Monthly Archives: February 2016


Jesus’ disciples usually had to hold their breath as their master kept pulling down the teachings of the religious leaders, as we read in the gospel narratives.

“Here he goes again … what will he say this time?” they might have been thinking, as they braced themselves to his scathing denunciations.

Matthew 15 records Jesus’ devastating criticism of the leaders and teachers of the Jewish Law in one of these confrontations. These men were the backbone of First Century Judaism and were the ones to whom the ordinary people in the villages of Israel looked for guidance. Jesus had torn strips off them for their adherence to human traditions which obscured or even nullified the true meaning of the word of God. The disciples, anxious to maintain religious diplomacy and not rock the boat, came to him and anxiously asked,

“Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

Then there is this truly unexpected reply from Jesus, ignoring their concerns (as he does so often) . . . .

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”   Mat 15:12-14 (NIV)

Just imagine the ramifications of that!

These men taught and practised many things which were like “plants that my heavenly Father has not planted”.  Remember, these were the teachers whose teachings and practices most closely resembled those who would follow Jesus. But the bottom line in the Kingdom of God, Jesus was bringing in is :

Only what the Father has planted will survive

If the Pharisees were blind guides, who was there left to guide the people? And who is there today to show us what the Father has planted?

And who in our current world of 2016 then is not blind? We have countless teachers who will lead untold thousands to fall into a pit of destruction and lostness. Are you following a blind guide?

Our guide must be Jesus. Jesus alone, and his Holy Spirit who speaks to us the things of Christ.

Is your guide your favourite preacher or writer? Or the dogmas of your precious religious party? Or your accumulated assumptions about what God wants from you but which God has never planted?

Many have decided themselves what to plant, what courses of action they will take, but have not heard from the Holy Spirit, from the Lord Jesus, who alone will show what the Father desires.

If the King, is not your guide won’t you “fall into a pit”? If you are not hearing and obeying Him, then are you not obeying a different “father”, like the Pharisees were?

What will be left of all our efforts and strivings if with all our good intentions, our futile plantings will be ripped out by the Father? Take care lest you assume what you are doing is from God.

“We must examine ourselves to see whether we still are in the faith” warns the apostle Paul. What faith? He is referring to the deposit of truth and practice left to us by Jesus and his apostles. Nothing more, nothing less.

We listen to what Jesus teaches, the living word of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit, and obey that, and not the vain traditions of men or what “life teaches us”. If your theology is not Jesus’ theology, cut it off. We must lead people into Jesus not into religious ghettos. Knowing Jesus. Loving him. Right?


Jesus words to his disciples in Matthew 5 . . .

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.  Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

We obey these amazing words of Jesus today if we are his disciples and not mere churchgoers or professors of religion.

His words are so encouraging: “You are the salt of the earth! You are the light of the world!”

Those who follow him are declared wonderful, salt that has a heavenly and altogether different taste to what is seen in the world whether in ancient Israel or in our troubled world of 2016.

Jesus’ words show he expected his disciples to be outstanding, flavoursome, even delicious. They were intended for suffering, as the context of his words surely indicate, but yet for glory. For glory!

His disciples are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Amazing. World changers.

Is that how you see yourself as a follower of Jesus? How else can you see yourself in Christ?

There is no way his expectation of us would be anything less because he is the living bread who comes down from heaven and gives life abundantly. He promises the Holy Spirit as our helper, our resource.

Not quite like the average religious people attending church services.

Jesus intended nothing like church buildings, money-driven organisations, services, priests and hierarchies. Right?

He intended that his followers be salt that had not lost its flavour and light that would not be hidden in Christian ghettos. He hates it when his people are lukewarm (Revelation 3). He would rather have them cold. But he expects them to be hot with all the amazing blessings he has lavished upon them. Isn’t that true?

They must be good salt—full of good deeds like their master because they are in him and he in them.

Their light must shine before others.

Others must see their good deeds, without them seeking the glory from men, just the glory from God.

And as a result, glorify their heavenly Father. You agree?

What have we all done with Jesus’ designs, his intentions, his commands? slumbering as we often do under the false systems of denominational, competitive businesses driven by human effort and worldly glory. So we have salt that has lost all the brilliant taste of its designer. So what will happen to this useless salt? It will be thrown out.

The light of Jesus’ good news must be shining out there in the world, upon the needy, the sick and oppressed of the satan. But all too often the light is hidden. Are we so afraid to approach the people of the world that we instead find plenty of meetings, conferences, seminars, talk-fests, group studies and formal study courses are more important?

Time for change. Radical change. Re-formation. Are we up for it?


Just who are the ‘Spirit-filled’ people? This is a commonly term used to refer to people who have had a Holy Spirit experience or have spoken in tongues at some stage.

Let’s examine the New Testament. The apostolic writer, Luke, is the one writer who consistently uses the phrase “filled with the Spirit”. Following its use in the Old Testament, Luke wants to show how Jesus and the new covenant believers are all typically like the prophets and dynamic men and women of God in the former times and now behave as possessed of the Holy Spirit. Not just the famous ones but all.

Luke in both his Gospel and Acts also writes about people “filled with wrath”, “filled with anger”, “filled with fear”, “filled with jealousy”, “filled with wisdom”, “filled with madness”, “filled with indignation”, “filled with envy”, “filled with joy”, “filled with confusion”, etc. It’s obvious Luke is using this language to describe people who are exhibiting such behaviours to an intense degree. So for Luke, someone behaving in a clearly powerful and Spirit-led manner can often, but not always, be described as “filled with the Spirit”. I don’t know any believers who live constantly, permanently, according to this description. Do you?

So, in Luke’s usage, it seems “filled with the Spirit” is a description of a person’s dynamic spiritually anointed state, not a badge, not a spiritual stage, not a constant state necessarily. We find in Acts the same persons are described as “filled with the Spirit” on several occasions (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 4:31; 6:5; 7:55, etc). Seems to be an endue-ment and not a constant endowment.

Referring to yourself as ‘spirit-filled’ can sound to many like arrogance, upping yourself. Big-noting. Super-spiritual. It also suggests a ‘them-and us’, a dividing up of brothers and sisters into two groups from a human point of view.

So we need to be humble and refrain from calling ourselves “Spirit-filled”. We need to have God’s approval and not the approval of others (John 5:44). Clearly there are times when we are not “filled with the Spirit” to use Luke’s terminology. For example when you are asleep!

So how do the apostles approach this?

Paul describes spiritual people with terms like “you who have received the Spirit”, “the saints”, “the mature”, “Spirit led”, “walking in the Spirit” and “living in the Spirit”. Yes, I hear you, there’s Ephesians 5:18 do not be filled with wine, but filled with the Spirit speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. That’s a bit different to Luke’s usage of the term, right?

Of course, we should continually seek to be “in the Spirit” in the way the apostolic writers describe. Paul exhorts young Timothy not to neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders (1 Tim 4:14) and in his later letter (2 Tim 1:6-7) he reminds Timothy to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Surely he is here referring back to the anointing Timothy had received when he received the Holy Spirit much earlier. Timothy needed to reignite the fire that was already within him.

Peter describes switched-on believers as royal priests, people of God’s possession, partakers of the divine nature.

John describes active, spiritual people as: walking in the light, anointed, Spirit taught, born of God, having received the Spirit, children of God, overcomers, in the Spirit.

“Spirit filled churches” an often used phrase in charismatic/Pentecostal circles, just doesn’t make sense—there are no such groups described as such by the New Testament writers. Seems like a bit of marketing, don’t you think?