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An illustration of the church's philosophical infection:
Listen again to your tape: Amazing Grace, part 3 (8-25-99) and prayerfully ask the Lord about the following:
1. The pastor begins by giving an admonition against the practice of some people who select one or two pet verses and use them to teach what they want. (The inference is "thank God we do not do that at this church?")
Is the practice of selecting a favorite pet verse really any different than the wide spread practice of honing in on a wide selection of "pet verses" in the word of God and then capitalizing on those verses in order to preach "ourselves" and who "WE ARE" in Christ?
How is abusing pet verses any different from those who are "not rightly dividing the word of Truth" but who are instead using the their own emphasis on scripture in order to emphasize "our" position, "our" calling and to preach "who man is in Christ" (instead of who HE IS in us)? How in the world can we justify using the scriptures to preach "ourselves" as the called, appointed and anointed, (as we so LOVE to do) -instead of preaching "Jesus Christ" and Him crucified?
2. After reading 1Peter 2:3 "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
Reiterating a portion of the verse: "lay aside all malice" the pastor explains to the congregation that the Apostle Peter was telling believers to "quit being bad" indicating that the Apostle was essentially saying to them: there are some among you who are "being bad" and he was telling them to "quit being bad".
But is that really an accurate picture of what the Lord was saying to the church through the Apostle Peter?
Giving the pastor the benefit of the doubt, it would be fair to assume that he was just simplifying the text. Be that as it may, we must consider the possibility of inadvertantly selling the text short in the process. It is unwise to overly simplify a verse or portion of scripture unless one is faithful at the same time to inform the audience that you are either abbreviating or deliberately over simplifying the text, so that we avoid unintentionally detracting in any way from the actual text of scripture. It is actually better not to address a portion of scripture than it is to sell the text short. If you are going to address "the meaning" of any portion of scripture, then we do so responsibly and with all propriety, or else it is far better not to do so at all.
When the Apostle Peter commanded believers to "set aside all malice" he was addressing much more than Christians who were just being bad or misbehaving.
According to the Webster's Dictionary: malice means an active ill will, evil desire or intent.
In the Greek, the word used for malice (in 1Peter 2:3) certainly does means "all kinds of wickedness" but the meaning goes on to point out that malice is: the point at which "all kinds of wickedness" begins. Wickedness begins in our thoughts, "evil intent" or evil desire as the "evil thought seed" of wickedness which is what "malice" is really all about. More than misbehavior, malice speaks of the evil thoughts people devise in their minds and hearts, i.e., "active ill will". Moreover malice implies a deep seated animosity that delights in causing others to suffer or in seeing them suffer (a good illustration of this would be malicious gossip.)
Therefore when the Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, commanded believers to "set aside all malice" he was undoubtedly addressing much more than Christians who were "misbehaving."
3. In the pastor's sermon (entitled "Amazing Grace" part 3) it was stated that Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone is a stumbling block of offense "to unbelievers, to sinners." I respectfully submit that Jesus Christ is the stumbling block of offense to believers and to the churches in particular.
Although the cross of Christ is certainly foolishness to the unbeliever and undoubtedly the very Name of Jesus Christ brings "unwelcome conviction" against which the unsaved do tend to react negatively. Nevertheless, in scripture, it must be noted that the real "stumbling block of offense" was not to the worldly but to the pharisees, the religious leaders themselves who took offense against Jesus Himself, and all that He is.
Jesus Christ is Himself, the stone, that religious builders reject. Although this may be surprising to us, we (believers, pastors and teachers) are the religious builders who have in part still rejected Him. We lay precept upon precept and line upon line (in our own understanding of scripture) and in the process we know not that we have sold ourselves short, not seeing all that He is and came to be, for us, in our place.
"All that He is" as our all, and in all on behalf of all who receive Him is still a stumbling block of offense to us and our image of what we think we are called to be. It is the pride of Adam's own life that causes us to promote ourselves and who we are even using scripture to do so, -all but ignoring that we have placed ourselves back into the place of Jesus Christ, who is our Life. He did not give us His Life for "us" to live it for Him, but rather God sent His Son to be "the Life" which HE came to live in us, and for us, in our place (by His Spirit, by His grace)
as it is written, I live, but it is "no longer I" but Christ who lives...
Adam's pride in his own life is the leaven that infects believers, pastors and teachers alike in the churches today, and any attempt to point that out is met first with denial and then with stiff opposition. That opposition is born out of our pride because we are yet stumbling over that stumbling block of offense: our pride in who WE are is in direct opposition to "Jesus Christ" and all that HE is in our stead which is where many stumble and take offense against the Truth.
