Tuesday 24 February 2015

Nose Punchers - Ear-Ticklers and Hebrews 4 Sword Wielders.

Here are three posts and they are incredibly representative of the evangelical position,followed by quite a charismatic position followed by a more Father level approach ( 1 John 2.)
1.A Box 1 Message
The first post is very black and white and takes a Biblically aligned view to the sort of behaviours expected among Kingdom people.
To be able to deliver such a sermon certain positions are held on what a preacher is, who we as humans are and the sort of thing Christianity is.
It holds a BOX 1 rigid view of the universe where God has made His Law known, and as Jews in the Old Testament believed we simply preach about the  appropriate behaviour and expect that everyone tries to do it. It attacks both liberal positions and Box 2 Christian positions as if they were the same thing.
2. A Box 2 Message
Quite often delivered by a baptised in the Spirit preacher, or an evangelical preacher that has matured and has had some revelation of the grace message of St Paul from Romans Chapters 3 to 5.
Rather than casting a world where everything is black and white and immediately just so, it takes a more fatherly role and is aware that everybody coming into a relationship with Christ is coming from different places, but is confident in the Presence of Christ in his or her own life, and in the power of the Word of God coming through him or her, to take the believer on.  This appears far too fuzzy to a Box 1 preacher

3. A Box 3 Message
This  is almost  at one level an amalgamation of Box 1 and Box 2 preaching.  At one level.
In actual fact it is not this is something new.
Now some tap into this area temporarily by prayer and fasting and letting the Holy Spirit touch their words with His fire. Others who by practice have trained their senses according to righteousness....that is both their mental acuity, and their feelings and emotional senses,  and they know by habitual living with Jesus that God is merciless to the sin spirit masquerading as our identity. Hebrews 4 describes the Word as a two edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit as of joints and marrow, able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Box 3 only recognises the authentic person. "Henceforth we view no man after the flesh".
When a mature person speaks by the Spirit it is alarming because we are not used to words having spirit discharge and the authority and strength and kick of the words can be too much.
Only this explains the violence with which the Nazareth people responded to Jesus or the priests who stoned Stephen. The spirits that masquerade as flesh are laid bare by speech that comes from the true spiritual identity of a person. A carnal person /secular person hears everything according to the flesh, and hears any disapproval or correction as condemnation, shame, rudeness. Spirit is none of these but always challenges sin in the flesh.  Sin in the flesh is not a behaviour first of all. First of all it is a spirit, the spirit that "energises / works within the sons of disobedience."
5 Signs of Ear-Tickling preachers
MICHAEL BROWN Charisma Article

Paul warned Timothy that the "time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

That warning proved true in Timothy's day, and it has proved true many times since, especially today, when we have a multitude of ear-tickling preachers. How can we recognize them?

We know that deception is very deceiving and that no one is willingly duped. And we know that no one stands up and says, "What I'm teaching is false doctrine meant to deceive and destroy you!"

We also know that it is arrogant for any one of us to think that we alone have sound doctrine while everyone else is in error.

Yet Paul did not warn Timothy in vain, nor is he warning us in vain, and so we must ask ourselves what, exactly, are the distinguishing characteristics of ear-tickling preachers.

1. Ear-tickling preachers bypass self-denial and the cross. Jesus told His disciples that if anyone wanted to follow Him, they had to deny themselves and take up the cross (see Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; in Luke 9:23 He says we must take up our cross daily). And Paul taught that "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24).

Saying no to self and taking up the cross—meaning, giving up the claim to our own lives, dying to this sinful world and renouncing its claims—is a fundamental part of discipleship. Yet ear-tickling preachers will not talk about it.

The reason is obvious: It is not what our flesh wants to hear.

2. Ear-ticking preachers go light on sin. Throughout the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, including the Gospels, Acts, the Letters, and Revelation, there are warnings about the dangers of sin and calls to turn away from sin.

Of course, it is absolutely true that through the death and resurrection of Jesus and by the power of the Spirit we have been given victory over sin. And it is absolutely true that the message of grace, rightly understood, turns us away from sin (see Titus 2:11-14).

But that doesn't mean that as leaders, we no longer need to warn our hearers about the deceitfulness of sin or urge them to vigilant against sin. To the contrary, because so much grace has been given to us, our responsibility before God is even greater (see Hebrew 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25-29).

