The Peril of Religious Flesh

By Francis Frangipane

Two Types of Knowledge
There is a type of knowledge that is doctrinal, theological and instructive, and there is a type of knowledge that is born out of a revelation of God. Both are known as "truth," both produce a certain type of person, and both are accepted as "Christianity."

You can be certain that God wants us to have right doctrines, but we must never content ourselves with merely the accumulation of correct knowledge. For this knowledge often remains just a file of religious facts; where the Word of God is viewed more as a museum than a power plant.

Measure Those Who Worship

By Francis Frangipane

"Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ‘Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations'" (Rev. 11:1-2).

For whatever else this verse ultimately means, it tells us that the Spirit of God is measuring worshipers. He is looking for those whose treasure is in Heaven and who abide in the "inner court" of God's temple.

Consider: in our world of terrors, pressures and trauma, our only refuge exists in the living presence of God. We must not accept a religion about God and assume it is the same as living in the presence of God. If we are to truly dwell in the Divine Presence, one thing perhaps above all others will take us there: we must become true worshipers of God.

At an Inconvenient Time

By Francis Frangipane

The Lord has multitudes who believe in Him, and when I consider that fact I am blessed. At the same time I am aware that, of those numbers, it is but a minority who actually worship Him.

True worshipers find their fulfillment in adoring God. The fragrance of their worship rises, not only during the scheduled times of church services but also during inconvenient times.

A true worshiper will rise early before work or school; they're up before the household so they can be alone with God. Instead of being frustrated by delays, they transform difficulties and setbacks into opportunities to magnify God. You might see one of these worshipers sitting in the car next to you during a traffic jam, singing along with Christian music in their car.

A true worshiper has learned the secret of worshiping God at inconvenient times.

Those Who Make a Covenant With God

By Francis Frangipane

The Covenant-Keeping God
Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty made major covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world and forever impacted the human condition.

The word covenant means "to fetter" or chain together. It was the highest form of commitment that two individuals could share. Any of several rituals were employed to express the covenant partners' unity: A sword might be passed, signifying that the two would be united against the enemy as one. They might pass a sandal between themselves, which symbolized they would travel any distance to be at one another's side. Or, they might cut an animal in two and pass between its halves. As the two halves, though separated, were still one animal, so the two covenant partners would become as one individual.

True Revival: Conformity to Christ

By Francis Frangipane

We must have three foundational standards as believers. One is to be people of prayer. That means our hearts are positioned to stand in the gap in prayer between the judgement and the mercy of God. Our earnest goal is to manifest the intercession of Christ Himself, where mercy triumphs over sin rather than divine wrath destroys sinners.

Another of our goals is to attain Christ's meekness. This forever will be a goal because the moment we assume we've attained it; we've actually lost it. Yet, possessing the humility of Christ remains an ever-living passion in our spirits. Without humility, we can't see with clarity what we lack in spiritual substance. Humility enables us to grow in all the other virtues and gifts we see manifest in Jesus.

To Be Like Our Teacher!

By Francis Frangipane

"There are two types of Christians, the trained and the untrained," remarked a pastor I recently met. I couldn't agree more. The fact is, too many of us view our salvation experience as though it were an arrival - and on one level it certainly is. Yet, our "arrival" is actually the beginning of a journey toward Christlikeness. Being "born again" is a step out of darkness into a destiny that will involve perseverance, faith and spiritual training.

So let us accept the fact that the Lord's goal is not just our rescue, but also our training. To be spiritually trained will cost us. We must make life choices, spend time in spiritual development, and give ourselves in unfolding surrender to learning the glorious ways of God. The result is our transformation. As Jesus put it:

"A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40).

In all of life, there is nothing that exceeds my desire to be "fully trained." In every way I desire to be "like [my] teacher," the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many Approaches To Training
Spiritual training can come in a variety of ways, but at the basis of all progress is a heart that is serious about transformation. At this very moment, you can begin accelerated training simply by picking up your Bible and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you. Remember, Jesus said,

"The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:26).

