Who will teach you the truth?

Who will teach you the truth?

Can you hear all the thousands who come with their courses and programs which cry out “Me. Me–I will teach you the truth! Join us”

But what does Jesus say?

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew

Come to Me and learn from me! Surely this is an unbelievable offer. It seems too good to be ‘true’. To actually learn from Jesus, actually sit at his feet, enter his rest of faith, to choose the better part? And like the two shattered disciples on the Emmaus road, receive from Jesus amazing exposition of the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Will you pass up this offer and settle for human teachers as being more practical? Will you choose preachers and teachers you like, that say the things you want to hear, lifestyles that reinforce your current one, burdens that are manageable, yokes that you can bear?

Or is it recognition from others you look for, success in reaching a goal in biblical studies? You look for the best theological institution? Then you will choose badly by comparison with this Teacher. How can mere men compare with Christ the Lord?

Jesus consistently emphasised his accessibility for the disciple. He wants to teach us! He wants us to learn from him! He promises the Holy Spirit to abide with you forever and who will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Did you get that? The shear wonder of this.

Come to Me! In this most Jewish of the four gospels, Jesus is reported as attracting people to himself. Forget Moses and Judaism. Like in the story on the mount the heavenly voice from his Father ‘Listen to Him’ points the stunned disciples away from the Mosaic law system and the teaching of the prophets. They are to listen to the One sent from God, His one and only Son.

All who are weary and heavy-laden. Does this description fit you? Trying to sort out all the stuff on offer and decide what doctrines are true and suffer the frustration of sifting through the myriad of denominations and sects to decide who has the truth?

Or you may not be weary and heavy-laden but satisfied with your cosy place among the typical Sunday attendees. Unbelief that something so marvelous as ‘being taught by God’ personally could be true? Unbelief strikes again. If so, read no further.

To come to him, to receive him, to open the door to him, to hear his voice, is to join in an intimate union with Jesus and the Father and experience his easy yoke and his light burden—and to learn from him.

Rebellion against God

   by Zac Poonen   4 Feb 2018

In Numbers Chapter 13, we find that the Israelites came to Kadesh-barnea at the border of Canaan – the land that God had promised them. It was now two years since they left Egypt (Deuteronomy 2:14) and God told them to go in and possess the land. The Israelites sent twelve spies to survey the land. All twelve of them came back saying that the land was indeed a wonderful land. Ten of them however said, “But there are huge giants there and we cannot conquer them.” But two of them – Caleb and Joshua – replied saying, “The Lord will help us to conquer those big giants”. But the 600,000 Israelites listened to the majority.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. (Which comes from hearing the words of Christ)

What do we learn from this? First of all, that it is dangerous to follow the majority – because the majority is invariably wrong.

“The way to life is narrow and very few find it,” Jesus said.

The majority still go on the broad way to destruction. So if you follow the majority, you will certainly be along with them on the broad way to destruction. Don’t ever imagine that a large church is a spiritual church. Jesus’ church had only 11 members in it.

When ten leaders say one thing and two say the exact opposite, whose side will you take? God was on the side of the two here – Joshua and Caleb. Unbelief and Satan were on the side of the other ten. But the Israelites foolishly followed the majority – and that was why they had to wander in the wilderness for the next 38 years. They did not have the discernment to see whose side God was on! God plus one person is always a majority against any number of people – and so I want to stand with God always. We saw in Exodus 32 that God was on the side of just one man Moses, when all the Israelites were worshipping the golden calf. But of all the twelve tribes, only the tribe of Levi could see that then. And now when God was with Joshua and Caleb, even the tribe of Levi could not recognise it!

All of this has lessons for us today. Christendom in general is full of compromise and worldliness. Here and there, God raises up a few who stand for the truth of God’s word without any compromise. If you have discernment, you will recognise that God is with those few, and you will stand with them against the majority. And you will enter the promised land with them.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. Joshua and Caleb spoke the language of faith: “We can overcome. We can overcome the giants of anger, sexual lust, jealousy, murmuring and the love of money. We can overcome Satan. God will crush Satan under our feet” – that is the language of the man with whom God stands.

The man who is not with God says: “We must not take the Bible so literally. After all, we are only human. We will be defeated until the end of our lives. You have to understand human psychology.”

Quite honestly, I don’t care for “human psychology”. I believe God’s Word. Many Christians go astray exactly like those Israelites – through human reasoning. God has hidden these truths from the clever and the intelligent and revealed them to babes. If you use your human reasoning and your cleverness to study the Bible, I can guarantee that you will go astray.

What you need is the revelation of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus picked fishermen to be His disciples, and not professors like Gamaliel and his students. He did pick one of Gamaliel’s students later – Paul. But the Lord had to take Paul into the desert for three years to bring down all his pride to nothing before he could get revelation.

God was so angry with those Israelites who doubted His power that He told them “Surely all these people before whom I performed all these signs will never enter the promised land. They will all perish, these people who have put Me to the test ten times” (Numbers 14:22). “Ten times” was not an exaggeration. They had actually rebelled ten times.

