ChristIsTheMystery“The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 1:1).   

The first word you cannot help noticing is revelation. The word revelation is the word apocalypse which has become identified with catastrophe, destruction and the end of the world. But that is not the meaning of the word revelation AT ALL.

To reveal means something like pulling back the curtains on a stage or opening a door and finding what is inside a room. It is discovering a secret. It is like solving a mystery. It is like finding treasure.

We are talking about God’s secret.

What is God’s big secret?


Jesus our Lord was and is God’s secret, His mystery hidden for many ages and generations now revealed to us in the scriptures.

The gospel pulls back the great curtains on the stage of heaven and brings out into the open, JESUS.

So the question all the time has been, “Who is this?” (Matt. 21:10) has been answered. It is not some secret philosophy or the product of some wild imagination. It is Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col. 2:2-3NASB). 

Though the second person of the Trinity, the Word, Christ, the eternal Son existed before time began with the Father He was not always seen, he was not always known (Romans 16:25-26). God the Son, seen as the Word became a human being (John 1:14). Now Christ lives in us (Col 1:27). He is the wisdom and power of God in person (1 Cor 1:24). 

God wants us to know who he is. So he gave us Jesus.  The Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Jesus is Lord over Life and Death. He rules over Dawn and Dusk. Christ is the A to Z, the Start and the Finish, the Center and Circumference with absolute command over all time past, present and future. The angels spill out their worship of Christ their King and demons tremble in horror at the Lord Jesus Christ!


© 2014 Soul Health Care Ministries-if you use this material give credit where credit is due.

Beautiful Words

il_340x270.623982910_pj66When Christ announced the fulfillment of the wonderful day of God’s good news, freedom, recovery, healing and favor in which we live the scriptures declared, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” (Luke 4:22).

The word for gracious is charis. It is the word we use for grace. His words of grace spoke then and reverberate now not like an echo but a continuing transmission.

Despite the rejection of some, blinded by unbelief (2 Cor 4:3), these words Jesus spoke immediately exerted an influence upon those that heard them.

All of a sudden the light of Christ shined into the hearts of the people like when the first words God spoke in the empty chaos of earth and said, “Let there be light.” (Gen 1:3) in the Old Creation, but NOW in the new Creation (2 Cor. 5:17) the gospel speaks and brings the light of the glory of God-not planetary light, or the sun, moon and stars but the uncreated light of the face of the SON-Jesus in dark empty hearts. (2 Cor. 4:6). In him was light, shining in the darkness that could not put that LIGHT out (John 1:1-5).

In Jesus a bright undeniable light shined in in what was once called, “Death City.” (Mt 4:16). These gracious words were like “honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov. 16:24). Gracious words are words of beauty.

Christ shepherds us with two shepherd’s staffs and he named one “Beauty or Favor and the other Union or Unity” (see Zech. 11:7). We have the favor God showed Christ, the union Christ had with his Father. You see, Christ is our unending, unbroken covenant. This is what the LORD says: “At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.” (Isaiah 49:8NLT). 

Christ is The Promise, our promise. He is The oath, our oath. That was God’s promise directly to Christ! It was primarily to the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ he said, “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you.”  He helped Christ through his death through HIS glory (Heb 5:7; Rom 6:3). Now those promises are ours because it is to Christ we belong and he belongs to us. For us in CHRIST- “no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor 1:20).

Today Jesus himself has beautiful feet, though nail scarred, with beautiful words good news, freedom, recovery, healing and favor for you (Isaiah 52:7). Just hearing the steps of the Son of God and his gospel has already started the process, enlightened your eyes, opened your ears, make you leap for joy (Isaiah 35:5) and revived your spirit (Gen 45:7). He has made you glad (Ps. 92:4).

You will taste these gracious words and see that the Lord is good. (Ps. 34:8).

-Stephen Gibney


gospel_unleashed“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thess 2:18).

In this verse you see the apostle Paul himself was hindered from being able to minister to the the saints for a period of time. He literally says that Satan cut in front of him impeding the ministry of the gospel. Satan will stop at nothing when it comes to hindering the message of the gospel. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and he takes them captive at his will (2 Tim. 2:26).  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can break open the prison cells of those captive to sin and remove the darkness of their hearts by its all-powerful light. The gospel has power in and of itself; Paul calls it, “the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1: 16).

