Monthly Archives: October 2016


The bottom line is not winning the world for Jesus! The bottom line for Moslems is a totally Moslem world. But we Jesus’ followers have a different destiny. For us the bottom line is to do the will of the Father, as Jesus did. Jesus said of his mission “A body you have prepared for me…. It is written of me in the scroll— I come to do your will” (Hebrews 10:5-7). The bottom line is to obey God in our bodies, to do his will ‘as it is in Heaven’. It is about honoring God, worth-shipping him (in every way acknowledging His worth!) and allowing God to use our body and our mind and our spirit.

It is to wholeheartedly adopt His agenda and ruthlessly abandon our own agendas.

It is to embrace his wondrous design for us with all that is within us, not shrugging shoulders at God’s word—insulting him by thinking our ways are better, our plans superior, our doctrines more sound, more relevant, than what has been revealed.

It is to prefer to draw on the infinite resources of the Holy Spirit, the Helper Jesus promised, rather than preferring our own wisdom, strengths and resources.

Do we think He is impotent? uninterested? clumsy? inefficient? ignorant? unacquainted with 21st century thinking? out of touch with modern people?  Do you think He wants us to plead with Him to do HIS WILL?

We know better, do we? We clay pots, can we instruct our maker? We must stop that! It must cease.

I believe Jesus’ ‘hidden life’ of around 18 years is expressed in terms of Isaiah 50:4—5 . . . .

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.

Those 18 years were a preparation by his Father upon a willing human. 18 years! He did not come as a ready-made mighty Son of God, great prophet, amazing teacher, a superman.  He came as a son of man, born of a virgin girl, one hundred percent human.

The pattern that came into Jesus was the word of the Father.  God’s will. God’s pattern. And as it became written on his heart, so it becomes written on our hearts under the terms of His New Covenant. Following Jesus means praying, meditating on scripture, as HE HAD TO in his vulnerable human state. He had to learn obedience through what happened to him, like us, says the author of The Letter to the Hebrews.

Following Jesus doesn’t mean copying his dress, eating habits, speaking Aramaic or Hebrew, going to a synagogue, etc. It means being like Him in loving others, serving, taking the lowest place, leading not pushing. It means obeying Him.

Following Jesus means doing what he did, making disciples, teaching them everything he taught his followers. It means healing the sick, setting the oppressed free. Like he did. Forget the rest. Abandon any other faith, any other belief, any other doctrine.

Following Jesus includes meeting together simply to encourage one another. Jesus did this constantly with His little band of disciples. The apostles taught that we meet together to encourage one another and we remember Jesus. . And he gave us the resources to do this.  Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Corinthians 12—14. The term ‘one another’ is used more than fifty times in the New Testament. “Preaching” was unknown in Paul’s communities but prophesying was encouraged for everyone.

They have shown us the way –and it actually worked! They turned the world upside down. The works that Jesus did we can do. But there is a price to pay and that is to abandon our ways and follow his. It is often to WAIT for the coming of his wisdom and to be sure of receiving the authority to do what he wants. To listen to Him with opened ears.

Of course God blesses all those who serve in his name and salvation comes to many though they may not have understood these things but still follow traditions that are outside His wonderful pattern, his design. His arm is not shortened that he cannot save. He puts up with our blind spots, our ignorance, even our disobedience. That’s what God is like.

Yet it is worth abandoning our human and religious traditions and rely on Him completely and obey His design for us as revealed in the teachings left for us by His apostles and prophets.

But how awful it would be if Jesus’ would say to us at the end of time, “you loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43) or “I gave you my words, my Father’s will, but have you kept my words and not the words of men?”

WHEN A GOOD THING BECOMES LAW David Pawson’s teaching on water baptism

David criticizes people who talk about “receiving Jesus”. But David ignores many passages of the NT. Consider John 1:11-13. “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (and no mention of baptism there).

David teaches that if not water-baptised one is not really ‘born again’ or ‘saved’ ( He says all four things: repentance, faith, water-baptism and receiving the Spirit are necessary to have eternal life. Let’s look at the implications of his doctrine . . . .

Thus, if you have not been baptised, despite being a disciple of Jesus, you do not have eternal life. You are not sanctified, not a child of God. David doesn’t state this outright but these are the implications: you are condemned, heading for eternal separation from God. Thus if not baptised, in David’s view, you do not have eternal life. You may have experienced the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit but if not water baptised your experience of the Holy Spirit means little. You may have had a lifetime of the fruits of the Spirit but unless you are water baptised you will be rejected.

I know that many teachers insist that baptism is not merely symbolic. But if it is a ‘means of grace’ and deemed necessary for salvation, it comes close to the Roman Catholic doctrine known as ‘baptismal regeneration’. The NT is silent about whether baptism is just “symbolic”. Symbolism and metaphor abound on the lips of Jesus and are frequently used by the apostolic writers. Symbolism is important and should not be ignored. Symbols transmit truth.

It is clear that the first believers practised water-baptism and we ought to follow their example.  In fact we ought to follow their example in many practices which are ignored. We think we know better. Shame.

But to demand that believers be water-baptised to make them “saved” or to get them “into the Kingdom” is to introduce something that sends every unbaptised believer to condemnation. Can you imagine the Father saying to such ‘well sorry you missed getting baptised so there’s the door—depart from me!”?

Is that really what God our Father is like—a despot who watches to see if His children who receive His Son then fail to be baptised and then sends them to everlasting punishment? NO. It’s all about relationship with Jesus and the Father and abiding in Christ, being in Him and He in us.

Millions of Jesus’ precious, devoted saints assume that baptism is symbolic. They know they have experienced washing of regeneration, assurance of salvation, forgiveness of sins, victory over sin and have entered into eternal life in Jesus—having “received Jesus” (John 1:12) they go through life without any conviction they are lacking water-baptism.

We may persuade others to be baptised but to insist on this is deeply divisive. They have a walk with Jesus. They have a conscience. They also have the Holy Spirit. We can encourage people rather than insist. Commanding to be water baptized can put people under pressure especially if salvation depends on it! Commands bring condemnation, but encouragement strengthens and enables us to obey God and that’s Grace. People can then be open to God who can lead believers to be water baptized.

Are we going to be condemned over the adherence of a doctrine or not? If we are, then it’s doctrine that saves us and not the holy name and sacrifice of Jesus. Read John 1:11-13 again, and 1 Peter 1:3—and the whole of the New Testament. Otherwise we get only part of the picture.

I am persuaded that when we join the great throngs in the new world praising the Father and the Lamb we will meet John Wesley, Geo Whitfield, Charles Finney, General William Booth and the millions who embraced their teachings, together with witnesses, reformers, evangelists, prophets, revival leaders, and so on.