The Holy Spirit guides us, comforts and empowers us; He is our life companion to "teach [us] all things." Approach Him as your personal trainer. Open your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit for insight and revelation, for impartation and transformation. Take notes when the Lord shows you truths or explains mysteries, even keeping a pen and pad at your bedside so you can record important dreams or insights the Lord gives in your sleep (Psalm 127:2).

You see, you want to ask the Lord not only to save you, but to train you, to give you discernment and insight. The untrained Christian can walk into a life-setting, yet be completely ignorant of the spiritual dynamics that are influencing him. The spiritual man enters the same setting and he discerns what is happening, he is led by the Holy Spirit and he is effective in all realms.

As it is written,

"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Listen well to this statement: "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (vs 13). Notice the key words: "mature," "practice," "trained to discern." The immature, like infants, cannot function effectively; the mature, through practice, actually possess "the mind of Christ" and appraise all things (1 Corinthians 2:15-16). They function successfully and courageously in every dimension of life, because they have been trained.

Training From Mature Ministries

For all we will gain in our personal training from the Holy Spirit, the Lord also raises up ministries to train and equip us. God has created us to be interdependent with one another. I have learned that there are some things God will not teach directly to me, but will instead require that I learn certain truths from others. It's significant that an angel told Cornelius to contact Peter and have him explain the truths about Jesus Christ. Why didn't the angel speak directly to Cornelius? It was important that Cornelius learn about God from another man. Humility requires us to appreciate the influence of godly mentors in our lives and learn from them.

Keep in mind that the Lord does not want us blindly submitting to others; rather, He calls us to see Christ revealed in the heart of that leader first. Look for Christ the Shepherd to be manifest in the healing love of your pastor; listen for Christ the prophet to give guidance toward righteousness using the voice and example of the preacher. Whatever the ministry - evangelist, pastor, prophet, teacher or apostle - you must look for, and discern, the person of Christ in that leader. If they offer training, do not be afraid to submit yourselves in faith to their ministry programs.

While your focus is on the Lord, keep in mind the Lord's admonition: "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" (Matthew 10:41).

He who "receives a prophet" or "receives a righteous man" shall also receive their "reward." To receive someone in "the name of" their spiritual authority is to recognize a particular spiritual calling in an individual; it is to discern that they have something spiritual that you need. It is also to position yourself in an accelerated mode of growth, which comes through impartation. (Impartation is a scriptural, New Testament practice that operates through the Holy Spirit, as this verse in Matthew 10 explains. See also Romans 1:11 and I Thessalonians 2:8).

Of course, the leader whom God temporarily uses to train you never takes the place of Christ; the Lord just uses the individual to equip you in a certain area. So, once you see a leader you appreciate and respect, submit to that leader as unto the Lord, looking to Christ Himself to minister and train you through that man or woman of God. As it is written:

"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Remember that your goal is not to follow men, but to be trained and equipped so you too can function in the "work of service."

Returning to our text in Matthew 10, Jesus also says to the prophet or righteous man, "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" (vs. 42).

In other words, as a leader there are a great many demands made upon one's life. Yet, Jesus desires we discern among the multitudes those who are truly disciples. He says, in effect, even these who are yet spiritually children (or "little ones), if they come to you "in the name of a disciple" (i.e., wanting to learn), then take time with them. Even if you can only momentarily quench their spiritual thirst ("even a cup of cold water"), Jesus says, you "shall not lose [your] reward."

In a generation where households may have a dozen bibles, yet not a minute to study, Jesus desires we become serious in our pursuit of spiritual training. Indeed, let's assure ourselves no matter what our age or background, in the promise of our Master: "Everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher."

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As stated in today's message, the Lord's desire is to see you fully embrace spiritual training. Yet, in whatever form your equipping takes, In Christ's Image Training provides a lasting foundation upon which to build. Christlikeness, sets your focus; Humility, prepares your heart. Prayer, secures God's provisions and Unity, qualifies you as "unoffendable" in your pursuit of God's destiny, whether personally for yourself, for your family or beyond.

See www.icitc.org for more information.

The Power of Impartation

By Francis Frangipane

I know a man who, as a young teenager, endured a violent outburst from his father. The incident had to do with a style shirt that other teens were wearing. First, his dad told him not to buy the shirt and then, after the young man showed up wearing it anyway, his father told him to take it off. When the boy resisted his dad exploded, ripping the shirt while it was still on the young man’s body.