We do not realize that our pride (of our life, of who we are, of our own identity) seeks to search the scriptures not to see Jesus (as we like to believe we are doing) but instead man is in a relentless pursuit of his own idenity, even doing so through his blatant misuse of the word of God.
The more we search out our own identity, the more we search to find out who or what "we are" the more we tend to buy into a lie that robs us of who HE IS for us in our place. All that Jesus is "for us" (instead of us) and "in our place" is the rock of offense over which many today (in the churches) do yet stumble. Men tend to stumble over "that Rock" of offense because man wants to assert his life in Christ in the place of HIM who is "The Life" in our stead!
Whenever anyone really dares to preach Jesus Christ, instead of who YOU are "in Him" that is when people really get offended. (Shall we continue? See if you can read on to the end of this exhortation without stumbling over "that Rock" of offense.)
Jesus Himself is the Spiritual new Man, not us! If any man is IN HIM, we are new creatures -because we have become "members of the body of Him" who is Himself, the Spiritual new Man. Nevertheless, we are not "Him", we are not the Spiritual Man, the scripture tells us clearly that the Spiritual Man is "the Lord from heaven". (see 1Cor.15:47 KJV) Wow, what a revelation! -and it is a revelation, an understanding that we/us/aka Adam simply do NOT tend to want to see!
We resist the fact that "We" are not the "Spiritual Man" and we tend to ignore the fact that we are "members of the body of Him" who is Himself, the Spiritual Man, ergo: HE is the "Spiritual Man" -we, are not! (God will not wink at, nor will He bless our ignorance. He will chasten, correct and turn us because He is Faithful to do so. And we would do well to count it as "Amazing Grace" indeed that we are not destroyed for our arrogance!)
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The key words in the actual text are: if any man, in Christ, a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. Adam is the "old thing" (us) and we, the old things are passed away, and all things become new -how? by whom? If we are "in Christ" means a lot more than we have been taught: we are counted as members of the body of Christ, and we are hid together with Christ in God, who is Himself "the Life" in whom and by whom, we (the old man) are hid.
Jesus Christ is the New Thing (cf. Luke 1:35 KJV) in whom, and by whom the "old thing" is passed away. We are "new creatures" by reason of being "in Christ" who is Himself, the new Thing who has received us unto Himself. By grace, by the adoption of His Spirit, we are counted as "members of Him" who is The "Spiritual Man" -once again contrary to what Adam has taught us, we are not the "Spiritual Man" Jesus Christ Himself is, we are counted as members of Him who is the "Spiritual Man" but we are not "HIM." (How humbling is that grace!)
Will we therefore humbly look now at what lengths we/us/Adam have gone to exalt man and his own life, his own identity, our own "selves" -even, in Christ?
Adam (that's us) is "of the earth", and he is earthy but the "Spiritual Man" is "the Lord from heaven." (cf. 1Cor.15:47 KJV) No where in the scripture do you ever see any thing reckoned to our account that does not say that it is "in Him", "by Him" and/or "of Him", "in Christ" or "in the Lord" Why? because it really is all of Him, and none of us!
The Spiritual (new) Man is the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom and by whom we are "reckoned as dead", in whom and by whom we are slain through His cross. Through His cross and His resuurection we are "hid" "in Him and by Him" who Himself is the Second Adam, the Spiritual Man, the "Lord from heaven".
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him." Eph. 1:10 KJV
Jesus Himself is the True Foundation, the Chief Corner Stone, He is the stone which the scriptures tell us the "builders rejected". Builders of what? Not just builders of religious institutions of men, but religious re-builders of the righteousness of Adam. Jesus came to be all that HE IS in our place, and HE IS called, "The Lord, our Righteousness."
Jesus is the Rock of offense to religious leaders themselves, in the churches, just as much and perhaps even a little more so today than He was to the pharisees. The pharisees rejected Jesus as not just as the True Foundation, not just as the "one and only" Chief Corner Stone but they were in reality rejecting Jesus Christ as our "holiness unto the Lord", and as "our Righteousness" and as our "all and in all" on behalf of "all" who receive Him! In place of Him, Adam -even religious builders want to circumvent that cornerstone of our faith. By taking away from or adding to the word of the Living God, man tries to preserve and even exalt his own "self."
