Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Work of the Church

The work of the church is synonymous to the work of the Spirit
we prepare the way for Christ
ours is the baptism of repentance - not the baptism of the Spirit
(which makes sense why you can baptise people immediately and infants too)
cf. John 4:2
- we break up the ground (convict of sin)
- we wash away the dirt (baptism of repentance/John)
- we plant the seed (preach the Word - i.e. Christ crucified)
- we water the seed (teach the Word)
- we reap the harvest (the fruit of righteousness - cf. Jam 3:18, 2 Cor 9:10)

yet it is the Seed that grows by itself - we know not how (1 Cor 3:6-7)
people must be pointed to Christ by the church
the church must assist Christ to grow, to be formed in people in every way

interestingly - we are not told to get rid of the weeds...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Abraham's 2 'sins'

Abraham is often thought of as sinning with Pharaoh and Abimelech

I wonder if it's more of Abraham getting his bride that he sent to Egypt to be under slavery from Pharaoh - as Jesus did before coming back to Canaan

and then the triumphant bride causing the closing of the 'wombs of the world' - in Abimelech who is the Leader of the Philistines - i.e. a type of Goliath/Satan
so the church is separate from the enemies of God - yet living amongst them and they are not allowed to reap any of their benefits - the 'well incident' with Phicol
that's why sandwhiched in between the Abimelech incidents is the seperation of Isaac and Ishmael - cf. Gal 4

haven't quite thought about Isaac though...

Friday, 24 July 2009

Off with his head

continuing on my new weird notion that John the Baptist is a type of 'church'

He convicts the world of sin
He points them to the coming Seed
He preaches the same message as the seed
His is the baptism of repentance (cf. Acts 19)

He must decrease while Jesus must increase
He is the forerunner.. Christ is the destination

Isn't it then fitting that he ends his life with his head being cut off
the New Head of this body - is Christ!

Friday, 17 July 2009

One Flesh

In order for us to be united with Christ, in Christ

Christ must die, so that we can become bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh

Christ is the fruit of His Father
as long as He is in the Tree,
He cannot die, He cannot be tempted

Thus Christ must be cut off from His Father
So that the fruit may not so much wither - but the flesh may be stripped - and die
so that the Seed may be planted into the dust He has made for Himself
i.e. the dark watery womb of the earth that He must enter
in that death, He then can take into Himself all of creation
germinating something new

How does it grow? He knows not
His Father makes it grow
it is a new thing

So then all creation now becomes part of the destroyed temple
into the new temple
at least in the flesh

Yet to be ready
the dustly creation first had to be prepared
it had to be made
then it had to be broken
i.e. sent into exile
then it had to be watered, and ploughed
(breaking up the fallow ground)
thus is the initiation of the law, the old covenant
the showing of exile, sin and repentance
the baptism of John
preparing the way for the Seed to be planted

those of stubborn hearts will only continue to reject the Word
unless they are broken and truly broken (not just the topsoil)
therefore the field (i.e. the world) is continually washed
the reminder of Noah's flood in every raindrop (that's why there was no rain before)
yet the promise of deliverance in the hung up war bow of God that circles His Sun throne
continually reminded of judgement - i.e. the prophets - Elijah
the first Adam/old covenant/Law rained blow after blow of hammers and swords upon it that it may receive what they pointed to
in that the church still works - convicting with the Spirit of sin and judgement and righteousness - breaking up the fallow ground
(no wonder the Puritans always preached first law then gospel)
indeed we are told - man works the ground, and God sends the rain - all in preparation for the Seed - so that there may be a harvest
instead of warring with swords - the church will beat them into plowshares - and join in the prepatory work for the Messiah
only in the judgement will these same plowshares be beaten again into swords - to destroy the wicked

the true partnership of Spirit and Church in both ploughing, preparing, watering, planting, nurturing and even harvesting - also with the angels

then the Seed, which are His bones laid in the dust
may enter
the 'piece of the bone of Christ (remember Joseph)' now becomes your bone
and that bone then grows new flesh (as opposed to the sinful flesh)
entering this new and growing flesh comes the Spirit of life
working also from within to give life

