“New Wine Skin” #4

sailboat-clipart-sunset-161755-38093 “Deeper waters lie ahead.”

Deeper waters lie ahead, and dare we go farther? So Jesus ascended and the Apostles found what was about to become the Church left in their hands. On the Day of Pentecost a mighty Wind blew out of heaven and the Holy Spirit swept in with power! 3000 souls were saved that day, the Church was birthed and the rest is history, right? Yes…there is much history we have not considered. Sail on, Soul Sailors. No man-made motor will get you through this.

I call it the “Missing Two Hundred Years”. Why do we know so little about the ones the Apostles discipled and ordained? The men they handed the torch to. Those discipled by the Disciples and placed as heads of Home Churches, the early Church. Really there would be no need had we stayed exactly with the original template of the Church, but we have not, and so there is a need! But all we hear is silence, and consequently when I left our modern system in search of answers, I found I had at least 200 years of missing knowledge.

At first I was lost in my search, as if lost in a maze. I kept seeing the Church in Acts, and I was aware of the Catholic domination, the Dark Ages, Martin Luther, and the Reformation, but how did we get there?

I soon learned about the Roman Emperor Constantine, and that got me back to around 300 A.D.. The final chapters of our Bible were finished around 100 A.D. As I studied 100 and 300 A.D. I saw a tremendous difference, and I also saw the difference began accelerating into something far different than what Jesus did. Big change had begun during those 200 years I knew little of, and then accelerated even more with the arrival of Constantine!

I can see were not going to get far in this article. There is such a stage to set and so much meat to put on the table. You just can’t swallow meat whole. It’s got to be cut up. I did say deep waters were upon us. Soul Sailors must tred these waters if Soul Sailors they would be! We sail on.

Proof of what I say is the very fact that the 300 A.D. Church was willing to allow a heathen like Constantine to have great sway and influence in the church! Jesus never would have! The Apostles never would have! The early Church Fathers such as Polycarp never would have! But 300 A.D. Church did! So what happened? This 200 year period would seem to hold our answers. Let me establish this evidence this way. I’m afraid I got to give you a long quote but we will end with this quote and continue next time. This quote by E. Stanely Jones really says it all. I can say it no better.

He starts by pointing out how our Lord’s Beatitudes somehow got lost, and things would be so different had they not! E. Stanely Jones, a missionary to India, Quote >(Christ of the Mount, copyright 1931, starting page 12 of Introduction.) >

“India is forcing us to face anew the Sermon on the Mount. She insists that this is Christianity. No matter how much we may point to our creeds she insists on pointing us to the pattern shown her in the mount. The fact is that the Sermon on the Mount is not in our creeds. As the Apostle’s Creed now stands you can accept every word of it and leave the essential self untouched. Suppose we had written it in our creeds and had repeated each time with conviction: ‘I believe in the Sermon on the Mount and its way of life, and I intend, God helping me, to embody it!’ What would have happened? I feel sure that if this had been our main emphasis, the history of Christendom would have been different. With emphasis on doctrines which left unaffected our way of life the Christian Church could accept Constantine as its prize convert. And yet Constantine after his alleged conversion, murdered his conquered colleague and brother-in-law Licinius; sentenced to death his eleven year old nephew, killed his eldest son, Crispus, brought about the death of his second wife; took the nails that were supposed to come from the cross of Christ and used them in his war helmet and another on the bridle of his war horse. yet he was canonized by the Greek Church and his memory celebrated ‘as equal to the apostles.’ He talked and presided at the opening of the Council of Nicaea, which was called to frame a creed, and he was hailed as ‘a bishop of bishops’. Could this have happened if the men who had gathered there had made the Sermon on the Mount an essential part of the Creed? It had no place in it, so Constantine could be at home. What had happened was that the Christian Church had been conquered by a pagan warrior. And the Church allowed itself to be conquered, for this idea of Christ did not have possession of  its soul. For the same reason, a bishop could kick another to death in the cathedral of Constantinople to prove his orthodoxy,…” (We’ll stop here.)

Also, Constantine was never even baptized till he was on his deathbed. Sounds to me he wanted to be a heathen right up to his dying day and then get into heaven at the last second. I wonder if that worked for him? But this Roman Emperor was given great influence in the Church of that time. What had happened to the Church? I rest my case.

The facts we need are out there. The new wine skin demands we know the truth. We must not fail in our endeavor. We sail on. The set of our sails is on those missing 200 years! Light be!

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“New Wine Skin” #3

87b5395405443fa98fcdb798cb2bf489 A life at sea is a life that moves, and so is life with God, dwelling under his shadow as the Children of Israel did in the wilderness. They lived in tents. Mansions don’t move.

