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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Mon 04 May 2009, 12:31 pm

Hello Friend! In this issue...
From the Editor
Featured Article: "Overcoming Evil"
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
FROM THE EDITOR
The goal of these little mailings is to promote the idea of Jesus Christ being preeminent over all things (Col. 1:18). "He is Lord of All" (Acts 10:36), even though most of His creation persists in their rebellion against Him (either explicitly or implicitly).

We believe all such resistance is futile. Evil will do all it can to frustrate God's Purpose, but in the end, Righteousness will prevail. Man may delay or limit God through stubbornness, ignorance, or arrogance, but man cannot outsmart or overpower God. God is God. The preeminence of Christ means that Jesus is Lord, even though "we do not yet see all things submitted to Him" (Heb. 2:8). The presence of the word "yet" in this Scripture implies that what is not yet a reality is nevertheless an absolute certainty.

Let us be an example to the rest of the world of what it means to live as Christ-centered people. Let us not make the mistake of creating and worshipping a "god" that we have made in our own image. Let us dare to believe, and hope, and proclaim great things about our Savior, the Living God, our Hope, and our Friend.

I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

FEATURED ARTICLE Overcoming Evil by Chip Brogden
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).


Why is there evil?
A better question: Why is there good?

Someone once asked Brother Lawrence, the French monk, if he wondered why there was evil in the world. Brother Lawrence replied that he was not surprised by the evil in the world, he was only surprised that there was not more, considering the malice that people were capable of. In the worst evil, Life and Light come forth and God is glorified.

Goodness, holiness, love - that they exist at all in this world is miraculous.

The real miracle is that good exists, and that God can bring good out of evil. How is it possible? It is a miracle.

All of human history - sin, failure, rebellion, death - all this evil will continue. Not only will it continue, but the Bible says that wicked men and seducers will become worse and worse (2 Tim. 3:13). God will permit evil to come into its fullness. Then, the Bible says He will work all things together for good (Rom. 8:28). He will destroy death, and there will be no more sorrow or crying (Rev. 21:4). He will reverse the curse and bring everything out of weakness, out of death, out of darkness, out of foolishness - all this evil - and will bring forth strength, life, light, wisdom, and good.

You say that's impossible. Yes, with man it is impossible, and we see no way out of this mess. But with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).

Your adversity, your distress, your trouble, your affliction, your persecution, your tribulation, your suffering, your trials, all of them are designed to show you how God turns Weakness into Strength (2 Cor. 12:9); Death into Life (Rom. 8:2); Darkness into Light (Acts 26:18, John 8:12); Foolishness into Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:27-30).

Look at the New Creation: "If any man be in Christ He is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17). He turns everything around in you the moment you are born from above. He continues to do this throughout your life.

He says the same thing in the Book of Revelation, but this time referring to the heavens and the earth: "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5). There is the principle. He is doing it in you now, and in me, and one day what He has done in us He will do in all creation.

Good out of Evil. You see it in Joseph. What did Joseph say to his brethren? "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Gen. 50:20). Joseph is a type of Christ.

"The Stone that the builders rejected became the Head of the Corner." (Matt. 21:42). Despised and rejected of men, betrayed by Judas, forsaken by the disciples, condemned by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. You say what has happened to you is unfair? The crucifixion of Jesus was the most unfair event in human history. Man killed God. Can you imagine that? How evil is that? How dark is that? How foolish is that?

When they arrested Him, Jesus said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke 22:53). He allowed them "their hour". Go ahead and take the greatest concentration of evil you can find, bring the full force of death and hell and satan against the Lord Jesus, let evil do all it can do. What is the end result? He is raised up triumphant over it all.

Jesus did not avoid death. Sometimes death is unavoidable. Sometimes darkness is unavoidable. Sometimes evil appears to have the advantage. But in death, in darkness, in the worst evil, Life and Light come forth and God is glorified. If not here where we can see it, in the End, when all things are revealed, when He makes all things new and wipes away every tear from every eye.
PITHY QUOTE "All things are possible to him who believes. They are less difficult to him who hopes. They are more easy to him who loves, and still more easy to him who perseveres in the practice of these three virtues." ~ Brother Lawrence
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: Just wondering if the "increase" or more visibility of darkness/evil we are seeing currently is just proof of Christ filling all things as God desires. That as Christ increases, we see the darkness/evil being displaced from previously "hidden" places, so that even though it appears that evil is increasing, it is just another illusion that could discourage; in reality it is Christ increasing, displacing everything antichrist, revealing the hidden and, eventually, eliminating it, which is very encouraging and cause for excitement and joy!
A: Yes, I see what you mean, and I agree. The man with the unclean spirit was quite content to attend synagogue every Sabbath. He was probably regarded as pious, faithful, and respectable. But when Jesus arrived the man couldn't help but cry out against Him in protest (Mk. 1:21-27). When a person finally meets the living Christ it represents a significant spiritual crisis for them and for everyone they come into contact with. Blessed are those who count the cost and embrace the Truth, regardless of the consequences!

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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Mon 27 Apr 2009, 10:59 am

Hello Friend! In this issue...
From the Editor
Featured Article: "Freedom to Fail"
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
FROM THE EDITOR "I have compassion on the multitude..." (Mt. 15:32)
Most of the time we find ourselves aggravated or put out by the multitude. Jesus is different. He has compassion. He is concerned not only for their spiritual state but for their physical well-being also. He raises the issue to engage the disciples and to make them aware of a problem that they had probably not considered. They will notice when they have no bread, but Jesus is thinking of others. He is kind. He is empathetic.

His disciples only see an insurmountable problem with no solution. Jesus, moved by concern, performs the miracle even though His disciples failed the test. Even short-sighted disciples cannot limit the Lord Jesus in His ministry of compassion.

That brings me to the point of this week's writing: that God is big enough, and smart enough, to absorb all our weaknesses and failures and still make something beautiful happen.

I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

FEATURED ARTICLE Freedom to Fail by Chip Brogden
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" (I Jn. 4:18, ESV).

