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If you were born without a father and as you grew up, your mother, your stepfather, your aunty, your cousin, and even perhaps the villagers are telling you that you are supposed to have been conceived as a baby whilst your mother was a virgin, then what are you supposed to think?  When you were a child, you may not have understood these things, and although you have been taunted and made a joke of in the village or town your family was living in as you begin to come of age, what conclusion would you draw as to whom your father is?  If your mother conceived you while she was a virgin and the man who fathered your brothers and sisters is not your father, then, as an eleven and twelve year old, what conclusion would you draw as to who your father must be?

So, should it surprise us that when He went up to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover at twelve years of age with His parents, He did not return with them, but three days later they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  And when His mother said, “Son, why have You treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You,” He replied, “Why were you searching for Me?  Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?”  For by that stage, the young Boy Jesus had come to His conclusion – if no one is My father, then God must be My Father. 

You see, the cynics would say the story of the virgin conception and birth was a cruel and crude way to explain away Mary’s indiscretion whilst she was betrothed to Joseph and this woman kept up the ridiculous story.  The psychological effect on a young boy would be understandable, especially what with today’s popularity of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.  Having convinced Himself that God is His Father, Jesus then pursued a study of Scriptures and religion, and one might say He began to conform Himself into the image of what a Son of God should be, both in His imagination, that is, His thinking, and His behavior, all of which can be dismissed as delusional and fantasy based, filling in a much needed void in a Child who has suffered the psychological trauma of having to live as One who has no father for He was conceived in a virgin.

You see, elect, you may believe what is written about the conception of Jesus in the Gospels, but the world does not, and the world has its own explanation that can destroy your arguments of faith if your witness on behalf of Jesus is entirely faith based.  The ineffectiveness of the church so far is the fact that its testimony of Jesus is completely faith based rather than having evidence based testimony to support their faith.  As in any court, a suspect may be accused of murder, but a murder weapon with his fingerprints on it can clinch the argument.  Likewise, you may believe Jesus knew He was the Son of God since He was young, but any educated person with some psychological training will demolish your faith based testimony with a clever psychoanalysis of the mind of a twelve year old Child who has always been told that His mother was a virgin when He was conceived. 

Thus, the entire story of Jesus can be dismissed, including the voice He heard telling Him, “You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.”  That account to one who does not believe and would argue against the authenticity of Jesus’ claims, would say that was a self reinforcing hallucination that stemmed from a deeply rooted, delusional thought system.

Thus, as your apprenticeship continues, beginning with changing the way you think, so that indeed not only would you love God with all your heart, soul and might like any Jew is commanded to, but that you would also love God with all your mind.  For Jesus, when quoting the greatest commandment of the Old Testament, added the word “mind” into it, so that your love of God is not only emotional of heart and soul that governs your might, but also must be logical.  A purpose of your apprenticeship is so that you think as God thinks, logically from the perspective of God.  The logic is God based, not man based.  That is, your thinking must acquire the ability to solve any problem and situation in a way that is logical for God and not just logical for men, without discarding what is logical for men.  Thus, to every problem you will encounter from now on, there must be two views, two options, two outcomes and two ways – that which is logical for men and that which is logical for God.  Indeed, the way that you need to think is to be able to have both options accessible so that, just like Jesus, you are fully man who is becoming god, like He is fully Man and fully God.

You see, the whole belief system that Jesus had set up in Himself to help Him cope with His legendary virgin birth would fall apart and He would truly be nothing but the result of a lousy upbringing producing a delusional young man with delusions of grandeur, backed up by self edifying hallucinations, if there were no other human beings like the man born blind in John 9, whose entire life was changed because Jesus did not just believe He could do miracles but actually did miracles.  Miracles that were so astounding and evident that not only did the man born blind testify to it, but even his parents testified, “We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind.  But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know.”  The miracle was real, so real that the victim and his parents testified to it and the Pharisees were upset about it, not because it was a hoax, but because it was done on a Sabbath.  Having perhaps this and His many other miracles in mind, Jesus said to the Jews who wanted to know if He was the Christ, “Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?  Do not believe Me unless I do what My Father does.  But if I do it, even though you do not believe Me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

