God Took You Seriously

By Francis Frangipane

People give their lives to Jesus Christ for many reasons. Some need physical or emotional healing; others are in search of peace and forgiveness. Whatever our condition, God meets us in the valley of our need. Indeed, the Lord reveals Himself to man as heaven's answer for our needs. He is a "father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows." He even makes "a home for the lonely" and leads "out the prisoners into prosperity" (Ps. 68:5-6).

God uses our need to draw us to Christ. Yet, the consciousness of our need narrows our revelation of God, limiting His activity in our lives to the boundaries of our struggles. Thus, many Christians never awakened spiritually to the deeper call of God, which is to attain the likeness of Christ. We are forgiven, healed and blessed, but we experience a ceiling on our spiritual growth.

Regardless, the Spirit of God remains committed to our personal transformation. If we should awakened spiritually to the vision of Christlikeness, the attention of God will approach us in a unique and powerful way. Indeed, two things will occur: one, we will read the Scriptures with revelation; God's word will speak to us in a much deeper way as we discover the reason why we exist.

The second reality that will unfold is this: our lives will begin to progressively face greater challenges. You see, we think that just having a sincere desire to be like Jesus is itself an attainment, and it is. But it is only a beginning. If we are serious about our transformation, God becomes serious in fulfilling our quest. He will place us in situations that are designed to kill our old nature, often compelling us to Christlikeness just to survive the battle.

Consider the heroes you have studied in the Bible: each faced great conflicts before they reached certain spiritual levels, and they often experienced greater conflicts after they enjoyed important breakthroughs. Look at what Joseph experienced before he attained his destiny. Or consider what David had to conquer before he became king. God is not squeamish about testing our character. His goal is to create in us the very life of Jesus.

Consider what Jesus faced at the Jordan River. First, He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. We would think this Spirit-empowering would launch Christ into His public ministry, but instead He is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. Why? The Bible says, "to be tempted [or tested] by the devil." For forty days Jesus fasted and prayed. At the end of this time, we might expect a great spiritual breakthrough, but the opposite actually occurred. In fact, the first supernatural being who appeared to Jesus after His fast was not God, but the devil.

Three times the character of Jesus was tested by Satan himself. Most of us are familiar with the story of Christ in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11), but remember: Jesus faced all three of these temptations without having eaten for forty days. In weakness, the tests grew more intense. And here is my point. If we are serious about personal transformation, we will soon realize that when we pass a test, life does not necessarily become easier. In fact, what occurs is that we soon graduate into something more difficult. And it is here, in the more difficult test, that our quest for Christlikeness is being answered.

Perhaps you are facing conflict that seems beyond your understanding. You ask, "Why am I in this battle? What did I do to deserve this conflict?" It is possible that the whole reason for your increased warfare is that you prayed, sincerely, "Father, I want to be like Jesus." God took you seriously.

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Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

When the Lord Guards the City

By Francis Frangipane

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain" (Ps. 127:1).

Before we speak on this verse, it is important to explain a particular characteristic often found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Often, the Old Testament writers communicated truth by repeating two views of the same thought. We see this especially in the wisdom and prophetic books. An example would be: "With the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips" (Prov. 18:20). The same concept is presented in two affirming ways. Another example is, "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Ps. 78:2). Truth is conveyed utilizing a poetic rhythm that is not only beautiful, but a way to unite two corresponding thoughts into one idiom.

The House of Glory

By Francis Frangipane

When Glory Filled the Temple
The dedication of Solomon's temple offers us a picture of what God is seeking in the church. The temple was built, and in great pageantry and celebration, it was consecrated to the Lord. Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Then, immediately after the king prayed, for the first time in over 400 years, the glory of God was manifested in full view of the people. We read, "Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house" (2 Chron. 7:1).

If the Lord would honor the dedication of the physical temple with a visible manifestation of His glory, how much more does He seek to reveal His glorious presence in His living temple, the church?

But there were prerequisites that occurred prior to this appearance of the Lord. First, it was not until Solomon's temple was actually built, with all its separate aspects connected together and covered in gold, that the glory of the Lord appeared.

Likewise, we also must be built together and "perfected in unity" if we would see the fullness of the Lord displayed among us and the world believe in Christ (John 17:23). There is no other aspect of life more glorious or wonderful than this.

The next requirement deals with our worship. The Lord was not revealed until the singers, trumpeters and priests lifted their voices in praise and worship to God. We cannot overstate the need to be worshipers of God. Even now, in a number of church worship services, a faint, luminous glory is appearing, like a living cloud, drawn by the purity of the ascending worship.

However, there was another dimension of preparation which also preceded the revelation of glory. This prerequisite had to do with those in leadership.

