Category Archives: Spiritual Growth

T. Austin Sparks on Church Division & Elitism

It is the anointing Spirit who makes the Church to be the house of God, and the house is one because Christ is one. We must never be caught in the mistake of imagining that those who hold the truth of the one body are more in the reality of it than those who do not. Those who know nothing of the teaching are as much part of Christ’s body (if they are in Him) as those who feel that they have received so much light on the subject. We must beware of the schisms which come because of the things which we know and others do not, for light alone can easily cause divisions. “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). That was a challenge made to the church whose members were so ready to boast of their knowledge and so partisan in their attitude to various spiritual teachers. These were the very people whom the apostle described as being a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), and also warned very solemnly against destroying that temple. How is the temple destroyed? It is by trying to divide Christ, by making parties and groups among the Lord’s people, often by wrongly imagining that they are superior to other Christians because of the teaching they have received or the teacher whom they follow. This is an offense to the Holy Spirit, and a sure way of thwarting God’s desire to show forth His glory. The Lord Jesus has so identified Himself in the Spirit with all who are His own people, that what is true of Him is also true of them, and what is done to them is really done to Him. So it is that practical love towards any of His members opens the way for His Spirit’s working and, conversely, carelessness, indifference or antagonism towards other members of Christ is a sure way of quenching the Holy Spirit. It may be that this is the explanation of there being so much less glory among God’s people than there ought to be. The moment we grieve the Spirit, we begin to dim the glory. It is in their life together that God’s people form the golden lampstand into which He will pour the golden oil through His own golden pipes. Let us not accept any less objective than God’s glory when we seek His fullness, for the Holy Spirit’s presence among us is specifically promised for the express purpose of providing a testimony to that glory. God’s negatives (“not by might, nor by power”) are but to make way for His glorious positive – “but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Original Article: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=1402

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Don’t Be Afraid to Broaden Your Perspective

Despite preconceived notions in the past that Eugene Peterson was a false prophet, I am actually beginning one of his books. I came under this assumption because of the influence of another person and not because I discovered this on my own. I really feel that the Lord is opening up my heart to a much wider perspective then I previously had. Jesus said that the way was straight and narrow, He didn’t say that we had to be narrow minded. Reading widely, widens our perspective. Interestingly enough the theme that the book begins upon, is a theme that the Lord has been showing me over the last couple of years, concerning spirituality and the transcendent life. I definitely do not want to be deceived by any man, however I also don’t want to live in fear of deception to the point where I don’t try to widen my perceptions by considering others revelation and points of view on spiritual things. If we close ourselves off out of fear, then we may lose out on depth and breadth of life and understanding. We will also come into danger of heresy which in essence is taking part of the truth and making it the whole. I trust in the Lord enough to believe that He will indeed keep me from error and if I do go into error I even trust Him to bring me out of it as He has time and time again.

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From Believing to Knowing: The Testimony of A Drug Addict who Finds Deliverance in Christ

Walking out of darkness into the Light free from addictionI would like to use my personal testimony to explain a (3) phase process that all true believers must go through.  First of all, it is because of the fall of man recorded in Genesis that all mankind is born into unbelief. Only the power of God’s Word can lift us up out of unbelief:

Romans 10:17 (NASB)

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

I went through 3 phases in my life that led me into the supernatural experience of being born again, here they are:

(1)     Unbelief – born into this

(2)     Unbelief to Believing

(3)     Believing to Knowing

As you read this please, do not misunderstand my conversion experience; I was converted in the twinkling of an eye. I am in no way trying to say that my conversion happened over a long period of time. Once I crossed that line from believing to knowing it was an instantaneous conversion from death to life. Below I have endeavored to describe the details of this process:

As I think about my own salvation experience and the period of my life leading up to that, there are many numerous biblical principals that I can relate to. First of all I was as Paul described “without God in the world”, or “atheos” in the Greek. This is actually where we get the English, “atheist”. Both words mean the same thing, without God, that was definitely me, godless. I was a spoiled, rebellious child with no respect for authority at school or my parents. At the age of 13 a manifestation of this rebellion surfaced in the form of drug use. From the age of 13 until the age of 21 my life consisted of sin and addiction that progressively became intensified. I became a binge addict, to the point that I would go on binges until all of my money and drugs were depleted. In fact, it got to the point where I would binge for days, weeks and a few times even months. When the latter would happen I found myself waking up in a rehab center not knowing what I had done for the last weeks and months. I would remember some of the details, but for the most part it was like coming out of a total blackout. I would be very sick and it would take days for me to detox and get all of the drugs out of my system. You would think that an experience like that would deter you from every touching a drug again, however for me it was a never ending and vicious cycle. I would always go back to the thing that was destroying me, no matter how bad the consequences became. I ended up going through many “rehabs”, the first starting at the age of 17. In total, I lived in 5 impatient treatment facilities and 2 halfway houses, not including numerous group and outpatient counseling. Also, I literally attended hundreds of A.A. meetings. All of this happened before the age of 21. You know it would be easy for me to criticize the many “secular” programs that I went through, as I have done in the past. The thing is, I do not believe that any of these programs cure addicts, however they were stepping stones that led me to the cure.

