JESUS a person or the President of an International Capitalistic Organization
FaithWalkers Guide by John Kevin Byrne in Amazonas Brasil
Volume 1 of a book titled "A Faith‐Walkers Guide" – both English and Portuguese translation of volume 1
( English version follows the Portuguese in this file)
Volume 1 de um livro intitulado "Um Guia Para Andar Pelo Fé" inglês e português volume 1
John Kevin Byrne
Porta dos Céus - Heavens Portal, Worship and Ministry Training Camp
Manacapuru, Amazonas, Brasil
Email: [email protected]
www.orkut.com - [email protected] - John Kevin Byrne
FaithWalkers Guide By John Kevin Byrne
THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK:
Popular VideoThis young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true.
This writing is not an attempt to lead the church with a new doctrine, nor is it meant to be an attack against well intended church leadership or doctrine of the past or present. As well, this book is NOT meant to be a guide. The Holy Spirit is our guide writing God’s words in our hearts individually.
I write this in obedience to God with a desire to assist each individual Christian to have the faith and accept personal responsibility to hear the voice of Jesus through the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit in his personal daily life through worship, prayer and obedience to God's directions each minute of his life, knowing that each of us is responsible, and will be judged for what we have been given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the son of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This is the first of other writings to be posted on sites throughout the internet freely without being sold. It’s purpose is to help open the eyes and ears of those left on the earth who are yet able to hear the voice of God. To finally and completely be free of the desire to be approved of, or dominated by, any and all political or religious leadership worldwide and to be influenced only by the voice of the only good Pastor (shepherd) Jesus our Savior and Lord and the unique and total head of His church. Which is NOT an earthly organization, religion, or denomination but a Spiritual Organism with one Pastor (leader / Shepherd) Jesus who has been voluntarily given permission by each believer to live inside them, developing an intimate relationship as profound as each individual believer will allow. Jesus has given us all of His supernatural qualities and abilities, limited only by our intimacy and faith. As is written in, 2nd Pedro 1:3-4 and also Romans 8:14; ALL those who are being led by the Spirit of God, (individually) these are the SONS of God. It is urgent for each of us who really do have spiritual ears and eyes, to open them through worship in Spirit and truth fine tuning our ability to hear and see clearly into God’s dimension and obey only His voice, proclaiming our independence and freedom from carnality and earthly dominions! YOU my brother, if the Spirit of Jesus really lives within you, you are a unique bright star of light shining brilliantly in the night! This is the generation for the last move of the Holy Spirit on earth, Now, “all creation is waiting for the Revelation of the Sons of God” Romans 8:21. Fully accept who you are and proclaim to all those who are holding any of the true sons of God in bondage to; “Set God’s People Free!”
THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF TIME:
Popular VideoThis young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true:
God is bringing revival to the earth. Especially in specific places for a wonderful purpose in the days to come. God is preparing common people all over the globe to minister in His power and now is the time to make yourself available for this purpose. There are many changes about to take place throughout the world. World powers are about to change. Religious and financial institutions will be shaken. People’s faith will be tested by great difficulties. Nations and peoples who had been proud and arrogant will be humbled and cry out for forgiveness and help from God. Now is not the time to become more religious but it is a time to establish and enhance the presence of God in our lives.
Traditional forms of Christianity will be abolished or curtailed in many parts of the world including the United States. God will allow this in order to establish pure relationship and worship with Him, in Spirit and truth, so that His people will hear His voice without the distraction or control of man made religion. Now is the time God is preparing a people to carry His presence and anointing to those who will cry out for Him during this time. God is opening the hearts of people in specific places in the earth for this purpose. So Be strong and courageous for our deliverance is very near!
Many will be astonished saying; “How is this possible?” How could God allow this to happen?” Be it known that God is not only allowing this tribulation but He is the director of it. The Church has fallen asleep or blind and deaf to the voice of God. The people no longer listen to the voice of the Lord but to Religious leaders, doctrines and concepts of men. Religion is plentiful but its leaders direct God’s people to themselves rather than to God (the ultimate sin of Lucifer). Even those people and groups who carry the presence of God allow themselves to be elevated above others, because of their anointing or revelation, causing people to look to them for direction instead of God alone. God’s purpose in sending His Son to die for us was to re-establish direct relationship and communication with each believer eliminating the need for any other mediator other than Christ.