3. Ear-tickling preachers are loved by the world. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul recounted the persecutions and suffering he endured for the gospel—they were frequent and intense—and then said, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim. 3:12-13).

Jesus said that the world would treat us the way it treated Him (John 15:18; Mat. 10:24-25) and that His disciples, like the prophets of old, would be persecuted for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10-12).

"If you were of the world," He said, "the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19).

But the world doesn't hate ear-tickling preachers because they are "of the world" in their approach to the gospel.

It is one thing to have a good reputation for integrity and purity and to live out what we preach. It is another thing when our message does not offend sinners. As Jesus warned, "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).

4. Ear-tickling preachers tell the flesh what it wants to hear. The Old Testament prophets had to deal with this all the time. As Isaiah wrote long ago, "For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, 'Do not see,' and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel'" (Isaiah 30:9-11).

In other words, "Don't make us uncomfortable, preacher! Don't make us squirm! Stop confronting us with the standards of a holy God!"

A friend recently shared with me that he learned that the owner of a local strip club was attending the same church that he and his family attended.

His sister-in-law approached the pastor and asked him about it, and the pastor said, "At least he's coming to church. That's better than not coming at all."

That would be true, except that the pastor never said a word about sin and never said anything that would make the man uncomfortable about his exploitation of young women (and others). And so rather than this man getting convicted of his sins and discovering the life-changing love of God, he went home deceived.

Ultimately, my friend and his family had to leave.

5. Ear-tickling preachers get away from the Word and give way to myths. They may use a verse or two in their preaching, but their sermons are driven by their own worldly ideology—especially if it sells—rather than by the content of the Word.

Some even get into the realm of complete fantasy, preaching alleged heavenly or angelic revelations that titillate the ears of the pseudo-spiritual but do not exalt Jesus, do not turn people away from sin, and do not produce lasting spiritual fruit.

I personally believe there are preachers today who genuinely know the Lord but have bought into a lie about the nature of the gospel, and while they think they are helping people, they are really hurting them in the long run.

May God grant these men and women repentance—especially those who actually are charlatans and deceivers—and may God give us discernment, repentance, and a love for the truth, regardless of cost or consequence.

Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

5 Signs of Nose-Punching Preachers

A recent article in Charisma News warns about the dangers of ear-tickling preachers and their deceptive message. An ear-tickler is someone who tells you what you want to hear. In contrast, a nose-puncher is one who tells you what he wants you to hear, and typically does so with all the fervor of an Old Testament judge or prophet.
A nose-puncher might appear respectable and religious, but he is nothing more than a bully with a Bible. He prefers doctrine to people, puts ministry before family, and he justifies his abuse of others by telling himself he is doing the Lord’s work.
Jesus encountered many religious nose-punchers; men who sought to throw the book at him and those who followed him. Ironically, these men claimed to know God but by their actions they denied him. Jesus rebuked the nose-punchers for being loveless sons of the devil, and they responded by putting him on the cross.
The apostle Paul also had his share of run-ins with nose-punchers. They hounded him from town to town preaching works and opposing his message of love and grace. On several occasions the nose-punchers beat Paul and plotted to kill him.
The nose-punchers are still with us today. Can you recognize them? Here are five signs of nose-punching preachers.
1. Nose-punching preachers emphasize self-denial and going without. “If you are not in the habit of denying your appetites and desires, you are not a real Christian,” says the nose-puncher. “The more you deny your needs and wants, the holier you’ll be.”
What’s wrong with this message? Nothing – if you want to be a Buddhist.
The modern message of self-denial is nothing more than the ancient practice of asceticism dressed up in religious jargon. Abstaining from food, Facebook, or fun won’t make you righteous and holy (Col. 2:21-23). But it might make you religious. It might make you like the fasting Pharisees who trusted in their own self-righteousness.
The die-to-self message simply means, “Trust Jesus, and not yourself.” It means walk by the Spirit rather than the flesh. It means live each day out of the glorious relationship you have with the Lord.
In the hands of a nose-puncher, “die to self” is reduced to little more than a quit-having-fun lecture wrapped in threats and warnings. But in the hands of a gospel preacher, “die to self” is a thrilling invitation to the adventure of the life that is ours in Christ.
2. Nose-punching preachers are hard on sin. Throughout the scriptures you will find serious men throwing stones of condemnation at sinners. Nothing’s changed.
If warnings and threats about sin stopped people from sinning, there would be no more sin.
Jesus reveals there is only one thing that can empower you to sin no more, and that is radical grace. I’m talking about the kind of grace that defends the sinner from her accusers and turns a thief into a giver, a hater into a lover, and the chief of sinners into the apostle of grace. Rules don’t change people and abuse definitely doesn’t change people; grace changes people.
The nose-punchers would have you turn from sin and turn again until you’re a dizzy sinner. But the good news that Jesus revealed and Paul preached reveals a God infinitely more appealing than sin. A nose-puncher will use threats to compel you to turn, and you might, for a little while, but a gospel preacher reveals the goodness of God that leads you to genuine and lasting repentance (Rom. 2:4).
3. Nose-punching preachers are no friends of sinners. It is one thing to have a reputation for integrity and purity but if our message leaves our neighbors untouched by the love of God, what good are we? If Jesus strode the streets of Jerusalem avoiding sin and sinners, where would any of us be?
Nose-punchers would have you withdraw from the world in a misguided desire for holiness. But Jesus prayed that we might be sanctified in it (John 17:15-19). The nose-punchers will teach you to hate the world, but Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave…” (John 3:16).
The nose-punchers would have the world to come to them (to get their noses punched), but Jesus tells us to “Go into all the world – the business world, the arts world, the sports world, the addicts’ world, the dirty, stinkin’ world – and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
4. Nose-punching preachers seek to crucify the flesh by preaching law. “Don’t be like those Old Testament rebels who refused to obey God,” says the nose-puncher. “To please him you need to keep all the commands of his Word.”
Such a message appeals to our religious pride because it is thoroughly carnal. It teaches you to trust in the flesh – your good behavior, commitment and obedience – instead of God’s grace. The legalist says you must work to be saved while the holiness preacher says you must work to be sanctified, but both are eating from the wrong tree.
The nose-puncher will whack you with the standards of God. “Look where you are falling short. Try harder or be damned!” But the gospel preacher says, “Look where Jesus has succeeded. Trust him and live!”
The nose-puncher would have you die daily, as though that were possible, but the gospel preacher says, “You have died already and once was enough!” Look to the cross, where your old self died, and reckon yourself dead to sin. “I have been crucified with Christ,” said the apostle. “And I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
5. Nose-punching preachers use the Bible as a stick. Their sermons are packed with scriptures but are devoid of Truth. Like the Pharisees of old, they diligently study the scriptures yet refuse to come to Christ for life (John 5:39-40). Or worse, they take a little of his grace and mix it with their own efforts, ruining the whole thing and becoming lukewarm in the process.
In the hands of a graceless preacher, the Bible is utterly lethal for buried within lies the law which ministers death (2 Cor 3:7). For thousands of years, nose-punchers have been using the law-bits of the Bible to control and manipulate others. Jesus called them abusers and killers (Matt. 23:34) and Paul called them dogs (Php 3:2). We would do well to heed their warnings and be wary of such men.
Eternal Life is a Person

Sylvia put this up on Facebook with the words "I call the book of John the "I Am Book"" from http://080808onnowto.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/eternal-life-is-personbysylvia-pearce.html

ETERNAL LIFE IS A PERSON.... "He that hath the Son hath (Eternal) Life;"
(I John 5:12) I call the book of John the "I am" book. Jesus never said that He would give us a little piece of himself called "the way, the truth, and the life." He didn't say he would give us a little bit of bread and it would be life to us. He didn't say that he would give us resurrection, or life, or living water, and these would help is have more of God. No, what he did strongly and emphatically declare was this: "I am the Word, I am the Light of the world, I am the Living Water, I am the Bread of Life, I am the Resurrection and the Life, I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am Eternal Life." God's name always has been "I AM," not, "I have it to give." We do not have a distant God, dishing out to us humans, little bits of himself to live on. No, He has given us the fullness of Himself. The mystery of the gospel is, "Christ in you, our only hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). He is the deity in the temple, He is the contents of the vessel, He is the vine of the branch, He is the husband of the wife, and He is the head of the body. He firmly announced to all His creation, "My glory will I not give to another"(Isaiah 42:8). Therefore, salvation is a Person, Love is a Person, the Truth is a Person, Peace is a Person, Righteousness is a Person, and Eternal Life is not just a place we go after death, but it is a Person! His plan from the beginning was to create a family of sons who would freely contain and express His deity nature throughout eternity. It takes a great blow to our egos to really know that we are only the clay pots and not the glory of the contents. Christ is the content, it is He that fills the temple. Yet we have been falsely taught that we are the one who should fulfill the law and try to fill our temples with good works.

