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Tag: supernatural

Citizens of Heaven!

Citizens of Heaven

Philippians 3:20-21:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (NASU)

If you have ever visited a country other than your native country, you might have felt a little strange or uncomfortable. I live in the US, and our neighboring country Canada, has a similar culture to ours. It is not so strange or different as some other countries. Still, when I visit there, I cannot expect to claim the exact same privileges that a Canadian citizen would claim. The same could be said of Australia, where my wife and I visited in the nineties. Other than their wonderful accents, and the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road, we felt quite comfortable there.

Another country we have visited is India. Now I can tell you that it is a different world! The culture is very different in some ways. The food is different, the language of course is different, the money is very different. All the things we take for granted every day can become challenges when in another culture. While Canadian money is in dollars close to ours, Indian rupees do not easily translate to US dollars. Back then I would often hesitate when thinking of spending 1,000 Rupees until I did the math. That sum today amounts to only about $14 US dollars!

Some people possess dual citizenship. In one sense, a follower of Christ also possesses dual citizenship, living in two worlds. We live on this earth, and because of our love for Jesus Christ, we serve the inhabitants of this world for whom He gave His life. However our service will be more effective and powerful when we fully understand how our primary citizenship is in Christ, and in His Kingdom! This might not be as easy as it sounds. I was born into this world first as an earth-bound creature. Over time I developed this internal sense that something was not quite right, or complete.

At an early age I began to hear about the Word of God, and the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. This ignited that internal sense with a spark within me that has continued to grow and burn brighter year after year. I live in a material world that was created by God for His glory, but that world has become filled with corruption, sin and death. I am reminded of this fact every day of my life.

The knowledge that I am more than a material being has created a hunger for heavenly, spiritual things. I am not only talking about the future bliss that all believers know is real. I am talking about a present reality! This heavenly reality is where we all belong, and it includes the abundant life that Jesus came to bring! How often we overlook this fact: the mission of Jesus was to bring heaven to us! Everything he taught was to turn our way of thinking around towards this heavenly reality!

When I surrendered my heart and life to Christ my old life died and was buried with Him in baptism, in order that I can rise with Him from the grave as a new person! I have been translated from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son of God! (Romans 6:4, Colossians 1:13)

The central message of Jesus was for us to “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near!” Certainly we all have sins for which we must repent, but we could legitimately take repentance even further. The original Greek word in the scripture means “to think differently.” The source of our sin is in our attitudes and patterns of thinking about ourselves and God. Paul the apostle once stated that repentance goes further than sorrow for sin, which is good. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, or a change of mind. (1 Corinthians 7:10)

The bible has much to say about our minds and habits of thinking. Unfortunately, many of us do not realize how important this matter really is. Truly we are greatly blessed to know our future is secure in Christ. Even when we fail, His love for us does not fade. However, in the mean time, there is a purpose for our being here and for our dual citzenship.

This cannot be better spelled out than in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 2:14-17:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (NASU)

Jesus Himself told His disciples that they were the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hid! This city is even now representative of another dimension known as the kingdom of heaven. The light that is in us should not be hidden from the world around us. It is naturally seen as we allow God to change our thinking to align with His.

Isaiah 55:8-9:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

While no human can plumb the depths of God’s infinite wisdom and love, we are called to repent in order to receive from Him great increases in wisdom, knowledge, understanding and love. His Word comes to us and His Holy Spirit reveals unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness. (1 Peter 1:3). Our life in Christ begins and ends with the work of the Word of God challenging us and the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and empower us.

God Himself calls us and reveals His will unto us to bring us into the state of grace, forgiveness of sin and a fresh relationship with Him. This is only the beginning. The same power that called us to reconciliation calls us to a higher life, a heavenly life. That life is described in the bible as one characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith and self-control. But these attributes do not come from a self-improvement plan or 12 step program. They come from living in relationship with God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, Who lives within us!

Colossians 3:1-3:
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

So what are these higher things? He goes on to explain:

Colossians 3:12-17:
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

The “things of the earth” are not simply the material world, which God created and described as very good. In using heaven above and the earth beneath as descriptive terms, He is showing us that there is a lower plane of existence in things like: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech and lying. (Colossians 3:5-11).