Jesus Christ was and still is a stumbling block of offense to His own people: He came unto "His own" and His own received Him not. Christians pride themselves on thinking they have not stumbled over Jesus Christ as a stumbling block of offense, but unfortunately the same is true of His own people in the churches today. How?
Humanism began with the fall of man and it continues to this day. We (in the churches) like to think that humanism (which puts man at the center of all things) is not present in the church. But the truth is humanism has many forms. In spite of the fact that we (as believers) love to single out secular humanism and we thank God that we are not "humanists", we have become the worst kind of humanists, the religious kind!
Which do you suppose is worse in God's sight, a pornographic magazine or a magazine filled with damnable doctrines of demons masquerading as Truth? At least a pornographic magazine is easily seen for the evil it is. Which then is worse in God's sight, the teaching of a secular humanist in a secular forum or the Christian who has made "who THEY are in Christ" the center piece of their own form of Christianized Humanism while calling it the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Christians have unknowingly and unwittingly in fact bastardized the gospel of Jesus Christ, to create one of the most deceptive forms of humanistic philosophy that exists in the world today. No that statement does not refer to some weird spiritualist form of funky New Age religion, it refers to what is taught right where you are, right in your own church (even/especially at University Park Church.)
The perfecting of the saints is solely by virtue of our position in Him who is Himself our Perfection. We are counted as members of the body of Christ, who is Himself, Perfection. Jesus Christ did not come to perfect Adam, He came to be perfection in place of Adam. The perfecting of man (or self ) by any means or method is still man's chief objective. God alone is perfect. The quest revamp Adam is the lie of the gardern of Eden revisited upon the churches in the last days: a highly deceptive form of the serpent's temptation: ye shall be like God.
God's objective is not to help Adam achieve perfection but to hide us/Adam in Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, who Himself came to "be perfection" and to stand for us as our perfection, in our place.
Psychology is a metaphysical mind science that reeks of humanism. No matter how Christianized you might try to make psyche-ology, it is man's own study of him self; psychology is of man in whom there is not help, and no matter how it is approved in the sight of men, psychology in all of its forms is: not of God.
The unstated, often denied but nevertheless chief aim of psychology is to move toward the perfecting of self (humanism). God is calling man to repent of his quest to revamp Adam and is called to repentance and rest in Jesus Christ, the Second Adam. Man is called by God to repent of man's infernal goal to try to be like the Most High God. In the churches, we call that same goal man's call to Christ-likeness.
Through redirection and behavior modification (of Adam) we attempt to revamp Adam even by tapping into the power of God. Apostate Christianity teaches that God sent Jesus Christ, who then also sent us His Spirit to provide access to His power where by we can now move progressively toward perfection (unto a perfect man) which is yet one more verse of scripture we have wrested to suit Adam's quest. We have rather neatly re-defined "unto a perfect man" so that the goal has become the perfecting of self by His power.
Jesus Christ is only perfect Man, and He came to hide us (imperfect Adam) in Himself. Jesus Christ now stands in our place as our perfection -not us, but HIM alone!
We are to put on Christ who is Himself Perfect. We are to be hidden in Him who is the express image and likeness of the Father -we are not called to recreate Adam (like carbon copies) in the image or likeness of God. He has NOT called us to pursue the Christ-likeness-of man, He has called us to Himself that He might hide us in Him and by Him who is Himself the only True, express image and likeness of God. (We are to put on Christ, be hid in Him and we are to be clothed with Christ) The Christ-likeness of man is a fale image of God.
Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, did not come to perfect Adam, He came to hide us in Himself who is Himself our Perfection. As our Redeemer He Himself came to be our redemption, and He Himself came to Himself be our sanctification. He did not come to re-create Adam to be holy, but did instead send Jesus Christ to HIMSELF be our "holiness unto the Lord."
The little bit of leaven that still remains in Adam's eye which twists his perception is the notion (since the fall) that he/man (Adam) is called to be "like the most High God" (which of course is "the lie" of the garden of Eden: ye shall be as God...) To this day, Adam, even those who name the Name of Jesus Christ, still believe that THEY/Adam are called to be "like the Most High God" -you say to yourself, that is not so!
2Cor. 4:3-4 KJV "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
Hebrews 1:1-3 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; "
Jesus Christ is God the Son, He is The Most High God. And Jesus Christ is Himself, The express "Image and Likeness" of The Father. In the churches you hear men say that we/Adam were "created in the image of God" and men teach that Jesus Christ came to restore us to the image and likeness of God. (This is a misleading half truth.)
