Word for word

INTRODUCTION

Submission to the Word.

The motivation behind “The Power of the Spoken Words” (sic) is completely correct. In nations like Australia there is widespread neglect of Bible reading and scripture-based praying in the Church. We are in a famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Am 8:11). This is very serious, for not to love God’s Word is not to love Jesus. here’s why the bible will always be important to me.

Whilst at university I became extremely depressed and was so paranoid that I couldn’t even walk down a street. I presented to a dermatologist with repeated skin problems, and to a cardiologist with recurring chest pains, and they both said it was all stress related. 

One day sitting in the library and feeling particularly bad a line of thought formed in my head: “If there is meaning in life there must be life after death, otherwise it doesn’t matter what happens in our lives – whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, if it all comes to nothing when we die it’s all meaningless.  If there is life after death this will require a miracle and a miracle requires a God. You need to read the Bible as the Bible is meant to be about God.” 

The next day when I returned home I discovered a box full of books sitting on our kitchen table sent down from a neighbour and amongst all the cheap novels I found a modern translation of the New Testament. 

Eventually reading the whole Bible cover to cover several times placed me under great conviction of sin and judgement for neglecting the love of God and led to my conversion.

However, many Christians today want a short cut to a better life and find it simpler and easier just to listen to the pastor than to wrestle with the scriptures.

This has led to the loss of the creative power of the Word of God to produce holy disciples.

Only through the Spirit ministering the resurrection life of Jesus through scriptural truth can we expect to see signs of the new creation amongst the people of God.

Any genuine move of God in Australia will be characterised by a new level of submission to the Word.

A new love for God’s speaking to us through scripture will lead to a new longing to speak for him.

BEFORE CREATION

Importance of Scripture

In commending a book dedicated to the Trinity it’s appropriate to recognise that the existence of the Word eternally predates the existence of the world.

The start of John’s Gospel is justly famous; vs.1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. vs.2 He was in the beginning with God.(John 1:1-2 ESV).

This could be translated as “before the beginning began the Word already was”.

This Word, as John 1:14 ESV later makes clear, is Jesus. Communication is essential to the very being of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and since Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.(Rev 13:8 ESV) it becomes clear that the power of the Word is the Jesus’ submission to the Father.

Since “all things were made through him (Christ) and for him(Col 1:16 ESVcreation itself was made to reveal the reality of the Word to creatures.

So we can never overestimate the importance of scripture.

CREATION

He Has Spoken To Us By His Son.

When Hebrews testifies, “the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.(Heb 11:3 ESV), it teaches creation out of nothing.

This doesn’t mean that the Word of the Lord turned nothing into something as if noth-ing had some sort of potential in it.

Rather, all the order and life in time-space derives from the creative power of the Word.

The depth of the Word in the world, and the openness of creation’s very being to spoken miracles, is a sign that it was made to obey the Sonvs.1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,vs.2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.(Heb 1:1-2 ESV).

But sometimes God’s creatures have chosen not to submit to his Word.

FALL

Silence Is Not Always Golden.

God personally spoke to Adam the Word of warning, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””  (Gen 2:17 ESV).

This provided a great opportunity for a profound connection between divine and human speech.

But when Satan crept into the Garden and told Eve God was lying Adam stood by (“with her” Gen 3:6 ESV) and said nothing; immediately the connection between the Word of God and the word of man was broken.

This is the foundational truth underlying the subtitle of Joseph’s book, “When Silence Can Be Most Dangerous”. In undoing the silence of Adam husbands need to speak up for God in their marriages and families against the power of evil.

However hard this might be for men emotionally, they must never act like cowards at home.

Adam’s silence plunged the world into chaos but as the Lord brought order to the primal creation through the power of his Spirit and Word (Gen 1:2-3 ESV) he kept on speaking. “He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.(Ps 107:20 ESV).

In the Old Testament this ministry of restoration and wholeness is clearest in the prophets, God put his word in their mouths commanded them and energised them to speak it out1)see Num 22:38 ESV; Num 23:5, 16 ESV; 2 Chron 36:21-22 ESV; Isa 51:16 ESV; Isa 59:21 ESV; Jer 1:9 ESV; Rom 10:8 ESV.

Hebrews helps us understand this mighty dynamic. God “upholds the universe by the word of his power(Heb 1:3 ESV) means the universe is carried along to its appointed goal by the Word.

This goal is the fulness of Jesus himself (Eph 1:10 ESV); the goal of the Word is sharing in the Word.

CHRIST

The Word Became Flesh.

When “the Word became flesh(John 1:14 ESV) the eternal Son took on a human nature that is fallen, broken, stripped of glory and “useless” to God’s purposes2)see John 6:63 ESV; Heb 2:14 ESV.

This means that whenever Jesus spoke a word to calm a storm, heal the sick, cast out a demon, feed the hungry and so on , his acts of power are no longer that of the eternal Word (Phil 2:7 ESV), but the work of the Holy Spirit3)see Matt 12:28 ESV; Luke 4:18 ESV operating through  ordinary but sinless human words, but without sin (Heb 4:15 ESV).

This means that by faith and with the help of the Spirit we can share in the works which we see in the life of Jesus (John 14:12 ESV) through our lowly words.

Jesus was able to say, “scripture cannot be broken(John 10:35 ESV), was a faith statement that everything the Father had said about him was true.

The evidence that the Son of God perfectly believed the truth of the Word is his submission to death on the cross; “The Son of Man goes as it is written of him(Matt 26:24 ESV).

The great crisis of the cross is that when Jesus cries out, ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Mark 15:34 ESV), he has no Word from the Spirit speaking to him of the love of the Father.

The cross was not the end, the slain Word is “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father(Rom 6:4 ESV)

The renewed Word has power from inside a broken-and-healed creation to make everything as new and beautiful in its time as himself4)see Eccl 3:11 ESV; Rev 21:5 ESV.

NEW CREATION

Indwelling Living Word

The Word which comes to us today is not alien to the struggles and limits of our humanity, it comes to us as friend, brother and Saviour from the heart of the Father5)see John 1:18 ESV; 15:15 ESV; Heb 2:12 ESV.

When the Israelites heard, “the word is very near you. It is in your mouth, and in your heart, so that you can do it.(Deut 30:14 ESV), they could only think of themselves as repeating what God had said.

But when Paul applies these scriptures to new covenant believers (Rom 10:8 ESV) he understands that the living Word, Christ raised from the dead, vitally indwells the Christian so that we can speak what God speaks in communion with Jesus.

A friend once challenged a group of pastors, but this applies to all believers, “Do you fellas believe that the Word that is in your mouth is the Word that created the world?

To which I would add “became human, was crucified, rose from the dead and will return to Judge the world”.

This is an extraordinary truth.

Since “Christ dwells in our hearts by faith(Eph 3:17 ESV) and “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks(Matt 12:34 ESVour words can express the very heart of God. Amazing!

As those called to be conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus (Rom 8:29 ESV) the union between the Word in his powerful love and our own words can become more and more intimate. On this pathway we begin to realise and live out why God created the world.

RESISTANCE

Sin Knocking At The Door

Why then is there so much muteness with respect to the Word in the Church? Sin is the answer.

Since “the entrance of your words brings light(Ps 119:130 ESV), the penetrating light of Christ6)see John 1:4-5 ESV; Rom 8:12 ESV in the Word exposes darkness in our hearts7)see John 3:19-20 ESV; 1 John 1:5-10 ESV.

This can be a very painful experience, and it is why the most dangerous silence is silence about our sins.

James’ exhortation challenges us, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.(James 5:16 ESV).

Confessing sin is the most powerful sign of our submission to the Word and the most intimate expression of our sonship in Christ. And in a immature Church it explains why corporate confession, usually the first fruit of revival, is so rare today.

APPLICATION and CONCLUSION

Operating In Oneness With The Word

The Bible is not some sort of oracle book we consult for guidance in need.

The devil can quote scripture (Matt 4:3, 6 ESV) but he cannot speak scripture in union with the Word of God; it can never be his very life.

When in the power of the Spirit the children of God use scripture, they are not like parrots or superstitious people (Matt 6:7 ESV) but are operating in oneness with the Word moving all creation to its appointed goal.

In this union with the Word our words share in the divine-human glory of Christ himself and become sources of life and light for the world (Eph 5:8 ESV).

What could be more wonderful? 

Let me end with an ancient prayer:Blessed Lord, who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them; that, by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.8)Thomas Cranmer 1489-1556 see https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/martyrs/thomas-cranmer.html

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 28th November, 2018 (A teaching for a book launch on speaking out God’s Word.)

