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Archive for July, 2008

Saint Irenaeus

The authentic and complete text of Saint Irenaeus:

“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation already brings life to all living beings on the earth, how much more will the manifestation of the Father by the Word bring life to those who see God”

(AH IV, 20, 7)

AH = Adversus Haereses (Against the Heresies) – Saint Irenaeus.

Irenaeus was born in Asia Minor about the year 125. He was still a young man when he met Polycarp of Smyrna, who represented a generation which had known the Apostles chosen by Christ, especially Saint John.

After the persecution of 177, it was necessary to rebuild the Church of God which was at Lyon. Irenaeus succeeded Pothinus and thus became the second bishop of Lyon-Vienne. Not only did he assure the presence of Christ the preacher and shepherd at the crossroads of the Three Gauls, but at the same time he carried out the composition of his masterpiece which is cited today under the title of Adversus Haereses (Against the Heresies). The actual title expresses more clearly the double movement of Irenaeus’ theology and *polemic. It is called Detection and Refutation of the False Gnosis.

Source:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/IRENAEUS.HTM

(a good read if you can get through it)

* Polemics, is the practice of disputing or controverting religious, philosophical, or political matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach.

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I feel this blog is timely seeing that this guy is in town…

Pope Benedict

It was last Monday, and we had just been to the 4.30pm Hillsong Conference Rally. It was now around 7.30pm, and I was watching

The Flying Nun

(ie: the TV series with Sally Field) with my son and his friend. Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, something profound and enlightening came from the Flying Nun. I know, I know, I was just at the Hillsong Conference and God should have been saying something profound to me over there. But, as Sally Field was speaking, she quoted from a Saint and, well, it resonated in my heart. She quoted from

‘Saint Irenaeus’…

“THE GLORY OF GOD IS MAN FULLY ALIVE”

.

Yes! Yes! What a great quote. I’ll have to remember that, and ruminate on it, and keep it in my heart. Jesus makes us fully alive! And when we are fully alive (walking in His Spirit – doing what He calls us to do – and bearing much fruit) we glorify God through our lives.

A number of verses came rushing to mind…

Jesus says in John 10:10b (GNT)
I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

1 Timothy 6:18-19 (GNT)
Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (GNT)
All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.

John 17:22-23 (GNT)
I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.

Being Fully Alive! (Part 2)

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He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to
walk humbly with your God.
NIV
( Micah 6:8 )

—————-

The scriptures say that Noah ‘walked with God‘ (Gen 6:9).

What does it mean that Noah ‘walked with God’?

.

Let’s look at a few excerpts of some verses in Genesis chapters 6, 7 and 8.

6v13a God said to Noah… – 6v22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. NIV
7v1a The LORD then said to Noah… – 7v5 Noah did all that the LORD commanded him. NIV
8v15a Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out… – 8v18a So Noah came outNIV

Are you getting my point? That is…

So walking with God is…

HEARING GOD AND OBEYING HIM

(THIS IS COMPLETED FAITH – FAITH IN ACTION)

Genesis 3:8 says about Adam and Eve
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. NIV

I believe Adam and Eve would have probably caught up with God as He walked in the garden (if they hadn’t eaten the fruit). So what had happened with their walk with the Lord? Sin and disobedience against God and His Word came into their lives. This brought with it guilt and shame and Adam and Eve hid from God (their friend). Their relationship and walk with God was broken. This is a very sad and tragic moment, Adam and Eve no longer wanted to walk with God (walking as a friend would do) in the garden.

Exodus 33:12b-14 says about Mose’ relationship with God
12b You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.” 14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. NIV

So walking with God is…

BEING HUNGRY TO KNOW AND OBEY GOD AND HIS WAYS

AND HAVING A COMPLIANT AND HUMBLE AND TEACHABLE HEART

(THIS PLEASES GOD)

Exodus 33:11a says about Mose’
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.

Genesis 17:1b God says to Abraham
I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. NIV

James 2:23b says about Abraham
He was called God’s friend. NIV

In Job 1:8 the Lord boasts about Job
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” NIV

So walking with God…

WE BECOME GOD’S FRIEND (ie: FRIEND OF GOD)

(GOD SAYS ‘LOOK AT THIS ONE, ANGELS, AREN’T THEY DOING GREAT!)

Acts 13:22b says about David
‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart ; he will do everything I want him to do. NIV

Ezekiel 36:26 says concerning our hearts and spirits
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. NIV

Walking with God is…

ACTIVELY PURSUING THE HEART OF GOD

(GOD’S SPIRIT COMES AND HE GIVES US GOD’S HEART)

Heavenly Father, my deepest desire is to walk with you. I am so sorry that I haven’t been pursuing you with all of my heart. More than anything else in this world I want to know you, I want to know your ways and I want to know your heart. Please help me to not just be a hearer of your Word (and deceive myself about my relationship with you) but a doer of your Word. Lord give me a new heart and put your Spirit within me. Help me to love and minister to others out of the overflow of your extravagant love and presence in my life. Teach me your ways Lord so that YOU MAY KNOW ME and I may be called ‘friend of God’. I pray that you will boast to your angels about me, In Jesus Name, Amen

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This is a follow on from the “Does God Really Know Us?” series of blogs…

Well, there are a lot of things going through my soul and spirit after a week of the Hillsong Conference. In a way, Hillsong Conference was excellent and, as I have said, there are a lot of things that have gone into my and soul and spirit and in another way there is a small distraction as I have taken many notes and it will take time to ruminate all of this input. You know ruminate?… Like the cows do…chew, swallow it, bring it back up again, chew, chew, swallow it etc, etc 🙂

I have been thinking about the following verses for months…ruminating…

OK, we know ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘(see Romans 10:17) and we know that ‘faith without deeds is useless and dead‘(see James 2:20-26). We also know ‘we are saved by grace and not by works‘(Ephesians 2:8-10).

