Who Killed The Christ?

They were not pagans, infidels or barbarians who killed the Christ. Even the despised Samaritans were innocent of His blood. No. It was His own people who rejected Him (John 1:11). “Holy” and “righteous” men presided over His death. “Holy” and “righteous” men broke their own laws by secretly trying Him in the night. “Holy” and “righteous” men pronounced him guilty and rushed Him off to be crucified. When Pilate would have released Him these “holy” and “righteous” men led the crowd in shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Why did they hate Christ so much?

Nearly everything Jesus said and did threatened the very existence of Judaism. “What are we to do?”, reasoned the chief priests and the Pharisees, “For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation” (see John 11:47-48).

In spite of their declarations of holiness and righteousness and their soring rhetoric about “drawing close to God” and “obeying God,” they would kill God’s only Son in order to save their place and nation. Christ was a fundamental threat to Judaism and He remains a threat to religion today.

Eating from the Tree of Life

There were two trees in the midst of the Garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge and the tree of Life. Satan did not use the tree of Life to tempt Adam and Eve, but rather appeared to them in the tree of knowledge. He still abides in that tree to this day! Men and women who try to approach Jesus on that level, scholasticism, even Bible knowledge are eating from the forbidden tree. God is Spirit and they who would know Him must do so in the Spirit of Truth, not the tree of what is good and what is evil… the letter of the law weather it be Old or New Testament law, still kills. Knowledge, even Bible knowledge, puffs up the carnal mind and elevates the one possessing it over his fellow man. But the love of God edifies those around the person walking in His love.

The temptation is still the same today, “If you eat of this tree (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) you will be like God!” It is a lie. The tree of knowledge killed Adam and Eve and it still kills today all who eat of it. If we are truly born by the Father from above we are spirit beings and as such must feed on the Tree of Life, Jesus Christ, by His Spirit in us. Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures, in them you think you will find life and it is they which speak of me, but you will not come to me that you might have life.” The scriptures were given for one reason. They all point us to Christ (see Luke 24:27) who IS our Life. HE and only He is to be our All in all. Sad to say, many have been seduced by the enemy’s appeal to approach God through the power of their intellects and then they turn around and ask all others to bow before the idol they have created out of their Bible knowledge (see Acts 20:29-31). God has not changed His mind, they who worship Him must do so in His Spirit and in His Truth and Jesus only is that Truth and is not replaced by what has been written about Him. The Bible is only an imperfect shadow of the One who IS the Truth and we must come to Him to really know God in an intimate way. Jesus did not promise a gilded leather bound book to take His place, but He DID promise us a heavenly Teacher…

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
(John 16:13-15 KJ2000)

True Spiritual Fruit in Christ

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:15-23 KJ2000)

There is an interesting flow in this discourse by Jesus. He starts out talking about false prophets and ends by talking about workers of iniquity. But in the middle He speaks of bearing fruit and that this very fruit will be the true manifestation of whether they are true or false prophets and whether their works were born of the Father.

We are warned in the New Testament that false prophets, false apostles and false teachers will abound in these last days. To those without any depth and spiritual discernment they look on the outward as fellow sheep. To discover their true natures we have to look at the inward nature of these people and the Spirit of God gives us this discernment, the discerning of spirits. There is also an outward sign given as to what their agenda and nature is, you look at their fruit. You look at the outward by-product of what they are really producing. Many people think that “fruit” is strickly the number of people a person “leads to Christ.” They look for the amount of new members and the amount of baptisms that happen in a church or how many people one can get to repeat a “sinners prayer.” Yet, Jesus did not say, you will know them by their buds or their flowers. Fruit is not seen for what it is until it is in full maturity and you take a bite of it. If you try to eat most fruit before it is mature it is very bitter and will make your mouth pucker. So, you see, for fruit to be a true sign you have to partake of it once it has matured. Some fruit when it matures has worms in it. Others have rot in the center and both have to be thrown away. It is interesting that the eggs of the apple maggot are layed in the apple blosom itself and mature with the fruit and finally bore out to the surface as the apple matures. Not all apple trees play host to apple maggots. The trees that do bear fruit that has iniquity in it!

