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Innovations XXV

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“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.”

Aside from the place given the women in the Galilean system, another innovation for those who know that Jesus Christ is alive, having risen from the dead three days later as He said He would, is to be able to believe and know that whatever Jesus promises and says is true and can only come to pass.  To be as descendants of apostles who did believe the good news of Magdalene that morning and went immediately to Galilee… then you and I must be one and ones who are prepared to take Jesus Christ at His word.

For He said, But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  Now He has indeed risen… and there were eye witnesses to the resurrection, not just the mystery of an empty tomb… but the women who had supplied their needs all these years were telling them that He has risen and He has gone ahead to Galilee just as He promised before He was killed.  Men and women who can recall the words of Jesus because they heard them and who have learnt by experience to take them for what they are – the truth.  As such, descendants from such apostles, apostles who did listen each and every time Jesus told them to do something, apostles who listened so well that what they did was exactly what God had in mind, will not be ones who have a reputation of being one thing but in truth are another… as the Sardisian church was.  Indeed, this one innovation will cause the Galileans to be of no reputation, but rather, a congregation of people who have no interest in their own reputation, except only in the reputation of their Lord and King.  It is no longer a matter of people using the Name of Jesus or His title, the Christ, to make themselves look or sound good.  Indeed, no longer would any person dare to claim to be a good person, for that would make Jesus to be a liar, for He said, “No one is good—except God alone.”

As such, Galileans are not interested in doing deeds that give them a reputation of being alive, but yet as Jesus said, “…are dead.”  What is a church that is alive but is also dead?  A church that has the trappings of life but no power, like a man who has a pulse yet cannot move his arm… alive but dead.  A church full of singing, programmes and magnificent buildings, but where the blind remain blind, the dead remain dead and demons dwell within their congregations happily.  For the real and true measure of Jesus’ life was not just His message nor His reputation, but the power that came out of Him and the authority with which He could wield that power… like a man who is truly alive who not only can speak and breathe with a pulse, but can also move his arms and legs as he wishes.  Unfortunately, Sardis had descended to being a church that no longer had power and certainly had no authority to use that power completely.

The key lies in this one fact – the continued availability of the power of the kingdom to back up the authority given to its officers depends entirely on the trustworthiness and the obedience of that officer.  If any officer of the Kingdom of God, be he an apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or pastor, or rank or file of the kingdom, fails to show a continued reliable consistency in his faith to the words of Jesus, then the power will be withdrawn.  He may remain in the office, but the power is no longer there… and thus this saying of the Lord, “…you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”

In the case of an apostle, one who is still an apostle because he has a gospel of his own, he has seen the Lord, he still perseveres and even comes last in the procession, but the ability to perform signs and wonders is removed… he has the reputation, but not the life, and as such, he is no different to what he will be… when he is dead.  Likewise, for all the other offices… the prophet will still have a message, but no power to confirm the message; the evangelist can still preach the Gospel, but no power to confirm the Gospel unless it pleases the Lord to move on his behalf; the teacher likewise may be able to write copious volumes of books and commentaries, even about miracles and signs, but be unable to do a single one himself; and the pastor may well still have a flock, but it will be the flock that feeds him and not him who provides the pastures.

For if you have demonstrated time and again that though you have heard you will not listen, but continue to go your own way, eventually the power must be withdrawn.  It is just the grace of God that rarely is an officer decommissioned as well… so apostles remain apostles, but signs and wonders cease in their ministry, and so on.

How does one come to a state like the Sardisian church?  By longing to fall asleep, by that I mean by longing to die.  Longing to die to go to Heaven, rather than longing to live and never die, except if one is killed for the Gospel.  A person who is asleep is a person who longs to rest but does not want to risk an untimely death.  That is why Jesus said, “Wake up!” not “Get up!”  For the fault of the Sardisians is that Jesus found their deeds incomplete in the sight of “…My God.”  Now, here again is that point of possession.  Jesus did not say that He found their deeds incomplete in the sight of God, but of “…My God,” that is, His God, not their God, hinting at the problem of disbelief when it came to the words of Jesus.  Even though at Gethsemane Jesus said, Stay here and keep watch with Me,” they fell asleep, and once more they heard the words, but did not act upon the words… and fell asleep.

The hallmark of this innovation that the congregation is made up of one and ones who not only have heard the words of Jesus, but do exactly what the words say, is that they are a congregation that wants to stay awake.  They are a congregation who do not want a reputation of being alive as much as they just want to live the life Jesus said they could live if they believed.  A congregation of men and women who would choose to believe that they would never die because Jesus said, “…and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”  Congregational members who choose to live believing they would never die and as such, have no plans of retirement, no longing for Heaven, no looking forward to their parent’s inheritance, and who see every funeral as an opportunity to raise the dead like Jesus did.  Only if they fail and somehow do die, then it would be a group that would choose beheading by enemies of Christ over dying in bed of old age.  For them John 11.25 applies only because of the Lord’s will for them to be killed and not because of their wish to die and go to Heaven.  Now the reputation of such a group of people would not be viewed with kindness by a world that only knows how to die and stay dead.

The heart cry of every person must be to stay alive till Jesus arrives… that is, to stay awake so that He will not come like a thief as He has so often threatened.  Only those who are planning to die and go to Heaven never know the day of their death, for they have chosen to live in disbelief of the words of the Life and as such, the Lord does come to them unexpectedly to take them to Heaven.  In the Old Testament, those who were well acquainted with the Lord and power knew the time of their departure like Moses and Elijah… they were told by the Lord exactly when they would depart and even how.  As such, any congregation that is determined to hold onto whatever words of Jesus they have received and heard and are doing what they can to obey it will never be surprised by the arrival of Jesus.  Indeed, Jesus said to the Sardisians, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent.  But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”  Since Jesus has said this, then anyone who chooses to stay awake, that is, who chooses to believe what He said in John 11.26, to remember it and obey it, like those who heard what He said in Mark 14.28, But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee,” should have remembered and obeyed it that resurrection morning, can be assured that they will never live in ignorance about the coming of Jesus.

Firstly for them, the words of false apostles and false prophets, who say the resurrection has already taken place or that Jesus would come on such and such a day, would have no place in their hearts and minds.  For them, no discernment needs to be wasted on such useless ones.  So their preoccupation will never be about the fear of the false, but rather, on the preparations to make ready the arrival of the real.  Indeed, for a Galilean congregation, the appearance of the false prophet is to be greeted with joy, for the appearance of this condemned one heralds the countdown to Jesus’ arrival.  Unlike those who feared out of their ignorance that Attila the Hun, Napoleon Bonaparte and even Hitler were the beast and antichrist… Galileans know by the seasons exactly when such events would occur.  As such, again, the fear of the false is not a part of Galilean liturgy, but a love for the truth and the real is.

And if because you did believe the women and remembered what the Lord said to you as you were coming down the mountain with Him as He said, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead,” or when He said after you sang the hymn with Him, But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee,” you went immediately that morning and met with Him in Galilee and saw and heard all that was prepared there, then you would never be able to live a life expecting the kingdom to be restored to Israel, you would never be able to live a life centered around the practices of Judaism and temple prayers and worship even as you preached Christ.  It would be impossible!  As such, the people you disciple would never be ones who look to Israel’s restoration, never ones who value Judaism or temple worship ceremonies… but would be one and ones who themselves through you will be listening to Jesus just as intently to remember and to hear and to obey.

They would be a church that always make mention of what Mary did to the Lord wherever they preached His Gospel… a church that is more concerned about recognising and hearing the instructions of the Holy Spirit than the judgments of men like James the Younger.  A church whose deeds are not to earn themselves a reputation of being alive, but rather, whose deeds are designed to keep them alive until He arrives even as they face the hardships, persecutions and the unequalled days of distress that He has promised.  A church that is concerned that their deeds are complete in the eyes of their God and their Father before Jesus.

