By Don Widmark
This was the question asked me by the Holy Spirit in May of 1972:
“What’s Christian about your Christianity?”
I had been raised in the church, in a very strong, evangelical denomination that held very high standards, but the Life of the Holy Spirit had been grieved by hardness and divisions so often that it seemed to me, by the time I was fifteen, that the church was little more than a religious club. I really believed that I had nothing against Jesus Christ, or even the people. It was what was built up around Him that seemed to hide His face from me. From 15 to 29, I found myself in or around religious groups no more than I had to, at deaths and weddings. At 29, I met Jesus Christ personally living in two very different, but similar people, a Catholic woman and a Protestant insurance man, who was a Gideon. I can see now that they never talked to me of their religions, but only of this lovely one who had come to live in their innermost beings. When the Lord finally got hold of my ear through a broken marriage, I cried out, “If there is a God, and You have a Son and His name is Jesus, please let me know!” He did, and He touched me very deeply, and I have never been the same. I continued in business for the next few years, but the call of God was on my heart. To be satisfied with anything other than giving my all was impossible. It was four years later, while in prayer following a difficult assignment, in fact an impossible one, that He had done through me, that the power of His presence flooded my life.
From that day, Scripture became a living book, that is, the Holy Spirit opened up my spiritual eyes to the meaning behind the letter. I saw sin as never before, and His grace for sinners who would repent as never before. Now, when I would share with the unsaved, they too found Jesus. It was not difficult to witness, for Jesus was always saving me at deeper levels, so there always seemed to be fresh testimony of His saving grace. I know those “sinner’s testimonies” never made me look like a very victorious Christian, but they presented Jesus as a wonderful Saviour. I now found that older Christians began to correct me for my testimony, saying that I should not expose myself in that way, I should be strong. (It was not testimony of immorality, rather it was sharing what the Holy Spirit had shown me about my driving, my eating, my attitude at home or with my employees, etc.) But the same people that seemed to be so critical, always seeming to have the right words, had not much evidence of fruit in their lives. However, the religious system seemed too great to buck, and after all, all these people couldn’t be wrong, it must be me out of step, so I joined the club and didn’t know it. Now my life seemed to be more acceptable to those around me, and activity increased with the decrease of the life of the Spirit being lived. There came a tremendous desire to know more, so much so that there was not much time to hear His voice. So little was done other than what seemed right in my own eyes and the eyes of others. This stage of my religious activity lasted until 1972. When in deep difficulty in my so-called Christian business with club type Christians, once again the Lord got my ear.
“Today if you hear my voice “is in Psalm 95 ” and three times in Hebrews. I spent some weeks, six to eight hours a day, waiting on Him. Something was way out of step. Where had I missed the way? How far back must I go? Only God knew it was to death, to the cross. I argued that I was right, I had been done wrong by, my motives were being misunderstood! Work was becoming so hard, there was no joy, no peace that only Jesus can give. The best council was that I would have to go to law and that with another believer. Conflict. Hell. Torment of soul. No way out. Oh, I could justify myself. Had the Lord not blessed during the past years? Hadn’t we sacrificed much of the things of this world to help build this organization, strengthen that movement? There was a lot of sweat, but with any fruit there seemed to be plenty of thorns and thistles. But wasn’t this all I could expect since the fall in the Garden? Reasoning, justifying, defending my rights, vain imagination, that is, reasoning until you believe a lie. Black becomes white, and white black. Where was the way out? I assured the Lord that if He would speak to me and let me know where I got off the track, no matter what the cost personally in death and humiliation, I was ready. Then I remembered the scripture in Amos 5:24: “Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” The Spirit of the Lord lead me to again return to the first book of the Bible which had spoken to me so many times over the years. It was all new as if I had never read it before. Every word applied to the life situation that I now found myself in. Genesis 2:15 -17 jumped out at me,
“Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” About fourteen years earlier I had begun eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It was as if He opened my eyes and I could see my whole life at a glance. Again that inner gnawing came, “What is Christian about your Christianity?” All I could say was, “NOTHING, Lord, nothing.” I had been living so long in death at the tree of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, and everyone else that I knew was living there too, My own sin was too great, and the weight too heavy apart from a miracle of His minute by minute revelation, and complete abandonment of my will to His, with total yielding once again to His voice of Love, bringing every thought and desire into captivity to Christ. I could not break with the man-pleasing spirit and the man-fearing spirit — it was powerful to make me conform to the traditions of men. I didn’t want to go back to being misunderstood any more. It was a comfort to the flesh to be accepted in the right circles and to be looked up to by one’s peers. I wanted to repent and be changed and I knew what I would have to do. I knew that there would have to be restitution. There would have to be some stands taken that would be completely misunderstood. My counsel would think that I was weak, and they did. They thought I had lost my marbles. My enemies tried to have me committed. My accountant said that not to fight would mean total failure, there was no way out.