Jesus never said, “Go out into all the world and make converts to Christianity.” No, He said, go forth and make disciples. There are millions of Christian converts, but oh so few who have come into a mature relationship in Christ where they can say as He did, “If you have seen me, you have seen my Father.” Frankly, most fruit that is made in and by churches today is rotten inside. If it wasn’t then why do “Christians” have the same divorce rate as the world’s people do. Why is it that most “Christian businessmen” are as cut-throat and dishonest (if not worse) than the world’s businessmen? Most “Christians” are as hooked into the lust for the things of this world as any of the un-saved of this world are.

It is one thing to make converts, but a whole other thing to make a disciple of Jesus. One time I prayed, “Father, make me like Your Son… that I would only do the works I see you doing and that I would only speak the words I hear you saying.” I had just enough time to think to myself, “Man! That was sure a righteous prayer!” And then He answered me, “No, my son, that is only the STARTING place.” How many of us have reached the beginning of the race that God has set before us? How many of us who name Christ as ours have grown into such a love for Him that we pray with Paul, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10 KJ2000)? Yes, many of us would love to have His power, but few love the idea of being conformed into Christ’s sufferings and death! This is the road to maturity, wanting to be fully conformed into all that Jesus is. Many want power, but few want to drink from the cup that Jesus had to drink (Matthew 10:37-39 and Isaiah 53). There is a huge difference between a mere convert and a true disciple.

So Jesus said of these times we are in, speaking of modern day ministers and ministries in Christendom, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out demons? and in your name done many wonderful works?’” What does it mean to be IN the name of Jesus? Do we just use the name J-E-S-U-S as some kind of magic word or incantaton to get our wills to be done by God? That is how most Christians use it, “In the name of Jesus we pray….” The Greek word translated “name” is:

Onoma and according to W. E. Vine it means: for all that a “name” implies, of authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc., of everything that the “name” covers: (a) of the “Name” of God as expressing His attributes, etc.

You see, to do anything IN Jesus name we must be walking IN who Jesus IS! In John chapter fifteen we read of Him saying, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 KJ2000). All true spiritual fruit is born our of a relationship in Christ. Too many of us are still trying to be Chrsitians without abiding and living IN Jesus and only in there will we be living out His character, excellence authority and power.

So these Christians who were using and claiming His name who “ prophesied in His name, cast out demons in His name and did many wonderful works in His name” were not IN His very essence, character and under His authority while doing all these things, but were just using His name to do their religious works to be seen of men for their own glory. How many of the works that Christians do today with all their ministry building will be shown to be iniquity in the judgement of God when that time comes? Because of their seeking financial gain, glory and power, they will already have got their rewards and have nothing left to receive in eternity.

Abiding IN Jesus is the key to bearing fruit that is eternal unto the Father. If we abide in Him He will abide in us and from this relationship alone we will bear heavenly fruit. Just as we had to be born from above in the Spirit to be sons and daughters of God, so must the works we do and the fruit we bear be born by the Spirit of God. Just because we read about a “good work” that was done in the Bible, does not mean that WE have are authorize to run out and do it of our own wills and energies. It might be “biblical” but it is not born of the Father in Christ until the Spirit of God initiates that work and brings forth from it by His power and authority.

Speaking of those who did not bring forth His fruit, He said, “I never knew you.” Have you ever pondered how the all-knowing God could possibly not know one of His created beings? I have, so I decided to look up this word “knew” and “know” in the Greek. W. E. Vine wrote:

ginosko – In the NT ginosko frequently indicates a relation between the person “knowing” and the object known; in this respect, what is “known” is of value or importance to the one who knows, and hence the establishment of the relationship, e.g., especially of God’s “knowledge,” 1Co_8:3, “if any man love God, the same is known of Him;”

Again, all that we do in and for Christ must be born out of an intimate relationship with Him. All that we do as His saints must be born out of a relationship with Him and Him alone or it is not conceived, given life or brought into maturity by Him. All fruit that is His is born of a love relationship with and in Him and not of the initiation and energies of that old Adam within. His place is to only be crucifed in Christ and for Jesus to live out His life within and through us. With God, nothing we do is born out of religion or religious “good works,” but is always born from our love relationship with Him as we rest in the Son.

