Thursday 11 November 2010

What Father's been teaching me

November 11, 2010

So last night, after all that stuff I posted yesterday (and the previous few days) I went to my friend G's house and a few of us listened to Disc 1 of the Transition series with Wayne Jacobsen.  And I was blown away, because it lined up so exactly with what God has been working through with me during this "rest" time in my life.  I listened to it again today, and took some notes.  Here they are:

Transition series - Wayne Jacobsen

Disc 1 - At Home in God

The "church" is God's people in the earth who know Him and love Him and follow Him.  People over the whole earth who are knowing who He is, and growing in relationship with Him.  And because of that, growing in relationship with each other.

Getting it is a process.  Takes years.  It's a lifelong journey.  Can't just get it from hearing about it and taking notes about it.  You can learn a lot from ground school, but you don't learn to actually fly.  Living it is better than knowing it.

In the best kinds of learning the student takes responsibility for his own learning and asks the teacher to teach him what he needs to know.

To learned to live loved the best instructor is the Holy Spirit.  The importance of prayer is, as we ask Him, "Holy Spirit, I don't know how to steer this?  Can You teach me?"  And He says, "I'd love to teach you!"  We have to become active learners.  We have to take responsibility to learn to be God's vessel, and learn how to live this life - or we'll miss the best parts of it.  There's no better way than to ask, "Holy Spirit, how do I respond to this?  Would You teach me?"  And He does.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit doesn't do it immediately.  He interested in working at a deeper level than just your intellect, so it's not always immediate.  Sometimes He has something else in mind, but He'll make it clear. 

You need to take active ownership of your life in Christ.

We live as if religion is the course of the day.  All groups/cultures have religious underpinnings.  Holy man/guru, sacred space, sacred rituals, certain laws.

We get church wrong because we are not on a relational journey to begin with.  Therefore we don't know what to share when we get together.  So we end up sharing religion - conformity, rituals. We share religious life because we don't know how to share relational life.  The real challenge is for each of to learn how to live in Him. 

Jesus showed his disciples to live the life of His Father.  He wanted them to get relationship with Father.  When we get that then we can live that life together.

Matthew 5,6,7 Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus describes the ideal of what it means to live life in God, the life God always meant us to live.  If you read it religiously it will kill you.  It's not good news to Pharisees, to Law-keepers.

In "The Message" the first beatitude reads:  You are blessed if you are at the end of your rope.  When we "go to church" we don't give testimony about that!  We define blessings in temporal, material terms.  But Jesus says the blessed people are poor in spirit, persecuted.  And we're to be God's light in the world, impacting the world.

The sermon on the mount points us to the fact that the freedom from sin is not in the actions, it's in the heart.  Until God gets your heart, your actions won't change.  The Ten Commandments are to become promise rather than commandments:  When you know Me well enough, you will not murder, commit adultery, etc.  The Old Covenant was do the Commandments or die;   the heart of God in the New Covenant is you will live because I will change you.

Jesus is describing an ideal way of living with His Father that you and I don't have a prayer of living in our own strength.

Jesus says, "I don't want you to be anxious about anything."  Have you ever tried not to be anxious or afraid?  If you try to follow the rules, you're dead.  But Jesus came to show us what life in Father is like.  He lived, modeled, demonstrated living a life dependent upon His Father.  Living in a loving way even with people trying to kill and betray Him.  Because He knew how to live related to His Father. 

The ideal of the Sermon on the Mount is not how, it's what.  And Jesus modeled it so we know it can be done.

John 13 to 17 The Upper Room Discourse.  Now Jesus is explaining to His disciples, "This is how you're going to live."

Most of what we do in western Christianity is placing New Testament terms on Old Testament concepts.  We can use all the NT language but miss the reality.