It took several weeks of tears, bucketfuls, of them, not in self-pity but over all the lost time and wasted years while I thought I was helping Him save souls and build His church, He let me know that He had said that He would build His Church, and that I had been going around establishing my own righteousness and having a wrong attitude to receive His (Romans 10: 1-4, Phillips) I remember saying to Him one day, “If I would give up all rights to the tree of knowledge, and bring all decisions to You to judge, there wouldn’t be anything for me to do. Lord, 95% of all the Christians that I know and have ever worked with are completely ruled by judgments of good and evil.” He said, “That’s right. 95% of you act from the tree I forbade 95% of the time.” I said, “Lord, that’s terrible.'” He said, “That cost me my Son’s life.” It was like the peeling of an onion, till there was nothing left but tears. “Lord is there any hope for me and those of us called by your name? Now I could see Ezekiel 36: 16-20, but I also saw hope from verses 21 to 31. He began to let me see that He was going to do something, and said, “Don’t worry about all the rest, just let me start with you.” He finally saw that I was not only broken but contrite. “Contrite” means like talcum powder. Broken things can sometimes be patched up, but not the contrite; it has to be remade. Do you know what it means to give up all rights to initiate, to be a creator? To give up all the things that you have brought into being, good things, too, all for Him. It was because man chose to live at the tree of knowledge instead of Life that the Law had to be given. Under Law, the tree of knowledge seems a valid way to know God, but not to have Life.
You can even become a creator of a new movement or a religious structure. The trouble is we don’t really create anything. Even God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ while on earth didn’t create anything. He didn’t come to create, Jesus came to re-create, redeem back that which was lost. He only did that which He saw His Father do. God the Father after He created sat down on the seventh day and rested. Everything since then has been re-creation, redemption, regeneration. The psalmist said, “Create in me a clean heart.. .” it must have been dirty; “renew a right spirit within me,” it must have been other than good. The only thing that man can create are dead works. The disciples, right up to the time of His death, wanted Jesus to create a new structure against Rome. Whatever He said about the Kingdom of God, they reduced it at once in their thinking to an earthly theocracy, which man could control. I asked the Lord one day, “Doesn’t Your kingdom need organization and structures to hold it together? “He said, “I will hold it; I have from the foundations of the earth.” “What about all the systems that men have set up? “And He said, “Let’s talk about the ones you have set up!” He said, “Men, apart from my divine Love, living at the forbidden tree, will always create new things in the religious world, as there are in the world, evil systems of greed and selfishness.” “Lord, what do we do with all these religious systems we have created? For you said to me, Sell all, pick up your cross and come and follow me.” “All, yes, all. But first let me redeem you, restore that which has been lost so you will not be a reproach to the world.” Lord, but You know what the accountant says, Impossible.”
“I said to Jeremiah that I was the Lord God, and is there anything too hard for Me “I said, “Lord, You could really do anything if I would only give up all my rights to make life decisions based on the knowing of good and evil, and instead just ask You, Lord, what will you have me to do? Full stop!. He let me see during the next couple of weeks many things, day after day. Did I realize that not some, but every broken relationship, every division in the bleeding Body of Christ has come out of men turning to the tree of knowledge. Every wall built between brothers came from eating forbidden fruit, and is a violation of Love. If not said, it is inferred: I am right, therefore you are wrong. Again the subject came up about all the things we call churches and now all the other organizations we have set up to prop up our weak structures. He said, “If you tear down the existing structures, then you will have nowhere to work and you will want to create another. As long as there are men living out from under my rule and reign, there will always be places for my Body, my Church to be planted. Remember, my Church is not made with hands, it is written on the fleshly tablets of the heart.” I began to remember, and He refreshed my mind, those few strange ones in every church. They are rarely on boards or committees. You never hear them in strong fighting over Scripture, they just smile and walk away. Often they are not the best dressed, but with heaven shining on their faces. They are usually involved with the needy, investing in people more than things. He said, “You used to be one of those, but you wanted to become respectable.” “Lord, I just want to sell everything. I’m beginning to see Your Kingdom again.