Are We Forsaking the Gathering?

There are two forms of assembling together. On the one hand you can have a lawn mower that has been fully assembled, fueled, oiled and made ready to use by a qualified mower dealer and then you can have one that the home owner has tried to repair and is brought back to the dealer in a box with the guarantee that all the parts are there. Yes, they are both “assembled,” but only one of these machines is usable.

In the Book of Hebrews we read,

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:19-25 KJ2000)

As we read above, we are to come together as the body of Christ in a NEW AND LIVING WAY. What is that new way filled with the life of God? The writer alludes to it earlier in the chapter saying, “The Holy Spirit also is a witness to us: for after this he had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them’ (Hebrews 10:15-16 KJ2000). He was speaking of the passage in Jeremiah 31 where we read about the nature of this NEW Covenant we should be partaking of…

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband unto them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 KJ2000) [see also Ezekiel 36:26&27]

Here the prophet alludes to a new people who will be made ready to walk in His NEW Covenant. Everyone of the points in the above passage starts with, the words, “I will…” There is not a single work of the fleshly arm of man needed to make it come to pass… not a single “thou shalt or thou shalt not” needed to be obeyed. And what does this New Creation in Christ look like? He has a new Spirit within and a new heart upon which is written a New Commandment (see Hebrews 7:12 and John 13:34&35), His agape love. This new man in Christ is so plugged into the Spirit that he no longer needs human teachers… for all who are of this New Covenant can hear the Spirit of Truth speaking within them (see 1 John 2:26&27). In every way this New Covenant life is a “NEW AND LIVING WAY”!

So with all this in mind how does a New Covenant people assemble together when each man and woman is a priest of God and each one can hear His Spirit speaking and all have been given gifts to profit the whole body of Christ? Do they line up in neat rows all facing an elevated pulpit (and the backs of the other members’ heads) upon which stands one man who has been licensed to preach to them while they sit there in dumb silence? That is not NEW and neither is it LIVING! That is Old Covenant at best and Roman at the worst and it sows seeds of death and discouragement, making the gifted saint hide their gifts in a napkin and bury them out of fear of the “holy man” up front who will not allow any man to interrupt the high Protestant sacrament called, “The Sermon.”

The writer of Hebrews continues, “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…” There is that phrase that is so New Covenant, “one another.”

consider – Grk. katanoeo – to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.
One another – Grk. allelon – one another, reciprocally, mutually

We are to fix our eyes and minds upon the Spirit in one another mutually as we gather, not on some pulpeteer up front, or the one who loves to take over the meeting and control it for his own glory. We know that God has put something in each of our hearts that is for the benefit of the whole body of believers and do what we can to draw it out of one another for the benefit of all.

As it is easy for anyone to see, coming together as Christ’s re-created New Covenant beings and in this mutually edifying manner is not going to Sunday church services as they have become. But Jesus did assure us that wherever two or three of us gather together in His name, He will be there. Don’t let anyone of the “Sunday church” mind-set condemn the liberty you have in His Spirit in this New and Living way.

Unity and Glory

by Michael Clark

Just before He was to go to the cross Jesus prayed, “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:” (Joh 17:21-22)

Jesus was who He was/is because He was/is ONE with the Father. Without the Father He could do nothing. He even told Philip if he had seen Jesus he had seen the Father. Herein did Jesus receive glory from the Father. As WE are ONE in the Father and the Son, we receive the same glory as Christ did and THIS is the witness to the world of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that Christians are so attacked in this very area of unity? First they are pulled away by the seductions of the world to keep them from unity with the Father and the Son and secondly they are divided against one another by sectarianism, pride and unforgiveness. Is walking in unity, His glory and living the gospel of Christ important enough to us to call out to God to change our hearts and conform us into the image of Christ? Or will we remain content to go on without His glory in us in a mediocre existence and be that salt that has lost its saltiness that is good for nothing but to be troden under the feet of men? This seems to be the choice we are all facing in this hour.