The Man Christ Jesus Part 2

In my last post I talked about how Jesus functioned as a man and focused in on two key verses in a section of Philippians.

5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, …13  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5, 13 (NKJV)

Two important questions arising from this are,

  • What did this look like in practice?
  • Can we do the same thing?

Below are some verses from the Gospels that show an aspect of how this worked in Jesus life.

8  But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?” Mark 2:8 (NKJV) 22  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?” Luke 5:22 (NKJV) 46  But Jesus said, “Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me.” Luke 8:46 (NKJV) 47  And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, Luke 9:47 (NKJV) 15  Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. John 6:15 (NKJV)

In the above verses Jesus was aware of things beyond His reasoning. The first verse tells us explicitly shows that He was aware within His spirit of what people were thinking and the rest describe the same process. If Jesus could function this way it still leaves open the question, what does it means for us? Can we function in a similar manner? Yes we can if we, like Jesus, are looking to and depending on the same Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This does not mean we can go around ‘reading people’s minds.’ It does mean as we learn to pay attention to the Holy Spirit we can hear what He is revealing about people and circumstances. This is what Jesus did. Another less obvious example is Jesus selection of the first 12 apostles.

12  Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13  And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Luke 6:12-13 (NKJV)

61  When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62  What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64  But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. John 6:61-64 (NKJV)

What is of interest in the two passages above is that while bible study aids do not cross reference them they are intimately connected passages. In the first Jesus spent a night in prayer before selecting the 12 apostles from among His larger group of disciples. Implied in the text is that He heard from His Father in making His choice. We find in the John passage that Jesus was aware in His Spirit (He ‘knew in Himself’) that what His disciples were thinking and there motivations. We also know from verse 64 that when He selected the 12 in the Luke passage above He knew then that Judas would betray Him. He invested His life in Him anyway.

Having provided examples of how the Holy Spirit worked in Jesus, can He work the same way in us? He did in Paul. Look at the verses below.

13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV)

5  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5 (NKJV)

In the first verse Paul was aware in his spirit that something was amiss and it produced a change in action from him. In the second verse he not only was aware of something in his spirit but the Holy Spirit revealed to him something he could not naturally know by showing him something in another geographic location. There is no honest way to interpret this verse otherwise even if it offends our minds or theology. While not physically there in a dream or vision, the text does not say, Paul saw what was happening in another location.

So, Jesus was and is God, Paul was a great apostle. Where does that leave us? Can we operate in this way? While I have functioned in some of these ways and know many others who have and do, we never establish doctrine or the ‘rightness’ of something based on our experiences. It must be established in scripture. The call to function in this way is right there in the New Testament if we have eyes to see. What did Paul tell us?

14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14 (NKJV) 16  I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) 18  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18 (NKJV) 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)

I won’t address it in detail but in Romans 8:14-16 in more literal translations there is a differentiation, as there is in Greek, between children and sons (those who are more spiritually mature, this is not a reference to gender). We are told here that all of us as believers can be led by the Holy Spirit, which is what Jesus and Paul learned to do. Luke was clear about the process with Jesus.

40  And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

So, not only can we function to some measure in the same manner as Jesus and Paul, Paul encourages us to do so.

1  Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (NKJV)

26  How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)

The context is best appreciated by reading 1 Corinthians 12-14 as a whole. We are called to operate in spiritual gifts with love as our motivation. Operating in spiritual gifts is not a sign of maturity. The Corinthian believes were the most immature we find in the New Testament and seemed to function more than others in spiritual gifts. Paul didn’t tell them to avoid spiritual gifts so they could mature. He exhorted them to pursue them more diligently while at the same time exhorting them to pursue love – the more deeply we walk in love the greater our maturity.

So, how do we do this? There are some important pieces. Based on the scriptures we choose to believe it is available. We then seek intimacy with Jesus and ask Him to move in and through us. We find others and ask them to share with and mentor us. We find groups of people who function this way and engage with them in a meaningful way to see His church further established in the earth. Lastly, we by faith walk in the Spirit on an adventure with Jesus!

Since I started this referencing the Man Christ Jesus I encourage you to listen to the song below by Tim Reimherr from IHOP.

The Beauty of this Man by Tim Reimherr from IHOP

The Man Christ Jesus Part 1

Paul wrote something very powerful that I think we as the church tend to miss or gloss over.

