Tuesday, October 16, 2018

“He’s got the whole wide world in His hands”

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Subject: God's dream
Speaker: Duurt Sikkens
 
 
 
 
Good morning.
 
Did you know that God has a dream?  A dream that began long, long ago.
 
His dream is to have a partner beside him in His kingdom of heaven, a partner made up of spiritual people. Billions of people, literally billions who together form a being equal to Him.
 
That would be something really special. A being, an entity, who is equal to God. And that is going to happen. It will come to pass through the Spirit that He has given to us. Because you haven't received the Holy Spirit to make your own dreams come true, your dreams for your life on this earth. You have received the Spirit of God in order to make God's dream come true. That's right. And if your dream is the same as His, then that would be wonderful. You are then united in your dream, in your goal. And it is wonderful for God to see that your dream is the same as His.
In the Old Testament God is called El Olam, the God of time. But actually it means: the God of thehidden time. Hidden time. Well, hidden for earthly mortals, that is and that's what we were, but we're not anymore! But for earthly mortals the past is hidden.
 
What do they know about the past? And the future, that is also hidden. What do they know about that? But through the Spirit that you have received, you become part of the very beginning, part of the plan that God had at the very beginning, and part of the future. You have received insight into the past, and into the future. And that is all thanks to the Holy Spirit.You nowknow. You know where you come from, your roots. And you also know where your future lies.
 
"Well" Jesus says, 'that is just like the wind'. Yes, the wind.   On earth you don't know where it comes from, or where it is going, but in heaven you do. You know where the spirit comes from, and where it is going. All those who are Christians, that is, filled with God's spirit. They know, because they are in contact with God. And that is wonderful to experience. In the Greek text the word used is pneuma. And that means wind, but also spirit.
 
And then Mark says in his gospel, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it."
 
Let's look at that word "lose" first. In the original Greek text the word that is translated as 'lose' is 'apollemi'. And do you know what that means? That is not just 'lose'. It means 'destroy' and 'to make disappear'. To destroy our life; to make our life disappear.
And then for 'life'- and all the writers of these gospels record the same word -for life Jesus uses the word 'psyche'. 'Psyche' that is your earthly natural life.
 
When John the evangelist starts his book he says: "In the word was life". And this time he uses a completely different word. This time we find the word 'Zoö' in the original Greek text, and that means 'eternal life', and 'life giving' and 'life bearing', and 'life creating'. So that word has a depth of meaning. In the word was life, it has created life in us, and it also brings forth life, it makes new life.
But 'Psyche' is something quite different. That's clear now isn't it? So if you lose your natural life, make your life disappear for My sake...you will find new, eternal life.
 
In 1 Corinthians 15 verse 45 it says: 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul'. And here the word psyche is used again for the first man, the natural man, Adam. "And this last Adam, the physical, natural, Adam, became a life giving spirit'. And that is a completely different life. That is the eternal life. That is the second Adam.
Because, verse 46, "It is not the spiritual that comes first, but the physical, and then the spiritual". So the first man is made from the dust of the earth, (what I can see is physical), but the second man comes from heaven. Then verse 47: "As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust." They are all alike. "And as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." And that is a term we hear very little of. We are heavenly, of heaven. What about that?!
 
"And then verse 49: "And just as we have borne the image of the earthly (notice the past tense. we have left that behind us), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. And the heavenly is of course Jesus."
 
So the first person is of the earth, "from the word 'psyche'. Just as you once were. The second person, he is the real thing, the person God had intended him to be.
 
And that is a process that begins when you are planted.                     Yes, you are planted!
 
Now I have a question. When an acorn or chestnut or grain of wheat is planted in the earth, what is eventually left over from it?
What is your answer? That's right. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
And you have been planted. So what is left over from you? Nothing. Nothing at all.
It is finished with. Done away with. But it does produce fruit! Because in time that one acorn will produce hundreds of new ones. And that one chestnut will also produce hundreds of chestnuts. But the tiny grains of wheat......?
 