You see, the mindset of Jesus was never just based on who He believed Himself to be or even what He knew Himself to be, for if He could not do what no other man can do, then His claim to be the Son of God is merely that, a claim.  It is the fact that He could do what no other man could do and He did it before such a multitude of witnesses that not only did those who believed in Him testify to it, but those who were against Him testified with even louder and angrier voices and actions.  You see, what finally drove His detractors and enemies into their murderous bloodlust to kill Him was His final miracle in front of a gathered crowd and family by raising Lazarus from the dead four days after he was buried.  That miracle provoked this comment from the Sanhedrin, “What are we accomplishing?  Here is this Man performing many miraculous signs.  If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”  So it was not what Jesus was preaching that drove His enemies to act against Him, but rather, what He was doing to prove that He is who He said He is, the Son of God, the most logical conclusion a Person born of a virgin can make about His Father.  And as proof that the message was not the conclusion of such a deluded mind, He began to do what no other man could do, again and again, repeated so often that it is evident that He was no ordinary religious person whom God was pleased with and blessed Him with miracles for His devotion.  He was demonstrating that He was no Elijah or Elisha, for He needed no fire from Heaven to prove that He was a Man of God, nor was He anointed by an Elijah with power like Elisha was.  No, the man who baptised Him only had a message that he could not enforce with miraculous powers.  As Jesus continued His miraculous life, it became evident to all that it was Him who was doing it and not God who was doing it for Him or through Him.  That is why He drew comments like “Here is this Man performing many miraculous signs.”

You see, with Jesus it was not Him praying and God moving, it was Him who was doing the miracles, the healings and the driving out of demons.  He did not use any name when He drove demons out, just a command was said from Him by Him, without relying on a name for its deputised power.  Jesus’ ministry was not deputised as Moses’, Elijah’s and Elisha’s were.  And likewise, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are not deputised, but they are doing what they will do as often as they want.

When did Jesus receive the power to do miracles as He did, and who gave it to Him?  If you say when the Holy Spirit came upon Him and it was the Holy Spirit who gave Him the power, you are only correct in part.  For yes, it is true that Jesus could do no miracles when the people had so little faith that He could only heal their sick, suggesting that it was the Holy Spirit who withheld His power and hence no miracles were done in His hometown.  There is, however, an independent witness who knows Him better than any other human being, whose actions and testimony show us that Jesus was already doing miracles before He was baptised at the Jordan – Mary, His mother, when she calmly ordered the servants, “Do whatever He tells you,” when they ran out of wine at the wedding.  Specifically Mary knew that Jesus could supply more wine there and then.  And for there to be wine immediately at the wedding took a miracle!

So, where did this power come from in the first place?  It came from His very nature, that which He inherited by being born the Son of God.  As God is the God of miraculous powers, so naturally is His Son.  It is a naturally inherited trait and not something an adopted child can have.  That should be simple enough to understand even for the simpleton.

So, what has this to do with the way you think?  You see, Paul wrote to us:  In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace…  And:  …we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  And in speaking of the Jews, He wrote:  Theirs is the adoption as sons…  However, the adopted can only receive what is given to them and can be trained and educated into becoming like the F/father who adopted them, but within themselves, they have nothing that is inherently theirs.  So, as long as you think like one who is adopted, you will always long for your natural parents, and that is the state of mind that prevents most from daring to believe, to practise and to expect success in doing what Jesus has been doing and to do the greater things.  You see, up till now you believe that which Jesus said is true, but few of us have the proof of it.  You see, Jesus could have believed all He wanted that He was God’s Son, and others who believe Him may believe it too.  It is when those who do not know you believe you or are sympathetic towards you, are also convinced that you are who you say and believe you are, that the evidence is ratified.  You see, the Pharisees knew He was no ordinary Man and He was a threat to them.  And the way Jesus shouted out with a loud cry as He breathed His last, causing a total stranger, the Roman centurion, to say, “Surely this Man was the Son of God!” is proof that Jesus was not suffering from self induced hallucinations generated from a delusional mind.  The Roman centurion knew that no man can shout with a loud cry after six hours on a Roman cross; it takes superhuman power, supernatural power, the power of a god to do so.