John 1:3 KJV "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." Jesus Christ was in the begining with God, "and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Jesus Christ was there when man was created and as it is stated in John chapter one: we/Adam were actually created by Him (The Word) and "in Him." (in His image!)
The word of God does not contradict itself, only our own understanding of the word makes it seem to us as though there are contradictions. It would seem for instance, that there is a contradiction between this statement: "I am the Lord, I am God there is none like Me" and the statement in Genesis where it says that man was created in the image of God, after His likeness.
There is none like God,
It may come as a surprise to many to learn that in Genesis, where it tells us that man was created "in the image and after the likeness of God" it does not mean that we were created to look like God or as God "likenessess" it actually means that man was created "in Christ".
Jesus Christ: is "the image of God" in WHOM we were created! (i.e., in Jesus Christ, the image and likeness of the Father) God created man...
Man fell from the image and likeness of God, meaning: man fell from Jesus Christ! just as assuredly as man fell from "The Truth" ! Now too, man denies the truth that Jesus Christ came to hide us in Himself so that He Himself could be our perfection in our place. This truth is still a tremendous "stumbling block of offense" to every religious pursuit, it is an offense to self-centered Adam who steadfastly refuses to accept the fact that "he" is not called to be "like God" and never was!
Man was created in the image of God (i.e., in Jesus Christ, who is the express image of God!) and man is still being called to be restored to Christ, who has come to hide us "in Him who is God" (i.e., in Jesus Christ!)
Adam prides himself in his quest "be all that he can be" (i.e., the humanist manifesto) even within Christianity itself! Man ignorantly twists and even perverts the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to make it the gospel of who man is 'in Christ' and he has made the gospel into a means by which Adam believes he can now has the power to achieve self perfection in Christ.
(What man refuses to acknowledge however is the fact, that if we are "in Christ" it is no longer I who lives, but Jesus Christ who is "The Life" in our place! Adam is "the death" and Jesus Christ is "The Life" -as it is written, in Adam all die, but in Jesus Christ, all are made alive, partakers of Him, who is Himself, "The Life")
The stumbling block of offense to man's religious pursuit of the perfection of man is the fact that Jesus Christ Himself is The Perfect, Sinless, Spiritual new Man (cf. 1Cor.15:47) "in whom and by whom" fallen Adam must be hid. Adam is not called to seek behavior modification, development of morality, improvement of manners or perfection of him self, Adam is instead called to be hid in Him who is Perfection, in Him and by Him who through His cross has reckoned "us" as dead, to be hid together with Christ in God: whereby Jesus Christ "Himself" now stands in our place, as our perfection (which is quite a blow to Adam's ego.)
In the apostasy of Christianity, man has refused to abandon his quest to "be all that he can be" (humanism) and has even made "Christianity" today merely another means of personal empowement by which man now attempts to complete his pursuit of self-realization, self-actualization... this is iniquity in the sight of God.
When man tries to use the things of God to make himself like God, he becomes a worker of iniquity. It seems we have for the most part ignored the lesson of the proud pharisees who used the things of God to pursue their religious or spiritual quest to become "holy", to "like God". Today, in the churches, we simply call that quest becoming "Christ-like" but it is no less iniquity for us to pursue the Christlikeness of man.
Jesus Christ is still a stumbling block of offense, even for us to hear that we/man/Adam are not called to be "Christ-like" but are called instead to be hid "in Him" and "by Him" who is Himself, the only true image and likeness of the Father! "Jesus Christ" the Righteous, the Chief Corner Stone, is still the stone that all builders of religious pursuits do yet stumble over...
Oh how we love to major on the portions of scripture that tell us who we are -more than who portions that also explain how these truths are applied to us, i.e., only "in Christ" ("not I" but CHRIST). We are called as dust and ash members of His body, adopted members of the body of Him who is all things FOR US, in our stead.
So then, if we are going to boast about how we are a chosen generation, should we not go to greater lengths to make it clear that we are counted as a chosen generation ONLY through Him, by Him, and in Him, by virtue of Him who has earned all of these "titles" and "position" for us, in our place?
1Peter 2:9 KJV "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..." How is it that we so regularly emphasize the first portion of that verse, rather than the second?
We habitually place a conceited emphasis on the first rather than the latter portion of verse after verse of scripture. Yet where do you suppose the Apostle Peter placed the emphasis in this particular verse of scripture? On us? and what we are? or on the praise "of Him" who hath called us out of darkness?