The essence of all idolatry is trying to be what only God is. This too is the essence of legalism.Trying to be good leaves our hearts empty and still cry ing out for more. For it is Christ who can fulfill the law in us, and it is He that wants the glory.We are His dwelling place, not our own dwelling place. Could this be why Christians are so miserable? We, of all people, who know that our sins are forgiven and our future destination is heaven, should live in the joy of the Lord most of the time.But do we? I dare say that if we are honest, most of us experience the very opposite.I believe that most of us live condemned and frustrated lives, trying to cope with what we have and wonder why faith doesn't work.That is why so many Christians are crying out to Jesus, "Come quickly Lord Jesus," as they wait to be relieved from their misery by the second coming of Christ.Our salvation and entrance into the kingdom of God is wonderful, but it's not good enough to just know that our sins are forgiven. What about now? What about the present tense? Why do we love the Jesus who saves us, but hate the human person that He saved? Did He do only half the work? Maybe we are getting closer to our answer by looking at just that. We think that we are responsible for finishing or perfecting the other half of what doesn't seem complete, namely us.What a job! We are taught to pray more, read our Bibles more, come to Church more, tithe more,and strive to become more like Jesus. Then there is the problem of the world:we should keep ourselves from worldly thoughts and not overindulge in worldly pleasures such as eating, drinking, smoking, and carousing. Then there are our personal shortcomings: tempers, jealousies, pride, and secret sins. The list goes on forever. But most of all we must look good to the world and keep our reputations and God's reputation respectable because we must be good witnesses. I say it again, "What a job!"Why doesn't Christianity work? I'm not happy and I'm not satisfied--God is satisfied because He sees his son in me, but I'm not satisfied. I look most of the time like Paul in Romans Seven--"the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not that I do. For the will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."Since the problem is exposed in Romans seven,then the whole solution, which is the missing link in Christianity, is hidden there as well. The real problem and hidden sin of the Christian is self-effort. "I ought to. I should do better by self-effort." It is very subtle, though, for it seems right and good, yet in truth it is the very heart of our problem. The law continually stirs up self-effort because we believe we can and should do it. We are not believing in God, but in ourselves. Colossians 1:27 says, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." The mystery of the Gospel is "Christ in you," yet we believe more in our own performance than Christ in us. That is why the third person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit) is the least known to most Christians. We are provided with the life of Christ by the Holy Spirit, yet we strive in our own efforts to be that life. Paul strongly warned the Galatians against legalism in their church. They began their Christian walk by faith alone, but soon after, added all kinds of laws to live by. Therefore, Paul cried out, "O foolish Galatia ns, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth.This only would I learn of you; Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh"(Galatians 3:1-3)? Paul's strong warning "Who has bewitched you," implies that the devil is at work. It is devilish to try to become what only God himself is. Let us understand though, that the law isn't wrong in itself, for it is God's perfect picture of His holy nature. Our problem is not God's picture of himself, the problem is how to be like that picture. We can never be like God by self-effort, yet God wants us to come to the end of believing that "WE" can do it.

The only way that we can come to the end is for us to go right on trying. But don't try half way.Try with all your heart. Try until you're bloody from trying.Most Christians settle somewhere in-between; a little bit of Jesus, a little bit of me, a little bit of the law, a little bit of righteousness, a little bit of the devil, a little bit of sin, "Ho hum! God doesn't expect me to be perfect anyway." On the contrary, Jesus demands perfection, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).Jesus says it has to be all or nothing.
It is better to try until we can't try anymore, than to settle somewhere in the middle ground That is why Jesus said to the Laodiceian church in the book of Revelation, that because they were lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, He would s pew them out of his mouth (Rev. 3:15-16). God wants self-effort to become exceedingly sinful. God wants you to be real desperate, so desperate that you can't try anymore.Then you are more than happy for righteousness not to depend on you. It is a desperate, but thankful heart, that knows that righteousness and eternal Life are both a person, and that person is Christ, who lives in us.

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