Earlier I mention my visits to India. Before I could enter that great country, I had to get permission from a representative of India in the form of a visa. So I contacted the Embassy of India in Washington receive directions for the application. The Embassy of India receives authority from a country that is more than 8,000 miles away. That authority is very real. In fact, I could not even get on a plane bound for India without a visa from the embassy.

2,000 years ago Jesus Christ established a colony on this earth which represents the Kingdom of heaven. It is the gathering of the community of those who have been born again to the new life and the new values of the kingdom. It is not defined by the organizations of men, but by the holiness of God that sets His people apart from the self-worshipping, self-serving ways of fallen humanity. Jesus personally trained those who would lead others into the Kingdom of God and gave them special authority much like embassadors that reside in other lands.

This authority is the Word of God, and it has the power to transform hearts and minds, to heal broken people and communities, to demonstrate the character of God, and to lighten the way in this dark world. Everyone who receives Christ, submits to His will, and is trained by Him can be commissioned by Him as an embassador of the Kingdom of heaven. And yet the newest believer born of the Spirit is already a genuine citizen of heaven!

The small community of apostles and other men and women that Jesus gathered has grown tremendously throughout the centuries. The number of true believers cannot be known by us. Jesus promised that His kingdom would be like the yeast that permeated the flour which rises to become a loaf of bread. Like the rock in the dream Daniel interpreted for King Nebuchadnezzar, it is bringing all other kingdoms to naught as it fills the earth. Yes, the knowledge of the glory of the Lord is filling the earth! The Kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ!

As citizens of the kingdom now we are privileged to enjoy the blessings of heaven and to usher in the appearance of heaven to earth. No act that originated from the mind of God is too small or insignificant in His plan. For 2,000 years we have been praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That prayer is being heard and will be manifestly answered, but we can see and experience the reality of the wonderful reign of Christ even now!

As Citizens of Heaven!

Face to Face!

First the Kingdom Part 30: Face to Face

Luke’s record in the “Acts of the Apostles” gives us an exciting portrait of the faith of the earliest Christians. Among the many characteristics of these ordinary people and their extraordinary faith, there is one thing that the apostles in Acts had in common: They had all been with Jesus!

The significance of this cannot be overstated. In fact this entire series on the Kingdom of God ultimately centers on the truth that the Kingdom of God appeared on the earth in the presence of Jesus Himself! No one could come into His presence and not be changed in one way or the other. Those who received Him as their Lord and Messiah were given citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven and an entrance into the family of God!

He began with 12 ordinary men from various walks of life. They lived with Him, listened to Him, watched Him and learned from Him what it meant to be the people of God. His time with them equipped them and educated them more effectively than we could possibly imagine.

The apostle John wonderfully captured this thought in a letter to his fellow believers:

In 1 John 1:1-4 he writes:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life ;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

And these things we write unto you, that your joy may be full. (KJV)

Yes, the apostles and others in Acts had this one thing in common, they had been with Jesus. Peter, James and John had an additional experience in common, together they saw his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration.

John referred to this when he wrote “we beheld His glory,” and Peter in one of his letters wrote:

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (NKJV)

(John 1:14-15, 2 Peter 1:16-18)

While Adam hid his face from God, others, like Jabez, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and the prophets, sought his face and were changed.

It might seem that such a meeting with the Creator and Lord of the universe is reserved for a chosen few. However, God has actually revealed through these special messengers that He desires that special relationship with many more!

Abraham is known as the Father of the faithful today. His son Isaac, His grandson Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons were all given the special privilege of inheriting the promises given to Abraham. The 12 sons became 12 tribes and greatly increased in number, but God’s desire to bless them had not diminished. After delivering them from slavery in Egypt he called them to Mount Sinai to hear from Him and to become a kingdom of priests. Even though their fears hindered them from responding, He gave these words for those who did accept the priestly calling to speak over them.

Numbers 6:22-27:

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”‘

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”  (NKJV)

When I was very young I noticed how it seemed so normal in the Bible for God to speak with Adam and Eve as we talk to each other today. Even after sin entered into the picture and paradise was lost, God still spoke to Noah, then Abraham, then Moses and many others in what seemed to be an audible voice. As time when on, this experience became very rare. It was not because of God’s inability to speak, or in the inability of the people to hear sound.