1st Tim.2:3-6 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all;…
Those who accept Christ as their savior are promised that they will hear His voice not the voice of men, especially religious leaders, who claim to hear God’s voice, acting as mediators between God and the majority of those attending their churches.
What is Jesus view of ALL other Pastors or Shepherds other than Himself:
John 10:1-18; 1. Truly, truly, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbed up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd (pastor) of the sheep. 3. To him the porter opened; and the sheep hear his voice: and he called his own sheep by name, and leads them out. 4. When he hath put forth all his own, he Goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6. This parable spoke Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spoke unto them. 7. Jesus therefore said unto them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8. All that came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9. I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture. 10. The thief comes only so that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. 11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12. He that is a hireling (paid professional Pastor), and not a shepherd, whose the sheep don’t belong to, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and runs away, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them: 13. he runs away because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep. 14. I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me, 15. even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one flock, one shepherd. 17. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18. No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father.
The word Shepherd here is always translated to the English word PASTOR
Jesus specifically directed his disciples that we have no other PASTOR, leader or teacher besides Him when He said in Matthew 23:8-13 8. But be not ye called Masters (Pastors),: for one is your Master (Pastor), and all ye are brethren. 9. And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. 10. Neither be ye called Guides (Leaders), for one is your Guide (Leader), even the Christ. 11. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye shut the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye enter not in yourselves, neither do you allow them that want enter to enter in.
How can it be possible that Jesus considers all pastors other than Jesus Himself to be killing, stealing from and destroying His sheep. This worried me especially since I was a pastor. I was doing the best I knew how to do to be a good pastor.
Allow me to give you a brief version of my history to help you understand: Many years earlier, before I went to Seminary Bible School, trying to follow Jesus through religion, I had been born again. It happened while I was 12 years at home in my bedroom lying one evening in bed. There I told Jesus I did not believe in the religious leaders in the church I grew up in and that I would give my life to be His disciple, and believe only what came out of His mouth was true, because I didn’t trust anyone else. His presence filled my bedroom and came inside of me. The room was completely dark before because it was night but the room became illuminated with a suave amber light enough to see everything around me. I was born of the Holy Spirit that day, although I really didn’t understand what had happened. A few years later at 17 I was filled with His Spirit. This event happened at home too, during a time of frustration trying to understand the prophecies in the bible about the last days. Although I didn’t receive all the answers to my questions I received a peace and also began to sing and speak in languages my mind did not understand. Many years later I learned what had happened to me during those two encounters with God through our only mediator, the precious Holy Spirit.
One day while living in Georgia, USA, just having gone through a divorce after 10 years of marriage and fathering 3 children, my oldest son Michael was living with me on our property in the interior near the small town of Jasper, and my two daughters stayed with their mother and her boyfriend a short distance away.
I had been away working in Atlanta during the week and only home on weekends so it was only a matter of time before she found someone close by. Their living conditions were not good because her boyfriend was poor, illiterate, and without work. They spent whatever money I gave for Heather and Jessica’s monthly child support on drugs and alcohol. This situation caused me much pain. The house they lived in didn’t even have a bathroom inside and not even an outhouse outside.
One day I was entering a restaurant in Jasper and I heard Jesus asked me “Do you really want to be My disciple”, I said yes. He said that I was to stop traveling from the little town of Jasper to Atlanta where I was earning about $200.00 a day. That He wanted me to ask the owner of the Restaurant for a job as a waiter and wash dishes there in exchange for my meals and an apartment on his property, which they agreed to do.
Jesus told me that during my free time between meals working at the restaurant I was to spend my time alone in my apartment, worshiping Him with my guitar, praying and reading the bible giving attention mainly to His words and directions He gave His disciples. And take each word seriously and personally for myself. He didn’t say how long he wanted me to do this. I asked Him how I would pay my monthly child support for my two girls.. He told me to offer my property for them to live on until they reached the age of 18 in exchange for the support money since it was not being used to support my two girls anyway, and at least they would have a decent place to live. With much doubt, I phoned their mother the next day and to my surprise she agreed.