Satan is an enemy of Jesus Christ and anyone who serves him and many Christians today are being hindered by the devil especially those in ministry. The obstacles for unbelievers is one thing but hindrance of believers in Jesus is a much longer list. Today, divisions in churches, distractions of this world and depression of the emotions block the furtherance of the gospel. I also believe the gospel is being hindered because people are getting “spiritual” feeding from false ministers who have distorted the gospel rather than the personal study of the Bible under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (Gal 1). The gospel is an awesome power against the forces of darkness. Many people look at the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 as something for personal protection but they forget that the armor has shoes that are called “the gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15). So what we stand upon; what we move in, what we walk in, what we run in-is the gospel.  This understanding gives great clarity to our mission. Everything we live for is Christ and his gospel. As I’ve said before to others it’s time for us to use the weaponized version of the Bible (Heb. 4:12). This means to unleash the gospel in all its force and full strength by speaking clearly and forcefully the truths of the gospel and letting the Holy Spirit have his way.

I believe that The Lord whispered in my heart a few weeks back something to the effect that if we are going to stop the tide of evil that is sweeping across this land we are going to have to have the attitude “All for the gospel. All for Christ.” Only those that have surrendered to the gospel can call for the surrender of others to the gospel. And no doubt the gospel is an unconditional surrender of the sinner to the demands of the gospel.

Our strength, our fortunes, our very lives must be offered as a sweet smelling savor in sacrifice in order for the gospel to take its full affect. There is no other way. You don’t have to read the Bible for long to see that the men and women of the first century church were deeply and radically committed to Christ. The apostle Paul had a motto, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  (Phil 1:21).  And I say, it is impossible for the gospel to be spread without a complete and total willingness to give everything for the gospel by every individual who calls himself a Christian.

The gospel is not just an idea but it is the idea of God. It is the genius of God that seems like foolishness to the world (1 Cor.  1:18, 25). There is nothing that can be compared to the gospel. The reason for the rise of Islam in the world today is because of the reasons that I’ve stated above. If the plain gospel is not preached it is giving Satan liberty and license by both spiritual and natural enemies to terrorize the world.  Satan is a master at religion.

The Bible says he has his own ministers he even has his own churches. They appear to be Christian but they are not (2 Cor. 11:13-14). One man said years ago the one thing that’s worse than a world without the knowledge of God is a world with a perverted knowledge of God. We cannot defeat the foes of the gospel through the methodologies of man. It is ridiculous at best and satanic at worst! When Peter thought like men think he was called Satan (Mt 16:23). Jesus would say no less of those who garble and mangle the preaching of scripture and the gospel. This world system dominated by sin and Satan are much too powerful and only the Son of God could defeat them when he died on the cross and rose from the grave.  We cannot lay claim to his promise, “I have overcome the world.” if we do not preach the gospel (John 16:33).  We will be hindered and miserably defeated. May God help us today.


looking-at-map“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold.” (Jer. 50:6)

Jeremiah in his prophecy begins once again to lambaste the spiritual leaders of his day for misleading and abandoning God’s people. These men are supposed to be men who knew the truth and knew the right way yet still misled the people of God. They have the people of God so twisted up in knots that they don’t even know how to get back to the sheepfold or where a true fellowship is. A true place of fellowship is that group of people that has Christ as their center who believes in the power of God and its application to every need and they teach the scriptures incessantly. But like them we have lost our way.

People today really rely on navigation. GPS in the car we drive (Global Positioning System) is very popular whether installed by the manufacturer or after market devices. Being a glorified car jockey for a while I saw that this is a nice selling point. It’s a great invention and is a tool. Now practically all cars have navigation. I don’t think it will be that far in the future that our cars will practically drive themselves.  People don’t see the need for a paper map anymore.

I don’t want to betray my age complaining about “the way things used to be” but a whole generation is being raised up that wouldn’t know North from South or East from West. It used to be that you had the map out when you were traveling long distance and figure out those routes before you even began to travel.  Not so now. You just enter your address and there you go. But having a actual sense of direction I think is gone. We just don’t want to have to think about how to get to where were going. We would rather someone else do that for us or in this case some “thing.”  I’m wondering what would happen to a person who has no sense of direction if they got lost in another state or God forbid in another country. Maybe a person can figure out that the sun rises in the east and sets in the West but I wonder-what would they do they got really lost and were unable to rely on the technology of today? It would be pathetic.