The reality:
John 15:15 "I no longer call you slaves... I call you friends because everything I have learned from the Father I have made known to you."  I'm giving you the relationship I have.  A change in paradigm.  In the Old Covenant, the image of our relationship to God is slave to Sovereign.  The relationship is fear, because fear is what keeps a slave related to the King.  Jesus is offering true friendship:  "Greater life has no man than this, than that a man lays down his life for his friend."  Jesus is about to make that happen.  Your relationship with God will be friend to friend.

Not the friendship of the world: mutual benefit, mutual combination of self-need.  That kind of friendship gets compromised when one gives more than the other.  Our concept of even love is often based on self-need: what do I need and am I getting it?  My benefit.

God sees friendship with us not as what we can give Him, but what He can give us.  Not just good buddies but a friend willing to die for you.  Never use you, never betray you.  Always there for your benefit, not His.

Romans 8:15 "God has not given us a spirit of fear, leading to slavery, but a spirit of adoption, whereby our hearts cry out, Abba."  Oh Papa!  The spirit of fear, and slavery, is Old Covenant.  Only the cross could change it, and give access to a better relationship.  All the OT sacrifices couldn't make the worshiper perfect in conscience.  When they got near God, He was still a terrifying Presence. 

The God most of have grown up is not the God of the Bible.  He is an abusive dad who wants to use us.  If you want that God, you want religion between you and Him. You want a buffer, a holy man guru, some rules to follow.  Then somebody else can deal with Him.

The relationship of the New Covenant God is that of an Abba-daddy to a child who is Abba aged.  How much expectations does He have of that child?  None.  He just loves her.  If she grows up in that love, that love will transform her.  That love changes everything.  He's not a God that needs to be appeased.

I John 4 "God is love and in Him is no darkness at all"  "Perfect loves casts out fear" - and fear is based on punishment.  "And the one who fears is not perfected in love."  There is such a huge paradigm shift going on, Old Covenant to New Covenant. 

If you don't love God, you'd be well served to fear Him because fearing God will keep you from doing some really stupid things.  But it won't change you from the inside and help you love God.  It will drive your sin deeper and make it come out in more religious ways. 

But once you love Him, you will never need to fear Him again.  That is the message of the New Testament.  The fear of the Lord is not where we get holiness from.  We say holiness derives from fear,  but God is Holy and He's not afraid of anything.  God derives His holiness from His love. 

If I absolutely loved every person I meet, I would never need a law of any kind.  When you live loved by God, you will love.  Galatians 5: love fulfills the Law.  When you get the loving right, with Him and with each other, the keeping of Law is not an issue.  Love will take you furthur than the Law ever will.  The man who is perfected is perfected by love. Once you engage that love, fear will have no place.

What about the great commandment to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself?  Isn't it the summing of the whole Law?  But isn't this absurd:  Do you know anybody you can command to love you?  If love is an act, you can command me to act like I love you.  But can you command love?  Not when love is the reality of a relationship.  Religion turns love into an act.  As you engage God's love, you'll find yourself loving others - and you'll know it's not you, it's God's love.

Jn 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give you: that you love each other as I have loved you."
1 John "We know love by this: not that we loved God, but that He first loved us."  I cannot possibly love you until I have been loved by Him, until I know what His love is.  Throw out the principles, and then learn to live in a love relationship.  Learn to live loved.  Until you know the love of the Father for you and the love of His Son, until you know that He delights over you, until that's real in your life and experience, until you know the depth of that love, you'll have no idea how to treat other people.

Jesus is God.  He lived with the disciples for three years.  Were they afraid of Him?  Why not?  Because they didn't get it that he was God!Even when they knew He was the Messiah, their understanding of what the Messiah would be was not the reality of Jesus.  They thought he was not a God-incarnate figure, just a man like David uniquely empowered to deliver God's people.  But after Jesus rose from the dead, then they knew that He was God.  Jesus had already made his disciples feel safe with Him, before the cross.  Now that they knew who He really was, and they were reconciled to Him by the power of the cross, they could be at peace with Him, including the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Now we can live not by principles but by love.

 Isn't that awesome?  You should listen to the whole talk yourself.  You can listen on-line or download it here.

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