I stopped my work as a sub-contractor in Atlanta giving notice to my clients. I worshiped God with my whole heart and loved staying as long as I could each day in the presence of the Holy Spirit (which I discovered is the kingdom of God within me) .
During these times Jesus began to speak to me and I actually became familiar to hearing His voice. About three months passed.
One night I was washing my clothes in a Laundromat close to the kitchenette and the woman who owned the business told me she was in such pain that night that her husband almost didn’t let me in because they were going home. She told me 7 years earlier she had been diagnosed as having a cancerous tumor on her spine in her neck. She had rejected surgery because the doctors told her that if she lived through the surgery there was a 50% possibility she would be paralyzed from her neck to her feet. But now the pain was so great that she had decided to risk the surgery. Suddenly I was filled with compassion for this woman I didn’t even know. She had let me in to wash my clothes even though she was in such pain.
Then it happened! Right there in the Laundromat. I heard a voice within me say “Tell her I want to heal her”, I knew that voice! That voice had become very familiar to me during my many times of personal worship alone in my little kitchenette apartment. I heard Him again say “Tell her that I have given you a gift of healing” I had never done this before! I answered “Jesus I am not qualified to heal anyone and the church I was attending would not even consider me for leadership because of being divorced. He answered “You’re not their leader you are mine and I have qualified you, now tell her, because this is not about you, it’s about her, so tell her”.
I was afraid to repeat what I knew Jesus was telling me to do, but I told her and asked her if she wanted me to pray for her. She said yes, we stood in a circle and held hands, me, my son Michael, her and her husband. I began to pray and again I heard His voice say “Put you hand on her neck” I did, and then He said “Tell her she is completely healed”. I said “How do I know that she’s healed? I will just look like a fool! He said “Just tell her!” I didn’t have the courage so I said “You will be just fine”. I finished washing my clothes and left with mixed emotions about what had just happened.
The next week I came to wash my clothes again I saw her pointing to me and talking to another person. I was sure that nothing had happened and she was telling others what a fool I was. I turned quickly to the washing machine to avoid eye contact but soon someone was tapping on my shoulder I turned to see her standing there and she began to tell me her pain was gone! And that she even worked harder each day to make the pain return but it had totally gone. I showed excitement for her benefit, but I didn’t believe yet, surely the pain would return I thought.
The next time I saw her she had seen the doctor and there was no tumor anymore and she was free of the cancer. During the next few weeks many things happened in her life.
She could not read or write so she had never read the bible and she said she had only been in a church once and tried to participate but she couldn’t read the song book so she never returned.
I knew that she had never received Jesus as savior but the Holy Spirit would not let me talk to her about this yet. I gave her a set of audio recordings of the Bible’s new testament to listen to since she couldn’t read. A couple of weeks later I felt compelled to tell her of my personal encounter with Jesus and to my surprise she said that she had the same experience. When I asked?! She replied, “Last night when I was listening to the book of Acts on the tapes I had given her. The disciples of Jesus told the people they needed to repent and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and they would receive the promised Holy Spirit and be saved. She said she stopped the tape and did what she had heard on the tape, believing it was true for her too, and it happened, she received Jesus right there in her home that night! Just listening to her tell me of her experience was incredible!
A couple of weeks passed and I needed to wash my clothes and she was sitting outside on a bench looking sad, I asked her how she was and she told me she and her husband were having problems and she was convinced they would separate. When she said this a familiar voice said, “Tell her I want to heal her relationship”. She began to weep and she moved aside on the bench and motioned for me to sit. When I sat down she said, Ï would never believe this was possible if I had not seen what God had done for her over the past month or so. She asked me if I remembered the first time I prayed for her in the Laundromat? I said of course. She said “I don’t know if anything like this has happened to you before but when you put your hand on my neck a cold wind rushed through me from back to my front and immediately a hot wind passed through me in the same manner and I heard a voice say, “Believe what he tells you now”. It was only then I realized this exact moment the same voice was saying to me “Tell her she is completely healed”. Interestingly enough I didn’t feel anything at the time I just heard His voice and repeated (almost) what He said to her and she believed and was healed.