Oh, Jesus says, they will produce fruit too. Some 30, some 40 and some 60 fold. As long as they die first...... So it's all about you dying. That's the important part. So your psyche, that is your natural, earthly life, when that dies, then your spiritual life emerges. And I think we here this morning have all died. We have done away with our old life. So you don't ever have to be afraid, because the first death has no power over you anymore. You have already died. You have already put off  your old life. You testified to that in your baptism by water. You put off your natural life and started your spiritual life.
 
The question is whether yourealise that at the moment you are being baptised. But as time goes by you will come to understand that.
That's why people should not be baptised at too young an age. They cannot grasp the whole meaning. "What am I doing away with? My whole natural life? Oh I'll have to think about that. I'm not sure if I want to do that".
Yes, I was baptised very soon after my conversion, a month after to be exact. For me it meant the washing of my sins and that feeling of sin, and sinning and not being good. I was rid of that in one go.
But later I began to realise : "It is also a bath of re-birth." And now I see very clearly that my 'psyche' life, my natural life is behind me. My old self was crucified with Christ in my baptism. It is indeed a water grave.
 
You must be clear on what you are doing. It says it in the same verse in Mark that we just read: "Deny yourself'. Yourself, meaning 'your soul and body.' And 'deny' means really disown. That's quite something. But you disown the temporary life because you have left that behind, and started your eternal life.
 
But the majority of people, Christians too, are very busy with their natural life. Spending all their time on self-realization. And if you do that, what are you focussing on most of the time? Really you are only concerned with yourself, your ego. But the Bible doesn't talk about self-realization, that is all to do withthis earth. The Bible talks of re-birth, a whole NEW life.
 
John chapter 12 verse 24 says: 'Most assuredly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit."
So if it falls into the earth that means you have let go of it, and THEN it falls INto the earth. If it doesn't fall Into the earth, it remains on its own. Nothing happens. And it is not good for a person to be alone, is it? That is not good for his development. But if you die, you produce fruit. Death comes before life starts.
 
Nowadays there are lots of articles in magazines about spirituality, and advertisements about all sorts of spiritual activities. Have you been to ............... have you heard about.........and always some sort of mystical seminar about some aspect of yourself. Always about you. Let me read you some of the advertisements I found: Silent retreats: Well silence is good, but... come to our silence farm?! Follow an intuition course. Search for the real you. Find yourself Come home to yourself. etc. etc. And all that with a shroud of religion all over it. And that vague entity, that omnipresence, they call God.
And they say that God lives in you as part of your nature, which is nonsense. God isn't part of you. That is impossible.And what you also hear is that the Christ lives in you also; from your birth. How can that be? There's no logic there.
It's all about soul searching, all the time. Augustine, the Church Father, HE always went on about that: introspection, re-discovering yourself.
But if you spend all your time searching within yourself, then you're not searching in the temple anymore, and you won't find God's treasures.
 
And then that life that you are living, that natural earthly life. You must celebrate that life, they say. Rejoice in the life you are living. Well just imagine saying that to someone in a Syrian refugee camp. 'Come on people Celebrate your life '. They will throw you out of their tent.
Or if you say it to someone in church who is seriously ill. Celebrate your life. He won't take you seriously any more.
Or say it in a cancer ward of a hospital. Celebrate life. They haven't got anything to celebrate. There is only pain and sorrow and problems.
 
Anyway, as I was saying, a natural person is sown, planted, but a heavenly person is raised from the dead. And the heavenly person has a heavenly body. You all have.
If you have been sown, you have a heavenly body. I can't see it. But you keep that body always, even when you die. And that body grows. A beautiful heavenly body. It doesn't look like your earthly natural body. Another name for it is: 'a resurrected body.' And it is a building made by God Paul says. Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
 You are a temple, something made by God, after your conversion.
A temple of God. Ooh, then that must be the house of the Lord I read about. "I shall live in the house of the Lord forever". David says. So this is the house of the Lord. My resurrection body.
And now, now you could say: "I have come home to myself" although actually it is GOD who has come home to HIS house. He has come home - he was homeless - and now He has a home.
 
