"New Cart" Ministries
There is a reason why the Bible has not changed. The last epistles were written before the end of the first century. God sealed His word and no one has the right to reinterpret or in any way amend it. Unlike men, God knows all things! God got it right the first time.
Satan cannot stop God's will from being done. Lord Jesus is Head and Builder of His church and the very gates of hell cannot prevail against her. Sadly, many Christians are missing out on participating in this great venture. Satan deceived Eve by offering her an alternative to God's way. God's intent was that man should eat from the Tree of Life. Satan lured Eve with the promise that the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil would make her like God. She also saw that it was good to eat as well as good to look at. What could go wrong? Except God had told Adam and Eve that the fruit of the knowledge tree would kill them.
Satan knows how to entice us still. Often Christians are dissatisfied with their Christian lives. Many look for quick fix or a fast track to being spiritual. When a leader in the body of Christ gets deceived then it is easy for Satan to draw in others. So Satan aims to lure the supposedly spiritual people into the same trap that Adam and Eve fell into.
We read in 2 Samuel chapter 6 about the time when the Ark of the Covenant was to be restored to its proper place. Rather than obey God, the Israelites placed the ark on a new cart. It seemed like a good idea. A new cart and strong oxen to draw it. What could go wrong? We know the story - the ox stumbled, the Ark nearly fell off the cart and Uzzah died trying to protect the Ark. It was a disaster. Yet everyone had the best of intentions. After 3 months, the Ark was moved again. This time there was no cart. The same incident is related in Chronicles. We read there that the Levites carried the Ark, as instructed by Moses. David had learned his lesson!
Christians seem unable to leave the "New Cart" concept alone. Paul rebuked the Corinthians as we read:
"But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully."
Through the centuries there have been many "New Carts". Some are eminently scriptural. For sure the Lord Jesus is coming back for His people and we will receive a new, spiritual body. How much time, research, argument, writing and preaching have been devoted to this subject? And for what? Mostly to bolster the egos of those "experts" in the subject and to create divisions amongst the people of God.
Some "New Cart" teachings cannot be justified, and are even contrary to God's word. No, you do not have to speak in tongues to prove that you are born again. The so-called Toronto Blessing is a classic example of a deception that swept the church and caught up many sincere believers. Yet the Toronto Blessing" is plainly contrary to the Word of God. The word "supernatural" relates to the realm of the physic (i.e. the soul), not the spirit. Yet many if not most Christians are ignorant of this. Please note that "supernatural" is not a word used in the bible.
Some people talk of "soaking prayer" and "soaking worship". The intent may be good. There is great danger in accepting such concepts without seeking the source. "Soaking" sounds good. So did the fruit of the tree of knowledge to Eve. Confusion abounds. Even the word "meditate" has been hijacked by the "New Age" movement. Biblical meditation fully engages our faculties as we seek God and seek to know His word. The satanic counterfeit requires us to empty our minds and let of our will. That is an open invitation for demons to gain access to us and oppress us.
The reason why Christians get deceived is primarily because they are still governed by the soul. Most Christians are either intellectually inclined or emotionally inclined. The intellectual seeks the "best" doctrine. The emotional seek wonderful experiences. Christian bookshops are full of "self-help" books and overflowing with music. Often the only difference between a Christian concert and a worldly one is some of the words!
Until Christians come to the cross to get the old nature terminated they are not actually born again. Until Christians learn to deny the self of the soul and carry the cross daily, they are not spiritual in experience. You may know Jesus as the Way. You probably know Jesus as the Truth. But do you know Him as your Life?
We come back to the Garden of Eden. If Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of Life, history would have been entirely different. God still offers us the choice - The knowledge of Good and Evil or Life? Satan does his best to keep us addicted to the knowledge tree and well away from the Life.
The writer can and will happily justify all his comments in this short article. Feel free to email us and we will respond as soon as we can.
How Many Churches are There in Your City?
