called “First Things” – he wrote a book on the “Naked Public Square in which he said that Christianity to its shame has left the public arena to unregenerates. I know when I started to talk about it – when I started to talk about the North-Eastern Universities. We lost them all because we opted out of the public square. You say, “We’ve got nothing more to say to you fellows – go to hell”. That is brash but it is the premise of Dispensationalism. “We can’t help you – if you want to get saved and join our any-moment church then come but we have got no plans for education, no plans for agriculture, no plans for finance, and no plans for sociology we are not going to talk to you about how you should live. That is the very reason why Jesus Christ left us here so that we can leaven the lump! We’re too confoundly Pharisaical to get our religious robes sullied by touching the world! Go on and get them dirty – you can wash them at night when you come home! I don’t know how you address abortion but you must address it! You out of your Christian consciousness must have an attitude towards it and be prepared to address it. That is something you have to wrestle with but you can’t let the world go by. Now about five years ago (I may be wrong in that time – it maybe longer) a bunch of evangelicals got together and said, “Look we’ve ridden this any-moment thing long enough now. We are so embarrassed. When the newspapers came to talk to us about what we think about some public issue we aren’t interested and we have lost our voice therefore they don’t come anymore because they know that the pastor at the Baptist church or Pentecostal church doesn’t give a hoot about what happens to society”. So they don’t come anymore. Do you know at the turn of the century in Great Britain, the Sunday morning press regularly reported either the sermon material of Charles Spurgeon or Dr Jowett – they were front page news! You not only don’t get a sermon in now – the only time we hit the press is when some of us screw up. We don’t make a positive contribution! We are part of that stone.

You say Jesus Christ is the stone. Yes – Jesus and His corporate body. We are not breaking anything up – we’re getting broken up! So the evangelicals 5 or 6 years ago published a book for the first time called, “An Evangelical Social Agenda for Society”. They were pressurised into it. They could no longer hide behind the any-moment coming of Christ. They were shamed into having to say something in the public square. Now we dealt with Ezekiel’s river but you talk about gradualism – the river came down from under the altar. Remember it issued down – came forth – ankles, knees, loins, water to swim in – wherever it went everything grew. Just a prolific demonstration of life wherever the river went! How did it start? It started as it came out from under the Cross of Calvary – the altar – and it redemptively started to flow through Pentecost and on down through the apostolic revelation and down through the centuries and it is flowing and will keep on flowing until the Dead Sea – until whatever is dead in the world has been livened by the life of God. You say “Really? I can’t handle our neighbourhood!”. Well that is your part of the place to handle but you must have the big picture!

e. 2 Kingdom Parables given by Jesus Christ.
We are dealing with gradualism remember. (Matthew 13:31-32) – The mustard seed.

Another parable He put forth unto them saying, “The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sewed in his field which indeed is the least of all seeds but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs and becometh a tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof”.

It is a small seed that generally looked like an inconsequential philosophical deviation in history but that seed grew and grew. We may be in some kind of retardation movement in America but in Africa and South-East Asia, the Kingdom of God is running rampant. I have every reason to believe that by the grace of God it will continue to run rampant through the Communist nations that have broken out into some kind of democracy. See some of us thought that we would have to capitulate to Communism. I hate to say I told you so but years ago I said that the seeds of its own destruction were in that movement! It couldn’t live! It parasited and parasited because it was a parasite. It can’t produce anything to keep itself alive so it keeps gobbling up others to keep itself alive but there comes an end to what you can gobble. So it died.

The second Kingdom parable – (Matthew 13:33) is the parable of the leaven. Now before I say anything about this, I imagine that right into your head bounces the idea that leaven is a type of sin. Yes and a lion is a type of the devil but having said that the lion is a type of Jesus. Let me say something to you about metaphors and symbols. They all have a negative and a positive. Water can be judgement – the Flood – but water can also be life-giving. Water out of the rock! The lion is the conquering beast. Jesus is the lion of Judah. Satan is a lion of the negative. Fire is a type of judgement. The fire is a type of perdition. Tension! Tension! Don’t get yourself fixed. There is never a metaphor that doesn’t have a negative and a positive. You say, “Well what determines it?”. Context. Now let’s say leaven is sin. Alright now let’s read the Bible; “Another parable He spake unto them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto … sin”. (*laughter*). How many believe that the kingdom of heaven is like unto sin? So the context says to you that you better do something about that word “leaven”! Leaven is leaven is leaven! What does leaven do? You women who make bread know. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures until the whole was leaven”. One of the processes when you are making bread is that you have to kneed it. It is the kneeding part that we don’t like too much.

(Matthew 4:26-29). “And He said so is the kingdom of God as if a man should cast seed into the ground and should sleep and rise night and day and the seed should spring up and grow and he knoweth not how”.

He knoweth not how! Let’s say it altogether. Do you know how? No, you don’t know how! There is a mystery that God is constantly trying to get through to us – Jesus told it to Nicodemus. He said,

The wind blows where it wants and we hear the sound thereof but we know not from whence it came nor whether it goeth. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit”.

There is a mystery in it. “I know not how God’s wondrous grace to me He hath made known”. An old Scotsman said, “I did all I could against getting converted and God did all He could for it and God won!”. Now watch this; (v28); “For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself – first the blade …”. Gradualism remember? We are talking about gradualism.

First the blade then the ear after that the full corn – but when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle because the harvest has come”.

Now I believe that is an age-long gradualistic process but I believe that everything is not only age-long but it’s also episodic - that the age-long is a repetition of the episodic. “In the last days perilous times will come”. Well we’ve been in the last days for 2,000 years and we have had our perilous days but we have also had our revival days. Don’t look at it in the short term only!

f. The Shining Light (Proverbs 4:18).
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn shining ever brighter until the first light of day”.

Shining ever brighter – gradualism! (John 1:5) “His life is the light that shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it”. (1 John 2:8) “For the darkness is beginning to lift and the true light is now shining in the world”. What happens in relation to the light? It cannot extinguish it – but rather the darkness is lightened. As the light grows – so the darkness recedes. Okay. Alright now let’s look at the critical.

B. Biblical Illustrations of Crisis.

We have been dealing with ultimate triumph gradually – now critically.

a. Parousia.
This is probably the major Greek word for the Second Coming of Christ. There are several words but they all speak of the same thing. The Parousia was a word used of a king and his retinue when they came to a certain place. That was the Parousia. It is really the arriving. Apocalypse is the unveiling. Parousia is the arrival. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). You know this – but I wonder brothers and sisters if you have ever sat down as Rapturists and really read this instead of reading into it – everything that popular Dispensationalism reads into it. Let it speak to you! I have been amazed by Scriptures that I took for granted because they were part and parcel of my particular persuasion and yet I never investigated them. They were proof texts for my view point and then I got around to reviewing the proof texts and I realised that I had brought someone else’s definition. When I started to go through my process of retreat from Dispensationalism I was chagrined when I realised I could no longer hold that position. I will never forget it. I had built a large church on that eschatological viewpoint. For six months I had to never mention the term, “Coming of the Lord”. For six months I was holed up in my study and I realised that I was a Word man. I was bothered to realise that I had brought my whole eschatology out of books and not out of the Bible. I realised that I owed those people in my church an apology but I couldn’t just come up with some concept to send them away with. I had to come to them prepared to provide an apologetic for what I was doing. For six months I never mentioned the coming of the Lord but all that time I was in the Scriptures and I thought a good place to start from was the Second Coming. Now any of you who have a history in Dispensationalism will know that they make a difference between the Parousia and the other words. One is a coming for the Church and one is a coming with the Church and the other is a coming for the Jews and they have got a system. But when you check the system it isn’t sound. I will tell you what shocked me. I was sitting in my study reading an article called “The Five Comings of Christ”. (*laughter*). Why do you laugh? You mustn’t do that – you will offend people. I looked at the article and I said, “You dummy – there aren’t five comings” and a little voice inside me said, “Well how many do you have?”. I said, “Four”. (*laughter*). So you see I said dummy with one finger there and three fingers pointing back at me.