The new creation will no longer need an outer washing
it is clean from within
all it needs is a purging of what remains from the old
the 'washing of fire'
or rather - the salting of fire - which is a washing from within rather than without
a consummation of inner realities rather than a total replacement

Those that do not receive the Seed that is cast all over the earth
or the Light that has shone in the darkness (for they hide in the shadows)
will also be part of that new creation - for all flesh is taken up by the seed
yet because they do not bear fruit, i.e. they have not received the Spirit, but rejected the Sap of the Vine
they are broken off and cast into the everlasting fire - they will not be burned up because they are part of the body of the immortal God who is everything in everyway

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The outer washing first... then the inner fire

The world was created out of water,
and had to be washed by water first
yet the outer washing does not cleanse anything permanently
just as in the days of Noah, after the flood
the hearts of men were still evil

yet the outer washing prepares the way for the inner fire
John the baptist, prefiguring the old man, the old covenant
he convicts of sin, he breaks the hard soil
prepares the way for the Seed to die in ones hearts
the Holy Spirit now germinating it from within

the inner fire starts from within,
the salty seed planted that bursts into flame as it dies
the mustard seed if you will, incendiary in nature
sparking a new creation

yes the outer washing continues
but as the Word/Seed grows and abides
the inner flame takes over
the old man is not merely denied
but is mortified and crucified
the new man within becomes the reality

and on the last day, all will be tested in the fire
that comes from the growing tree coming into full blossom
the mortal swallowed up by the immortal
the permanent change of all things old into the new creation

Monday, 13 July 2009

The 2 families

Abel trusted in the atoning sacrifice of the firstborn of the flock that would shed His blood for him and was saved - indeed counted righteous

Cain hating his brother's righteousness, attempted the hypocrisy of religion to the Lord God and was condemned for his useless fig-leaf-like seduction
Hating his brother, who was now separate from him, he became a murderer - killing the righteous - guilty of all the blood of the saints

Cain then proceeded east to become a wanderer forever, the lost stars in gloomy darkness - the fortelling of the eternal casting out into the outer darkness, not annihilation but eternal wandering

Cain and family then continue their 'outcast' ways - they build cities, delight in worldly things, make a life for themselves, entertain themselves with music, and tools, establish a community of the world - that festers more of the murderers way of seventy x seven vengeance

Abel's family on the other hand hates this world - their names are sorrow, and preach about judgement, and long for the restoration to their Father - they call upon His name - this world is not their home they cry - they wait for the Rest of the Father to come - the Noah who will deliver them into the creation washed new

Again after Noah - the Way of Cain is not finished
Canaan's line continues this path - city building and continuing their rebellious creation as gods of this world - Nimrod leading the way

Perhaps then this is why the Lord picks Abram - the nomad who left both Hittite and Amorite - the tent dweller - and shows him the land that is to come

This world is not our home - do not dwell in it - be careful of being like the family of Cain - all these things seem harmless and people want to 'redeem' them for God's purposes

Yet the Way of Jesus is so utterly different... remember John the Baptist's words... if you have 2.. give away 1...
we are desert dwellers - nomads - tent makers

Help us Lord not to deceive ourselves!

The Word of God

Christ is the Word of God

the reason Scripture is also called the Word of God is because it is about Christ
more than that - Christ is this same Word (breathed out in the Spirit from the mouth of the Father, through the flesh of man) made into Flesh

He is the Living Word of God

therefore to say that anything is not about Christ- His Person and His Works
is like saying there are pieces of the Bible that Christ does not fulfill, or pages that do not make up part of His body

He consumes the entire Word and He is it fulfilled - Scripture in living colour
- the Scripture is contained within Him - thus it is referred to as a Living, Talking Entity - cf. Gal 3:8, 3:22, Rom 9:17, etc

thus then we too as we consume the Word - become more and more like Christ - the Word once again doing what it was meant to do .. the DNA of the universe coming into fleshly being
- Christ formed in us

now we are indeed His Body, the church - the very Word of God Himself
and every action and word that comes from us speaks to others
so much so that when we are spent - the Word that was within us still speaks, as that life-blood-Word is poured out on the earth - speaking a lasting testimony to all - remembered forever by our Father in heaven

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Noah's Ark, Hong Kong and The Lord who Saves.