Lord Jesus is coming back for a glorious church. He is the Head of His Body. Since Lord Jesus has been glorified, how can we not be? Yet the church appears to be weak and divided. There are at least 13 churches where I live. Yet the word of God makes it clear that each city has just one Church. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians he wrote to just one fellowship. There are 7 churches mentioned in the book of Revelation, but only one in each locality. So in reality there is only one Church in each geographical location. Denominations are man's idea, not God's!
Over the centuries, much truth has been restored to the Church. Baptism by immersion, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the independence of the local church, the priesthood of all believers - all most blessed and essential truths. But there is one truth that is yet to be restored, in practice at least. That is the indivisible nature of the local church. Tragically, doctrine has been used to divide Christians from each other. God's intent is that the Word of God should divide soul and spirit!
An example may help. Some Christians believe in a pre-tribulation "rapture". Others believe that we must endure the great tribulation along with the world. Some think that the Overcomers will escape the tribulation and the carnal Christians will have to endure it. And all the variations and combinations that can possibly be inferred from God's word are bandied around as if it really matters. The fact is that some will be proven right and some wrong. What we believe will make not an iota of difference to what is going to happen. So why should we allow this doctrine to divide us? Other controversial doctrines such as predestination, baptismal regeneration and other teachings are often used as weapons to attack other Christians.
There is no excuse for a Christian to shun another because he does not like the other's point of view. For sure there are central beliefs that are not up for discussion or debate. But to use a particular interpretation of a bible verse to create a divide is playing into Satan's hands. Satan knows God's word better than anyone. He's studied it for thousands of years. Satan used God's word in an attempt to trick the Lord Jesus in the wilderness. Satan knows that God commands the blessing of eternal life where the brethren dwell in unity. Of course Satan will do his best to create disunity.
The unity we speak of is not organisational and it is (as we have seen) not doctrinal. It is an attitude of heart. We are already one in Christ. If only we could focus on the things that unite us rather than what is divisive, we would be much better off.
Some law enforcement officials specialise in detecting counterfeit banknotes. You might think that they would be trained to pick defects and anomalies that would identify the note as counterfeit. Not so. They are taught everything possible about the real banknote so that they are experts in the real thing. Then anything that does not exactly match the real note must be a counterfeit, even if it has never been seen before. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Christians came to know Lord Jesus in this way. Many leaders are greatly concerned about their flock being deceived. If their people really knew Jesus intimately, they would be far less likely to fall into deception. Let us not major on the minors. OK, so angels probably don't have wings and are always called "he" in the word. Does it matter if someone thinks that angels have wings and are female? It is far more important that they know Him whom to know is Life eternal.
Around 40 years ago God began to speak to the Church in Australia about body ministry. For a time all was exciting and people were fired up to serve the Lord Jesus. But leaders began to worry about losing control and the wonderful truth became buried under a pile of caveats that paralysed the people of God. So it is back to the old ways of a paid professional running the show while the people stagnate in the pews. This HAS to change before Lord Jesus comes back. Will you be brave enough to start the conversation in your fellowship?
The Watchman's Burden
These are surely the last days. We see many of the signs that Jesus spoke of being fulfilled before our eyes. Yet the church seems to be oblivious. So many Christians are like Israel in Ezekiel's day. They listen to preaching, enjoy the highly professional musical productions available today, they have countless books and study aids to draw on and yet the church is barely alive. Many listen and then ignore the message, treating it like religious entertainment. The last church mentioned in the book of Revelation is Laodicea. So much of western world Christianity reflects the same characteristics. So what can be done?