Now when I did my research and started on the Second Coming I found that the word “Parousia” and all the other Greek words all refer to the same time. I landed up in Hebrews and I found my affirmation about the Second Coming as just as simple as what it said there. “And He shall come the second time apart from sin unto deliverance”. I said, “I have found my roots”. Now I had to work through Antichrist and Beasts and Prophets and Armageddon and blood and battles and secret raptures and partial raptures and mid-tribulation raptures and man it was six months of torture as I pulled my teeth and pulled my hair and put a gun to my head again and again. But at the end of six months I was ready for the first time in my life to defend eschatology. Now I was young and bold so I called the entire congregation together on a Thursday night when we gathered as members and I stood up and told them in much more detail what had happened to me and where I was now and how I owed it to them to tell them. I explained that if they got up and walked out then I wouldn’t blame them but what I had taught them I had got mainly out of books and I apologised. I promised them that I would textually prove what I now preached from the Bible and I wouldn’t quote William Kelly and W Grant and Lewis Bowman – I wouldn’t do that anymore. I would quote Bible and I never lost a soul. But I turned my young people into a bunch of raving radicals. (*laughter*). I had to put chains on them to keep them in their seats. I was travelling in those days and I had a big church. I would invite prominent preachers to come in and replace me and I had a bunch of young men who wouldn’t stop. They were crazy! They latched on to the new victorious eschatology and they would get the new visiting preacher in a corner after the sermon and would grill him! (*laughter*). I would be in Africa somewhere and I would get a phone call from the preacher saying, “Mr Baxter I am sorry but I have got to leave. Your young people know a whole lot more than I do – I can’t stay!”. So when I got home I would have to get my young people together and fix them good. I said, “You lay off my preachers!”. (*laughter*).

Alright let’s read 1 Thessalonians 4;

Now we do not want you my brothers to be in doubt about those who fall asleep in death or to grieve over them with no hope – after all we believe that Jesus died and rose again … all who are asleep in Him”.

“Here we have a definite message from the Lord. It is that those who are still living when He comes will not in any way precede those who have fallen asleep. One word of command – one shout from the archangel and one blast from the trumpet of God – so by all means use this message to encourage one another”. Now what it doesn’t say is that we shall be forever with Him in heaven. We have read that into it. If you are caught up to meet Someone in the air then you are going to meet them. They are coming and still coming. That is all I am going to say. Let’s deal with number 2.

b. The Day.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6-10). This is one of the most important Scriptures that dispensationalists do not major on;

“On the day He comes”. When is this going to happen? The whole dispensational position is that after Jesus raptures us up, then there are going to be 144, 000 Jewish flaming evangelists who will evangelise the people who are left but there is nobody left! (*laughter*). Now don’t fight me on this! Read the text! Who is left to be evangelised? The Jews aren’t even left! He is going to punish those that believe not the Gospel. That takes care of that and He’s going to do whatever He’s going to do – they having met Him in the air. Of course that brings us to the new heavens and the new earth – but He is going to do that as He is glorified in the believers. What’s left? There is no-one left to be evangelised. Okay. Alright let’s move to the final scenario. I’m going to be very bold on this one. But I want you to turn to 1st Corinthians 15:20-28. I want to say this to you – this section is the locus classicas of eschatology. That is – here is where it all winds up. So let’s read it;

“But the glorious fact is that Christ did rise from the dead. He has become the very first to rise of all those who sleep the sleep of death”. Or the King James Version says, “He is the first fruits”. “As death entered the world through a man so has rising from the dead come to us through a man. As members of a sinful race all men die as members of the Christ of God – all men shall be raised to life each in his proper order with Christ, the very first and after Him all who belong to Him when He comes. Then and not till then comes the end”.

Now I haven’t got time to support all this but I am going to say to you very quickly that the Second Coming and the end are co-terminus. That is the Second Coming is the end and the end is the Second Coming.

“Then comes the end when Christ having abolished all the other rulers, authorities and powers hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, Christ’s reign will and must continue until every enemy has been conquered. The last enemy of all to be destroyed is death itself”.

Now let me give you an eschatological agenda and you can fool with it as you like but let me give it to you as I have derived it from this text. Here’s the order.

1. Christ the first-fruits.
2. Christ’s heavenly reign.
What is Christ doing in heaven? He is reigning!
3. Christ putting all enemies under His feet.
4. Christ abolishing all over governments.
Remember the stone? The stone that smites the image? They are blown away as chaff. That is another way of saying that all other governments are destroyed.
5. The Parousia and Resurrection of they that are Christ’s.
6. The last enemy – death – is destroyed with the resurrection. Points 5 and 6 are co-terminus and coincidental.
7. (v24) Handing over the Kingdom to the Father.
8. The end comes.

Now what ensues? This brings us to point c.

c. The New Heavens and the New Earth.
I am going to truncate my material because my time is up. I want to give you a Scripture – 2 Peter 3:13. “But in keeping with the promise we are looking forward …”. What are we looking forward to? This isn’t me! This is God’s Word! Peter says we are looking forward to something. Someone says looking forward to the coming of the Lord – yes that is the crisis. What are we looking forward to as the subsequent ultimate? The new heavens and the new earth. Now I don’t want to be simplistic but how many of us are looking forward to the new earth? Our whole evangelical emphasis is getting saved to go to heaven. Peter says that we get saved to go where? The new heavens and the new earth. Now let me read it again; “In keeping with this promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and new earth – the home of the righteous”. I am quoting from the NIV – the home of the righteous. Where are you going brother? Where do you eventually hope to land? We are all too heaven-orientated.

Now I could take 4 days and talk to you about the place of the earth in God’s eschatological future but Peter does it for me in one verse. Now when you go researching it you will find quotes like this – from a classic that I read. It says that the dualism of heaven and earth is not retained after Revelation 21:21; “For the New Jerusalem has come down out of heaven so that now is the time of consummation. Behold the dwelling of God is with men”. Here it is now; “The heavenly order is now subsumed in a terrestrial kingdom where all things are new”. What is he saying? The heaven/earth dichotomy is now joined so that the veil between heaven and earth is removed. Where is heaven? You know that isn’t a valid question. You may say that heaven is up – but that is a metaphorical symbol to accommodate our thinking. Heaven is up. Well in Australia in those terms heaven is down. Now I am not trying to confuse you I am just saying that God accommodates revelation to our concepts of up and down so heaven is up and we think hell is down in the core of the earth. But probably the new insights in physics should help us – that heaven just may be “there”.

You say “there?”. Well where did Jesus go when He disappeared? He seemed to go in and out. My suggestion to you based on this is that in the final analysis the veil between heaven and earth will be taken away so that heaven and earth will join and there will be one vast mega-metropolis. I wish I hadn’t started this because I can’t tell you everything I want. Well if I have challenged you to think even if you don’t agree then that is worth something. But let me ask you to spend a little time researching the new heavens and the new earth. Will you do that? Adjust yourself on the whole heaven concept. Personally I have always had a problem with cold gold streets and bare feet wrapped in a white sheet taking harp lessons. (*laughter*). There has to be more to it than that. If God made the earth for man then when He made it, He couldn’t have made a better earth. Earth is our habitat. Earth is heaven’s order and God’s original intention that will be achieved ultimately is “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. In the final eschatological reality heaven and earth will be one and we will live in it with trees without bumps and lumps and bodies without hereditary diseases and animals that don’t bite.

Well I think I have done enough damage for one night. Go think about it.

~ End of Transcript ~

Friday, June 15, 2007

Terry Virgo on Word and Spirit!

I think one of the key aspects to maintaining a passion in your writing is ensuring that your reading reflects a diet of passion. Enthusiasm is contagious! Therefore I was thrilled to see that despite his busy schedule across the nations, Terry Virgo managed time to write another blog. Entitled "Word and Spirit" it was guaranteed to catch my eye straight away! Terry began by speaking of some messages and books he had been reading and then spoke of continuing awesome testimonies of healings that are breaking out in the USA. How incredible! Despite me bemoaning our danger of intellectualism in the Western world, God is still breaking out and proving that He can confound modern science!

