5

Did you know there is a direct correlation between anointing and unity, linking your connection with the Lord and community? There is a link between how well we play with others and that wonderful opportunity to see very chain broken by the power of the Lord in your midst!

Check it out:

The Psalmist writes this:

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Psalm 133:1-3 ESV

In the past, reading this verse I was not focusing on the picture.

To what does He liken brothers dwelling in unity?

To the anointing of Aaron, the first priest of the Most High receiving the outpouring of that special blend of oil and fragrance in preparation for his high calling. He would be the one who stood before God for the people. He would be the one who carried the burdens from the people to the Lord. He would be the one who carried the word of the Lord to the people

We are a people of the priesthood. No longer is there a mediator—a go between—for us. We are called to come before the throne where we can bring our own offerings—our praise—our worship—directly to the feet of the Lord. He speaks to us and we bring His word to those we touch.

But the anointing is diminished, or perhaps impossible, for the lone rangers among us. [Tweet this]

There are aspects of the faith walk that are lonely. There are times where like Jesus, we may walk in the wilderness alone, or like Paul, spend time in Arabia. But those are not the bulk of life, and those are not days of ministry to others.

It is interesting to note that in all the major passages that detail the gifts of the Spirit or the gifts of Christ, we find strong exhortations for love.

It’s most striking in 1 Corinthians where Paul tells us more about the gifts and their operation than anywhere else. Nestled in the middle of his discourse on how to behave when we gather, and what kind of manifestations we might expect in the body of Christ we find this pearl of great price -1 Corinthians 13.

Again in Ephesian 4, where we learn of the Gifts of Christ, if you take I giant step back while reading about the gifts listed in verse 11, you’ll find that it is swimming in a conversation about living in unity.

Once more in Romans 12, Paul teaches on the gifts in the context of unity and love. (Romans 12:3-10)

In Galatians Paul tells us that faith works through love,

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. - Galatians 5:6 ESV

Mull on that with me for a while.

I’ll come back to this soon, but check out these scriptures with me as see if there isn’t a link between the power of the Spirit and the unity of the Body?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

If you haven’t voted on my book cover please go here and vote today.

Walk in the light.

Ben

5

 

The indwelling Christ!

so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, … - Colossians 1:25-27

So based on what I’m seeing here, Jesus – God – is going to live in me. Clearly it will be by His Spirit – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – right?

I mean there is not a 5’9”ish rabbi in robes and sandals living somewhere in the organ that pumps blood to my extremities on a good day.

So when Jesus says:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. - John 14:23

…what He is talking about is the Holy Spirit.

So how much Holy Spirit lives in us? What is the maximum allowable measure?

I know this about Jesus:

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. - John 3:34-35

Can a man – a born again child of God – walk in that same measure or are we given a rationed amount of the Spirit?

We have a few passages that might inform this.

Can we correlate the indwelling Spirit with grace as in:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. - Ephesians 4:7

Or when I think this way am I limiting God’s ability to use me by diminishing His presence in me to a smidge of the Spirit?

Look where Paul goes from this “measure” of Christ’s gift…

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. - Ephesians 4:11-13

Follow me for a minute.

Christ gives grace by measure in verse 7, then He gives men to the body – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are given for the express purpose of equipping us for service.

This equipping is to lead to the building up of the body in unity.

This unity of the faith in the body of Christ brings us to a place in our corporate knowledge and experience with God.

WE (ok – this is really important) become A mature man – comparable to the fullness of Christ.

Notice please – It is not that I equal the measure of Christ – it is not that YOU mature to that level. It is that WE – the body of Christ – have the potential - in unity – to be ONE MATURE PERSON.

This can only happen together – with brothers and sisters. A lone believer will never mature. [Tweet This] Without the gifts of Christ (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) we are not being equipped, we are not being sharpened, we are not growing.

You may sit at home and read your Bible, and sense God’s voice, but there are some things He will not share with you, except through life in community.

Oh this is hard for me. I am such and independent soul. I soooo want to do everything on my own, and never want to depend on anyone for anything.

And so I sit here, missing God’s best, missing His plan for my growth because I won’t submit to a teacher, or listen to a prophet, or I despise some evangelist.

Lord, save me from my self.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Walk with somebody today.

Ben

5

Living Water
Living Water

A garden enclosed
Is my sister, my spouse,
A spring shut up,
A fountain sealed.
...
A fountain of gardens,
A well of living waters,
And streams from Lebanon.

Song of Songs 4:12, 15 NKJV

Living Waters

If you are like me, when you think of living waters, you think of what Jesus said in John 7.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' - John 7:38

However the phrase “living water” did not originate in the gospels.

The first time these words are paired in the Hebrew Scriptures is in a fairly familiar story in the life of Isaac. If you remember Isaac was becoming a very wealthy man and he had large flocks and herds.

Then Isaac dug again the wells of water which had been dug in the days of his father Abraham, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham; and he gave them the same names which his father had given them. But when Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of flowing  (living) water, - Genesis 26:18-19

I know it does not say living water here, but it is the same two Hebrew words, and when I drop the phrase living water into this sentence, knowing full well that Jesus was going to equate living water to the work of the Holy Spirit…

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. - John 7:39 NASB

… it makes me ponder this story anew.

I long for a day – and I pray it is today – when we can raise up a generation behind us who does not have to re-dig our wells, but can start in the Spirit where we have left off.

Two things are desperately needed in the Church for this to happen.

First, we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God who has given us everything we have, is the same Spirit who dwells in the next generation of believers. These young believers, no matter how young, have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in them as we do in us. We MUST pass on what we have (at least the good stuff) to those who follow us.

Next we must realize and recognize that the Spirit of the Living God that dwells in the generation that has come before us is the same Spirit who dwells in us, and be willing to receive from those who have been in the faith longer that we have. We do not have to reinvent the faith anew for each generation.

Revelation comes line upon line and precept upon precept, and if we can start where our forefathers left off, imagine how much further we could travel. If our ceiling becomes our children’s floor (to borrow a metaphor from Paul Simon) imagine how they could flourish in the faith.

This goes for our denominational differences too. I am thinking now of the strife that exists between the Charismatic folks and the non-Charismatics, or between the Calvinists and Aminians, or between seven-day creation Christians and old Earth creation Christians.

I see Christians actually trying to fill in the wells of living water from those of other backgrounds. When did you become a Philistine?  [ok – I am starting to rant – but I hope you see the picture I am painting.]

Let me be clear, I want us to share only the Living Water – that which flows from the throne of the One True God. I am not suggesting we adopt an ‘any doctrine will do’ stance, but I long for the day when leaders from these various camps can stand together and find the common ground, then share the sweet living water that comes from the deep wells they have dug.

If we can begin to share the Living Water we are getting from the deep and plentiful wells God has provided, rather than defending our wells and despising others, we could grow in unity and love, and the One True Church of Jesus Christ, that church that He is building would truly flourish.

Ok – I honestly did not expect this post to go in this direction today.

Lord, I ask you for opportunities for me to share from my well, and to taste the sweet revelation from the wells of others. I pray my pride and partisan spirit would not hinder the life of Your Body today.

Thanks for coming by.

I am afraid we will have to come back to the living water again next week. I didn’t even get to the place I was expecting to start today.

Ben NelsonDon’t miss next week’s installment.

Walk in blessing today.

Ben