Do you really believe Peter wrote that verse so that WE could continuously put the bulk of emphasis on preaching all about "who WE are" as a CHOSEN generation, or on OUR PRIESTHOOD, or upon US AS KINGS etc.? I think NOT! Peter and all of the apostles would have put the emphasis on "showing forth the praises" OF HIM "who hath called us out of darkness"!
"In Christ" we are called "a chosen generation" because of Him and by Him. "In Christ" God has called us His people that were formerly not His people. Through absolutely no merit of our own (past merit nor present deeds) we who were once unholy -are now, in Christ and only through Christ are "counted as holy" solely by the Merit and the Virtue of Jesus Christ who has Himself become our "holiness unto the Lord".
So too, we are also "counted" as a royal priesthood -why? Only by virtue of Him who is our Great High Priest (in whom we are hid!) We are considered to be or counted as a "royal priesthood" not by our service but by His! (so let us not use the scripture to pump our egos lest we deceive our selves about the value of "our service" buying into our own slanted P. R. hype!
I was driving down the road to my house one day, and as I drove I was singing along with a Christian CD song entitled, "Find Me Faithful" Lord. And as I sang those words, the Lord broke through my "worship" and said, "The only way I can find YOU faithful is if I cannot find YOU."
As believers, by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are "hid together with Christ in God" having been adopted by Him (cf. Gal. 4:5) to become members "in Him" who is "Himself" our Great High Priest, i.e., through, in and by Jesus Christ alone.
The Father in His mercy has called us (has adopted us as members of the body of Christ) to be counted as or partakers of the heavenly calling. Perhaps we need to re-examine or refresh our memories as to precisely what is our calling? First and foremost, isn't our "calling" that we (Adam) are to be "restored to God in Christ"? Is not our "calling" that we are called "to be hid" together with Christ in God? And is that calling not accomplished (not by us but) only through "Jesus Christ" who is Himself the Apostle and High Priest of "our" profession?
And what exactly is meant by our profession? Is not our calling and profession that we are "by grace through faith" positionally found "in Christ" who is "Himself" our all, and in all, (cf. Col. 3:5 1Cor.12:6 & Eph. 1:11) on behalf of all who have received Him? So why then do we preach ourselves instead of Jesus Christ? and why do we preach about what we are instead of Jesus Christ and all that HE is? Could it just possibly be, no matter how loathe we are to admit it, the truth is: we are letting the pride of Adam's own life and the lust of Adam's own eye -i.e., to creep unawares into the gospel that the church now preachs?
To the pharisees, in John 5:39 KJV Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." Notice Jesus said, the scriptures "testify of Me." (And He means just that!) The scripture testifies "of Him" ALL OF HIM, all about who HE is in our place! ALL of HIM, and none of us: all about what HE had done and secured for us, in Himself -as our all, and in all, on behalf of all, who receive Him!
If you want a revival, the formula is NOT to preach to man about all that man can be --we are dust, and to dust we shall return, and when we begin to think of ourselves as more than that, then what we have become is uppity dust! HE must increase, I must decrease! (If you are looking for "a formula" for revival, try that one!)
While we happily preach on and on with much emphasis, enthusiasm and gusto about who MAN IS "in Christ" -I have no doubt it will anger you if I dare to insist: the only proper emphasis of OUR calling, of OUR profession, of OUR "SELVES" as a chosen people, of OUR "SELVES" as KINGS and of OUR "SELVES" as PRIESTS is certainly NOT "on us" but the proper emphasis is only upon Jesus Christ and Him alone who has purchased us by the shedding of His blood, by His death and resurrection. Our eyes are not to be on ourselves, nor upon our calling and election, and the scripture is clear WHO is to be the focus of our preaching!
To whatever measure we shift the focus onto ourselves we have taken it off OF HIM "THROUGH WHOM" all of these things of which Peter and the apostles spoke, are gifted/attributed to us.
You can spare the objections because no matter how much we "SAY" that our church and our pastor preache Jesus Christ, the truth is even the world can see that we say one thing, and do another. We pride ourselves in believing that we preach "Jesus Christ" but we in reality, we are not. Even while reading this admonishment and exhortation to repent, many will adamantly insist: "Their church is the sole exception: We are not preaching that stuff in our church!"
