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HOW AUTHORITY WORKS

The Centurion knew!  Jesus offered to go to his house to pray for his servant. He responded, Lord, I don’t deserve to have You in my house. And, in truth, I know You don’t need to be with my servant to heal him. Just say the word, and he will be healed. That, after all, is how authority works. My troops obey me whether I am next to them or not—similarly, this sickness will obey You.

Jesus was stunned by the depth of the officer’s faith. He said to His followers: “This is the plain truth: I have not met a single person in Israel with as much faith as this officer.”[1]

The Centurion knew and understood that his authority was to be exercised within his apportioned metron, the measure of rule/sphere of influence that was assigned to him by the one to whom he answered.

Paul also understood:

We will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.[2] 

Surely, Peter knew his portion, his sphere of responsibility:

Once a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira fully cooperating, committed fraud. He sold some property and kept some of the proceeds, but he pretended to make a full donation to the Lord’s emissaries.

Peter said:  “Ananias, have you allowed Satan to influence your lies to the Holy Spirit and hold back some of the money? Look, it was your property before you sold it, and the money was all yours after you sold it. Why have you concocted this scheme in your heart? You weren’t just lying to us; you were lying to God.”

Ananias heard these words and immediately dropped to the ground, dead; fear overcame all those who heard of the incident.[3]

  • The fear of the LORD isthe beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.[4]
  • Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.[5]

“All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to [Christ].”[6]

GO THEREFORE AND TEACH THEM TO OBEY

Jesus Himself was a man under the authority of His Father.  The twelve apostles of the Lamb were men under His authority.

The epistles are heavy laden with essential truths concerning divine order and the resulting rest and peace of being a people ordered by God, under authority, with the delegated authority to extend His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.  Being divinely ordered as functional parts of the one body is essential to being God’s governing ekklesia in every jurisdiction.

People want to pray, to intercede, to be salt, light, and influence civil governments. In the west in particular, many look to the political arena for their hope of relief from oppression and advancement for the cause of Christ.  However, we are bound to mediocrity by our failures to understand how authority works.

An honest evaluation of the church’s influence in this generation should cause us to wonder what will work.

We must first come into alignment as a singular body, the actual incarnation of Christ in each community before God will release His full authority.  I believe that the ekklesia will be the functioning government in the new heaven/earth reality.

With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus, a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity—both in heaven and on earth—when all things are brought together under the Anointed’s royal rule.[7]

Here’s a statement you can trust: If we died with Him, we will live with Him. If we remain with Him, we will reign alongside Him.[8]

John was inspired to write concerning the new song sung by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders:

You are worthy to receive the scroll, to break its seals, because You were slain. With Your blood, You redeemed for God people from every tribe and language, people from every race and nation. You have made them a kingdom; You have appointed them priests to serve our God, and they will rule upon the earth.”[9]

The Anointed One, our Liberating King, didn’t call Himself but was appointed to His priestly office by God, who said to Him, You are My Son. Today I have become Your Father [adopted You because you are mature].

Although He was a Son, Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. And once He was perfected through that suffering He became the way of eternal salvation for all those who hear and follow Him.[10]

So let’s push on toward a more perfect understanding and move beyond just the basic teachings of the Anointed One. There’s no reason to rehash the fundamentals: repenting from what you loved in your old dead lives, believing in God as our Creator and Redeemer, teaching about baptism, setting aside those called to service through the ritual laying on of hands, the coming resurrection of those who have died, and God’s final judgment of all people for all time.  No, we will move on toward perfection, if God wills it.[11]

It’s clear that Jesus wanted His people to grow and mature in faith, to come into divine order through the knowledge of and obedience to His will.

God has meticulously put this body together; He placed each part in the exact place to perform the exact function He wanted.[12] 

Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ[13] according to God’s revealed order.

This is how authority works—according to divine placement.  This is how the ekklesia will come into her eternal governmental rule.

Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either].[14]

[1] Matthew 8:8-10 The Voice (VOICE)

[2] 2 Corinthians 10:13

[3] Acts 5;1-5 The Voice (VOICE)

[4] Proverbs 1:7

[5] Ephesians 5:21

[6] Matthew 28:18

  [7] Ephesians 1:9-10 The  Voice (VOICE)

  [8] 2 Timothy 2:11-12 The Voice (VOICE)

  [9] Revelation 5:9-10

[10] Hebrews 5:5-10 The Voice (VOICE) + commentary

[11] Hebrews 5:5, 8; 6:1-3  The Voice (VOICE)

[12] 1 Corinthians 12:18 The Voice (VOICE)

[13] Ephesians 5:21

[14] Hebrews 13:17 AMPC

SIMPLE, NOT COMPLICATED

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”[1]

It is reasonable to conclude that the message of the kingdom is simple, not complicated.  Little children can understand it.  My Barbara, who did not remember not knowing Jesus, was a good example of that. Another is my brother, Doug, who lives near Nashville.  He writes country music, which is simple, not complicated.  Unlike so many other styles of music, country music focuses on the message, not the musicians.