For whatever damage the violence did to the young man’s psyche, there was a deeper side effect. Later in life, my friend married and had his own children. As life would have it, his oldest son wanted to wear a certain "hip-hopper" shirt, to which my friend objected. Later that day his son tried to sneak out of the house wearing the shirt but was caught. Just as his dad before him had done, my friend exploded and, while the shirt was still on his son, he ripped it in several places.

My friend was not an evil or violent man, but something wrong, like a "time released curse," had been imparted to him 25 years previous. This enraged behavioral pattern had incubated in his spirit until the right circumstances arrived; then it repeated itself identically.

My friend was shocked by his unpremeditated action. However, he was also amazed as he pondered the power and mystery of impartation. His father’s deed was a seed that, apart from my friend’s conscious choice, bloomed on its own in the garden of his life. It was true: the "sins of the fathers" are "visited" upon the children.

Human Relationships: Channels For Good or Evil

Of course, my friend’s dad had imparted many good things into his life as well. My point is that the principle of impartation shows itself in a thousand ways during our lives. There are things we are doing and ideas we defend, not because we thought them through, but purely because they were imparted to us by others around us.

The fact is, the unfiltered human spirit is very much like a sponge that absorbs into our soul the substance of the world around us. Thus, scripture warns "bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor 15:33). I know of too many kids who were raised in Christian homes who, for one reason or another, became friends with kids who were sexually active or experimenting with drugs. Soon, the morals of those children were quietly compromised. How? Through impartation.

Yet, God’s word also promises "he who walks with wise men will be wise" (Prov 13:20). There are those whom God has put in our lives, whose influence inspires us to reach for the stars.

The human soul must not become an "unwalled village"; we cannot exist spiritually without guards and boundaries. Plainly, we need rules and standards of God’s word; divine truth creates a wall that keeps out the enemy. We must be selective and wise in walking in this world for it is, in truth, a war zone.

It is also why Jesus warned, "Therefore take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given" (Lk 8:18). Whatever you intently focus upon and listen to, of that thing "shall more be given." What we yield to in unfiltered openness in varying degrees conforms us to itself. Entertainment "enters." Consider wisely, therefore, the next time you turn on the television, Internet or select a movie to watch. Whether the impartation comes via the media, friends or family, take heed what you allow into your spirit. For whatever you allow into you through impartation, that reality shall more be given until you have an abundance.

He Who Receives a Righteous Man, Receives

Yet, the good news is that impartation can be a wonderful and positive influence in our lives. A life-giving church can fulfill and support your spiritual journey. Prayer partners can stand before God with you and for you, encouraging you by the holy and impartable influences of their faith. We can also receive impartation from our pastors, mentors and Christian authors.

As a spiritual leader, my goal is not just to inform you, but to conform you to Christ. This involves not only instruction, but impartation as well. If you are reading a certain author that God is using right now in your life, believe God for the best that ministry can supply. There’s no reason you cannot receive of the grace given to that person for you.

Jesus was specifically talking about the value of godly impartation when He taught, "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward" (Matt 10:40-41).

Of course, God may meet you sovereignly, and we should covet and pursue times alone with the Holy Spirit, in prayer or study of God’s word. But, often the Holy Spirit will have something to impart to you through a righteous man or woman. You say, "I don’t need men, I have the Bible and a relationship with the Lord." The Bible did not fall from heaven, untouched by human hands; it was written my men inspired by God. Imagine if the early church shared that attitude! Of course, today there is much deception in the church and we must each personally know the written word of God. Impartation does not take the place of our personal relationship with our Father. Simply, Jesus says that God will "reward" us just by our ability to "receive" from those He sends.

Indeed, there is no limit to how much our spirits can absorb from other leaders. Impartation is most effective when we are not in awe of men, but in awe of God who uses men and women to impart spiritual substance.