A growing number of Christians have no sense of direction. I don’t care on how much they insist that they are led by the Spirit. They would much rather have someone do the thinking about directions when it comes to any of the challenges that they face in life. They would rather go to church and hear a person give them instructions on what to do about their marriage, finances, parenting, employment and spiritual life rather than read the Bible for themselves. They will insist once again that it needs to be practical and relevant, when truth is always practical and it is always relevant. Now, there is much to be said about good teachers of the word of God.  How much in this day in our do we need people who stick to chapter and verse of the scripture. Without it we have lost our way.

People are lost in the sense of being disoriented. How can I say that? Have you ever listened to an average Sunday with men and women preaching.  it always seems that they have “the message. ”  It’s gotten worse and worse.  Not that there are not great preachers. It just seems that they are all saying something different. But I cannot blame them. I think the people who listen to them are far more culpable. We criticize people for going to church is that has priests but it seems that we ourselves instead of relying upon our great high priest Jesus we have people in between us and him. We have a third-party relationship. When God himself has blessed us with his word. No one denies the gift of solid teaching both ancient and contemporary. But those who lead have a solemn responsibility to lead us to Christ.

The Bible is the word of God, the Bible is God’s voice to us God speaks to us and tells us what to do. The Scripture seems to indicate that when a person lives right, when they guard their hearts and they take captive their thoughts by pondering, studying and seeking to apply the holy Scriptures- that in of itself provides direction and guidance. I do not think this is an oversimplification.

But we are not immersed in the word of God. We have sinned in this matter. It’s a great sin. I see whole groups fighting to keep the public display of the 10 Commandments and yet the Christian of today seems to have a poor relationship with the Scriptures. We want so much to know God’s will but we don’t want to make the effort in reading his word. We have every excuse possible. We excuse ourselves from studying the word then complain about our losing our way. I think we deserve to be lost. It’s our nature to  drift, our propensity to get off track. We have lost our way.

People say, “I try to be good.”  But what’s the test of that goodness? Doing good and doing the right thing is always tainted by our own selfishness pride and evil desires. That is why we need the word of God. It tells us that the only way that we can deal with that base nature is first through trusting in Christ. Complete and total trust reliance and dependency upon Jesus. Without that we have nothing. Without that we are lost.

One time Jesus told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them.  He told them they knew where he was going. Thomas disagreed. He did not think that he knew where Jesus was going.  I have heard people praise Thomas for his question. People tell me there’s no such that is a stupid question. I don’t mean to be crass but I think Thomas Estes stupid question. But you have to give them credit for not being a hypocrite.

Why in the world would Jesus think they knew where he was going? Why because in some way shape or form he must have told them. Jesus has taught them that he would be betrayed he would be crucified and he would be raised from the dead. Jesus believed they knew. Why? He made it clear.  Jesus insisted, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.”  now I know we take that Scripture and we plaster it in the faces of people who are of other religions who believe that there are other ways and other truths and another life. We insist on the definite article “the” way and “the” truth and “the” life.  But the bottom line is is he are only way our only truth and our only life.

The son of God would not have us lost. He is searching for people relentlessly as it were. His Father he said is seeking for worshipers. The Holy Spirit leads us in the direction that we need to go. God is not lost. We are the ones that get lost. Why? Because our focus is not on Christ. Our focus is not the word of God and I don’t mean some legalistic study of the word of God. I don’t refer to some method of man in how to study the word of God. I refer to the Scriptures as imbibing it like water consuming it like food. Just as Jesus said his words are spirit and life and that they are his flesh and blood. They must become our flesh and blood as we meditate upon the Scriptures. for without Christ being the sum total of all that we are, we will lose our way.


a-new-earth-and-heaven“The Creator of Heaven and Earth”

Before I move on in this series on the Apostles Creed, I want to point out that a true understanding of creation will give a clear focus on biblical salvation.  Salvation is by grace. It is not a process it is a miracle.  It happens as an event by grace not a progressive evolution of works. Scripture also uses Earth’s birthday as an analogy for salvation and calls it “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).  I do not think that is a coincidence. It is the new creation of the world of our hearts, souls and minds in which old things pass away and all things become new. This is only a work God can do by grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ.