Author: Dr. John Yates

MESSAGE
YouTube or PODCAST:

N/A

 N/A

28th Nov, 2018

References   [ + ]

1. see Num 22:38 ESV; Num 23:5, 16 ESV; 2 Chron 36:21-22 ESV; Isa 51:16 ESV; Isa 59:21 ESV; Jer 1:9 ESV; Rom 10:8 ESV
2. see John 6:63 ESV; Heb 2:14 ESV
3. see Matt 12:28 ESV; Luke 4:18 ESV
4. see Eccl 3:11 ESV; Rev 21:5 ESV
5. see John 1:18 ESV; 15:15 ESV; Heb 2:12 ESV
6. see John 1:4-5 ESV; Rom 8:12 ESV
7. see John 3:19-20 ESV; 1 John 1:5-10 ESV
8. Thomas Cranmer 1489-1556 see https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/martyrs/thomas-cranmer.html

M4: Stephen and the Final Judgement 19 NOV 2018

Luke 22:66-70 ESV; Acts 7:51-60 ESV

INTRODUCTION

The saying “Grace is always surprising” proved true when in the middle of preaching a sermon in Myanmar, one I’d already preached here, I was deeply moved by a marvellous sense of the presence of God.

Expounding the trial and death of Stephen I was overcome with elation, almost laughing repeatedly, over the victory of God in Christ over the arrayed forces of evil.

At the time I didn’t know quite what was going on but now I believe the experience was a share in the messianic triumph of Jesus recounted in Psalm 2 ESV, vs.1Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? vs.2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, vs.3Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.vs.4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.;(Ps 2:1-4 ESV)1)cf. Ps 59:8 ESV.

Perhaps it’s because of the martyrdoms in the New Testament only Stephen’s is recounted in detail that the comprehensive nature of the triumph of Christ comes through with particular power.

Whilst Stephen was a notable leader of the Greek speaking part of the earliest Church in Jerusalem, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” and a worker of miracles (Acts 6:1-8 ESV), the weightiness surrounding his death at the hands of the Jewish Sanhedrin (High Council) comes from his speech before them.

THE SPEECH

The importance of what Stephen has to say for the whole New Testament is indicated by its being the longest speech in Acts. 

His sermon and killing has a place in the narrative of Acts that marks a turning point in the history of the apostolic church.

After Stephen’s death events move beyond Jerusalem and its very Jewish style of Christianity to the ministry of Paul and the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentile world.

It is both what Stephen sees and says that releases such a vital transition in God’s covenant dealings with humanity.

Though he is put on trial for “always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses.(Acts 6:13 ESV)

Stephen doesn’t defend himself against these charges but argues forcefully Israel’s history proves she typically misunderstood the ways of God.

His sermon stands in the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament “covenant lawsuit” (Heb: rib); where through a prophet God brings before the heavenly divine council an action against Israel for breaking their covenant with him2)Isa 1:2-20 ESV; Jer 2:4-13 ESV; Am 2:9-16 ESV; Mic 6:1-8 ESV..

Through Stephen Israel’s leadership who so recently had Jesus crucified put to death are being placed on trial by God at a point of supreme spiritual crisis.

Stephen forcefully illustrates from biblical history that Israel has been incompetent in recognising those whom God raises up to lead them, both Joseph (Acts 7:9 ESV) and Moses (Acts 7:25-29, 35 ESV) were rejected.

At the centre of Stephen’s prophetic charge is that Israel had tied her sense of identity to a sacred space in a way that blinded her to the deeper ways of God. This explains why the speech focuses on events outside of the Promised Land.

The God of glory called Abraham in Mesopotamia and the led him through Canaan though he held no possession of it.

Then his descendants, even as heirs of divine promises, were in Egypt for 400 years where the Lord was with Joseph (Acts 7:2-8, 9-10 ESV) whose bones, with Jacob’s, were later buried in Shechem, in the land of the hated Samaritans3)Acts 7:16 ESV, Josh 24:32 ESV.

God’s great exodus works were done in Egypt at the Red Sea and in the wilderness (Acts 7:36 ESV) where the site of the burning bush and the giving of the Law at Sinai wasn’t even identifiable (Acts 7:35 ESV ff.).

God’s habitation in the wilderness, the tabernacle, occupied no special sacred space but was a mobile home marked out only by the revelation of its heavenly pattern given to Moses (Acts 7:44 ESV). From the days of the golden calf things made by human hands predisposed Israel to idolatry (Acts 7:41-43 ESV).

Stephen moves to a climax by quoting words from the prophet Isaiah4)Isa 66:1-2 ESV; Acts 7:49-50 ESV from the time of the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the temple; “the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands(Acts 7:48 ESV).  

The Jews never understood that the temple and its entire sacrificial system was a temporary arrangement and to treat it otherwise was idolatry, the temple’s time had come to an end (cf. John 4:21 ESV).

In passing verdict (Acts 7:51-53 ESV) on his hearers as those who always rejected the prophets Stephen shifts language from “our fathers5)Acts 7:11-12, 19, 38-39, 44-45 ESV to “your fathers(Acts 7:51-52 ESV); for there is no longer a common point of covenant identity between him and the leaders of Israel.

Something contemporary Judaism’s rejection of messianic Jews as Jews at all reflects. The guilt of their fathers in slaying the prophets came to a climax in murdering Jesus, “the Righteous One(Acts 7:52 ESV) so they had terminated their unique covenant relationship with God.

In Hebrews there is the same emphasis that the temple of Jerusalem had already lost its meaning and function as a place of atonement6)Heb 8:7, 13 ESV; Heb 10:1-2 ESV; it had been replaced by another and superior temple not “made with hands” but in heaven.7)Acts 9:24 ESV; cf. Acts 8:1-2 ESV

Having first rejected Jesus in person then Peter’s later preaching to them that he’d been raised from the dead “to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins(Acts 5:31 ESV) their time was done and no opportunity to repent remained. Under such weight testimony they lost all self-control and all hell broke loose.

The COURT OF EARTH and the COURT OF HEAVEN

Advocate & Judge.  

They “ground their teeth” at Stephen (Acts 7:54 ESV) but he; vs.55full of the Holy Spirit gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. vs.56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”…. vs.58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him…. vs.59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.vs.60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7:54-60 ESV).

Stephen’s extraordinary vision of Jesus transpires because there are two courts operating at the same time in relation to his message and ministry, one on earth and another in heaven.

Like Stephen (Acts 6:13 ESV), Jesus once appeared before the Sanhedrin judges with false witnesses standing to accuse him of plotting to destroy the temple8)Matt 26:59-61 ESV; Luke 23:10 ESV.

Stephen sees Jesus exactly as he had proclaimed to the Sanhedrin at the moment of his condemnation, as the glorious Son of Man; “vs.67If you are the Christ, tell us.But he said to them,If I tell you, you will not believe… vs.69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”.” (Luke 22:67, 69 ESV).

He sees Jesus as vindicated by the Father through resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of God.

Being seated at God’s right-hand means occupying the position of power and authority with special access to the sovereign rule of heaven9)Ex 16:6, 12 ESV; Job 40:14 ESV; Pss.18:35 ESV; Pss.20:6 ESV; Pss.21:8 ESV; Pss.110:1 ESV; Hab 2:16 ESV. In Hebrews Christ’s sitting indicates his priestly work in complete10)Heb 1:3 ESV; Heb 8:1 ESV; Heb 10:12 ESV.

The extraordinary thing about this vision is that Jesus is standing as advocate11)cf. Rom 8:33-34 ESV; Heb 7:25 ESV and as Judge.  

Christ is the chief witness on Stephen’s behalf for advocates on behalf of the accused in Jewish courts of law always stood to testify12)Deut 19:17 ESV; 1 Ki 3:16 ESV; Acts 4:7 ESV; Acts 5:27 ESV; Acts 6:13 ESV etc..

The testimony of the glorious heavenly advocate on Stephen’s behalf totally negates the authority of the earthly tribunal and its false witnesses.

In the Old Testament the LORD himself rebuked Satan in his accusation against Joshua the High Priest in the heavenly courtroom.13)Zech 3:1-10 ESV cf. Dan 7:10 ESV

With the victory of Jesus the Accuser has been cast out of heaven and can no longer make such accusations before God (Rev 12:1-11 ESV).

The vision of Stephen is a vision of his own unlimited vindication by God for Jesus is the Judge at the Last Judgement.

The Lord’s own prophetic words are being fulfilled before the End, “vs.8And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, vs.9 but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.(Luke 12:8-9 ESV).

Stephen sees Jesus as he will appear at the Second Coming passing judgement for him and against the temple leadership and any role for the temple in the plan of God.

Contrary to her self-understanding of endless privilege Israel is now judged like other nations (cf. Matt 25:31-36 ESV); as Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples.14)Isa 3:13 ESV cf. Job 19:25 ESV; Dan 12:1 ESV.