The fact is the Lord sent His servant to tell you, you are not preaching Jesus Christ. And that is not my perception of the truth, -it is what the LORD said! Whether you see it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you want to receive it or not. The only wise and Godly way to approach this exhortation to repent is to get on your face and humbly ask the Lord if He sent me to tell you these things regarding your church and to ask Him if it pleases Him to show you how it is true (that He might grant repentance and restoration by His grace, for your good and the good of all His church.)
No one is accusing your pastor or your church of deliberately or intentionally teaching error. And no matter how this is presented, there are bound to be those who will try to minimize, rationalize dismiss it or excuse it away. In spite of what you say you believe, you have no idea what is actually going on. And except we allow the Lord to show us, the enemy will continue trying to destroy us from within, unawares!
The only way any of us can see what is going on (as it is in the Lord's sight) is if we will set aside the offense of our minds against what many prefer to view as undue "criticism". The only way the Lord can show you is if you refuse to take offense and if you will humbly allow the Lord to show you. (He cannot do so however, if we go continue in denial, or go on justifying or making excuses.)
Humbly ask the LORD to show you what is happening unintentionally through the devices of the enemy, ask the LORD to reveal what the enemy is systematically working against us unaware -and do so with a willingness of heart to alllow the Lord to show you, not with hardness of heart or stubbornness of mind that insists instead that these things are not so!
I beseech you, for the love of God in Christ, simply stop and go prayerfully before the Lord, humbly "ask Him" to show you the sum of what is actually being taught in the churches (including your own) . Ask Him if your church is indeed preaching "the gospel of who man is" and ask Him if you are being taught how to be "all that you can be" (which is humanist manifesto.)
Without condemnation, I entreat you to stop and take a long look, see if these things are not so: look at the apostasy for what it is in God's sight: see if our emphasis on what we can be (instead of who He is) is merely a symptom of a much greater evil.
We do not want to hear that our emphasis has become systematically shifted (unaware by the enemy) onto the perfection of man, instead of on Jesus Christ Himself as our perfection in our place. We do not want to hear, and if we hear we automatically exempt our church from "those other churches" that are apostate.
While we wallow in self deceit and denial, the churches go right on preaching and teaching more and more about ourselves and about what we can be especially in these last days than ever before. The church has become a harlot unaware: calling man to come learn how to be all that he can be (humanism). She is preaching and teaching man all about who or what WE ARE instead of directing and even re-directing all men to "learn of Him" who said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Mat.11:28-29 KJV
I do not believe it was ever the Apostle Peter's purpose, intent or desire for us to use his epistles to in any way promote ourselves regarding "our" position, "our" calling, "our" profession or "our" election which is after all, admittedly only "in Christ". To the contrary, the Apostle Peter's emphasis was not upon man at all, but always upon Jesus Christ Himself, who has so marvelously provided "for" us "in Himself".
Sadly, it is becomming common place to see pastors and teachers standing before crowded churches or auditoriums with microphone in hand, pointing at the people and telling their audience: God's word says: YOU ARE this... and YOU ARE that.... and YOU ARE called this .... and YOU ARE called that... etc.
The apostles never meant for their writings (epistles) to be used to emphasize who WE are! In the true Spirit of the word, we find just the opposite is true. The Apostle Peter was setting forth that which "Jesus Christ" provided "by and in Himself" through His cross on behalf of all who receive Him and it is contrary to the character and nature of the Lord Himself to twist the gospel or to wrest the scriptures to preach man, in the name of Christ.
Although it is common (mal) practice in the churches today to do so, I do not believe the Apostle Peter intended that anyone should ever use his epistles to preach "ourselves". And like it or not, that is precisely what the churches are doing with the gospel (including University Park Church.) To guard against just such error it is written: we preach NOT ourselves but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
There is a difference between the "testimony of God" and the teaching of who WE ARE in Him! Paul the Apostle said, in 1Co. 2:1, 2 KJV "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Compare this also to 2Cor.4:5 KJV "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
Even after we have done all that is required of us, what then are we to say of ourselves? Jesus said: "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." So then it is right to keep in mind our calling is only to testify of and preach "Jesus Christ". Even though we are called to be saints "in and through" Jesus Christ, nevertheless our profession is as "servants", who are described even at best, as unprofitable servants.
Under the auspices of "building up" OUR faith, man has taken the liberty to seize upon certain elements of the written word of God and he is using the scripture to lift up man's own "self" -not Jesus Christ, but man himself, his own self image.