It is uncanny how the New Testament alludes to the old Creation in teaching a New Creation theology. Matthew 1:1 speaks of what is translated “the genealogy of Jesus Christ” or the record of his human ancestors.  That is the context of that passage. But the KJV uses “the generation of Jesus Christ” and the word used in Greek for generation is “genesis.”  The Holy Spirit is showing us that new thing promised in the scriptures (Isa. 42:9; 43:19) was  happening in the confusion and emptiness of human hearts (Gen 1:2; Eph. 2:1-3) by the coming of grace and truth in Jesus  We also see the comparison of Adam with Christ (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15: 45-49).

John starts out his gospel referencing God’s speaking the world into existence saying, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) and then ends it with, “It is finished” (John 19:30) looking back on how God completed the Creation (Gen 2:1).  It is not a stretch, that there are seven signs in John’s Gospel looking at the days of creation and when God “rested” and the eighth day or miracle is the resurrection of Christ which number signifies newness or the new creation. Many a preacher has spoken on how Jesus breathed on the disciples, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) which sounds exactly like when God breathed into Adam, “the breath of life” in Genesis 2:7. I thought it profound when I read in one place how that when Adam and Eve fell, “their eyes were opened” (Gen 3:7) to the knowledge of good and evil and that was paralleled with the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how “their eyes were opened” to the wonderful revelation of Jesus (Luke 24:31) .

As Creation was entirely the work of God, solely by the power of God-so is salvation. He is the one who creates a new heart and a new spirit by gospel preaching. Paul declares the very first words of God used in narrative, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3). God spoke with sublime power and authority and it happened.  He says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6NLT).  God acts in power. He speaks his Word. In the beginning God. In the beginning was the Word with God. The Word was God. He called into existence something that did not exist before-not something that developed on its own. The universe owes its existence to the Word of God.

This Word that is spoken to-day is THE GOSPEL.

“It is the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:3NIV).

It brings light where there is only darkness.

The gospel says, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14NIV).

Let there be LIGHT. Christ is that light that dispels heavy darkness (Isa. 60:1-2).

You do not earn salvation, it is not something that will happen in the future. You will not evolve into a Christian. “I tell you, NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2NIV).

In closing, Matthew Henry says, “Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord.”

© 2013 Soul Heath Care Ministries

The Christian’s Transcript

Charles Spurgeon refers a Christian person’s life being a “transcript of the will of God.”

A transcript is the record that we use when transferring or going to another school it tells people what classes you have taken and what was your grade point average.

We are in the school of Christ who are people who “learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20) not about Christ but Christ. There is a difference between learning about marriage and being married.

The Christian’s life is Christ’s life. That is our transcript.

It is all about Jesus! The apostles were men who for three and a half years had daily, undiluted, full strength Jesus poured into them.

Paul even says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20).

The semesters of your life should be a transcript of three classes: Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime and Jesus when the sun goes down.

A Work of Heart

“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45:1-2).

We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at his unspeakable love.  ~John Owen

I preached this Psalm in a message a very long time ago about a Christ I only thought I knew.  Since that time, God delivered me from false doctrine and now as he gives me strength I will not let him go but bring him into my mother’s house, the church.  I will attempt to write on this psalm for the next few weeks. So many groups only carry in their doctrinal flash drive a certain facet of Christ and church is only seen as a USB port to plug it into. Those who do not proclaim those pet doctrines enough are in their eyes lesser Christians or not Christians at all. The worst false doctrine is to exalt the distinctive of one group, it is imbalanced and will certainly lead to error.  We ought to exalt Christ alone. We must always insist that in Psalm forty-five as in the other scriptures we would see Jesus (John 12:21).  This is the goal of scripture, to reveal the living Christ, walking among his Church and conquering the world by a redemptive kingdom.

The first thing the songwriter mentions is his heart. He says, “my heart.” The heart think, feels and here it writes. This is a heart felt Psalm. Did you know that the heart is mentioned over nine hundred and fifty times in the scripture? So we are assured that the heart is a biblical doctrine. The heart is the nucleus of human affection, desire and thought. It is our inner nature. It is synonymous with “the hidden man” (1 Pet. 3:4) and “the inner man” (2 Cor. 4:16).