Already knowing the verdict of the Last Day Stephen can die fearlessly before his persecutors in the glory of God triumphant over the powers of death and evil.

Placed inside the glory cloud Stephen speaks glorious words especially as they stone him; “falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice,Lord, do not hold this sin against them.And when he had said this, he fell asleep.(Acts 7:60 ESV).

These words echo those of Christ from the cross, ““Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”(Luke 23:34 ESV) because in the power of the Spirit Stephen is sharing in the victorious all-forgiving sacrifice of Jesus’ death in the glory of his heavenly Lord (cf. Rom 5:5 ESV).

THE RELEASE OF POWER

If those who “buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2 ESV) considered his slaughter a great tragedy for the life of the emerging Church they had failed to be grasped by the way of the cross.

After decades of persecution later Christians better understood that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” (Tertullian).

Immediately after the death of Stephen there arose “a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria…. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.15)Acts 8:1, 4 ESV cf. Acts 8:5-8 ESV; Acts 11:19-21 ESV

The apostles and the other Hebrew Christians were able to stay in Jerusalem because unlike the Greek speaking Christians they were still attached to the temple as a site of devotion and Law16)cf. Acts 11:1, 18, 22 ESV; Acts 21:20 ESV.

In the wisdom of the plan of God Stephen’s blood released a shock wave of spiritual power that radiated from Jerusalem beginning the mission to the Gentiles.

The conversion of Saul to Paul the great missionary to the Gentiles, someone for whom Stephen prayed as he prayed for his persecutors, was an outstanding fruit of his sacrifice.

THE LAST PROPHET

When the Sanhedrin rejected Jesus they rejected him both as King of Israel and as the prophet-successor to Moses to whom they were meant to listen17)Deut 18:15 ESV; Acts 3:22 ESV; Acts 7:37 ESV.

Whilst the wicked Ninevites repented at the preaching of the prophet Jonah the prophetic judgement oracles against Jerusalem by the greater prophet than Jonah were rejected18)Luke 10:30-32 ESV; 19:42-44 ESV; 23:28-31 ESV.

As the Son of Man Jesus went to the cross as the rejected final Prophet who has not been listened to19)Luke 9:22, 44 ESV; 17:24-25 ESV; 18:31-33 ESV; cf. 24:7 ESV but he stood for Stephen as one who had been heard by God.

Stephen’s message that the Jews had perverted the worship of God places him in the prophetic succession of the Old Testament20)e.g. Isa 1:11-15 ESV; Jer 6:20 ESV; Am 5:21-24 ESV and his vision of the glory of God constitutes him a prophet21)cf. Isa 6:1-13 ESV; Ezek 1-3 ESV.

In quoting Isaiah 66:1-2 ESV (Acts 7:49-50 ESV) that God does not dwell in houses made by hands Stephen proclaims the temple is no longer the dwelling place of the Spirit and glory of God (Acts 7:51-53 ESV).

His vision of Jesus now residing in the glory of God re-locates the true sanctuary from earth to  heaven.

To cling to the man-made temple is to place oneself outside of the saving community of the new covenant.

That God no longer has a national covenant with Israel doesn’t mean he has no plan for the Jews.

They are simply no longer uniquely the people of God (1 Pet 2:9 ESV). God’s saving message and mission now goes to the world pre-eminently through another people, the Gentiles. The prayers of Stephen for his persecutors are a prophetic mode of expression22)Acts 7:55-56 ESV cf. Gen 18:22-23 ESV; Gen 20:7 ESV; Ex Gen 32:9-14 ESV; 1 Ki 18:42-44 ESV; Am 7:1-2 ESV.

Like the earthly Jesus’ intercession for Peter (Luke 22:31-32 ESV).

His stoning in Jerusalem places him firmly within the prophetic line23)Luke 4:24 ESV; Luke 13:33-34 ESV; Acts 7:42 ESV.  Killed by the former covenant people of God Stephen’s prophetic vision of Jesus is the final vision a prophet who ministered especially to Israel could see. There will no longer be prophets exclusively to the Jews.

OUR TURN

Stephen was a reformer whose message confronted the foundational self-understanding of the leaders of Israel about their privileged place before God.

His message inevitably cost him his life because idolaters always protect their heart commitments and the deeper the commitment the more vicious the response (Ezek 14:1 ESV ff.).

This causes us to ask a painful question: What are the idols of the contemporary Western Church grieving the Spirit so he is not revealing to us the glory of the Lord?

The exposure of sexual abuse in religious institutions uncovered how deeply these systems were committed to protecting themselves.

As Israel cried out “‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’” but inwardly they had become “a den of robbers24)Jer 7:4, 11 ESV cf. Luke 19:46 ESV, ambition for money, numbers, power, prestige and influence has penetrated much church leadership.

I was in a meeting recently when a pastor confessed that his leadership had just sacked the youth leader for though there were up to 150 kids involved there was no fruit; they had decided to get rid of their smoke machines and coloured lights.

“Nightclub church” i.e. the darkening of the insides of church buildings and other assorted displays, is a sign of a loss of the presence of the Lord.

THE VALUES: driving “high performance” churches striving for works of “excellencewill not survive the fire of the Day of Judgement (1 Cor 3:12-15 ESV).

Forgetting church leadership many ordinary Christians have become addicted to church culture; devotion to the lead pastors’ vision, the song leader’s anointing to lead us into the presence of God, the beauty of the liturgy and the riches of tradition etc.

This psychological dynamic explains why many of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem were attached to the temple services and even to some ceremonial aspects of the law25)cf. Acts 3:1 ESV; Acts 21:17–26 ESV; Gal 2:11-14 ESV. All of which can obscure the glory of Christ.

There are deep spiritual dynamics surrounding most churches rarely recognised or dealt with.

I was in the beautiful Wesley Uniting Church praying the other day and could sense dark powers over the church influencing its building committees, heritage groups, programme organisers and long-term attendees with a commitment to preserve the church building at all costs.

These forces also move at a denominational level.  

Our building plan with the diocese would have left us with about $1 million which had to be used to maintain existing buildings, i.e. it was no available for ministry purposes! Commitment to the survival of the church (as we know it) at all costs impedes the release of the resurrection power of the Spirit. 

The goal of every material entity in this world, whether it is a church building or a human body, is to exalt the glory of God in Christ whether by life or death (Phil 1:20 ESV).

CONCLUSION

For its revitalisation the Western Church needs to be immersed in the life of the glorious new humanity revealed to Stephen.

This power radiates out from God’s heavenly court of judgement where Jesus is interceding on our behalf.

When a certain theologian comments, “Stephen’s vision… was not a vision of a martyr close to death, but a vision of a prophet performing his mission.” (W. Paroschi) he is only half right.

For it is all Christians, not just those of the prophetic office, who by holding to the testimony of Jesus before hostile witnesses’ function as prophets and so can share in the Spirit’s impartation of glory.

The glory of having been set free from fearing the judgements of authorities in this world through certainty about the verdict of the Last Judgement. This revelation is powerful beyond words.

Whenever a believer is opposed for being a Christian (1 Pet 4:16 ESV) we can fall to prayer to Jesus our exalted Lord for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

With Christ as our advocate interceding before the throne of the Father we can expect recognition from on high and power to preserve our discipleship.

The Accuser cannot finally harm us (1 John 5:18 ESV) for Jesus’ prayers will prevail;  “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail(Luke 22:31-32 ESV) proved true first for Peter, then for Stephen and will do so for us…

In Christ we are in an extraordinary position of revelation and authority. 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 19th Nov, 2018 Location: Unknown

Author: Dr. John Yates

MESSAGE
YouTube or PODCAST:

19. Nov, 2018.

References   [ + ]

1. cf. Ps 59:8 ESV
2. Isa 1:2-20 ESV; Jer 2:4-13 ESV; Am 2:9-16 ESV; Mic 6:1-8 ESV.
3. Acts 7:16 ESV, Josh 24:32 ESV
4. Isa 66:1-2 ESV; Acts 7:49-50 ESV
5. Acts 7:11-12, 19, 38-39, 44-45 ESV
6. Heb 8:7, 13 ESV; Heb 10:1-2 ESV
7. Acts 9:24 ESV; cf. Acts 8:1-2 ESV
8. Matt 26:59-61 ESV; Luke 23:10 ESV
9. Ex 16:6, 12 ESV; Job 40:14 ESV; Pss.18:35 ESV; Pss.20:6 ESV; Pss.21:8 ESV; Pss.110:1 ESV; Hab 2:16 ESV
10. Heb 1:3 ESV; Heb 8:1 ESV; Heb 10:12 ESV
11. cf. Rom 8:33-34 ESV; Heb 7:25 ESV
12. Deut 19:17 ESV; 1 Ki 3:16 ESV; Acts 4:7 ESV; Acts 5:27 ESV; Acts 6:13 ESV etc.
13. Zech 3:1-10 ESV cf. Dan 7:10 ESV
14. Isa 3:13 ESV cf. Job 19:25 ESV; Dan 12:1 ESV
15. Acts 8:1, 4 ESV cf. Acts 8:5-8 ESV; Acts 11:19-21 ESV
16. cf. Acts 11:1, 18, 22 ESV; Acts 21:20 ESV
17. Deut 18:15 ESV; Acts 3:22 ESV; Acts 7:37 ESV
18. Luke 10:30-32 ESV; 19:42-44 ESV; 23:28-31 ESV
19. Luke 9:22, 44 ESV; 17:24-25 ESV; 18:31-33 ESV; cf. 24:7 ESV
20. e.g. Isa 1:11-15 ESV; Jer 6:20 ESV; Am 5:21-24 ESV
21. cf. Isa 6:1-13 ESV; Ezek 1-3 ESV
22. Acts 7:55-56 ESV cf. Gen 18:22-23 ESV; Gen 20:7 ESV; Ex Gen 32:9-14 ESV; 1 Ki 18:42-44 ESV; Am 7:1-2 ESV
23. Luke 4:24 ESV; Luke 13:33-34 ESV; Acts 7:42 ESV
24. Jer 7:4, 11 ESV cf. Luke 19:46 ESV
25. cf. Acts 3:1 ESV; Acts 21:17–26 ESV; Gal 2:11-14 ESV

Spirit Life

Ezek 37:11-14 KJV; Ps 119:129-136 KJV; Rom 8:5-11 KJV; Mark 10:46-52 KJV

Introduction      

According to Paul there is an infallible criterion for telling if a person is/is not a real Christian or not? “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (Rom 8:9 KJV). He sidesteps question of ethical and religious practice to declare that Christians are people in whom the Holy Spirit lives.

People are not on some sort of spiritual scale with especially wicked people on one end and especially saintly on the other with one end headed for hell and the other headed for heaven. In Paul’s categorical language if you don’t have the Spirit you are “in the flesh”. By flesh he doesn’t mean “body” but the power of a sinful nature that opposes the will of God.

Jesus himself explained, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit….(John 3:6 KJVIt is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is useless. (John 6:63 KJV). You either have a wholly natural life shaped by this world or a supernatural life shaped in the Spirit of Christ. Life “in the flesh” means death life “in the Spirit” is eternal life.

Exposition

v.5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Fleshly people think fleshly thoughts without concern for the thoughts of God (cf. Prov 23:7 KJV).

Their outlook on life is never Christ-centred and they just don’t “get the vibe” of godly things (1 Cor 2:14 KJV). I’ve met so many people, often on planes, who seem to have resonance at all with spiritual realities. They’re not especially bad people in a moral sense but as people of the flesh they’re spiritually dead people. Unlike genuine believers there’s no struggle within them to lead a holy life, no evidence of the Holy Spirit fighting against their worldly desires (Gal 5:16-17 KJV).

People “in the flesh” simply obey their baser nature without a struggle.

Would that it were that simple. Paul was exasperated by immature Christians in Corinth, “brothers and sister… I could not talk to you as I would to spiritual people, but as I would to people of the flesh, as infants in Christ(1 Cor 3:1 KJV).

Are you an “infant in Christ”?

If you are a young person who spends more time worrying about your image on social media than reflecting the image of God then you are a spiritual infant. If you are an older people obsessed with your health or your grandchildren rather than being zealous for the kingdom of God then you are a “pygmy” in Christ.

Most Christians spend too much time thinking about food, finances, coffee, gossip, television and so on.

The common refrain “I know I should spend more time praying and reading the Bible.” is a good intention but useless until your mind controlled submits to the Holy Spirit.

vs.6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. vs.7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. vs.8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Those who “set their minds on the flesh” live as though this world contained the meaning of life. Paul’s says such a self-indulgent person “is dead even while she lives(1 Tim 5:6 KJV). Looking back on his pleasure seeking days without Christ, St Augustine commented, “Such was my life – was that life?

Men and women “in the flesh” do what they think seems best to them and adopt a way of life “hostile to God”.

They are, to quote from Romans 1, vs.29filled with every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip. vs.30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful….disobedient to parents. vs.31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.(29-31 cf. Col 1:21 KJV). Forget about the particular sins listed, the bottom line is that people of the flesh are self-centred.

In John Piper’s memorable words, they have a “suicidal love affair with independence from God.”  only the Holy Spirit can turn our self-centred thinking into Christ-centred living.

but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” we are told. Moses declared, “the Lord your God…he is your life” (Deut 30:20); Jesus proclaimed, ““I am the resurrection and the life.”(John 11:25 KJV). Most Anglican churches each Sunday recite these words from the Nicene Creed, “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life”. On the walls of the catacombs under Rome some oppressed Christian had inscribed these Spirit-inspired words in Latin, vita vita vita, “life, life, life”. Hallelujah. (Can you sense His (Spirit’s) presence even now?) Everything that the Spirit touches is infused with life and harmony with God – something inexpressibly wonderful.

The gift of the Spirit is absolutely indispensible to a spiritual life because in Paul’s sober estimation those “in the flesh cannot….submit to God’s law (and) cannot please God”.

Apart from the grace of the Spirit of God lost people have no ability1)See Biblical References John 6:63 KJV; John 8:34 KJV; Rom 5:6 KJV; (to please the Father of Jesus because they have no desire to obey him)2)See Biblical References 1 Cor 2:14 KJV; Eph 2:1-3 KJV. Now our passage turns to the positive by turning to focus more pointedly on the Spirit.

vs.9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

It is by entering the realm and rule of the Holy Spirit that natural people are turned into supernatural people who know and love Jesus.

When Paul says “the Spirit of God dwells in you” this could be translated as “makes his home in you”; the Spirit is intimate and influential inside the Christian (John 14:17 KJV).

One of the things that sends me crazy is hearing people refer to the blessed Holy Spirit as an “it” when as personal as the Father and the Son. Anyone who talks about the Spirit as if he were simply some power needs to grow in love with the Spirit.

We love the Spirit by trusting him to work powerfully in our lives as he worked in the life of Jesus when he was on earth3)See Biblical References cf. John 7:37-39 KJV; 1 Cor 2:10 KJV. The Spirit’s great goal is to repeat in us what he did in Christ.

Christians stop growing into Christ-likeness when they resist the working of the Spirit. 

Jesus was quite categorical about the ministry of the Spirit, “he will glorify me by telling you whatever he receives from me(John 16:14 KJV). The test of whether we are trusting the Spirit is not some vague “spiritual” feeling but if Jesus is becoming greater and greater, constantly more glorious, in our estimation. I believe this is true for me, is this true for you?

vs.10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness

The “but” which begins this verse translates us out of uncertainty into the realm of sheer spiritual confidence. Born in the line of Adam we must still die bodily (Rom 5:12 KJV) but adopted into the line of Christ we will live forever – because it’s all about Jesus.

The “Spirit is life” not because we are good living people but because in justifying us, making us right with himself, God has shared with us the righteousness of Christ (1 Cor 1:30 KJV). Because we share in the scale of things as they are “in Christ” this is an utterly remarkable reality. Now comes the highest concentration point of the passage.

vs.11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

As the Holy Spirit gave eternal life to Jesus’ body by raising him from the dead so the same Spirit who lives in us will impart everlasting life to our weak mortal bodies.

The mighty power of the Spirit who breathed eternal life into the broken body in the tomb now indwells us (Eph 1:19-20 KJV) as a guarantee of sharing the eternal life he has given to Christ.

To appreciate, enjoy and be transformed by such a profound reality demands however a mind shaped by the Spirit.

If you focus on how you feel when you are sick and tired these spiritual truths will seem like fantasies, but if you believe that the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you he will give you immeasurable consolation, encouragement and empowerment – to live for Jesus (cf. 2 Cor 1:3-11 KJV).

By faith your “life in the Spirit” will stand out amongst those who “live in the flesh” and have no hope.

Conclusion

True spirituality isn’t some set of religious beliefs or practices but living like Jesus did in the power of the Holy Spirit4)See Biblical References Matt 12:28 KJV; Luke 3:22 KJV; Luke 4:10, 18  KJV etc..

The only spirituality that counts is the spirituality of Jesus and only the Holy Spirit can teach and share such deep things with us (1 Cor 2:11-13 KJV).

The power of the Spirit was the secret of the right living of Jesus and the final explanation of how God raised him from the dead.

