Friday, April 29 2016
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Luke 4:1-3
If? Was there any doubt who the Son of the living God was? Jesus had just been baptized in the Jordan river by John the baptist, the heavens opened and His Father spoke to Him in an audible voice and said to Him, "You are My beloved Son in You I am well pleased," and then the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form and He was filled with the Spirit!
As Jesus completed His fast for forty days in the wilderness and being in a weakened state became hungry, the devil approached Him thinking he could gain an advantage and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God." What audacity to think that he could convince Jesus to doubt who He was and to whom He belonged, but that's the nature of the beast. If He would attempt that with the Son of God, what do you think he will try on you?
Everyone questions their existence, who they are, why they were created, for what purpose and by whom, and many struggle for an answer. Best sellers like the Purpose Driven Life and Search for Significance flew off the shelf because people want to know who they are! If you are a born again, Spirit filled believer, the New Testament scriptures reveal to us who we are in Christ and the life we lived according to the world and the flesh doesn't matter anymore because we have died and our new lives are hidden in Christ!
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God, the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, strengthened with all might according to His glorious power. As Jesus is in the world so are we, having the same power in us that raised Him from the dead! When the devil comes to you with the question and says, "If you are a son or daughter of God." Tell him to take a hike and hit the road because like Christ you belong to the Father of lights, the great I Am!
"I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
Monday, April 18 2016
Beware lest anyone cheat (plunder you or take you captive) you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over trying to obtain a different outcome and that is exactly what we have done with God's church! The church has been institutionalized, meaning that it has been set up to be an established practice, law or custom, a society or corporation and also as the definition describes, an asylum.
It is my experience being involved in prison ministry and the criminal justice system for years seeing how men who are incarcerated for long periods of time become institutionalized. Locked away in a box, some for 23 hours a day, doing the same thing over and over again, never being able to make a decision for themselves they are told what, when and how they are to live. I have seen some who are afraid to get out after years of imprisonment. Freedom becomes a terrifying reality leaving them mindless robots, locked away in a world of boredom and mediocrity.
So, ask yourself a question, does this describe your spiritual life, being locked up in a traditional religious box, devoid of the Spirit and led by men who are untrained and led by tradition and not revelation? If so, why do you go to church, good praise and worship, friendly folks and good preaching, children's ministry, daycare? All of these reasons sound good but have absolutely nothing to do with New Testament Christianity. The reality of this is church is not a place to go, it is a living breathing supernatural body and expression of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The body of Christ has been flooded with tradition and man made doctrines for eons leaving her in a sermon induced coma of complacency and apathy, totally unaware of her surroundings and her mission in the world. Spiritual zombies trudging off to another dead funeral service on Sunday thinking all the while that this is their spiritual service to God, as if He would be pleased by their attendance! The devil is delighted with the modern day consumer-driven, fast food, microwave church of convenience because it in no way threatens his mission to keep the world in bondage and the lost from being saved!
Wake up! Look at what we have, a church on every corner, divided from their spiritual brothers and sisters, held captive to a man who claims to be their shepherd and told to sit down, shut up and write a check! Never able to share or operate in their spiritual gifts in "The assembly" the body begins to shut down and eventually dies from lack of use. If you don't believe me, read the gospel account of Jesus, our example and how He built His church and what the outcome of it was in the book of Acts, a powerful, Spirit filled band of brothers and sisters with a mission to transform the world, save the lost and disciple them in the ways of Christ!
Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin
NOTE: There are some Spirit led churches with a vision and mission of the Lord Jesus, led by godly men and women, but if you find yourself locked away in a religious institution, flee for your spiritual life and ask God to lead you into His desired will for you!
Friday, April 08 2016
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Today in the modern world of religion, baptism is considered in most cases just another religious ritual, some believing it saves them, to others it is joining the church, while many others don't understand the biblical reason one must be baptized. First of all we must look at the scriptural basis in the New Testament for baptism and who initiated its use in regards to salvation and the Lordship of Christ.
Jesus Christ is our example to follow in the process of one being born again and then to be buried with Him through baptism. The death, burial and resurrection of our Lord is a type for us that signifies our death with Him on the cross for our sins, our burial into a watery grave and our subsequent resurrection as new creations in Christ! The Lord Jesus died on the cross a human being, he was buried a human being, but He was resurrected as a New Man, a spiritual being, transformed by Holy Spirit's power and raised immortal to sit at the right hand of the Most High God.
We also as human beings are born again by faith in His redemptive act of grace that saves us by the confession and repentance of our sins and iniquities and by being washed supernaturally by His blood that He shed for us. By being born again as new creations we as spiritual men are then buried with Him through baptism, meaning that our old nature and fleshly deeds are dead and buried and then we are resurrected as spiritual beings, no longer bound to sin and set free from its dominion over us.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:5-7
A BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE
John the baptist went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Luke 3:3
John the baptist was not your typical church going, pew sitter, but a fiery preacher of righteousness that would scare the daylights out of most modern day professing Christians. Living in the wilderness eating locusts and wild honey he was preaching repentance from sin and baptizing those who would repent!
Multitudes were coming out to be baptized by him, something our modern day Pastors would dream of, but John was different, unlike our professional CEO, trained ring leaders, he cried out and said: "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "Therefore bring forth fruits worthy of repentance!" Are you kidding me! How in the world do you expect to fill up the church by offending these poor dears coming to be baptized by calling them a brood of snakes?
Remember the words of Jesus, "The truth will set you free!" and the truth was: repent and die to your sinful, fleshly nature by being baptized into My death. The problem was, most who were coming, like today just wanted another religious ritual to appease their guilt or to make them feel good about their spiritual well being and weren't serious about repentance and being set free from their sins.
"And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Luke 3:9
WHAT SHALL WE DO?
John answered and said to them, "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and him who has food, let him do likewise." Luke 3:11
John's message of repentance brought them under conviction and the people cried out asking what they should do and he told them to repent, not just confess as many think repentance is today, but to actually stop sinning and turn away from their sin!
True repentance is not preached much anymore and usually is not mentioned when people are baptized today, making it another religious act of futility. Pastors are afraid that such a message will run off the "Big tithers" and the nice clean, middle-class white folks they so desire to fill their cathedrals of complacency! John the baptist was unconcerned with what people thought of him and would be thrown out of any self respecting modern day assembly, deemed a lunatic or a crazy street person dressed in camel hair.
If we don't get back to the message of true repentance and throw out all of this institutionalized religious nonsense of preaching peace and safety to a brood of spoiled church goers wanting to have their ears tickled and their guilt appeased, we will never, ever see the glory return to God's assembly of born again, blood washed, baptized saints of the Most High God!
"I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire." Luke 3:16,17
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin