Afterthoughts

Only personal ideas about general things, spiritual or secular. A keepsake of some realizations I especially encountered in my student-life.


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When John failed

In the past I shared about how John the baptist came to be a wonderful pattern in living a life that is an anti-testimony in that age who became the turning point of the Old Testament Age into the New Testament Age. As he ended the dispensation of the law and the prophets, he started the dispensation of grace, preaching the gospel of repentance. From this we can see that his ministry was to introduce men to Christ that Christ might become their Redeemer, their life, and their all. Indeed, he was a forerunner of Christ to pave the way for Christ and introduce Christ.

Despite this, some of Johns disciples have deviated from John’s goal of bringing them to Christ. In John 3 (vs. 26), we can see that his disciples were perplexed as to why John was baptizing while there is another Man who was also baptizing. His answer was quite impressive. John said,

28 You yourselves testify of me that I said, aI am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.

29 aHe who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This joy of mine therefore is made full.

30 He must 1increase, but I must decrease.

It seems that he knows very well that Jesus is the Christ. But when he was thrown into prison, John came to doubt whether the Lord Jesus was really the Christ. This is seen in Mattew 11:2-3 and Luke 7:19-20. In response to this, the Lord said,

Blessed is he who is not 1astumbled because of Me.

John might have been stumbled by the fact that he wasn’t delivered by the Lord. The footnotes on verse 23 of Luke 7 says,

231 When it looks as if the Lord will not act on our behalf, we are blessed if we are not stumbled.

Why didn’t the Lord act on John’s behalf?

I was quite astonished to learn the cause of John’s beheading. It turned out that it was necessary for God to arrange the environment to remove John and terminate his ministry. This is because, when the Lord Jesus came as the reality of the gospel that John preached, he did not stop his doing. His baptism of repentance became an out-of-date truth yet it was still being received by people, thus creating a rivalry between him and Christ. John’s disciples had made a religion out of it that they were even called as the ‘disciples of John’ (Matt. 9:14;John 3:25). His disciples has indeed drifted away from his goal, Christ.

To be religious means to do things for God without Christ. Even to do anything scriptural and fundamental, yet lacking the presence of Christ, is religious.

This is such a warning! May we be delivered from all self-effort and Christless labor. The brother who gave the message on this lesson shared that “in the church, we are not following persons. Rather, we follow Christ as our only Head. If the persons who ushered us to the Lord deviate from Him, the Truth, we should not go along with them. We follow them because the Truth is in them.”

Aside from John, several persons in the Bible were ceased to be mentioned especially in the Book of Acts because of being not in one accord with the Body. Some of them were Apollos and Barnabas. Today, the Lord is in the Body. His work is also with the Body. If we work apart from Him and His Body, He might be forced to terminate us in our work no matter how unintentional it may be.

Lord, have Your way in us! Increase in us, Lord. Subdue us that we may be absolute to You. Don’t let us work apart from You, Lord. Deliver us from any unconscious form of religion!

(Post is based on Lesson 17, Level 1, Volume 2 of Truth Lessons enjoyed during the young people’s meeting just this evening.)

Life’s Too Short to Waste a Single Day

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At times when a storm passes by, what else is best to do? Hymn singing!

No electricity, light, nor fan. With just a piece of flashlight, a phone recorder, a guitar and a couple of hymn books, the day is saved.

Just like the bird that sings in the midst of the storm, that should also be our experience having Christ as our peace within our being. The Peacemaker is in our spirit!

Romans 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.”


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I am a John!

Why don’t you be like us? We celebrate birthdays, you don’t. We have Christmas, you don’t. We have girlfriends and boyfriends and you don’t have. Why? It’s because I am a John!

When John the Baptist came, he lived in a manner that was against the Jewish tradition. Having been born from a family of priests, he should have served in the temple, ate the highest quality of food from the offerings in the altar and worn the finest linen as clothing. Instead, he lived in the wilderness, ate locusts and wild honey, and wore clothing from camel’s hair. Moreover, when people come to him, he preaches to them a weird gospel and then went to immerse people into water. What an anti-testimony!

In order for the Lord to come the first time, there were certain important persons needed for Him to come. One of them was John the Baptist. He was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah as seen in Matthew 3:3 and Luke 1:76.

Matt. 3:3 For this is he who was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, saying, a“A voice of one crying in the 1wilderness, 2bPrepare the way of the Lord; 2make straight His paths.”

 

Luke 1:76  And you also, little child, shall be called a aprophet of the bMost High, for you will go cbefore the 1Lord to 2dprepare His ways

Then verse 80 of Luke 1 says,

And the little child agrew and became strong in 1spirit, and he was in the bwilderness until the day of his presentation to Israel.

His being in the wilderness, according to the footnotes, means that “he was apart from man’s culture and religion that God might have a free and clear way to use him as the forerunner of the Savior.

John was an answered prayer of his father Zachariah (as seen in Luke 1:13). His father must have prayed for a revival (though his prayer was not written in the Bible) due to the degraded condition of the Jews at that time in which they have become a culture and a religion.

Then in Luke 16:16,

The 1law and the prophets were 2until John; from that time the 3kingdom of God is proclaimed as the 4gospel, and everyone5aforces his way into it.

We can see here that John was the turning point from the dispensation of law to the dispensation of grace where the gospel of the kingdom is preached.

Now, in order for the Lord to come back a second time, changing the age from the age of grace to the age of the kingdom, He needs some Johns to be the anti-testimony of this age in which culture, tradition, and religion predominate. We, as the Johns of today, don’t care for tradition and religious practices. We are for life, we are for Christ! Our living is against this age because we want the Lord to come back. We want to be the dispensational instrument who will be used by the Lord to turn the age.

As those who are in His recovery, we are not a religion. The Lord’s Recovery is not the name of a religion. Rather, we are the church and the Lord’s Recovery refers to the recovery of the building up of the church. This church is an organism and as such it grows by our enjoyment of the Lord and the functioning of the members. As such a living organism, we in the church are not in a religion filled with lifeless systems. We are filled with Christ as life instead! By being filled with this life-giving Christ as the Spirit in our spirit, we are strengthened to live the life of John, the life of living in the wilderness as an anti-testimony of this age to bring in the Lord back and His kingdom!

We are the many Johns! May the Lord be our consecration that He may use us to be His testimony on the earth today.

(This post is inspired from the young people’s meeting just this evening on the Truth Lessons: A Key View of the New Testament – John the Baptist).