Without a progressive vision the people dwell carelessly. We need a fresh vision for the body of Christ and for the lost. I had a dream recently. In the dream I and some others were in a submerged vessel. The surroundings were dim but you could see it was like a passenger ship. It was not sinking but there was little activity. In the dream, I knew that the vessel would soon be flooded. I could tell that the air was running out also. The vessel and all on it were doomed - except me. There was no sense of panic. In the dream, I knew that I could escape. It was nearing time to leave when there was a strange incident that damaged a light fitting and the globe fell out. My reaction was, "So what? The vessel is about to be flooded anyway!" It was then and only then that the true import struck me. Until then leaving the vessel was a remote and mundane thing, not much different from heading off to work after a weekend off. But it began to sink in that this was really about to happen. I was leaving to safety and there would be people left behind, one of whom was my young son. People I knew and were most precious to me would be left behind to perish. I woke up weeping as if my heart would break.
It seems plain to me what the Lord is saying. I am safe and secure in Christ. The age is coming to an end. People are going about their business as if life will go on forever. The word of God makes is clear that the time is short. Since I had this dream I have been shaken out of complacency. I realise that people I know, I work with, talk to at the supermarket and service station are lost and they have little time left. I realise that I've been lacking urgency and fervency in my intercession for the lost. In the dream, my son was left behind. The Lord reminded me that He died for all mankind. All are as precious to Him as our children are to us. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus is the Truth!
It is time to quit playing church and get real. So many meetings are just a Christian entertainment program. Many times the people gathering are Christian in name only. Have you accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour? Or do you just live as you please Monday to Saturday and put on your facade for a couple of hours on Sunday? It is time for the Body of Christ to shed its worldly ways, to offend those who are sham Christians or get them saved and born again! Membership may shrink but at least you will have reality. Many years ago I was in a fellowship of 40. There was a prayer meeting of a small group where people prayed for reality and for revival. The next week, 13 of the 40 turned up. No one had spoken to anyone, it was simply God answering the prayers of the real Christians. For the next year or so, there was a great revival. People were literally being saved daily. Once the church gets right and clean before God, He can begin to work!
I hope this message will melt your heart too. I would love to hear from you if it has stirred you up. Please email us or phone us.
The Salvation of the Soul
A Christian had a question for God that greatly puzzled him. He wondered why God persisted with man. After all, all of mankind perished in the great flood, apart from Noah and his family. The man mused that if he were God, he would just remove all of mankind and start again with a new Adam and Eve. He asked God the question a number of times until God finally answered. God replied with an answer that the man had not begun to consider. God said that in spiritual reality, He had done exactly as the man had thought. The Cross is the spiritual "Flood". God included all men in the death of Christ. Jesus tasted death for every man. Jesus is called the "Last Adam". God finally had the Man that he desired. Even king David, the "Man after God's own heart" was a flawed sinner who stumbled in many ways. But in Jesus, God had a Man who was sinless. This Jesus, this "Second Man" also obeyed God perfectly in every way. He did only what he saw the Father doing and said only what he heard the Father saying.
The bible makes it clear that Jesus died for all men. It also makes it clear that not all accept Him. To those who do accept Him, they receive the power to become children of God. It is also clear that those who accept Christ are new creations. We are now "Of Christ" rather than "Of Adam". Jesus comes to live in us in the Person of His Holy Spirit. We can also receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that we may have power to witness and serve the Lord Jesus. Yet we see countless Christians living in defeat. Divorce rates are high in the Church. There are Christians in prison, not for their faith but for crime. Most Christians do not live in Victory. They live lives bound by temperament, circumstance, past experiences and hurts. Jesus came to set the captives free but many Christians remain in bondage.
So what is the problem? The spirit is brand new, but what about the soul? The
bible tells us that we need to have our minds renewed. The bible tells us that
we should be seeking the will of Jesus to obey Him, not our own desires. It is
not so clear about emotion, but obedience is based on guidance from the Holy
Spirit, not on how we feel about things! So we see that the three aspects of the
soul- mind, emotions and will - are vital issues for Christians to consider. It
would be nice if we received a new soul as well as a new spirit! It would be
great if all our problems evaporated as soon as we were saved. But God has
chosen not to do so. Instead, we are given the opportunity to be delivered in
the realm of the soul. The word "salvation" has lost a lot of meaning over time.
