“He Remains The Same”
Hebrews 13:8-9 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, do not be carried away by the strange and varying teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods through which those were so occupied they were not benefited.”
The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have remained the same from the beginning of time. This statement naturally tends to ask a lot of questions of our modern day congregations. We are in a constant state of change which is not a bad thing; growth looks like change. However, through my own view of the modern day Church, we are at great risk of poverty in the area of biblical balance over who we have determined God to be.
I have chosen to talk about two extremes. The first I have named the religious mindset;
this consists of legalistic mindsets, ritualistic Christianity and a general sense of, “if I do what is required I will be loved’, this is largely a belief mindset built on fear.
This fear is generally based not only on poor theology but even worse the willful manipulation of scripture that, as men, we are prone to as a product of the fall, this being the original sin, thinking that we ought to grasp the same level of knowledge that God himself possesses. This is something that I have been prone to in the past and something the father is correcting me on at present.
Becoming honest with myself about willfully bending the truth to fit my perception of it. I became so occupied by wanting to share my revelations that I was not benefited by it.
Genesis 3:3 But the serpent said to the woman, “you will surely not die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The serpent appealed to the very same desire in man that had led himself into the garden, the desire to be as God.
The second extreme I have called “The grace based freedom movement,” which has also found itself in dangerous territory because of the experiential nature of these churches. We find that they have become a breeding ground for elitism when it comes to the relationship we have with the father and also by large we find that experience of God has begun to trump the truth in the scriptures.
The very same scriptures that have been used to determine the course of the church since the father graced us with His living expression. There is also fear attached to this movement, I have had friends that would rather a church that is not experiential at all because they fear that they may not be able to feel the presence but also at the same time are not willing to manufacture an encounter to fit in. This is again something I know I have done in the past.
“Falling under the spirit” for example. I have had to come to terms with the fact in my own self I am capable of manufacturing an encounter to be accepted. This is not saying people don’t genuinely experience these things, I have totally experienced them and encourage the pursuit of them. What I am saying is we need to be real with where we are at, and if that does not involve encounter that’s ok, and if it does that’s ok.
There is also an extremely positive side to this movement, it is widely encouraging a revolution of heart in our relationship with the father and this can only be a good thing for our local communities. A great friend of mine Simon Mason preached a sermon early last year out of the story of Elijah and Elisha, his synopsis of the story of Elijah being taken up was this; When Elisha had asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit he was responded to with a challenge,
“You have asked a hard thing; yet, If you do not see me, it shall not be so.”
Simon drew out that the chariot of fire that came down was the manifest glory in the midst of them, and it would have been easy for Elisha to have been consumed by the Glory that had fallen before him; However, Elijah wanted Elisha to keep his eyes on him, not being consumed with all that went on around him.
In other terms He was being a type of the father and when the Glory falls we are being asked to keep our eyes on the Father. We may be experiencing extreme manifestations, awesome healings and prophecies in our congregations but the foundation must be kept, the manifestation of Gods Spirit only comes when we are Father focused. -A profound sermon that can be found on New Earth Tribes Podcast entitled (Standing in sonship)
2 Kings 2:9-10 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what shall I do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said,”You have asked a hard thing; yet, If you do not see me, it shall not be so.” (read on for in the rest of the story, and you will see that they were separated by the chariot.
For Elisha to keep his eyes on Elijah would have been a great accomplishment. With both these extremes comes a similar issue, this is the inability to look at the truths of the scripture without our already perceived truth tainting what the Spirit is trying to reveal. We need to learn to remove our already perceived truth when dealing with Gods word in both the written “Logos” (in Greek) and the spoken “Rhema”, when we look at the scriptures with our shades of truth on, the living expression of God “the Word” becomes unable to be the living organism it has been created to be, it is when we remove our truth from the equation that we give it the authority to mold us to “the truth” (There can only be one truth).
Likewise in prayer whilst communicating with the “Rhema” (“the spoken word”) we need to make it abundantly certain to ourselves that we are not hearing through our perceived truth filters. There is a great lesson here that we have the tendency to chase after an experience with God without looking for the growth that comes with it, every great encounter in scripture left the recipient in a state of which they went on to change the world.