The distance between God and His people was in their hearts. Their hearts and minds became increasingly darkened by deception, fear, rebellion and disobedience. All they had left were the words written down by Moses and the special messages from the holy prophets which would later be committed to writing. Today we thank God that he has spoken and still speaks to us through these sacred writings. But have we forgotten how to listen to His Voice in the midst?

Jesus came to clear away the haze and confusion, and even to destroy the barrier between God and humanity. His message, His teaching, His patience and love, His miracles all expressed His desire for a face-to-face encounter with us! The grand climax in His suffering on the Cross for our sins, and His marvelous victory over death was the final proof of the great lengths our Lord and Savior would go for a relationship with us.

All that is left is for us to trust and believe in Him and receive the great gift He is offering to us – His very Self!

But alas! Even though every lie that Satan has pressed upon the world has been exposed, the human race continues so often in the same pattern of self-reliance and self-deception. These are the days of gallant battle and overcoming for those who have believed and do know Him. They are constantly tested by the unyielding rejection from the world around them and even from those they dearly love.

That is why John and Peter so firmly testified of what they had seen and heard. That is why they and countless others over the centuries gave their lives as evidence of a faith that could not be destroyed. That is also why Paul prayed for every believer to have a face-to-face encounter with the risen Christ even as he had!

No we are not talking about identical experiences like the transfiguration that Peter, James and John witnessed, or the vision that Paul received on the road to Damascas. But we are talking about the revelation of Jesus Christ!

In Ephesians 1:17-20 Paul prayed:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (KJV)

It was Paul’s prayer that the believers in Ephesis would know Christ and His work on our behalf more deeply. He knew when their eyes were opened to greater insight into His wisdom that they too would be changed from the inside out! Later, in that same letter he added this prayer:

Ephesians 3:14-19:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (NKJV)

In another letter, Paul wrote of Moses and his face-to-face encounter with God on Mount Sinai. This encounter actually caused his face to glow to the extent the people were afraid to come near him. So he wore a veil over his face for their sake.

Paul used this story as an analogy to describe the situation of his day. He realized that many were reading the words of God in the Bible as it were behind a veil. People were still afraid to meet God in His word because their hearts were stubborn and hardened. Jesus explained that the pure and humble of heart were blessed, for they could truly see God!

Therefor there was hope for one whose heart turns to Jesus Christ. In Him that veil is removed from the mind and Christ can now be seen as the true message of the Bible!

To this day I cannot say that I have heard an audible voice from God, and yet He does speak to me as often as I am willing to listen. He has found my attention often through unpleasant circumstances which caused me to see how foolish I have been at times. He has also reached out to me through the kindness of others. It was always the work of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that Paul believed could open the understanding of his people. Others prayed for me also, and when I was finally willing to humble myself before Christ, He removed that veil that kept me in darkness for so long.

We today can have face-to-face encounters with God in many ways. We can meet Him in quiet moments of prayer and meditation. So often I can see His face as I gather with others who know and love Him. When we gather in His Name, He is in our midst!

The Bible is truly a wonderful place to find His presence, His nature, His power and His wisdom for every day life. This is what Paul meant when he wrote:

2 Corinthian 3:12-18:

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (NIV)

Kingdom Power

First the Kingdom Part 23: Kingdom Power

There was a man sent from God whose name is John. In fact his mission was determined before he was born. He was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mothers womb. Instead of following in his fathers path as a priest of the levitical order, he would be the prophet to herald the coming of the Messiah of Israel.

The people who heard his message were called to repent of their sins because the Kingdom of God was near. Then they followed him into the Jordan River to be ceremonially cleansed as a part of their repentance. He would not permit his disciples to put their faith in him. He said another would come after he had baptized them in the water. John did not even feel worthy to take off the shoes of this one to wash His feet. He told them this this one would baptize them in the Holy Spirit and fire.

When Jesus came to be baptized by his cousin John, John refused. He would rather be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus insisted. When Jesus came up out of the water the heavens opened unto Him, a voice then came saying, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then the Holy Spirit came and landed upon Him like a dove. From that time on, Jesus began demonstrating the power of God, the power of the Kingdom through the working of healings, miracles and delivering people from demon possession.

Both John and Jesus placed strong emphasis on Holy, godly living. They both respected the law of Moses which stood at the heart of the nation of Israel but they were also quick to point out that there was a wrong and a right way to observe the law. As other prophets of Israel they scolded the people who outwardly kept the law, while their hearts were far from loving the God Who graciously saved them from slavery.

