Sayings From The Dragon Slayer
The Way Of Christ To The Kingdom of God On Earth
As It Is In Heaven.
The phrase: “the way” is a very short and simple phrase, yet it incapsulates the whole plan of God for man and all of creation. We read that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). We read that the Lord will instruct us and teach us in the way we should go; He will counsel us with His eye upon us (Ps 32:8).
Jesus taught that He and the Father were one, and that all those who believe in Him would have the same relationship that He did with the Father and would be able to do even greater works than Jesus Himself did (Jn 14). John further qualifies what is required to attain this power and relationship with the Father as Jesus had (1 Jn 2:14-27).
Here we learned that there are three stages of spiritual growth: little children, young man, and fathers who know, and are aware of the Father in heaven as Jesus was. The father level of belief within the church always had the word of God abiding in their hearts, and thus were victorious over the wicked one, and had no need of men to teach them because the anointing taught them all things. This section of scripture clarifies that Christians must go through a process of maturing before Christ can be fully effective in them. Paul taught that it was the work of the church through men who are called and prepared by God to bring the saints to perfection/maturity (Eph 4:10-32). But before this can happen we must traverse...
The Path Of Descent - “I must decrease, that God may increase” (Jn 3:30).
Jesus is a person and, at the same time, a process. Jesus is the Son of God, but he is also “the Way”—the way of the cross. He’s the goal and the means. "Take up your cross and follow me" (Lk 14:25-35).
Jesus undoes religion by doing the most amazing thing: he introduces God among the impure instead of among the pure! (Mk 2:17). The Pharisees who believed that they were already pure were actually hypocrites but did not know it. On the other hand those who knew they were sinful realized their need for a savior and thus called to God for his mercy and salvation.
“To die and thus to become” is the pattern of transformation in the entire physical and biological world. Why not the human? There seems to be no other cauldron of growth and transformation. "They who seek to find their life will lose it, but those who lose their life will find it" (Lk 17:33). We must present our whole body as it living sacrifice to God in order to be transformed (Rm 12:1-2).
“God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction.” Our vessels - the old man - must be broken before the anointing of God Spirit can flow through the new man formed by Christ as we partake of the cross of death to self with Him in order to rise again to resurrection life (Rm 6:1-13). This life is God Himself who is love flowing through the mature believer, for God is love (1 Jn 4:7-10).
Jesus’ story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and his story of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) are both wonderful illustrations of how Jesus turns a spirituality of climbing, achieving, and perfection upside down.
Little by little, breath by breath, love dissolves the illusions and fears born of our estrangement from the infinite love that is our very life. If you do not have love you are nothing (1 Co 13).
The church was first known as “The Way“ (Ac 9:2, 24:14). Let us all pursue the way of God and become fully manifest sons of God By the grace of His Spirit, in order to set ourselves the world and the whole creation free from the effects of sin and death in order that God‘s kingdom and will may be done on earth as it is in heaven (Rm 8).
“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand“ (Mt 3:2).
“Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” How close is “at hand” the Kingdom is within us. μετάνοια (metanoia) is the Greek word that is used by Jesus, which literally means...'to think differently after'.
However metanoia is more than just a Greek word in the Bible that has been terribly translated. Repent in English means regret atone, be sorry, be remorseful, and apologize. The Church has always maintained its original meaning; in fact metanoia has acquired a much deeper meaning. Repentance is not remorse, and it is certainly not guilt. Repentance is a transformation of a person. A change of mind that is accompanied by change of conduct, “a change of mind and heart", or, “a change of consciousness".
One of the key descriptions of repentance in the New Testament is the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11, Truth and life are found in a proper relationship with the living God, the vast majority of what God is trying to teach us must be experienced in order to begin to understand let alone talk about or teach someone else, and even then we cannot define exactly what we are wanting to communicate. Repentance is an ongoing perpetual desire for more Christness in our life.
It is not a dreaded encounter with the priest who forces you to come to confession at least four times a year. If we do not want to repent then we really do not want Christ.
Repentance is voluntary; no one not even God will ever force us to repent. True repentance is impossible without true confession and true confession is impossible without true repentance. It is important to know that the Greek for confession, exomologesis, implies not only confession but also thanksgiving (cf. Matthew 11.25; Luke 10.21): "I shall confess/give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, and tell of all His wonders" (Psalm 9.1).
