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Where there is no life there can be no love, “For God so loved the world, He gave His One and Only begotten Son.”[1] He did not give Jesus to live and reign without first dying. No, God proved His love by giving the life of His Son. As such, without ‘proof of life’ there can be no ‘proof of love’.

It is not the life that we have without Christ, which is our life as a powerless sinner that is counted worthy as a sacrifice. For in truth, it is not sacrifice. Giving up something that is condemned to destruction anyway is no sacrifice. Therefore, as the Christians sing, “We give you our life, Lord,” they are giving away nothing of true value, for the lives of all are condemned by sin to death. A real sacrifice is when you do give something that costs you because it has real worth. The real value of a life comes only with the ‘proof of life’ when you say you are a Christian, that is a little Christ because Christ is in you, then only the presence of the ‘proof of life’ can validate the worth of the sacrifice.

A sinner’s life without Christ is destined for destruction. It is junk and only worth salvaging. Jesus overpaid – a perfect sinless life for a life destined for destruction. To think that anyone has anything worthwhile as a sacrifice, except for the life He gave us, is a delusion.

The true worth of your life and mine can only be measured by the degree of His life in us. Thus, kidnappers are only worth keeping alive and free because they have the kidnap victim that they are ransoming. Their worth is determined by the value of the kidnapped’s life, not theirs. Without the kidnap victim, they are in fact worth nothing commercially and are without anything of worth to trade for. They could not find gainful employment, but are only meant to be hunted down. Even after the ransom is paid and the kidnapped victim is set free, the value of the kidnappers’ lives are determined by the value they set on the kidnapped. Of themselves, they have and are of no value. Thus, whatever life they may enjoy after receiving the ransom is only possible because of the value of the kidnapped victim’s life, not theirs.

Likewise, until God determined to pay the price for the ransom, we were worth nothing and whatever we are worth now is because of the value of Jesus’ life. So, where can there be boasting of our works? If the kidnappers could buy a house of $5,000,000, it is because their kidnap victim had worked his life to be worth a $5,000,000 ransom. As such, the house built by the kidnappers is a result of the victim’s work, not theirs, so wherein can they boast of the works of their hands?

In our case, whatever works we can do in the Name of Jesus count for nothing at all, for it is because of the ransom paid that any of us are able to do any work at all. As such, whatever is in our born-again life that is worth sacrificing, it all came because of Jesus and Jesus only.

Thus it is only after we have offered ‘proof of life’ that we have something worth the sacrifice to offer as ‘proof of love’. Peter the apostle offered to lay down his life for Jesus, and Jesus asked him whether he would really do that. Yet when Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?”[2] Jesus was using the word ‘agape’ and Peter replied with ‘phileo’. What ‘proof of love’ was there? None! Peter could offer none because the power for the ‘proof of life’ was not yet given to him. When Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”[3] Peter had not yet received the power of the Spirit of Life to confirm the presence of the ‘proof of life’, the life of Christ in him, and it would take almost all his life before Peter would be able to fulfill his promise to Jesus: “Lord… I will lay down my life for You.”[4]

Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, a life that death had no power over, for before death was, Christ had already lain down that life as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.[5] Thus, before Adam sinned and could die, Christ was slain. As such, if Peter was to lay down his life for Jesus, then Jesus had to give him a life worth laying down. Here is the harder teaching: Until Christ came into our lives, we had nothing that was worth laying down for Him, not even if we were rich like the rich young ruler who came to Jesus.

It is only after the Kingdom of God has manifested in our lives and after the ‘proof of life’ is there, that we have anything to offer as a sacrifice unto the Lord, the Lord, the Lord. It is therefore no wonder that only those who have been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God,[6] are deemed worthy to return for another 1000 years of life on this Earth. Whereas those who prophesied in His Name, drove out demons in His Name, and have done miracles in His Name are warned that they could still be rejected for they have sacrificed nothing, but have enjoyed what was given them without a consideration of the price of the Master’s success.

Just like the lazy and wicked servant who buried the talent so that without further work, without further worries, without taking any risks, he still enjoyed the benefits of the household without realizing that he was enjoying the fruits of his master’s efforts, his master’s risk taking, his master’s worries and his master’s sweat and tears. The other two servants on the other hand, stepped out and took a risk, not just with their master’s money, but with their livelihood, for they could well be dismissed if they lost their master’s money as they put it to work. As such, they came to understand and share in their master’s risk taking, worries, fears, sweat and tears, and in that they came to know him. They went from servants who did not know their master’s business to servants who came to know their master’s business and to understand his life.

As such, the life we lived before Christ came into our life was no life at all, just an interlude of existence before certain destruction and it was never worth anything because its end value was already pre-determined. Any value of our life now is dependant of what ‘proof of life’ we have that the life of Christ is in us and with us, and that proof requires a clear and simple profound demonstration of power, power to cause the blind to see, the lame to walk as well as joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

Claiming you have the fruit of the Spirit without proof of the presence of the power of the Spirit of Life, is like sending a videotape of the kidnap victim laying quietly in the corner… no movement… no sound… just peace and quiet. Such a videotape does not prove that the victim is still alive and may only reinforce that the victim is dead. Even if the kidnappers are speaking, yelling and screaming into the tape, that noise is not ‘proof of life’.