Moses and Joshua
The Bible supplies many examples of impartation: Elijah and Elisha, Saul prophesying among the prophets and, of course, Jesus and His disciples (1 Kings; 1 Sam 10:5-11; Jn 14:12). Consider the commissioning of Joshua, the son of Nun. I’m sure he had his own walk with God. He didn’t need Moses in order to dwell in right relationship with the Almighty; Joshua was a man who followed the Lord fully. Yet, we read,

"Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him . . ." (Deut 34:9).

The laying on of Moses’ hands imparted the spirit of wisdom to Joshua. Joshua, apart from Moses, possessed personal character; yet through Moses’ hands, God gave Joshua the "spirit of wisdom." Joshua received Moses in the name of a prophet and received a prophet’s reward.

Not only did Joshua receive by impartation, through his unique ministry God would impart great faith to Israel. Consider what the Lord told Moses, "Encourage [Joshua], for he shall cause Israel to inherit [the land]" (Deut 1:38).

Joshua didn’t just lead the Israelites, he would cause them to inherit God’s promises! I am struck by this verse. Just as my friend’s dad imparted something that caused him to temporarily fail, so there are people God has given us whose faith, example and encouragement will "cause" us to succeed. That individual may be your mentor, pastor or a leader in your church; he may be a national leader whose messages seem perfectly timed for your needs. Either way, God has placed people in your life whose influence will "cause" you to inherit His promises! Beloved, even as you hold fast to Christ as your head, may you also understand the gift and power of spiritual impartation.

I Will Rejoice

By Francis Frangipane

God's desire is for us to possess a thankful, rejoicing heart. To some, such a goal seems like an unscalable mountain, yet this is exactly what the Lord desires to give us.

Our problem is that we are focused on our problems. We enter our day with our countenance darkened by the gloom of unbelief. We wonder why the non-Christians don't run to give their lives to Christ. Perhaps the obstacle is not what exists in their hearts, but what is in our own. Yes, we accepted Christ as Savior and gave Him our sins, but have truly given Him our lives?

Our gloom belies our trust in God the Lord desires to rescue us from gloomy, unbelieving attitudes. He wants us to cancel our plans to be miserable and submit ourselves into His loving, wonderful hands. This is why I'm fighting for the best life you could possibly have. I'm fighting powers of darkness, so you experience the fullness of joy.

Why So Sad?
Even in a world where spiritual darkness is increasing, the Lord plans something different for us. In fact, He orders us, "Arise, shine; for your light has come." He tells us that His literal glory, which is now abiding within us, will "appear upon" us. The result? "Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:1-3).

What does it mean? What we see of God's glory is the outraying manifestation of His presence. But His radiance is actually the unveiling of His goodness. Consider: when Moses asked to see the Lord's glory, the Lord responded, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you . . . I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion" (Ex. 33:18-19).

So, God's glory is His unfathomable goodness. When Scripture says, "the glory of the LORD will rise upon you," it is actually saying the GOODNESS of the Lord will be seen upon you. In other words, in contrast to the uncared for world under judgment, you will be seen as one chosen to reveal how good God is!

God's goodness, like a morning dawn rising at the end of a night, is increasingly going to be manifest upon us at the end of this age. With all my heart I believe we are entering days where both the visible radiance of God's glory and the overwhelming effect of His goodness will manifest in the true church. We'll see more of the good things of God: more of His healings, more of His miracles, more of His provisions and more of the power of His love. These won't be isolated elements or events, but a stream of wonders that will cause the world to marvel at the Lord's goodness upon His people.

So Rejoice!
Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" Why should we rejoice? For "the Lord is near." (Phil 4:4-5). He's not talking about the second coming; the Lord is near now in our spirits. He's saying that you're not isolated from God. Rather, God is at hand. He goes on with the very familiar recipe for gaining God's peace:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God (listen to this), which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:6-7).

Paul describes the peace of God as surpassing all comprehension. Then the apostle writes in Eph. 3:19 that "the love of Christ surpasses knowledge." Do you understand that? The enveloping presence of God surpasses your mind's analytical powers to figure out the world around you. See, it doesn't really matter if you don't have the all the answers if you truly have God and can trust Him! The peace and love of God transcend and surpass the realm of the mind.