Neither John nor Jesus left the people with heavy moral demands and no hope for fulfilling them. John told of the Holy Spirit and fire to come, and Jesus proved what the Holy Spirit could do to heal the minds, hearts and bodies of those who cried out to God for help. We must keep in mind that all of this is consistent with the history of Israel. Abraham and Sarah by faith received the miracle of a child in their old age, Jacob encountered God at Bethel and later received His blessing. Joseph had the help of the Spirit to interpret dreams for Pharaoh, and Moses was empowered by God to work miracles before Pharaoh and Israel. After that judges like Samson were empowered by the Holy Spirit with special abilities to serve the nation. David was anointed by the Spirit of God and was blessed to lead the armies and the nation. Solomon received supernatural wisdom, and prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel served the people as the Holy Spirit spoke the Word of God through them.

It has always been this principle, God resists the proud, but give grace unto the humble.

If this message accomplishes anything at all, I hope and pray that you will be encouraged to humble yourselves before Him. It does not matter how successful you are in this life or if you were raised in a Christian home and never strayed from the faith. We all need to be humble before God. There is often a serious lack of supernatural ability in Christians to overcome temptations, fears, addictions, bad attitudes etc. Could the reason for this be that we have failed to received the fullness of this baptism, this gift that God through Christ has offered us? Could it be that we have been too proud to admit our need?

In John 3:3-5 Jesus said that we must be born of the water and the Spirit to enter into the Kingdom of God. I doubt that anyone reading this or hearing this podcast would argue that anyone could come to Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit. If any change of heart ever comes we know it had to come from the intervention of God and His grace. I certainly hope that you do not credit yourself with becoming a new creation, or a better person!

Is the New Birth the one and only act of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer? Jesus had dozens of followers before Calvary. Some of them had even been given the authority to work miracles as well. But there was an even greater work of the Holy Spirit to come. Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow out from the innermost being of those who believed in Him. When John the apostle recorded this statement he explained that this would happen after Jesus would be glorified. After His resurrection, Jesus told them how the time for Kingdom power was very near.

Christians believe that the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was a world-changing event. God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting their sins against them. The only thing left is for us is to receive the benefit of this reconciling work. This is where the preaching of the Gospel comes in. How can people believe in someone they do not know? How can they know if they are not told? How can they be told if God does not send his messengers? So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.(Romans 10:13-17).

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ makes everything else possible, including the promised coming of the Holy Spirit in power. People need to also hear the good news that God has provided all the power we will ever need to live in His Kingdom now. That aspect of the Gospel must also be proclaimed and believed. For thousands of years this truth has been largely forgotten. Today it is being declared around the world that kingdom power is available to those who believe, but amidst great confusion and controversy.

However in the Bible we see no evidence of a controversy on this subject. John and Jesus foretold of an immersion in the Holy Spirit, Luke in Acts detailed exactly how that happened. Calvary was a one-time, once and for all time event. Then the Day of Pentecost, when Christ poured out His Spirit on all humanity was the fruit of that. Together these two world-changing events herald the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the beginning of God’s Kingdom reign upon this earth! However, are there many who have received the gift of forgiveness brought at Calvary, but not the infusion of power brought at Pentecost? How can they know since they have not heard?

In Acts chapter nineteen there where some people in Ephesis who had heard the Gospel of the Kingdom most likely from disciples of John the Baptist. Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed, to which they answered, “we did not even know there was a Holy Spirit!” These folks were sincere, humble and hungry for God. They immediately received the more complete Gospel from Paul, were baptized in the Name of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, evidenced by the gifts of tongues and prophesy.

Since the early Twentieth Century, more people have become aware of the power that has been available to believers since the Day of Pentecost. In their zeal to encourage other believers to receive this power they have stirred up controversy and a division exists among us to this day. Not only that, but counterfeit demonstrations of power have added to the controversy. The lack of discernment among those of us who accept any strange phenomena as from the Holy Spirit is also a problem.

Once God called His people to “come, let us reason together.” Could it be that the time has come to reason together on controversial subjects like End-time prophecy, the sign gifts, and the supernatural manifestations of the Kingdom of God? Established teachings for many generations have accepted that the days of miracles were over near the end of the apostolic era. It is acknowledged that the inspired writings of that first generation of church leaders have secured the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” The foundation has been laid for the church of later generations, and the basic errors have all been addressed. Therefore some reason that miracles are no longer useful or needed.

