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Love and Witness

January 6, 2017

Greetings,

“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.  And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  Yet we urge you brothers, to do so more and more.  Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  1 Thessalonians 4: 8-12

Several things jump out at me from this passage.  First and foremost is that the Thessalonians were taught directly by God the ways of brotherly love.  We are talking about direct revelation here and it is very clear that they heard this from God Himself and not from a human apostle, teacher, preacher or pastor.  We can learn many things from God directly if we seek Him.  What they learned about love did not come from a bible or another human being.  I think far too often in the Body of Christ we look to and depend upon human messengers instead of looking directly to God for His voice and instructions.  The Holy Spirit is fully capable and should be our primary teacher in all things.  Wise “men” still seek Him and they do not need to wait for secondary revelation from a book or human teacher to lead them in the ways of Christ.

Secondly, how we live our lives is extremely vital to how we are received by others.  We should be hard workers that are focused on doing our best while quietly minding what we are doing.  If we stand out it should only be because of Jesus being in our lives.  We should be humble and not seek to draw attention to ourselves as we go about our daily lives.

Finally, we work and live upright lives so that we will not be dependent on anyone else.  Paul, Silas, and Timothy gave this instruction to the Thessalonians and better than that they modeled upright behavior by working hard among them laboring and toiling night and day. Paul and the guys were not dependent on salary or gifts.  No, they made their own money and did not even take anyone’s food without paying for it. I believe that being self supporting missionaries (tentmakers) is a New Testament model that all in the church should follow. Serving the church should never be about money.  More important than money is that we should all work and be active in our communities so that the witness of our simple daily lives may be seen and respected by outsiders.  Simple witness and evangelism is something that occurs most often outside of our church meetings.  If you want the Jesus in your life to impact the people God has placed in your lives then you need to live Jesus style in your workplace and community everyday.  If your only workplace is the church then I think you miss much of what following Jesus is really all about.

Love and…..

Kirk Out !

 

 

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28 Comments
  1. Dear Christopher,

    I’m just beginning to experience some small part of what you are talking about in this post—the learning directly from the Holy Spirit. A few of your posts in the recent weeks have pointed out word versus The Word. It would have been impossible for me to accept that not very long ago, but these recent posts of yours have helped me over that hump. Now, here, again, you are pointing out this direct revelation. For many years I’ve studied the bible down to the word level, including attempts to understand the grammar and the parts of speech. But over the last few weeks, my study has dwindled to almost nothing, yet, His presence is so much more real. I sense His teaching of love within me for others. It’s no longer intellectual but reality. I’m still a babe in this, but I appreciate your contributions to this growth ring in this season of my life. You are taught of Him yourself and are sharing what you have been taught. I appreciate this fact.

    Love and blessings,

    Win

    • Wow Win, you are more than kind. I am overjoyed that these feeble words of mine have blessed and taught you in such a way. Once again HIS way is better than ours. Direct revelation is indeed a grand blessing.

    • Win, your response has touched me deeply. I am in tears realizing that Jesus really does use me here in cyberland. I love you brother!

    • "BK" permalink

      I appreciated your post also, Christopher. And, Win, I too remember coming to the realization in my searching the scriptures and Greek and Hebrew (and I do that now again, but in a much freer Spirit) that it is THE SPIRIT that makes one alive and brings understanding. That Jesus said He’d send THE SPIRIT of truth to lead us into all truth, not a book. I didn’t read or study for about a two year period at that time as I struggled to sort out with Him where I was. I’m not telling you to do that, just relating my own experience in it. It was then I realized it isn’t the correctness of translation that brings life and revelation, but HIS SPIRIT. I remember thinking for the first time, “Sheesh, the people back in His day heard the EXACT words He spoke, knew the cultural implications, the scriptural background when pertinent…..and they CRUCIFIED Him!!!! And argued and/or discussed the reality of the truths they held. Scriptures came to life for me like “hope to the end for the revelation to be revealed at the knowledge of Him” and finding out in the Greek it didn’t mean when I got more and more head knowledge of Him, but more ‘fully acquainted’ with Him. That’s when revelation came!