It has come to mean, "Not going to hell when you die". This is such a shallow
definition that it may take a different word to convey the intent of God. Jesus
proclaimed His intent when He first spoke in public: "THE
SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED".
The poor are not just the physically poor but the spiritually lacking. The minds of those who are perishing have been blinded by the god of this world, countless are captive to unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, hatred, fear, pride, rebellion, independence, greed and all kinds of evil attitudes. Most are oppressed by evil spirits and they need to be cast out and kept out.
So far so good. Most people would agree that it is a wonderful thing to be free of such ugly attitudes and problems. But there is an ever deeper problem that few see and therefore few overcome. The bible makes it clear that man has a life within his soul. Before we are born again, all we have is a dormant spirit that is dead to God and a living soul. Most modern versions do not make this clear. Jesus said that whoever seeks to save his life will lose it. The literal translation is "soul-life." This is the life that Adam received when he was created. Adam had a spirit. But he was a living soul. He was neutral towards God and he was also incomplete. God offered Adam the tree of Life. Why was that? Because the life that Adam had was enough only to allow him to make a choice. God does not enforce Himself on anyone. He loves us but does not coerce us. So Adam chose - the action of his will - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - the mind. Eve was deceived in her thinking and ate of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. And that principle has governed every activity of man ever since. Eve saw that the fruit looked good, was good to eat and would make her like God. Satan appeals to those same desires of the soul still.
Fallen man pursues those three things to this day. Man does his best to shun God and make himself godlike. Man seeks to know everything about everything! Science, education, research, invention, exploration - all are intended to enable man to succeed in life without God. Beautiful things are designed to please us emotionally. These pursuits are not necessarily evil in themselves. Yet the endeavour to live apart from God is not just evil, it robs man of his eternal purpose and destiny. We hear of sons of hugely successful men who feel driven to compete with their father. It is a sad situation that speaks of a broken relationship. All mankind is born into a state of separation from God. People do not set out to do evil. Yet the end of their way is so often destruction. The worst dictators are convinced that they are doing the right thing. Once we are born again, it should be a whole new way of life. We receive a new spirit where Jesus is pleased to dwell. We are able to live in obedience because we have both the inner "knowing" and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to do as we are commanded. So why do we fail so much, both as individuals and as the Church? It is because we are not yet delivered from the self of the soul.
When we are born again, we are like spiritual infants. We know nothing. There is the wonderful new life of Christ living within us. God has crucified the wicked old nature that we were born with. We are raised to new life in Christ. But we know very little, if anything of what this means to us. As we grow up in Christ, we are faced with a another choice, which in its own way is as significant as the choice we made to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. Some time in our Christian life (and I speak only to those who are actually born again), we will face the same choice as Adam and Eve. We can hand over our lives completely and unreservedly to the Lord Jesus, allowing Him to lead us and guide us in every respect. Or we can try to please God by our own endeavours, by studying, praying, church attendance, bible study and other apparently spiritual activities. God does not look at our activities. He is solely interested in the source. Is the source, the motivation and power, the Lord Jesus according to His leading in our new spirit man? Or is our activity the result of mental enquiry, a nice feeling or the exercise of will power? You may have met or heard people preaching who are somehow different. They have something indefinable yet real. They speak of Lord Jesus as if they know Him, not just know about Him. They have spiritual authority and their preaching causes us to light up. There are others who say much the same thing but they leave us cold and bored. If they are a gifted orator, they may stir us up and motivate us but it soon fades away. Many Christians seek emotional experiences. Much Christian music inspires the soul. So many Christians seek experiences, good teaching and nice feelings as if they will make them more spiritual. In reality, it achieves nothing. So many Christians have turned away from fellowship because they are not getting their needs met. So many go from Church to Church in search of the "right" one. Even the most basic Christian understanding exposes how ridiculous this is. There is only ONE Church! So what is the answer?
