Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spiritual Explosion of The Kingdom




By Ron McGatlin

Many people in the world have at some point in their lives experienced a life-altering event that in one day changed their lives forever. Life could never go back to being as it was only hours before. There was absolutely nothing that could make things be as they were before the event. Whether it was a really good thing or a bad thing, it was done and could not be undone.

An entire tribe or nation can awaken one morning to a national situation that has so severely changed that it does not seem to be the same world they went to bed in the night before. These sudden events may have actually been building gradually for a long period of time, seemingly unnoticed by the people that are affected by it.

Spiritual events can also occur with the same suddenness. Spiritual events can be just as life changing and with as much sudden impact as natural events. There can be a sudden powerful blast of spiritual light within us that in a moment of time blows away much of our spiritual landscape of previously held beliefs and strong religious convictions.

Some believers today are having their world changed by fresh revelation of the kingdom of God. An explosion of fresh revelation of the kingdom of God is quickly changing everything for some people today. The Spirit of God is shining the light of the word of the kingdom into many hearts. Bibles seem to come alive with previously unseen truth that is suddenly seen with clarity. An exciting journey of discovery begins as words that have always been in our Bibles seem to suddenly appear for the first time.

The manifesting of the kingdom began around 2000 years ago and has, in the past century and especially in recent decades, been accelerating. Cleansing of our old religious landscape occurs as the light of kingdom truth clears the land to be replanted with the new landscape of life in the Spirit.

Living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit opens the door to the divine source of guidance and empowerment in all matters of life. Receiving the gospel of the kingdom changes how we think, who we are, and what we do. We become kingdom disciples of Christ on our way to becoming productive kings and priests, ruling and reigning with Christ in this life.

Where there was dry barren land of dusty religious beliefs and practices, a river of cool clear life-giving water flows from the throne of God filling the dry desert places with life. The desert begins to bloom with life, spiritual life, flowing in the river of the Spirit and bringing life everywhere it goes.

In a recent conversation with a group of friends, some of which have served God for many years as pastors of churches, missionaries, and other ministries, we talked about how we had spent a lifetime gaining spiritual enlightenment a little here and a little there. We recognized that there has now been a change in the seasons of the Spirit. Now, in this new season of the fresh revealing of the kingdom, the light of God’s kingdom truth seems to be bursting forth, impacting some with a rapid impartation of kingdom of God reality.

One of the key ingredients of this season of rapid kingdom impartation is the fading of the false belief that we cannot experience the fullness of the kingdom of God until God does something more in the future to bring it about. Religious teaching has caused most of us to believe that we must get by on something less that the full kingdom of God in this time in which we live. We were taught that the kingdom fullness can only be a future hope of the church. This false conclusion must assume that when Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand that He really meant that only a little of it is really at hand.

As these strong erroneous beliefs are dissolving in the light of the Spirit revealing the magnitude of the reality of Christ in us, we are beginning to believe (have faith) for the potential of the fullness of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. It is faith (believing) that can release what God has provided. Unbelief can and will limit the release of God’s provision. It matters greatly what we believe and what we do not believe. We know that man cannot bring forth the kingdom of God. However, we can limit the coming of the kingdom by what we believe or, should I say, what we do not believe.

Yes, God is sovereign and can do what He decides when He decides to do it. And He decided to give man a free will and a measure of dominion on Planet Earth. He will not go back on His word. He will not force His salvation or the fullness of His kingdom upon unwilling, unbelieving men. Some are unwilling to believe in the fullness of kingdom in this life now because they do not believe they are worthy or capable of living in kingdom fullness now. Yes, we are all totally unworthy and incapable of living kingdom fullness. However, if we are crucified with Christ and filled with His Spirit, there is One who lives in us, where we once lived, Who is all together worthy and completely capable. Our self-focus leads to false belief and limits the advance of the real kingdom of God in us and on earth.

Praise God! There are increasingly more crucified-with-Christ believers on earth in whom Christ abides than ever before. Therefore, the kingdom of God is surging into the lives of forerunners and, from them, into the lives of many others.

God is doing everything to cause men to become willing and believing. His love and provisions draw us to Him. His chastening and cleansing judgments drive us toward Him. His Spirit in Christ by the Holy Spirit is sent into the world to reveal His kingdom in His people and empower us to have faith in the fullness of His kingdom coming forth. What we could never do is being done by the indwelling Spirit of God.

God does not desire to withhold the fullness of His kingdom now from His people on earth.