5  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)

I think it easy to read this verse and move on without catching the significance of what Paul wrote. Paul is informing us that sitting at the Father’s right hand there is a man. What does that mean? It is easy to read about the healings and miracles Jesus performed and embrace the theology that Jesus was fully God and fully man so He did what He did because He walked on the earth as God in the flesh.

While it is true that Jesus walked the earth in Israel as God in the flesh and was both fully God and fully man did He do what He did as God? Look at something else Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5-13 (NKJV)

This passage is important, though what is often quoted is verse 5 and verses 12-13. To better understand the whole passage we need some context that the Gospels provide.

21  When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22  And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (NKJV) 

1  Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Luke 4:1 (NKJV) 14  Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. Luke 4:14 (NKJV)

We find in the verses above that three things happened.

  • Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit rested upon Him,
  • This resulted in Jesus being filled with the Spirit, and
  • Jesus later walking in the power of the Spirit.

The obvious question is why? If the Father, Spirit, and Son are three in one, then they all have the same gifts and abilities. So why did Jesus need to receive, be filled with and empowered by the Spirit? The answer takes us back to Philippians 2. Paul wrote in verse 7 that Jesus, “made Himself of no reputation.” What does that mean? The phrase in other translations says He ‘emptied Himself.’ What did Jesus empty Himself of? Being fully God and fully man He could not empty Himself of His divinity, however, He could cease to access the power available in His divinity and limit Himself to His humanity. How Jesus did this no one knows. That He did this is the broader testimony of scripture. We know from the above verses in Luke that He needed the Holy Spirit to be able to engage in ministry and walk out His calling. The view of the early apostles was the same. Luke wrote in his gospel about Jesus being filled and then empowered by the Spirit. He reiterated this in Acts by quoting Peter expressing the same viewpoint.

38  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 (NKJV) 

Strange as it may sound Jesus need God working in Him to do the works He did! See the verses below. Jesus was unable to move on His own and perform healings and miracles if that was not what His Father was doing.

5  Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. Mark 6:5 (NKJV) 19  Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19 (NKJV)

This is why Paul exhorted us to have the mind of Christ and encouraged us that God is working in us.

5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, …13  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5, 13 (NKJV)

Paul wanted us to know that Jesus, the Man Christ Jesus, did what He did because His Father was working in and through Him and the Father by the Spirit wants to work in and through us.

How is our perspective? Do we have the same mind as Jesus so the Spirit can work through us?

The Purpose of Impartation

In my last few posts I have talked about Impartation as a concept, how we Position ourselves to receive an Impartation, the role of Discernment in Impartation and now I want to talk about the primary Purpose of Impartation. I referenced the first verse below in my post defining impartation, I raise it again because it is so significant in the Lord’s purposes.

19  My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, Galatians 4:19 (NKJV)

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) 28  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)

This is Jesus goal, to see Himself reflected in our lives. The Father purposed prior to the foundation of the world that all that come to Him would be “conformed to the image of His Son.” The Father is not looking for good works or great attitudes from us, He is looking for Jesus in us. This is why Paul wrote the following.

16  to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, Galatians 1:16 (NKJV)

Paul’s point in the phrase above is that Jesus was revealed in him so that Paul could preach Him. Jesus revealed Himself to Paul (then Saul) on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9) and subsequently revealed Himself through (in) Paul. That is the goal of the gospel. An inner transformation that becomes an outward reality. This is what Paul is referring to in the first verse above, Christ being formed in us! Paul saw Jesus revealed in and through his own life and the rest of his apostolic labour was twofold, to see others encounter Jesus and then see Jesus formed in and revealed through them.

The verses above all speak to the goal of impartation, the revelation of Jesus in us. Does the rest of the New Testament support this concept? See the scriptures below.

20  Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21  make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (NKJV)

2  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

5  But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7  to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11  for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11 (NKJV)

2  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3 (NKJV)

20  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21  keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 1:20-21 (NKJV)

The above verses all refer to maturity, growth and completeness. They capture the same concept that Paul addressed, the need to grow in Christ to a place of maturity, the revelation of Jesus through us. The key question, is this growth automatic? Will it happen just like natural growth? The testimony of scripture is that the forming of Christ within us requires our cooperation. In another teaching I did I referenced John warning about us being ashamed before Jesus at His return.