Even the controversy we are discussing has already been addressed in the New Testament! Paul explained that love is the greatest gift of all, but that we should still desire spiritual gifts so that we could build up one another in love! Why is this important?

The fact is that confidence in the bible is at an all-time low in our day, even among some who claim to be Christians! The same power of God that worked miracles to validate the message of the kingdom that the apostles brought is needed today. While we recognize that the Holy Spirit Himself has always validated the Word of God in the hearts of hearers throughout the ages, there is no indication in the Bible that God has stopped performing miracles for this same purpose.

While Jesus chastised those who clamor after signs alone, He continued to shock His generation with infallible proofs of His calling and message. Like Peter, who stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water, may we focus on Jesus, His beauty, glory, power and love, step out in faith when He bids us, and trust in Him to support us when we fail. That risk is always possible, but the greatest failure might be to not step out at all!

The Revelation of Jesus Christ!

For almost as long as I can remember, the “revelation of Jesus Christ,” has often been identified with the end of the world, or some other frightening event. We often hear that we are living in the last days which are foretold in the last book of the Bible, “The Revelation.”

Eventually I learned that the book of Revelation was in fact about the revelation which was first given to Jesus Christ, and in turn given to John who wrote it all down. The things that John recorded has fascinated many for two thousand years, but today I want to talk about the most fascinating subject of all, the revelation that Jesus Christ wants to reveal of Himself to us!

What we call the New Testament in the Bible witnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ came to a number of individuals and made Himself known unto them in a very special way. One of the first instances we read about was with the apostle Peter. One day Jesus was asking his disciples about who the people thought He was. They answered that some thought Jesus might be the reincarnation of John the Baptist, others Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Then Jesus asked them, “who do YOU say that I am?”

The response is found in Matt 16:16-18:

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.'” (NASU)

Peter had received a revelation. Something was revealed to him or made plain that had previously been hidden. To the multitudes Jesus was someone special, like a prophet or teacher of spiritual and moral things. But God the Father in Heaven had given Peter a gift, that gift was the knowledge that Jesus was more than just a man! He was revealed to Peter to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!

In another instance, Peter, along with the brothers James and John, were given an additional glimpse into the glory of Christ.

The Transfiguration

Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9:27-36 describe this event. Some time after they went up into a high mountain it appeared to them as if His face and clothing became as brilliant as the sun. They were obviously confused and disoriented by this and were even frightened.

“a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Matt 17:5 KJV)

Peter, in his second letter to believers wrote about this experience.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,

‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’

And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18 KJV)

It would be impossible for us to fully comprehend the impact that simply knowing Jesus had on His disciples, but experiences like witnessing the transfiguration must have been even more life transforming! We are careful to not pit the knowledge of divine truth against supernatural experience, but it would be wise for us to have at least an equal appreciation of both. While many even thousands of hearts have often remained hardened after seeing sensational miracles and the power of God, others have testified to the change that specifically seeing the Lord more clearly had upon them.

Consider the prophet Isaiah, who had already been worshipping and serving God for some time, when a vision of Christ was given to Him. In it he saw the Lord “sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” He also saw great mysterious winged creators called Seraphim, flying overhead, crying:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

After that the whole place began to quake and become filled with smoke. Then this holy man began to cry out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined!, Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

Amidst this frightful and dramatic scene, Isaiah saw the holiness of God in such a way that revealed his sinfulness, and yet grace was already in the room! One of the seraphim took a burning coal from the alter and placed it upon Isaiah’s lips signifying that God Himself had cleansed him of his sin and iniquity. (Isaiah 6:1-7)

A similar thing happened to another great man in the Bible. God before had testified that he was blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. (Job 1:8). And yet, near the end of the story in the book of Job, he began to see himself in the light of God’s glory and righteousness, saying:

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6 NIV)

The outcome of all that had transpired in this story of Job’s suffering is that He too had a transforming vision of God!

Throughout the Bible we can find, if we look carefully, evidence of lives that were forever changed by an encounter with the Almighty! One most dramatic and that was told several times in the Acts of the apostles, is that of Saul of Tarsus. Here was an arch-enemy of Christianity, a man obsessed with stamping out what he viewed as a heretical movement among his fellow Jews.