His first home was in Jesus. Paul says in his letter to the Colossians: "For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity" and what follows? "because you are in union with Him, who is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority, you also have thesame fullness, the same divine nature, the same spirit." So, He lives in us, through His Spirit. He came home. Well then of course I feel at home too. And that is your spiritual body, your resurrection body. 
 
And all the bright shining resurrection bodies, because they do shine so very brightly you know, they form his temple. They are beautiful jewels, that's what they are compared to.
All of you here today, you are all jewels. Brightly shining jewels. And they shine because light shines out from inside. And that God's house. His dwelling place. That is the heavenly Jerusalem. All these people with whom God feels at home. So you get God's identity. That's the important part. If you don't believe me you can read it in Psalm 82 verse 6. "Ye are gods." You all originate from God.
 
In Acts chapter 20 verse 24 Paul says: " I reckon my own life to be worth nothing to me". Just imagine saying that out loud "My psyche, my natural life here on earth is not important to me, it doesn't count. And yet he does have a life, because he goes on to say": "I want to complete my mission and finish the work that the Lord gave me to do".
 
In Galatians 2 verse 20 Paul says: "It is no longer I who live", that's right, because you died, "but Christ living in me".
So I still exist, I still have a life and Christ lives in me. "That life which I now live in the flesh," Paul says, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me".
So that is a completely different and new life.
 
Paul explains it as follows in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14:
"A person who does not have God's Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God's Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis." The natural man has no idea what we are talking about. It is all gibberish to him. You have to have God's spirit to understand it.
So that's what it is all about. If you have died, then you have discarded that old life, and you begin to grow roots. And you soon begin to grow again, because you become rooted in the love of God. Your roots are firmly in his love, and are fed and nourished by his love, and you draw on them for strength and power. That's how you become strong and powerful. In other words you are loved by God.
 
Easy to say. But the question is: are you open for love? Will you allow God to love and care for you? Or do you say: 'I can manage on my own. Let me be". Or, "what can I do for You in return?". Silly question. What can I do for You in return. As if God is sitting waiting for you to do something for Him in return. Enjoy your life He says. Celebrate THAT life, the new life within you.
 
Let His love fill your life, and don't start thinking: "I don't know what to do with all that love". Because that proves that you haven't understood anything about the gospel. It means you will keep on praying for power and strength and lots of other things. What use is that? God has given you His spirit and wants to fill you with His love. Let yourself be filled with the love of God. Enjoy it. Enjoy knowing, God loves me. Because God's love, and don't forget this, God's love will remain forever.
 
Hope and faith will at one time come to an end, but love..... that keeps on flowing into you and that's how your spiritual life is renewed daily. Because if the Christ lives in you, then you are a partaker of that divine life.
 
The Christ lived first in Jesus. After the baptism with the Holy Spirit Jesus became 'The Christ'. The anointed that means. With oil on your head. It is just a image, but your head is the most important, and then it runs down your face and neck. See Psalm 133.
There is so much of it that it begins to pour over your clothes, right down to the seam of your robe. You become completely full and engulfed in it. It begins in your mind. That's how it began with God.
 
You become part of that divine life. You begin to think as God thinks. And when that happens then you want it to be seen in your life. You shape your life accordingly. And when you do that, when you give form to the Christ in you, and listen to what I say, because this is something I don't usually say, if you want to give form to the Christ in you, then that will be accompanied by suffering and pain. It will cause difficulties and suffering. And you can shout Hallelujah, but you will have to suffer for it.
 
It is just like when a woman brings forth a child. She has labour pains, and sometimes cries out because of the pain.
Take a look at the woman in Revelation chapter twelve verse 2. She cried out in pain. She wasn't singing hymns at that moment. She cried out, and took hold of her husband's hand. That's not written there, of course, but you can be sure she does that. And that is what the affliction and suffering will feel like.
 
Someone wrote to me; "The more I let the Christ work in me, the more trouble comes my way". And that's true.
If you are busy with these things then all of a sudden you will find yourself under pressure from all sides. Because you are giving form to the Christ in you.
 
