235. New Order Ekklesia

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

The blueprint that has come from heaven

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

In Jesus’ time and culture the old wineskins were not just thrown away but were renewed, restored and reconditioned to make them suitable to hold the new wine. They had invested a lot into those wineskins. God has invested a lot into the wineskin of church (ekklesia), and He is not just throwing it out.

I hear a lot of people talking about a new wineskin which is not the ekklesia. I do not accept that. The ekklesia is still what Jesus is building; He has not changed His mind. It is still the blueprint that has come from heaven. By all means let’s throw out the old concept of what has become known as ‘church’, with any negative connotations and past experience of hurt and oppressive controlling authority. But since the manifold wisdom of God is to be displayed to the usurping powers and authorities through the ekklesia (Eph 3:10), we need to recognise that without it we are not likely to see the kingdom fill the earth.

…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet 2:5).

All of us have a responsibility to be who God has called us to be, both individually and corporately.

Characteristics of a new order ekklesia

So a new order ekklesia will comprise people gathered together around a heavenly blueprint. It will function as a heavenly royal priesthood bringing agreement between heaven and earth. It will be built on a foundation of servant leaders, a heavenly foundation of the agreement of heaven’s oracles and a form and style of government which is a reflection of heaven on earth.

It will demonstrate a heavenly pattern of government – bench of 3, bench of 7 and bench of 12. It will not be a copy of any other ekklesia but will be established from its own individual heavenly mandate and blueprint: this variety will demonstrate the manifold nature of God’s wisdom (Eph 3:10 again). The image at the head of this post incorporates a diagram of our blueprint here at Freedom, but please don’t be drawn into trying to reproduce it where you are. Each ekklesia needs its own.

Its shape will be flexible, continuously determined by the living stones who grow and mature as they outwork their destinies within it, and by living stones added and taken away. Its objective is to bring agreement between heaven and earth, to contribute to the restoration of all things to God’s original intent and purpose.

Flexibility

Locally, we have been transitioning into such a new order ekklesia over a number of years. We are forerunners, and even if we are not a perfect example, at least we are evidence that it is possible. Over the years we have produced several different, updated diagrams representing our blueprint, of which the one given here is just the latest, 2017 version. Does that mean that the blueprint has changed? I do not think so, rather it is that God has revealed (and that we have become aware of) different aspects of it over time. When I look back to our beginnings in 1994 and the revelation of Isaiah 61, a foundational scripture for us, my understanding of that now is totally different to what I understood then. The text is still the same, but God has progressively deepened and expanded the revelation of it which we have been able to receive; my perception of it has changed and so, I am sure, has everyone else’s in the ekklesia. Therefore we are not now doing exactly the same things we were doing in 1994, but we are still outworking that same scripture as we now interpret and express it.

We did have a saying, back in those early days: ‘constant change is here to stay’. Little did we know how true (or how important) that was! The structure of our ekklesia is flexible, and it is the people who are part of it who determine what it will look like at any given moment. For example, our seven mountains: who was it who got the blueprints for what those seven mountains were? It was not me; it was not the bench of three; we just had the revelation that we had seven mountains. It was the people who heard the call of God to those mountains, and they continue to determine what those mountains look like. And that flexibility is essential to the continuing growth and development of the mountains, because we will find seven sub-mountains of each, again with different people determining what those are called and what they look like, finding their place as living stones and outworking their destiny in it.

So although we have an overall blueprint which says ‘we are an ekklesia and we will be part of a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven’, the actual form it takes will be totally determined by those who are called to embrace it. And in ten years’ time, when new people have come along, embraced the vision and received revelation themselves, certainly they will see and express something new, and the shape of Freedom Church will look different then to what it is now.

God always requires a new wineskin for new wine, but it is a constantly refurbished one, not something that did not exist before. God will carry on progressively releasing new wine of revelation, and the wineskin of the ekklesia has to remain flexible and be continually renewed if it is to receive it. We must never become rigid and set in our ways.