Here is a list of their ten rebellions:

  1. When the Egyptians chased after them at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11).
  2. When the waters were bitter at Marah (Exodus 15:24).
  3. When they didn’t have bread in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:2, 3).
  4. When they kept the manna overnight (Exodus 16:20).
  5. When they went out on the Sabbath day looking for manna (Exodus 16:27, 28).
  6. When there was no water to drink at Rephidim (Exodus 17:3).
  7. When they worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32).
  8. When they complained at Taberah (Numbers 11:1).
  9. When they asked for meat (Numbers 11:4, 33).
  10. When they refused to go into Canaan (Numbers 13).

God gave them nine chances. They took advantage of His forgiveness – just like many believers do today – not realising that the ninth chance was their last.

God’s patience had run out and they were punished when they rebelled the tenth time. There was no way to go back then. They repented when they heard their punishment and asked for one more chance. But it was too late (Numbers 14:39–45).

Many believers will find one day that the opportunities to enter a life of victory are also not available forever.

7 Ways to Mangle The Great Commission

Well said. Thanks.

anti-itch meditation

The basic gist of The Great Commission is this portion of Matthew 28:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

There are a number of mangled applications of The Great Commission. Here are a few I’d like to briefly address:

  1. The Missions Mangle
    I appreciate and respect what missionaries do. Going to foreign lands and proclaiming the Gospel is awesome. But I’ve also heard missionaries guilt people that they too need to go to a foreign land to do missions. This isn’t true. All you have to do is go and teach. Sometimes that starts in your own house. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of doing…

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Matt Walsh on the West’s Indifference to Church Persecution in the East

anti-itch meditation

Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than it has ever been in history. Christians in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, and many other countries, are regularly imprisoned, tortured, beaten, raped, and martyred. Their churches are destroyed. Their houses burned. They meet and worship in secret, risking their lives in the process. They live every moment in constant danger.

About 215 million Christians face what is called “extreme persecution” for their faith. It’s estimated that around a million have been slaughtered since 2005. There is no way to know exactly how many. What we do know is that Christianity has been dramatically reduced in parts of the world where it had existed for nearly 2,000 years.

But what do we care?

There are other things to worry about here. Hollywood sex scandals. Twitter disputes. Whatever controversial thing Trump said this week. So on and…

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Christ loves the hijab wearer

 I have reblogged my friend, Michael’s most recent great post . . .  see http://www.nobrokenreed.org/christ-loves-the-hijab/

I hope he and you will forgive the addition of one word in the title

Christ loves the hijab

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and for evermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this

I had to write about this – we had a Christmas gathering this week, in our home. People we had heard of, but never met came and joined us from all over Sydney. It was such a delight, as a group of passionate believers shared intimately in the presence of Christ eating, sharing and communing into the night.

One couple work in Western Sydney with Muslims and the Yazidis, as they speak Arabic and have lived in Israel. Here is a story they told that had us that soon had us in tears:

A Muslim woman, a teacher of the Koran who fastidiously wore a black hijab from head to toe, revealing only her face and hands, was contemplating taking her own life. She found no answers in what she did. The night before she planned to kill herself with a knife, Jesus came to her in a dream. With a radiant face he came up to her and said, ‘I am Jesus and I love you.’ He then kissed her on each cheek and gazed into her eyes. She asked him, ‘can I kiss you too?’ to which Jesus affirmed her. She kissed Christ on each cheek and broke down and cried in her dream.

From that moment her life changed forever. She awoke the next morning completely and utterly transformed. She now spends her time ministering Christ to others, and teaching them of the outrageous love of God through his Son. Such was the total change, that a month later her husband marched into church and demanded to know what had happened to his wife – he wanted the same thing for himself and gave his life to Christ on the spot.

Today, they minister Isa into their Muslim community, and see lives change as others turn to Christ.

Friends, the most remarkable thing about this outrageous love of God, which we remember especially at this time, is that Christ does not discriminate in his love for us. We may think others are beyond redemption, but he has the power to change everyone, and loves all equally. There is nobody else like Him whom we worship at this time.

Let us pray that others might experience such life changing love. Tell someone of his love this Christmas.

Happy Christmas.

How to pray when threatened

We were reading that early passage in the NT book Acts where the authorities–the high priests and religious elites of Jerusalem–interrogated and threatened Peter and John not to proclaim Jesus any longer and the two leaders being let go, joined a house full of other believers and they all prayed . . . .

Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.  They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.  Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.  Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

The authorities were conspiring, but not against Peter and John or the believers in the resurrected Christ but conspiring against the Lord’s anointed one.

But there are enormous consequences for their attitude, their opposition, their actions.

We can see that Jesus and his people who obey him, are one. Jesus taught that to act against his servants is to act against the King and the Rule of God. We who truly act in his name in obedience to his word are in an indissoluble union with him.

Acting against his people is to act against him. Not very wise.