It is God’s goal to capture the heart, he calls to a person by His Word, thus the preacher ought not just appeal to the head but the heart.  Ah that men would preach and it would cause a blue flame that burns with a love for the words of Christ! That Christ would dwell in the hearts by faith and his word grow and prevail in their heart!

Psalm forty-five is not just a work of art, but “a work of heart” sweetly performed by the gentle Holy Spirit.  The Psalm instructs those who read and sing it regarding the husband/wife relationship between Christ and his church, much like the books Song of Songs and Hosea which should be used as an encouragement to the church when she is overwhelmed by trials and failure.

Here we see the heroic Savior, Christ the Beautiful, the Divine King of Kings, full of grace and blessing. He is God the Son, Supreme ruler over the church and the universe (Heb. 1:8). Here God the Son in his everlasting love  draws the Psalmist  into the inner chamber of his Word and we will run after him!

God creates by his command a pure and true heart in us (Heb. 10:22; 1 Tim. 1:5 ) as he did when “commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts.”  (2 Cor. 4:6). What is the light in our hearts?  It is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  This is when we become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).  As light is to the eyes so is understanding to the heart, that is what we call illumination.  The heart of the psalmist is flooded with spiritual light (Eph. 1:17).  As Charles Spurgeon comments, “The eyes of a true heart see more than the eyes of the head.”  Here is the key to understanding Christ: grace, it is all of grace! 

Oh this it is this the priceless gift of grace that God has made to be stored in the hearts of his elect children. The heart that understands is a heart that has been opened by the presence of Christ (Acts 16:14) and has been set on fire  by the words of Christ (Luke 24:32).  

Can you hear the Holy Spirit today with a still small voice and if you hear his voice do not be stubborn and harden not your heart, “And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me.” (Gen 24:49).  Is there a work of heart yet to be done in you?


(c) 2011 Soul Health Care Ministries, If you share this article just let them know about us and where it came from.


Dean Inge said once, “If you marry the spirit of your generation you may be a widow in the next.”

I fear that this may be a clear and present danger into which certain denominations are falling headlong if they do not deal with the lust that preachers and churches have in coddling the culture and spirit of the age instead of exposing it’s evil and offering Christ as the remedy for sin. 

Why are some ministries and churches working so hard to be like Jezebel who painted her face to impress the world that does not know or love Christ (2 Kings 9:30)? If Jesus Christ is not relevant in and of himself, dear friends, you can be sure that is not a gospel message you are hearing. Christ is alive now! He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13: 8) . That is genuine relevancy and a no frills, plain vanilla gospel.

During the 1960 Olympics (held strangely enough in Rome, Italy) the Saturday Evening Post featured a cartoon showing a runner carrying a message of victory. He came stumbling and gasping into the palace and fell prostrate before the King. He had a puzzled look on his face and he mumbled, “I’ve forgotten the message!”   All that effort and he forgot the message!

We are making much effort but it is becoming evident that we have forgotten the message. The reformation reminded Rome many years before the forgotten message of justification by grace alone through faith alone through Christ alone. God forbid that the church with all its resources and opportunities forget the message of the gospel! What is that message?

Jesus Christ is the real message of the Bible.

He is the Word of God speaking to man (John 1:1). Not just an idea, a concept, a philosophy, a way of living or a religion. He is God’s Word personified. God in these last days has spoken to us in final and full revelation in his Son (Heb. 1:1-2). Patriarchs and prophets spoke for God in the Old Testament piecing together symbols and types but God has spoken clearly for himself in his only beloved and begotten Son Jesus Christ.

Paul says that “the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things…” (Heb. 10:1). Christ was hidden in the Old Testament’s pages and was revealed in the New Testament.  As I first learned it,

“The New in the Old concealed, the Old in the New revealed.”

Jesus insisted that he was the true message of scripture with those that seemed to revere scripture but he knew did not love him (John 5:42)! “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.“ (John 5:39-40).  Imagine possessing such a reverence for scripture as they examined, studied and memorized it with admirable enthusiasm! They should be commended and imitated as far as that goes. Yet somehow the Word was not in them and the result was that they marginalized the message of the Bible by their traditions (Mk. 7:13) and they had no love for the Author in their hearts. That terrifies me! It causes me to examine my heart and pray with Augustine, “Grant what thou commandest and then command what thou wilt!”