If we are “in Christ” the Spirit offers us nothing less than the quality of the presence and power of the resurrected life he gave to Jesus. Every believer and every congregation has a call of God on their life which can only be fulfilled through becoming more like Jesus which means constantly growing in the Spirit.

Let me try to explain something I sense in the Spirit but am finding difficult to explain.

How do you think Jesus felt when the Holy Spirit was outpoured into his mortal body in the tomb giving him new and indestructible life? He was overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of the Spirit’s power.

Since the work of the Spirit was such great news for Jesus the Lord deeply wants to share with us the good news of the gift of the Spirit today5)See Biblical References Acts 2:38 KJV; Heb 2:3-4 KJV.

If you want to be free from habits and thought patterns you know shouldn’t be in your life the Holy Spirit has power for breakthrough.

If you want to speak to people about Jesus but get paralysed the Spirit will empower you. “In Christ” the Spirit offers us the quality of the presence and power of the resurrected life he gave to Jesus.

God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask for him in Jesus’ name and for Jesus’ sake6)See Biblical References Luke 11:13 KJV; John 4:10 KJV; Acts 2:38 KJV.

Over the decades I’ve personally seen or heard countless testimonies from believers who were struggling in their Christian life and then called out to God and were encountered by a power to live for Jesus which made an enormous difference.

Some call this breakthrough the “second blessing” in the Spirit, some being “filled/baptised in the Spirit”.

Forget about the name for such an experience, all that matters is that the name of Jesus is exalted – which is the supreme passion of the life-giving Holy Spirit. Let us pray. 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 28th October, 2018 Location: St Mark’s

Author: Dr. John Yates

MESSAGE
YouTube or PODCAST:

28th October, 2018.

References   [ + ]

1. See Biblical References John 6:63 KJV; John 8:34 KJV; Rom 5:6 KJV
2. See Biblical References 1 Cor 2:14 KJV; Eph 2:1-3 KJV
3. See Biblical References cf. John 7:37-39 KJV; 1 Cor 2:10 KJV
4. See Biblical References Matt 12:28 KJV; Luke 3:22 KJV; Luke 4:10, 18  KJV etc.
5. See Biblical References Acts 2:38 KJV; Heb 2:3-4 KJV
6. See Biblical References Luke 11:13 KJV; John 4:10 KJV; Acts 2:38 KJV

M3: Glorious Unity 05 NOV 2018

John 17:1-5, 20-26; John 12:27-33; John 7:37-39

INTRODUCTION1)FIELD NOTE: [The original much shorter form of this sermon was preached in Khamti in Nagaland, Myanmar. People from 12 churches had gathered on the first day of our seminar. The locals were excited by this level of expressed unity.]

As I was out walking this morning I sensed that the Lord was taking me on a different direction from my prepared material. Back in Yangon a couple of days ago I came across a taxi with a sticker on the back which grasped my attention; it was an image of two clasped hands with the words, “We are Drivers We are Brothers”.

If secular people can have a sense of brotherhood through a shared vocation how is it that Christians sharing in the brotherhood of Jesus2)Matt 28:10 ESV; John 20:17 ESV; Rom 8:29 ESV; Heb 2:11-12, 17 ESV can be so divided?

I have been involved in many attempts at unity building across the Church in Australia for decades (Evangelical Alliance, Perth Prayer etc.) but we never quite seem to reach the level of loving oneness that God desires and for which Jesus died.

As we met as a group of ministers around the table before today’s service, I had a sense of something I first encountered at a wedding some years ago. As I prayed for the couple it was as if they were encircled in a bright band of the love of God. (This marriage is still going strong.) God will do anything to draw us into his circle of love; this is the goal of the cross.

THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER

Preachers on unity often go to the so-called High-Priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 for the outcome of this prayer is the oneness of the Church.

More foundationally than the result of the prayer however is how it is the perfect expression of Jesus own oneness with the Father.

The start of Christ’s intercession commences when he moves from speaking to his disciples to speaking heavenward. “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven…(John 17:1 ESV).

Like in the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane recorded in the other Gospels Jesus is on the threshold of crucifixion and feels very close to heaven.

In lifting his eyes and praying in earshot of the disciples he exposes the depths of his heart for as he himself said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks(Matt 12:34 ESV).

This long prayer of Jesus is held together by his constant address to the “Father3)John 17: 1, 5, 11, 24, 25 ESV.

The unique titles “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father4)John 17: 11, 25 ESV testify that the heart of the Father is being intimately expressed through the life of the Son so that its words are strongly prophetic.

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.(John 17: 4 ESV) Although in time his completion of the work of God would await the “It is finished” of the cross (John 19:30 ESV) he talks of an already accomplished mission because in the Spirit he sees it as already done.

The historical reality of a temporal delay is less real than his vision of faith (Heb 11:1 ESV). On one level “the work” that the Father gave the Son to do (cf. John 4:34 ESV) is what he did for us in coming, dying and ascending to heaven.

But focusing on what Jesus did for us is can easily move the centre away from the Person of Jesus to the benefits he brings, away from his own humanity to ours.

This robs the Incarnation of its power by undervaluing the work which was accomplished in the transformation of Christ’s own humanity in humiliation and exaltation.

Jesus can help us only be our effective mediator because his own mortality is elevated to immortality. John 17 ESV is particularly helpful in dignifying this work of Christ through its powerful emphasis on “glory”5)John 17:1, 4-5, 10, 22, 24 ESV.

Only an appreciation and revelation of glory can release God-given unity.

GLORY OF JESUS

Jesus prayed, vs.1Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, vs.2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. vs.3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.(John 17:1-3 ESV)

The “hour” is the time of Jesus’ betrayal, suffering and death6)John 7:30 ESV; John 8:20 ESV; John 13:1 ESV; John 16:32 ESV an hour of anguish at one with an hour of glorifying God. vs.27Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. vs.28 Father, glorify your name.Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” …. vs.31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. vs.32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.vs.33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.(John 12:27-28, 32-33 ESV).

The “work” which Jesus speaks of as “accomplished(John 17:4 ESV) is the work of glorifying his Father and the eternal life of as knowing God and himself (vv.2-3) comes through the glorious way in which Father and Son know one another. This is addressed in  the  next request; And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.(John 17:5 ESV).

Jesus is looking forward to returning to the eternal uncreated glory of God (John 6:62 ESV); being taking up in his humanity into the unlimited sphere of the Father’s presence.

To quote Paul, into union with vs.15the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, vs.16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.(1 Tim 6:15-16 ESV)7) cf. Rev 4:11 ESV with Rev 5:12 ESV.

By death, resurrection and ascension Jesus will become one with the Father in a far more elevated way than possible during his earthly life.

As the triumphant Lamb of God the glorified humanity of Jesus now shares fully in the attributes of his Father, to quote Revelation, he is “Lord of lords and King of kings(Rev 17:14 ESV)8)cf. Deut 10:17 ESV; Dan 2:47 ESV.

Since the work of the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45 ESV) is “much more” powerful than the ruin from the first Adam (Rom 5:15, 17, 20 ESV) Jesus has done far more than recover the glory lost in Eden (Rom 3:23 ESV).

The glory of the Lord Jesus and salvation in him is nothing like the feeble imaginings of a Buddhist Nirvana, Islamic Paradise, or tropical island getaway of Western dreams. Jesus has ascended (1 Tim 3:16 ESV) into unbreakable oneness with the uncreated glory of God. This is the glory he gives to his Bride the Church (Eph 3:21 ESV).

GLORY FOR THE CHURCH

Jesus’ prayer rises to supreme heights when he testifies, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one…. to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world…. that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”(John 17:22, 24, 26 ESV)

The glory of God which Jesus gives to the Church for her unity is the eternal glory to which he has returned in heaven. This is beyond the limits of earthly manifestations for Christ has taken us his Body “into God” forever 9)Eph 1:3 ESV; Col 3:3 ESV.

By grace we are as essentially one as Christ is one with his Father. vs.10All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. vs.11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they maybe one, even as we are one.(John 17:10-11 ESV).

We cannot make ourselves one or somehow become one by human effort. The unity we share is essentially divine and so an accomplished reality.

Peter testifies of the exceeding greatness of salvation by saying, vs.3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, vs.4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.(2 Pet 1:3-4 ESV).

As humanity fell into disintegration, death and decay (Rom 8:20-21 ESV) through selfish desire, our sharing in the oneness and incorruptibility of the character of God in Christ means glory and immortality10)Rom 2:7 ESV; 1 Pet 1:3, 23 ESV.

The essential unity of the Church is a sign of the power of the gospel to regenerate the creation by bringing it into the indissolubility of God’s own life11)Matt 19:28 ESV; Rev 21:4 ESV.