While on his journey to persecute the followers of Christ in Damascus, he was stopped in his tracks by Christ Himself. A light from heaven shone all around him as he fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus.

Acts 9:4-6:

” ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’

Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'” (NKJV)

Now, blinded by the light for three days he would fast and pray and wait for one of the Christians he was fighting against to come and pray for him. From the time his sight was restored he became one of the most, if not the most powerful witnesses for Christ in all of history!

This experience would be forever embedded in his mind. All his years of training in Judaism could not accomplish what this one meeting with Christ did to set him free. Not only that, but the memory of this encounter with the risen Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit within him would sustain him and empower him for a lifetime of suffering and service in spreading the Gospel over the Mediterranean region!

In the Bible we can read of many others whose lives were changed by divine encounters. Some were more dramatic, others more subtle. How about you? Do you have anything in common with Noah, who received directions from God like no one before him had, or Abraham, who was called to leave his comfort zone? How about Sarah, who after waiting with Abraham many years for their promised son, was later reassured by divine messengers that the time had come? Some were told things by God that they were prompted to tell, others things they had to keep to themselves. What about you?

You might say, we are not living in the Bible days. Times were different then. You might think that visions and visitations are only for special people, but not for ordinary ones like you and me. It is true that Moses and Paul had unusual experiences, but in fact both of them hoped that all would have intimate relationships with Christ. They knew that normal humanity began with God and man walking together as friends.

This was Paul’s prayer and also that of the apostle John.

Ephesians 1:15-18:

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”

Here he expresses the fact that even believers need to see Christ unveiled!

Eph 1:19-21:

“and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”

We also need a deeper grasp of what He has done on our behalf!

Ephesians 1:22-23:

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (NKJ)

Finally we need a revelation of the position and standing we have as His people, His true Church, individually members of His Body in the earth!

The apostles believed that through their sharing His message and their experiences, we too could have a revelation of Jesus Christ!

Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:7-9:

“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”(

The beloved disciple John penned these words in a letter to believers.

1 John 1:1-4:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

While we do not have the privilege of their ministries in person, we do have their most important teachings in writing. Not only that, but we have the entire Old Testament and the help of the Holy Spirit, leading us into all truth, so that we too can see Christ in all His glory! All we need is a submissive and believing heart.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, Paul was writing about the New Covenant ministry of the Spirit. He explained that so many missed the message of the holy writings of Moses, David and the prophets. The truth of the person of Christ was hidden to them, as if under a veil. He put forth what had happened to him and everyone else who had this “Veil over their hearts.” When their hearts were turned to the Lord, the veil was removed, enabling them to see Christ in the Scriptures!

Therefore we, whose hearts are humbled and submissive to Him, are able to see Christ, not with our physical eyes, but more importantly through the eyes of our understanding!

Then we all, having the veils over our minds removed, seeing the reflection of His glory in The Word, are transformed into that same image by the supernatural power of His Spirit! (2 Corinthians 3:14-18)

Let’s be honest. To live the life that we desire, to truly follow the example of Jesus is very difficult. Actually in human terms it is impossible. Only by the help and grace of God is it possible at all. He has given us many things to strengthen us and encourage us. First of all the New Birth, by which we become innocent and new in Him. Then He has given us pastors, teachers and fellow believers to encourage us along the way. But if all we see in the church is methods, plans and programs, we can miss the important fact that all things have been provided so that we can increasingly see the glory of Christ and be changed from glory to glory into His image!

As awesome and fantastic as this sounds, the ultimate goal of God in Christ is that WE TOO will be unveiled, revealed to the world with Christ, as His glorious Bride without spot, wrinkle or defect. In another sense we will be known as joint heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of God to share His glory for the blessing of all creation! Not my words but His!
(Ephesians 5:25, Romans 8:-22, 28-30)

Paul writes in Colossians 3:4:

“When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” NKJV

And John in 1 John 3:2-3:

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (NKJV)

All we have said here is to both challenge and encourage you. If you are a believer and follower of Christ, you have a marvelous destiny in Him. If you are reading this and desire to be a part, call upon Him, seek out those who know Him and let them pray with you. Christ wants you also, to have a revelation of Him, and to become a revelation of Him as well!

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