I want to enter it and live under Your rule, where Divine Love is the cover, where there is no initiative on my part to seek to know and judge what is right and wrong; just willing to do Your will, for those, You said, would know.” He showed all the elected boards that we had sat on over the years, the Christian corporations where we had grieved the Holy Spirit: strong men pushing around strong men and trying to run God’s heavenly theocracy as an earth-activated democracy, somehow making our American way of life synonymous with the Kingdom of God. I was part of one strong movement for some time, and couldn’t find fellowship with others because they didn’t see what we thought we saw. The hardness, the stone in the heart, because others do not have the same burden to witness or do the Christian activity that I had determined was good and right! There was always a war going on in the flesh over appetite, feeding the flesh whatever it wanted and whenever it cried for attention, becoming defensive whenever the subject came up, reasoning strongly to my doom. So much time was taken up with all the things that I should have done, or done more of, or things I’d done too much of. When you begin to reason right or wrong instead of, “Lord, what will You have me do?” there is no end to it, and it all is so selfish and self centered, and all the time trying to do the Lord’s will but my way. There was a day after that earlier great infilling, when I was all His, and oh, how I loved to give. Then when I silently ‘joined the club’ I too began to search the Old Testament and found that if I gave 10%, the rest I could do with what I wanted. What a shame!
It becomes easier for the Holy Spirit to show you more when you begin to act on what He does show you. I could see that if Satan could get me to reason, after I knew what I should do, it would not be long until I would initiate some action apart from Him. It is so easy to reason when you have struggled for years to build a business, and to justify the increased strong desires for what is only going to rust and crumble, Now I am beginning to see that the Kingdom of God is worth it all, to sell all you have to buy the field with the treasure hidden in it. There was much more, and it is continuing, but there was a day in the fall when I abandoned all. I willed only to do His will, and to judge every decision at the cross of the two trees. I have never lived so free and done so little by this world’s standards, but knowing Him. It is joy unspeakable to hear Him say, “This way son,” just to cultivate His garden, to see the kingdoms of this world subdued under His feet, to find a total new clarity in proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. I couldn’t do it before. His Kingdom was always in competition with mine, or others, No longer is there a desire to build, only to extend the influence of His Kingdom. This is not saving people out of one system and then bringing them into ours. It is just seeing the lost and bruised set free from the bondage of this world’s system and introduced into the Kingdom of our God and His Christ. ‘It is to have the Holy Spirit link you up with every other free spirit, free enough to be bound to every one who is bound to Christ. There is no fighting over Scripture, that is all laid down at His feet. It takes Jesus, the author, to reveal the spirit and intent behind the ink and paper.
There is nothing to promote, nothing to defend, justify, organise, or perpetuate. It is just to respond to the Holy Spirit, the Word written in the heart. I believe that I have regained at least 85% of my waking hours for His Kingdom productivity. He knows where the good soil is, and He said that when we allow Him to work through us, it will bring forth 100, 60, 30 fold. No sweat, no thorns and thistles, just consumed with the only reality there is, redemption. The price has been paid in full, oh, let us get into His Kingdom in these days. Let us see His Kingdom extended to the ends of the earth. The only cost is hearing and responding to His lovely Voice.
What’s Christian About Our Christianity?
What is really Christian about our Westernized form of Christianity? They tell us that we in the West today are only 19% of the world’s population; we are an endangered species. Of the 19%, 9% speak English as their first language. We, the 9% who do speak English, who are Christian (whatever that means) spend 94 cents out every dollar to evangelize our own selves. One evangelical church is now building a structure which will cost $9,000 per pew.
Is it any wonder that the Third World asks us, “What is Christian about your Christianity?” or that a recent statement was made at the World Council of Churches in Nairobi, “Western forms of Christianity are the best advertisement for communism there is.” This would indicate that God has favorites, that He values us who happen to be in an English-speaking country ten to one, or that we are worth ten times more than others who happen to be born in another culture or speak another language. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” It always seems to be the same old story: the innocent suffer for the guilty. I must take my stand with the guilty, for I hold so much truth in my intellect and so little in Life. The Bible begins with two trees in the Garden. In the center, at the very heart, was the Tree of Life. There was also the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To make our life decisions based on our understanding of Good and Evil is to die to Life and come alive to death, wherein we hope to know as God and be able to create independently of Him. It would seem that since Pentecost we men have once again turned to live at the forbidden tree, knowing and making our life decisions from our own ability to know right and wrong, good and evil. Judgment must begin at the house of God, or as the prophet of old said to his generation, “Let judgment come down like waters that righteousness might flow as a mighty stream.” God the Holy Spirit give us the guts to judge ourselves and change, not for our own selfish selves but for the innocents sake, that they, too, might hear and respond to the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit, which is the Voice of Love.
