April 12, 2013
This past Sunday we were really blessed to have Don Pirozok and his wife, Cheryl, as our guests. Don is known nationally for his prophetic ministry and the accuracy of his prophecies. Sunday was no exception. I really appreciated the manner in which the personal and family prophetic words were given. We took a few people (perhaps three or four) at a time, shared with them and then took a break for a time of worship. More people would be ministered to, and that would be followed with more worship. This process was repeated again and again. Our time of gathering for fellowship, praise and worship, and ministry -- both corporate and personal -- along with fellowship around the table, lasted just over eight hours.
While we don't often have that much time together when we gather, five to six hours is pretty common. Our times of gathering are designed to be a true expression of Ekklesia -- NOT church. While I'm not condemning folks who still utilize the traditional mode of church gathering -- and certainly we've seen the Lord work very mightily within the church from time to time -- the Greek word "Ekklesia," which has been almost uniformly translated "church" for the past four hundred years or so -- represents a kind of gathering that is anything but the conventional structured mode we see in the contemporary churches.
Ekklesia is really nothing more than the assembling together of the Betrothed by the Bridegroom. (And when I say that they have been assembled together by the Bridegroom, it is just that! This is not a club you can join. If Holy Spirit doesn't draw you and bond you to the group of people, you're just playing "church.") Ekklesia is a company of people -- not more than 12 families -- who've been drawn together among whom Holy Spirit is developing a close-knit bonding, a place of absolute trust, a level of confidence that each person in the Ekklesia has your back -- and at the same time, is willing to administer reproof and correction in love when needed.
I could literally spend this entire Coffee Break talking about Ekklesia, and the things Holy Spirit has taught us about Ekklesia as a lifestyle and a processing period in our lives to prepare us for the Bridegroom. But that's not where we will go today. Let me continue where we left off last week.
Throughout my years of walking with the Lord, enormous change has taken place in me. Yes, responses have been required of me. Yes, obedience to the word and will of the Lord has been mandatory. But the change, and the glory which is manifested, have come because of the indwelling work of the Paraklete, and the sovereignty of the Bridegroom in His choices for me.
This is what the onoma of the Lord Jesus Christ is all about! His onoma -- which incorporates the Spirit of Judgment and Burning, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord, The Spirit of Grace and Supplications, the Spirit of Truth, and the Spirit of Glory (all summed up in agape) -- has been the onoma of a Bridegroom-to-be seeking after a Bride, a Bridegroom who has sent a Paraklete to prepare, mold, train, equip and dress that Bride for the final day of joining: the Marriage of the Lamb!
All those things which we have treated as doctrines: Salvation, Water Baptism, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Deliverance, Sanctification, Holiness, etc., etc., have only been stepping stones in the process to have a Bride. Those things which we have known as "the gifts of the Spirit" are simply a dowry, given as a promise of that which would become the natural, everyday operation and function of our lives and existence. The gifts of the Spirit have simply been the "interest," given to woo us onward toward the changes and processing necessary which would result in those gifts being a 24-hour-per-day reality -- a part of the life and breath of our onoma.
The intention of the Lord is that we become so like Him that these things which we have known as “gifts” are no longer gifts, but the natural operation of our beings – an integrated part of our very existence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. His purpose is to make us naturally supernatural, and supernaturally natural. Expressing it another way, His intention is to see that which we have regarded as “miraculous” become the norm of our daily breathing and living.
Take a quick look at this process from the beginning through the perspective of what we have often heard, and what has been taught to us as foundational doctrines:
1. Salvation: the legal act of Jesus' death on the cross in order to free a people from bondage to Satan, and bondage to the Law of Sin and Death: a legal act necessary to make possible a way for people to respond freely to His wooing and romancing.
2. Water Baptism: the legal act necessary as the first response of those who accept Jesus' offer of freedom: a legal act which says to Satan, "the old me, born into this world as a slave to you, subject to the Law of Sin and Death, has died and been buried. The new me has been resurrected by the power of Jesus Christ, made alive and freed to respond without your curses and penalties hanging over me."
3. Baptism in the Holy Spirit: the first joint-legal act of the Bride-to-be and the Paraklete, in which we release our tongue to Him and He evidences that release by using it to speak in previously unknown or unlearned languages as a sign of the release of our entire being, which then gives Holy Spirit the right to begin the process of house-cleaning, change, and restoration of the individual into the image and onoma of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
4. Deliverance: the legal right, and necessary act of the individual now undergoing the housecleaning process of the Paraklete to expel all those spirits He identifies, which have worked to shape and mold us into the onoma of Satan.
5. Justification: a legal act, consummated by Jesus Christ, which establishes our right to come before the Father as freely as both the Son and the Paraklete.
6. Sanctification: the processing of the Paraklete to enact the necessary changes of our onoma so as to conform us to those requirements of the Bridegroom prior to the day of the Marriage of the Lamb.
7. Holiness: the change which is wrought to our makeup, our character, the very essence of our being so that we become like our Bridegroom.