So, a quiet reflective meditative church service or a noisy, loud service with a congregation singing and clapping means nothing if the blind remain blind and the lame remain lame. Sinners may be saved because the Gospel is preached, but that is not the ‘proof of life’, for salvation comes through Jesus Christ, but the testimony about Jesus must come from us and the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit does so with power on His own and power that He has given to us so that we can and do, do the things that Jesus had been doing.

Have your quiet reflective church services or your noisy, loud, happy, clappy praise services, gather up the finances, build your cathedrals and your McMansions, write and sell your bestselling books, record your bestselling CD’s and DVD’s after all the blind can see, the lame can walk and even the VD’s are cured because of the power of God you are entrusted with. But do not use your services, your cathedrals, your reputations and your programs as a smoke and mirror disguise to distract those who are in real need and give them palliation instead of the solution. Jesus Christ is not God’s palliation to a suffering world, but God’s solution. To present Him as anything less is an affront to God and to Jesus, and we need to repent and come to our senses about this.

So what constitutes, what really constitutes a life that is worthy of the sacrifice? A life that has been saved by faith through God’s grace, but without power or a life that has taken up the salvation and used it with discipleship and practice and hard work until power flowed without limit, and then sacrificed that life? When was the good and faithful servant worth more to the Lord? …Before he had received his five cities or after he had received his five cities and still risked it all for the Master?

As such, a life without ‘proof of life’ is not a life worth sacrificing, but a worthy sacrifice that can complete and make whole the value of the sacrifice is a life laid down at full power. Like the lives of the two witnesses who have the power, as it is written: These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the Earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.[7]

Does it appear possible that the Beast could overpower and kill them if they did not permit it? These are the two witnesses, the final two martyrs who will complete the number of martyrs who will lay down their lives at full power. That is a sacrifice that really counts, a sacrifice that is made like Jesus’… laid down at full power. The martyrs under the throne were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed,[8] the completion of which is the death of the two witnesses with power.

To date, martyrs are being killed without the full power of the Holy Spirit. As such, they are laying down their lives, yes, and that sacrifice is great, but incomplete. If we are to do as Christ did – “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.”[9] – then obedience to the second command of love: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command.”[10] – cannot be truly fulfilled unless we have ‘proof of life’ with power, and then lay down our lives for one another even though we have the power to stay alive.

In the letter to the church in Sardis, Jesus said, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God.”[11] They have a reputation of being alive… a rumour of life without ‘proof of life’, making them out to be potential liars and murderers. No wonder He said, “but you are dead.” What is the incompletion of their deeds in the sight of His God? When we are incomplete in our listening to Jesus and the practice of His words, this is when our deeds are incomplete.

Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do what I command,” which is, “Love each other as I have loved you,” that is, love one another with the ‘proof of life’ that I have, the power that I have, even laying down your lives for each other. Laying down lives that are worth living, lives that are powerful and filled with the manifestation of LIFE Himself, lives that can cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, and multiply the food, lay down such lives for each other. Now, you can see why Jesus said, “You have a reputation… but…”

The power of the Holy Spirit given to us to be Jesus’ witnesses is also to obey completely the commands of Jesus so that our deeds are deemed complete in the sight of God, not of men. Remember, what we deem complete can be incomplete in the sight of God. For instance, Jesus commanded, “Love your enemies,”[12] and so we have been praying for them and blessing them. Is that complete? Sometimes we think it is, except there is a third clause, “do good to those who hate you.”[13] Too often we do two out of three and we think that it is complete, but unfortunately it is not in God’s sight.

As such, without ‘proof of life’, which is the power of God to do the things Jesus has been doing and even the greater things, we have not come into the life that Jesus came to give us. Abundant life in Jesus is not just eating, drinking, talking, joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit, but of power. It is a moot point, but that is all Jesus said they would receive from the Holy Spirit… power. And the truth we must acknowledge now and be in repentance of, is we lost it, and without it we may have a reputation of being alive, but I fear Jesus considers us dead and our deeds incomplete.

Now, consider this harder requirement, that the second commandment is not completely fulfilled until we come to the place of full power and then lay down our lives for our friends.

Look at the two witnesses of Revelation 11, and this should be evident to you, they will rise first as those who are dead in Christ, and then, After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.[14] They laid down their lives that we might live, distracting the world from us for 3½ days so that the world would celebrate and leave us alone. Yet we who are left will have to endure another 3½ days to await the Lord in a time of distress unequalled since the beginning of the world. So in truth, those who lay down their lives for others to live, sacrifice a sacrifice worthy of the Lord, just as those who choose to remain live a life worthy of the Lord. Such worthiness of the life and death of disciples can only be ascertained by ‘proof of life’.

And without true life, how can there be true love? How can a church that has a reputation of being alive but is dead, have true love in the sight of God? Without ‘proof of life’, whatever claims we have of love for God, for ourselves, for one another, for our enemies are really incomplete at best and worthless at worst. How can we say we love Jesus if we do not listen to Him and do what He commands? How can we do what He commands to completion in the sight of His God if we do not have the ‘proof of life’, the power of the Holy Spirit?