In sharing with us his own glory God has shared with us his own indivisible nature as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The New Testament the Trinitarian glory of God; “the Father of glory: (Eph 1:17 ESV), the “glory as of the only Son from the Father” in Jesus12)John 1:14 ESV cf. 2 Cor 4:6 ESV; Heb 1:3 ESV, and “the Spirit of glory and of God(1 Pet 4:4 ESV).

There are not three separate glories but one glory in three Persons perfectly united in love.

As the one Church shares in the unity of the one God it is impossible for there to be a denominational, Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic or Orthodox etc., glory. If we think otherwise we are as foolish as the contending factions in the Corinthian Church of whom Paul asked, “Is Christ divided(1 Cor 1:13 ESV).

GLORY MAKES THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE

Jesus prayed for the unity of the people of God for an express purpose, so “that the world may believe that you have sent me…. that the world may know that you sent me…(John 17:21, 23 ESV).

Unity makes spiritual realities visible in a way that engenders belief because unity is the result of glory, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,(John 17:22 ESV).

God’s glory appears (Ex 16:10 ESV), is revealed (Isa 40:5 ESV), it can be seen (Num 14:22 ESV), it is radiant13)Matt 16:27 ESV; Luke 2:9 ESV; 2 Cor 4:6 ESV; Acts 7:55 ESV; Acts 22:11 ESV.

Glory makes the invisible God visible.

This is why the Word became flesh; “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.(John 1:18 ESV), “he (the beloved Son) is the image of the invisible God(Col 1:15 ESV).

This revelation of the invisible God happens most potently in the Church.

God is “seen” in his Word put forth14)Isa 1:1-2 ESV; Isa 13:1 ESV; Rev 1:1-2, 12 ESV, and “the manifestation of the Spirit” in spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:7 ESV) is a real seeing of the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Glory gives people a revelation of the inner reality of God. So when Barnabas came down from Jerusalem to test out what was really happening amongst the Gentiles in Antioch, “he… saw the grace of God(Acts 11:23 ESV). Making the spiritual visible through the impartation of glory is central to the ministry of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Pet 4:4 ESV).

GLORY IN THE SPIRIT

Jesus declared, vs.13When the Spirit of truth comes….vs.14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14 ESV), but the Spirit’s ability to reveal Jesus to the Church hinges on Christ’s own prior glorification.

vs.37Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. vs.38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’vs.39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.(John 7:37-39 ESV)

The Spirit was not “given” until Jesus glorified the Father through his suffering and returned to the majesty of heaven. Only when the humanity of the Son had been united with the glory of the eternal God could the Spirit be poured out at Pentecost.

The mission of the Church released at Pentecost was an answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

SENT IN GLORY

In John 17 the disciples are believers because they know Jesus has been “sent” by the Father (John 17: 3, 8, 25 ESV). This sentness is the sole way in which Jesus oneness with God is revealed in love.

Before however the disciples can “see” that Jesus is one with God his own knowledge of being sent as the Saviour of the world testifies to Christ of how much the Father loves the world in sacrificing him the only Son (John 3:16 ESV).

This also is the basis of Jesus’ own sense of being loved; “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.(John 10:17 ESV).

Only through sacrificial self-giving in sending and being sent are and Father and Son united in love15)John 8:55 ESV cf. John 17:3 ESV. Without the Word becoming flesh the depths of the inner love of God would have remained unknowable.

Jesus’ prayer makes it plain that we are loved by the Father with the same glorious eternal love which sent him into the world, “I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me…. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (vv.23, 25).

The result of our oneness is that “the world may know that you sent me” (v.23).

All this means that the unity of the Church is an essentially missional unity, a unity experienced and expressed in being sent; “all wills bowing in the same direction, all affections burning with the same flame, all aims directed to the same end….an inward unity expressing itself in a common message and mission…. (Milligan-Moulton; Strachan)”.

Only by cooperating in mission can the Church reveal the full extent of the saving love of God. If in Christ God shares with us his own glory, love and unity why do we live as so divided?

The answer must have to do with the cross.

JOHN (Seventeen) and the CROSS

As Paul confronted the contending parties in Corinth by holding up “the word of the cross(1 Cor 1:10 ESV ff.) so Jesus’ great High Priestly prayer necessarily begins with a consciousness of his “hour” of suffering (v.1).

Jesus knows that without his suffering the love of God cannot be perfected, his oneness with the Father cannot be shared and the revelation of glory cannot be completed. The theme of the revelation of the glory of God in John’s Gospel is highly distinctive16)John 1:14 ESV; John 2:11 ESV; John 12:41 ESV.

The fullness of the loving glory of the unseen God (John 1:18 ESV) is decisively manifest in Jesus willingness to die (John 10:17 ESV). Whereas abandonment characterises Christ’s cries in other Gospels in John the note of fulfillment is dominant (John 19:24, 28, 36 ESV).

The climactic words from the cross, ““it is finished”(John 19:30 ESV), reveal the perfecting of the Son’s oneness with Father by testifying that he has completed all the will of God.

The suffering of the cross is the highest point of the revelation of Jesus’ unity with the Father because it is the highest expression of self-sacrificial love.

In dying the Son glorifies the Father through obedience to his will and so the Father glorifies the Son by giving him all authority that the world may know the truth of their shared glory (John 17:1-8 ESV) and become one with it.

When Jesus says in John 12 that in death he must be “lifted up(John 12:32-33 ESV) the Jewish readers of the Gospel would connect this with the covenant curse of being cut off from God by hanging under the Law (Deut 21:22-23 ESV).

When “it is finished” the the Lamb of God has taken away the curse and opened a new creation for all believers17)John 1:29 ESV; John 3:14-15 ESV; John 6:51-58 ESV cf. Rev 22:3 ESV.

Jesus proclaimed the necessity of his death for the creation of a new community; “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified … unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit(John 12:23-24 ESV).

Jesus is no longer alone in the glory of his Father (cf. Heb 2:10 ESV) because his death has released his glorified life into the world.

If we would be dynamically united with the glory and unity of God we must walk with Jesus in the way of self-sacrificial love and in the laying down of life for friends18)John 12:25-26 ESV; John 15:12-13 ESV; Eph 5:2 ESV.

For Christians to live together in love and unity requires an active participation in the sacrifice of Christ for others.

In 2 Corinthians 1:5-6 ESV Paul seems to tie his sufferings to the actualisation of fellowship in the Church. vs.5For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ we share in the overflow of comfort too. vs.6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”

Christ’s sufferings flow into our lives through the anointing of the Spirit and flow out to others for their completion in Christ.

Suffering with Jesus releases the fullness of his sacrifice in the Church (Col 1:24 ESV); this is why Paul exhorts the Ephesians, “I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.(Ephesians 3:13 ESV). This glory makes the invisible God visible in the fruit of the unity of the Church for the salvation of the world.

CONCLUSION

John 17 reveals the heart of the Father in the prayer of his Son, a prayer to be shared in as the one Church of God.

Christ was willing to die so that through glory the love of the invisible Father might be made visible through the Church for the salvation of the world.

The visible unity of the people of God speaks prophetically of the destiny of the whole universe. In the plan of God love gives glory for the final unity of all things19)John 17:20-26 ESV; Eph 1:10 ESV.

The Church is as gloriously one as the Father and the Son (Eph 3:21 ESV) but constantly struggles to manifest the character of this eternal unity through her unwillingness to embrace the scandal of the cross.

Our disunity reflects our failure to love (Col 3:14 ESV) one another sacrificially in the power of the God who “so loved the world” which hated and murdered his Son20)John 3:16 ESV; John 7:7 ESV; John 15:18 ESV; John 17:14 ESV

The circle of love which is the Father, Son and Spirit in their mutual other-glorifying is already drawn around all those who are in Christ.

Our great need is for mothers and fathers in faith who live self-sacrificial lives to release Christ’s glory for the churches and authoritatively teach others how to live in the same way.

Our manifest divisions are a tragedy for the world for which Christ died.

Only a revival of love can turn back the tide of fragmentation which has flowed so powerfully across the centuries.

This would be a tremendous miracle, but since all this has already been accomplished in Christ it is not beyond the reach of faith21)John 17:4 ESV; John 19:30 ESV. 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 5. November, 2018 Location: Unknown

Author: Dr. John Yates

MESSAGE
YouTube or PODCAST:

5. November, 2018.

References   [ + ]

1. FIELD NOTE: [The original much shorter form of this sermon was preached in Khamti in Nagaland, Myanmar. People from 12 churches had gathered on the first day of our seminar. The locals were excited by this level of expressed unity.]
2. Matt 28:10 ESV; John 20:17 ESV; Rom 8:29 ESV; Heb 2:11-12, 17 ESV
3. John 17: 1, 5, 11, 24, 25 ESV
4. John 17: 11, 25 ESV
5. John 17:1, 4-5, 10, 22, 24 ESV
6. John 7:30 ESV; John 8:20 ESV; John 13:1 ESV; John 16:32 ESV
7. cf. Rev 4:11 ESV with Rev 5:12 ESV
8. cf. Deut 10:17 ESV; Dan 2:47 ESV
9. Eph 1:3 ESV; Col 3:3 ESV
10. Rom 2:7 ESV; 1 Pet 1:3, 23 ESV
11. Matt 19:28 ESV; Rev 21:4 ESV
12. John 1:14 ESV cf. 2 Cor 4:6 ESV; Heb 1:3 ESV
13. Matt 16:27 ESV; Luke 2:9 ESV; 2 Cor 4:6 ESV; Acts 7:55 ESV; Acts 22:11 ESV
14. Isa 1:1-2 ESV; Isa 13:1 ESV; Rev 1:1-2, 12 ESV
15. John 8:55 ESV cf. John 17:3 ESV
16. John 1:14 ESV; John 2:11 ESV; John 12:41 ESV
17. John 1:29 ESV; John 3:14-15 ESV; John 6:51-58 ESV cf. Rev 22:3 ESV
18. John 12:25-26 ESV; John 15:12-13 ESV; Eph 5:2 ESV
19. John 17:20-26 ESV; Eph 1:10 ESV
20. John 3:16 ESV; John 7:7 ESV; John 15:18 ESV; John 17:14 ESV
21. John 17:4 ESV; John 19:30 ESV

ETHICS: Sharper and Harder (The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female) Tue 30 Oct

Where is the battle going next? What will be the next front? The intensity of attack seems exponential.

“Have you ever noticed,” said Dimble, “that the universe, and every bit of the universe is always hardening and narrowing and coming to a point?”

His wife waited as those wait who know by long experience the mental processes of the person who is talking to them.

“I mean this,” said Dimble in answer to the question she had not asked. “If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family – anything you like – at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrasts weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.” ―C.S.Lewis That Hideous Strength

Our presentation of truth, natural law, Biblical truth (Ps 119 law, statutes, principles, ways, precepts, decrees, commands) will be interpreted as hate speech.

How does this relate to the previous post re A Christian Basis re Transgenders?
See Full Article: “A Christian Basis re Transgenders and a safe place for our children.” chooselifeaustralia.org.au

The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female – is an unprecedented rebellion against God and His Creation.

THERE IS NO SPECTRUM

Loving our neighbour and our neighbour’s children means also warning against encroaching evil.

As watchmen WE are responsible if we do not sound the alarm.

If we, as informed Christians, support politicians and educators whose firm commitment is sexual confusion and indoctrination of our children, then we too are guilty of allowing our little ones to be led into sin.
 
Will we, in our voting, support an evil that Jesus condemned outright as evil?
 
Yes, the choices for our nation are sharper and harder – where “there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous”. Sharper because the choices are more clear; harder because of the consequences to us if we fail in our watchman duty to love our neighbour, and because of the consequences to our nation if it does not heed the warning.
 
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem and the heavens are open to wide-eyed shepherds.
Sing, dance, exchange gifts and good wishes. Forgive, be at peace with one another. There is something bigger than ourselves.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem.

ETHICS: A Christian Basis re Transgenders and a safe place for our children. (The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female) Oct 2018

What did Jesus say?

Firstly, Jesus affirmed the creation story. Matt 19:4-6 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female – is an unprecedented rebellion against God and His Creation.

We must preach and teach the fundamentals of creation and their application – male and female (no spectrum), its complementarity as the ordinance of marriage and the imago dei (Image of God) – to be created in the image of God.

Secondly, Jesus explained and affirmed the command (Luke 10:27) to love our neighbour. Loving our neighbour and our neighbour’s children means not only caring for them in present calamity but also warning against approaching calamity (e.g. a flash flood) or helping to protect their future from encroaching evil – in this instance state mandated sexual indoctrination.

Loving our neighbour is not optional. “Hate evil and love good, then work it out in the public square” (Amos 5:15 Msg)

Thirdly, Jesus said “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt 18:6).

Jesus’ condemnation re leading children into sin is quite specific as is its judgment. Other evils that concern us do not merit the same specific judgment. May this truth be reflected in our thinking and our living.

If we, as informed Christians, support politicians and educators whose firm commitment is sexual confusion and indoctrination of our children, then we too are guilty of allowing our little ones to be led into sin.

Also see:

Full Article: “A Perspective on our times to a Christian audience. Breakfast Talk Sat 30 Sept 2017” chooselifeaustralia.org.au

Full Article: “God’s Creation Order. What is our basis for this battle we are waging?” chooselifeaustralia.org.au

Lachlan Dunjey 25 October 2018


The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem and the heavens are open to wide-eyed shepherds. Sing, dance, exchange gifts and good wishes. Forgive, be at peace with one another. There is something bigger than ourselves. The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem.

ETHICS: The polarisation of medicine and medical defence organisations. (The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female) Oct 2018

What is child abuse? 

The mutually exclusive “affirming” pathways for children wishing to transgender represent a clear ethical divide in which it is essential for medicine, not activists and not governments, to be decisive and authoritative. There is no neutral.

It is inevitable that at some point there will be consumer legal action for either affirming OR failing to affirm.

Who will decide? Will it be doctors, psychologists or the lawmakers? If doctors, then will it be the psychiatrists or paediatricians who tend to have opposing views? Associations of paediatricians hold very definite opposing views.

Which side of the polarity regarding child abuse will Medical Defence Organisations defend? If they defend surgeons who do transgender mastectomy for a 25 yr-old on the grounds that fully informed consent was given, will they also defend surgeons who have done the same procedure for a 13 yr-old who decides to sue when an adult?

Further, will MDOs defend the surgeon who refuses to do a mastectomy for a 13 yr-old?

And how will MDOs decide? Will different MDOs have different approaches to these matters because their boards have been taken over by people with set ideologies?

Will MDOs simply side with what is legal – if governments declare that affirmation of birth sex or reversal counselling is child abuse and punishable by law?

For the sake of our MDO insurance premiums we need decisions now, rather than a decade from now. It is to be hoped that MDOs will continue their honourable, professional status and be much more than just another insurance company.

This is a clear ethical divide in which it is essential for medicine, not activists and not governments, to be decisive and authoritative. There is no neutral.

A note re affirmation of feelings unsupported by evidence.

“Yes, you must affirm the feelings – progress is not possible unless you do.”

“The evidence doesn’t have to support the feeling – it doesn’t have to be totally true.”

Déjà vu1)Déjà vu is the feeling that the situation currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past.?

Consider “recovered memories syndrome”. After attending a seminar in 1995 on Memories of Abuse, I wrote inter alia (Among other things) the following

If we have not ultimately questioned historical accuracy by using intervention strategies at some point and 20 people are imprisoned as a result of subsequent criminal charges, and it is then found that the memories were not factual, then – despite the existence of disclaimers and contracts – we may be accused of having failed in this wider responsibility.  This is equally true even if only 1 person is unjustly imprisoned, and it is also true even if only 1 person is unjustly accused.

And, re transgenders, if we have not even queried whether there are possible contributing factors or stressors in children wishing to transgender – such querying itself labelled as abuse by those who insist on affirming the wish – then we have failed our ethical and professional responsibilities as doctors, and our duty as community leaders and parents.

We have failed the child and we have failed the community. We have failed medicine.

Lachlan Dunjey 28 Oct, 2018.
Full Article:
“What is child abuse? the polarisation of medicine and medical defence organisations.” chooselifeaustralia.org.au

A note on the doctor/patient relationship “Why this Declaration?” conscienceinmedicine.net.au

The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem and the heavens are open to wide-eyed shepherds.
Sing, dance, exchange gifts and good wishes. Forgive, be at peace with one another. There is something bigger than ourselves.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem.

References   [ + ]

1. Déjà vu is the feeling that the situation currently being experienced has already been experienced in the past.

ETHICS: Counteracting the Trans Culture. Christian Parenting “ (The warfare against heteronormativity – male and female) 1 Nov

How To Respond To Your 7-Year-Old Boy Who Thinks He Might Be A Girl. Is the situation different from that of the second half of the 20th century in terms of the sexual culture? Yes, primarily then the culture was accepting of heteronormativity with “normal” sexual desires between “normal” male and female but seeking to make this a “free sex” culture, to hook-up with anyone you like free of consequences.

The contraceptive pill aided the illusion of free consequences. Abortion became a battleground of women’s rights and the baby was relegated to a piece of tissue that wasn’t – by any stretch of the imagination – really human (yes, stated openly in our national parliaments as recently as a decade ago).