We should also realize that Christ is the subject of his own teaching. He says, “learn of me.” (Mt 11:29). The apostle referred to this when he talked about how they learned Christ (Eph. 4:20). He says, “Let me teach you about me.”  How does Christ teach us about himself today?   He does it by those things, “written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45). The whole purpose of the Bible is to lead people to Christ!

“Christ is the end of the law.” (Rom 10:4) meaning Christ is the goal and fulfillment of the scriptures. God had him in view when he gave his law. The law was put in charge of us to bring us to Christ. “The law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.” (Rom. 7:12) and it tutored us about the nature and attributes of God and his perfect law which we see in his Son Jesus (Gal. 3:24).  We have a dire need to know all the doctrines of the Bible and a working knowledge of scripture, but has it lead us to Jesus? Is what we are learning leading us to praying? Does our theology birth and nurture affection and desire for communion with Christ?  Is the knowledge we have producing a growing love for Christ? Or is it all and end in itself?  Ah, it is Christ that fulfills the righteousness of the law in us (Rom 8:3) by his saving grace and pours the love of God in our hearts (Rom 5:5).  Obedience for us is not forced or coerced but willing. That desire to commune and obey is refreshed and cultivated by the scriptures true message, its wonderful theme, Jesus.

There are so many that take the truths of scripture and teach it like a science class. Then you have others who make micro-wave meals and junk food. This is not serving manna from heaven.  When scripture is read, studied and preached with understanding the Holy Spirit lights up the scripture with Christ.  This is not about commercialized religion where they try to sell you what you already own. It is not about a sterile religion clinically tested by egg heads in religious laboratories. It is about God speaking to men and women by the Lord Jesus Christ! You do not need man’s keys, principles, steps formulas or methods. The way has been made open into the holiest place, where Christ stands in the presence of God for us, speaking to us through the both the Older and Newer Covenants. When we read and ponder the truth of scripture, God’s voice speaks to us through those writings and they all cry out, “This is my beloved son, hear him!” (Luke 9:35).

Feed My Sheep 4: Feed Them With Jesus

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ “ (John 21:17)

God’s people are a hungry people.

Jesus knew this and tells Peter to feed that hunger.  They have a spiritual appetite. What was the food of which Jesus Christ spoke?  It is obvious from John chapter six that Jesus Christ calls himself  that food, spiritual bread, soul food that satisfies that hunger. (John 6:35).

Feed them with Jesus you ask?

Now I am not promulgating the clap-trap of cheap, second-rate theology that says, “We don’t need doctrine, we need Jesus.”  and you end up not having either.  Pure doctrine is directly related to wholesome, nourishing teaching (1 Tim. 6:3).

When Jesus spoke in John chapter six he just miraculously fed multitudes of people.  He also spoke of his heavenly Father giving Moses and the people of Israel manna.  By this he pointed out that food that spoils cannot give eternal life.  By this he demonstrates that He  is spiritual food. 

This food has fallen from heaven like manna. he is the Word of God made flesh (John 1;1, 14). Christ has come down from heaven to be our life (Col. 4:4).  This life is generated and sustained through his words. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63). He makes it clear: it is the Word that he speaks that gives us eternal life.

This is not limited making correct scriptural statements, for as irreplaceable as the verities of Christian doctrine are they must be received and then delivered as, “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” (1 Cor 2:13)  yet, we can be informed and unfed. Yes, we need to be catechized or trained in the truths of scripture, but are people being fed with Christ the living manna or religiously programmed. We must ask this question always for their soul can only delight itself in marrow and fatness and praise God with joyful lips as they are fed with Christ (see Psa. 63:5). 

Paul says he received from the word of the Lord and then he delivers the Word (1 Cor. 11:23; 15:3).  The Bread of Life,  Jesus Christ feeds us is as we pray and believe the promises of scripture (John 6:28-29).  If all you want is information you have your reward but if you want your soul to be fed ask the Son of God for his help! This bread of life will come from fresh and hot from the oven of prayer and study. If you receive this Bread you will be able to deliver it, for a genuinely mature Christians not only eats but feeds others. Thus Christ through his words is the living bread prepared by God himself  to give to those who are spiritually hungry and through those who have been fed with the Bread.

There are groups who have the right doctrine so it would seem and yet they are like a mother in a supermarket who reads aloud to her child sitting in the basket, the nutrition labels on the packages of food. It is as if she thinks that by reading this facts about the food she is feeding her child. In reality she is so concerned about what is in the food she never feeds their children.  