      So I also am blessed by Chris’ writing….especially knowing the long road he has walked to become acquainted enough with Him to write with such clarity! Blessings to you, Christopher, and I am thankful to be a part of your steady walk through valleys of the shadow of death into Him more and more. Love, “BK”

  2. Sue heumann permalink

    This is becoming more real to me as I depend more and more in Jesus. Been the other route. Dead end.
    Thanks for Win, BK, and Christophers words today! Co formation is sweet to my soul today.
    ❤️

    • So glad you are finding yourself more and more in Christ Sue. I am glad you are here and in my life Sue.

      • "BK" permalink

        I second that, Sue. Hugz, “BK”

  3. daryl permalink

    Enjoyed the post and for the most part am in full agreement,yet I really can’t relate,or maybe just find it confusing as to why the need to separate the scriptures from the Spirit. For instance,the first comment made on the passage ,that the Thessalonians were taught brotherly love directly by God. How do we know this or where did we find this out?Did we have a vision or the Spirit let us know this as we were doing the dishes one day?That’s possible,but I think most of us learn this from reading it from the scriptures which are inspired by the Holy Spirit. The comment by “BK” that it is the Spirit that makes one alive and that Jesus said He’d send the Spirit of truth to lead us into all truth. I completely agree,but again,how do we know it’s the Spirit that makes alive or that Jesus said those things?Does the Spirit just reveal those things magically to us as we talk with God and wait on Him? I suppose it could happen that way,but most of the time truth is revealed to us through the scriptures.I fully understand the dangers of head knowledge apart from spiritual understanding,but just as dangerous is ignorance. If we hear something from someone preaching or teaching about God or sharing from the word that maybe doesn’t seem right to us…do we just kind of wait for a feeling from the Holy Spirit and go with that?(that feeling may very well be and often is from the Holy Spirit…but not always) Or do we not also look to the scriptures AND wait on the Spirit? I understand somewhat where Winslow is coming from and I believe the Holy Spirit will immensely bless him and reveal great things to him from his study of the word that he never saw before because his “why” has changed. There is so much false teaching today to christians that completely contradicts what the Spirit has revealed to us in the scriptures I think scripture gives validity to our being led and taught by the Spirit and if we didn’t have the scripture to tell us that,we wouldn’t even know the Holy Spirit was the Holy Spirit and who it was that was speaking to us or leading us. It just seems non-sensical to me,

    • Daryl, Jesus said my sheep hear MY Voice and obey. Jesus did NOT say my sheep read my book and obey. It really is that simple. The bible is an awesome tool given to us by Jesus and when read and used as led by the Spirit it is wonderful. Apart from the Spirit’s anointing it is just another dead letter book. We are to judge what is right or wrong by the witness of the Spirit, not the witness of the book. I am sure glad I Have both the Spirit and the scriptures, but the bible is just a book while the Spirit is GOD and GOD is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.

  4. Hello Chris and everyone, Jesus showed me today that my season on this blog is now over. I’ve enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with many of you on this blog and Jesus may have me back in a future season. I could stay, but that would be not following Jesus’ best, so the only good option is to follow what He is showing me to do. But, I also felt from the Lord to open the door to personal fellowship with any of you that Jesus nudges in such a direction. Chris, you already have my contact information, but to those of you who do not have it, I would list it here but know that it would not be the wisest Internet thing to do. So instead, if you use my Contact webpage at http://www.scottrbrooks.com/Contact.htm it will send an email directly to me. I’ll then directly email you back and include my email address, home phone, and Skype user name. As a side note, if you tried to give me a friend request on Facebook, I did not accept or reject it since Jesus has guided me to have a very minimal social media presence so as to keep my time reserved for other things. Once again, it has been nice to meet you all via this blog, and thank you Chris for doing this blog. With Jesus’ love, Scott

    • Scott, I love you man and am glad for the season you were here with us my friend. Blessings on wherever HE may lead you.

