by Rod McTaggart
Some are saying this is the year of The Word. I have said that this is a year in which we will see signs, wonders and miracles because of God’s word. We are going to need them because of the events that are rapidly taking place. But there is one thing that we must come to recognize, and that is our purpose and destiny hinges on obedience.
Every preacher in the New Testament, including Jesus, emphasized conduct, behavioral change, and obedience. Many hyper-grace preachers calls those who believe this legalistic, and accuses them of being “sin conscious”. Well I have two questions for them, “What did Jesus say? And do you believe Him?” That is why we as God’s people should always seek a response when asking for people to act on what is said. John stated this: The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever. (1 John 2:17 Amplified) Hallejuah!!
In 1 John 2:3 (Amp) it says, “ And this is how we know [daily, by experience] that we have come to know Him [to understand Him and be more deeply acquainted with Him]: if we habitually keep [focused on His precepts and obey] His commandments (teachings).” After 38 years of observing mankind through the lens of Scripture, I am persuaded that there are a number of fundamental beliefs that the body of Christ needs to learn in order to transition from the “Church Age” into the “Kingdom Age” dynamic of power and authority in Christ.
Simply, the first truth to understand is that all behavior is based on one’s belief. For instance, if you get ready to take a flight to a distant place, you must believe that the aircraft will get you there safely or you would not set foot on that plane. For we all know that there is not an option of keeping one foot on the ground and one on the plane in the air and think we are going to arrive at our destiny! It must be all or nothing. It must be the same with our faith in God. A faith that is built over time not just by knowing about the Truth, but having Truth experiences. For truth not experienced will always remain in the realm of doubt, but truth experienced brings life.
The second belief is that behind every sin there is a lie that a person believes. You might be thinking, “I know God says to do this, but I’m going to do this.” What are you doing when you do that? You are believing a lie! I will say it again, every sin is based on a lie. We must start looking for the lies behind our issues and the issues of the church. When we start dealing with those issues, we’ll start seeing change. Titus 3:3 speaks this: For we too once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various sinful desires and pleasures, spending and wasting our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. When one looks at others in the “body of Christ” we do not see the individual lies that have stolen another’s faith. But one can observe behavior which speaks volumes as to what they believe. The difficult and sometimes complex part however, is figuring out what is the lie behind the behavior. The wiser (notice I did not say older) a person gets in his or her ministry and intimacy with God, the quicker one starts discerning accurately the truth from lies, for you start recognizing familiar patterns that keep repeating over and over.
A third fundamental belief is that change always starts in the mind. Romans 12:2 commands us: And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. At one time I was a licensed private pilot. So let’s say that I decided to go out and buy or rent an airplane with an autopilot feature on it. I would preset the airplane on autopilot, so that the plane would go automatically in the direction I programmed it to. If I want to turn the plane around, I can manually grab the yoke and by sheer force and will power I can turn it around. But the whole time that I am forcing it, I’m under constant tension, because I’m going against the natural inclination of the plane. When I get tired and let go of the yoke, the plane will automatically turn around and go back to the way it’s programmed. This is true in life. When people have learned something over and over, being taught according to the world’s way of thinking, they’re programmed to go that way. there must be a re-programming or repentance that comes through His word and your relationship with Him.
What do most people think of when they hear the word “repent”? Do they think of a guy on the street corner with a sandwich board sign saying, “Turn or burn. Don’t die or you will fry.” Many would think of some kooky moron. But the word “repentance” is a an awesome word which is metanoia, and it means in Greek “to change your mind.” Repentance is just changing the way we think about something by accepting the way God thinks about it. Many in Christian circles today use the term “paradigm shift” in it’s place. As an apostle/ pastor, I am to be in the “paradigm-shifting” business. As a minister of the gospel, which every believer is, you also are called to be in that business. We are about changing peoples’ minds at the deepest level of belief and values. In 1 Corinthians 2:13 it says: We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit]. In real ministry, God is working in the one ministering. We also find in 2 Samuel 23:2 (NIV) where it says, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me. His word was on my tongue.” Then in Zechariah 4:6 (NIV) it says, “‘Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Remember you don’t change people’s minds or your own without the applied Word of God.
Another belief is that changing the way I act is the fruit of repentance. In the truest sense, repentance is not behavior change, but it is the result of repentance. John the Baptist exhorts us in Matthew 3:8 (NIV), “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Finally the last point I desire to make concerning our beliefs is that when deep calls unto deep the kind of preaching, teaching or witnessing is evident is the call for some form of repentance. Every week I try to communicate God’s Word in such a way that it changes the way someone thinks (myself included). The preachers found in the New Testament spoke often the same message again and again. John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:2) Jesus: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15 ) When Jesus commanded his disciples to preach: “So they went off and preached repentance.” (Mark 6:12 ) Peter declared “Repent and be baptized everyone of you.” (Acts 2:38 ) Also John in Revelation preached repentance.
I believe that one of the great weaknesses of the preaching today and Christians sharing the gospel is that there are a lot of folks who are afraid to stand on the Word of God. They are afraid to humbly, but forcefully challenge the will of people. It takes courage to do that, because they may reject you. They may reject your message; they may get mad at you and talk about you behind your back. And because so many saints & pastors have been unwilling to challenge people and cause a change in belief resulting in behavior change, our nation is rapidly falling apart and in decline. Our churches are rapidly embracing doctrines of demons as warned concerning the last days. Proverbs 29:18 warns, Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. What the world is looking for today is an authoritative Gospel filled with power, but spoken with true humility.
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