But what do I say; Repent of what? Repent for not believing that the kingdom is “at hand.” If we think repentance is making a list of unacceptable behaviors and confessing them before God and His designated witness, then we have much room to grow. The laundry list as I call it is a superficial indication of what lies deep down in our soul as Jesus taught on the sermon of the mount.
The laundry list is a good start but we must mature in our relationship with Christ and our willingness to say no to ourselves or we will never root out the passion that is killing our soul, or arrive at the place that we really want to go; to the Kingdom.
We have been taught and believed the propaganda that the kingdom is somewhere else off in the future, that there is a safe distance between us and the kingdom, that there is enough time in life for us to live a life that is based; well on us. The life we live doesn’t have to take the kingdom into consideration just yet. These are all lies from the deceiver.
Jesus did not come to bring the kingdom; we believe He came to reveal the Kingdom’s eternal presence. We see the kingdom everywhere. That is the beginning of our transformation and then we begin to experience that the Kingdom of heaven is within us (Lk 17:20-21).
The root of our problem Is sin, hamartia is another Greek word that means missing the mark, and translated into English as sin; the mark we are aiming for is Christ. If we are not living the exact same life that Christ lived and is living still then we are in need of repentance, of change.
Much of Christianity today teaches that sin is no longer our problem, Jesus paid it all. He did pay it all but we must willing to obey the will of God (Mt 6:12). A branch off that root is thinking that we somehow did not inherit this falleness. Just believing in Jesus is not enough to undo the fall. Repentance is not just going from more sin to less sin or thinking that change is impossible after all I’m fallen what can I do? There is a revealed standard that our repentance is aimed at. The revealed standard is not a laundry list of things not to do. The revealed standard we follow is Christ and His body the Church. Be perfect even as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48).
At first glance the standard does not seem to be very specific. A lot of people claim to be Christian. Make no mistake there is a ‘right mind’; there is a ‘right heart’; there is a ‘right direction’. We are not turning around for the sake of going in different, random direction. We do not change our hearts to match our society. We do not change our mind in order to simply have a new perspective—just to get out of a rut. Jesus said that he was the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).
Repentance is corporate and it is also very personal in the same breath, it is an attitude of the heart, as Jesus taught in the beatitudes, a way of life that needs to be nurtured and cultivated until our last breath. It can be physically felt by the soul that is in harmony with Christ. Only the pure in heart will see God (Mt 5:8).
The church is a hospital for sick souls. Jesus said that he came to heal the sick, The church is now his body to do the work of God. Sometimes the sickest patients are the ones who do not know they are ill. We think confession is only for those rare situations when we really did something bad. It is that of course but more than that; repentance is for declaring our intention to follow Christ completely.
If our thoughts, our actions and even our very being is not a perfectly clear reflection of Christ, we need to clean the smudges. This should take place every day. We must be on guard though; To be alert at all times as Scripture teaches. There are books written about church etiquette. But the church is not interested in changing our life in order to conform to a lifeless rule. The only goal the church has in mind is conforming our life to Christ. Everything is given for a reason. There is truth is this gesture. Christ is in this gesture. And so it is with fasting, singing or chanting, bowing, and everything else. If Christ is not at the heart of every action and thought then we have room for repentance.
Our job is not to reveal the minor ways our brother or sister have missed the mark. Our job is to take each other by the hand and demonstrate to them what it is like live in the presence of Christ and ask for others to forgive us of our sins against them. The closer we get to Christ, the more humble we become. The more experience in church liturgy and etiquette we have, the more gentle we become. The more a crying baby brings a smile instead of a frown, the more our church will grow. Where God is; there is the kingdom; and God is everywhere present and filing all things. Repentance is a change of mind from believing that God is not everywhere, that He is only where we want Him to be, to believing that He is not only everywhere but that He is especially in the places we do not want Him to know about.
This Sacrament called repentance is not created by the participant or the minister, but by God who heals our illnesses and wounds. It is not a matter of being let of the hook in a legal sense; it has the force of healing, of making us whole. Since repentance is a gift from God then we must be open to receive it, and learn to receive it: "Let us apply to ourselves this saving medicine; let us accept this gift from God. Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is within us.