But then Terry wrote this;

"God keeps telling us that a new era has started for us. I intend believing Him and keep on pushing the door and looking for fresh manifestations of His presence and power".

A new era has started! The promises are true! Our challenge is to keep pushing the door in faith and keep stepping out and looking for Him to move. With Together on a Mission 2007 fast approaching I believe we've got an awesome opportunity to look for fresh manifestations of His Presence and power!

A Rare Commodity ... Passion!

I had an awesome day yesterday! I met the pastor of an NCMI church that I am thinking about attending while I am up in Birmingham. It's called "Birmingham Church International". (If you look at the NCMI website you will see a lot of their churches have the word "International" in it - says a lot doesn't it?) The lunch was great in many respects but most awesome of all was to hear the pastor expound his vision - not just for the local area the church is in, not even for the city but for the nations! He has an incredible heart to see the Spirit of God get into the universities and from there send the Gospel back to nations all across the world. It occured to me that passion can be sometimes a rare commodity and one that is all too easily lost. The pastor admitted it himself - that he had lost his fire at one point in the ministry.

I was re-looking at the mini-series that I have written on blogging.

And this challenge faced me;

"How do we keep passion alive in our writing?".

Yes of course it is important to consider how we blog - the technical aspect of where to link and who to link to etc etc. But one of the things I loved most about the Puritan writings is how you can sense their passion for God soaking through the ages and affecting us here and now centuries later! Consider this; if by the divine will of God what we write here and now on our blogs was preserved for centuries later - what would those people make of them? Would the first thing on their minds be - "Wow - those people in 2007 were passionate for God?". Or would they be saddened at our obsession with petty secondary issues and not the glory of God?

"Writing of course is a superb means for conveying precise and accurate information. It is ideal if you want to refer back to issues for analysis and reference. But there is a drawback ... As the old adeage states; "Written words objectify - spoken words personify" ... The limitations of writing are simple. It lacks the creative breath and charisma which is at the core of all good communication".

Let's strive to convey as much passion as we can through our writing and seek to emulate the example of our fore-fathers in the faith! Speaking of which - I have just brought Rob Rufus's book; "Living in the Grace of God". When I've finished reading it I will review it. It looks set to be a life-changer!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

First Post from Birmingham & an Invitation to Encounter the Spirit!!

Wow so settled into Birmingham and what an awesome exciting experience it is! Interestingly enough I had a really dark, almost demonic dream last night where I was being chased and attacked by all of the people in Bristol with whom I had negative, bad experiences with. I woke up about 3am sweating and trembling and it was such a relief to look around and realise that the Presence of God was with me in my new surroundings and new home and feel the peace that swept over me as I realised that is gone - in the past.

Well I had an awesome email from the Newfrontiers "Connect" service and it had an official report from the recent Prayer and Fasting time in Peterborough. As an amazing bonus it also has links to the three talks that Rob Rufus gave and Sarah reported on so well. Here's what the report said;

"An invitation to encounter the Spirit"

Leaders from across the UK are used to gathering three times a year for two wonderful days of Prayer and Fasting, but May 2007 brought something a bit different. To begin with, we met in a new venue - the impressive home of Peterborough Community Church that has recently been constructed. The other significant change on this occasion was that time and space was given over to the ministry of Rob Rufus. Rob and his wife Glenda, originally from South Africa and now establishing a church in Hong Kong, are part of the New Covenant Ministries International stream of churches. Three of the seven sessions over the two days were set aside for Rob to teach and minister amongst us, which he did with passion, humour and real sensitivity to the Spirit. We were able to benefit from his infectious love for God and desire to see his power manifested.

Rob encouraged us that because Jesus has ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit is now the ‘contact person of the Trinity’. We are to seek intimacy with him and expect his tangible presence to impact our churches and localities. Rob allowed plenty of time for us to encounter God and encouraged us to continue doing so in order that we might develop fellowship with the Spirit in our daily walk, drawing on the strength of God so that we can be equipped to fight the battles of faith that come our way. We look forward to what Rob will bring as he is with us at the Together on a Mission Conference in a few weeks time at Brighton.

Gathering with over 800 leaders was a great experience; our worship times ranged from exuberance to intimacy, passionate exclamation to enjoying the stillness of God's presence. Flowing into this context we heard encouraging news about advance in South Africa, Zimbabwe, China and Northern Europe as well as the impact of the Front Edge evangelistic initiative in the UK. Over the two days there was an exciting fusion of feedback, prayer and prophecy. This was especially true as our focus turned towards the Together on a Mission, Mobilise and Newday events taking place this summer. We prayed in anticipation that God will change hearts, transform lives and impact nations.

It is a privilege to join together in prayer, giving thanks for what God has done and calling upon Him to move in greater power in our midst as we make His name known. We left Peterborough refreshed, inspired and with renewed expectation to encounter the Spirit in greater measure.
Below are Rob Rufus’ three talks from Prayer and Fasting. Once opened in your browser you may need to save the files 'File / Save as' in order to listen to them.

Talk 1

Talk 2

Talk 3".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bristol is No More ...

It seems to be the time for goodbyes. I leave Bristol today for good (although of course I will be back visiting my parents and family regularly) but I am properly moving up to Birmingham later today. It's quite a weird feeling. I wish I could say that I am sad but I'm not. I'm excited. Bristol hasn't been a particularly easy 5 years at all. Everything that could be shaken in my life has been shaken but as the Scripture says - I have found out what is unshakeable! And praise God - I have realised that the perseverance of the saints has absolutely nothing to do with the saints themselves really! I've learnt so much - as we do in times of trouble. As Jesse said quite rightly;

"Work gets done and generations rise to their challenge, embracing the new work God is doing when those alarm bells are sounded and Christians begin to gasp, perhaps even panic, at how much work needs to be done, and how short the time we have".

Maybe if Bristol had been the retreat and the rest that I hoped it was going to be, I wouldn't have been motivated and stirred to try and accomplish what I have. I have definately had my faith shaken in the local church - yet once again, praise God, I leave Bristol realising that my belief is still unshakeable that the local Church IS the hope of the world! So I am meeting with a pastor in Birmingham on Thursday to get to know him and to find out about his church and (God willing) find out where my place is within it. It's a church that welcomes the Holy Spirit and is passionate for more of His Presence but it honours the Word of God too.

I'm full of expectation and excitement for the future. Birmingham isn't the end of the road (I think). I am going to be there short term (I also think!). The reason I sound cautious is because I've learnt not to map out my own future anymore. God tends to have other ideas sometimes! But I know it's going to be a vital step and I pray that somehow I can play a part in His grand scheme of covering the earth with His glory. While I know and recognise that God isn't in a rush in His divine timing, I desperately hope that I may be part of the generation that sees the people of God go in and take the Land!

So goodbye Bristol! Here we come Birmingham! (Oh yes I updated the Charismatic Resurgence post one last time before I go).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something that Made Me Cry with Laughter ...

Okay - this is totally non-theological but it's the first thing that has made me cry with laughter in the last month or so. Literally. Cry. I was helpless. My poor mum and dad didn't quite know what had come over me. Oh how I wish I could say it was a move of the Spirit! But before you watch this clip, you have to have watched the "Empire Strikes Back" and be a bit of a sci-fi geek like me. If you can't tick the above boxes you won't find it funny. But if you do, then go ahead and laugh! Or just shake your head at my odd sense of humour!

George Smeaton on the Church

I spoke recently against the art of excessive quoting in one's blogging. I am going to break that rule today and crave forgiveness. I've been reading a wide selection of books on the Holy Spirit including my favourite and classic "Joy Unspeakable" by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I posted three awesome quotes I found on "Underlined Bits" - here, here and here. They really stirred me - especially the one about the Church abandoning this vital concept of the Spirit "falling upon".

