JohnSWilson3 Blog


“Do Not Judge.”

I am constantly amazed by how quick we judge the acts of our natural world as either a judgment of God or not a judgment of God against people or a nation of people. Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matt. 7:1-2) The context is about being hypocritical, being a critical person. Jesus did not mince His words with hypocrites, those who lived a false life, a life of wearing a mask. This is not living by the life of Christ but the flesh. In Christ, as we live by His life, by the Spirit, when we are tempted to judge the events or people around us, we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

Our earth is a dynamic one, it is obvious. We see how matter and energy are constantly interacting with one another. We see this in every cycle and process on earth in every field of science. The areas of science such as Geology and Meteorology are constantly on display around us. The motion of the tectonic plates, the resulting volcanoes and earthquakes. The motion of our atmosphere and the resulting changes in weather and the water cycle. They express a world that is constantly changing. As Paul says “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Rom. 8:22) But as we have often seen, these natural aspects of our earth can have tremendous consequences. No one is free from them. As Jesus said, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) But Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45 is in context of loving our neighbors and loving our enemies in verses 43 and 44.

Are we really manifesting the love of Christ to others, whether our neighbor or our enemy, when we judge them about a matter, such as a natural disaster, that is not ours to judge? Do we realize that the sun rises and the rain is sent on us as well? No one is free from natural disasters. Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the life of Christ by loving our neighbor and/or our enemy. Perhaps it really isn’t a matter of judgment at all but of salvation. Perhaps the judgment is one of testing our faith. Perhaps it is God allowing His creation to help reveal the sons of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” If we are living by the life of Christ together, then His life of love will be manifested when the difficult circumstances of life occur. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12)

So why do we judge a people or a nation of people when these “things” occur, saying it is from God? Or why do we judge a people or a nation of people when these “things” occur, saying it is not from God? In either case are we not talking “back to God?” As a teacher I have had a few students talk back to me, judging me without knowledge. Pretty annoying to tell you the truth. So why do we think we should be quick to judge others that when something happens it is of God or not of God? Do we really know? “But who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God?” (Rom. 9:20)

I am reminded of the words that the Lord spoke to Job:

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Prepare to defend yourself; I will question you, and you will answer me.” (Job 38:2-3) “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2) “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” (Job 41:11)

So dear brothers and sisters let us not be quick in attempting to judge the acts of our natural world as either a judgment of God or not a judgment of God against people or a nation of people. How do we know that what is occurring is for judgment or for salvation? When natural disasters occur they are opportunities to “do everything in love.” (1 Cor. 16:14) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn…” (Rom. 12:12-15) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8a) This is the manifestation of the sons of God, this is the expression of the life of Christ in and to and through His body!

Some final thoughts from the apostle James:

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned.” (James 5:7-12)



“…Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.”
August 20, 2011, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

In Chapter 7 in the Letter to Hebrews the author describes the importance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the life of His people and how He “has become the guarantee of a better covenant” as contrasted with the “old covenant.” To have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and been saved, to be in Christ, is so superior and totally contrary to the way of life of the old covenant of Judaism that to fall back to a form Judaism is unthinkable. How we need spiritual sight to see what Jesus has done, to see Him as our only foundation and life!

Using the story from the Old Testament of “this Melchizedek…king of Salem and priest of God Most High” the author compares Melchizedek with Jesus. Melchizedek’s titles of “king of righteousness” and “king of peace” apply to Jesus our Lord. Christ Jesus is the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace. In Christ is true righteousness and peace! The gospels, Acts, and letters of the New Testament, and specifically in Hebrews, show how Jesus became as such.

Abraham, the father of Israel, was not greater than Melchizedek, because Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham “gave him a tenth of the plunder.” “And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.” Christ Jesus is greater than Abraham! Because Levi, in whom his descendants is the priesthood, e.g. Aaron, “was still in the body of” Abraham, technically we could say that even the priests paid their tithe to Melchizedek. So Christ Jesus is also greater than the priests! At issue is the Old Testament quote: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Why “was there still (a) need for another priest to come – one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?” The reason is that “perfection could” not be “attained through the Levitical priesthood. The old covenant demonstrates the inability for human beings to attain perfection and therefore it has been set aside. “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” Someone else is necessary, that Someone is Jesus, Jesus is our “better hope!” In Christ Jesus each person can “draw near to God” without the formalism of the law!