Most of our fears are a consequence of not knowing God well enough. Fear comes from uncertainty. If we are confident, secure, and certain about who we are in Christ, and who Christ is in us, then we won't be worried about what the devil might do, and we won't be worried about what other people might do.

Now folks, that's a lot off your plate. Imagine what a relief it would be to just live your life in friendship with God, unaffected by worries and fears about the devil, unmoved by worries and fears about other people – what they might think, what they might say, what they might do.

Think about all you could accomplish if you were truly unafraid.
Think about all you could accomplish if you were truly unafraid. I'm not saying you go out and take foolish risks. I'm saying fear holds us back. God tells us to go but we're afraid to go. God tells us to stay put but we're afraid to stay put. God gives us something to say but we're afraid to say it. God gives us a talent or a gift that will bless and encourage and help other people, but we're afraid we'll make a mistake, or afraid we'll look foolish, or afraid we might fail.

Let me go ahead and allay those fears right now. Let me share something with you that will set you free from fear of failure, fear of making mistakes. I'm still relatively young, but I've been at this for a long time. People say, "How can you know so much and be so young?" I'll tell you why, it's because I've made enough mistakes for three people twice my age. By the time I was twenty I had made enough mistakes for someone eighty. I have failed more times than I have succeeded. I have fallen down, gotten up, fallen down, gotten up, fallen down, gotten up, and sometimes I think God created me to be an example to others of what NOT to do. I'm only just beginning to experience some victories, some successes, some fruitfulness. I've had to learn it the hard way.

But here's what I want to share with you, to set you free from fear of failure, fear of making mistakes, fear of stepping out, fear of stepping up. Here's what God showed me: His plan, and His purpose for my life, is based on my making lots of mistakes. His plan accounts for the fact that I’m going to fail. He already has that factored into the equation. We don't take God by surprise, or derail His purpose, by anything we do or fail to do. His purpose and His plan for your life is not dependent on you never making a mistake. Not only does He know that you will make mistakes, and you will fail, He makes His plans based on the fact that things are going to come along to try and mess up His plans.

Have you ever made plans to do something? Do you plan for things to go wrong, or do you plan for things to go right? Most people come up with a plan and the plan assumes everything is going to go the way it should. But what happens? Something always goes wrong, and then the plan collapses.

For me it happens every Saturday. My wife gives me a little home repair project, and I think it's going to be pretty simple, just need a hammer and some nails and this and that. So I plan to take five minutes to do this simple repair. Then I get five minutes into the project and realize it's worse than I thought, I need a watchamacallit and a thingamajig and I don't have what I need, so now I have to make a trip to the store. They don't have what I need so I have to go somewhere else. Then I come home and the part I thought I needed doesn't fit, I need something larger or something smaller, and now I have to go back to the store again. What should have been a five minute project becomes a five hour ordeal. Don't worry that your past disqualifies you, because it doesn't.

Now, do you think God is like that? Do you think He is so foolish as to have one plan that relies upon you and me doing everything perfectly, never making a mistake? Do you think you can make a mistake or fail so miserably that you can outsmart God and thwart His plan for your life?

Certainly we can delay His purpose, and we can bring a lot of unnecessary suffering on ourselves by being willfully disobedient, but if our heart is right and we're doing the best we know how to do then God is able to work everything out for His glory, even our mistakes, even our failures, EVEN OUR SINS. I'm not saying go out and sin, because there are consequences for sin. I’m talking about your past right now. Don't worry that your past disqualifies you, because it doesn't. You can't go back and undo these past mistakes, past failures, past sins. I'm saying don't let fear about your past keep you from loving God now, living life now.

Don't worry about being perfect in the future, because God's purpose for your life is based on you being imperfect. God wants to show the world how He can take anything and bring good out of it, how He can take imperfect people who make mistakes and still do something good with their lives.

That is going to be the history of mankind, we're all going to be amazed one day when we look back and see how God worked all things together for good, brought light out of darkness, and used evil for good.
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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Mon 20 Apr 2009, 11:22 am

Hello Friend! In this issue...


From the Editor
Article: No Fellowship? No Problem!
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM THE EDITOR

"Then was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Just meditate on that for a bit. Led by the Spirit. In a similar situation you might say, "Well, I just don't feel led in that direction." And I'm saying it may very well be that it is the Spirit of God that is leading you into the wilderness, just as the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness.

We have the mistaken impression that the Spirit only leads us into "nice" places. I want you to consider the other side of being led of the Spirit. If you're led by the Spirit then the Spirit will lead you into some hard places. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that your circumstances will always be nice and pleasant and agreeable. In fact, just the opposite.

If that is your situation I hope this week's Journal will be an encouragement to you.

I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NO FELLOWSHIP? NO PROBLEM!
by Chip Brogden

You will never truly appreciate or benefit from fellowship until you have learned how to live without it.

There already is a fellowship of saints. It is a spiritual fellowship, and it is based on Christ having the preeminence – not the fellowship having preeminence. All this yearning for fellowship and being with others is the result of being hung-over from the religious system. You're trying to fill a void that religion used to fill.

The purpose of solitude in the spiritual desert is to get you to see that Jesus is Enough. You're not going to die from lack of fellowship, but if you don't learn that Jesus is Enough then spiritually speaking you're dead already. He's the One you need to be focused on – not starting a fellowship, not finding a home group, not making something happen with other people.

And already I can hear the "yeah buts". "Yeah, but God made us to be social beings. Yeah, but God knows we need encouragement from other believers. Yeah, but the Bible says forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is. Yeah, but we're all supposed to be part of the Body of Christ. Yeah, but there's just something about gathering together with like-minded believers. Yeah, but you just don't understand what it's like." Yeah, but I do understand - I've been through that part of the desert before, and what I'm trying to tell you is God wishes to know if you love Him or if you love fellowship with others. God wishes to know if you are in love with Him or if you are in love with things about Him. God wishes to know if you seek Him or seek a meeting about Him.

There are times and seasons where He calls you to be alone and apart with Him. I’m not saying it will always be like that, but what if it is? What if He calls you to walk alone with Him for the rest of your life? Is Jesus enough for you?