There is certain teaching that causes spiritual malnutrition.  It is has no life, no joy and no satisfaction. I listen to some people talk and they seem bent on eroding faith and worship and teach the Bible more like it is a science or history lesson than a nutritious home cooked meal. It is the preparation and serving of the wholesome spiritual food that makes the difference and provides the nutrition.

Be careful of those who read the Bible like it is words on a menu in one of their favorite restaurants.  They know how to read religious labels, familiar with catechism and confessions. They tell you it tastes good, in many languages and it sounds so wonderful when they read  but they have never ordered from the menu. They have never by faith believed God for his promises and eaten the fruit of the land. They do not know the wonderful taste of the bread of life or drank the thirst quenching water of life! The Bible describes them as, “clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” (Jude 1:12).

Now what we mean is hunger for the things of God after salvation. Hunger is an evidence of spiritual life and the sheep will never  thirst (John 4:14) never hunger (John 6:35) and never perish (John 10:28).  That has been satisfied and fulfilled by Christ the bread and water of life.  The food that satisfies the souls of those who have been saved by Christ is the that which fuels their walk with him in holiness.

We should note that when one is newly born again he “drinks milk” spiritually. A teacher of the Word may discern that the people to whom he ministers are immature so he will give them milk or basic biblical teaching on purpose because that is all they can digest (1 Cor 3:1-3).  Peter says that it is the pure colostrum or “breast milk” of the Word like a mother gives her new-born (1 Peter 2:1-2). God’s people are given this food and they must steadily become  more acquainted with pure teaching, not be sustained by means of a religious feeding tube.  But when people are first saved, the teacher of the scriptures must feed them with the milk of basic biblical truth and be gentle, “like a mother caring for her little children.” (1 Thess. 2:7).

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14). Solid food or “meat” comes for the mature saint of God.  They must taste what they eat in order to be, “nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.” (1 Tim. 4:6).  Barnes says that this verse speaks of  “the delicate taste of an experienced Christian.” (Barnes). I like that. Christians are particular about their spiritual diet and have a refined and sensitive taste.

The phrase “good and evil” in this verse are not good and evil in general but good and evil teaching.  Good doctrine nourishes the soul.  Bad doctrine  is poisonous to the soul. The mature believer in Jesus weighs what they hear by what they have already tasted by the Scriptures. Those who are mature are careful to only eat what is good doctrinally and spiritually. They only eat what is scriptural and they grow in Christ. “For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.” (Job 34:3).

God’s people take pleasure in the Word as a good meal.  “They shall hear my words; for they are sweet.” (Ps 141: 6).  How sweet is the Word to a son or daughter of God who eats at their masters table a feast of fat things or, “a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” (Isa. 25:6ESV). They hunger and thirst for the sweetness of the living God, for his power and glory and his loving kindness is better than life itself (Ps. 63:1-3)! God promises them of that they will eat to their heart’s content (Mt. 5:6). There is spiritual food for God’s people, and his nourishing words feed their hearts as a sign of his blessing! We ought to pray for this fresh provision of bread or food from the Lord daily (Matt. 6: 11).

© 2011 Stephen S. Gibney Soul Health Care

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Feed My Sheep 3: Meeting the Real Need

“Jesus saith unto him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ” (John 21:17)

The service or ministry Jesus tells Peter to perform was to feed his people.  Notice the analogy, sheep, pastures and shepherd. Christ cares for our needs. Jesus Christ came to serve and give (Mk. 10:45). He went about doing good and met the needs of people, especially those of the household of faith (Acts 10:38; Gal 6:10).

Being a shepherd is a ancient and noble calling. The Bible speaks of the first shepherd Abel who guarded the sheep (Gen. 4:2). He was listed with the prophets (Mt 23: 29-39; Luke 11: 47-51) and receives honorable mention in the “hall of faith” (Heb. 11:4). Moses appointed Joshua so, “that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.” (see Num. 27:16-18). The second king of Israel David (2 Sam 7:8) was a shepherd. He protected his sheep from predators (1 Sam 17:34-37) and he saw the people of God as the flock of the Lord (2 Sam 24:17).

Notice how Christ was concerned about the sheep being fed. 