(Used on this website by permission of The Dragon Slayer)
GOD’s COVENANT OF PERFECTION FOR A PERFECT CHURCH:
The major theme of the epistle to the Hebrews was written that they may persevere in faith in the incarnate Son Of God. Some of the new Jewish Christians were beginning to regress away from the centrality of Christ and turn back to the old covenant teachings Of Moses and Aaron. They had not received the revelation of the more perfect way in Christ Jesus, and there was intense pressure for the Jews to turn back to Judaism, thus the reason for this letter to the Hebrews. He offers a better priesthood, sanctuary, and sacrifice, for in worshiping Him we enter heaven therefore, we must faithfully hold fast to Him.
Hebrews also serves as a treatise on Christian liturgical theology. It shows how the new covenant fulfills and perfects old covenant liturgy, how new covenant worship “enters into“ heaven itself. For in the Eucharist, we participate in Christ’s once – for– all sacrifice (9:26-28). It is he who offers and is offered – the perfect priest and perfect sacrifice in the heavenly liturgy and sanctuary. As Christ enters into heavenly bodily, in His full human nature, so do we. The physical is in no way profane, but is truly sanctified. Paul expresses this synergy in His teaching concerning the gospel (Rm 6:1-11, 2 Co 5:17, Ga 2:20), Not just in a forensic way, but in an experiential reality in spirit and in truth.
As we come to know Christ and his work for and in us, we must stand firm and never reject God‘s grace; His uncreated Divine Energy working in us. We serve and please him through participation in his once-for-all sacrifice, tasting of the heavenly gift, sharing in the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is one of faith, love, and good works. If we neglect this gift, we crucify Christ afresh (Heb 6:1-6).
A brief outline from chapter 1 through chapter 10.
The superiority of Christ: The supreme revelation (1:1-4).
Christ’s authority is superior to the angels’ (1:5-2:18).
Christ is more faithful (3:1-6).
In Christ we must follow (3:7-19).
We must labor to enter God’s rest (4:1-13).
The heavenly high priest grants grace (4:14-16).
Qualifications for priesthood: Aaron versus Melchizedek (5:1-10).
Beware of sloth, pursue God‘s promises (5:11-6:20).
The founders of the two priestly orders: Levi and Melchizedek (7:1-10).
Contrasting two priesthoods (7:11-28).
Christ’s worship is superior to Moses’. Moses is the type; Christ, the reality (8:1-5).
The New Covenant (8:6-13).
The Heavenly sanctuary (9:1-14).
The Heavenly sacrifice (9:15-10:18).
Persevering toward the entrance and rest as we persevere and worship drawing near to God in spirit and in truth (10:19-39, Jn 4:24).
* Now we will examine the highlights of chapters 8 through 10.
The requirement of perfect holiness is met in Christ, the only sinless one. He is more than mere man – He is the Son of God. (8:1) MAJESTY: Majesty is a typical name for God the Father. A high priests sitting on the right hand of the Majesty would have to be both human and divine. SEATED: no one but and equal six in the presence of a king – much less in the presence of God.
(8:6-13) Christ’s covenant solves the problems that Moses’ could not. Both covenants come from God‘s grace and require man’s willed response. However, Moses covenant (1) is external to man and cannot solve the root of man’s problems, sin and death; (2) cannot reunite and re-integrate man’s soul; (3) is learned by teaching instead of revelation; (4) is heeded with fearful compliance; and (5) gives imperfect forgiveness.
Christ’s Covenant (1) is internal – it heals our nature; (2) unifies the inner man – heart and mind are joined in union with God; (3) is there for grasped intuitively; (4) is heated with welling corporation (synergy); (5) gives perfect forgiveness, even of those since the old covenant was powerless to deal with.
The most important detail in Hebrews is the inner veil, it separates the holy place from the most holy place, the holiest of all which contains the Ark of the covenant and into which only the high priest can’t enter, and only once a year. The inner vail forms the locus of the liturgical practice of the old covenant and reveals its imperfection. The people could not draw near to God. At His death, Christ Resolved this alienation (Mt 27:51) in order that the church of Christ may become perfect even as the heavenly father is perfect (Mt5:48). In the sermon of the mount Jesus describes the distinction between the imperfect old covenant and the perfect new covenant life of Christians.