We must ask ourselves in all honesty of heart, What is Christian about the way we live? Where are we really living? At the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or at the Tree of Life? Is the life we are living producing fruit by the Life of the Kingdom of God, with results in heaven? “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.” replies Jesus. The field is the whole world. The good seed, that is, the sons of the Kingdom, when it is planted in good ground, it produces 100, 60, and 30 fold. The man who has ears should use them! Let’s read the Genesis account in 2: 7-9 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Verse 15, Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” Genesis 3:13, 17-24. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had, made. And he said to the woman, indeed has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?
And the woman said to the serpent, from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, you surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, Where are you and he said, I heard thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked: so I hid myself. And He said, who told you that you were naked? have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate. Then the Lord God said to the woman, What, is this you have done? And the woman said, the serpent-deceived me, and I ate.” Verse 17, “Then to Adam He said, because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat from it: Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; For you are dust and to dust you shall return.” Verse 22, “Then the Lord God said, Behold the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever . . . Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken, So he drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden he stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.” It is being said that 95% of our conscious, waking hours as evangelicals are lived at the forbidden tree of knowledge; forbidden, that is, if you and I want to know and live at the tree of Life. In the closing chapter of Scripture, Revelation 22, we read the following; “And he showed as a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the lamb, in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Verse 14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.” It was because man chose to live by the tree of knowledge that the law was given. It is a valid way to know God, but not to have His life living in us. The tree of knowledge is a valid way to create, too. Man, apart from life in the Spirit, will always take the part of a creator.
The only thing is, that which he creates has no life in it. Man’s creations are of this world and created from dead works. Man from the tree of knowledge, creates something, thinking he must do it in order to work with God in redemption, hence all the organisational structures we have built up around Jesus Christ, which only hide His face from those He came to redeem. Do we realise that every division in the broken and bleeding Body of Christ has come out of men turning to the tree of knowledge, and has been a violation of Love. “You are wrong,” and if not said, it is inferred, “we are right.” To become God-like has been at the base of every religious organised structure that men have built. You can tell when evil in one of its multitudinous forms is at work for there will be a new creation having to be organised, power-structured, defined, defended, justified, promoted, and perpetuated. This we keep doing over and over again in order to try to work redemptively for the Lord. Today there are more out-of-church organizations than there are religious churches, and all are creations of men who felt the religious churches were not doing something that they were supposed to do. Our wastepaper baskets only further reveal, by the appeals made, that if we would only give to support their creation that they would win their area of the world for Christ. This is more from the tree forbidden by God. Have you been elected to the board of some religious organization and sensed the Holy Spirit grieved as men get strong and push other men around and try to run God’s heavenly theocracy as an earth-bound democracy?
Have you had a phone call or perhaps a luncheon where the power struggles are fought out over the control or the authority in your religious group? Or perhaps you have been a part of some come-out group, a religious norm in our day? Do you ever feel that you have to justify or defend Scripture, doctrine, your denomination or “come-outer” religious structure? If you are a part of one strong movement or denomination, do you find it difficult to be open and free with others you disagree with in another religious structure? Do you feel that if you prayed more and read the Scriptures more or witnessed more, you would be a better person, a better Christian? Do you get hard as stone in your heart because others do not have the same burden to witness, or do the Christian activity you have determined to be good and right, or this has been violated by other groups? Is there a war going on in your flesh over your appetite? Do you feed your flesh whatever it wants and whenever it cries for attention? Do you get defensive when others in a group speak of overweight? Do you tithe your 10%, based on Old Testament Scriptures, so you can do whatever you like with the 90%? Has someone preached to you “storehouse” tithing and said if you would only give to their storehouse, you would be blessed? You had a sense that there was more to giving, but you reasoned that everyone lives the same way. As your income increased, has your desire for things increased, or has seeking His Kingdom really come first to rule your emotions?