Jesus is greater than the old covenant. The author brings this out by again looking at Jesus as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Jesus describes a new order, a new priest, Himself, “not in the order of Aaron.” Jesus, in His earthly life, “descended from Judah” and not from Levi. Because Jesus is a priest not after “the order of Aaron” we have “a change of the priesthood” and this means “there must also be a change of the law.” Jesus is greater than the priesthood and has changed the priesthood; Jesus is greater than the law and has changed the law! How completely radical is this to the religious mindset of Judaism! Melchizedek is also described as “without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.” Jesus is greater than the old covenant because “Jesus lives forever!” Only He “has a permanent priesthood.” The order of Jesus’ priesthood is “on the basis of the power of an indestructible life!” We cannot depend on human priests because human priests die, but in Jesus “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them!” “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” as a result!

“Such a high priest meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens!” Christ is our righteousness and is our peace! He is “unlike” any “other high” priest, those who “need to offer sacrifices day after day.” Jesus “sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Only in Christ Jesus do we have the perfect sacrifice, who has come “after the law,” who alone was appointed by the Father; the Son alone “has been made perfect forever.” How can we fall back to Judaism? How can we fall back to a form of Judaism, such as legalism or institutionalism, when we know better our Lord together, who He is and what He has done for us? How better, complete and perfect He is and how better, complete and perfect His work! Do we truly see Christ Jesus our Lord as “the guarantee of a better covenant?”



Gathering Together to Reimagine the Lord’s Supper
August 14, 2011, 7:19 pm
Filed under: 1- Discovering Organic Church Life Testimony

The brothers and sisters met at our home this Sunday, gathering together to learn Christ and to make Him Head.

We shared a common meal, a pot luck, of food and drinks for everyone to share from. We shared with one another about life, some in the living room, some in the kitchen. Interestingly much of the discussion was on food and experiences with trying new kinds of food and enjoyed the time of sharing.

We all gathered together in the living room. We shared about various things and then began sharing stories of forgiveness, reminding ourselves of some examples in the past of great forgiveness in spite of some horrendous situations. As we were sharing stories of forgiveness we noted that the chapter in Reimagining Church that we were going to read today was on “Reimagining the Lord’s Supper” in that our discussion had been on food and forgiveness. The thought seemed to go deep.

Some shared stories about the need for putting off the flesh. Some saw this as pruning to bear fruit. We shared further about the importance of pruning in our lives, to bear more fruit, and how it doesn’t seem pleasant at the time, but that God has a purpose for it.

We read from Reimagining Church from Chapter 3, “Reimagining the Lord’s Supper” and had a wonderful discussion from what the New Testament says and looking at it differently from what the institutional church normally “practices it,” e.g. instead of as a common meal but as a separate practice and made into a religious ceremony. Each shared something of Christ related to the common meal and the importance that it has in helping the body of Christ not to forget its foundation in Christ alone and to move forward together in Him.

We spent some time sharing together, playing with little Aaric who was a delight to see enjoying playing around the room. Even brother Byron got down on the floor and was playing with the blocks with Aaric and the other boys, :). We look forward to gathering together again at Byron and Brenda’s home next as we “Reimagine the Gathering Place.”



Choosing Not To Use The Word “Leadership” in the Body of Christ.
August 6, 2011, 8:58 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes, A Gospel According to Matthew

This is a response (edited and expanded) to a dear brother related to the usual confusion of added words and mistranslated words in the New Testament that forms the basis of a hierarchical institutionalism in the body of Christ. Thought others might benefit from it. I have written on this a few times, :).

To see the discussion you can go to “Organic Church”: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#!/groups/8551903965/
_______________________________

I have chosen not to use the word “leadership” in the body of Christ because it automatically creates a clergy-laity divide. Whether we believe it or not, it always does. The word “office,” such as in 1 Timothy, is not in the original language it was added because of institutional bias. The points and your use of words you bring up are points brought up in any institutional church and to add them into a body of Christ learning to live by the headship of Jesus Christ organically is to go back to a form of institutionalism.

Words have meaning. Jesus’ example of washing the disciples feet is in context of “as I have loved you so you must love one another.” Christ Jesus is the real purpose, is the real motivation as we live by His life together, because He is the Head, the Leader, the Source of life together in and to and through one another.

There are “older persons” (mistranslated as elders and often taken as an “office”) in the body who have learned to hear, believe, and follow Jesus, loving one another, and as we see them live by Christ’s life we also can learn to live by the Spirit as well. These “older persons” are brothers and sisters, they are only guides in the body, guides in learning to express Christ together in loving familial relationships. Each member is called to live by the life of Christ, expressing that gift/function in face to face community with other brothers and sisters and expressing His love to family, friends, and co-workers, but it is expressed as a family, brothers and sisters helping each other. As a result Christ Jesus Himself is the real Mentor, the real Discipler, and it is the Spirit who gifts and enables each member to function in the body (Rom 12, 1 Cor 12). Only in this context does each member with the body together grows, and this growth is the fuller expression of the life of Christ.