So I've never blogged before.. but I saw and experienced some stuff today that hopefully will be an encouragement to you! It's less of a theological post, and more of a collection of thoughts I noted down during a day trip in Hong Kong. So sorry, it'll be a bit long.. And Dev I hope you don't mind me just suddenly posting out of nowhere! I gather you wanted people to post here when you started up the blog, thus why we have access.. Hope it's alright!

In Hong Kong/Asia there's this massive property development company called Sun Hung Kai, and apparently the owners/founders are Christians. Recently they developed and opened a park called "Noah's Ark". The main attraction of this new development is a full size replica of Noah's Ark, as described in Genesis. Sounds pretty sweet huh? Christian property developers.. the involvement of various Christian organisations.. a great salvation story with which to point people to the cross of Christ.. I was looking forward to an opportunity to check it out.

I managed to get a ticket to go along with my dad and some of his friends and so off we went early this morning to get there for the 10am opening. It was a pretty cool sight when we got off the ferry at Ma Wan where Noah's Ark is located. This thing was huge. Bigger than I imagined the Ark to be and if you're a friend of mine on facebook, I'll have pictures uploaded soon.
So we got there and our first point of interest was to get alongside the Ark and then into it.

The first area was an introduction into the Ark and why the Lord commanded Noah to make an Ark. They were quite good at describing the lifestyle that was being condemned by the Father.. Overall, it was pretty good biblical stuff with various Bible quotes, videos giving different types of info on the Ark and how experts think the actual design worked out, and other general facts on the time period, how long it took to build etc.
It was fairly encouraging although there was no specific link to Christ or that real problem of mankind was a rejection of the Father. Gotta give them a chance i figured. Maybe the next section will have some more solid gospel presentation.

Long story short, as the day wore on, my heart sunk as the message turned into some semblance of: 'The Ark saved Noah, his family and many animals. In our calamities, struggles and issues in the world, we must find our own Ark. We must work hard to love one another. We must work hard to love the world more. We must work hard to love ourselves more. If we strive enough, we can save ourselves and this world from falling apart. Global warming, wars, famine, etc are going to destroy our world. The timebomb of the end of the world is coming.. let's work to stop it'

It's quite well summed up in the "Vision and Mission" where they state their purpose is 'intended to promote family values and teach love, social harmony and care for the environment.'
Wow great. That's totally the story of Noah. /sarcasm I don't know why the message became what it did. Maybe they didn't want to offend.. maybe they wanted to stay politically correct.. either way, it seems to be fairly common nowadays :(

It was just so sad. Most sad were the interactive sections of the Ark.
They had a series of games/activities, to teach...good morals i guess?
One was called "A date with yourself" You walked along a 'rainbow bridge' and at 10 various points there was a mirror. By each mirror there was a question/task on a piece of paper. When you flipped the paper, it gave a moral teaching. ie. "Put your left hand on your right shoulder, right hand on left shoulder and snuggle your head in. Flip paper. You're giving yourself a hug. Learn to love yourself more!" What? We need to learn to love ourselves more? .....
Another was a game in a dark room (i forget the name) where you are blindfolded and you are given a piece of string (acting as a banister) thats leads you while you walk over various different materials/textures. Then suddenly the string is gone. And you're standing alone in darkness trying to find out what to do. Then one of the game attendants links you back with your friends as a human train and you're led out the room. They ask you questions afterwards.
Q: When did you feel safe, with or without the string?
A: Obviously with!
Q: How did you stay strong when the string was gone?
A: Our friends led us and guided us.
So the lesson is that when things go wrong in our life, there are people, friends, family who you can find strength from. And I'm sure there are others who find strength from you. So we must learn to stick together and guide each other.
I had to contain my laughter. We were all blindfolded! Our security wasn't from each other. That would be to have the blind leading the blind! It's destined for failure. There is absolutely no way I'd feel safe if we were only able to rely on our fellow blind friends. They failed to see that our security was from the game attendents who were able to see. Only one who can see the light, or rather is The Light, can guide the lost and blind. Surely that is the only real teaching from such a game.
I was so sad. And not only sad but filled with a despair and helplessness.