I don’t share this to give you the impression I have a special gift. I do not! I am no better than you possibly worse. I just like spending time in His presence and I try to believe His words are for me personally. I see myself as just a sheep learning to open my spiritual ears and eyes, and do what I see, and speak what I hear. Even Jesus said “If I say I am something then I am nothing I only speak what I hear my father saying and do what He shows me to do”.
I assumed after this experience that I had a special call to ministry or something, a natural assumption, but wrong, Everyone who believes in Jesus are called to be His sheep and hear His voice but very few are true worshipers of a living Christ daily in their lives at work and at home. Didn’t Jesus say to His disciples; “Don’t worship and pray in public where you are seen by others and receive the acceptance and praise of men”. If we do this He said “we have received our reward and would have none in the kingdom”. I’m not too interested in trading temporary rewards for eternal ones. Not a good deal in the long run.
The point is, Jesus gave His life to prove He loves us and we can trust Him completely with our lives, our plans, our future on earth, and eternally. That we can open our hearts, soul and spirit to Him and let Him live inside us, directing our daily lives each moment.
Jesus knew the danger of being led by human beings with weaknesses such as pride, arrogance, insecurity, and the desire for power or control. Most of us as human beings have an ego problem. We enjoy the attention and admiration of others. Some of us have more of a problem with this than others but all of us have a problem with ego to some degree. There is a danger to us when others begin to look to us for leadership or guidance. It is true that God will anoint us to assist others who have various needs. This is part of the work of the Holy Spirit. The problem comes when we begin to see this anointing in our lives as an indication that God is elevating us to some special position or authority in the body of Christ.
Jesus directed and demonstrated to His disciples that those who were gifted and more mature in the faith were to consider themselves servants who would demonstrate those who had less experience into a strong confident relationship with a living God.
Maturity in the body of Christ is learning to hear the voice of the Lord and submit to the leading of His Spirit. Some would have us believe that maturity is when we submit ourselves to the leadership of another human being. Although this may have some application for the new believer it becomes a major problem when this philosophy is continued on into the life of the more mature believer. Yes it is written that we are to submit ourselves one to another in love and service.
We also make a mistake when we look at the gifts God gave to the church as positions of authority or management. In Ephesians 4:11-16 we read; 11. And it is he who gifted some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, and still others to be pastors and teachers, 12. to perfect£ the saints, for the work of ministry, and for building up the body of Christ 13. until ALL of us are united in the faith and in the full knowledge of God’s Son, and until we attain mature adulthood and the full standard of development in Christ. 14. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed like waves and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, or by clever strategies that would lead us astray. 15. Instead, by speaking the truth in love, we will grow up completely into the one who is the head, that is, into Christ, 16. in whom the whole body is united and held together by every ligament with which it is supplied. As each individual part does its job, the body’s growth is promoted so that it builds itself up in love.
We can see that the giftings of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher are not considered here as positions but as gifts to those who do not have the faith or experience to understand the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit yet. The service these giftings perform is one of helping each believer put faith in his own personal relationship with God. To encourage and give confidence to each one that they too can put faith in their direct connection to God through the Holy Spirit. So that we will not be misled by the leading of others but we learn to listen and obey the voice of the Spirit. When this happens each individual part of the body will be doing its part getting its direction directly from the proper source, the head, Jesus Christ Himself.
Today we do not see this model of the church functioning very well if at all. Instead those who carry the anointing and use it to dominate or be leaders have allowed themselves to fall to the sin of Satan by drawing attention to themselves and desiring God’s children to be dependant upon them. Some have deceived themselves into believing this to be for the protection of God’s children. They assume that God is not able to shepherd His own sheep and that His sheep can not correctly hear His voice.
The truth is that if Jesus sheep are not hearing His voice it is because of their own rebellion or because religious leaders have put their fingers in the ears of God’s sheep and have replaced His voice with their own to fulfill their own interests, programs and projects.
One organization after another have been formed or reformed in an attempt to fulfill Gods purpose in the earth. Some of these religious organizations or denominations claim to have some special knowledge of God or His purposes. Others have claimed that only those who are members of their particular group are guaranteed to have a relationship with God.