But I have also been re-reading George Smeaton's; "Doctrine of the Holy Spirit" and I was amazed at some comments he had to make about the Church especially in regard to my two most recent transcripts by Ern Baxter on "Ultimate Triumph". Here's the quote (pp264-265);

"The Church, partly militant on earth, and partly triumphant in heaven, thus forms one society, one Church of the first-born so called, with special allusion to those who were protected by the blood of the Lamb ... and were thus made a holy nation, a perculiar people.

This is the city of God! The indwelling of God in this city constitutes it's glory which the natural eye cannot discern. Mention is also made of an innumerable company of angels who are at once their fellow citizens in the city of God and ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation".

Now note this;

"These lofty terms belong not merely to the Church triumphant but to the Church militant on the earth; for it is expressly said that true believers are come to the City of God. From all this it is evident that the true Church is invisible, that God is a wall of fire about it and the glory in the midst of it (Zech 2:5) and that all true Christians are a spiritual priesthood, carrying on a true spiritual worship and having access to a throne of grace".

I found that absolutely incredible! So often the charge is made against restorationists that it's a "modern phenomenon" and only came with the advent of the Charismatic Movement. To me this quote suggests that the Church gains a fresh optimism whenever the Spirit of God is moving, and that suddenly we realise that our fatalistic attitude to leaving everything to the Second Coming of Christ is missing the point!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Update to Charismatic Resurgence Post!

Apologies for the short delay on the "Charismatic Resurgence Post"! Ern Baxter has been keeping me occupied and busy. As Mark Heath said - transcribing is a timely business. But however I have updated it and there are a number of awesome posts worthy of your attention. They will build your faith!

Just to give you a taster; Terry Virgo testifies to a young man being healed of dyslexia, I've been listening to NCMI leader Tyrone Daniels preaching on "The Potency of the Prophetic" and Adrian Warnock reminds us that the whole object to this is that we might "GO!".

Go read it - God is on the move! And to re-emphasise the "Ultimate Triumph" theme, here is a video clip from the extrodinary theologian R J Rushdoony (I think my friend Dave Skipper might approve of this!). He says; "We have a duty; we have to occupy the whole world! ... We have a magnificent calling and I don't believe God programmed us for defeat".

Saturday, June 09, 2007

So Who is This Rob Rufus?

Julie posted recently urging her readers to go and listen to Rob Rufus's online sermons. This is a call that I would strongly second! But it suddenly occured to me in the shower (where I get most of my spiritual revelations) that while Julie, myself and others may go on about Rob Rufus - some may not be aware of him. I wasn't until "Together on a Mission 2006" last year. So I thought it might be helpful to do a short post highlighting what an awesome servant of God this man is - especially those booked in to come to "TOAM 2007".

The best introduction to Rob is the interview with Nigel Ring in the Newfrontiers magazine. He is involved in a church in Hong Kong called "City Church International" and is part of an apostolic family of churches called; "New Covenant Ministries International" which was started by a man called Dudley Daniel. As soon as Rob Rufus met Dudley, the touch of God was heavy upon them. Rob said; "I got the shock of my life! I felt God say, ‘I have joined you to this man for ever!". The church in Hong Kong has grown primarily not through ex-pats but from people attracted to the message of grace. Shasher wrote very accurately; " ... if you want to learn anything about Grace... you've met your teacher!".

So he's a man of grace - but he is also a man of doctrine and earnest commitment to the Word of God. In every one of his four sessions at Brighton I learned something new from the Word of God. This broke one particularly bad sterotype in my mind - that a charismatic man of power cannot teach the Word and a teacher of the Word can't impart power! Terry Virgo himself said that he learnt a great deal of new material especially about the laying on of hands from one of Rob's sessions - and you can't meet a more ardent student of the Word of God than Terry! To me the fact that Rob Rufus can do this answers powerfully one of Terry's laments in an old Newfrontiers magazine;

"Why is it that we are so rarely privilidged to experience at the same time the manifestation of the Holy Spirit´s power and true respect for the Word of God?" - Newfrontiers magazine - August/October 2002

Finally you cannot deny that he is a prophet of God. He listens to God and God speaks to him. That was one of the first things that caught my attention about Rob. I was listening to a sermon of Terry Virgo preaching at Church of Christ the King and he mentioned this man who had come to Reading and conducted some meetings with unusual success and anointing. Rob then went back to Hong Kong and God told him he would be invited to speak at a major conference and that would be evidence that God was going to move upon the United Kingdom in power. In his own words (from the Nigel Ring interview).

Nigel Ring: You referred earlier to what God was saying about 2006. Can you expand on that?

Rob Rufus: I came to London in November 2005. I was praying in Richmond Park and suddenly felt the clear voice of God saying He is going to come with a visitation of His glory to the British Isles. It may seem unlikely or wishful thinking but I just felt it so strongly. He said He was going to call me back and have some involvement in facilitating, in a small way, some of those things. Something would rise up within these British Isles. It would be for everyone who is hungry for God. It would require people to look at wineskins to avoid another charismatic movement that will run for a while then burst.

Prophetic ministries around the world are picking up an excited expectation of something significant. This time, hopefully, we won’t have a Philistine cart with our Uzzahs and Ahios. We will receive this visitation with a lot more reverence and honour who this is for. This is for the honour and pleasure of our great God, not to make certain movements more famous or our churches grow faster. This is to see the glory of God come into the nations that multitudes can be saved".

So if you are a broken-hearted, wounded Christian who has been bruised viciously by the evils of legalism then Rob Rufus is the perfect teacher for you. Just scroll through the Archives of his ministry. You'll find the word "Grace" a lot. Rob wrote this concerning his son Ryan's excellent book on indwelling sin (it isn't free for much longer!). He said;

"When we understand our position in Christ the Spirit of liberty can with supernatural sequential increments of glory transform our condition while keeping us secure through the process".

If you are not sure whether God intervenes miraculously in time and space any more then visit the "City Church International" website. There are some testimonies of the miracles that God is doing TODAY that you need to read. One point about the miraculous that was actually pointed out to me by Scott. In the interview with Nigel Ring, Rob was asked whether people can be discipled into this ministry or whether it is by impartation. Rob said;

"Both! The main way is impartation. It is through association with people that are moving in the supernatural, like Elijah to Elisha, Paul to Timothy, Moses to Joshua and so on!".

I experienced a degree of this impartation because I had the first proper vision that I have ever had in my life during the ministry time after Rob's session - and the vision was for Scott. This is how he described it as happening;

"I prayed with my hands out in front of me, and taking Rob at his words, I knew the way to Jesus was to know the Spirit better, so I just let it wash over me, and then I felt a weight on my hands; it was as though Jesus was standing in front of me holding my hands, willing me to believe just how much He loves me, and I just welled up with pure emotion, he wanted me to know that I'm His brother.

It didn't stop there; as I kept praying to know the love of Jesus better, all of a sudden Dan put his arm around me and told me very quietly that he had a picture for me. But before I share that I need to put in some background information.

My parents had 4 children: Martin, Simon, myself and Stephen. Now Martin had severe Cerebral Palsy, which meant he could do nothing and spent most of his life in pain, and in and out of hospital. Martin died at the age of 9, I was 4 years old.

The picture Dan had for me (keeping in mind that Dan knows very little about Martin), went something like,"I've just had this picture, and it was of your brother Martin, and he's in Heaven with Jesus. And he's running about, free from pain and playing happily with Jesus. I feel that He's shown me that for you, to let you know that He rally does love you, and you are one of His brothers". WOW !! Well, I just cried !!! I seriously sobbed my heart out. One, I knew more than ever that Jesus truly loves me, and that he gave that picture to Dan who didn't actually know that that was on my heart; and 2, that Martin is in Heaven with our Lord, as well and pain free as he deserved to be. I now consider myself to have 4 brothers, not 3!!!"

I don't share that to boast at all - anyone who knows me properly would know that. I share that to testify personally to the awesome anointing that is on this man of God. Things happen when he is praying and talking to his Father!