I asked that question of a group of Christians once: is Jesus enough for you? Because most Christians do not believe this. They want Jesus, but they also want fellowship with others. Really, do you know what Christians want? Not fellowship with others. That sounds so spiritual. Really what they want is acceptance from other Christians. You go deep down and that's what they want. They want to feel accepted by other Christians. Well, all I can tell you is that you're setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. Eventually there will come a time when you will have to decide between the truth that God has revealed to you and the acceptance of other Christians. Now it hurts when you are not accepted by other Christians. It hurts when other Christians misunderstand you and speak all manner of evil against you falsely when you have spoken the truth to them in love.

But the bottom line is your spiritual life and walk with God does not depend upon the acceptance of other Christians. You might think it does, and it sure makes things easier, but it is not a condition of following Christ – making sure other Christians understand and accept you. The deeper you go into God the more unacceptable you will be to other Christians. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is Himself, "Despised and rejected, a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief." Jesus would not be, and is not, accepted by most Christians, and do you know that does not change Him and His relationship with His Father? He is Lord whether you accept Him or not, my friend. And if you are His disciple then He accepts you whether the rest of the Christian population accepts you or not.

What I have found is that whenever I ignore the season God has me in, and I try to create fellowship, or seek fellowship, outside of the time and place appointed by My Father, it always ends in disaster. It creates problems, it becomes a disappointment, or it turns into a distraction from what He wants for my life.

And that is never more true than the period of time when you are fresh out of the religious system. You've been under a religious spirit for so many years, and don't think you can just wake up one day, stop going to church, and be set free from that religious mindset. You think you need fellowship, you think you need meetings, you think you need other people in your life, you think you need all these things, and you are in error. That's the religious habit talking. It's just like a drug.

"Oh brother Chip, I'm so lonely, I've been going to church every Sunday for twenty years and now we just sit home on Sunday and we feel so empty inside!" Well praise God, if that's where God has you right now then thank God for it. Stop looking for other people to fill a void that only Christ can fill. You've been covering up that void with a lot of religious junk and He's stripping all that away. He's trying to build something in you, so let Him do it according to the times and seasons that He has appointed. Don't rush through that process. Get comfortable with just you and God. My goodness, you don't even know what it's like to walk with God and just be hidden in Him because your whole life you've been following Him in a crowd, worshipping Him in a crowd, praying to Him in a crowd, learning about Him in a crowd.

Enoch walked with God, and he didn't have anyone else to fellowship with.

Noah walked with God and he didn't anyone but his family.

Abraham walked with God and he didn't have a house church to go to.

Moses spent forty years in the desert and it didn't hurt him a bit, he came out better than he went in.

Jesus walked with God and every single one of His friends and disciples denied Him and fled when He needed them the most.

You give people too much credit for your spiritual well-being and don't give God enough credit. I'd rather be alone with God than have a crowd of people without Him.

Now that doesn't diminish anything the Bible says about the Body of Christ. But you've got to learn how to get connected to the Head before you try to get connected to the Body. Body Life is only as good as the Body's relationship to the Head. The Body has no life in itself apart from the Head. If you read what the Bible says about the Body of Christ, you notice it doesn't say that we are supposed to seek out our place in the Body or try to insert ourselves into place. It says He sets us in the Body of Christ according to His will. His will, not ours. You try to set yourself in place and you'll get it wrong.

The Bible does not say "hold fast to the Body" or "hold fast to the members of the Body", it says "hold fast to the Head." The Bible does not say, "Seek ye first the fellowship of others", but "seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things – including fellowship – will be added to you." You learn to do that and the rest will take care of itself, in the time and manner that God sees fit.

Take your hands off that whole issue of fellowship and cast that concern onto the Lord. Go to Him and say, "Lord, here I am in a desert place, it's dry, and it's lonely, and it looks like there's no fellowship. But You are My Rock, My Fortress, My Hiding Place, You lead me and direct my steps. You be My Fellowship. If you see fit to bring me into relationship and fellowship with others, fine; but if not, then I trust that You are more than Enough to meet my spiritual, emotional, and social needs. I can live without fellowship Lord, but I cannot live without You!"

Now folks, I have been in that place so many times I don't even have to pray about it anymore. I've just learned to trust God in this area, and I know He is sufficient. It's settled in me. It's not even a thing I pray about anymore. I want it to become settled in your heart as well. Let the desert do its work.
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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Fri 10 Apr 2009, 5:34 pm

Hello Friend! In this issue...
From the Editor
Article: The Abundant Life
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM THE EDITOR

Today one is sorely tempted to rely upon personal revelation and words from others; in an effort to avoid “idolizing” the Bible some have minimized it. But whenever I read the Gospels I am struck with how familiar Jesus is with the Scriptures - Himself being the Living Word, yet He was conversant in the written Word, and could pull obscure passages from His remembrance because He had already stored them there through His reading.

To the Pharisees who tried to use the Law of Moses against Him, Jesus said, "Have you not read so much as this?" (Lk. 6:3) and "You do err, not knowing the Scriptures, or the power of God" (Mt. 22:29). And these little admonishments to the Pharisees imply that if they really knew the Scriptures, if they had actually read them, they would be balanced in their judgment and would see the situation clearly.

What is the lesson for us? That reading the Scriptures is important; that there is a wealth of spiritual treasure in even the seemingly insignificant events, recorded for our benefit and learning; and, that those who do not read and take to heart will invariably make errors in judgment and fall short in spiritual discernment.


I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE ABUNDANT LIFE
by Chip Brogden

http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org/articles/abundant.html

"Yes, I am the Door. Anyone who goes in and out through Me will be safe, and will find a beautiful pasture. The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that the sheep will live, and will have Life in abundance! I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep" (John 10:9-11, TIL).


Are we willing to go deeper than the obvious, surface level explanation of what Jesus said here?

The "word of faith" people, the "name it and claim it" people, have always taken the "abundant life" in verse 10 to mean that God is going to give us the "abundant life" of this world – money, and the things that money can buy. To them this is a proof-text for prosperity, for material things. I know it is a stretch. It's hard to understand how people can lift this verse out of the passage and teach it that way, but carnal people manage to teach it and believe it. That's why the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit because they are spiritually discerned.