Now I’m not disputing people’s experiences, I am however confronted by the amount of throne room encounters friends have had while their situations have remained the same (refer to Isaiah 6:1-12, Acts 9:1-12). These kinds of meetings, once upon a time, lead to world changes, now it seems they may have become self-serving and an easy way to have your relationship defined as deep with the father. Just questions I ask myself when I am in the embrace of the father.
Isaiah 6:4-8 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. and he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said here I am, send me.”
Within this scripture I have found a guideline for myself on what the process of encounter generally provokes in us, now this is not a defined thought on what encounter has to look like but it is a structure I have found to be helpful for myself.
Isaiah found himself in the midst of the throne room and in the presence of God his first revelation was this condition, “Woe is me! for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” the instant response in his encounter was repentance, A revelation of his need to be restored and the Fathers re was his atonement, A pre-Christ encounter which leads to a revelation of relationship. The third step in this process was a commissioning. The father asks something of us, “Who will I send?” and Isaiah responds, “Send me Lord here I am.”
The presence leads us to a revelation of repentance, repentance restores the standard “we get forgiven” and instantly after the encounter we are sent out.” We need to become honest with ourselves in the midst of all of this. If your encounter does not lead to growth or worse is outside of the confines of God’s written truth, you may need to re-assess what or who you think you are encountering and chase even deeper after growth.
Am I questioning your encounter? No, I am not, this is between you and the father. What I am doing is asking you to examine it. It’s healthy!
Another small point I would like to draw out here is that God the father is actually bound to his own word, both written and spoken. Since the dawn of time, they have worked in unity one defining the other but never contradicting. If an experience is outside of one or the other you must see the importance of questioning it.
Matthew 10:26-27 “Yet you stubbornly refuse to follow me because you are not my sheep. As I have told you before: my own sheep will hear my voice and I will know each one, and they will follow me.” (this is an undisputable truth)
We are capable of hearing God’s voice, but if we are hearing what he says through our own truth filter then He may whisper to us all we desire, but will we ever grasp what He is actually trying to say? This principle can also be applied when studying the written words of God.
John 1:1 the word defined… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was at the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
It is disputable that the darkness spoken about here is sin, and sin was brought into the world through rebellion in us and through us, is it possible that the Word shines in the darkness could be translated? “The word shines over sin in us and our sin can’t overcome its truth” (that’s just a thought) It’s the light that cannot be diminished by our sin nature, the truth will always be revealed. Whether or not this is the case, in this passage the “Word of God” is depicted here as God the device being. We can also find reference to this ( 1 John 1:1, revelations 19:13). In the passion translation Brian Simmons describes “The Word” as “The Living Expression,” it is evident in this passage that Jesus in His human nature was the divine word in action, an expression of what is written lived out in our flesh nature.
“This was right before humanities eyes” this without a doubt in my mind shows us that “the word” is a living breathing organism, and it cannot be re-defined by us or our perceptions of its truth. We cannot define it but through our journey with Christ. It can and will, if we allow it, define us.
Let’s pray “Papa would you help us all to be able to remove our perceptions that we ought to know as much as you, papa I just want to know you and I want to serve you, I remember father that you spoke in your scriptures “blessed are those who believe without seeing” I am so thankful that in your nature we get the privilege of your presence papa, but I am here to say if it were not the case God your cross at Calvery was enough for me to serve you with my life. That said Papa wreck us all into world changers transform our hearts and allow us to feel the weight of your presence pressing us forth into greater levels of sonship, which in itself is enough of an experience to take me to a deeper place with you, help us to allow you access to our deepest parts, our darkest pains and your most transformational truths. May the Lamb of God receive the reward for His sufferings. Amen.”
Just to clarify, an encounter with God I am all for. I ask these questions of myself because I encounter Him but in that, I feel a frustration come over me. I have cycled around the same heart issues for years now, I have come to the conclusion that I have to live the truths I have found in an encounter which really means my encounters have been not for me, but for the world.
Father for the sake of the world burn like a fire in me. Thank you for reading my first blog there will be more to come please if you have at all enjoyed this let me know and if you disagree that’s fine, also I love you all. Adam Luke Thurling