Finally if you are like me and are desperately hoping that the tide has indeed turned and something big is coming to our dry and barren nation then Rob Rufus is a prophet of hope turning our eyes to a God who is passionate about the glory of His Bride the Church.

As Julie says; "Come on now!" - you can't remain ignorant about this servant of God any longer. He's going to be in Brighton in July - there is NO EXCUSE to miss him and more importantly what God will do through him!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Ultimate Triumph - Part 2 Published!

I have just finished and edited transcribing the second part in Ern Baxter's 3 part series entitled "Ultimate Triumph". His first message was called "Ultimate Triumph - Prophesied in the Old Testament". In his second he undertook to begin dealing with how ultimate triumph was begun and is most definitely linked to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ - and His life, death, and most importantly His resurrection and ascension.

One of the reasons why I believe this series is so key is because Mark Heath noted at one point that restorationists often point to and look to the Old Testament prophetic books as a Biblical apologetic for believing what we do. This can be true I think - but Ern Baxter is not guilty of this. He dealt with the Old Testament wonderful prophecies here but in this message he took time to show how it is the fact that Jesus Christ is reigning and ruling on high that gives us hope for the ultimate victory of the Church!

Jesse Phillips had a great point. Even if at the end of reading this three part series, you still remain unconvinced about the relentless march and spread of the Gospel and the Church, don't forget this;

"We don't know how the world will end, but I believe that we should be ambitious and faith-filled with respect to the effect that the gospel can have if we are faithful to preach it".

“Ultimate Triumph – Inaugurated in the Gospels and Acts” - by Dr Ern Baxter

Part 2 – Ultimate Triumph Series.

For these three evening sessions we are dealing with ‘Ultimate Triumph’ and I thought what an ambitious geezer I was. (*laughter*). There’s something kind of comic/heroic about me doing this because I attempt to cover the whole Bible in three nights. I want to talk about Ultimate Triumph – as I did last night, “Prophesied in the Old Testament”. That means on one night I took care of the Old Testament. There’s almost something indecent about that. (*laughter*). Yet what I wanted you to get was a kind of broad overview. There’s no attempt to deal with it in depth. Now tonight I want to deal with ‘Ultimate Triumph – inaugurated in the Gospels and in Acts’. Then tomorrow night will be definitive because I am going to undertake to deal somewhat with the very significant and much controverted and difficult passage in 1 Corinthians 15:26-28. We will deal with that tomorrow night but tonight we are dealing with “Inauguration”.

Now for some of you who are readers of eschatological literature you will have heard about various kinds of eschatology. Some talk about ‘realised eschatology’ but I prefer to talk about inaugurated eschatology. Now the Old Testament prophesied something that was coming. It was a triumphant kingdom under the reign and rule of a Person that was forecast in the prophets. He was forecast as David’s Son, He was forecast as a coming King or Messiah – which is the same as Christ. Christ means “Anointed King”. He was also known as the Son of Man which was His favourite title for Himself. So after the prophets got through prophesying and Israel apostasied, we have what is called the Inter-Testimental period. That is the period from the time of Malachi until the time that John breaks the silence and that was a period of 400 years. For 400 years there was no inspired prophetic utterance. During that 400 year inter-testimental period we have some very interesting historical events that take place which is not part of the Bible record. You read about the Maccabees and the wars for Jewish independence. A lot of heroic things were going on there. To read it can be very exciting but what it really represents is a nation that has lost its God. For 400 years it is trying to hang on to its own energy and it is doing most of it in the power of its own energy. Of course we know the state of the nation when Jesus came because they proceeded to crucify Him so that really is the most eloquent testimony to the nature of the nation when Christ arrived.

But when Christ arrived He was a disappointment. I shouldn’t say that – that is not totally accurate. When Jesus Christ arrived He was totally disappointing as a claimant to being Messiah or for that matter any of the viewpoints which the Old Testament projected that the coming One would be. We will talk about that in a moment. John the Baptist was the most unlikely person to thrill the hearts of Israel. I mean if some celestial prince had come sweeping down the avenues of the stars riding a white horse with flowing robes and had swept into the temple in Jerusalem and had said, “Here I am to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies”, they probably would have brought that especially with a shining sword by His side. They would have brought that but who was this oddball coming out of the desert? Who was this strange looking fellow? You looked at him closely and his clothes were handmade! He had made them himself – you could tell that. If you look at him closely there was a locust leg on a piece of honey at the corner of his mouth. (*laughter*). He was unpolished and unattractive. He had no class at all. You talked to him and he would grunt. He is an aesthetic – he is uncooperative. He is nothing to excite hope but a strange thing is happening. As he makes his way to the Jordan, the muddy Jordan – there has been no TV announcements. No newspaper ads. But for some strange reason hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have come streaming out of the towns and cities of Judah. It is a divine happening! This man John the Baptist was in his dimension as chosen of God as the Son Jesus was in His dimension. But he was the very opposite of Jesus. Jesus Christ came eating and drinking. John the Baptist didn’t eat and drink very much. He was an aesthetic where as Jesus enjoyed socialising. They were totally different but John was the opening voice of the inaugurated triumph.

Now I have deliberately tried to paint this as it looks because you and I (as I’ve already said to you) look back on the Bible days and we have a halo around them. We attribute things to them and can’t understand why people back then didn’t know the things we know today. But we don’t realise how completely human and completely dependent on a faith response everything that God was doing. God never appeals to your senses to get you to believe in Him. He clothes His servants with power but He doesn’t necessarily make His servants attractive to you. So along comes John the Baptist and John the Baptist, Jesus said, was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. The greatest! He was the greatest for many reasons. Greatest because he broke the silence. Greatest because he introduced the new age – we always think the Law and the Prophets were until the Cross. No. Law and Prophets were until John. John is the borderline. When you speak of a “borderline” it is from John through to the Resurrection. It’s all border line but John is the beginning of the kingdom age. Law and Prophets were until John and since then the Bible says that the kingdom of heaven has been preached. John inaugurated the kingdom. A likely fellow to inaugurate ultimate triumph! This is why you never ought to look down upon an anointed person because of how they may appeal to you humanly. You may be entertaining angels unawares. John the Baptist came and he came with a message; “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is near”. That was John’s message. He called Israelites and he came primarily to the Jews. No Gentiles came to his meetings. He came to Israel. The Bible said that he was to introduce Messiah to Israel. So he came and he told Israel that they needed to repent as a “claiming covenant people”. They needed to repent because the event that the Old Testament prophesied was near and was coming and hundreds of them piled down to the shores of the Jordan and were baptised of him in the river and they became the expectant remnant for this thing that was coming.

So John is the opening one – he inaugurates the ultimate triumph that was prophesied in the Old Testament. “The kingdom of heaven is near” – then came Jesus. John introduced Jesus. John knew who Jesus was by what happened to Jesus because God talked to John. I don’t know how He talked to John. I don’t know anything about the mechanics of it but God talked to John and prepared him in the wilderness. John said, “He who sent me to baptise told me that I would recognise that He was Messiah when I would see the Dove”. The proof that He was Messiah would be the Dove. He baptised Jesus and as Jesus came up out of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove descended upon Him and a voice said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. So Jesus takes up the message. John has inaugurated it but Jesus added something to it. Jesus said (Matthew 4:17); “For the kingdom of heaven is near”. Now that sounds like John. But if you go to the Mark account - (and incidentally Mark is the original Gospel. If you want to start reading the Gospels, you read Mark first. Then Matthew and then Luke. That is a little technical thing) – you will read; “The time has come”. Let’s say it altogether. The time has come. Now that is Jesus’ new dimension. That’s something He adds to John. John said, “It is near”. Jesus said, “Its come”. Now what time has come? The time the Old Testament has prophesied. This is the fullness of time and in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son made unto the law. When? In the fullness of time. Now what does that mean? All the prior times were not full! All the prior times were incomplete. All the prior times were prophetic and anticipatory. But they didn’t realise it in that time. Noah was not the person. Abraham was not the person. David was not the person. Isaiah was not the person. The prophets were not the person. The person wasn’t there but the person was prophesied! He’s coming! He’s coming! He’s coming! Ultimate triumph is coming! We traced it last night from Genesis 3:15 – it is coming! Jesus said, “It is come!”. All the accumulated centuries of the Old Testament were before the times got full. But when the fullness of time – the completeness – the apex – the zenith – the thing to which you are moving ultimately had come! Now I feel badly for people who are still waiting for Him to come! A lot of people think He won’t come until the Second Coming – they’re missing out on all the fun because He’s already here! They aren’t enjoying it because they’re looking for something that isn’t coming – the way they think it is! The fullness of time – you need to understand if you’re going to understand ultimate triumph and enter into it, you must understand that now is the time for ultimate triumph. We’ll need to wait till tomorrow night to put the climax on that.