(9:6-10) only the high priest could enter the most holy place in only once a year on the day of atonement. He entered with the animal blood of the atonement sacrifice, which was first for his own sans and then for the sins of the people. This annual sacrifice reveals the imperfect, temporary status of the old covenant. It deals mainly with the older man – it is superficial and cannot purify man’s heart and mind, let alone restore fallen human nature back to perfection. Jesus is emphasized this truth when he said to the Pharisees: “First clean the inside of the cup then it will all be clean” (Mt 23:26). In this context Jesus said: “I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it“ (Mt 5:17). The old covenant deals mainly with the outer man – it is superficial and cannot purify man’s heart and mind, let alone restore fallen human nature.
(9:15-20) for this reason he is the mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance. As with a testament, a death is required to initiate the covenant’s conditions. This Steph is a death to see evening; the new condition initiated by the testament is that of the resurrection, the reformation of our nature as described by Paul in (1 Co 15). So blood, our mortal life, is offered to God, who is life, and establishes us in a new relationship with him through the blood/life of Christ.
9:23-28) The old testament on the day of atonement brings the life of The covenantal people into God’s presence, it reconciles God and man. The final reconciliation, the eternal one of eternal life, is the presentation of Christ’s sacrificial blood (12:24) to God in heaven. And this way Paul could write that the new covenant believers are seated with Christ in heavenly places which the Christian of the new covenant of perfection may be experience through revelation (Eph 1:17-2:6). Based on the above scriptural teaching we can really understand why Paul thought that the work of the ministry is to bring the saints into perfection (Eph 5). Hallelujah!
Hebrews makes it clear that only through the blood of Christ can we come into the perfection that Paul and Jesus talked. At the same time we cannot neglect the other teachings of Jesus and Paul concerning the will and work of the believer which works synergistically with the grace of God. See (Mt 7:13-20, Phil 2:12-13, 3:14, Ja 2, ect.)
The Hidden Christian Sin
by The Dragon Slayer
“The serpent was more subtle all creatures of the field” (Gn 3:1).
Jesus asked, why do you reason among yourselves (Mt 16)? The tree of knowledge of good and evil looked good to their eyes (Gn 3:6). Because they say that they can see, they are yet blind (Mt 13:13). Because they say that they see they are still in their sin (Jn 9:41).
When the Creator planted the garden of Eden, He put two trees in the center of it. Today, these same trees stand at the center of our life. Understanding the spiritual principles that happened at the fall can give us discernment on how to not be deceived by Satan and how to live a true Christian life for and by God unto salvation.
The meaning of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil can be understood by the serpent’s promise: “By eating from this tree, you will be making your own decision. You will be like God, determining for yourself to see what is right and what is wrong.”
The fall of humanity was all about women and men assuming the posture that they don’t need anyone to tell them what to do. They would decide for themselves what’s good and what’s bad. They would be self-sufficient and self-determining.
Of course, what was ignored in that whole discussion is the tree of life.
God wanted humans to eat from the tree of life. Eating from the tree of life meant receiving the uncreated life of God into oneself. The tree of life was God’s own life made accessible to human beings by obeying his precepts and commandments (Ps 119) etc.
Today, the tree of life is the Lord Jesus Christ as we live the righteousness of God through His life in us as the result of taking up our cross and following Him (Mt 16:24-26) whereby He becomes our new life (Ga 2:20).
I am the true vine. . . . As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
As we have already seen, when we receive Christ, we receive the life of God. Divine life becomes ours. Receiving Christ is simply taking the first bite from the right tree righteousness through the life of Christ in us, our hope of glory (Col 1:27).
Living by God’s life is very different from living by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A person who is living by the tree of life doesn’t sit back and say, “Let me try to do good and avoid evil.” Instead, he allows the life of God to flow within and through him. He yields to the instincts, promptings, and energy of that God-life (grace).
You see, “good” is a form of life. And only God is good. Here are the two choices before you today:
1. The choice to intellectually know good from evil and to try to do good = the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2. Living by the life of God, which is goodness itself = the tree of life.
Mark it down: the knowledge of good is the accepted counterfeit to living by life. Jesus said that he was the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).
The Christian religion is built on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Christian religion can be studied using the same categories of thought used to study any other world religion. It can be analyzed just as Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are analyzed. The difficulty with the Christian religion (like all religions) is that it makes its adherents think that they have now found the real knowledge of good and evil, which in reality is death.