Man has managed to use the gospel and the epistles to reinforce the lust of Adam's own eye (i.e., man's lust for power, man's lust to himself be God-like/or Christ-like. Man's lust for position, and for dominion is obvious to all but the deaf and blind. To Jesus Christ, the Spiritual new Man, the Lord from heaven belongs all the power, all dominion, all the praise, all the glory, all the honor, and all the blessings! Unto the King of kings and Lord of lords, to Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy, "of Whom" we are called to bear witness!
All power and authority has been given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Jesus also said, whatsoever things you ask "in My Name" (according to My Will) I will do it.
We know that Jesus has given us power and authority in His Name to tread upon devils and scorpions. And we are told that we may ask any thing "in His Name" He will do it, but we have forgotten that whatsoever things we ask, must be "according to His Will" not simply according to our perception of what we think His will is (based upon what we ourselves choose to see or choose to not see, in His word.)
This may come as quite a shock to our pride, but the fact is ALL -the power, authority and dominion that God ever gave to Adam was given to him for one reason: that Adam might choose to submit it all (defer) back to God, His Father, as his Head (which would have been wisdom for Adam and woman to have done so.)
In the Name of Jesus Christ means "in the person of" Him. "In Christ" we have been given the same choice as Adam (and woman) once had. Once again, we too have been given power, authority and dominion "in His Name" (in the Name of Jesus.) And once again, the Father looks to see if we (Adam) will submit (defer) to the Name, Person and Headship of Jesus Christ. Will we defer all power, dominion and authority back "to Him" in everything? Or will we (like Adam) once again choose to walk according to the lust of our own eyes, to exalt the pride of our own life by choosing to exercise power and dominion according to what seems right to us in our own sight. (Let's here it for Our Dominion Now, theology!)
Lay aside all lying Adam! Lay aside all the testifying of who WE are and testify instead of who HE is! We certainly do have a "philosophical infection" in the body of Christ, and it is not what pastors think it is: it is called "Christianized humanism." Man has managed to assert his own "self" worth, his own image of self, and his own identity through the written word, instead of ourselves crucified in Christ.
We read: "Ye shall be endued with Power from on High" --and oh, how we love that word "power" and so we interpret that to mean that we/Adam have been given "p-o-w-e-r" to be all that WE can be instead of that power being for the purpose of submitting us to Jesus Christ to be all that HE is in our place! We act as though the Power we have been endued with is a what instead of a Who! Jesus Christ, sent the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God Himself, not so what WE can be empowered to be all that WE can be, but so that HE could hide us in Himself, by the Power of Who HE is!
For what purpose did God send the Holy Spirit? When He is come, Jesus said: He will convince the world (that's all of us, i.e., all men) "of sin, of righteousness and of judgment."
God sent His Spirit, that by the Power of God, (i.e., by Jesus Christ who is Himself, the Power of God) -by His Holy Spirit, He might convince all men, i.e., us/Adam "of sin" even of Adam's own lust to be like the Most High God -which is a sin, no matter how we try to make it sound like "gospel".
God has sent His Spirit to convince man of sin, even of the sin of the pride of his own life, which includes the pride of Adam's own perception of self.
Believer's know that Jesus Christ stands as our "righteousness" before the Father, in our place. But many are now being taught that "we are" righteous because of what Jesus did (which is a misleading half truth.)
God sent His Holy Spirit into the world to convince the world, (i.e., all of us mankind) of God's Righteousness. God's righteousness is Jesus Christ, The Righteous. We know that His ways are not as our ways and His thoughts are not as our thoughts, and so, to know what HE MEANS by "righteousness" we need to understand that God's righteousness is defined not in human terms "as a what" (not as a religious standard of morals) but rather as "a who". God defines righteousness as a who -i.e., Jesus Christ, The Righteous.
We know that we are "counted in Him" as the righteousness of God, "in Christ". We understand that "apart from Him" there is no righteousness in His sight.
The moment that we selectively begin to preach that "believers" are the "righteousneess of God" (because of what Jesus has done) then we have alread lost sight of the One who alone is that Righteousness!
Having repeated that error often enough, we not only inadvertantly twist the truth (preaching who WE ARE instead of who He is) but even worse, we like modern pharisees soon begin to see our selves as "righteousness" because of Christ instead of solely "in Christ"!
Jesus Christ is Himself "the Righteous, the Holy One of God" who now stands in our place as our Holiness unto the Lord, the Lord, our Righteousness. Righteousness is "of God" -of Him and by Him, who hides us "in Himself" and who stands for us, in our place (by whom we are counted) as "the righteousness of God, in Christ."