Now, I realize that the way I have defined some of these "doctrines" may not be the way some of you are familiar with them, but bear with me for a moment. Intriguingly enough, only the first three "doctrines" in this list are so mentioned in Scripture. The last four are not. They are concepts which have been taught as doctrines, often to the exclusion of those which Paul taught as "stepping stones." In an Open Letter to the Ekklesia entitled, The Strait Gate, which was sent out a number of years ago, we talked about those doctrines which are laid as foundations in our lives; and the necessity of leaving them, once established, so as to "go on to the completion."
I won't try to cover all that ground again, but in brief (see Hebrews 6:1-3) Paul talks about "not laying again the foundation of (1) repentance from dead works, and (2) faith in God, of (3) the teaching of baptisms, and (4) of the laying on of hands, of (5) the resurrection of the dead, and (6) of eternal judgment." (Without getting into any argument on the subject, I will repeat that we assume for the sake of this discussion Paul to be the author of Hebrews.) The point he makes is that it is necessary to "go on." The aforementioned teachings are simply the foundation place of our relationship -- not the end! To make the assumption that we "have arrived," once these are locked down in our understanding is to fall short of the Glory of God.
“Change” is the operative word. Consider again the significance of these foundations of which Paul writes.
1. “Repentance from dead works.” We have often expressed this as “Salvation,” but let’s look a little farther. The “dead works,” of which Paul speaks, takes on a different perspective in the light of his letter to the Hebrews. Dead works are the keeping of the law, the performance of duties and rituals “because they are expected of you,” the observance of commandments because “they are ordered,” etc., etc., etc. Make sense?
(In case we forget, let’s remember that the objective of all of this is the most intimate of relationships with Jesus Christ.)
O.K! Where’s the relationship if we keep the law? Where is the relationship if we observe His commandments just because they were ordered of us? Where there is a love relationship – an intimate love-relationship – these things happen as a natural byproduct of that bond between us and the Lord. There is no place for ritual in relationship. There is no place for “duty” in relationship. There is no place for a careful observance of the law. These things are all “dead works.” Where there is a bond of love and intimacy between us and the Lord Jesus Christ, His heart’s desire becomes as normal to us as breathing. It is integral to our onoma.
Let me use the relationship between Della and me as an example. Suppose when we first got married that I handed her a list of requirements: ten “do’s” and “don’ts” which she was required to carefully observe on a daily basis, with the threat of punitive action on my part if she failed to keep them. Suppose she had been given a list of duties and requirements – whether written or unwritten – by which her commitment to me would be required. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? What kind of relationship would we have? Zero! O.K., well, maybe a master-slave relationship but not a marriage of counterparts, co-equals, or one in which true love was genuinely manifested.
Now let me take it a step farther. Suppose Della took all of my letters and writings over the years, along with various accounts of my accomplishments which have been reported in the news media, Who’s Who volumes and other publications, and pored over them daily so that she would get to “know me better?” Are those letters and writings, and news reports going to give her an in-depth knowledge of me, my makeup and character, my personality, or my love for her? Of course not! It’s ridiculous! Especially when she has me in person, and we can communicate personally, sharing ourselves with one another on the most intimate basis.
So it is with the Lord Jesus Christ. To trade that which has been written, said, and done for a personal intimate sharing relationship on a daily basis with Him is to live in “dead works,” ritualism and legalism. “Repentance from dead works,” therefore, begins with Godly sorrow over our having lived legalistically and ritualistically, repenting or turning from such dead living, and embracing Jesus Christ as lover, as Bridegroom-to-be, and even more – as the totality of our existence without whom we neither live, nor breathe, nor have our being.
2. “Faith in God” likewise
has a deeper significance than that which we have commonly accepted. Jesus made
it clear that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Then He identified
the means by which that faith comes by saying, “Faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.” Faith, therefore, is not faith
if we have not heard the Lord.
Does that make sense? O.K. Let’s try it this way.
The Lord often speaks through many different methodologies. For example, we hear His Spirit speaking within our spirit. Sometimes we are reading and a scripture will stand out. There is a quickening in our spirit by the Holy Spirit that this is a truth He is applying to us, or to a specific situation in our lives. Then there are the occasions when He speaks to us directly in dreams or visions. On rarer occasions, we are permitted to hear the audible voice of the Lord in our ears. In each instance – no matter what method He utilizes – He will confirm that “word” through multiple avenues so that we can know of absolute surety that we have heard Him.
Once we have heard Him, faith is generated. That faith becomes the very substance of that which He has spoken by virtue of the creative power of His onoma. As we speak out of that substantive faith, we speak our agreement with that which He has spoken. When we agree with Him – not intellectually, but in our spirit – within the very core of our beings, life explodes. Creative forces are unleashed. Our faith in Him, therefore, becomes a practical reality with signs following.
“Faith in God,” therefore, is not some mystical, ethereal hope within our hearts. It is a life-giving force with the very same creative dynamics which were unleashed when Jesus Christ spoke the worlds into existence, and set in motion the inevitability of His Bride.
We'll stop here and continue with "The Teaching of Baptisms" as we continue to share on this onoma transformation. See you next week.
Blessings on you!
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