The disciples could see clearly and proclaimed that these authorities were actually doing “what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” What confidence in the living God! They knew, prayed and lived out Psalm 2!

We realize we can live in that reality. He knows what he is doing.

“All things are working together for those who love God, who are the called according to his purpose”!

The living God cannot be defeated. He may be mocked but it is all in his stride. He will turn men’s plans to suit himself and he will have the glory.

Authorities today are making laws and threats of prosecutions against us who are led by the Holy Spirit. They seek to change the unchangeable, what IS and act as if they are gods. They are calling good evil and evil good.

They are acting against the Lord’s anointed, the Christ.

The living God is not taken by surprise! Politicians think they are in control. But they do not realize that God has decided beforehand what should take place. And at the same time they have chosen to act improperly and without the counsel of the Almighty.

If God is for us who can be against us, the apostle Paul excitedly and emphatically stated.

We looked and marveled at how these early believers prayed.

They asked for power and boldness in proclaiming the truth that saves. And at the same time, for God to stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders . . .

Both are necessary — us together boldly making the saving word known, emboldened by the Holy Spirit, and powerful signs following the words of life by the hand of God. Truly an exciting partnership!

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

And that scenario has never been withdrawn.  Is there is any sensible alternative for us, for you, for me? But to pray like that and expect the Mighty Presence with us.

Taslan

By Disciple — see http://www.nobrokenreed.org/taslan/

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared – 1 Tim 4

In CS Lewis’ book, The Last Battle, a rather shrewd ape (called Shift) sews a lion skin around a rather dumb donkey (Puzzle) and uses him to control Narnia. Shift the ape, parades the look-alike lion before the Narnians only during twilight, and the innocent Narnians are left speechless at what they perceive the remarkable and legendary Aslan has become. How could one so majestic and powerful, have become so revolting and pernicious.

The ape then joins forces with the arch enemy of Narnia, the Calormenes, who have a god called Tash. Tash is an evil spirit, a vulture with 2 feet and 4 arms, and eats children who are given to him in child sacrifice. In a masterstroke of brilliance, the ape and Calormenes declare that Tash and Aslan are one and the same, and Aslan becomes Taslan. Everyone is utterly confused.

In the saddest twist that eventually destroys Narnia forever, even when the truth is finally revealed, when Tash is banished and the donkey exposed, Narnians are too dismayed to put their faith in anything other than themselves. A once beautiful country has now become worthless and fit only for destruction.

The Last Battle mirrors our own society so closely, that it would seem Lewis was writing while reading today’s news. Our society is so confused about the truth and who is really in charge, that the only person they feel safe putting their faith in, is themselves. The West it seems, has finally caught up with the world inhabited by Paul.

Paul’s final letters are replete with warnings on false teachings, spirits and deception within the fledgling church. While he specifically addresses what was happening in the church, it seems that if his society was anything like ours, that confusion was just absorbed from the world. Both the world and the church appear very mystified about Jesus Christ.

I met with a disciple maker this week, and we had a wonderful time sharing times of prayer, elation and trials. Our conclusions were remarkably similar, and that is, it is extremely difficult to engage Western culture in anything that resembles the demands of Jesus Christ. Jesus, Mohammed or even faith in yourself, is it really such a big deal? Sometimes sadly, the church appears just as jumbled.

Those with eyes to see will see this though – this is only the beginning, soon it is going to get much worse.

A happy Christmas message you might ask?

Well, I think so. To me and those who are committed to growing in Jesus Christ, this time reminds us of the sheer extraordinariness of God. We have a lofty, majestic King, God’s own Son, who is far above all else, and yet, and yet, this Christ still will condescend himself to accept us, heal us, forgive us, grant us total amnesty if only we would accept him. His lightness is more brilliant than the darkest of our dark, and he alone has the power to rescue humanity. He works in the lives of individuals dealing with each of us so perfectly and exactly where we are. Above all though, my Jesus is alive. Two thousand years after we nailed him to a cross, he continues to reign in heaven.

The world and the church will continue to grow cold in their devotion to Jesus Christ, and one day in this country we will be forbidden from celebrating him publicly. I am certain that will be the case. But it is worth reminding ourselves at this time of year, that such a fact does not alter one iota who the person of Jesus Christ is. World systems, politicians and those who are so full of hatred towards him, can no more make him go away than they can blot out the sun.

In The Last Battle, Aslan comes back when he is least expected. When all have dismissed his presence as no more than a mythical legend, Aslan returns. But by then it is all too late, for he has come for but one purpose, to wind Narnia up and only those who have remained faithful will be saved. So it is with our King, this Jesus that the world has largely dismissed. He is coming back.

My question to you, as it has been to those who I have met out on the streets all year is this though, why would you not embrace him with everything you have? A God who by rights should be at war with us, instead offers himself so willingly, so humbly, to each of us through his Son. Come to me he says, all who are weary and I will give you rest, freedom and life, both here and ever after.

Embrace it, embrace him with your all. He will never disappoint.

Merry Christmas, thanks for reading. May he be your rest and your peace this season.