But God didn’t call an organization! God sent His Son to fulfill His purpose and eliminated the need for religious organizations with prideful, arrogant, or misguided leadership.
God, through the death and resurrection of His Son, formed a permanent and direct connection with anyone who would humble themselves and call upon the name of Jesus for forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We can read this in Acts 2:36-39. 36. Therefore, let the entire house of Israel understand beyond a doubt that God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!” 37. When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38. Peter answered them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. 39. For this promise belongs to you and your children, as well as to all those who are far away, whom the Lord our God may call to himself.”
I have an extremely important question for you. Has Jesus called you to Himself? Does he work supernaturally through you? Or are you just one of those millions of followers of men and religious leaders? Those pimps of the Holy Spirit selling His sacred presence for tithes and offerings, stealing the visions of the Holy Spirit for your future and redirecting directing you to follow their projects and plans, offering you positions and authority if you become like them. Or maybe you are satisfied just sitting weekly in your little churches obeying your false pastors and paying the hireling for your membership convincing yourself you’re a son of the living God.
Remember, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, after being resurrected from the dead, he told His disciples in Acts 1:4-8; 4. While he was meeting with them, he ordered them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the Father’s promise, about which you heard me speak. 5. For John baptized with£ water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6. Now those who had come together began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7. He answered them, “It is not for you to know what times or periods the Father has set by his own authority. 8. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The response of the apostles was understandably carnal considering they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. They asked if Christ was now going to establish His earthly organization or government and restore power to the Nation of Israel. Jesus responded by saying, in essence “none of your business”. He went on to explain to them that the main thing they needed was not the restoration of the Nation of Israel to power but rather that each one of them individually receive the power of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit to hear His voice and be given power to accomplish what he speaks to them daily.
The large majority of people always seem to want something or someone other than God for their guidance, protection, and security or approval. There also always seem to be those who will gladly step into this position of authority and give the people what they think they want.
When God had delivered the Nation of Israel out of Egypt to worship Him in the wilderness this is what happened in Exodus 20:18-21; 18. And all the people perceived the thundering, and the lightning, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they trembled, and stood afar off. 19. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before you, that ye sin not. 21. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
This is a good example of the problem God faces when He tries to communicate with us. We would rather God communicate through someone or something else. We don’t seem to have the faith or want the responsibility of hearing from God directly.
Likewise Israel demanded a king like the other nations when they already had God as their king. We can read this account in 1st Samuel 8:4-22; 4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah; 5. And they said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto Jehovah. 7. And Jehovah said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not be king over them. 8. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, in that they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 9. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: thou shall protest solemnly unto them, and shall show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
In verses 10 thru 18 Samuel warns the people telling them all the problems they will have in every area of their lives if they chose an earthly king to rule over them.
19. But the people refused to hearken unto the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay: but we will have a king over us, 20. That we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of Jehovah. 22. And Jehovah said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
We can read on in chapter 9 that God gave the people what they demanded and chose Saul to be king over them. This was not God’s first or best choice for his people but God did not force them to accept His leadership. Instead He let them go their own way and receive the consequences of their choice.
Today we also look for great leaders and religious or political organizations to depend on and God gives us what we demand but likewise this is not God’s first or best choice for our lives.
Some would say, “But didn’t the apostles set up an organization to direct and protect Christians in the primitive church?” The answer to this is yes. The apostles attempted to assume this responsibility as well. The Jewish apostles wanted to formulate a religious organization with many rules and guidelines. They even tried to demand that non Jewish Christians be circumcised to be acceptable to God. As usual God had a different idea.
God set up a situation where Peter would break away from his former religious ideas to preach the message of salvation to uncircumcised pagans. During Peter’s preaching to this house filled with pagans the whole group would hear the message of salvation and spontaneously receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This account is recorded first in Acts chapters 10 and 11 and later in chapter 15. God proved to Peter, and later used Peter to demonstrate to the apostles, that there was no other requirement for salvation other than simple faith in Christ and a repentant heart to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and a continued daily encounter with Him receiving vision, direction and power each day letting Him live through us continually and courageously.