Religion gives people the notion that they have God under control. Religion says that we can understand God absolutely and completely. Yet we are warned not to lean on our own understanding (Pr 3:5). We think we can predict what the Almighty will do tomorrow. The popular Christian religion teaches that the Bible answers virtually every question that’s brought to the sacred text.
The problem with this line of thought is that the true God cannot fit into anyone’s box. God will always end up breaking out of our human expectations and understanding. Every attempt to capture God and cram and ram Him in a system will ultimately fail. There is a way that seems right to man but the end there is destruction (Pr 14:12). The way is hard and narrow that leads to life and there are few that find it (Mt 7:13-14).
The true God is an untamed lion. He cannot be controlled. The true God is the controller and decider.
“Oh that we discerning Its most holy learning, Lord, may love and fear Thee, Evermore be near Thee!” —Henry Baker’s hymn about the Bible
Yet many Christians have turned the Bible into a form of the knowledge of good and evil. They approach the Bible as raw material by which they can gain control over their lives, so life can be more understandable and under control, less unnerving and unpredictable and to heap upon themselves whatever they’re selfish heart desires.
This is a profoundly grievous misuse of the Bible and profoundly grievous to the true God.
Jesus didn’t misuse the Scriptures to gain control and predictability in His own life. To Him, the Scriptures were simply the joystick on the Father’s controller. They were the instrument through which He got to know His Father better and to discover how to live out His mission. We must do the same in order to follow the narrow way that leads to life.
May God have mercy.
Thy Kingdom Come
"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
“Often, without moving his lips, [Francis] would meditate within himself and drawing external things within himself, he would lift his spirit to higher things.” -Thomas of Celano
Francis of Assisi must have known, at least intuitively, that there is only one enduring SPIRITUAL INSIGHT and everything else follows from it: The visible world is an active doorway to the invisible world, and the invisible world is much larger than the visible. This is the mystery of incarnation, the essential union of the material and the spiritual worlds—or simply “Christ.” The visible world is a shadow of the spiritual world (Romans 1:19-20, 18-32).
Our outer world and its inner significance must come together in order to bring about any wholeness—and holiness. Jesus removed the dividing wall through his death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). (I personally experienced this in the fall of 1973 in my conversion experience, and continues to this very day. The result is both deep joy and a resounding sense of coherent beauty.)
What was personified in the body of Jesus was a manifestation of this one universal truth: Matter is, and has always been, the hiding place for Spirit, forever offering itself to be discovered anew. Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus means when he says, “I am the gate” (John 10:7). Francis and his female companion, Clare, carried this mystery to its full and lovely conclusions. Or, more rightly, they were fully carried by it. They somehow knew that “the beyond” was not really beyond, but in the depths of “here”. All we need is right here and right now - in this world.
This is the way to that! Heaven includes earth. Time opens us up to the timeless; space opens us up to “space-less-ness”, if we only take them for the clear doorways that they are. There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments—and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one God-created sacred universe, and we are all a part of His creation. This is the message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.
The realization that the concrete opens us up to the universal might be the only fully trustworthy or possible path anyway, because that is how we sense - oriented humans operate. Abstract ideology will not get us very far, and much common religion is ideology more than real encounter with Presence.
We all must start with our anecdotal experience, and then build from there. What else can we do? Good spiritual teachers show us how to build from there! Wise people, Holy Scripture, and scriptural tradition point to which experiences are worth looking at and which are perhaps detours or dead ends. Saint Paul taught that our senses must be trained by practice to have insight between good and evil (Hebrews 5:9-14). Without vision/insight My people perish, for words alone will not correct them (Proverbs 29:18-19).
When religion becomes mere ideology of mere words (or even mere theology), the rubber never hits the road again. People all over the world are rejecting this top-down form of religion - and they should - because this is not the path of Christ Himself. Saints show us how to build on a solid foundation of experiential, practical, and very ordinary spirituality. This emphasizes our need to be doers of the word of God and not hearers only (Ja 1:22). True religion is living the life of Christ and His commandments in one’s ordinary daily life (James 1:27). Jesus said if you love Me you will keep My Commandments (Jn 14:15).
©“Dragonslayer” 2017. Used by permission.