Well, let's go deeper. "The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep." In one sense of course, in the most commonly interpreted sense, Jesus is speaking of his death on the Cross. He lays down His life for the sheep so they can be saved. Well, that is the natural side of it, I suppose. I’m not saying that's incorrect. But is there a deeper meaning that can apply? Oh yes, I'm believe so, because you see the word here is present tense: The Good Shepherd GIVES His Life. If He were only referring to His death on the Cross, He might have said – "The Good Shepherd WILL GIVE His Life for the sheep." And now, since He has already died on the Cross, it would (to us) be past tense.

But He said, "The Good Shepherd GIVES His Life." It is present tense. It is always present tense. He is always the Good Shepherd. We are always His sheep. And so He always gives His life. In what sense does He give it? Is He constantly crucified? No, that is the natural. What is the spiritual implication? He is giving His Life that we may have that same Life. And because He IS the Life, this Life is an abundant life, and this abundant life leads to spiritual fruitfulness.

Just as the Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep, so the True Vine gives His Life for the Branches. Do you see the connection? It's the same thing. It's exactly the same thing. The Good Shepherd gives His Life for the sheep; the True Vine gives His Life for the Branches. This Life He gives is not for the purpose of making my life better; it is given so that I can exchange my life altogether, and rely upon the Life of Another.

There are two aspects, two sides to this glorious truth: first, that I AM IN CHRIST; second, that CHRIST IS IN ME. If the first is true, and I am living in Christ, then the second follows naturally – Christ is living in me. He is giving His Life for me on a continual basis. We call this the exchanged life. It is a function of learning how to let Jesus live His life through me.

This is why the denial of Self, as typified by the Cross, is so essential to the spiritual life. "The carnal mind is against against God" (Rom. 8:7). The Self-Life interferes with the Christ-Life. Why? Because "No man can serve two masters" (Mt. 6:24).

And so you have those Two Universal Spiritual Principles that we have discussed elsewhere: the Law of Increase and the Law of Decrease, found in John 3:30. "He must increase." That is the first principle. It is a spiritual law, that Jesus must increase. But there is something that hinders, something that resists this increase of Jesus. That brings us to the second principle, "I must decrease." Me, Myself, and I – the Self. I must decrease in order for Christ to increase.

This has global implications, universal applications, but let's bring it right down to everyday life. Let's make it personal. It means, in a very practical sense, that when I become a disciple of Jesus I am starting out on a Path in which I am learning how to depend upon the Life of Another; and in order to live that way, I have to give up living the way I am accustomed to living – according to my thoughts, my mind, my will, my opinions, my understanding.
All that pertains to "me" is very limited. As a disciple of Jesus, I am learning just how untrustworthy "I" am, and I am becoming more and more cognizant of my need to depend upon the Life of Christ, CHRIST IN ME, THE HOPE OF GLORY (Col. 1:27). There is no hope in me. "I know," Paul says, "that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing" (Rom. 7:18). That is the key. There is a man who is beginning to grow spiritually. He has learned something – "I KNOW." How does he know? Through a lot of trials, and sufferings, and problems, and mistakes, and difficulties, he has learned not to depend upon himself anymore.

In Philippians, Paul says, "We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." No confidence in the flesh. Why? Because Jesus said the flesh is weak. The flesh is fallible. The flesh is limited. I know that it seems as if the flesh is very powerful, and that you can do anything. It sometimes seems easier to just press on ahead and do what seems right; make something happen. Oh, it takes too much time (we say) to wait on God, to know the mind of the Spirit, to just watch and pray and abide in Christ. But those are the words of the immature, the babes. Spiritually mature people have lost all confidence in the flesh, in their ability to do anything, apart from Jesus.

Now I have just shared with you the secret of abiding. It means to have no confidence in the flesh, to wait instead for the Life of Another to lead. Always take that position. Always allow the Lord to lead, to initiate, to work, and don't do anything of yourself. Now, that is easier said than done, isn't it? What a battle it is! The flesh does not want to decrease. But as I am decreased, Christ is increased. Stated differently, the measure of Christ in a person will increase in exact proportion to the measure that their Self-Life is decreased.

Well, how does that happen? It happens quite naturally, as we keep hitting our head against the same impossible situations, the same besetting sins, the same difficulties and disappointments over and over again – and eventually we come to the place of saying, along with Paul, "I know that in me – that is, in my flesh, in my Self – dwells no good thing. I no longer have confidence in my flesh. I have learned that the Branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the Vine. So I cast myself upon the Lord, and I trust in His Life to raise me up, to work a miracle, to do what I cannot do myself." That is spiritual maturity. Now Jesus can do something, and He takes up right where we leave off.



The preceeding article is based on an audio series titled "Abide In Me: The Way of Spiritual Abundance."

To request your copy of this message on a double compact disc set, visit:

http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/audio/cds122.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PITHY QUOTE
The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross.

~ A. W. Tozer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: In the past few years, some churches have been experiencing what they call "The Glory." This includes the manifestations of gold dust, jewels, feathers, manna, gold teeth. Some, that I highly respect, have advised me to stay away from such manifestations as they are not from God. It seems that it's becoming more prevelent lately. I don't want to miss out on what God has for us, but I don't want to be deceived or limit God. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this.

A: Anything coming forth from the harlot church system should be regarded as suspicious. There is no Scriptural justification for such shenanigans, and those who know God don't need "manifestations" of such a trivial and carnal nature.

» Got a question? Reply to this email or write editor@theschoolofchrist.org and we'll consider it for a future publication.
CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL is a publication of The School of Christ, PO Box 552, Canandaigua, NY 14424. It is only sent to those who have subscribed or registered through our website:http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. If you benefit from this email please share it with others!
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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Correction

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Mar 2009, 6:51 pm

Correction
March 30, 2009


Dear Friend,

Sometimes I'm so anxious to send out a mailing that I skip over the step where I have my editor read it first. That invariably results in typos and errors, most of which are minor. But in yesterday's Journal I made such a bad slip I felt it should be corrected to avoid any misunderstanding.

