People Who Say Such Things: Receive by Revelation

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March 2, 2020

Galatians 1:11-12 (NIV)

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

CONSIDER THIS

Has the gospel of Jesus Christ been revealed to you? I am not asking if you have heard it or received teaching about it. I am asking has it been revealed to you. 

It’s a good question for the early days of the season of Lent. 

It reminds me of the famous encounter between Jesus and Peter; the one we know as Peter’s confession. 

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-17)

For something to be revealed to us means more than just basic comprehension of the information or intellectually understanding it (though it may or may not include this). It means we have perceived the truth and reality of something in a deeper way. 

It reminds us of Jesus’ encounter with the elite religious leader, Nicodemus, who was not only impressed with his teaching but with his miraculous signs. Clearly, Jesus indicated this was not what he was looking for.  

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:5-6)

We are dealing with the realm of awakening here. It is not in our control. 

You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8)

Did we think the gospel could be reduced to a set of teachings, doctrinal propositions, or precepts to which one could “assent,” repeat a prayer, and be considered to have “accepted” Jesus? Perhaps this might be a useful way to invite people to start following Jesus, though it doesn’t seem like he much did it that way. The long and short of what I am saying is we can’t reveal Jesus to other people. Only God can do that. We must invite people to follow Jesus and pray for them to be awakened, but only the Spirit can do the revealing. It is not just a one time thing but an ongoing reality. That’s what Paul seemed to be about. 

17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17)

In our ongoing work with Seedbed and New Room, we have done a lot of praying, conferencing, discerning, listening, and thinking concerning this whole concept of awakening. We’ve been quietly hammering out a definition of sorts. We are up to 188 words and eight sentences so far, but none of the are more powerful than the first one, which I will share here:

“Awakening is the outcome of encountering Jesus, by which the love of God the
Father is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (Stay tuned for the rest of the definition). 

This is not only the main thing of the Christian faith; it is the ongoing thing. In fact, dare I say, it is the only thing. 

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

People who say such things know awakening comes not by information or cogitation or even explanation—helpful as these things can be to the process. Awakening comes by revelation through encountering Jesus. 

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. Thank you for revealing your son, Jesus Christ, to me. Thank you for waking me up to your gospel. I want to know Jesus better, so I pray you continue to open the eyes of my heart, sustain the awakening in me until I, myself, become an agent of your awakening in the lives of others. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

What is your awakening story? How is it continuing to unfold? Where is the awakening happening in your life at the moment?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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