<S/P<

I’m reminded of a time in Nicaragua when I was teaching a group of potential leaders.  After making a point, I concluded: “Simple!  Not complicated!”  The translator said, “Sencillo! No es complicado!”

I soon realized that I was developing a pattern of making significant points, then punctuating them with the conclusion, “Simple!  Not complicated!”  And the translator:  “Sencillo! No es complicado!”

After a little while I would simply exclaim, “Sencillo!”  And the entire class would exclaim in spontaneous unison:  “No es Complicado!”

>S/P<

Stephen Crosby points out: “All theology has a heritage. You and I did not get “direct downloads” from the Spirit. If we did, the Spirit is one highly conflicted being, as the 30-40,000 Protestant denominations attest, all claiming to be “led by the Spirit.” No. EVERYONE has a theological pedigree.”

I respect Stephen Crosby, and understand what he is saying.  However, we must clarify that he is speaking about the theology we receive from others through hearing or reading their various perspectives and brands of theology.

It is common to pick and choose to be denominated along with those whom we read and follow.  Or, we might pick and choose  “here a little and there a little,” ending up a theological hybrid of two or more persuasions.  It is common for such hybrids to initiate and propagate their own denominating distinctives, and seek to proselyte others and build their own kingdoms.

By the grace of God, I never fell into that trap.  Someone once observed, “Don Atkin drinks from many streams but does not fall into any of them.”  My background, experience, radical conversion and subsequent supernatural calling left me with no appetite for man’s religion in any form.

There are indeed “direct downloads” from the Spirit, who gives us moment-by-moment what to do and to say.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.[2]

  • Being ignorant and unlearned; being with Jesus[3]
  • Putting no confidence in the flesh[4]
  • Trusting in the Lord with all my heart
  • Leaning not on my own understanding
  • In all my ways acknowledging Him[5]

>S/P<

There are really and ultimately only two “pedigrees:”

“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.[6]

We are either from the earth or from heaven.  Being crucified with Christ ends the natural life and initiates the spiritual life.[7] raised with Him to newness of life. There is no third option.  The many denominations are the fruit of Adam.

Christ is both our example and our abiding anointing. He has no theological pedigree!  He lived the life of the abiding Spirit via “direct downloads” from the Spirit:

  • “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it issomething He sees the Father doing”[8]
  • “I can do nothing on My own initiative . . . I do not seek My own will”[9]
  • “I speak just as the Father has told Me”[10]

The Scriptures are the source of theological pedigrees.  The abiding Spirit of Christ is the source of eternal life.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”[11]

In many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,  [but] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son.[12]

Simple, not complicated!

“It is the Spirit who gives life”[13]

The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints), to whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.[14]

Let me assure you that I have a deep respect for Scripture.  It is what it says it is

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.[15]

Anyone who has read my books will testify to the many references to Scripture.  My lasted book to be published, “Jurisdictional Ekklesia,” has more than 600 Bible references in its 400 pages!

But, the words of Jesus are worth repeating here:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”[16]

“The history of a long, personal relationship with God can be preserved in laws and scriptures and ceremonies, as it was with Israel, or in creeds and art and cathedrals, as it is in Western culture today.  Some revere such skeletons for their antiquity, buying recordings of Mozart’s Masses and purchasing religious art.  But, clearly, the real value of a skeleton only comes to light when it supports a growing organism.  Although our laws, scriptures, traditions, and creeds reveal truth in themselves, they exist to serve such an organism, the Body of Christ.”[17]

>S/P<

Having read this far, you will understand why this is not a typical approach to writing an autobiography.  I am not a typical man who has had a typical life.  Rather than detailing my natural chronological history, I have chosen to testify to my life as led by the Spirit of God.  This IS my autobiography.  Because this is my LIFE!

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [18]

[1] Matthew 18:3

[2] Romans 8:14

[3] Acts 4:13

[4] Philippians 3:3

[5] Proverbs 3:5-6

  [6] 1 Corinthians 15:45-47

  [7] Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:3-11

  [8] John 5:19

  [9] John 5:30

[10] John 12:50

[11] John 5:39-40

[12] Hebrews 1;1-2 AMPC

[13] John 6:63

[14] Colossians 1:26-27 AMPC

[15] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[16] John 5:39-40

[17] Pages 110 and 111, “In The Likeness of God” by Philip Yancey and Dr. Paul Brand – Zondervan

[18] Galatians 2:20

SIMPLE, NOT COMPLICATED

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”[1]

It is reasonable to conclude that the message of the kingdom is simple, not complicated.  Little children can understand it.  My Barbara, who did not remember not knowing Jesus, was a good example of that. Another is my brother, Doug, who lives near Nashville.  He writes country music, which is simple, not complicated.  Unlike so many other styles of music, country music focuses on the message, not the musicians.