The counsel of apostles finely came to this conclusion in Acts 15:19-21; Wherefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God; 20. but that we write unto them, that they abstain from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from what is strangled, and from blood. 21. For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath. And it is further recorded in the following verses; . 28. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29. that ye abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Fare ye well.
Here we can see that the apostles saw the need to relinquish their desire to control the church through rules and regulations. Of course today we don’t worry about food offered to idols and we understand the health reasons for not eating blood. Even so we realize we do not have to fear these things. Actually the only recommendation still valid to Christians today is that we abstain from fornication. We are told that if we keep this essential rule we will do well.
By this example and others we can see that the tendency for leaders to want to control was a problem even the apostles had to deal with in themselves. We can also see that God’s first and best solution is always to focus on leading people into a lifestyle that develops and enhances their individual sensitivity to the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit rather through the control of rules and earthly leadership. We can read Jesus words in John 10:26-31saying; 26. But ye believe not, because you are not one of my sheep. 27. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28. and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30. I and the Father are one. 31. The Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Leadership always seems to fight to keep control as they did in this instance. It seems Jesus was always dealing with two problems during His ministry. The first was the problem with leaders who wanted or felt the need to control. We have been examining this in the Jewish leaders and also in the Apostles who had been given the Spirit of God but could, or would not break away from their form of religion to serve a living God.
The second problem we will now look at. Jesus had to continually encourage His disciples that they only needed to listen to, and trust in their ability to hear, His voice.
The two next sets of scripture in the book of John I believe to be the most important in the bible.
On these scriptures I believe our whole relationship with God depends and can be understood. There is an old saying that “If you give a man a fish you have done well by feeding him once. But if you teach the man to fish he will be able to eat forever independent of the teacher”. I believe a revelation of the next two areas of scripture in our lives is like teaching us to fish. It will give us the ability to depend on our relationship with God alone for everything we need if we remind ourselves of this truth on a daily basis. If we practice this we will not be dependant upon others to tell us what to do or explain to us God’s will for our lives.
In the first area of scripture we take a look at an honest hearted religious leader who recognized Jesus as being from God and seems to be very open hearted and sincere concerning what Jesus has to say.
Lets examine this area of scripture as we look in the book of John 3:1-12; 1. One such person belonged to the Pharisees. His name was Nicodemus, and he was a leader of the Jews.
2. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can perform these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.” 3. Jesus replied to him, “Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4. Nicodemus said to him, “How can a person be born when he is old? He can’t go back into his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” 5. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I tell you, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7. Don’t be astonished that I said to you, ‘All of you must be born from above.’ 8. The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9. Nicodemus said to him, “How can that be?” 10. Jesus answered him, “You’re the teacher of Israel, and you can’t understand this? 11. Truly, truly I tell you, we know what we’re talking about, and we testify about what we’ve seen. Yet you people do not accept our testimony. 12. If I have told you people about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
Here we see a religious leader who wanted Jesus to know that he and some of his buddies were spiritual enough to recognize that Jesus was from God because of the miracles He did. Jesus told Nicodemus that he was not able to recognize who He really was or understand any other spiritual truth unless he was given spiritual eyes provided by the new birth experience. This confounded the mind of Nicodemus because Nicodemus had not received the Holy Spirit. We will discuss this new birth experience more in depth a little later.
Jesus went on to give another very important truth. He said that everyone who is born of the Spirit is guided by an invisible force like the wind. Many times others who observe them can not understand why they do what they do, say what they say, or go where they go. They are like the wind Jesus said. We don’t know where they come from, how long they will stay, or where they will be lead to go. What those led directly by the Spirit to do may not make sense to anyone else.
We can see a perfect example of this when Paul was on his way to Jerusalem. There were many disciples who warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem because they believed he would be persecuted or even killed there. There was even a well known prophet who warned Paul what would happen to him in Acts 21:9-14; 9. Now this man had four virgin daughters, who prophesied. 10. And as we tarried there some days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 11. And coming to us, and taking Paul’s girdle, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. 12. And when we heard these things, both we and they of that place besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13. Then Paul answered, What do ye, weeping and breaking my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.