The passage in question appears in the second paragraph in the "From the Editor" section and should read:

"...Although the Kingdom of God is "within you" (Lk. 17:21) we are nevertheless encouraged to pray "Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done" on a daily basis (Mt. 6:10). Why? Precisely because the Kingdom has not yet fully come, and because the Will of God is not yet fully accomplished."

While we're on the subject, many of you who are new to the website may not be aware of all the free MP3's we have available. There is a free audio series specifically dealing with how to pray for the Will and the Kingdom that you may be interested in, as it relates to the above. Here is the link:

Prayer: Adjustment to the Eternal Purpose
http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/mp3.html

Just click on the headphone icon to listen or download.


I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org
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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Sun 29 Mar 2009, 6:41 pm

Hello Friend! In this issue...


From the Editor
"You Must Be Born Again" - Again!
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM THE EDITOR





The touchstone verse for Christology Journal states our desire: "That in all things Christ should have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18). I recently came across a discussion that ran along these lines: "Jesus is already preeminent, so we can't 'give' Him the preeminence, and we can't 'put' Him first. He is already there!"



This follows the train of thought of the old "Jesus-did-it-all-so-I-don't-have-to-do-anything" argument. Like most surface-level half-truths this one sounds plausible - until the Scriptures are consulted. For there we find that while Jesus is "Lord of All" (Acts 10:36) it remains that "we do not yet see all thing submitted to Him" (Heb. 2:8). Similarly, although the Kingdom of God is "within you" (Lk. 17:21) we are nevertheless encouraged to pray "Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done" on a daily basis (Mt. 6:10). Why? Precisely because the Kingdom has not yet fully come, and because the Will of God is done yet fully accomplished. Not until "the end" will "all things be put under Him" (cf. 1Cor. 15:24-28ff). That is obviously a future hope, not a present reality.



This is why we need the Scriptures as an objective criterion against which all our subjective thoughts and opinions can be tested. Idealism and spiritual-sounding platitudes must make way for practical, Scriptural application. Our free, self-study online workshop, "The Theology of Everything", is a simple introduction to the question of why Christ must increase, what hinders that increase, and how that increase is being accomplished. I encourage you to check it out.



I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN" - AGAIN!
by Chip Brogden

http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org/articles/bornagain.html

"Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God " (John 3:3, ESV).



The religious are still in the position of Nicodemus - coming to Jesus, acknowledging Him as something special, discussing His teachings, liking His teachings, and even sharing those teachings with others - but unable to enter the Kingdom, unable to see the Kingdom, unable to comprehend anything spiritual or heavenly, unable to discern or perceive the true significance of God's Purpose in Christ, unable to get beyond the mental, logical, emotional, or physical realm of their religiosity.



Nicodemus failed to comprehend the spiritual consequence and heavenly requirement of being "born again" nor could he grasp the reason for it. I am afraid that many who now claim to be "born again" are no further along than Nicodemus in terms of seeing the Kingdom of God . Yet seeing and entering into the Kingdom of God is the reason why Jesus said we MUST be born again.



Latching onto these words of Jesus, many people today will indeed claim to be "born again." They have learned the correct terminology. But is that all we need to be concerned with? Is it possible that a person has learned to say they are "born again" simply because that is what they have been taught to say? Is it the phraseology that Jesus wants us to have or the actual experience of being born from above, born of the Spirit?



Although it is the exact same thing as being "born again", most cannot answer what being "born from above" or "born of the Spirit" means because that has not entered into their vocabulary yet. But they all know what "born again" means - it means to be a Christian! Even if they can describe it, the answer sounds too pat, like something learned at catechism class and recited as a theological doctrine instead of a something that has resulted from a life-changing encounter with the Risen Lord.



Today with so many "born again" people claiming salvation without the accompanying evidences and fruits of repentance, Jesus might well be saying to them, "You have made an intellectual decision to embrace the Christian religion, and you have confessed a certain level of agreement with Me and My teachings; and for that, they consider you 'born again.' But mental acceptance, doctrinal agreement, and canned confession is not enough for you to be My disciple. Your first born-again experience under the auspices of religion is seriously flawed. Leave that ground now and come to Me; experience new birth the way I intended it from the beginning. You must be born again - again! "



What does it really mean to be "born again"? It cannot be explained with an A.B.C. kind of three-step scientific process. Spiritual birth is a revolutionary thing, something that strikes so deeply into the core of a person that they find it impossible to go on as before. It is a change of heart, which causes a change of mind, which results in a dramatic change of behavior and values. It is nothing short of a death, burial, and resurrection.



In Saul of Tarsus you have a graphic example of the born-again person. Like Nicodemus, Saul was also a teacher and a master of Israel but was just as ignorant as Nicodemus was concerning Jesus of Nazareth. Then something happened to Saul. Now Saul is different. Someone from another realm reached down and grabbed him. He saw the Light in the very truest sense of the word, and it was no insignificant flicker of understanding dreamed up in his own imagination - it was a bright and shining Light that burned through him and rendered his physical eyes absolutely impotent. He had heard the Voice, and that Voice was calling his name - "Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting Me?"



Saul saw and heard something completely above and beyond the realm of his ordinary religious existence, something so wonderful and inexpressible that his highest and best possible thoughts and beliefs about God up until that point were now considered dung, waste, manure, garbage, and refuse - Saul's words, not mine.



There on the road to Damascus he met Jesus. That meeting changed the course of his life and even the course of history. The outcome of that meeting was not merely an adjustment to his personal theology, or an intellectual re-evaluating of his doctrinal position on the subject of the Kingdom of God . It was the radical, foundation-destroying, earth-shattering crisis of finally seeing Jesus as He in fact is and being compelled to bow down and worship this Person: and to hell with everything he had preached, taught, thought, believed, and done before THAT day! THAT day was the day of his new birth.