The third thing I want to say is that dealing with ultimate triumph, we have to deal with the subject of kingdom. That is a whole subject in itself. But Kingdom is the Government of God. Kingdom has to do with Jehovah setting His King on His holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2). So when Jesus Christ came, He came as the king, as the anointed king, as the Messiah – which means anointed king. Why was it then that He never used Messiah to designate Himself? That was a puzzle! So when Peter said, “Thou art the Christ” – but Christ is the same as Messiah – Jesus said, “That’s right but don’t tell anybody”. Now why didn’t Jesus want anyone told? It bothered a lot of people. Jesus would heal people and tell them not to go blabbing it around. Because Israel was looking for a Messiah if His miraculous deeds attracted them and they thought He was Messiah then He had a problem. What was the problem? Jesus avoided the use of “Messiah” or “Anointed King” as a self-description because confusion existed of the concepts of Messiah. One of the things you need to do as preachers and teachers in transmitting truth is not to be afraid to use synonyms for words that are misunderstood. “Kingdom” is a good word. It’s a word that I use and preach about but when I think about it and teach on it, I use a synonym for it – “the Government of God”. That clears up a lot of things. What has God wanted ever since the Fall? He has wanted the restoration of divine government in the earth. Who is the ultimate governor? It is Jesus Christ. When did He set Him on His holy hill of Zion? He did it when He raised Him from the dead.

Now when He chose to be known as the Son of Man, He said to Peter, “Who do men say I am?”. That’s a whole history in it too but it’s what that One was called who came up before the Ancient of Days in the Book of Daniel. He was One like unto a “Son of Man”. You could say He was like a Son of Mankind. It was Jesus way of identifying Himself with the human race. He liked that – He used it more – that was His favourite title. Now in a few cases He allowed Himself in controversial situations especially with the Jews to be referred to as the Son of God but that was a troubling one and He didn’t want to jump the gun. So He didn’t use that. He stuck with Son of Man. Also He was very much aware that He was the Suffering Servant. I am trying to put a lot of things together here. There is a significant inter-eschatological interaction between these three titles. Messiah – Son of Man – Suffering Servant. Jesus chose the most innocuous of these for His own designation – the Son of Man. You couldn’t quarrel with that. The Son of Mankind – whatever they read into it, it wasn’t a common thing. If He had said ‘I am the Messiah’ they’d have been in real trouble right away. Why would there have been trouble? Let’s tackle that question right off. Because the views that were current at the time were such that they were expecting that when Messiah came He would be the Son of David. Now “Son of David” meant that He would be like David His father and David His father was a man of war. When David took over the kingship over a period of nine years, he reversed Israel’s situation and made up for Saul’s failure and joined the nation, took over the heights of Jabez and established Jerusalem on the heights of Jabez. David was a military man. You remember how mad Saul got when the daughters of Zion sang, “Saul has killed his thoughts but David his tens of thousands”? Saul said, “That usurping little whippersnapper – he is taking my fame!”. But it was true. When the time came to build the temple, God said, “David you can’t build the temple – you are a bloody man. You are a man of war – you beat up too many people. I will let your son Solomon who will be a peaceful man – he will build the temple”.

So it was the doctrinal predisposition of the Jews that kept Jesus from announcing Himself as Messiah. He would be Messiah – David’s greater Son – there was no question. Jesus wasn’t trying to avoid it. He was trying to handle it. There’s a big difference. You can learn things here. It’s not always right to blurt out everything. That’s why James says, “If any man has wisdom …”. What’s wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge. You say – “Boy these people really need to know what I know”. Yes but they don’t need to know it all at once and some of them don’t need to know it now. You’d best get wisdom from God as to how to dispense your knowledge. You can choke new converts with your advanced maturity. Jesus was wisdom personified. He knew that if He announced Himself as Messiah, He would have a struggle on His hands because the whole apostate nation with it’s carnal greed, aberrational desire to be the top political nation in the world would latch onto Him and say, “Lead us in battle!”. You want Him to lead in battle but not that kind of battle. Therefore Jesus withstood any application of Messiah-ship because of popular misunderstanding of that office. He chose to be the last Adam or the Son of Man and the Suffering Servant as a balance against militant Messianism. Now you know why they didn’t rally to Him? Even His disciples were concerned about Him. They said, “Master get with it Man! Get with it!”. We know that underneath that robe of meekness you’ve got a military coat of mail – we know that!”. Every time He did a miracle, they would say, “Maybe now He’s going to do it!”. When He had fed the 5, 000 they were positive. The crowd was positive! He took that little fistful of bread and He blessed it and fed 15, 000 people – 5, 000 men with women and children. What a King He would make! How He would solve our economic problems! Bring Him a few sardines and some breakfast rolls every morning and He would feed the nation – we could all go on a leisure trip! What a King!

So they said, “Let’s make Him king!”. The disciples said, “You hear it? People want to make Him King! Let’s persuade Him! Master this is Your chance. We know You’ve been waiting for this. We know You’ve been fooling us right along being meek and mild but we know You’re really the Messiah. We know that this is Your chance. 15, 000 people! What a start You’ve got! You will win at the polls in a rollover! Come on!”. Jesus said, “You still don’t understand”. John records this beautiful picture. Here is this crowd and if you know anything about an Oriental crowd, you will know that they can get all het up about something and then they are unmanageable. You can have a riot on your hands in a minute! I know, I walked at the front of a crowd of several thousand in New Delhi in India – a religious march – and I realised that one word and that crowd could be ignited and I would be trampled to death. There is a little miracle tucked in there that we don’t understand because Jesus said to His disciples, “Go down and get into the boat”. They seemed to remonstrate with Him and He said, “I told you to go down to the boat”. Then He said, “You people – go home”. That is a miracle! To be able to say to 15, 000 people who might be incited by the thought that you might become their king and they are shouting “King, King, Jesus for King!” and then for Him to simply say, “Go home” and they did – there is your miracle. If they wanted any proof of His Kingship that should have been enough! They turned around and went home.

Now the Bible seems to indicate that He pushed His disciples down saying, “Now come on fellows - come on – down”. “But Master, You are missing it! This is the best chance – You’ll never get another!”. “Down I tell you. You get into the boat and you go to the other side”. This is a beautiful sign miracle from John. All John’s miracles are signs. So what did Jesus do? He went up into the mountain to pray. The disciples got into the sea and began toiling across to the other side. Jesus up in the mountain praying and the disciples in the boat toiling. Now this is a whole picture of this age. They were trying to make Him King prematurely. He said, “You don’t understand. My kingship will not come into ultimate reality until this entire age has finished and we will finish up with a triumphant tremendous thing but it’s not going to be the way you think it”. He said, “You are going to go out across the ocean of the ages and I am going to go up to make intercession for you and I will watch you down there – toiling in the rowing and I will help you and I will be up there interceding for you and in the 4th watch of the night I will come down to you walking on the water and I will get into the boat and suddenly you will be at the other side!”. Ooh – that’s given me goose bumps! (*laughter*). Now when you read the truth within the signs, this is one of the most beautiful pictures of this entire age. If they had made Jesus a militaristic king then you and I would probably be out in the jungle. We are here tonight because Jesus Christ withstood their clamour to be a militaristic king because He would be David’s king but not until a certain point. Whatever Messianic conquest would be they would be balanced by the other two – the Suffering Servant and the Son of Man being balanced by the Anointed King. The Jews didn’t want the balance. They didn’t want a suffering servant. They didn’t want a Son of Man. They wanted a king!