Thus, for all the claims by those who believe Jesus Christ that they too are the children of God and sons of God, the world has never given serious credence to their claims, but has always considered them socially maladjusted and can be approached as one approaches any socially maladjusted person, with the power of man.  So you see this played out again and again, as authorities raid and detain members of so called ‘doomsday’ cults.  They approach them as they would approach any common criminal.  Compare that with the way the soldiers who went to arrest Jesus approached Him.  It was Jesus who questioned them and demanded to know from them, “Who is it you want?”  And as Jesus identified Himself, they drew back and fell to the ground.  Remember this was happening in an era before guns.  There was no need to take cover for there was nothing to shoot at them.  Indeed, to fall to the ground in the era of swords and spears is a distinct disadvantage to be avoided on the battlefield at all times.  The natural response should have been a rushing charge from them at Jesus with swords drawn.  An unnatural discourse is to draw back and fall to the ground.

The concern of the world about our evangelists who demonstrate God’s power openly is not that they could use that power to harm anyone, but rather, they are putting on a show to fleece money from gullibles, like any con artist does.  You see, even the world knows that God does not need money to do what He wants to do, but mere men do.  Even though Jesus permitted His disciples to go into the Samaritan town to buy food, He was never dependant on money to do whatever He wanted and needed to do.  Money to Jesus was a convenience, not a necessity.  He demonstrated this when He tested them, saying, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  It was convenient in John 4.8 to allow the disciples to go and buy food so that He could be alone with the Samaritan woman, but in John 6.5, there was no need to buy food, and anyway, it was impossible to buy enough food to feed 5000 families instantly.  Thus, the beginning, the sign, that shows you are beginning to think right about God is when you begin to see buying and selling as a convenience, not a necessity.  Those who still see the need to buy and sell as necessities to effect their ministries are still thinking like adopted sons.  Those who have been practising the miraculous so that buying and selling are conveniences, but not necessities, have been able to allow the mindset of the adopted to be replaced with the mindset of the natural born!  How can this be when Paul has said we are adopted?  Yes, we are adopted, but the adoption process involved one step by which those who are adopted are changed to those who are natural born.  You see, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.    So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Within our present flesh is our spirit, the spirit that is birthed by the Holy Spirit, and only then because it is birthed by the Holy Spirit we can call Him the Father of our spirits.  Otherwise, if we do not have a spirit that is birthed by the Holy Spirit, then we are merely adopted, even in our spirits, that is, even our attitudes, thinking and our lives.  For as Jesus said, “The Spirit gives life…” and if our spirit within us is not born of the Spirit, then we have received a spirit from our parents, from Adam and Eve, and those who are saved because of their faith, but remain adopted by retaining the very flesh and spirit they received from their birth parents, have their minds and attitudes set on death and not life.  Theirs is the hope of Heaven through death.  Theirs is the ambition to live their sixty and ten years as a Christian and die to see Christ.  The reality that many of those who are adopted would retain their birth spirit and flesh is why Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection…  He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies…”  However, the same reality that there would be those who would be born again of the Spirit by the Spirit who gives life, and so cast aside the spirit of death and receive the spirit of life, of which He also said, “I am… the Life.  …and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  You see, He said, “I am the Resurrection…” before “…the Life,” and promised those who would die that they would live again before He promised those who live and believe will never die.