Are our deeds complete in the sight of Jesus’ God, His Father? No, not yet. Therefore, we are not boasting or accusing, but confirmatory, confirming the truth about ourselves that we may continue to do what Jesus first commanded… Repent!

Where will repentance take us? It will take us back to where Jesus wanted us to go in the first place. As I have said many times already, if the twelve had repented of their decision to go to Capernaum instead of obeying the Lord’s command to go to Bethsaida immediately, the Lord would have taken them back to Bethsaida and not Gennesaret, which was further from Bethsaida than even Capernaum. Repentance now will allow us to be taken back to ‘Bethsaida’, back to when it all began, to where the Holy Spirit was first poured out on all flesh and baptised into 120 select individuals in the upper room. Back to the future, as another movie title had it, for in truth, the church that was birthed by the Holy Spirit was so futuristic that in a world where the sick were subjected to quackery, the blind remained blind even if it was only cataracts, and there was no social welfare for the lame, just begging at the temple gates. In a world where there was no guarantee of food supply, no ‘McTake-aways’, a world without fast transportation, Jesus Christ raised up an institution that is still unmatched in today’s world, where all who came were healed, all were delivered of demons, where even the dead were raised. It was like a twenty-first century 4WD in amongst horse-drawn carriages. Something the ancient world had never seen, and all these miracles were done instantaneously, without prolonged extracted worship periods and sacrifices, be it of animals or their children.

And then, they took out the engine and fuel tank and hitched it up to horses. They took out the power and drained away the Holy Spirit. Men like James and Nicolas began it, playing on the apostolic tradition of not listening to Jesus; they had little trouble convincing those who had come in to go back to the old wine, because this freedom offered by the power of the Holy Spirit destroyed all hierarchy. After all, anyone who had faith in Jesus could do what Jesus had been doing and even greater things. Where was the control mechanism? Where was the accountability to other men? The church wanted their own copy of the Sanhedrin and the eldership was born, filled with words of wisdom and persuasion, for they even persuaded Paul to enter the temple for ritualistic cleansing, but devoid of power. Some cleverer soul then invented the doctrine that the Holy Spirit departed with the last apostle, John, and that miracles were no longer needed now that the church had started.

Those clever souls are now listening to this wherever they are, I am sure. But did they ask the Holy Spirit if He had left? And if they did, would they have been able to recognise His voice when He answered? And if the power of the Holy Spirit was no longer needed, how did they expect themselves to fulfill the word of Jesus when He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things then these.”[15]

Did Jesus intend for the church to wait 2000 years until the medical profession learned how to remove cataracts before the blind would see again in churches? Or when medical technology was available to make bio-mechanical legs and arms for the lame to walk again? Or to wait until we mastered resuscitation for the dead to rise? Or to wait for medications to be discovered so that lepers were healed? And for Australians to develop cochlear transplant implants for the deaf to hear? And for mass production of food donated by first world countries to third world countries so that all that hungered were fed?

Or did He kick start a program of providing a solution to the world’s problems of sickness, lack and injustice 2000 years ago that to this day is still unmatched? A program that would have destroyed even the Roman Empire without a battle because all the sick would be healed by the church, those they executed would be raised by the church, the poor who could not afford food sold by the Romans would be fed by the church, a church that could be in Jerusalem at one moment and at Caesarea the next, a church that could turn all their water supply (the Roman’s, that is) to wine so that their legionnaires would be too drunk to fight.

So, let’s face it, we blew it!

And in truth, until we have the power to supply ‘proof of life’ again, we cannot offer any sacrifice worthy of what the Lord has given us. We cannot complete our deeds in the sight of God. So there is no place for rejoicing, only repenting. The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit and His power. What have we done with it?

When we finally have admitted to our wrong doing and repent, then perhaps the wind might blow us back to ‘Bethsaida’ before Jesus finishes His time at the right-hand of the Father, so that at the third watch of the night, Jesus will not have to walk out onto a cold and wind blown lake, but find that His disciples have found Him warm lodgings with a supper ready for Him to lay down His head and rest.

When we have raised up a group of disciples with power, power like Jesus’ to do what He had been doing and even the greater things, then perhaps we will have the ‘proof of love’ to love one another as He loved us, even laying down our lives for one another and to love our enemies as He loved His enemies, laying down His powerful un-killable life for them. Perhaps then, God will find our deeds complete in His sight and say to Jesus, “Return to them for they are ready to receive You,” and He will not have to return wondering, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”[16]

As He who is the Alpha and the Omega said, “Repent… I am coming soon.” Amen.


 

[1] John 3:16

[2] John 21:15

[3] John 21:18

[4] John 13:37

[5] Revelation 13:8 (KJV)

[6] Revelation 20:4

[7] Revelation 20:6-7

[8] Revelation 6:11

[9] John 14:12

[10] John 15:12-14

[11] Revelation 3:2

[12] Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,35

[13] Luke 6:27

[14] 1 Thessalonians 4:17

[15] John 14:12

[16] Luke 18:8

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