And all the time the woman is giving birth, all through that process, the dragon is standing nearby watching her. And he thinks: "As soon as she has given birth, then I will devour the creature she brings forth". That's what he says. And if the woman realises what he plans to do, then it takes a great deal of courage on her part to carry on and give birth. The pains are felt throughout her whole body.
 
If one person experiences difficult times, then the others feel that too. You share each other's burdens The pain is felt throughout the whole body. And the dragon, he stands there watching. Just watching and waiting. The rotter.
The word dragon comes from "derk" and derk means 'look'or see'. He tries to hypnotise her. Yes. He did that in the Garden of Eden too. He hypnotised Eva, and now he is trying it again with the new Eva.
 
And while she is giving birth he does something else. He sweeps with his tail through the heaven. He hits out hard. And what does he do? He knocks a third of the stars, that is the Christians to the earth. That's a lot. A third. He throws them down onto the earth so that they have to start again there. All those Christians, they lose their heavenly position, gone. They fall back to earth. They are no longer busy with the heavenly things, the things of the Father. For a while they float in the air, falling from their position on high down to the earth. These are all the believers who don't focus on God's word. Believers who fasten their attention on the mystical and material things of earth to achieve their goal. In other words, as Paul says to all the churches in Galatia, and he says it to them all, You began in the spirit and ended up in the flesh. What do you think you are doing? Who has bewitched you? He gets very cross with them.
 
Isaiah chapter nine verse 14 contains the key text: "The ancient and honourable (think 'beast, dragon') is the head; and the prophet that teaches lies, he  is the tail."
 
So there you have the tail of the dragon. A prophet who teaches lies. What lies? Well, for example, "you will be like God". "My version of God" he omits to say.  If prophets like that appeared in this church, we don't have so many prophecies here - but if they DID appear, and they draw you back to the earth, ignore them. Destroy them. Because all these prophecies are focussed on drawing you OUT of heaven, OUT of the Kingdom of God, OUT of the Kingdom of heaven.
So that you can continue your cosy life here on earth. That would be a shame. So be on the alert for those prophets. Don't fall for their lies. Focus on the spiritual, heavenly realm of God.
 
I think I have said all I wanted to say to you today. It is quite a lot to take in. I have one final text. Colossians chapter three verses one to three: " If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth."
 
Set your mind on the things that are above. No endless discussions  in the church about earthly matters, and doctrines, and all sorts of material things. Why waste your time on these things. They are not spiritual. What do they matter? But above, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God. Think about the things that are above and not those on the earth. You died, didn't you? It says so.
You discarded your old life, and your life is now hidden in Christ with God. That is your wonderful new life. THAT is the life you can celebrate, even if you are ill. If you are having a particularly difficult time then you say: "And the Christ lives in me. He is my life. And He must not die again, must not fall asleep". I must not let Satan put me under his spell, and lure me back again. I must keep alert and focussed on spiritual matters.
 
The power to do that is within you. The source is within you. Because the Christ, that is a source. A source of light and love and tenderness. And tenderness, that is a quality that you rarely come across. But it does exist, that tender love of God. It is often mentioned in the Old Testament. The tender love that is so appealing. Think about it for a moment. His tenderness will become my tenderness, and vice versa. That's wonderful. What a wonderful future that promises to be. That's what we are working toward. And that is the life that you are going to celebrate.
 
And you will stand amazed, amazed at this great miracle. You will look at yourself with astonished eyes as you see what God is working in you. It will happen, and God's smile will be upon you. Then at last, after billions of years, at last God's dream will become reality. What he has always dreamed of, will come true. Will be reality.
Amen
Let's pray together:
"Father, I pray that we will be able to give form to the Christ in us. It is a miracle. And it will only come to pass through suffering. I pray that we will be able to discern well. That we will be able to see suffering as labour pains, whereby a new person is born. And we know You will help us. That is so wonderful. Thank you for never letting go of your dream, but letting it happen in us people. Amen.