<S/P<

I’m reminded of a time in Nicaragua when I was teaching a group of potential leaders.  After making a point, I concluded: “Simple!  Not complicated!”  The translator said, “Sencillo! No es complicado!”

I soon realized that I was developing a pattern of making significant points, then punctuating them with the conclusion, “Simple!  Not complicated!”  And the translator:  “Sencillo! No es complicado!”

After a little while I would simply exclaim, “Sencillo!”  And the entire class would exclaim in spontaneous unison:  “No es Complicado!”

>S/P<

Stephen Crosby points out: “All theology has a heritage. You and I did not get “direct downloads” from the Spirit. If we did, the Spirit is one highly conflicted being, as the 30-40,000 Protestant denominations attest, all claiming to be “led by the Spirit.” No. EVERYONE has a theological pedigree.”

I respect Stephen Crosby, and understand what he is saying.  However, we must clarify that he is speaking about the theology we receive from others through hearing or reading their various perspectives and brands of theology.

It is common to pick and choose to be denominated along with those whom we read and follow.  Or, we might pick and choose  “here a little and there a little,” ending up a theological hybrid of two or more persuasions.  It is common for such hybrids to initiate and propagate their own denominating distinctives, and seek to proselyte others and build their own kingdoms.

By the grace of God, I never fell into that trap.  Someone once observed, “Don Atkin drinks from many streams but does not fall into any of them.”  My background, experience, radical conversion and subsequent supernatural calling left me with no appetite for man’s religion in any form.

There are indeed “direct downloads” from the Spirit, who gives us moment-by-moment what to do and to say.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.[2]

  • Being ignorant and unlearned; being with Jesus[3]
  • Putting no confidence in the flesh[4]
  • Trusting in the Lord with all my heart
  • Leaning not on my own understanding
  • In all my ways acknowledging Him[5]

>S/P<

There are really and ultimately only two “pedigrees:”

“The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.[6]

We are either from the earth or from heaven.  Being crucified with Christ ends the natural life and initiates the spiritual life.[7] raised with Him to newness of life. There is no third option.  The many denominations are the fruit of Adam.

Christ is both our example and our abiding anointing. He has no theological pedigree!  He lived the life of the abiding Spirit via “direct downloads” from the Spirit:

  • “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it issomething He sees the Father doing”[8]
  • “I can do nothing on My own initiative . . . I do not seek My own will”[9]
  • “I speak just as the Father has told Me”[10]

The Scriptures are the source of theological pedigrees.  The abiding Spirit of Christ is the source of eternal life.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”[11]

In many separate revelations [each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,  [but] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son.[12]

Simple, not complicated!

“It is the Spirit who gives life”[13]

The mystery of which was hidden for ages and generations [from angels and men], but is now revealed to His holy people (the saints), to whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of [realizing the] glory.[14]

Let me assure you that I have a deep respect for Scripture.  It is what it says it is.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.[15]

Anyone who has read my books will testify to the many references to Scripture.  My lasted book to be published, “Jurisdictional Ekklesia,” has more than 600 Bible references in its 400 pages!

But, the words of Jesus are worth repeating here:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”[16]

“The history of a long, personal relationship with God can be preserved in laws and scriptures and ceremonies, as it was with Israel, or in creeds and art and cathedrals, as it is in Western culture today.  Some revere such skeletons for their antiquity, buying recordings of Mozart’s Masses and purchasing religious art.  But, clearly, the real value of a skeleton only comes to light when it supports a growing organism.  Although our laws, scriptures, traditions, and creeds reveal truth in themselves, they exist to serve such an organism, the Body of Christ.”[17]

>S/P<

Having read this far, you will understand why this is not a typical approach to writing an autobiography.  I am not a typical man who has had a typical life.  Rather than detailing my natural chronological history, I have chosen to testify to my life as led by the Spirit of God.  This IS my autobiography.  Because this is my LIFE!

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [18]

[1] Matthew 18:3

[2] Romans 8:14

[3] Acts 4:13

[4] Philippians 3:3

[5] Proverbs 3:5-6

  [6] 1 Corinthians 15:45-47

  [7] Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:3-11

  [8] John 5:19

  [9] John 5:30

[10] John 12:50

[11] John 5:39-40

[12] Hebrews 1;1-2 AMPC

[13] John 6:63

[14] Colossians 1:26-27 AMPC

[15] 2 Timothy 3:16-17

[16] John 5:39-40

[17] Pages 110 and 111, “In The Likeness of God” by Philip Yancey and Dr. Paul Brand – Zondervan

[18] Galatians 2:20

DIVINE NATURE RECOGNIZES DIVINE AUTHORITY

He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:4).