It is not a church that has a reputation of being alive, rather it is the church that is known to be alive and remains alive, and even now, if it pleases the Lord to tarry another 200 years, then amongst its members are those who are older than Moses, yet look and live as ones who are younger than Joshua.

And not only that… aside from being a congregation that remembers, believes and practises John 11.26, they are a congregation who are prepared to receive the white cloak reserved for martyrs so that if need be, they would walk with Jesus until it pleases the Father to send Him back.  You see, the white that some of the Sardisians would be dressed with is not the ‘white’ of righteousness or holiness so valued by ‘Christians’, but are the white robes first mentioned in Revelation 6.11, the ones who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained… Then each of them was given a white robe, and they 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.

As such, those Sardisians “…who have not soiled their clothes,” but as the Lord said, “They will walk with Me, dressed in white, for they are worthy,” are the martyrs of Sardis.  They are the ones killed for maintaining their testimony and the word of God.  White robes are the reserve of the martyrs… not of those who are saved by faith.  As such, the great multitude of Revelation 7.9 who are dressed in white robes are not the fellowship of those who gain Heaven by faith through falling asleep, but rather, were killed, martyred… and as such, they are the ones who are described by the elder as “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

The tribulation that came because the power was withdrawn, power that could have blinded armies like Elisha did with outstretched arms and translated saints out of harms way… a tribulation that came to be because what was handed on to us was watered down and without power because of the stubborn refusal of the eleven to hear and obey.  Their stubborn refusal to believe the women, and stubborn, dumbness not to realise that Jesus came to save the world because it belongs to God and to reveal the Father to those who are the children of God so that the Family of God would be raised up to administer and reign throughout all His kingdoms in Heaven and on Earth.  As well as that… Jesus Himself came so that He too would be made King and receive from the Father His kingdom as He said, “And I confer on you a kingdom, just as My Father conferred one on Me…”

A tribulation that only those who suffered martyrdom for Jesus can say they went through.  It is plain to anyone that not one of us who live in this safety of the first world as ‘Christians’ can say we are in the midst of the tribulation.  How can any, who having lived a quiet life as a Christian and dies from illness or old age to fall asleep, say they went through the great tribulation?  Had their properties been seized?  Had they been imprisoned for their testimony?  Had they been killed because they went to preach even though they had no power to defend themselves as they should have?  No, those who are worthy of white robes are no ordinary ‘Christians’, but are martyrs… one and all.

As such, as much as the liturgical innovation for a church of Galilean descent is that their members seek to live and never die till Christ arrives, they are also keen to seek true worthiness for a white robe as those of old did.  Having no wish to fall asleep, yet having no fear to join the ranks of those whose souls are under the altar so that the number required can be fulfilled and the waiting can end.

There is no fear for a congregation of Galilean descent of Jesus ever coming to them like a thief.  Rather, the fear is that they will fall asleep and miss out on the greatest spectacle since the resurrection – the arrival of Jesus Christ on clouds of glory with all His elect and the angels of God to establish His Kingdom on Earth… the Kingdom of the Son God loves.

Thus the clear delineation of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God with their separate secrets and knowledge is not raised up for the sake of doctrinal controversy.  The charges we bring against the eleven are not because we are against them or consider ourselves superior or seeking, as some would accuse us, of raising doctrinal errors.  Indeed, this resurrection, these ‘innovations’, this definition of a Galilean congregation is for one purpose and one purpose only – so that the fullness of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God may be brought to bear to raise up for the Son the Kingdom of the Son.

Everything that has been and is and will be until the feet of Jesus touch the Mount of Olives again is about the manifestation of the Kingdom of the Son on Earth as the Father has promised Him.

So, do not fall asleep, if you are falling asleep, wake up!  Less He does come upon you like a thief in the night and then it will not be your robes that are white… but your face.  Live and do not die unless you are killed by the will of the Father for the Son’s glory… servants of the Galilean.

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