Soul Sailors are not attached to solid ground as they live upon the water. Tents are barely attached, and easily detached. But mansions? Huge foundations set in the earth and not moving anywhere! God moved here once and I built my mansion on this spot, but then God moved and I did not. Now my mansion has become my prison.

Lessons in the wilderness, did we not learn? Our Bible warns us over and over again to not be attached to the things of this world, but we build huge churches that act as high maintenance women in their need for more money. We pack a lot of people into a small area called the church property and we glory at how big we look, but truth be told, we are shrinking, because we all have to go to the church building located on one piece of ground! How much better to saturate a whole community, a whole town, a whole state and country, by flooding outward in many many houses? And at very little cost! Is God calling us back to the original template? Have we strayed to far in these last days?

I heard a famous preacher by the name Lester Sumrall explain it this way. He said very few people live from blessing to blessing. Most people stay in the blessing they already have, rather than connect over to the next move of God. He used the example of the Methodist who are still operating in the movement of John Wesley to this day.

Sumrall explained it is very difficult to get out of a groove. My take on that is when we get too attached, it certainly is! But if we pursue Spirit, if we stay as tents and sailboats at sea, then we can move with the shadow of God even as God showed us in the wilderness. But those who want their Promised Land now, like the prodigal son asking for his inheritance now, will find their mansion turning to a pig pin once the Presence of God moves, and then what can you do? Buy a bigger mansion? A more expensive yacht?

I believe a new wine skin has come. A fresh Wind is blowing from heaven. Those able and willing to move are catching it like an eagle soaring to higher places. In his message Sumrall spoke of Andrew who was a Baptist. We find Andrew with John the Baptist beginning in St. John 1:35, where it says:

“The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by John looked at him and declared, ‘Look! There is the Lamb of God!’ When John’s two disciples heard this, they followed Jesus.”

Notice it says these two men, one of which was Andrew, were disciples of John the Baptist. Now realize John the Baptist had a powerful ministry of his own going on, but he also declared that he (John) must decrease, so that he (Jesus) will increase! Evidently these two disciples were not “stuck” in a decreasing ministry! They had the wisdom to pull up tent stakes, or change the set of their sails, and leave being a Baptist to follow Jesus! What a beautiful story! What remarkable wisdom! Real freedom!

Jesus saw them following him and asked what they wanted? They asked Jesus where he was staying. Jesus said, “Come and see.” They spent the rest of that day and night with Jesus! Andrew got so excited over their discovery that the next day he rushed to his brother Peter and declared they had found the Messiah! Then he took Peter to meet him! Wow! Awesome! But what of us in our day and in our hour of visitation? Do we cling to our old groove, the old wine skin?

Are we willing to risk our current blessing for a greater? Is our mansion so great compared to Jesus himself? Or do we have too much to lose, and will never leave our materialistic groove? As the wise old saying goes, the good has always been the enemy of the best.

I wanted to share this message of Sumrall because I have already given you some pretty strong evidence of our need to leave this modernistic groove and get back to what Jesus started. A groove that simply follows Jesus. Simple Church. Church Everywhere.

As I share more evidence, the case only gets stronger from here. Our analogy of a sailboat and being a Soul Sailor living in the magic, it is meant to inspire and instruct. I wanted to pause and remind you what is at stake. The beauty of those white sails at sea, or the sad countenance of the rich young ruler slowly walking back to his mansion, unable, or unwilling to go to sea with our Lord.

We are in a window of time God is allowing for the prodigals to wise up and get back under his shadow. Psalms 91 really says it all as far as I’m concerned. I pray it often. If we want those promises effective for us, then Jesus must be our habitation, and Jesus moves. He still says, “Follow me.”

The Bible says the disciples left all to follow Jesus. Maybe they didn’t have a mansion to worry about. Blessed are the poor in spirit? Remember that one? The rich young ruler had a mansion, and he left Jesus’s invitation to follow, very sad.

The true magic is still in the sails. A life powered by heaven’s breeze. Yachts and Cruise ships are mansions on the sea, but they have no sails. They run under man-made power and when it comes to following Jesus, that simply won’t do. God’s will is spiritually discerned, like the soaring wings of the eagle. No amount of horse power will ever compare to those wings of the eagle. They that wait upon the Lord. If the Wind don’t move, then neither do I.

Next episode we plunge back into more evidence. I downloaded some 5,000 pages of early church writings when the Spirit of God challenged me to learn of those missing 200 years. What I found was an old map our modern preachers don’t use. I’ve been sailing by that map ever since. It lines up perfectly with every word our Bible teaches, unlike the modern maps of today. I hope you want to be a true Soul Sailor. I hope you want to hear more.