With Christ as our only Head and Leader, He will lead, guide, and deploy the body as He desires. To make this as “our” objective is to lord it over others whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Hear the words of Jesus: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt 20:25-28; “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matt 23:8-12.

Institutionalism is very difficult to shake off it seems.



God, You Are Our God
August 5, 2011, 9:19 pm
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

This is another revised song. It seemed like a good fit by including the key terms of walk, follow, rest, and stand that describe moving forward in expressing the life of Christ in His body.

It is to the tune: “God, You are my God.”

God, You are our God,
And we will ever praise You.
God, You are our God,
And we will ever praise You.

We will meet You in the morning,
And learn to walk in Your ways,
Step by step You lead us,
And we will follow You all of our days.

God, You are our God,
And we will ever praise You.
God, You are our God,
And we will ever praise You.

We will meet You in the evening,
And learn to rest in Your ways,
Step by step You lead us,
And we will stand-in You all of our days.



Change Our Hearts, Oh God
August 5, 2011, 8:45 pm
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Was singing some songs and thought to revise this one to make it more corporate and living by Christ’s life versus imitating religious practices. Maybe you and other brothers and sisters might get to sing it together, one to another and to the Lord? Blessings, :).
______________________________________

To the tune “Change My Heart, Oh God.”

Change my heart, oh God,
Make it ever new,
Change my heart, oh God,
May I live by You.

You are the potter, I am the clay,
Mold me and make me, this is what I pray,

(just the brothers)
Change our hearts, oh God,
Make us ever new,
Change our hearts, oh God,
May we live by You.

You are the potter, we are the clay,
Mold us and make us, this is what we pray

(just the sisters)
Change our hearts, oh God,
Help us see Your Son,
Change our hearts, oh God,
Liv-ing by Your Son.

You are the potter, we are the clay,
Mold us and make us, this is what we pray

Change our hearts, oh God,
Help us see we’re new,
Change our hearts, oh God,
Help us live by You.



“Jesus, who went before us, has entered (the inner sanctuary) on our behalf.”
August 5, 2011, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

The author, at the end of Chapter 6 to his letter to Hebrews, after having concluded that Jesus gives us “hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” because He “went before us” and “has entered” “the inner sanctuary” now describes why He did so, it was “on our behalf.” “On our behalf” are two Greek words and they are most important! Everything Jesus did, what the author is now about to describe was for us, on behalf of us! Could we see with His eyes what He did for us, how singularly significant was the event that took place when Jesus entered “the inner sanctuary?” How we would be diligent “to the very end, in order to make your hope sure” and not “become lazy” but live a shared life with our other brothers and sisters, living by the life of Christ together! For in Christ, He has entered us; He is now our life and He did so “on our behalf!” May we see Christ Jesus our Lord with new eyes!

Chapters 7 to 10 describe what Jesus did when He entered “the inner sanctuary” and its monumental implications that has brought in “the new order” and new way of life, not of the flesh but of the Spirit. Because Jesus “has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” a change in every aspect of the Jewish priesthood and law and sacrifices has occurred. In these chapters a number of descriptions from the narratives of the Old Testament are discussed and the change brought by Jesus when He entered “the inner sanctuary.” For those believers who are from Jewish descent, because of the temptation to fall back to Judaism and the suffering they have had to endure, it is of upmost priority that they see the superiority of Jesus to the Judaism of the Old Testament and the help He offers as a result. But because of the “craftinesses of the devil” the body of Christ, whether from a Jewish culture or not, can fall back to a form Judaism, a form of legalism, and it is of upmost priority to see the importance of Christ in the life of the body. Perhaps you come from a religious background, perhaps even the legalism and institutionalism of Christianity, which is a falling away of the body of Christ back to a form of Judaism, this section is an eye opener to recognize the all sufficiency of Christ Jesus our Lord and the importance of living solely by His life together without need of a so called human mediator(s) and their so called laws.

It really is about a shared life not an individual life. To say we can live an individual Christian life without need of living by the Spirit with other brothers and sisters is a form of self deception, it is to make claim to yourself as a type of high priest with your own law, something further away then even the Old Testament describes, because it is selfish, you have made yourself an idol and do not realize the necessity of the corporate life of the body of Christ. In the western culture of priding in our individualism I and many others of Christ have and continue to struggle with this form of fleshly bondage. May we see the change Christ Jesus our Lord has made “on our behalf,” because of what He did “once for all.” “For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law.”

vail_torn