Luke 12:32: "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

In His love and patience, God is doing from heaven all that can be done to bring forth the fullness of His kingdom on earth without overriding the free will of man. To do more without man’s agreement, He would have to remove or override the free will of mankind and void His dominion creation covenant with man. As the faith of the indwelling Christ Jesus becomes our faith, and the will of God becomes our will, the kingdom of God is manifest on earth.

Gal 2:20 KJV: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Mat 6:10: Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Man can have all of the kingdom of Jesus that he really wants – all that he really believes and is prepared to handle now. We each may need to consider ourselves regarding the potential that we have in the at-hand kingdom now. The potential of the fullness of His kingdom on earth is already provided in Christ. What we (the worldwide people of God) believe has a great affect on the kingdom of heaven on earth.

God is today preparing a people to mature into the fullness of becoming kings and priests to fully live the kingdom-of-God lifestyle.

What more must Jesus do?

Jesus has already paid the full price for redemption, ascended to the throne, and returned in the Spirit to indwell and empower His people to redeem the kingdoms of this world for the kingdom of our God.

God is today changing religious and secular people—including Christians who did not believe—into kingdom believers to receive the fullness of the kingdom. The fullness of the kingdom of God is at hand now and has been for about two thousand years.

Man cannot bring forth the kingdom without God.

God will not bring forth the kingdom on earth without man.

The kingdom of God is coming forth on earth by God in man.

Keep on pursuing love. It never fails

and His kingdom never ends.

Ron's articles may be viewed here at OpenHeaven.com




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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Viewing The Shift

By Ron McGatlin

The goal of the ministry of the church.

The primary goal is not a bigger group, more activities or better services, it is not even benevolent acts, nor greater prosperity, and not even more and better evangelism, neither is it healing or emotional healing and deliverance. All of these and more are the results of the goal of the "ekklesia" (assembly of called out ones). The goal is Christ formed by the Holy Spirit in a people becoming His character and His nature in the world producing the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the humble and not a work of man's prideful efforts. The Holy Spirit brings the life of Christ within replacing our dead self-life. It is Christ being formed within by the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

The major fruit of the Spirit flowing from the Christ within is love. Unconditional love flowing from a pure heart leads to all the other fruits of the Spirit including joy, peace and faith to name a few. (Galatians 5:22:KJV)

The love of Christ flowing from a pure heart is the most powerful world changing force. Fear, pride, lust, greed, envy, and every evil work can be overpowered by love from a pure hearted ekklesia touching and changing our household and those who abide within then spilling out to the world.

Paul spoke clearly the goal of ministry to Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:5 NIV: The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

The Church is moving to embrace the goal expressed in the early church.

For a number of years the prophets have proclaimed a coming paradigm shift and the return of functioning apostles to help lead toward the new landscape. Many in the past have also added that they had no clear picture of what the new landscape of church would look like.

Now that the shift is in process and the new landscape is coming into view many are extremely surprised and even astonished. Some doubt that it is God doing the shifting. In reality we are all in a state of transition and are at different places in the journey of transition. And some have not yet taken the first step toward following this movement of the cloud and pillar of fire.

Some key words of this season are: intimacy with God, Father's love, "Christ in you", Holy Spirit saturation, soaking, God's manifest presence, transformation, reformation, church without walls and more. Relationship is a major concept of the shift - first intimate relationship with God and then with one another. The love and gifts flowing through relationship are becoming the primary structure replacing institutional structure.

Without brokenness leading to real repentance and real humility it is impossible to relate to God intimately. Intimacy with God is primary. Without intimately relating with God through the Holy Spirit it is not possible to see what is shifting and how it will look. To begin to view some light on the shift it is absolutely necessary to get in close contact with the Holy Spirit and get out of the mind set that our particular flavor of religious system or structure is the final destination. The Spirit must reveal to us that our "system" is NOT the church. We do not go to the church nor join the church. We are added to the church and we are the church. The church is the "ekklesia" (assembly of called out ones). Most every Bible teacher has taught about the priesthood of the believer but it has not really been fully practiced in the past. The "clergy/laity" system made it impossible for the full reality of the priesthood of the believer to come forth.

The church is NOT passing away - the systems are passing away.

In the confusion of the transition some think that anarchy and rebellion are coming against the church and attempting to throw off the leadership of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. If there are any such people out there I personally have not come into contact with them and they are definitely wrong. Let me assure you that the new paradigm will bring forth many times more gifted leaders than we ever had in the passing systems. The Holy Spirit will have freedom to bring forth multitudes of gifted men and women who have in the passing systems been relegated to pew sitting, or limited jobs within the system.