      • Thanks, buddy! It has been a nice season together. And may Jesus richly bless you here on the blog and in all of life! 🙂

  5. daryl permalink

    My point is that we only know Jesus said that because it is in the scriptures…not because we were told that in a dream or whispered in our ear by the Holy Spirit.I would disagree that we are to judge what is right or wrong by the witness of the Spirit and not the witness of the book as I feel the witness of the Spirit will be the witness of the book and the witness of the book will be the witness of the Spirit. The bible isn’t “just” a book that kind of helps us along and lets us know a few little neat things about God.IT is a Divine book,supernatural,inspired by God himself. Of course ,not all of scripture is directly applicable to the body of Christ. So if one is claiming to be bible led and directly applying the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy to themselves they are mistaken and are certainly not being led by the Spirit as those are opposing rules of life.Christians are not under the Mosaic law,but under grace and to live by the Spirit. I know that because it is written in the Scripture and the Holy Spirit was pleased to reveal that to me. IF being bible led means to try and directly apply every scripture from old and new,of course their will be contradiction and confusion.If being bible led means applying the scriptures to believers under grace,there will be complete harmony with the Spirit. In christianity today I am seeing many clear teachings from scripture FOR believers,rejected under the guise of following the Spirit and being under grace,that in fact grieves the Spirit (scripture says so)and is a perversion of grace.Well,appreciate the response and I too am thankful for the Holy Spirit and the bible.

    • Daryl, I know what I know because Jesus has been having an ongoing conversation with me since I was 4 years old. I was lost and HE led me out of the woods and I was being brutally sexually abused by my dad and HE came to me and comforted me. Jesus taught me about true fellowship,Love, Grace and Truth long before I ever encountered a bible. And when the Gideon’s gave me a little red New Testament in the 5th grade I read it and it only confirmed the things Jesus had already been telling me since age 4. I am glad to have a bible and I read it all the time as HE leads me there, but I don’t need it because Jesus can and has taught me by HIS Voice for over 50 years. Take my bible away from me and I will still be able to hear HIM. But without the Spirit of Christ I am lost.