So whatever we are doing now, I can guarantee that down the line we will be doing something different, because we will have received fresh revelation from God for that season. That is why the concept of being like the sons of Issachar is important: understanding that God operates according to times and seasons, and in each season we need to know what God is calling us to do and to receive the necessary provision from Him to accomplish it.

Angelic engagement

An ekklesia of gathered people will live under an open heaven with angelic engagement. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending at a place he called ‘Bethel’, saying it was a house of God and a gateway of heaven. Individually and corporately we are all ‘Bethels’ into the earth.

Each of us is always a representative or ambassador of the ekklesia 24/7, not only when we are meeting physically in the same location. We do not ‘go to church’, we are church. Our whole lives are an expression of being a house of God, an ekklesia. But when we do come together, that is multiplied exponentially. We need to understand what it is to be built together as living stones, joined in love to fulfil God’s purpose.

Shadow

An ekklesia both individually and corporately is a shadow of what is established in heaven. You have to have something with a light shining on it to produce a shadow on the far side of it. So we must be in heaven in order to cast a shadow on the earth. If we do not live in heaven there can be no shadow on the earth.

I used to go into heaven, try to produce a shadow on the earth, and then come back out of heaven and occupy that shadow. The trouble was that the shadow no longer existed because I was not in heaven any more. That is why we have to learn to live in dual realms of heaven and earth at the same time; things on the earth will change dramatically when we do.

Embassy of heaven

Here, we are developing into a resource for the local community as we expand our work and influence through Freedom Community Alliance. I believe that eventually every ekklesia will be a city of refuge, an embassy of heaven, either in itself or as part of something larger in its city, area or region. That will be a full reflection of heaven’s government, with the mountain of the house of the Lord raised up above all the other mountains as we are an expression of God’s household, God’s kingdom, God’s authority on the earth. All the nations will run to it.

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234. Revolution of Love

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

Turning the law on its head

Whenever God does something new, it challenges what already exists, because we are so familiar with the old ways of thinking and doing things.

When Jesus came defying all the religious norms, He was rejected by the religious people and institutions of His time. He brought a radical new perspective, completely reinterpreting Old Testament scripture and revealing the truth behind it. He said things like “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath”, turning the external law on its head, making it into something that was to be used for people rather than to control or restrict them. Religion is all about keeping people restricted and under control, so this was never going to go down well with the religious elite. They quickly decided to do away with Him because they realised that the future of the whole religious system they depended on was under threat.

In the Sermon on the Mount, again and again He said “You have heard that it was said… but I say to you…”, shifting the focus from external religious observance to what really goes on in our hearts. True, He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, He came to fulfil them – but in a totally unexpected way, in the context of relationship – love – rather than in legalism and religious duty. For religious people, brought up to keep every little rule and regulation, to be told that the most important thing was to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength cut to the heart of everything they had ever known.

His new values and new ideals of the kingdom challenged all those external legalistic perspectives. This was a revolution of love, where the King came to serve and not be served, demonstrating an entirely new model of leadership and authority which had nothing to do with hierarchy and control.

Jesus gave the Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law every opportunity to lay their preconceived notions aside and follow Him, yet most of them could not get past being offended and threatened by His demolition of the foundations of their world. Ultimately, those religious structures were swept away in AD70, and those who were determined to defend them met with a violent end at the hands of the Roman army. It cost them their lives, whilst those who had embraced the new and become disciples heeded Jesus’ warning and left the city.

New wineskins for new wine

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved (Matt 9:16-17).

The old order was coming to an end. There was to be something new, something different from the old religious ritual of bringing sacrifices into the Temple. This issue of new wineskins for new wine is one we have touched on before and need to be continually aware of because in the religious mindset there is a deep-seated tendency to revert to the old wineskin.

The Old Covenant wineskin was one temple, in one city, in one nation; one king, one earthly priesthood from one tribe (Levites) and one High Priest from one family (Aaron’s).