The SAME basic truth is also true of "our" royal priesthood: our priesthood is "of Him" as our Holiness, of Him, as our High Priest. We are also counted as heirs of God "in Him" and "by Him" because we have been adopted as members of His body, therefore are we joint heirs together with Christ. We are children of the King only by the adoption of His Spirit.
We are "kings and priests" through no merit of our own but only by virtue of Him who is the King and our Great High Priest. Why then has it become so fashionable to place such emphasis upon who or what "WE ARE"? Why do we so flippantly refer to our selves as King's kids, as heirs of God, and to ourselves as a royal priests, and to ourselves as a chosen generation?
God sent His Spirit to convince the world, i.e., all men, even us -of judgment. The judgment of God is upon mankind who from Genesis unto this very day has continued to exalt self, exalting his will above the will of God, exalting his "self" above God and even exalting man's own self through the word of God, instead of exalting Him who is God, Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God.
Jesus Christ, is Himself, the Second Adam, who came to hide us/Adam in Himself, to restore us to God in Himself that He Himself might bring "all things" (that's us) into subjection to God, through Him. Hebrews 2: 8 KJV "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him."
Man has however cleverly managed to twist the very purpose of the Gospel. No longer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ about Him restoring man to God "in Himself" but it is now about what man is called to be and what he may become "because of what Jesus did for us."
In Mormonism, man's quest for perfection is often described as follows: "what God once was, man now is. What God now is, man may become." That is strikingly similar to the teaching that tells us: what Jesus Christ once was/and did here on earth (God-powered-Man) we are now called to be! That belief has now employed the next step in our quest for "God-like-ness" We are now taught that all we need to do in order to "be all that we are called to be" is to learn all about who WE ARE in Him!
No longer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ about Jesus Christ bringing rebellious man into subjection to God "in Himself" through the power of God by the cross of Christ, but man has re-vamped the gospel to teach that Jesus Christ came to restore "man to power".
If you believe what the churches are now teaching: Jesus Christ supposedly has come to show us how to do it (a way-show-er) and to help make man "all that he can be". God has supposedly given man power -not to be submitted back to God by Him who is the Power of God, but to instead to restore "man to power" --as if God Himself is somehow now "restored to power" through "man's dominion" by man's use of His Name?
Once again, man has made himself the empowered person, man is now the empowered operative, man's own self is always at the center of what man sees, hears and teaches concerning the word of God.
Even now man unashamedly declares, preaching in one apostate church after another: that because of the blood of Jesus Christ, God the Father looks down and He no longer sees you as what you used to be: God looks down and He sees His Son, when He looks AT YOU, He sees the "reflection of Jesus" ... God the Father looks down and He sees YOU as a "little Jesus"!
Need I say more? Do not kid yourself by thinking that I have judged these things of my own mind and certainly not that I arrived at these "conclusions" on the basis of one sermon. The Truth is that this sermon had nothing to do with this word of correction to you, it was merely a tool used of the Lord in an attempt to show you that University Park is very much a part of the apostasy even though its members truly believe it is not. (All the things you would rather believe University Park is not a part of are very much a part of the teachings at University Park.)
This church is as much a part of the apostasy as the others, in fact, more so than you can bear to know. Before I ever visited University Park Church, the Lord told me what was being taught here. And NONE of this is based upon my visits, nor upon the contents of any one set of teaching tapes. The truth is that any set of your tapes, as well as any one of the seminars you teach, "all" contain the same leaven. (I can say "all" --because the LORD said "all.")
Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the pharisees. Jesus said the leaven of the pharisees was not just hypocrisy, it was their doctrines! This is not a question of hypocrisy, you truely believe what you teach and you do try to live it out in your lives. But the leaven common to the apostasy is permeates the doctrines you teach! A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump!
I entreat you to go before the Lord and ask Him to show you the basic errors, because that little bit of leaven does indeed leaven all that you teach...
The word of the Lord to University Park Church is: Repent, seek His Face, and find out how your ministry is part of the apostasy.
At this site: http://www.angelfire.com/tx/RestStop/index.html you will find a series of articles posted there, prayerfully take the contents before the Lord and ask Him how the message applies to the ministry at University Park Church (regarding the teachings and seminars taught there.)
Noteye (aka, M. Weiland)
PLEASE NOTE: I DO NOT ENDORSE THE CONTENT OF ANY AD BANNERS OR POP-UP ADS