People may ask, "Why are you so happy especially given your difficult circumstances?" You respond: "I can't tell you why, I just know, in spite of my battle, I'm fully loved by God. He's in charge of me and my future." 1 Pet. 1:8 says, "...you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible..." Add it up and see how much we have: peace beyond comprehension, love beyond knowledge and joy beyond our ability to express and articulate.

There is a spiritual realm of joy, peace and love we can abide in that's far more wonderful and expansive than the tiny realm of our analytical thought life. Probably ninety percent of our battles exist in our minds. I am not saying we shouldn't think or consider things, but if we are not simultaneously living in the spiritual realm of joy, love and peace, our fight is filled with futility. God wants to coax us out of these tiny realms and bring us into the realm of His full presence where His joy, love and peace abound.

Cursed or Christlike?
God had many blessings planned for Israel, but He also warned that curses awaited them if they embraced sinful attitudes of life. In the summary thought of Deuteronomy 28, the Lord explains, "So all these curses shall come on you . . . because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies" (Deut. 28:45-48).

Listen carefully: They weren't cursed only because they disobeyed God, but also because they did not serve God with joy and a glad heart. If I ask my kids to do something and, though they do it, they murmur and complain, it is offensive. You see, obeying with a complaining attitude is not obeying, its complaining.

We must make the choice to rejoice. Too many of us are cynics. Cynicism, contrary to popular opinion, is not a gift of the Holy Spirit. A cynic is a habitual doubter. He is nearly always negative, expecting the worst, and probing for the worst when there is nothing negative is visible on the surface. Ultimately, a cynic will always discover something that confirms their expectations.

I am saying that God is good, and even when things are not good, He works them for our good. If you believe this is true, your faith in God will relieve you from a host of dark and dangerous attitudes. God is Who He says He is. Even if we don't know all the details along the way, we trust that He is good.

He Who is perfect can make something wonderful come out of what was just average or even misguided. That's where my peace comes from: God's abilities and His goodness. This is where the peace beyond comprehension comes from; here is the source of the love that surpasses knowledge. God Himself is the reason for my inexpressible joy!

". . .all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col 1:16-17).

Not only is Christ the agency of creation, but in Him "all things hold together." Now listen: Just as the Lord holds creation together, so He can hold our lives together as well. Maybe you don't know what to do next. How are the bills going to be paid? What will the future look like? Maybe your emotions are stretched and strained, and you don't know what to do next. You can't hold it together, but God can. Trust Him. He'll hold it together. He'll keep you right in the center of His love.

I Will Rejoice!

Paul is in a jail when he writes the church in Phillippi. The prison he was in was horrific, and he had done nothing to warrant being there. Yet, when he writes he uses the words "joy, rejoicing or glad" over a dozen times. Consider: he has every reason to be miserable, yet he makes the choice to rejoice. He says, ". . . Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice" (Phil 1:18).

My heart tells me that Paul's declaration wasn't directed to the readers as much as to those forces of darkness that had stolen his freedom, his comforts - everything, but his heart for God. It was as though he were telling them, "Look, you took much, but you are not going to get my joy!"

If the enemy can take your joy, he'll also take your strength. Soon, you'll find yourself struggling with sin, not because you were evil, but because when you lost your joy, you lost your ability to resist the enemy. "For the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh 8:10).

Paul couldn't have know his letter would become part of the Bible. He's just writing to fellow Christians. But when you trust God, focus on God, and magnify the greatness of God, then even your time in jail can be sanctified and used to glorify the Almighty.

Return To Your Dwelling Place In God

By Francis Frangipane

Ultimately, I believe there are only two acceptable, core attitudes we should have toward the Almighty. The first attitude is heartfelt abandonment. This is the result of having found the Lord's Presence in a new unfolding of His glory. Heartfelt abandonment will always be accompanied by transcendent awe, unspeakable joy and irrepressible love. All of these are the result of having laid hold of the Lord; they are the consequences of His presence.

The second core attitude we must possess comes in the seeming absence of God's presence. It is a relentless longing, an unquenchable thirst, to find Him whom your soul loves. Abandonment and longing are the two tracks that lead us into our destiny in God and guides into true spiritual fulfillment.