The Good News: Lay Down Your Religion

December 2016

I dreamt I was at what appeared to be a Bible College. I was sitting in the cafeteria and people kept coming over to my table to give me their assignments so that I could correct their English spelling and grammar.

There was a chapel next to the cafeteria. I walked in and noticed a lot of young people and students. There seemed to be a worship service going on. I joined in with them and started worshiping and praising God. I became very touched in the Spirit at this time, as we often do in real life when we completely surrender our hearts to Jesus during worship and prayer.

Then the crowd took me and raised me up in the air and I found myself lying on my back with all their arms supporting me. Tears were streaming down my face. It finally hit me…that’s why they call it the GOOD NEWS!

After the crowd put me down, my older sister who was in the dream as well took me outside the room to give me some fresh air. I was crying the whole time and feeling so overwhelmed. I kept on repeating, “That’s why they call it the Good News, that’s why they call it the Good News.”

Testimony

I grew up in a very legalistic church. Women were forbidden to wear pants, married women had to cover their heads all the time, not just in church, we were not allowed to eat pork etc, the list goes on and on. Rules, rules and more rules. Sermons on Sundays were aimed at making you feel guilty. Even if grace was taught, you would still feel guilty that God had to come down and save you. I knew I did not want to get baptised in that church.

My years in university and my twenties were overcast with darkness . I opened many doorways and the devils came flooding in. I kept going to an Anglican church close to my University though and really desired to get baptised. But I was so caught up in sin, I knew I couldn’t do it. That voice inside my head told me to first get my life straight and then get baptised. But you cannot get your life straight on your own efforts. This is just another form of religion.

The great thing about that church though was their strength in biblical teaching and theology. Thanks to the knowledge of the pastors there, I developed a love for the Scriptures and received a lot of excellent teachings. What I lacked though was the Holy Spirit. I understood all the teachings in my head…but it just wasn’t pouring out into my life.

Years later, I was living in Germany and after going through some difficult things in my life, I found myself at a small church where I currently am now. The first time I visited that church I felt…something. I enjoyed the worship, the teaching was biblicaly sound and most important, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Over the coming months, I watched many Youtube teachings from Derick Prince about the Holy Spirit and Baptism in the Holy Spirit. This was also something that was preached in that church. These teachings have changed my life, being able to pray in tongues has changed my prayer life. I really feel that before I was like I was a pile of dry bones and now I have been made flesh, alive in the Spirit. But even though I had moved out of the religious church that I grew up in, there were still foundations of religiousness in my heart which had been laid down through years of indoctrination. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit had been working to tear down those walls and foundations. This is the continuous renewing of our hearts and minds that the Bible tells us about. The work which the Holy Spirit begins in us will continue until the day we see our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 1 : 6).

Commentary on the dream

In my dream, my task was to correct assignments of the Bible School’s student’s according to the correct grammatical rules. The point of the dream was to show me that following rules will not give you that intimate relationship that you actually need with God. It is like reading something about a beautiful subject, but all you are doing is looking for faults and errors in the writing. You miss the beautiful message. God created us to have a relationship with him. We should not be like the Pharisees who knew the first five books of the Old Testament by heart, who fasted and prayed and yet these were the very ones whom Jesus rebuked:

Matthew 23: 25-28

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.[f] 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Focusing on cleaning the cup on the outside distracts from the work that is supposed to be going on in the heart; mainly building our relationship to Jesus Christ! You can also write the most impressive thesis on any theological subject, but unless you are having and experiencing a living relationship with Jesus Christ, your faith is just a piece of paper.

It is also not surprising that in the dream, it was through music and worship that I received this revelation or deliverance. Music has the ability to move us, to really stir our hearts. When we worship, we lift our hearts to Jesus and let go, surrendering ourselves to him. This is something that we also do in certain types of prayer. Music draws us closer to God, to his presence. Worship is also a powerful weapon against the enemy. A friend of mine recently reminded me how the Israelites brought down the walls (strongholds) of Jericho, with the blowing of trumpets. When we are continuously focusing on Jesus, not only during a worship session, but daily in our normal lives, then we are worshiping him, every minute of every day.

So what is exactly the Good News?

According to Theopedia.com: The Gospel is the foundation of Christian theology, setting it apart from other all other religions, particularly other Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions, by the manner in which it relays the hope of salvation. The word gospel originates from the meaning of the New Testament Greek word evangelion meaning “good news”. This meaning was transmitted literally into Old English as godspell, eventually becoming gospel. The Gospel is epitomized by Jesus Christ in the following proclamation: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15)

I really like this teaching by Tim Keller about what the Gospel is:

God has entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a salvation that we could not achieve for ourselves which now 1) converts and transforms individuals, forming them into a new humanity, and eventually 2) will renew the whole world and all creation. This is the ‘good news’—the gospel.

And it is good news in three important ways.

1. The gospel is the good news of gracious acceptance. Jesus lived the life we should live. He also paid the penalty we owe for the rebellious life we do live. He did this in our place (Isaiah 53:4-10; 2 Cor 5:21; Mark 10:45). We are not reconciled to God through our efforts and record, as in all other religions, but through his efforts and record. Christians who trust in Christ for their acceptance with God, rather than in their own moral character, commitment, or performance, are simul iustus et peccator- simultaneously sinful yet accepted. We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time.

Points two and three can be found here: The Meaning of the Gospel

Romans 6: 20-23

22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus himself went around preaching the good news:

Mark 1: 14-15

14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom[e] of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 4: 18

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[a]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

If that isn’t good news than I don’t know what is. It is in fact, the best news ever for mankind and for all of creation.

Today 30.07.2017 I had a vision.

I was sitting under a tree very close to a huge chasm between two cliffs. I saw a shepherd not far away, leading his sheep towards the cliff. He did not seem to see the gaping hole in the earth. He fell right down the edge, and his sheep followed behind him. Then I saw another shepherd, standing at the edge of the chasm, desperately trying to control his flock of sheep, which seemed determined to move forward. They overcame him, pushed him over the cliff and fell down with him to their deaths. Then I saw another shepherd with his flock of sheep. They were quietly grazing close by to the chasm and the shepherd did not seem worried at all. I asked the Lord to explain the things I had seen.

I understood that the first man represented shepherds who themselves are spiritually blind and do not see the dangers of their teachings until it is too late. These shepherds lead many sheep astray with their false doctrines. Then there are shepherds who are appointed to lead a congregation, but because the congregation is used to doing things the “old way” and is not willing to give up their idols and their religious ways, they bully the new pastor causing division and strife withing the congregation. This too has led to much destruction within the church.

“And what about the third shepherd?” I asked of the Lord.

“They are going to cross over the chasm,” He replied.

“Cross over? That is impossible!”. I was astonished. The mouth of the chasm was very wide. I could not imagine how they would make it over to the other side. But just then I noticed a giant wooden cross which was lying across the chasm, creating a bridge between both sides.

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the father except through me.” He answered me.

And I saw the shepherd leading his flock one behind the other across the bridge to the other side. Not one fell into the gorge.

lemming church

Ezekiel 34: 1-10

1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

If you are struggling with the yoke of religion or good works in your life, listen to the lyrics of these songs, pray to Jesus to remove that yoke from your shoulders. Religion leads to death, Jesus came that you may receive life, and have it abundantly.For those who have been called to be shepherds, heed the warning in Ezekiel. Do not lead the sheep which the Great Shepherd has entrusted you.

More about the Good News:

http://out.easycounter.com/external/theway.i-am.site

http://www.theopedia.com/gospel

http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols4-6/chs178.pdf