At least masculinity and femininity were accepted and even (perversely) celebrated, and pornography became and continues to be a huge industry and battleground. Then came the flagrantly homosexual Mardi-Gras and families with children shared in the showtime.

And then came the Trojan horse of the Safe Schools Coalition of Australia, born as an anti-bullying program for schools and endorsed in our parliaments, despite the revelation that this was an indoctrination program to prematurely sexualise our children. It is still endorsed by party policies and still supported by people who still (!) vote for the MPs that support these policies.

The principal spokesperson for SSCA is on the public record – visually – as saying the program was not really about bullying but about eliminating heteronormativity.

The evils of the safe-schools program are on the public record but included is the permission and implied encouragement to find out what sexuality you are by allowing more than one virginity with more than one orifice with both male and female, that pregnancy can be avoided by using a different orifice, and that techniques and aids – including for “acceptable” masochistic sex – could be found on online helpfully linked, and we can show you how to avoid your parents discovering any of this.

So sexual experimentation was encouraged. Permission was given to “discover” whether you were heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Ultimately you could be whatever “gender” you liked despite your birth sex and physical anatomy (and genetics) along a spectrum of genders and that you could change your gender whenever you liked.

And somehow, when we were asleep, moves came to change our birth certificates to eliminate sex “assigned at birth” from the certificate. Also of course, substitution of mother and father with “Parent 1 and parent 2”. (How was it that such legislation has been passed and is still being pushed? Yes, it is and was by wilfully ignorant MPs who blindly supported the anti-discrimination logic of the LGBTI agenda.)

We warned our MPs and the public of the consequences of legalising same-sex marriage but we were told there were none, that this was a step that needed to be made to counter discrimination against same-sex attracted people and that legal safeguards would be introduced to protect freedom of speech, freedom to believe, freedom to teach and freedom to act and live accordingly in our culture and occupations.

And now we know these freedoms are under threat – despite international treaties that clearly state these rights.

What are the current specific battle fronts?

Premature sexualisation of our children has intensified through our schools, pre-schools and media but the two main fronts that we must now battle in our parliaments, in our schools, and in our homes “around the kitchen table” are

• our freedom to believe, speak, teach and live what we believe

• to be whatever gender you like – with all the lifetime consequences of this – with the accusation of being a child abuser if we do not affirm this process, ultimately with the threat of having children taken from us.

Why “around the kitchen table”? Because the stated sadness of the retiring president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, was that “you can say what you like around the kitchen table”, her regret being that the AHRC did not get this far in eliminating wrong teaching and discrimination. One would hope that she was joking but given the history and the serious responses of many commentators it would seem not.

So, what can we do? Yes, we must be a Voice. Yes, there have been many valiant Australian voices in this battle. We give honour to the many who have been at the forefront of this battle and the books that have been rapidly produced to educate us in this serious conflict of worldviews.

In our connections with the public, with our schools – state and private – we can all be a voice and in terms of informing and teaching in our churches and Sunday Schools and young people’s work it is essential to be involved.

But most of all we must win “around the kitchen table” in our homes, in our parenting.

We can be very grateful to Professor Gillian Triggs for highlighting this fundamental battleground focus against totalitarianism. This is where we must win for the sake of our children.

The rest of this short paper then is about what we model and what we teach “around the kitchen table” with an emphasis on transgenders.

OK, so what is needed – and for some was always there – over and above normal “good” Christian parenting? Over and above seeking for our children to grow in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord? Over and above loving our children, spending time with them, teaching and memorising Scripture, praying with them, agonising with them in times of rejection or conflict with others?

In a word – Celebrate! Even with joy!

Celebrate creation, not just teach it and point out the magnificence of design and beauty and give thanks for it, but actually celebrate. Jump up and down and get excited about concepts of “irreducible complexity” and how God might have done it and the pleasure He had in doing it.

Celebrate the child, giving praise to God for the gift that He has given to us as well as the gifts He has given to the child and making him/her so special. Loving the child just as they are and who they were created to be, not just for what your child has done although we must give praise for that too – but for who your child is. Yes, jump up and down and get excited with your child giving the praise to God.

Affirm and celebrate purpose for your child in reading (and celebrating!) God’s word to us e.g. in Psalm 139.

Extol and celebrate the wonder of design in all of nature pointing all the time to the God who did it. Get excited about male and female and the reproduction – in kind – of the species. Get excited about your child’s boyhood or girlhood and that this was determined too. Celebrate masculinity and femininity

And in all of this and underlying it, Celebrate God, the Giver and Designer. The Beginning and the End. The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life that we might live. Get excited – and stay excited – about this too with your child.

Celebrate and Teach Truth.

We should be certain in our own minds as to God’s truth so that we can effectively communicate this in our conversations and teaching and correcting if needed. The Creator genius made male and female. There is no biological spectrum.

Yes, there are spectrum’s of personality and character within these biological poles. Yes, we can celebrate the “tom-boy” freedom of the girl and admire and love her and fall “in love” with her but she will always be gloriously female – even in adulthood and the mother of a family. And we can appreciate and admire the sensitivity and gentleness of the male who can also have huge strength of character in putting wrongs right and leading our world. Thank God for these differences. Celebrate.

But to then classify these differences as being fluid or dynamic “genders” along a spectrum using such terms (believe it or not) as masculine and feminine (how weird is that when they are trying to neuter those terms) and then to reinforce (always, never to give light to the situation) these artificial constructs by “treating” with hormones or the amputation of sexual organs into – wait for it – the newly fixed pseudo-biological polar opposites of male and female is a mind-boggling exercise and an abuse.

When the situation is confused and when your two-year-old boy tells you that he is a girl, what are you going to say? Will you tell him that’s OK and that no one should tell him otherwise, or will you pick him up, love him and tell him he is welcome to like girl things and pretend at times he is a girl but that you love him as “your boy” and he will always be your boy and that you are so proud of him?

And when your six-year-old girl tells you that because she has so much fun with boys that she thinks – like the school teacher told her she could – she is really a boy, what are you going to say? Will you say “of course, that’s OK and you can continue to work that out for yourself” or will you say that you love your tom-boy little girl and you are so pleased she can do boy things and even think like a boy, but “you will always be my precious beautiful, wonderful little girl” and that she may even grow up into a beautiful queen and yet always be adventurous and mischievous in the way she can think.

And, as appropriate, point out the errors and false teaching that are around, that create confusion directly in opposition to God and finally, if needed, to be wary of rebelling against God’s Creation. Continue to pray openly and with your child about all such things

Appendix 1: A Disclaimer

I hope this short paper will be of use in stimulating discussion. Although I have talked in public – and many times in my 50 years in the consulting room – on parenting issues including “ A Safe Place for our Children ”, I do not pretend special authority in this area. We count ourselves fortunate in the family we have and thank God for His grace in helping us in the parenting journey. Our family backgrounds and our friends have been a part of this journey. Thank you, Lord.

I am also painfully aware that sometimes it seems no matter how “good” the loving Christian parenting is that children turn away from family, from Christian values, and from God. Yes, there may be family of origin background factors – even genetic – that we do not and should not pretend to understand (that being too hurtful), but sometimes we must just regard as a “mystery” and continue to pray for their salvation and welcoming into heaven where ultimate healing and restoration takes place. And pray with and support the parents.

Appendix 2: re celebration and feelings

OK, we all have (celebrate this too) different personalities. Some of us find it hard to overtly celebrate, yes, being thankful to God for His goodness and grace and love and expressing this continually – in our weakness – in word and song and in our writing but miss celebration, what I would call a more effusive declaration of praise and deliberate joy and excitation with the ability to transmit this sense to others.

Is this too hard? Is it possible for us of quiet personalities? Is it hypocritical to celebrate when we find it hard to feel it? No, praising our child, praising God, even celebration, are things we must do independent of feelings and as we do this – particularly in concert with others – so the feeling of joy may or may not also be restored.

There is quiet joy and there is effusive joy felt and experienced. Ultimately it may be as with Amy Carmichael “Joy is not jolliness; joy is not gush, but joy is acquiescence to God’s will”.  Or, as a free paraphrase of Psalm 84 vs.10, “I’d rather be here with You, my Lord and my God, in the valley, than anywhere else without You” – and celebrate even that. For further discussion of depression and joy see Understanding Depression – A Christian Perspective

Lachlan Dunjey 1 Nov 2018.

PS also see helpful article:

Fathers, sons, and the sexual revolution we really need” (mercatornet.com) particularly “Fathers, take back your sons.”

“”Counteracting the Trans Culture. Christian Parenting “…around the kitchen table”.” chooselifeaustralia.org.au

Lachlan Dunjey MBBS FRACGP DObstRCOG

Mobile: 0407 937 513

medicinewithmorality.org.au | conscienceinmedicine.net.au | doctors4family.com.au