My First point: Merely hearing the ‘Word of Christ’ is not true faith!

Looking at Romans 10:17… ‘faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ‘, do we actually have faith when we hear the Word of the Lord in the true sense of what faith is or is this verse merely suggesting the vehicle in which faith comes? Let me explain a bit better, so we hear the Word of Christ do we have faith at that point? No we don’t! The best it could be called would be incomplete faith or unactioned faith or dormant faith or not-really faith 🙂 . Let’s cut over to James 2:20-24

20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. NIV

My Second Point: ‘Actioned Faith’ brings God’s Friendship

I guess it’s like this, do we see the faith that we have in the Lord as a noun or a verb, faith as a ‘descriptive word’ or a ‘doing word’. I remember at the Hillsong Conference (Yes! It’s all coming back) Robert Ferguson spoke about ‘Bridging the Gap’ between who we are and who we are meant to be in Christ. He reminded us that the early Christians were called believers not Christians. ‘Christian’ came later (still in Acts though) to describe a group of people, that is, it was a ‘descriptive word’, a noun or a label. ‘Believer’, in contrast, is a ‘doing word’, an active word, a verb. Are we a believer and do we have an active faith in our Lord Jesus Christ or do we just sit under a ‘Christian label’, a ‘ticket to Heaven’ type of ‘dormant faith’. Well, if Hebrews 11:6 is true ‘without faith it is impossible to please God” (context – active and believing faith) were does that leave us?

Blessings Steve

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Shown towards the end of a message given by Mike Pilavachi Tue 8th July 2008 at the Hillsong Conference. The message was about the intimately inter-twined relationship between worship, evangelism and justice.

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My wife and son (and his friend) and I are at the Hillsong Conference in Sydney…

You don’t have to go to a conference to experience God – do you?
You don’t have to go to a conference to worship God – do you?
You don’t have to go to a conference to learn about God – do you?

These are some of the thoughts I have had over the years. And they are true but… I have learnt about God and worshipped God (with 30,000 other worshippers) and I have experienced God at this years conference.

I must say “God got me last night”. I’ve been a little stand-off (ish) about not entering into the hype (there’s really not a lot of hype) but right at the end of the 4.30pm session I experienced God in worship in an amazing way (and I think a lot of others did as well). The presence of the Lord filled the Acer Arena (personally and corporately). I wasn’t longing for ‘experience’, I was longing to express my love and gratitude and thanks to my Heavenly Father and well, he took hold of me and I knew His presence. Now I could try and express this in words (all the outward signs etc) but I think I would fall short and diminish what has happened.

God is good!

Steve

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Unbelief

Unbelief has been glanced past a number of times in my blogs. I thought it might be good (for me) to explore unbelief a little more. That is, not actually participate in it 🙂 but consider how undermining and even how wicked (yes wicked) it is to the Lord and why. This is a ‘biggy’. That is, unbelief has the potential to kill our relationship with God. Why? Because it is the opposite of faith and without faith it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6]. If we not exercising our faith in God unbelief creeps in. A few unanswered prayers, a few difficult times, a few grumbles of our heart and all of a sudden our faith has gone out the window.

I am starting at Hebrews 3:7-19 from the Amplified Bible (my comments are in red)
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice,

[Faith starts (or comes) by hearing the Word (or the voice) of God – Romans 10:17. So, conversely, unbelief comes when we fail to live by (or reject) the Word (or the voice) of God]

8 Do not harden your hearts, as [happened] in the rebellion [of Israel] and their provocation and [ embitterment [of Me] in the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 Where your fathers tried [My patience]
and tested [My forbearance] and found I stood their test, and they saw My works for forty years.
10 And so I was provoked (displeased and sorely grieved) with that generation, and said, They always err
and are led astray in their hearts, and they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.

[Unbelief is a heart problem. A hardened heart is a heart that continually and deliberately rejects the Word (or the voice) or God. The heart moves from faith to unbelief and this grieves God. I really, really love the end of verse 10. That is, ‘they have not perceived or recognized My ways and become progressively better and more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.’ This fits in with what I have been saying about ‘God knowing us’. That is, walking in His ways (like Noah). And ‘more experimentally and intimately acquainted with them.’ I love this language! I mean, trying out the ways of God and becoming more intimate with them! Yes! Yes! that’s what it’s all about! Not passively sitting in unbelief]

11 Accordingly, I swore in My wrath and indignation, They shall not enter into My rest.

[The consequence of unbelief: not entering God’s rest. A place of sanctuary, protection, love, peace and joy. A land of milk and honey]

12 [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you A WICKED, UNBELIEVING HEART [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.

[An unbelieving heart is a wicked heart as it opposes faith and trust in God. In Revelation 21:8 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving , the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” NIV The unbelieving will be placed with the murders and the sexually immoral and those that practice the occult. etc, etc Wow! That’s pretty sobering!]

13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].

[Ah! Unbelief and a hardened heart are sin and rebellion against God. It is a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Him! It’s treating the promises of God and the Word of God with contempt!]

14 For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.

[Have we lost our ‘first newborn confidence’ and ‘original assured expectation’? Has unbelief crept in somehow? At some point, did we diverge from complete faith and trust in God? Remember your original faith and repent of your unbelief]

15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them].

[Again, here is the Word of God, what is our response to it?]

16 For who were they who heard and yet were rebellious and provoked [Him]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?
17 And with whom was He irritated
and provoked and grieved for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dismembered bodies were strewn and left in the desert?
18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to
and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].

[Well that is all quite self explanatory]

Here is the Opposite

Romans 4:18-25
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old — and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. NIV

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief !”

Mark 9:24 NIV

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