Young Ones, or Older :)
Tuesday Night, April 20,2002
Greetings in Yahweh! : ) We received quite a few letters regarding the “inspirational” value of a recent letter from a young one wrestling to get past his fleshly motives to find the Lamb of God. Four letters I thought had good and fair questions, “wondering about what it all means” in their content. The four are merged together below, along with the answer...
When combined with a discussion of Ephesians 4 Gifts, the answer below (to their question, “What was that little guy’s letter all about?!”) ALSO happens to be the answer to: “How can we experience a dynamic, powerful, intimate Body of Believers, a ‘Kingdom of Priests,’ ‘from the least to the greatest’ in the city where WE live?” Does THAT sound Important? : )
For His Sake,
I had to think long and hard about that e-mail you sent with the young one pouring out his heart to the Lord. I’m not familiar at all with that kind of depth in a young one, NOR am I familiar with the way he is pouring his heart out. It kind of troubles me, since I have never personally witnessed much more from a young one beyond the “This little light of mine” song, a flannel graph, a memory verse or two, and a camp altar call where a bunch of young ones are giggling amongst themselves as they “go forward” or “ask Jesus into their hearts.” Not that I think everyone in the religious world insincere, of course. It’s just that my expectations are obviously WAY too low for what it means to come to Jesus, if I’m reading this right. Isn’t “saying a prayer” (what I was taught and have always taught others) to invite Jesus in—the “real deal”?
I know all of the churches and people in the Christian world have been a mess, or very shallow at best, for a LONG time, and I’m thinking there is something here in all of this that can help. Help me with a perspective of some sort here! This is shaking me up a bit! Come to think of it, as I read the biographies of men who we KNOW met God, it DOES seem that their conversions were not so domesticated and tame and predictable as what I’m normally familiar with. And I know you guys have been living in these Truths for these two decades, and have watched a lot of children and adults “grow up” this way. You have seen the fruit of it all, so... Hmmm. Maybe I answered my own question. Never mind.
Hey. Glad that this whole process has troubled you! I was very “careful” as I read the “young guy’s” letter, too. It’s a delicate matter. The process of coming face-to-face with the Crucified and Risen Son of God, with “white hair as wool, and voice of a thundering waterfall” is obviously troubling the young man, too, judging from his letter. But that’s all better than one might think, at first glance. Too many think that being “poor in Spirit” is non-essential in coming to God. Too many have been taught, or have taught others, that it’s possible to be Saved at age 5 by “asking Jesus into their hearts”—when the child has done no more than parrot what they’ve been told in “bible hour” by a teacher. And frankly, many such teachers have later admitted that they pressed these “salvations” in order to tell others about x-number of salvations they had in their class, or pure naiveté. They didn’t even see their own errors in their hearts and ways until they were out of the hypnosis of the system and traditions of men.
Here’s one reason why these things matter, and the subject is as Fundamental as it gets: What a crime to teach that one can be born a second time—when they have NEVER DIED TO THE FIRST BIRTH!!! :(
There can be NO Romans 8 without some form of Romans 7. GOD said that it is the Righteousness of God that is the Schoolmaster that leads us to the REAL Jesus. Too many are “led” to the false Jesus of wishful thinking and magic words with no substance in many cases. But can’t people just say, “Jesus is Lord” and be saved? NO. “MANY will say to Me on that day, ‘LORD, LORD’! But I will say to them, ‘I never knew you.’” NO ONE can say “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Spirit. It takes a True Encounter with God for the Real thing to take place in Salvation: SuperNatural regeneration, “Transfigured from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of the Beloved Son.” That’s how the Bible reads. In many cases, the alleged “salvations” are the product, not of God revealing what “flesh and blood have not revealed,” but they are the product of grade school peer pressure, cutesy sentimentalism, parental egos and the like. Most, whether young or old, are tragically never taught that they must DIE in order that they might Live. “Unless the seed falls to the ground and DIES, it abides alone.” There can be no second Birth if there is no death to the first. Period.
SO! According to the very special Saints who are spending time with this young’n—he is like a Cornelius of Acts 10. Cornelius was a good guy, searching out many things of God, “courting Jesus” (by proxy, by seeking His Father), but not yet married to Jesus! Cornelius, even with an angelic visitation, was not yet saved. God heard his prayers and saw his gifts to the poor, and yet he was not saved, according to the Angel and the Scriptures. In a similar way, this young one desires to know God, is wrestling externally to be responsive to Him, but is not yet saved. The Road is very good—made straight for the Coming of the Lord. And yet, the Salvation that comes from GOD is a supernatural (Mat.16:18) touch from Father that brings the Testimony of “ABBA!” and “our hearts do not condemn us.”