It was because man chose to live by knowledge, his own, that God gave man the law. For if he was going to choose to live by his own knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, God would give him a standard to live by that he could not achieve to prove that this was not the way to know God nor to have Him live in him and be his motivating force. So man became the living dead. By the tree of knowledge, man becomes a creator and then he must find methods of supporting his new creation. He may even have a measure of life in the Spirit working in himself to start with, but Satan knows that if he can get man to reason, then it will not be long until many will fall into Satan’s lie that man must create from his own initiative. Then he becomes a man working for God instead of God working through man. Take the life of Luther. As he drew near unto God through the Holy Spirit, God began to speak to him. The more he heard the voice of the Lord and responded to Love’s voice, the more life was manifested. Luther never thought of coming out of the Roman religion, he was working with the Holy Spirit to take over by Divine Love from the inside. “In it to win it” was the spirit and motive behind this new life. After his death, men began to study what he wrote and know what he knew, but they did not have the life he lived. Without the life of Jesus in the Spirit, there was only one course to follow. It was “They are wrong and suppressing men under their heel of dogma, the life of the Spirit,” so they made a new creation. Now man thought that he could work redemptively for God.
A pattern was set by Rome in the fourth century, when Constantine structured the “people of the Way,” reducing it down to a man-centred religion. Man surrendered his Heavenborn theocracy for an earth-initiated, man-centered theocracy, I believe that all Heaven was looking down when new life came into Luther, hoping he would be able to lead his followers to so trust and yield to the Holy Spirit that they could go on redemptively extending the Kingdom of our God. History tells the sad story of the turning to the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil. Will it ever end ? That is the big question. Will men return to the Lord of the Heavenly Kingdom ruled from within the human heart by Love alone? For in love, Divine Love, there is never a reckoning of “good and evil,” only a yielded response to the Lover in the attitude; “What will You have me to do?” History is revealing that, since the Six Day War of Israel, God the Holy Spirit is working redemptively in a revival as never before, It has broken out in the main line denominations, in dead, cold, stony hearts. He is working in the hearts and opening the eyes of the Jews all over the world. He is working behind the Iron Curtain and behind the Bamboo Curtain. 800,000 and more Muslims have turned to the God of Abraham, the Holy Spirit revealing to them Jesus Christ as the very Son of God, and God the Son. God said that in these last days He would pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh. Of course these believers behind the curtains have no possibility of raising up new structures and Divine Love does not seem to need them. No longer are men coming out of one world system into another.
Wherever the Spirit is finding a willing and open heart, Love is making a way in the middle of pressures and difficulty, to find contentment. The Spirit Himself is linking up those who are His but with no sense of collecting, where the temptation is great to become creators of new structures. It is not that the revived are ignorant of the enemy’s devices, but for those to whom the Lord is giving fresh Life, redemption and the extending of the Kingdom of God on earth is so exciting that there is no time or effort to be spent on trying to form another earth initiated kingdom. Divine Love will always find a place for those under His Kingdom to die, so that the resurrection life of His Kingdom may work out in these mortal bodies. So death works in them, but it is life for others -revival. God gave simple Africans Light and Life and in just six years more than 200,000 were added to the Kingdom of. God, and the organised Anglican religious structure did not want them. Yet they would not, and have not started another organization. They lived, they died, were persecuted, but Life in the Spirit, for the most part, has kept them from saying, “they are wrong and we are right. Instead, Love made a way. Today, forty years later, more than three million in a country of ten million are in the Kingdom and under the Heavenly theocracy ruled by Love. Because the Holy Spirit has proved them and trusted their yielded response to Jesus alone, He has given them the structures -hundreds of buildings, thousands of churches, schools, hospitals, just taken over from living at the Tree of Life. They have not had to create anything, They have been too busy living redemption’s life, re-creating from that which had fallen was broken and bruised.
When are we individually and collectively going to turn away from the fall of the first Adam and begin to live life from the Tree of Life of the last Adam? Revelation 22:1-2” And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of it’s street. And on either side of the river was the TREE OF LIFE — and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Verse 14; “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and. may enter the gates into the city.”
Horizontal Relationships versus Vertical Structures
There are only two real forces in the world. Love and hate, Light and darkness, Life and death, Good and evil,, Right and wrong, Drawn or forced. The horizontal relationships of Love, Light, Life, Good, Right and Drawn do not need structures for their existence or support. It is only hindered from reproducing in direct proportion as principles separate from life creating new structures. Vertical structures of wrong, evil, hate, darkness, death, forced. They must be defined, organised, structured and promoted. When Jesus Christ left this world He said that, He would never leave us or forsake us, He would send the Holy Spirit to live within us forever. The Holy Spirit would make known all the character and life attributes of Jesus.