He did not say, “lead my sheep.”  Peter and others like him were to follow Christ’s leadership as only sheep themselves (1 Peter 2:21) and the sheep should follow them as they follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). The Apostle Peter reiterates, “Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:3). The did not need to boss the sheep around, just lead by example. Christ is the only Lord.

He did not say, “breed my sheep.”  He was not concerned about the “flock” growth, how many “purpose driven sheep” as the measure of success. Christ will build his church (Matt 16:18). The Lord knows those that belong to him (2 Tim. 2:19) and Christ will add to the church, “daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47). Being overwrought with the size of a church is not a concern for souls! Imbibing too much of this church growth, “Red Bull” will only end up creating a “Golden calf.”

He did not say, “weed my sheep.”  Some people want to weed everyone out. I have developed a new phrase as of recent and it is, “theological neurotics.”  For them there is always “sin in the camp” and “Achan’s” to throw rocks at and bean them off the top of the head.  They are so busy trying to be pure and to mould people into their religious template that they become sterile.  If you don’t speak their certain Shibboleth you will be weeded out (Judges 12:6). This is spiritual snobbery and arrogance of the worst kind!

Jesus says, “Feed my sheep. I am the Good Shepherd.”  I will take care of my flock.  You just feed them. You serve them and by this show you love me. This is not to oversimplify matters but we are limited to help people physically and we cannot help anyone spiritually. We cannot comprehensively meet their real needs. We can help them in the morning and later that day they are a mess. I know people act crazy. I know they do not listen. I know they get in trouble despite the warnings. That is between them and God. There is no need to have an apoplexy or have a breakdown. Just feed the sheep and pray, Christ will take care of the rest.

The passage we are looking at  must be a reference to both spiritual and physical needs. People need food for the body and the soul.  Sheep get sick, afflicted in mind, persecuted, lonely and in financial distress. True ministry means to serve, to care for someone’s needs.  We serve God by serving his people. But it is not real ministry unless it leads them to Christ as their sole resource. The need above all other needs is Christ. A true Christian and a true undershepherd leads people to Christ in whom all their needs are met.

By all means and with all your power seek to feed the hungry but especially feed the spiritually hungry. You may feed people stomachs, but that is never enough.  Jesus quotes from the book of Deuteronomy and reprimands Satan saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ ” (Mt. 4:4).   We realize spiritual food is more vital because as Moses told Israel, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you…” (Deut 8:3). God humbles us so we see our real need and then feeds us his food that brings genuine satisfaction for that need and teaches us that He supports us.

Everytime the Israelites bellies gurgled they wanted to go back to Egypt.  God knew that they had too much Egypt in them. It is amazing that Egypt could be painted in many different ways such as “the evil world system” but here it was simply a place where they could get their needs met without trusting God. It was the place of trusting man and the power of the flesh!  But to remedy this God ordained that they be empty for a time. He blocked and frustrated their path. He showed them that the stinking fleshpots of Egypt could never satisfy (Ex 16:3)!  They must get out of a “needs orientation” into a “God orientation.”  He brings a humility of soul, as we endure trials so that over and over again when the trial ends we will see him as our sole resource and provider.  Every time we have a a physical, emotional or financial need and it extends over a period of time, we become miserable!  Let the emptiness become an opportunity to see God fill that emptiness. Life is a constant series of  becoming empty of self and being filled with God.

I do not have time to go into the dynamics of Satan’s temptations and Christ’s resistance to them. It is obvious that Christ was not about to eat anything Satan told him to eat, especially rocks. Satan is a salesman who sells shortcuts, even religious ones. He promises a time-saving direct route that does not require faith, patience and character.  It is as if Satan says, “The need of the world is so great someone who can turn stones into bread can surely help the world.  Meet their needs and they will flock to you.” Christ knows this is not true (John 6:26-27) and he realizes there is no satisfaction in earthly things! He says, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34). Christ’s sheep will be fed with his bread, it is the only bread that can sustain them. He is that bread, Christ is our meat and drink (John 6:35, 55).

I pray with David, “Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.” (Ps 28:9).  Lord let our emptiness be filled with you and only you. Take the whole world but give us Jesus because only He satisifes!

© 2011 Stephen S. Gibney Soul Health Care

All material may be reproduced and distributed for edification, just leave a note that it was our article, please.