You must know THAT is a supernatural happening, because the religious will not willingly give up their doctrines and their beliefs for anyone or anything. Far from giving them up, they will attack (and if possible, kill) those who hold to different doctrines and beliefs, and will find Scriptural justification for stoning those who oppose them. A person like that does not just wake up one day and decide to change. They are beyond the reach of any ordinary, human witness.



When I look at people who are recommended to me and I read their testimonies I often struggle to find the moment in which they were "born again - again". I look for their road to Damascus experience that transformed them from a religious zealot into a disciple of the Living Lord. Most of the time I do not find this at all, but instead, I find a long, boring list of ministries and churches and movements they have been involved with. And this history is not recounted for the purpose of counting it all dung so that Christ may be embraced as Enough, but is rehearsed for the purpose of establishing the supposed authority and credentials of the person in question.



Have you met the Person that Paul met? In his letter to the Romans, this same Saul (now known as Paul) would write, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Rom. 10:9). If we approach this with a scientific analysis and lift this statement up and separate it from the man who wrote it then we would have a formula for "how to be saved." And this is what many people do. But they overlook the road to Damascus meeting with Jesus that formed the basis of this confession and belief. Paul was not led in a prayer to confess the Lord Jesus, nor was he quizzed as to his belief concerning the resurrection of Jesus. Had you witnessed to him he would have flatly denied both the Lordship and the resurrection of Christ and would have you cast into prison for heresy.



Paul's confession and the belief did not lead to this encounter with Jesus; it was the encounter with Jesus that lead to his confession and belief! How quickly we forget - if we ever really understand it at all - that "you have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (Jn 15:16a). We have been taught to say we are saved by grace (once again, employing the correct phraseology) but we secretly believe we had something to do with it: it was our prayer, our faith, our confession, our belief, our walking the aisle, our joining the church, our decision that saved us. Heaven is our reward for making the right decision, unlike so many poor ignorant sinners who made the wrong decision!



But Jesus says, "No man can come to me unless the Father draws him" (Jn 6:44) and Paul declares that "No man can say 'Jesus is Lord' but by the Holy Spirit" (I Cor. 12:3b). Paul could confess Jesus as Lord and believe Jesus was risen from the dead because he did, in fact, meet the Lord Jesus as a Living Person; and that was the result of Jesus coming to Paul, not Paul coming to Jesus!



"Who then can be saved?" the disciples asked Jesus (cf. Mt. 19:25,26). The answer: "With man it is impossible." Not just difficult, not just really, really hard, but impossible with man. Not do-able. Not attainable. Out of reach.



But Jesus, we have made it so easy to be saved! Three simple steps! A.B.C.! Confess and possess! No, says Jesus. This does not originate with you, and is impossible with men: "But with God, all things are possible!" Something from Above is required, something big enough and strong enough and powerful enough to knock a person to the ground and take their breath away.



One moment of seeing is worth a lifetime of being preached to. May God open our eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PITHY QUOTE
Seek to have your life in God, not in things, not in people, not in places, not in circumstances, not in arguments, not in human intelligence, but in God.

~ T. Austin-Sparks

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Taking a break from answering questions this week. :-)

» Got a question? Reply to this email or write editor@theschoolofchrist.org and we'll consider it for a future publication.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL is a publication of The School of Christ, PO Box 552, Canandaigua, NY 14424. It is only sent to those who have subscribed or registered through our website:http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. If you benefit from this email please share it with others!
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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty Re: CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Fri 13 Mar 2009, 4:21 pm

MARCH 13, 2009
Hello Friend! In this issue...


From the Editor
Kingdom Misconceptions (Part 4)
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM THE EDITOR





God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. When we listen to, and spread, messages of doom, gloom, and fear then we are focused on the wrong thing. Of course we can expect difficult, troubling times; the Scriptures are quite clear, and common sense tells us that things are difficult and will get worse as we anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus and the fulfillment of His Kingdom in a tangible way. This is the direction and the course of all human history and should come as no surprise. What is truly surprising is the way some Christians elevate so-called "prophets" to superstar status for stating what should be blindingly obvious.

As Christ is increasing, everything else is decreasing. Embrace these Two Universal Spiritual Principles and you can eliminate fear, panic, and worry. You can dispense with silly attempts to stock up on food, buy gold, or build bomb shelters - that is for the fearful and the unbelieving, not for the people of faith. You can stop trying to preserve your way of life down here because you will have discovered a brand new Life that comes from above and continues forever. You can safely ignore the melodramatic ramblings of pseudo-prophets. And you can be a light to the world and a source of hope instead of a stumblingblock.


I am your brother,

Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

KINGDOM MISCONCEPTIONS (Part 4)
by Chip Brogden

http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org/articles/kingdom4.html

6 - Christian Misconceptions Concerning the COVENANTAL BASIS of the Kingdom

The record of the early Ekklesia reveals an intense struggle to break free from Judaism. Christianity then was not "Christianity" as we know it now. Believers in Jesus were really just a budding sect within Judaism. Let us revisit the circumstances in which the first apostles began their work.


In the first century there were four sects of Judaism: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes,[1] and a new sect called the Nazarenes: the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. The Book of Acts shows how the Ekklesia began. It was centered in Jerusalem . They still kept the feasts. They went to the Temple to pray. And they preached Jesus to the Jews only.


Thank God, this situation would not continue for long. Right away the Holy Spirit began to challenge the notion that faith in Jesus was merely an extension of the current system of Judaism. This was not a mere reformation, it was a revolution. Jesus did, in fact, establish a new covenant, and this covenant was with "all," not just those of Jewish descent. It was a hard lesson to learn but the Holy Spirit is a patient, if determined, Teacher.


Peter's rooftop vision showed him that God no longer distinguished between Jew and Gentile.[2] But it was Paul who must be considered the first apostle to really grasp the full implications of the universal gospel and its new covenant. He taught the Gentiles that pure, simple, naked faith in Jesus Christ was sufficient. The Jewish believers saw it differently. They wanted the Gentile believers to observe the Jewish holy days and feasts, and (above all) circumcision as outward expressions of "righteousness."