You see the first thing they tell you when you arrive at these facilities, is that you have a serious and life threatening disease that is comparable to cancer, it is called addiction. Then they proceed to tell you that some folks can go into remission, just like with cancer. However, they inform you that only those who have had a spiritual experience go into remission, therefore the bulk of time in rehab is trying to use 12 steps that help you to enter into a spiritual experience. The reason that I call these treatment centers that I went to stepping-stones is because prior to entering them, I was in total unbelief. I did not even believe that there was a God. The bible says in Psalms, the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God”. You know what I was a fool because not only did I believe that in my heart, but the way I lived my life was as if there were no God. Coincidently, perhaps “prophetically”, I was born on April 1st, the fools’ day. You can say, I was born a fool. So, I go into these programs in total unbelief and along the way something spiritual does indeed happen to me, I began to acknowledge that there was a possibility that God did exist. I began to believe in God, but not the God of the Bible, just a God.

I did not realize it at the time, but I actually crossed a line, spiritually speaking. I crossed the line from unbelief to belief. For someone who was “without God”, this was a huge step. It didn’t take long after that, just a few years and I would cross another line, a line which once crossed, there is no turning back. The line that I crossed this time was life transforming; I crossed over from death into life, from hell into heaven, from sin and wrath into grace. This transformation took me from believing to knowing. That is correct, it was not good enough for me just to believe, scripture tells us “demons believe in God and shudder.”

Knowing is totally different from believing because you come to a place that you know that you know that you know that God is real and furthermore that Jesus is real! And no one, I mean NO ONE! can convince you otherwise! It is in this place of knowing that the transformation occurs, it is at this place that one becomes genuinely “born again”, that is to say “born from above”.  This occurs when the Light of Christ shines on our dark heart and reveals sin, once sin is revealed we have ability to “repent” and lay down all of our known sin at the cross of Jesus and in exchange receive His divine nature, which gives us the power to live a righteous life.

It is because of the way that I became born again that I have been able to recognize many maladies that plague the church. This is one, because the gospel message is defective and adulterated, the outcome is we have defective converts. It is because people aren’t taught how to properly be “born again” that we have a large number of so-called Christians who are not saved. The have not come full circle in the process I have described, many have left the place of unbelief and entered into the place of belief, however they have not been able to cross the line from believing to knowing. This is the reason that sin is rampant in the church, this is the reason that worldliness is prevalent it is because we have only enough truth to make believers and not enough to transform them into knower’s.

John 17:3 (NASB)

3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Hebrews 8:10-11 (NASB)

10 “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS. AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

11 “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN, AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM.

You may be thinking now: “All of this sounds great, but how do I know that Jesus was not just a prophet, how do I know that His teaching came from heaven, could it not be possible that he was just a man that created his own philosophy and religion. Who is to say that you didn’t just think that you had some kind of experience, after all the mind is a very perplexing subject and it is capable of convincing us of all kinds of things that aren’t necessarily based in reality.” I know that there are people who think like this, because I use to think like this. I thought that conversion was just possible because of weak-minded people who basically needed some type of crutch. To answer this question I will close with the words of Jesus. He spoke these words when the religious leaders of his day were confronting Him and basically asking, how are we supposed to know if your teaching is from heaven or if it is from man? This was Jesus’ reply:

John 7:16-17 (NASB)

16 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

17 “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Until, the believer becomes willing to do His will, he will remain just a believer. It is once we genuinely become willing to do the will of the Father, that we cross the line from believing to knowing. This is the cure for addiction, it originates in heaven and it can only be discovered by those who are sick and tired of living out their selfish will and have become willing to abandon that and do His will. It applies to the addict and ever believer who is not a knower!