So, if you believe, you are born again of the Spirit.  Then as John wrote, you are born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  And like all natural born children of a family, you have certain rights if you choose to take them up and manifest them.  Even in the natural realm, a child born to intelligent parents tends to be naturally more intelligent and will do well in schooling if he takes up that natural right and work.  On the same token, a child born to less intelligent parents can do equally well if not better, but he would have to work against that nature, and academic achievement would not come naturally but with great effort.

Thus, your mindset as a child of God, that of the adopted or that of the natural born, will determine how you do and achieve things.  Those who retain the adopted mindset will put great effort into their praying, fasting and religious life in order to achieve Godliness in their lives.  And that is exemplified by thousands of hard working, well meaning, dearly loved brothers around the world.  And what they do is marvelous even in God’s eyes, perhaps especially in God’s eyes, but that is not why Jesus came to reveal the Father to us, nor why He sent the Holy Spirit, or why He told us that unless we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit, we cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God, His kingdom and His Father’s kingdom.  So as admirable and applaudable the efforts of those who have retained the mindset of an adopted one are, they do not satisfy what God has in mind.

You know Jesus said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”  You know He is not talking about saving faith, but at least knowing faith.  But perhaps there is something more than knowing faith.  Could there be?  Let’s see.

Now, the child who is naturally birthed with his parent’s attributes by birth manifests those same parental abilities and can emulate their achievements with much less effort than the adopted child who is given no such advantage.  You see, although Paul wrote of our adoption in his earlier letters, in his greatest letter, he had this to say:  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  If we are born again of the Spirit, then we have a spirit that is fathered by Him, and since the Spirit gives life, so those who are naturally born of Him have a spirit, an attitude, a mindset, that is set on life, and not death.  But since the Holy Spirit is not just about attitudes, mindsets, thoughts and emotions, but He Himself is the Spirit of Power, so too those who are born again have a spirit that is naturally powerful.  All the traits of the Holy Spirit, the understanding, knowledge, wisdom, power, counsel, fear of the Lord, truth, grace, life, holiness, glory and revelation, are already inherently in our spirit, the spirit that was birthed by Him when we were born again.  It is this realisation and the willingness to acknowledge this truth that we are natural born of the Holy Spirit, which replaces the mindset and thinking of the adopted and allows the mindset of the natural born to come out.  Then you will see that it is natural for you to be powerful, knowledgeable, understanding, holy, gracious and so on, just like your Father, in the spirit.  Since as Jesus said, “…the flesh counts for nothing,” then you will begin to be able to practise the words of Jesus as one who is putting into practice what he can naturally do, but he wants to do it better, rather than one who is trying to practise what is impossible for him.  You see, when Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are S/spirit and they are life,” He was in fact trying to tell us that His words are our spirit and the Spirit, and they are our life.  They are what are naturally ours.  They are what we will live, not what we will live on, but what we will live.  You see, His flesh and blood are our food and drink, it is what we live on.  But His words are spirit and life, it is not what we live on, but what we live.  It is our life.  We will live all that He has said!  But then immediately He said, “Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”  And that is the truth.

Not many will be able to believe this, that as you shed the mindset of the adopted and take on the mindset of a natural born son and begin to practise the words of Jesus as something that is naturally achievable for you, not naturally impossible for you, you will find that there will be a dramatic acceleration in the success of your practice until you will find that you will not be so much a man trying to live like a god, but a god trying to live like a man.

So, what do you think?  Was Jesus a Man trying to live as God or God trying to live as Man?  Indeed, if you were Jesus, knowing what you know, doing what you can do, whose Son do you think you are?

So, do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, as Paul wrote.  And I say, go from the mindset of an adopted to that of a natural born and you will see that you are not called to serve as one who is adopted or live as one who is adopted, being in the family, but not really belonging, trying, but not really doing.  But rather, when Paul said the Spirit is the Spirit of Sonship, you will see the Holy Spirit wants to have natural born sons of the Spirit who live and serve as ones who are naturally gods, for they are the sons of God.  Amen.

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