And so the day went on. There's a bunch of other stuff there to do, alot of educational things and whatnot but this'll do. I feel like i've dragged on already and hope you aren't bored with reading this. Like I said, it's my first post and I probably neeed to learn to condense my thoughts!

It was around 4pm already and we were starting to think about leaving. There were only a couple of small places to glance in on before heading to the exit. One of them was this little sports ground, the size of 2 basketball courts with some tiered seating on the side. The peculiar thing was that there were about a dozen or so white people on various instruments looking like they were getting ready for a performance. (excuse the term 'white people' i'm not trying to be racist at all, but it was definitely a sight that drew attention given the location etc.) So we decided to sit for a quick break and check out what it was about.
Lo and behold, as they got up, they were introduced as members of a mission team from the states to spend time here in Hong Kong and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The next 30 minutes or so, these americans put on a gospel concert with drama, singing and a short testimony in the middle. (They even sang 3-4 songs in cantonese, which was VERY impressive!) I managed to chat with them briefly afterwards, which was nice. Was really encouraging to meet them and find out how best to pray for them :)
In the midst of my frustration at the lack of gospel proclamation in this place, particularly since my unbelieving dad was there too... the Lord used the most unlikely of ways to bring His good news. I was totally hoping for and praying for God to speak through the actual Ark and the stuff inside to the people of Hong Kong.. and when I felt that the place was useless for proclaiming the gospel, the Lord showed me how wrong I was.

And this is really what I want to share and encourage you with. So often, I find myself thinking that what someone, or even myself, has done is just too rubbish to be of use to the Lord. I find myself thinking that there is no hope and that no one will be able to hear of Jesus, and come to know Him. But I was reminded today, that the Lord loves to lift high the name of His Son, and to expand His kingdom. He LOVES to save. I too often fall into the trap of thinking that I want people to hear of Christ and be saved, but alas, it just ain't happening today. I forget that no matter how much I think I want people to be saved, the Lord wants it infinitely more. And also has immeasureably more power to do so!

I still feel that the Noah's Ark attraction could be so much more faithful in proclaiming boldly the gospel of Jesus. However, my sadness cannot be intertwined with a sense of hopelessness and despair that the good news is not going out effectively. If man were acting alone then sure, the gospel would have no hope. But the Lord's strength is such that it can be displayed despite human weakness. It is a gospel given to us from above, and so will succeed. If the Lord were able to be stopped by merely the falleness of created beings then my view of God is obviously not in line with the bible!
I think in such situations of flawed/failed witness, it is right to be sad. However our sadness should be focused on our failure to faithfully reflect the glory of Christ in all it's fullness. But with the knowledge that our God, known only through Jesus, is and always has been a God who saves, there is no room for despair. There is only room for hope. Hope that somehow, someway the Lord in His sovereignty, despite the failures of our flesh, will bring many into His loving grace. Hope that the Lord will use things such as the Noah's Ark attraction, such as our flawed attempts to reflect His glory, to tell the world of all that has been achieved on the cross of the Son despite the failures and shortcomings of our witness. I don't know how He'll achieve it. Today and recently He's been using this group of young americans (amongst others I'm sure!). Tomorrow? Next week, month, year? I don't know. But what I do know is that the Lord will save. Why wouldn't He? Afterall, we do believe in Jesus, The Lord who Saves.

edit: if you want to check out the Noahs Ark website, here it the link.