Lord, take out of the soil of my heart, the stones and rocks that should not be there and replace them with your special love.
Plant trees that will grow and flourish with roots that go deeply down and are fed by your living water.
My main intention in writing this work is to confirm the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for every aspect of our lives.
Paul places a challenge before each one of us.
(Philippians 3: 8) “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
What are we prepared to give up in order to really know Christ Jesus? Our personal hopes and dreams, the approval of pastors, leaders and familiar faces and places that are dear to us or perhaps a move to another country or town. Is God asking this of you today?
The Apostle Paul longs for us to know and to trust his precious Master in such a way that our lives are restored, revived and uplifted. That is to so live for Jesus that nothing will turn us to the right or to the left; to know our Lord in all the fullness and knowledge of the gospel and to see the outworking of that knowledge in our daily lives. Paul had plenty of time alone in relationship with Jesus. Paul lived for him and so the “self” within him died.
We will have the supreme comfort of knowing that because we live in Him and He in us we can with time and perseverance overcome every hardship, all our sin, weaknesses and difficulties that may seem insurmountable in our lives.
The Apostle Peter, before he was martyred in AD67 speaks to us of the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer who yields to the sanctifying grace of God within him and produces spiritual fruit. (2 Peter 1: 3-4)
In the spiritual realm we have been “purchased out of the slave-market of sin” by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and set free, to come near to God that He will come near to you (James 4:8-10). We are called to have a transformed walk to “wash our hands you sinners” have a desire to know God’s holiness/purity. Our new position is the way God’s sees us (see your positional truth” in the Appendix) not as we really are but in Christ Jesus and our practice should be in line with our new position. The work of the Holy Spirit in a believers’ life is to enable us to transform our lives in keeping with our position in Him.
We need to appropriate the truth by a personal intimate experience of who Jesus is by means of the word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit applied to our lives through cherishing a warm and private fellowship with him.
Love that is inspired by God serves the good of others. (1 John 4:7-8,16) It is a love that seeks to bring God down to man. The results of Agape “divine love” make it possible to bring man to God “redemption” and to indwell him and make it possible for man to love with God’s own love.
“you dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us: but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognise the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood”
It is not love and of no benefit to anyone to allow deception to continue where it is possible to bring the divine light of the truth to those who have embraced extra-biblical experiences. God’s love for man has in its deeper purpose, not the satisfaction of the temporary in a person’s life but his spiritual health and welfare and ultimately, his eternal fellowship with Him. All that is written in His Word most assuredly is designed to promote His program of eternal love and to know that love in a supernatural intimacy of fellowship with Him.
How can one know the love of God in churches where people continually seek God to provide for their needs and desires. The true dictates of Christianity are God-centred rather than self-centred. There is a sense of deep spiritual fulfilment when we know that all we are hearing or reading is truth. God’s Word makes a permanent change within us that is healing and freeing.
Anyone who preaches and teaches God’s Word should be open to providing answers to those who “want to know” especially where there is a very clear possibility of error.
My urgent desire for explanations left me spiritually bankrupt and why not when things deteriorated to the point where no biblical answers existed. “extra-biblical” they said. My attempts to discuss my concerns with anyone at all were rudely squashed. I felt crippled emotionally, mentally suffocated and without the ability “to live” and “to love” in such churches where sound teaching was totally absent yet control and abuse were rife.
I always knew, deep within me, that the substance of all the weak and ineffective preaching I had listened to was “all wrong”. The biggest problem for me was – I simply did not really know – why? So I set about finding satisfactory answers that would reveal the truth. In my efforts to inject some light into the darkness, truth revealed that two concepts in particular were leaned on that were decidedly dishonest and manipulative – tithing and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. For the moment – simply put – one was used to ensure they made as much money as possible and the other was used to put fear into people to bring them under control.
Such was the poor and unsatisfying spiritual diet I listened to diligently every week (I attended every week for years) and as no one could enter into any reasoned discussion which provided satisfactory answers, eventually I could not continue to struggle any more with plain ignorance, deceit and dishonesty.
Love cannot believe in lies but endeavours to correct and to seek out truth.
Love cannot continue to co-exist with evil and cover it over with a look of acquiescence for to do so would only assist in its devastating work. Twisting the truth of God’s Word is surely the worst of evils.
Love does not make any investment into the emptiness of agreeing with clear error but seeks to appropriate the wisdom of God and apply that wisdom with truth and clear-sighted judgment to discover the true nature of things.
Nor could I sit in passivity for the sake of approval and false peace and thereby attract spiritistic controls associated with passive inactivity. This may have the temporary effect of securing a sense of a blissful existence based on false hope in a system of belief which appeared to be developing more and more into “New Age” in its application.