"And when the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions)...then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God" (2 Chron. 5:11-14).

Their divisions in the priesthood had been ordained by God according to individual families and unique purposes. These were not carnal divisions, born of jealousy or strife, but divisions of purpose, function and timing. Yet, when the priests entered the holy place, God required they "sanctified themselves without regard to divisions" (vs 11). In other words, when it came to building the temple and entering the holy place, the priests had to lower the priority of individual service, which in a sense divided them, and raise the priority of seeking God's glory, which united them. It was here, when they were "without . . . divisions" that the glory of God manifested.

So also today, God has appointed churches in each city with different functions, graces and talents, all of which are needed to meet the needs of a diverse surrounding culture. These differences, however, are not meant to divide us, but to complete us. But if we desire to see the glory of God return to the church, the divisions of purpose must be subordinate to the unity of Spirit.

Today, in meetings, conferences and prayer groups, in one-on-one visits over coffee, and in church altars and citywide outreaches, increasing numbers of Christians are returning to Christ "without regard to divisions." Indeed, over the last years, tens of thousands of God-hungry pastors are surrendering to God in fresh acts of holy consecration; they are seeking the glory of God. The outcome? The church is being "fitted together...growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom [we] also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:21-22).

Notice these words: "fitted together...built together." The true house of the Lord is revealed when the church, "without regard to divisions" is "fitted together." Only then can the church truly be unveiled as the temple of the Lord, "a dwelling of God in the Spirit."

The Source Of Glory
"And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected into a unit" (John 17:22-23 margin).

Jesus is not coming to give us a new form of church government or new doctrines and programs. He is coming to be glorified in His saints and marveled at by all who have believed! (2 Thess. 1:10). It was for this that He called us; that we may gain His glory! (2 Thess. 2:14).

Let us each see that God is building something in this hour that will far exceed our current definition of the church. God is building us together into "a holy temple in the Lord," a place where His very glory shall be revealed!

Consider the words of the following prayer. It is our response to the Lord's call to build His house. God is calling us, not to lose our individual distinctions and callings, but to build something that fits us together, enabling us to build without regard to divisions.

If you see the vision of the house of the Lord, please pray with us...

Lord Jesus, I thank You for granting me a new opportunity to serve You. I repent of the areas in my heart where I allowed division and self-interest to guide my actions. Jesus, I want to see Your glory, even to abide as did Moses, in Your sacred presence. Master, I consecrate my heart without regard to divisions, to Your sacred service. Before You I sanctify my life and my church to build the house of the Lord in my city. Amen. 

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Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

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Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

The Credibility Factor

By Francis Frangipane

I appreciate and defend the origins of our many denominations. Most were born as godly men fought against the sin and spiritual apostasy of their times. Their heroic stand preserved (or in some cases, restored) the truth of God in an otherwise dark world. From my heart, I thank God for our denominational heritage.

Today, however, the need to remain divided from other evangelical congregations is unjustified. We can remain unique churches with unique callings and a unique spiritual heritage, yet we can be united spiritually, and even functionally, with other congregations in our communities.

Knowing Christ has called for unity in His church, many leaders today are re-examining the legitimacy of division in the church. Today's heroes are not isolating themselves from other churches; rather, they are working with others to repair the breaches, seeking to build the citywide church on the foundation of Christ alone.

Yet, our traditions of division have taken on the garments of orthodoxy; they appear biblical, but they are not. The various divisions in the history of the church were stages in restoration meant to preserve truth, not isolate it.

Is Christ Divided?
Every true Christian believes the Bible is God's sacred, eternal word. Indeed, heaven and earth will pass away, but God's word will endure forever. What was relative and powerful in the first century ought to be just as powerful today. Listen, therefore, to what Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth:

"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, 'I am of Paul,' and 'I of Apollos,' and 'I of Cephas,' and 'I of Christ.' Has Christ been divided?" (1 Cor. 1:10-13a).

How strange that we smugly look upon the divisions in the Corinthian church. We boldly criticize their carnality. But why was it wrong in the first century to say, “I am of Paul” (or Apollos), but permissible in these last days to say, I am of Luther or Wesley or of the Baptists or Pentecostals?

Again, please remember, I am not suggesting we should strive for unity with churches that do not believe in Christ or God's word or the Holy Spirit or the virgin birth or the second coming. However, I am saying that, within the sphere of the born-again, living church of Jesus Christ, divisions are unbiblical and wrong.

The apostle later continued, "For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" (1 Cor. 3:3).

The credibility of the church is that we are not "mere men," creatures born of women without spiritual vision or destiny. We have been born again of one Spirit from above. Within our spirits is the actual spiritual substance of Christ Himself.

"Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor 3:16).

We are the temple of God. Our churches, like the stones of the temple, are to be laid side-by-side, building us together "into a dwelling of God in the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22).

Paul went on to issue a warning which every Christian should heed. He said,

"If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy" (1 Cor. 3:17).

We have attempted to use this verse to condemn such things as cigarette smoking and sexual vices, and on an individual basis, there are obvious consequences to these sins. However, Paul is speaking here of more than the sins of excess and immoral pleasure. The apostle is warning against allowing division in the temple of God, the church. He says, "If any man destroys the temple of God" (through jealousy and strife), "God will destroy him." The context is plainly speaking in regard to divisions in the church!

When pure Christianity degenerates into divided camps of ambitious people, it literally destroys the harmony, power and blessing of the "temple of God." The individual who brings or supports such carnal divisions in the church has positioned himself in a very dangerous place before God. The temple of God is holy. Our unity together is holy. Our love for one another is holy, for the Father Himself dwells in the resting place of caring attitudes and loving relationships. Collectively, we are the dwelling place of God on earth.

The warning is severe: "If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him."

Yes, there are times when church leaders sin and confusion enters the dynamics of church life. So, let’s make room for failings and transitions. But let us not lose sight of the fact that the living God is a God of order; He will not dwell in ruins! Because He is a God of love, He will work with us to rebuild, but He will not sanction our fallen condition with power. He will not lend His credibility to our disorder.

How Does Disunity Affect You?
When Nehemiah, living among the Jewish exiles, heard of the condition of Jerusalem and its temple, he "sat down and wept and mourned for days." The fallen condition of the temple thrust him into an extended position of "fasting and praying before the God of heaven" (Neh. 1:4). The modern Jews also weep as they face the Wailing Wall, lamenting over the ruins of their temple. Paul mourned when he saw the ruined condition in Corinth. He said, "For I am afraid ... that perhaps there may be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned" (2 Cor. 12:20-21). And Jesus Himself wept over the divisions of Jerusalem, lamenting, "How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling" (Matt. 23:37).

This mourning concerning the disunified condition of the Father's house ought to be in our hearts as well. Yet, for most of us, not only have we failed to mourn our situation, we have not even grasped that our disunity, jealousy and strife is a fallen state! How far we have fallen and how little we know it!

While the redemption of man was always motivating Jesus, remember, His most ardent desire was His zeal for His Father's house; He was consumed with it (see John 2:17). Building the house of God --- the born-again, praying, loving, citywide church --- is still Christ's highest priority. The world is His harvest; the church is His bride. His love for the church was the basis of His last recorded prayer: that we would be one. It is still His highest passion today. For, until we are united in Him, and one with one another, our testimony lacks credibility. The world will not believe that God has sent Christ if our lives are splintered with the same divisions that infect the world (see John 17:20-23).

Privileged To Become Christlike
There were many reasons why Jerusalem fell to Babylon during Jeremiah's day, but underlying them all was the spiritual apostasy of the religious leaders. God Himself would have defended a humble, praying city, but in Jerusalem the spiritual leaders were corrupt. Listen, therefore, to Jeremiah's fearful revelation:

"The adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem" because of "the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests" (see Lam. 4:12-13).

Do we see this? Israel's enemies entered Jerusalem because the spiritual leaders were unrepentantly full of sin. Oh God, help us to see and accept that the future of our cities exists in the corporate relationship the spiritual leaders have with You and one another. Jesus said that any city, any house "divided against itself" cannot stand (Matt. 12:25). The place of spiritual protection of a community has its origins in the quality of life that exists in the spiritual leadership of that community: a vibrant, praying, united church will move that city toward the blessing of God; a divided, sinful leadership will allow the adversary to enter the city's gates.

The path narrows for leadership until our only choice is to become Christlike in everything. However, Christlike leadership in the church can transform the world around it! You see, our cities are in disorder because the church is in disorder. James tells us that where there is jealousy and strife, "there is disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16).

Our selfish ambitions have taken our eyes off the will and purposes of God for our cities. We have become jealous of one another. Consequently, the "disorder," lawlessness and "every evil thing" we see in our society are, at least in part, rooted in the soil of a misdirected and distracted church community.

Because of this, the church has lost a measure of its credibility. How can we expect the world to hear our message of love when we, as Christ's body, fail to love each other? We have no right to condemn the world for its pride and arrogance when we, the body of Christ, still refuse to humble ourselves and work with the other churches in our neighborhoods.

Beloved, over the years the world has seen many incredible ministries. However, the time of the "incredible" has passed; the hour for the credible is being established.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The House of the Lord" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.
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Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

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Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.