What then was the foundation of ultimate triumph? We will look at Jesus Christ quickly as the last Adam. What happened to the first Adam? The first Adam and Eve failed. They failed at what point? They failed at the point where the serpent - which is the embodiment of that old serpent the devil – spoke to Eve and seduced her and spoke to Adam and got him to sin with his eyes wide open. Where did they lose their kingship? Adam was king! Adam was God’s vice-regent in the earth. God put Adam over the earth. We read this morning (Genesis 1:26-28) that Adam lost his kingship at a certain point. He lost his kingship when man’s major adversary the devil seduced his wife, challenged him, broke their faith and caused their fall. It was after that Jehovah said, “Now we have got to go through this long period with the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head and I will start all over again and I will bring another Adam”. So Paul in the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians says that Jesus Christ is the last Adam.

So there’s a first Adam and there’s a last Adam. The first Adam failed and the last Adam didn’t fail but where did He prove He didn’t fail? The very spot where the first Adam failed. For after He had come out of the waters of baptism, the Bible says that He was driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He was tempted the way the first Adam was tempted and humanly speaking the whole future hung on whether the last Adam would do what the first Adam did. So the last Adam had to win His battle, not on a gladiatorial field of battle – He had to win His fight not out there tilting with someone in swordplay. He has to win it on the high moral ground of confronting the nefarious Satan who tempts Him to try and get Him to disobey His Father the way that he got the first Adam to disobey his Father. For you must know that the first Adam was called a son of God. It is high drama!

So we must look quickly at the foundation of ultimate triumph. Here it is. (Luke 4:1-4). I am going to give you an outline very quickly if you want to jot it down. It consists of “R”s.

1. Resources.
The Bible says that in chapter 4:1, “He was full of the Holy Spirit”. What was Jesus’ resource? The Holy Spirit. What’s your resource? The Holy Spirit.

2. Responded.
He responded to the Holy Spirit – that is also in verse 1.

3. Renunciation.
For forty days He didn’t eat anything. What does that mean? It means that He did not depend on human resources. What do we do a lot of in our Christian warfare? Depend on human resources. We study more than we pray. We depend more on our brains than we do on the Holy Spirit. We depend more on our scheming and planning than we do on the Holy Ghost. But Jesus wanted the whole universe to know that He was not going to defeat Satan with His own resources. So He renounced the source of human strength and He didn’t eat for forty days and forty nights. He sure didn’t beat up the devil because His muscles were bulging and He didn’t beat the devil because He had an excess of physical energy. He beat the devil because He was full of the Holy Ghost and He was loyal to His Father. So the next thing is;

4. Repudiation.
(v3-14). Satan came to Him and said, “If Thou be …”. 3 times. “If Thou be the Son of God – you are hungry – you haven’t eaten for forty days! My goodness You must be hungry. How would you like a nice T-bone? You must be hungry!”. Jesus said, “I am hungry but what’s that got to do with you?”. “Well if you are the Son of God then you have got power to turn these stones into bread”. “Granted, I have”. “Well go ahead and turn them”. So what’s wrong with that? If you are hungry and you’ve got the power capacity to earn a living and you have got the capacity to do something about it is there anything wrong with that? Yes – if that something is a something that God has told you not to do. That is the fine tuning of a walk in the Spirit because there will be things that you won’t be able to do that others will be able to do – but it may be forbidden for you right now. That was forbidden bread! He said, “Satan, you don’t understand. Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. I don’t live by bread alone Satan. You must understand that. I live by communion with My Father and I am not going to break that communion by disobeying Him to turn a stone into bread to satisfy your disgusting desire to get Me into trouble”. Now I want you to notice something. Jesus used the very same sword that you’ve got. He reached into His hilt and drew out His sword of the Spirit – the Word of God and said, “It is written!”.

“Alright” said Satan, “You hurt me but I am going to give you another one. If you are the Son of God why don’t you jump off the pinnacle of the temple because I will quote you a Bible verse – He will give His angels charge over You. Why don’t you prove it?”. Jesus said, “Satan you are really asking for it aren’t you? It is written thou shalt not make a proof of the Lord thy God – thou shalt not tempt Him”. Twice. Three times He did it and the Bible says that Satan went away to lick his wounds for a time. That was the foundation of ultimate triumph. I don’t know what you’ve heard. Have you any idea what you’ve heard? I hope you have located the fact that ultimate triumph isn’t located in armies, torpedoes, H-bombs – that is not where that kind of triumph comes from. It comes from what Frank is teaching you – a harvest theology. It comes from, “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit saith the Lord”. That’s where ultimate triumph comes from! Now what was the ongoing triumph of Jesus after He had that first confrontation with Satan? (Matthew 12:28).

But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God then the kingdom of God has come unto you”.

From the time He dealt with Satan in the temptations in the wilderness – from that time on, He cast out all of Satan’s demons. He said “Out!”. The Bible said He cast them out with a word. He didn’t hold long conversations with them and gesture and gesticulate or raise His voice. All He said was “Out!”. What had He done? He had taken over! He had succeeded where the first Adam had failed and now He was exercising His kingship! But that didn’t satisfy the Jews. They said, “Who is this guru? Going around and casting out demons and healing the sick? He’s not doing anything for us nationally – He’s not restoring us to national prominence – He isn’t beating up Rome for us. He is healing the sick! What kind of Messiah is He?”. He is God’s Messiah! That’s what kind He is. And today there are thousand of evangelical Christians who still want a bomb dropping Messiah and they don’t realise it’s not by might nor by power but by My Spirit saith the Lord. Secular profane historians have gone on record by saying that John Wesley changed the history of England for 100 years because of his spiritual revival – a thing that no army could do. Revival is the answer! Now when Peter is giving us a summation of Jesus’ ministry he summed it up like this. In Acts 10:38, he said that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, Who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. That is a synopsis of Jesus whole ministry. I want that to sink in.

There are an awful lot of Christians waiting for a Messiah to come along. They want victory in carnal terms and it isn’t coming that way.

It’s going to come with mighty times of refreshing from the Presence of God. It’s going to come with spiritual renewal and revival. It’s going to come when God gets into the heart of men and touches them at the fountain head of their lives and then they will change the world!

What has war ever done to change the world? War may have changed some human situations but it hasn’t changed human hearts. They rid European countries of communism and now they are killing each other in the Indonesian situation. All tribal animosities are coming up. Why? Because even a change of a political situation isn’t the answer. I hate to use the old cliché but Jesus Christ is the answer! That sounds so simplistic. Someone says put it in geometric or scientific terms – make it sound big! No – it all comes out Jesus! All right. Now what Jesus’ Name as Messiah? As Messiah He was Son of David. That is what Israel was looking for – Him as the Son of David. Anybody seen the Son of David? Where is He? Well last time we saw Him, He was having a street meeting just outside the temple. The Son of David was having a street meeting?? Come on! Anyone seen the Son of David? What were they looking for? They were looking for a militaristic political figure who could give them a dynamic fleshly leadership who could lead them in triumph over the nations and march on Rome and take over the government and put a good Jew in there as President of the world. That Man is the Son of David? Oh you are kidding! You don’t understand what the Son of David is to do then. The Son of David isn’t going to inaugurate a carnal kingdom. He is not going to inaugurate a kingdom of tanks, warships and bomb dropping airplanes. That isn’t what He is going to do! He is going to bring in a moral, spiritual government where the hearts of men will be changed until the lamb has laid down with the lion without getting eaten!