Trying to “do church” or “live like Christians” apart from the divine nature is not new to this generation.  Jesus taught His disciples:

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (Matthew 7:21-23).’

Undoubtedly in these days of increasing lawlessness, this is an even greater problem.

A clear prophetic voice to the church, Bryan Corbin, offers this insight:

“Our problem with authority is rooted in our disdain for submission, which is significant given that our Lord’s example was one of perfect yieldedness.  What makes the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so appealing is the autonomy it offers.  I would suggest that ‘the church’ we’ve grown up with is what organically grows from our human nature.  If we hope to see something different, we need to become ‘partakers of the divine nature.’”

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).

  • Obedience is an outward action
  • Submission is an inward attitude

There are many newer persuasions of “church” that are not only autonomous from the mainstream but are also decidedly autonomous from any form of authoritative leadership.  Obeying another man does not fit into their belief system, much less submitting to him.  As Bryan so clearly observed, “What makes the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so appealing is the autonomy it offers.” Their “bottom line” is their own understanding, the fruit of their intellectual conclusionswhose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things (Philippians 3:19).

The objective of our Father is to have a family subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:21), a people who recognize and receive one another for who each one is in Christ.  But first, there is a process in which the dynamics of leaders/followers must be embraced.

After three years of life together, and only hours before His arrest, Jesus said to His disciples:

“You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you (John 15:14-15).”

We are praying for a kingdom, a government on earth that requires a new creation with a divine nature.  Religious liberty and parlor games will ultimately find no place in the church that Jesus is building, the church that will assault and overwhelm the very gates of Hades.

Another rich Corbinism:

“God’s faithfulness to complete the good work He’s begun in His children makes it difficult to simply dismiss those who’ve disappointed us in the past.  To assume the position that people never change is to deny God’s ability to transform and redeem.”

“With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus, a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity—both in heaven and on earth—when all things are brought together under the Anointed’s royal rule (Ephesians 1:19 THE VOICE).”

 

 

 

 

THE BASIS FOR EFFECTIVE PRAYER

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16).

Access through the worldwide web brings multitudes of prayer requests to our attention.  While praying for one another should be considered a high honor, we must realize that the increase of the number of those praying does not twist God’s arm.  We can tell that this misunderstanding is common because such prayer requests are often accompanied with the added request that we also ask others to pray.  God has not made Himself subject to the pressures of multitudes!

“I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 18:19).”

Ganging up on God is a symptom of another misunderstanding of prayer.  It is often revealed by the content of prayer requests that people are praying for their own will to be done, and want us to help them get God to do their will for them.

Jesus teaches His disciples to pray:

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).”

Most often I respond to prayer requests by seeking God’s will concerning them.  I express my love and concern for the person making the request, asking God’s best for them.  But, I do not add to the proliferation of religious noises futilely bombarding the gates of heaven.  Unless God’s will is revealed to me, I simply pray for His will to be done in the matter.

This is the basis for effective prayer:

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (1 John 5:14-15).

 

 

HURRICANES AND THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT

Harvey, Irma and Jose are three dangerous and deadly personalities—manifestations of the prince of the power of the air—that are ravaging lives and properties, and changing the landscapes of affected areas and people and families for entire lifetimes.  Some will never recover from these monster storms.

This year’s hurricane season provides the best opportunity in my lifetime to explain how God’s intended kingdom on earth is to work.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

A brief review of the Creation account recorded in Genesis 1 affirms God’s provision for a balanced ecology that provides for His highest form of creation—mankind—in His image and likeness.  It also reveals God’s intention for mankind to take the responsibility of tending to the creation:  “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and rule.” 

The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.  Is it any wonder then that the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God?

The breath of life breathed into the nostrils of the first man, Adam, was the enabling Spirit that completed him as a living soul, in the image and likeness of God, in fellowship with God, and—by virtue of that life/breath of the Father—established his sonship.

To fill the earth with sons has always been and is the intention of Father God.  The only begotten of God, the firstborn of a new creation, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit, married to and abiding in union with the spirits of all who are born again—the bride of Christ.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 

As a child, I remember Dad taking us to a nearby town to see the devastation caused by a tornado.  That has always stuck in my mind as a reminder that no one knew where it came from or where it was going.  But the results of its being there was evident.

In describing those who are born of the Spirit as being like the wind, the Lord was promising significant results when we grow up and show up!  John summarized that reality for us, honoring our Creator and Redeemer:

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

God’s reigning sons are His answer to the storms of life upon the earth.  The Christ anointing abides in His present-day body.  Here is His example for calming storms:

 There arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 

The wind of the Spirit—the breath of life—speaking to the elements in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, will produce peace on earth.

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.”
  • As He is, so also are we in this world.
  • There isone body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
  • He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.