We were left a portrait of life and character of Jesus in the Beatitudes, for the first time the Word did not become word, the Word became flesh. After Jesus returned to His Father and the promise of the Father was given (the Holy Spirit) men for the first three or four hundred years lived for the greater part Life. A life defined only by Life. Active response to the voice of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling in them the character qualities found in Jesus — Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self under control, against which there need to be no definite vertical power structure to be defended. This according to history shook Constantine and the Roman Empire. How could the Life of such a minority have such other world authority? No weapons, no armies, no buildings, no earthly headquarters, no kings, they were taking over the then known world by undefined qualities of Life and character that was controlled by a loving Theocracy ruling from within mens hearts. Constantine reasoned, we must join those people who are walking this way. Who is their spokesman? Do they have anything written? Send the captains into every country and city, find out what they are teaching. We must know what they know (not live the Life they live) so we can gain control. Ah, here is the satanic principle, wherever it is made manifest there is every evil work of darkness. The three “P’s where men seek; 1. Position = Control 2. Possession = Authority 3. Power = False love.
There is a violation of Love, Life and reality. The only trouble Constantine had was, he was never able to find the main body of truth being taught, for it was not written. It was lived by and in the Life of the Holy Spirit. From life to life, heart to heart, never again would God give men a written law. This time he would write it on the fleshly tablets of the heart. He would put a new spirit in man, he would take the stony heart out of man’s flesh and put in a heart of flesh. Then he would put his Holy Spirit in that new heart and cause man to walk in his statutes and judgments and keep them. This was the promise of the Father. How could the God of this world break through short circuiting God’s plan? Constantine’s men found some of the old corrective letters written by Paul to the Corinthian Church. The record of the revelation of Jesus Christ written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and some of the other cities where strong corrective letters had to be sent, because they had started in the Spirit but now were returning to the power struggle of the three P’s, the flesh. These dusty old scrolls were valuable records of the inspired life and the words of Jesus Christ. By gaining this position and possession of the writings and gathering the Hebrew Scriptures written by the prophets of old, Satan put the church into the dark ages. For now the canon and the Roman church and the Kingdom of Heaven became one. Now what man said was what God said, it was the voice to the people, not the voice of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father. Perhaps there wasn’t much of the Life Paul and the early men lived left by the fourth century. Men have always preferred belonging to a system, a vertical structure.
First, whenever the response to the Voice of the Holy Spirit is not being lived, it comforts the flesh to find oneself among a part. Second, where direct personal relationship with the living Word is lacking, it is a comfort to the heart to be told authoritatively what to believe, what the party to which one belongs holds. It is abhorrent to the flesh to walk in the Spirit. The perfect opportunity for Constantine to canonize the inspired record of the revelation of Jesus Christ, join them with the Hebrew scriptures left by the prophets of old. This gave him control of the People of the Way, and Constantine succeeded in gaining the power of the called-out ones. Then there was the fresh new life of the Spirit that breathed upon Luther’s heart. As he responded to the Holy Spirit, the record of the revelation of Jesus Christ from those scrolls was made alive to him. He shared the new found relationship with the Holy Spirit, and as he shared the new-found relationship with the Holy Spirit, his horizontal life of love threatened the vertical structure of Rome. Now came the choice, which would shape the whole of the Protestant Christian history. Would Luther and his followers stay defenseless, living Life in Love and thereby take over again the structures of Rome, the Word become flesh? Or would his followers seek to define, defend, organise and build new structures, where life only becomes death? History relates the latter choice was taken. The god of this world made the greatest attack on the church since the cross. He deified the letter of the scripture, rather than the Promise of the Father.
Now with each proceeding revelation from the Holy Spirit, division would be built in. The old vertical structure would always resist any new life being lived. So the new revelation given by the Spirit must be defined by scripture, defended with organization, building and physical structures, and the cycle starts all over again, ripping and tearing the body of Christ. Will the pattern started by Constantine in the Fourth Century, followed by Luther ever end – – Fox, Huss, Wesley, on and on, more denominations, out of church organizations, props to a sick weak church in the western world? Can the Holy Spirit be blamed for all this, or must we responsible, mortal creatures have to take the blame? Since Pentecost we have had the indwelling potential life of the Holy Spirit living within us, but we haven’t been hearing his voice, and responding to him. Could it be that we must do the turning around the 180 degrees? For the Kingdom of God’s sake, we must make radical changes in our lives, and that by response to the Holy Spirit. We must each one turn from our own evil way — then He will hear from heaven and heal our land.