  6. Daryl, Chris, All- As in almost all things, we have people and people, simple and complex, your “lens” of life experiences and faith/lack of faith and my “lens” or view of an issue with my own life experiences and faith/lack of faith. On it goes and shall go and has gone. The baggage we all bring to both relationship WITH THE TRUE RISEN JESUS (which is Chris’s heartbeat over the what… 35 plus years we’ve been friends) is his core. I get it, agree, share it. Direct revelation is clearly not THE ONLY THING (yep, shoutin’ for emphasis here 🙂 nor is THE WRITTEN WORD which some refer to as the cannon, that group of writings most Christ-followers believe were themselves inspired by direct revelation of God THE Holy Spirit. Chris pretty regularly leans hard to relationship with God (without which direct revelation can be nonsense, simply old nature talkin’, even demonic influence in the brain) but of course even -with- saving knowledge of Jesus, genuine relationship we all.. all… all… often make mistakes, get it wrong, even choose sin at times (unless of course you believe the doctrine of entire sanctification… but that’s another discussion). Ok, so any of us having been trashed, abused, messed over by family, school, traditional -or- house church demigods, our own stupid, selfish choices… all of these can and mostly will bring one to distrust most anything BUT direct revelation. Let’s face that as reality but also “your mileage may vary”. I know great and fully crazy, false-teacher demigods in all streams of the “churches”. Still reading? I’m writing by what I believe to be direct revelation from the Spirit right now. Right now. I have ZERO desire to “lord it over” anybody, in this blog or anywhere else. Chris REGULARLY begins each blog post with the Bible. So… I will say his focus is relational, but not fully divided from The Book from which most all he says is derived. But here’s the tough part as I see it: it’s like playing a guitar singing a song about the fact one can make music without the guitar. The core truth is correct. But without The Bible we wouldn’t (as you say Daryl) have the sort of revelation of Jesus we do. Put another way, we don’t KNOW what revelation of Him we’d have because none of us are fully without that series of writings to begin with, so it’s a moot point. HAVE people messed us up. YES. Ought we to be very careful of others teaching us… of course! The simple boil-down here is there has long been in Quaker and other Christian and quasi-Christian, spiritual circles the very same ethic and approach, that is, we each hear from God directly and do not need anyone nor to give anyone authority over our spiritual lives, minds, spiritual gifts or natural talents to hear and walk with the true God. While at core I fully agree with the “be very, very careful”, I do not agree that direct revelation is the sole nor even THE God-pleasing way to walk with Him and others in the Church (meaning any/all assemblies of called-out Christ followers). I’ve met deeply spiritual, God and people lovers, mature and flatly immature, self-centered and ornery folks in each and every stream of Christianity you can name over the 45 years of my walk with Jesus and His people. The container doesn’t equal the product. Never. Sum up: my dear friend, like myself and all reading this, is right and wrong, wrong and right. None of us have full revelation, are not literally perfected in either our relationships with Jesus and others, nor in our understanding of The Bible. Every time Chris or myself or anyone posts they are in the broad or specific sense, teaching. Fact. Every time we quote scripture regardless of our view of it, we are teaching. Every instance in which a person accepts what you, I, any of us says as truth, as revelation from God they have allowed -us- authority in their lives to whatever degree we’ve allowed. The unspoken word at issue is “authority”. We each grant or do not grant people authority. They do or do not mis-use scripture -or- direct revelation, either one… to very possibly manipulate. Not always do they intend that, regardless of what sort of gathering. Neither the Bible nor direct revelation are immune from mis-use by bad and controlling people. Then again, careful sound Bible interpretation as well as direct revelation with and from relationship to God the Holy Spirit (Whom most Christ followers believe inspired writing and collection of what we call The Bible) is what I read Chris seeking to do and do most of the time. I fully welcome any responses to this, as I also am flawed but love Jesus and all who are open to honest discussion, agreeing or disagreeing! -Glenn Kaiser

    • Thank you for sharing your portion of the Truth in Love with us here today Glenn. What you are speaking of Glenn is that mythical thing called balance. Really not a myth. We need each other in the Body of Christ for encouragement, balance and at times correction. Together we all weigh what one another share against what the Spirit says, the bible says, the Body says, history says, and experience says…when we freely do this with one another we discover together what the Truth in Love is in any given situation. We each simply share our portion and together we find Truth and Love as one Body under only Christ our Head. “Come let us reason together says the Lord.” If GOD operates that way with us,we should operate that way with one another. We don’t give edicts or orders…we just share our simple portion for all to weigh.

    • Cassandra permalink

      Thank you Glenn for bringing balance. My only addition would be that love too, with out action, is dead. Not sloppy agape. But love that isn’t afraid to get involved, in the trenches, and isn’t afraid to live the revelation they have recieved. Whether it comes from the Holy Spirit or Scripture , it is only as good as our adherance to what was revealed. And then let the fruit of that seed be judged. Be willing to accept what others see and look honestly for yourself at what is coming to fruition in your life. We need the body working together, not cut apart and separated.

      • Excellent comment Cassandra, Love and active witness are both sorely needed in the church today.

      • Full agreement Cassandra! Full. Then of course, the reason we are often divided from one another is by choice. I would even posit sometimes, HIS choice… but plenty often, our own. -Glenn

  7. Sue heumann permalink

    And it’s beautiful to experience.

  8. Thanks Chris, indeed, “by no private interpretation”… I read somewhere 🙂 “At present I (and) we have in part”. Indeed! Love you! -Glenn

  9. Yvonne prentice permalink

    Thank you once again, you have put words to a vital point; that the kingdom comes through us and out into the world – so we do need to be out in the world- not being like the world but being authenticly like Jesus.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Paul Misunderstood – The Flawed Tent-Maker Model Of Christianity – Grace and Truth
  2. Paul Misunderstood – The Flawed Tent-Maker Model Of Christianity – Grace and Truth

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