That’s what He’s doing. So now He is going to fulfil His role as the Son of David – where? Let’s turn to Acts 2. Can I say something to you without being offensive? No I can’t because I am offensive. I always offend people! (*laughter*). But you know for the last 100 years we have had the Pentecostal Movement in the world of various kinds and sorts. Now we have got the Charismatic thing and I am saying to you positively that there has been a powerful Presence in the world in this past century. This has been the most unique century charismatically since the days of the apostles. It has been a century of blood and blessing. It has been the bloodiest century but it has been the most blessed century. Now what was the meaning of Pentecost? I think I said this to this congregation when I was here before. There are four men that we relate to in the Old Testament – we relate to them typologically. Let me give this to you because it’s very important. These four men are all referred to in the New Testament as being very significant – Adam, Abraham, Moses and David.

We relate to Adam racially. When Paul wanted to talk about race in the 5th chapter of Romans he said that Adam was a type of Christ. In fact Adam was the only one in the New Testament called a type. Adam was the fountainhead of a race. Jesus Christ the last Adam is the fountainhead of a new race. We as His sons are the members of that new race. So we relate to Adam racially.

When Paul deals with Abraham in Romans 4, he deals with Abraham as the one who represents individual justification and redemption. “Our father Abraham hath found”. So we relate to Abraham redemptively.

Well Moses is important to us because we relate to him relationally. In the 10th chapter of 1st Corinthians Paul said;
“I would not have you be ignorant brethren how that all our fathers were baptised unto Moses into the cloud and in the sea and did all eat the same spiritual bread and did all drink the same spiritual drink but with many of them God was not well pleased for they perished in the wilderness. These things are written as examples or types for us upon whom the end of the ages have come”.

He said that if you want to understand the nature of the church, go back and look at Israel and realise that while the church is different nevertheless the moral, spiritual principles are the same and don’t do the things they did that got them into final trouble.

What about David? Who was David? David was a king. Let’s say “King”. King is government. King is royalty. King is leadership. He was a king! We relate to David regally. Listen to me carefully. When you go to Luke 2 and read all the beautiful Christmas stories with the shepherds and so on, you will notice that everybody who was involved was of the seed of David. They were all of the seed of David. What are we talking about? Regality! Royalty! Kingship! Now on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:29);

Men and brethren, Peter said, ‘Let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet and knowing that God had sworn with an oath unto him that of the fruit of his loins He would raise up His anointed king to sit on His throne. He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ”.

Now let’s go back twenty or thirty minutes to when I started. Why didn’t Jesus want to use the word “Messiah”? Because “Messiah” meant “Anointed King” – “Messiah” meant “the Son of David”. Some used it, “Jesus Christ Thou Son of David have mercy on me” said the blind man. But it wasn’t generally used. Jesus didn’t respond to it. Why? He didn’t want to be answerable to them for the kind of Messiah that they wanted. He knew where His Son of David role would start. His Son of David role started generically at His birth but it didn’t start functionally until He came out of the sepulchre – triumphant over sin and hell. Now He is the Son of David! Peter’s punch line! They are all listening to him and they are Jews;

Men and brethren – we are not drunk as you think this being but the ninth hour of the day but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel … shed forth this which you now see and hear”.

They were all ears! Then he addresses them directly, “Let all the house of Israel know – this Jesus Christ who you crucified, God hath made Him by the resurrection both Lord and Messiah”. They said, “Oh that wasn’t the way we planned it”. (*laughter*). “That wasn’t what we expected. You mean that Man Jesus Christ was all the time the Son of David? Oh boy we know see why He was so cagey about it. If He had said He was the Son of David we would have insisted on Him fulfilling the role according to us but now He is going to fulfil it according to the Word of God!”. It was at that point that they cried out; “Men and brethren what shall we do?”. We blew it! We didn’t understand it! He was here all the time and we made fun of Him! We talked about Him as that strange guru with the funny disciples! And that was the Son of David? Oh my God – we crucified the Messiah! Men and brethren – is there any hope for us? Peter said, “I’ve got good news for you. Repent and be baptised and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!”. (*laughter*). Now how many understood what I said? Where does ultimate triumph lie? In great swelling numbers of biceps? In great arsenals of armaments? In great nuclear holdings? Let me tell you – there is enough dynamite in this room to blow America into the Kingdom of God. But Christians continue to lean on various kinds of crutches and gimmicks. You can get magazines and books on “How To’s”. Give away a hot rod – that will do it! We need to go back and study the history of revivals.

A group of businessmen got together at 5am in New York and got on their knees and called on God and out of that prayer meeting came great revival. Every revival you can investigate that has been documented for us can be traced to somebody who knew that it wasn’t by might nor by power but it was by getting hold of God and releasing the dynamic of the Spirit into the Word and revival broke from there. Jesus Christ is now the Son of David and He is sitting now on David’s throne! That is what it says! “David being a prophet … He would raise up His Son to sit on his throne”. God said, “David I promise you something – the day is coming when your Son will sit on your throne”. Now I don’t know what David understood. I know most of them would have understood God to mean that He would raise up Solomon or someone who would sit on David’s earthly throne and would be a greater king than David. Well in some ways Solomon was a greater king that David but he wasn’t David’s greater Son! If you believe the Bible and you believe Peter was anointed when he said this – he said that God spoke to him and that David somehow prophetically understood that God would raise up Messiah to sit on His throne and He, seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ. When did David’s throne become occupied? When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. He occupied David’s throne for that was the throne of God’s regent king and God said, “Sit there now My Son, Thou Son of David and sit there and I will through You and the Gospel make all Your enemies Your footstool! Sit there and reign! Govern! Get Your troops in order!”.

So Ephesians 4 said that when He ascended on high He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as shepherds and teachers. The Greek there is clumsy but this is the way it runs; “He Himself and no other”. The Father said, “Son run Your Kingdom – order it now”. The Son said, “Thank You Father – right apostles here, prophets here and so on”. The government of God is not democratic – it is theocratic. It doesn’t come from the bottom up – it comes from the top down! Democracy is not a good word. You can leave now if you want. (*laughter*). No – democracy is the rule of the people. I am not saying that the people don’t have a place but I am saying that true government comes from up – down. When you understand that Jesus Christ is King now at the right hand of God and He is governing – then let me give you my last Scripture. (Revelation 1:5). “And from Jesus Christ” – this is Knox’s translation – “the faithful witness firstborn of the risen dead” – here’s what I want you to get – “who rules over all earthly kings”. Rules! Present tense! Someone said, “I didn’t think He was going to rule until He came back! Well you have to revise your view. Who is ruling now? Jesus. Over what? The earth. Someone said, “I thought He was going to do that from Jerusalem”. Why would He want to come down to dingy old Jerusalem? That’s a hot bed over there! There are no sacred places anymore. That all stopped with Jesus Christ. There are no holy sanctified places. People say, “I’ve got to be baptised in the Jordan”. Why? What’s so holy about the Jordan? All sacred places stopped with Christ! That’s what He told the woman at the well. He said, “You Samaritans worship here and we Jews worship there but the hour is coming and has now come when anywhere and everywhere whosoever worships the Father in Spirit and in truth is fine with us – there won’t be temples and there won’t be buildings and there won’t be sacred places for whenever two or three are gathered together in My Name – there I am”.

We still haven’t brought that! Let me ask you two questions and then I will stop. 1. Would His reign be more real if He lived somewhere on earth? 2. Is not His heavenly throne more auspicious and commanding? I feel much more secure with Him ruling from heaven than if He was over in Jerusalem. The Arabs might get Him! (*laughter*).

Get it into your spirit the fact that right now the fullness of times is with us – Christ is reigning on His throne and you are His emissaries and the baptism of the Holy Spirit isn’t to create goose bumps – it is to make you are regal person so that you can reign with Christ and you can take authority over principalities and powers and you can bring every wandering thought into captivity and you can command the minds of men and you can change the viewpoints of men for ideas have consequences and that the greatest idea in the world is that Jesus Christ is Lord!

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