Monday 28 March 2011

Coming Out of Darkness Part 7 by Gary Sigler

Transformation, Not Condemnation I believe with all my heart that the Church today needs a word to make us realize that God is God!. We have not realized in the Church the depths of what Jesus said from the cross: "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they are doing." Many of God's people suffer continually under condemnation for things in their lives over which they can't seem to reach victory. These things have to be transformed by the infiltration of the Spirit of God into our soul-life. We all have God in us, but what we need is for Him to grow in us and to transform us into His image and likeness. We need never be condemned for the condition of our natural life; we just need to keep hungering after God and seeking Him until He comes fully alive within us. This will take care of our faults. We also need to realize that this is a process that takes time as Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of our faith, works in us to bring us fully into His plan and purpose. Religion, by contrast, tells us that when we come to God, we know what we should do, that we must do only those things we know we should do, and that this then allows God to be able to bless us so that we can grow spiritually. But oh, I am telling you, we are so ignorant, because we do not understand that today, as surely as God is upon the throne, He is saying, "Not guilty." You are not guilty. God would never bring you before Himself and remind you of your sin. I am sure you are familiar with verses that say such things as, "As far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed the transgressions of My people. Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Psalm 103:12; Hebrews 8:12). Thank God that His people are beginning to get the message that they are not guilty! You are not guilty. You do not need condemnation; you need transformation. Let’s look again at Ephesians 4:17-18. "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." I can assure you that we all fall somewhat into this category. If the Church were not blinded and alienated from the life of God, there is no way that the Church which we see with our physical eyes could be in its present condition. It is in that condition because for two thousand years the results of the work God accomplished at the cross have not been understood! I have made the statement that there are men and women all over the earth today who are about to be loosed upon the Church. For the most part, they are men and women who have been totally outside of the system of today's so-called Christianity and are therefore unknown to many of God’s people. But, thank God, the Church is beginning to open to them. If we are honest, we have to look at the situation today and say of the two thousand years of Gospel preaching, "What has it produced? Not a whole lot!" Yes, people are saved and people are blessed, but God's full purpose has never been fulfilled by the institutional church. God’s purpose is to fill the Church with Himself and to build us up together into a habitation of God. "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" Ephesians 2:21-2. One of the saints whom God has raised up to reveal His purpose for the Church is J. Preston Eby. He is one of those lights shining in the darkness. I feel that every one of God's seekers needs to hear what this man is saying to the Church. The following is an excerpt from one of his recent monthly newsletters. Jesus came into the world in the time of the Roman Empire. He was crucified on a Roman cross, pierced with a Roman spear, and sealed in His sepulcher under a Roman seal. But praise God! He burst the bands of death, shattered the seal of mighty Rome, and arose the conquering Christ. And not only that, He ascended victor over all the powers of darkness. Having brought to naught the prince of this world, having brought in eternal redemption for a lost world and redeemed all back unto Himself, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High and poured out on the first few citizens of his Kingdom the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Kingdom of God was birthed and gathered from Jew and Gentile alike a vast multitude into its bosom. What a flood of light and glory and power fell upon the world in the ministry of the humble followers of the Lamb! And oh what glorious days those were. How God blessed His Gospel. Mighty signs and wonders were performed as God confirmed His word with signs following. The word of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, swept the world like a prairie fire. It encircled the mountains and crossed the oceans. It made kings to tremble and tyrants to fear. It was said of those early Christians that they had turned the world upside-down. So powerful was their message and spirit, in spite of persecution, in spite of untold thousands of saints impaled upon crosses, burned at the stake, and fed to hungry lions to the thunderous applause of wild spectators, the word grew and multiplied. For God dwelt mightily in the midst of His people. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord covered the earth as the waters cover the sea. Paganism fell. The mighty Roman Empire shut up its idol temples, sheathed its persecuting sword, and sat down as disciples at the feet of Christ and His apostles. Oh, but there was another spirit at work also. A spirit and system set in among the saints of the Lord, and the manna of yesterday began to breed worms and stink. Refusing to follow on to know the Lord, they began instituting rules and regulations, laying down laws and formulating creeds, observing days and ordaining sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas and many others. Before too many years had passed, men began to set themselves up as bishops and lords over God's heritage in place of the leadership of the Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and truth, men began to substitute their ideas and their methods. Soon the glory and the power, the presence and the word of God in the morning-time Church began to be eclipsed, and the power of carnal-minded men gradually took the place of the awesome presence of God. Consequently, man's carnal understanding was put upon the Scriptures, and as the Spirit of Christ fled from their midst, men established a vast and elaborate system of substitutes to take His place. The festivals of the Church were created along the lines of pagan celebrations. Costly and ornate edifices were constructed for worship. The services became ceremonialized and elaborate. Relics of saints and martyrs were cherished as sacred possessions. The Church, with its array of godly-bedecked clergy and its imposing ceremonies, assumed much of the stateliness and visible splendor that belonged to the heathen system that it had once supplanted. Christianity was now a pageant, a ritualism, a vain philosophy, a superstition, a social club, indeed an antichrist, a pot full of manna infested with the worms of carnality and death. The Gospel preached by the nominal Church will never get the job done. It will never bring the Kingdom of God in power to deliver mankind from sin and death and restore all things to God. The Church world is using worldly means and soulish methods to promote its programs today. It is conformed into the world's way of doing things. This is true not only of the historic denominations, but also of the Pentecostals, the Charismatics, and, alas, some groups who profess to be deeper life, Kingdom, or sonship people. Churches compete against one another, who can have the most in Sunday School, who can build the biggest building, who can win the most souls, which evangelist can draw the largest crowds, each one pointing to the success of their ministry, glorying in the size of their outreach or work, stressing how much could be accomplished with more money, and, to hear them tell it, just about the whole world is being brought to the feet of Jesus through their efforts. The Church world today is totally conformed to the world's way of doing things. Because of that, it is really no better off than the world it is trying so desperately to save. Because the average Christian today has been brought up with a certain "other" than Christ, he is totally unable to think except in terms of established orders, sects, denominations, credentials, creeds, assemblies, Church ceremonies, Church buildings, doctrines, meetings, communions, baptisms, programs, campaigns, crusades, choirs, pastors, rituals, ceremonies, vestments, offerings, conferences, Board meetings, committees, elections, Sunday schools, theological seminaries, fellowship halls, stained glass windows, platforms, special members, numbers and a thousand other things. Take all these things away from them and they would be spiritually destitute, totally incapable of doing the work of the Lord. But after they have spent a whole lifetime of this feverish Church activity, how many people are there who have ever taken the time to wait on God long enough to hear Him speak and divulge His will to their seeking hearts? I declare to you of a truth that any man or woman who will take the time to seek God and God alone, hungering and thirsting after God's mind and God's will, that man will find himself drifting away from all the aforementioned things and from them on to the mind of Christ. And lest any think that we are being brash or heretical to even suggest a departure from those things listed above, I invite you to carefully examine that list to determine which one of them Jesus Christ had used or even needed in His wonderful sonship ministry. It is astonishing to realize that Jesus knew absolutely nothing of any of it, yet He more effectively ministered the life of God, the power of God, the glory of God and the Kingdom of God than any man who has graced this planet. And, I do not hesitate to add, strip all of these away from a son of God, and what he will have left is Christ, only Christ. I tell you, God has men and women all over the earth with the message for the Church. Will you open to them? Because they are not religious, they will not condemn you, but they will minister life to you and cause you to grow up into Him. I am thankful that many of God's people are willing to listen to a message that will set them free, because to be set free, it takes the Spirit and the light and the word of God to break loose our mindset from religious tradition. And I know that every one of us likes to think that we are not religious.
Almost every pastor I know who has a church says, "My church is not religious." Yet in every church I enter, almost without exception, I hear the sounds of bondage and religion.