Paul understood that those who warned him were able to hear God’s voice but he also knew that He must follow what God was leading him to do. Here we see that Paul even went against what a known prophet advised. This must have looked very foolish to Paul’s Christian brothers and sisters who were trying to persuade him against going to Jerusalem. If we read on we will see that everything that Paul’s friends feared happened to him but Paul also had years of successful ministry and ministered to rulers and many others because of his obedience to the Spirit of God. We can see this in Jesus explanation of His relationship with them in John the 14th chapter as we read; 1. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe£ in God, believe also in me. 2. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you? 3. And if I am going away to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will welcome you into my presence, so that you may be where I am. 4. You know where I am going, and you know the way.” 5. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7. If you have known me, you will also know my Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”
8. Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and that will satisfy us.” 9. Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? The person who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
10. You believe, don’t you, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own. It is the Father who dwells in me who does his works. 11. Believe me, I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe me because of the works themselves.
12. Truly, truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. 13. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. 15. If you love me, keep my commandments. 16. I will ask the Father to give you another Helper, to be with you always. 17. He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it neither sees him nor recognizes him. But you recognize him, for he abides with you and will be in you. 18. I am not going to forsake you like orphans. I will come back to you. 19. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. 20. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me and that I am in you. 21. The person who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I, too, will love him and reveal myself to him.” 22. Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23. Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. Then my Father will love him, and we will go to him and make Our home within him. 24. The one who does not love me does not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine, but comes from the Father who sent me.
25. I have told you this while I am still with you. 26. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you. 27. I am leaving peace with you. I am giving you my own peace. I am not giving it to you as the world gives. So do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28. You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away, but I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am. 29. I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
Jesus here is encouraging us not to be troubled or afraid because He knows how difficult it can be living in a world that seems to be led almost totally by the flesh and what it considers common sense giving temporary benefits. When we are led by the voice of the Holy Spirit others may or may not understand or agree, why should they? Even if they are Christians filled with the Holy Spirit they still may not hear the same directions from God as we are hearing. God speaks to each one of us a little differently because His will and purpose is just a little different for each of us as we walk in the world every minute of the day.
We know that God’s will in general is the same for all mankind and His principles and laws always remain the same. He will not ask us to do anything individually that goes against His written word and its principles although even this may seem questionable at times. Like when Jesus said to those around him; Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you can not have any part with me.
God also ministers through us individually in totally different ways many times depending on the need at the time. As it says in 1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
We see here that there are many different gifts, ministries, and effects that are manifest when the Holy Spirit moves on a person who is yielded to him. Some of these are given in the verses following these just given but I believe the Holy Spirit is not limited to even these. One thing I find hard to have patience with is the limitations and boundaries people, even Christians, want to put on God. I am always hearing people tell me that God will not do this or that or He won’t do it this way or that way. They think that because God doesn’t work with them in a certain way that your experience with God is invalid or even worse, that it is evil. We will cover this subject a little further when we discuss the gifts of the Spirit. The one thing I do want to bring out here is that there are many different manifestations and effects that happen when the Holy Spirit works through a person. Think about it, Jesus even rubbed mud in someone’s eyes to heal them of blindness. Also people were healed when the apostle Paul’s shadow fell on then. Putting an anointed piece of cloth on people expelled demons.
All these manifestations may have seemed extremely strange to many people but God many times does things the human intellect has a hard time accepting. Romans 8:14 says that “all those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God”, not those who agree with God intellectually.
Today most people as well find it much easier to be led by the “experts” rather than seeking God’s will for their own lives and developing their spiritual ears to hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit. Make no mistake; believers need to be discipled by other more mature believers. But we are discipled to be followers of Christ and to hear His voice not the voice of human teachers. Even the apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 11:1.. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. Paul was a wonderful example of a man who listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit for his life and ministry. What he was actually saying here was that he wanted us to follow Christ with the same passion so as to know and do God’s will in out lives on a daily basis.
This is the first of many volumes to be written as time passes during the writing of this book.
Future volume subjects will be;
1. The Gifts of the Spirit, just listen and obey.
2. 2. The Prostitution of the Holy Spirit, a good excuse for greed?
May God bless and keep you in His peace and under His protection.
Author: John Kevin Byrne
Location: Porta dos Céus - Heavens Portal, Worship and Ministry Training Camp, Manacapuru, Amazonas, Brasil
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