Unfortunately, Peter wavered in an attempt to please both sides of the issue. After a very public disagreement between Peter and Paul, [3] attempts to turn the new Gentile disciples into full-fledged Jews was a lost cause. Thousands of people came to Christ through the missionary journeys of Paul and these new believers in Jesus were blatantly non-Jewish. No reasonable person could consider the Nazarenes a sect of Judaism anymore – there were too many Gentiles. A valiant effort by some Jewish believers[4] to persuade the Gentiles to at least adopt circumcision gained some momentum but was largely abandoned after Paul vehemently opposed it as "another Gospel… a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."[5] And so it was in the Gentile city of Antioch – not the Jewish capital of Jerusalem – that the disciples were first called "Christians."[6] It was not intended to be a compliment, but the name stuck and it immediately served the purpose of identifying them as something fundamentally distinct from Judaism.


The whole story is there in the Scriptural record. How sad that two thousand years later some Christians are falling prey to the same old line of thinking and allowing the Judaizers to undo what took so many years to accomplish. There is a distinct and popular movement in the Church to return back to our "Hebrew Roots" and observe the Old Testament feasts and holy days, call Jesus "Yeshua," and insist that all true believers follow their example. Once again, history repeats itself.


There is much to be gained from a study of Judaism and the Old Covenant laws, but in too many cases it becomes a distraction from the New Covenant, and that makes it a distraction from Christ. For a non-Jewish person to purposely adopt a Jewish culture and phraseology that is foreign to them, all the while thinking that this is faith in Jesus, is misguided at best; at worst, it is simply adopting yet another legalistic religious system that stifles spiritual growth in grace. It betrays a fundamental lack of understanding concerning the Old and New Covenants - both of which are clearly delineated in the Scriptures - and it repudiates everything the Holy Spirit endeavored to teach the Early Ekklesia, effectively undoing all the progress made in those critical first years which established the universality of the Gospel. Not surprisingly, some of the more aggressive "Messianic Jews" today do not accept the Book of Hebrews, nor do they accept Paul as a genuine apostle.




7 - Christian Misconceptions Concerning the HEAVENLY LOCATION of the Kingdom

When the differences between Christianity and Judaism are confused then everything else becomes fuzzy. A majority of Christians join the Jews in looking to the earthly Jerusalem as the seat of government for the future Kingdom of God . We have seen that the New Testament teaches that this Kingdom is "within" and "comes from above." It is the New Jerusalem.


But since this New Jerusalem is spiritual and invisible, it is an exceedingly difficult concept for earthly-minded people to grasp. It is easier, and much more convenient, to adopt a romanticized notion of the Old Jerusalem rising up from the earth with Jesus sitting on a throne on the old Temple mount. It becomes increasingly apparent that Christians get most of their ideas about the end times from television preachers, movies and bestselling books rather than from the Word of God.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



TO BE CONTINUED...
[1] According to Josephus, the Essenes were Jewish ascetics who lived communally in the wilderness. Some consider John the Baptist to have been an Essene.
[2] Acts 10:9-16
[3] Gal. 2:11-14 records the confrontation between Peter and Paul in Antioch . Paul writes that he rebuked Peter "in front of them all" for his hypocrisy. How refreshing to find two men of maturity who can give and receive rebuke without breaking fellowship! Afterwards, Peter referred to him as "our beloved brother Paul" (2 Pet. 3:15 ).
[4] Paul referred to some of them as "false brothers" (Gal. 2:4).
[5] Gal. 1:6,7
[6] Acts 11:26




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- The preceding excerpt is taken directly from Chapter Ten of The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden. This book is available in print and can be ordered online at the following link:
http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/books/kingdom.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PITHY QUOTE

"He who suffers most has most to give."

~ Lilias Trotter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: Are prophets for today? With so many messages being sent out that are labeled as "prophetic" how do we know what is truly prophetic?

A: For some people, just mention the word "prophetic" and they automatically put up their guard. The word itself has been so abused and misapplied that they don't even want to hear it anymore. That's a shame, but it's certainly understandable. In a world where many people are proclaiming "Thus saith the Lord..." and "God told me to tell you..." it is absolutely critical that we be able to tell the difference between what is genuinely "prophetic" and what is only "pathetic".

The short answer to your question is yes, prophets are for today. However, I have found few people who genuinely function in a prophetic calling. Just like pastors are for today, and there are many examples of institutional pastors, but few examples of true Ekklesia pastors who truly lay down their life for the sheep. In the same way that we must re-examine the role of the pastor, we must also re-examine the role of the prophet.

I have an audio series that explains this is greater detail, and I highly recommend it as a beginning point for further study on this very critical issue:

The Ministry of the Prophet
http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/audio/cds107.html

I also recommend the following essay:

The Prophetic Savant
http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/articles/savant.html



» Got a question? Reply to this email or write editor@theschoolofchrist.org and we'll consider it for a future publication.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden Empty CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL with Chip Brogden

Post  Admin on Fri 27 Feb 2009, 1:00 pm

FEBRUARY 27, 2009
Hello Friend! In this issue...
From the Editor
Kingdom Misconceptions (Part 2)
Pithy Quote
Question of the Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FROM THE EDITOR

The prophetic word is a double-edged sword. There is a work of building up, and there is a work of tearing down. Often it takes a lot of tearing down, even stripping to the foundation, before the real work of building up can begin. Sometimes the entire foundation is wrong and has to be re-built from scratch.

This series of messages taken from The Irresistible Kingdom is purposely doing that work of "tearing down" in hope that the building up process can proceed. Two of the greatest obstacles to learning are the attitudes that say, "I already knew that" and "that doesn't apply to me." Perhaps you do, and perhaps it doesn't, but the real test of knowing is not hearing, or reading, but putting into practice. If what you think you know hasn't produced massive, life-altering change in you on every level then you don't really know it.