As we have said, Christians have the choice to live out of the spirit or out of the soul. Jesus came that we might have abundant life. The abundant life is found only in Christ. The bible makes it clear in many places. "Christ, who is your Life" and, "For me to live is Christ!" "It is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me!" That verse is one of the most famous. Yet it is also the least understood. How can I say that! Simply have a look at the condition of the Church and you will come to that conclusion. The life of the soul is created life, natural life and NOT spiritual. As we have said, even before Adam disobeyed God and fell, the life he had in himself was not God's ultimate. That is why there was a Tree of Life that Adam could also have chosen to eat. So why do so few Christians experience the Christ-life? Why do so many try to perfect themselves in the soul rather than learn to walk in the spirit? The answer is found again in God's word.
Jesus had many followers as well as the 12 apostles. At one time He sent out 70 on a preaching tour. They came back excited and rejoicing in the power that they were able to exercise. But Jesus threw out a challenge to His followers. He asked them to eat His flesh and drink His blood. To a sincere Jew, this was appalling. They did not understand. "How can this man........" They were following Jesus but they did not know Him. Now a lot of church leaders would worry if most of their congregation spat the dummy and left. Jesus just asked the 12 if they wanted out too. Not exactly the church building program that most would expect! But Peter knew something that many did not. Peter did not say that he understood where Jesus was coming from. He did not ask for an explanation of what Jesus meant. All that Peter knew was that there was nowhere else to go. Only Jesus had the words of eternal life. Another time, an upright young man came to Jesus asking what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus simply said that the young man should sell all he had and follow Jesus. The young man was unwilling to give up his riches. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The disciples realised something that most do not. They asked, "Who then can be saved?"
We may not have material riches that we cling to but there are many other "things" that we consider to be our riches. God WILL put His finger on that thing that is most important to us. How we respond determines our place in God's Kingdom. You may well be saved but that is no guarantee of becoming a spiritual man. The "Pentecostal" church of Corinth was also the carnal church that was condemned for moral laxity and unruliness. Spiritual growth is measured by what we lose, not just by what we gain! Jesus said that we MUST lose our soul-life! This means that all those "good" things must come under the control of the Lord Jesus as well as all the evil being rooted out! This is what Jesus meant when He said, "Blessed is the man who does not sin by doing what he knows is right." There are inbuilt inclinations within us that argue against the spiritual. Peter meant well when he tried to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem to be crucified. But Jesus rebuked him. Peter's thoughts were natural, worldly and not in line with God's will. How often we fall into the same trap. Some marry a person that God sees will stifle their spiritual growth. They allow emotion to cloud spiritual discernment. Women in particular are prone to putting their children ahead of the Lord Jesus. Men tend to be work focused. Independence is valued by the world but it is a curse in the Kingdom of God. How many Christians are obsessed with sport. Yet sport is all about winners and losers. The first competitor was Satan, who set himself up in competition with God. Some would say that competition brings out the best in people. That may well be true, but that "best" is of the soul, not the Spirit. God intends that all should live in Victory!
Two objects cannot occupy the same space. Have you ever seen a dog with two large bones? He drops one because he desires the other. He realises that there is another desirable bone, drops what is in his mouth and picks up the other bone. Utter frustration sweeps over him as he realises that he cannot have both! Christian, you cannot have the life of Christ that fills you with love, joy, peace, patience, self control authority and power while maintaining the life of the soul. The two are incompatible. Many Christians are like the dog, frustrated because they cannot have their own self-will while enjoying the fruit of the spirit. There MUST come a day when we give up on the soul-life and allow the Lord Jesus to live out His life in us and through us and in place of what was there before. At this moment in time, we begin the walk in the Spirit that God so much desires for us. Until then we are like the Israelites in the wilderness, going in circles and shut out from the promised land. Are you a frustrated, failure of a Christian? Good! God is well able to work in your life to set you free. Are you one who has seen this truth and is walking in it? That is wonderful, we'd love to hear from you and be encouraged. The one that God can't help is the complacent, self-satisfied person who sees nothing wrong with them. Oh that God may shine His light on our hearts that we may the truth about ourselves!