When I pondered at the pronouncements of my Lord He never indulged in anything less than the perfect truth. He levelled many accusations against the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23-34 and He said they were “hypocrites” condemning them for their lack of justice, mercy and faithfulness. “You blind guides!” He said. “You are like white-washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but within are like dead mens’ bones and everything unclean……You brood of snakes! You brood of vipers!…..” And He attacked them for their greed and self-indulgence. He knew the worst that mankind would do to Him and yet placed His hope in all of us who would be Lost Sons and wander away from truth into error.
My heartfelt desire is that this work would be based on the hope that in its reading truth may be discovered and the work would be Christo-centric. I have tried to be honest and transparent in this endeavour.
When Paul said: “Follow my example” he meant for us to be like him with such a desire for commitment to God’s Word and by submission to its truths we would develop within us a “spiritual man” nearer to that of Jesus. Our Lord did not mean we were to sacrifice our own unique identities by becoming “clones” whereby we think like or even dress like our preferred pastor.
We need to be released from our self-will and enthrone God’s will in our hearts.
We need to be unshackled from our soul life and know the joy and continual spiritual refreshment of His Word. At every reading it is forever fresh and new, uplifting, instructing, comforting, sanctifying, renewing our minds, washing us from worldly values and providing us with the discovery of a release within us of our spiritual hearts becoming joined to the loving heart of our Creator God.
Then to speak with Him and to praise Him, hear His gentle yet firm responses as we bring our sin and all our problems each day before our Abba Father and consider His incredible and incomprehensible holiness.
Praise God Jesus has exchanged all our filthy rags for His righteousness. There will be nothing of myself when I meet Him in glory that will be worth having except the work that He has done in me.
We need to be like the Bereans and search the Word for ourselves examining the Spirit-breathed contents of the Bible closely.
(Acts 17: 11) “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
The human body can only tolerate religious experience for a short time. We need to know we can be deceived by spiritual language into believing that what we may be involved in is all in the name of our Lord Jesus.
The writer believes that we need to be released from pursuing spiritual experience and instead know the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit wherever the powerful truths of the Bible are preached. The only way we are going to be changed is to apply Spirit-breathed words to our sin-filled lives.
When we have in prayer sought to have the Lord remove the planks and splinters from our own eyes, may it be, we will be able to love with genuineness and look upon the sin-filled lives of others with the mercy of God.
May it be that we can reach out our hands and our hearts to our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and help them overcome the sin factor in their lives without gossip and judgement.
Paul’s goal was to know Jesus and to become more like him. We must be single-minded in our endeavours and like the athlete in training, fix our eyes on the prize that awaits our success.
Do you think you would like Jesus to be standing beside you right now?
Do you think he would be happy to join in with you in whatever you are doing?
There have been so many times in my own life at that delicious sin-filled moment I forget that I am in the body of Christ and God is watching my behaviour and listening to inappropriate conversation.
This work therefore is a challenge to Christians to stand on God’s Word and to carry its life-changing truths to those hungering for want of knowledge. A call to so value biblical truth through Jesus Christ and have the courage to contend for the gospel in every circumstance and look only to Jesus for our sufficiency and worth and to lay down our need for the approval of man.
This work was a gradual unfolding from spiritual childhood to a not quite spiritual maturity for the Lord still has much work to do in me too. Initially my deeper thoughts lay hidden under a welter of shame, pain and sense of worthlessness. I came to the realisation that unless I was prepared to be transparent about my own sin and lack I would be in no position to make any frank assessment of unhealthy and abusive church atmospheres that no one should be in.
This book is not merely a putting together of parts and elements of other people’s views. The convictions stated in the following chapters are the result of my own personal Bible study, prayer and extensive research over a long period of time.
I owe a considerable debt of gratitude to writers of old and to other more recent writings for providing me with clarification and substantiation of some of the truths contained within these pages and I have given credit to others where it has been due.
This work is a call to “fence-sitters” to climb down from their fences and become participants in Kingdom work.
The search began in my Bible and before the Lord in prayer. It then moved to the National Library of Australia noting my thoughts as I worked through a large quantity of literature on Revivals in various parts of the world since the 1600’s.
There is an abundance of quotations from other writers. These have been provided so that the reader could have some insight into the character and substance of other Revivals down through the centuries.
I invite you to view your spiritual position with me in considering both this and the personal studies I have undertaken over many years.
Do you truly want to come to know Jesus more?
I hope this work will challenge you in all areas of your Christian walk.