Truth is living, growing, and always pushing you into something new and unfamiliar, always drawing out your weakness, always testing your commitment to the Narrow Way, always bringing you into a greater appreciation for, and greater dependence upon, the One Whom you call "Lord." The ones who grow spiritually are the ones who embrace this as normal.
I am your brother,
Chip Brogden
http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

KINGDOM MISCONCEPTIONS (Part 2)
by Chip Brogden

http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org/articles/kingdom2.html

2 - Christian Misconceptions Concerning the TRUE IDENTITY of the King

The Jews did not, and do not, recognize Jesus as the Son of God or the Savior of All. Christians seemingly do recognize Jesus as such, so the issue can presumably be laid to rest. Unfortunately it cannot be laid to rest. While it is true that Christians are considered Christians precisely because they recognize Jesus as the Son of God and their Savior, there are too many who fail to apprehend Jesus as Lord.

Scripture does not make a distinction between Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord. From God's perspective He is both. From the Ekklesia's perspective He is both. But the Church constantly reinvents Jesus whenever convenient. Since salvation is considered mandatory, the Savior is universally recognized in Christendom. But Lordship is increasingly seen as something optional; that is to say, you can accept Jesus as Savior, and later on (if and when you get really committed), you can confess Him as Lord.

How do these things get started? It is impossible to say for sure just how this idea crept in, but it is the result of a religious system intent upon appealing to the largest possible number of people by any means necessary. If that means compromising the message, or leaving parts of it out so as not to create too much of an obstacle for people, then so be it. I have talked to many pastors who justify the spiritual immaturity of their congregation on the grounds that "they aren't perfect, just forgiven." No, they aren't perfect. But they aren't growing, either. Spiritually stagnant, lacking discernment, cold, dead, self-centered, self-absorbed – but believing that because they have "prayed the Sinner's Prayer" they are on their way to heaven, and that's all that matters.

The Church system is a business, and its product is not salvation, but the false assurance of salvation. It is certainly attractive to think that you can have Jesus as your Savior and ignore every requirement of discipleship that the Savior expects. An easy Gospel produces easy converts who accept an easy Jesus – but is this the same Jesus that the Bible talks about, or is it another Jesus that we have created as a carnal extension of ourselves, effectively making God in our own image?

Remember that God's goal is the preeminence of Christ. It is impossible for Him to have the preeminence in a person who claims Him for salvation but refuses Him as Lord, Master, Teacher, and Example. The King and His Kingdom are all-inclusive. Yes the King offers salvation, but He also expects obedience: "If you love Me, keep My commandments."[1] To the masses of people who refer to Jesus as "Lord," He asks, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' but do not do what I say?"[2]

Paul did not say, "If you confess with your mouth the Savior Jesus... you will be saved." He said, "If you confess with your mouth the LORD Jesus… you will be saved."[3] If you are saved it is because you are submitted to the Lordship of Christ, not the Saviorship of Christ. Lordship includes Salvation, but there is no Salvation apart from Lordship. He is "Savior of All,"[4] but He is also "Lord of All."[5] I cannot find a Scriptural justification for claiming half of Him while putting off the other half for later. Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.

3 - Christian Misconceptions Concerning the CHARACTER of the Kingdom

The carnal pursuit of fleshly power and control is just as prevalent in Churchianity as it is anywhere else in the world. Jesus said, "It must not be so among you,"[6] but we are obliged to confess that it is so among many who claim to be His people. Apart from acute self-righteousness, there is little discernable difference between people in the world and people in the religious system. The Church is merely an extension of their own carnal and fleshly desires for power, prestige, and privilege. Many people, unable to make a name for themselves in the world, find Religion an easy venue for self-promotion. They discover that most of the people are superstitious, easily manipulated, and easily deceived.

The speed with which a person can ascend to the leadership of a Christian church is astounding, and the damage they can cause is equally remarkable. Scriptural admonitions and qualifications are mostly ignored or overlooked as the ambitious, the charismatic, or the influential simply assume positions of authority by default.

For example, the Bible says that "the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle to all."[7] If we were to take that one single requirement seriously – gentleness – we would be compelled to disqualify the vast majority of elders, deacons, ministers, apostles, evangelists, bishops, reverends, cardinals, popes, prophets, pastors and teachers in the Church. On that one point alone most of them fail to meet the qualifications of a servant. Some may even appear to be gentle, but once you become a perceived threat to their authority you will discover something other than gentleness coming forth. Some cannot even bear to be questioned without taking offense and becoming hostile. That kind of leadership may be acceptable within the construct of Organized Religion but "servants" like that are unfit for service in the Kingdom of God - never mind the rest of the qualifications!

TO BE CONTINUED...
[1] Jn. 14:15[2] Lk. 6:46
[3] Rom. 10:9a
[4] 1 Tim. 4:10ff
[5] Acts 10:36b
[6] Mt. 20:26
[7] 2 Tim. 2:24

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-- The preceeding excerpt is taken directly from Chapter Ten of The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden. This book is available in print and can be ordered online at the following link:
http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/books/kingdom.html

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PITHY QUOTE

"The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men."

~ A. W. Tozer

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QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Q: I really enjoyed your message today and I would just like to add that we should not forget, but always keep in mind that God loves the Church... My greatest question is how do I submit under those whose fruit are not according to His Spirit...

A: I'm sorry, but I strongly disagree with the premise that God loves "the Church" in the manner in which you refer to it. You must learn to distinguish between the spiritual Body of Christ (the Ekklesia) and the harlot "Church" that is a man-made counterfeit system of religion that keeps God's people in bondage. God loves people, not systems; and if we love people the way He does, we will be grieved over the things that hurt His people and prevent Christ from having the preeminence. "Church" is the greatest single hindrance to spiritual growth and maturity ever invented by man.

If you can accept this truth then the question of "how to submit" becomes obvious. You don't submit to them! You submit to God, and you resist and come out of that spiritually abusive environment. You are not bound and standing trial before the Sanhedrin. You are a free to make a choice. Walk away. Get out. Have no fellowship with darkness. It really is as simple as that.

» Got a question? Reply to this email or write editor@theschoolofchrist.org and we'll consider it for a future publication.

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CHRISTOLOGY JOURNAL is a publication of The School of Christ, PO Box 552, Canandaigua, NY 14424. It is only sent to those who have subscribed or registered through our website:http://www.TheSchoolOfChrist.Org. If you benefit from this email please share it with others!

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