There is no such thing as a legitimate Biblical conversion that does not involve the Touch of Messiah, as surely as the woman with the issue of blood, or Bartimaeus. And that does not happen on wishful thinking or “belief system” or at a sentimental moment. It only happens with Biblical Faith, which is to “lean back in the chair past the point of no return.”
Practically speaking? While no one may know for certain what the young man is hanging on to secretly (pride? self-indulgent behavior? lust? worldly loves and dreams that make him an “enemy of God”?), there is something undealt with there, yet. And what a crime it would be to shortchange a true conversion by not allowing him to die to his first birth that he would Truly See the Messiah!
Jesus said to Peter, and any other such sentimental Cross-Robber, “GET BEHIND ME, SATAN!” It is a far-too-frequent crime in the nominal Christian world to pad the cross with religious jargon and form that “deny the Power.” And that sloppiness, often by those who are yet unconverted themselves, is a huge part of the explanation of the impotence of 98% of the Christian world. The “Now I lay me down to sleep” unBiblical sinners’ prayer—“preemie” or “still-born conversions” are also largely responsible for (as they themselves report of themselves) the “falling away” of seventy-five percent of the “christian” youth group members after they leave high school, or before.
Now, I admit... Yeah, I had some wrestling over his note, too! Why? Because I don’t want to see him confuse Law and Grace—or his own strivings—for a means to Righteousness. It bugged me a bit, BUT I know the Saints involved with him are uncanny in their Knowledge of Father and His Son, and they are simply letting him run a bit with the Romans 7: “Who will free me from this body of death?!!” They want him to have a SUPERNatural Second Birth, not a lukewarm, sentimental, unBiblical “Ask Him into your heart” so-called conversion. “Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies....” The rock that makes men stumble and fall—the skandalon is for all!! Why do we rip out the heart of the Message of the Great Apostle and High Priest of our Faith, to our own demise?! “Unless you take up your cross... you cannot be a Christian.” There is a cross. For all of us. And it’s not just, “The bills are hard to pay” and, “Aunt Edith broke her hip.” Those are not “crosses to bear.” It is a spiritual issue to come after Jesus. As the prophet Simeon said, “A sword will pierce even your heart, Mary, as this boy becomes a Man—and causes the falling and the rising again of many.” Skandalon is part of true Conversion.
Well, that’s enough. Nothing new. : ) As you can see, finding Reality in the Body of Christ is not about “a new and improved way to do things” at “meetings” or in “house church” neighborhoods. True ZOE LIFE is far more fundamentally about “What is a Christian? Is a person who has never died to their first life, and become doulos a Christian? If they have never had a revelation of ‘The God, The Living’ that ‘flesh and blood did not reveal’—dare we call them Christians, and a part of ‘the Church’?” And, “what really is a Church, a Lampstand??!!” And, “what really is a ‘Leader’??!! These are the REAL questions. It’s not about, “Everyone should get a chance to talk in our new way to ‘have church’”... YUCKO!! While doing things God’s way rather than man’s has always been important to God, that is not fundamentally the Beginning Place, the Genesis of Life in the Body of Christ. Since men accommodate their flesh in their foolish traditions and gimmicks, and God’s Ways do not, “how we do things” does come into play, of course. God said so. But, unless we get these more fundamental Issues resolved in our midst, the other is meaningless! It is like putting chocolate icing on a mud pie. It is a deception to try to “do things God’s way” when the batch is filled with leaven and contradiction and hypocrisy and lukewarmness. And we know how Jesus feels about those. Nothing corporate can “work” for very long (by God’s MERCY!) when we are building with unregenerate building materials and in the flesh. Praise God for that! “The child born in the logical and natural way always rises up to persecute the Child born of the Spirit. It is the same now” (Gal. 4:29).
Okay! Hope you understand now why it was fine that you were frustrated by the letter, as I was, too. It scared me a little bit at first. Surely, it is a Good News of Grace, not striving or Law. But, there IS something Essential that is missed in most cities and countries we’ve spent time in, in the world, and in most every religious background imaginable that we have enjoyed relationships with. The process and the people involved with this young one, those who know him and despise legalism or law or guilt or fear are involved EVERY DAY with this young one. That brings great comfort and confidence to what I, too, would be concerned about, IF it was in a normal, nominal environment where the child “attends” something and otherwise lives life separate from the “joined and knittedness” of “the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”