There is a great debate between most scientists and most Christians regarding the origins of life as we know it. It's usually described as a debate between Creationists and atheistic, humanistic scientists. Many, but not all, scientists hold to the view that life began spontaneously a very long time ago, long enough at least to justify their beliefs. Of course, no one really can prove or disprove natural history. None of us were there to see the events. To make things a little simpler, I will use the word "scientist" as referring to one who holds firmly to the theory of Evolution. I will use the word "Creationist" to refer to a person who believes in a personal God who created all things. This is simplistic as there are well-known scientists who are also Creationists, but they are the minority.
Creationists also have differences of opinion. Some believe that counting the generations back to Adam makes the earth around 6,000 years old. Others believe that the earth cannot be so young. They point to the dinosaurs as evidence of a much older planet. There are many points of view. The bible is God's word. There are many things that God has not chosen to make clear. The Genesis account of creation is in many ways remarkably similar to scientific theories on the origins of the earth. But the actual age of the earth is one of those things God has not chosen to state. Scientists have been able to use these differences of interpretation as justification for their own theories. Scientists mock the "Young Earth" school of thought as being out of touch with reality. They point to obviously (to some!) ancient rocks and fossils that prove the earth must be incredibly old. Yet science cannot explain the presence of gas and oil just under the earth's surface. How can gas under pressure remain there for so long? The earth is dynamic, with earthquakes, volcanic action erosion from the weather and so on constantly reshaping the earth. So who is right? I believe that it is possible to reconcile the apparent ancient earth (although perhaps not as old as science would imagine it to be) with the bible record of the creation of the earth in Genesis.
The clue lies in the first and second verses of Genesis. Verse 1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth "in the beginning". There is no hint as to when that was. The second verse, however, contains an incredibly significant word, the word "was". At least, most bible translators through history have translated the Hebrew word that way. The word translated "was" is translated differently later in Genesis. It is used of Lot's wife, when she turned into a pillar of salt. Could you accurately say that Lot's wife "was" a pillar of salt" in the beginning? Of course not. She became a pillar of salt, she was not created one! So why could we not translate Genesis 1:2 "The earth became formless and void."? The NIV gives that as an alternative translation in the margin. I do not know the reason why this word should be translated so inconsistently for several hundred years through many different versions of the bible. Neither do I know why the word "Baptise" was invented, lifted from the a Greek word, when we could easily use an English word such as "immerse". After all, when a ship sank, the word you would find in the equivalent of the daily news of the day was that the ship had been baptised!
So if it is correct and the earth "became" formless and void" rather than being created that way, it makes a significant difference to the creation/evolution debate. From the opening account of Genesis, it would seem that a catastrophe had already come upon the earth. It could easily be that this catastrophe wiped out the creation that preceded Adam and all that God created in the 6 days mentioned in Genesis. It makes a lot more sense than imaging that God would create something formless and empty to begin with. So what did happen? Again, the bible is no university course that neatly lays out its subject matter in a way that suits man's intellect. It is a spiritual book, designed by God to confuse the unspiritual. However, there are clues. Isaiah 14 tells of a being called the Star of the Morning. The King James calls him Lucifer. Many believe that the account of the downfall of the king of Babylon is also a reference to the fall of Lucifer. Jesus said that He saw Satan falling like lightning to the earth. We know that Satan was in the Garden of Eden, appearing to offer an alternative to God's plan and purpose for man. Many scientists believe that the earth was struck by a massive object, perhaps a meteorite that destroyed much of the planet, including the dinosaurs. Or perhaps it was Satan's fall that brought about such destruction. No one knows the time between the first and second verses of Genesis. But if there is a substantial period of time, it answers a number of questions.
It is wonderful to know that being born again is not dependent on us having every doctrinal "i" dotted and "t" crossed. However, some people have a genuine interest in the origins of life. Some may be helped by an explanation that can be supported by history, geology, and especially by God's word.