In recent decades many have become discouraged and have left religious systems in search of more reality of God. Often these pilgrims have spent years in a wilderness type experiences. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before joining with others to fulfill his purposes. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before joining with others and moving toward the fulfillment of His life ministry. Paul also endured a wilderness season. Many scattered wilderness dwellers who had left the old are beginning to re connect and find their place in the ekklesia. For the most part they never wanted to leave God but had to leave the life limiting traditional clergy/laity structure. It is not the way of God to remain isolated from the rest of the body forever though the wilderness experience may have served a purpose and seasons of separation alone with God are often significantly used of God.

We are now coming to understand the difference between leadership and headship.

There is one head of the ekklesia. There are no people to stand as head over the ekklesia or to represent the head to the mature believers. The head is Christ Jesus flowing through the Holy Spirit and living in all his people.

Then you ask, what is leadership?

Leadership implies being in front of a moving group that is following. It simply means those further down the road. They are all on the same road. The mature lead the immature until they are matured and then they lead other immature in turn. Spiritual maturity is being able to clearly hear God and then being able to fully obey. If we are childish and yet have a self-life - if we are plagued by unhealed inner wounds and inner needs that drive us, we will not clearly hear God and will lack the ability to fully obey or carry out the instruction or direction from God.

Another word for mature is elder. Now, we need to lose our understanding of an elder from the passing system of church offices. We also need to lose our understanding of apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastor and teachers as church system offices. Elders lead by example training and assisting the immature. They shepherd and oversee. They allow the maturing disciples to watch them and their lives. Then the elders release the maturing disciples to do the work while they watch. Then they leave them doing the work and relate to the mature ones no longer as sons or daughters but as grown brothers and sisters who are themselves now mature or elder.

The servant gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher are already in the people while they were yet immature but cannot flow out to others until they are mature (elder). Therefore elders may be by their gifting apostles, prophets, evangelist, shepherds or teachers. The practical reality of the masses flowing and exercising their spiritual gifts greatly multiplies the leadership of the ekklesia. This greatly increases the discipleship and evangelism of the Body.

All this takes place in a multitude of generic family style groups and public gatherings where Christ in the people by the Holy Spirit connects with the manifest presence of Christ from the throne by the Holy Spirit and the true Head is joined to the Body.

This living Body of believers released to function as priests and kings will provide millions more leaders to lead the immature in multitudes of local groups and to flow from group to group bringing the gifts God has given them.

The Holy Spirit will guide everyone who can hear and obey.

Those who cannot yet hear and obey will be led and trained by elders who are matured through much affliction, humbled and purified by the love of God experience, to the point that they can clearly hear and obey. This is God's original design to bring forth the Body and Bride of Christ into the world. Christ being formed in many bodies networked together by the Holy Spirit as the one Body of Christ. It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory and the method for the kingdom of God to function on earth as it is in heaven.

Be careful not to be misled.

It can be easy to be mislead by the fierce reactions of those who are not yet understanding the shift and are fearful of the loss of the systems that have served us for so long. Also do not be mislead by those who would attempt to hijack the developing movement with a repackaging of the passing system practices with new labels.

The shift is not all about how or where groups come together. You can have the old system traditional church in a house or at work and simply continue the traditions of men in a different venue. Or you can have a Christ led first century style assembly in a house or a red brick building. The move is about Christ truly becoming the head in a practical real way and not just in word only.

Consider the timing.

This shift is a work of God through the Holy Spirit and is occurring over a period of time. This will NOT all happen today or tomorrow. It may be years or it may be hundreds of years before this transition season is over. It would be a huge mistake to get into the flesh and try to bring about by human effort what God is doing. It would be equally problematic to try to run ahead of the work the Holy Spirit is doing. Feeding from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil led us into the perversions of the past. Partaking from the tree of life of intimate relationship with God to clearly hear Him and fully obey His direction will cause us to walk precisely in His will and timing. For today and the near future it is certain that the presentation of church will have many and varied transitional models that God will use as much as he can.

Many factors will affect the transition including world political conditions. In increasing parts of the world, the true church is underground because of governmental and religious extreme persecution. While in other places freedom and favor for the church may be increasing.

The Early Church (Ekklesia) Model

In the early church the gifted but humble apostolic servant leaders lived among the people and taught them publicly and from house to house. They ate together with gladness and simplicity of heart. A multiplicity of elders (spiritually mature leaders) cared for the city church that met in houses and gathered publicly daily on occasions.

Acts 2:46: So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

Acts 20:17-20: From Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, "serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; "how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,

Pursue Love, It Never Fails,

Ron McGatlin

www.openheaven.com. Used by permission.


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Way of The Warrior



Graham Cook discusses the nature of spiritual warfare and the wisdom of waging a better type of warfare.



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