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Vision and the Death of a Vision

sunbeam of vision in sky out of clouds Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

I have some insight on the word vision. What exactly is a vision? A vision is simply insight or revelation into the spiritual realm. The Scripture could almost read, “Where there is no insight into the spiritual realm, the people perish. It is through the cross that we have been given access into that realm of “spirit”, where God dwells. It was at the cross that the veil of the temple was torn in two signifying that through Jesus all men could come into the Holy of Holies. The natural realm is the realm that we must live and function in and like I said the Spiritual realm is where God exist. Now that we have this access into the realm of the spirit, we go and get spiritual insight and spiritual data (if you will) in that realm and then we use what information we have gained in our every day living. The result is IT WORKS!!! IT ACTUALLY WORKS!!! When we follow God’s way and get spiritual vision from Him we find that we have power to live the Christian life in this natural realm. We constantly have to create of a flow of drawing near to the Spirit and receiving and then implementing that in the “natural”, to have a vibrant “Christ life” and to keep the anointing strong. As soon as we lose that flow the natural realm overwhelms us and God can become distant. Natural thinking can quickly take over and get us into destructive patterns of sin. When natural thinking takes over we can lose the “mind of Christ” and substitute and authentic encounter with the spiritual realm with any wind or wave of doctrine that comes along.

I think one thing that happens often is the phenomenon of “the death of a vision”. One reason for this phenomenon is that a vision dies when that vision is not from the spiritual realm. In other words what was perceived as a vision from God, was in reality, NOT! For example when Jesus asked the disciples “Who do men say that I am?” There were several answers given some say Elijah, some say John the Baptist, etc…. then Jesus said, “Who do you say that I am?” Immediately before anyone else can speak Peter makes that great confession “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God”. Then Jesus responds “blessed are you Simon Barjona because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” You see Peter was commended because he had some insight into who Jesus was, but he did not receive it from the natural realm. He had not received this because man told him “hey this guy Jesus you have been walking with, He is God”. No, it was not received that way it was because the Father gave him spiritual vision of who Jesus really was. The same thing applies to me I was told for 21 years that Jesus was God, however I didn’t get saved until I had the revelation for myself. I received “vision” of who Jesus was and it was information that flowed from the heavenly realm.

In conclusion I will name two things that can cause the death of a vision:

(1) The vision was from “flesh and blood” and not from the Father – Meaning it never had its origins from the spiritual realm but was birthed in the mind of a man and like all things that come strictly from man’s natural mind, it was destined to fail

(2) “What began in the spirit is now being carried out by the flesh?”(Galatians 3:3) Many believers and many ministries have fallen by the wayside because of this very powerful insight from God’s Word. We can start off with a genuine revelation from God, but because of various reasons, the vision is lost and God’s power is no longer moving the vision, but our own fleshly efforts are the only thing that keeps it alive.

Here is a quick list of things to look out for:

1.Worries and cares of this world distract us from the vision

2.The love of money corrupts us and hardens us from the things of God -(This happens more than you would think)

3.Pride: wanting recognition that you are God’s man and not humbling oneself so that He can be exulted

4.Lack of prayer and devotion to God

5.General Worldliness, including exclusiveness within the body of Christ

6.Taking “another word” over “God’s Word” – perhaps some self proclaimed prophet or apostle comes into your life and gives a word that takes you off of the path of the vision that God showed you (see I Kings 13)

7.Spiritual Deception !!! THIS CAN HAPPEN TO THE MOST SEASONED SAINT IF HE DOESN’T STAY CONNECTED TO THE SOURCE

8.Lack of diligence

9. Sin & Lack of Faith in general for whatever reason….the list can go on and on can you think of more?

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Voice of Revolution Online Magazine

I am recommending this online resource. It is called Voice of Revolution. I know it sounds just like the name of my blog, however the editor Marcus French came up with the name of this site at the exact same time that I came up with the name of my blog. We discovered each others site and learned that we had both at almost the exact same time frame, named our sites with almost identical names. I have the word “the” before revolution. Needless to say that it is not just a common name that we share it is also a common heart and that is to see restoration in the body of Christ and “righteous” revolution manifest upon the earth:

voiceofrev

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Quote on Prayer: Leonard Ravenhill

The secret of praying is praying in secret. A sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning. We are beggard and bankrupt, but not broken, nor even bent.

Prayer is profoundly simple and simply profound. “Prayer is the simplest from of speech that infant lips can try,” and yet so sublime that it outranges all speech and exhausts man’s vocabulary. A Niagra of burning words does not mean that God is either impressed or moved. One of the most profound of Old Testament intercessors had no language-“Her lips moved, but her voice was not heard.” No linguist here! There are “groanings which cannot be uttered.”

-Leonard Ravenhill

Excerpt from Why Revival Tarries

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