To be continued

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[caught this web item - George]

Franklin Graham's Warning !

Franklin Graham's warning of coming persecution of Christians echoes what his mother Ruth and father Billy have clearly stated. Re Ruth, see search engines including Google for "Letter from Mrs. Billy Graham." To see Billy's words about the worldwide increase in house churches, Google "Famous Rapture Watchers - Addendum."
Since Franklin blamed the Obama administration for his own National Day of Prayer snub and persecution, and since he accused "Christian" Barack Hussein Obama of "giving Islam a pass," readers can get some rare insights into Obama and his fellow travelers by Googling and Yahooing "Obama Fulfilling the Bible," "Michelle Obama's Allah-day," "Obama Supports Public Depravity," "Prof. F. N. Lee's ISLAM IN THE BIBLE (PDF)," "Mikey Weinstein, Jesus-Basher," and "Sandra Bernhard, Larry David, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher, Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman."
For a rare look at the 181-year-old endtime belief which has long neutralized millions of American patriots by promising them an “imminent rapture” off earth – which has diverted them away from being prepared to stand against all enemies, domestic as well as foreign – Google “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty,” "Famous Rapture Watchers," “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrecy,” and “Pretrib Rapture – Hidden Facts” – all by the author of the bestselling nonfiction book “The Rapture Plot” (the most accurate documentation on the pretrib rapture’s long hidden but recently uncovered birth in Britain in 1830 – see Armageddon Books). Also Google “Stamping Out Harold Camping.”