28  And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1 John 2:28 (NKJV)

The same concept is in the passages below.

21  And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight – 23  if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. Colossians 1:21-23 (NKJV)

10  Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11  for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)

The qualifier to spiritual maturity that Paul and Peter provide is that we “continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” If we want impartation to strengthen us to grow we must pursue it. If we pursue this noble goal of having Jesus character formed in and revealed through us we are assured that in time we can reflect with awe, wonder, and satisfaction on what Paul wrote.

22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)

May we each labour and travail for one another to build one another up so that together we see Jesus radiantly shining throughout His body!

Deepening our Discernment

11  Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, Proverbs 2:11 (NKJV)

A friend shared the above verse in response to my last post. I ended it saying, “We need to learn to discern and discern to learn!” A nice sentiment, how do we apply it in practice? How do we discern anointing in others? I wrote a brief article in June of 1992 in which I defined discernment as follows “scriptural discernment is basically making right judgements by seeing the reality that lies behind appearances in order to agree with what the Holy Spirit is doing.” Over the years I have shortened is to simply say that “discernment is seeing the reality that lies behind appearances.”

Imagine looking at a window covered by a curtain, all we see is the curtain. When the curtain is pulled back a whole new vista is opened up. This is what discernment does, it pulls back the curtain and we suddenly see things. I have a dear friend who is 89 and now in poor physical health but still has very deep spiritual discernment. I remember many years ago spending time in meetings she also attended. In debriefing after it was like we were not at the same meeting, she shared numerous things she ‘saw’ that I completely missed. Yet they were there for me to see as well and I could see them after she shared. What hindered me from seeing in the first place? A lack of discernment. I think I still miss a lot but I now see much more than I used to see because I was discipled into developing my discernment through what she shared with me and through the questions I asked. The questions and sharing both led back to the scriptures, a great place to end at!

How does this work? The best scriptural definition of discernment is in Hebrews where we find that discernment is the fruit of maturity, it is not a gift as so many keep referring to it, there is a gift of discerning of spirits noted in 1 Corinthians 12:10, it is however something that helps in discernment, it is not discernment itself. Look at Hebrews.

12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV)

We have spiritual and physical senses and just as we can become adept at a physical skill through exercise we can become spiritually adept through practice. As we learn to monitor what is happening both internally and externally, that is, as we observe with our natural senses while simultaneously paying attention to our spirit we become aware of things happening at different levels. While we may not have seen it Paul laid this out in the scriptures.

24  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25  And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (NKJV)

  31  For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NKJV)

Many claim that preaching is prophecy. While preaching may have a prophetic edge or anointing there are a number of scriptural reasons that refute that positon in relation to what Paul wrote above. One obvious one is that Paul is here referring to a revelatory gift, which is made plain by the context.

Discerning what is in the heart of others as Paul noted above is not a novel gift available to a select group of believers. It is available to all who believe and we are encouraged to seek and grow in the gift. My process is to regularly try to listen with my ears, eyes, and spirit at the same time. I particularly seek to do this in a church group setting. Those of you reading this who know me can likely reflect on many examples of me telling someone something about their life I have no natural way of knowing. This is the fruit of learning to discern. For example this past week I listened to a message by Rob Parker, the Director of the National House of Prayer in Ottawa. Rob had laid hands on me and prayed for me prior to his message, yet the greatest impartation I received was something the Holy Spirit stirred in me while he was speaking. It happened twice and was only a few seconds long each time but I was very conscious of things happening in my spirit on these two occasions. This happened because I was conscious of the anointing on his life and message and seeking to discern as he spoke.

If some of what I have shared seems odd I encourage you to search the scriptures. What I have shared is not unscriptural, for most of the church it is simply unfamiliar. Unfamiliar not because it is not available to us, rather it is because we are part of a Western church that is not very mature and these things are not being broadly taught.

So in closing, if we want to receive impartation and partake of the solid food that is described in the Hebrews passage above we need to practice and grow in discernment. This comes not by focusing on developing our knowledge and intellect, not that learning is bad, I greatly value learning. I just know by experience, as many of you do, that it is no substitute for learning to tune into our spirits. I pray more and more of us learn to discern and discern as we learn!