Such a mediatorial system prevents people accessing God for themselves: only the priests could enter the tabernacle and only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year. It encourages a ‘top-down’ model of leadership which is the exact opposite of Jesus’ own servant-hearted example. This is still operating today wherever we see division into clergy and laity, and in a more subtle form where family members inherit religious positions from generation to generation. If people are artificially restricted, it will hinder them from fulfilling their destiny.

David’s tabernacle

One person in the Old Testament caught a glimpse of the new, and as a forerunner he adopted it ahead of time, at least for a while. In David’s tabernacle there was open access to the arc of the covenant and the Presence of God in worship, and when you read what they did in those days it is an amazing thing when you consider what the Law prescribed. I have never really understood how they could go back to putting God in a box – perhaps it is proof of the strength of that religious mindset again – but the fact is, they soon reverted to the cycle of sacrifice and ritual in a brand new temple.

Heavenly royal priests

In the new covenant, we are all heavenly royal priests. Every individual one of us is a new wineskin, a house of God and a gateway of heaven. We operate from heaven, and we are the nation, city and temple. God is in us and we are in Him. In the old covenant the Holy Spirit came upon prophets, priests and kings but now He dwells within us. We all have access as priests of the heavenly order of Melchizedek, not of an earthly Aaronic order: when the old covenant was made obsolete all the former priestly functions and roles came to an end with it.

Each of us has a destiny, an earthly and a heavenly outworking of God’s kingdom and His government. Every one of us is a reflection of the four faces of God, the kingly, prophetic, priestly and apostolic, expressed and outworked in the proportions appropriate to fulfilling that destiny.

A heavenly blueprint

We are a new wineskin in a corporate sense too. Individuals can come together around a heavenly blueprint as living stones, being built up together on a foundation that reflects heaven’s government: foundational servant leadership which releases people into their destiny rather than imposing mediatorial coverings, restricting access to God and to the realms of heaven.

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the capstone (Eph 2:20).

Ekklesia

“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church [ekklesia]; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:18-19).

I increasingly use the Greek word ‘ekklesia’ because the English word ‘church’ carries so much baggage in our thinking. The structures and institutions of what is known as ‘church’ are mainly man-made constructions based on old wineskins. They tend to look like the old covenant rather than the new. And this is not just a side-swipe at established denominations and streams – even in independent churches like Freedom we have done the same in the past: none of us knew any better.

Today Jesus is building His ekklesia with living stones of all shapes and sizes. Therefore all local ekklesias will be different, depending on the living stones built into it using the blueprint God gives. We cannot produce a formula or a template which we just duplicate. In the next post we will look at the characteristics of a new order ekklesia, but for now let’s just agree on this: anything which does not have a foundation which is a reflection of what is in heaven is an old wineskin.

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231. Meet the Real God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

New for old

God is always doing new things.

Please understand that, as we said before, He is always the same, faithful and full of lovingkindness, and He has never changed. But when we engage Him intimately, He reveals Himself in continually new, surprising and sometimes even shocking ways.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you”
(Isa 42:9).

“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it,
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert”
(Isa 43:18-19).

God is revealing new things in our day, yet often we try to cling on to what is old, comfortable and familiar, just like the children of Israel did in the wilderness. Old forms of church wineskin, church government, ministry, prayer, evangelism, doctrine and theology are all being challenged by new, fresh revelation of truth.

Have you ever stopped to question how much of what we believe is because we have always believed it, based on what someone else has taught us, or from a religious construct, doctrine or theology? How much is derived from or influenced by our particular culture and society? And finally, how much is actually from revelation, coming out of our direct personal experience of relationship with God Himself? In short, how much are we ‘leaning to our own understanding’?

The Joshua Generation are forerunners of the new. We are finding a new level of experiential relationship with God, a new level of communication with Him, new ability to hear and see what He reveals. We are finding out what it means to have the mind of Christ!

God is calling us to let go of the old and embrace the new: new mindsets and new paradigms, new worldviews. We must not be surprised if we encounter great resistance to change, and not only from the quarters we might expect it. Certainly some people in the old established churches will oppose what God is doing, but the greater resistance will likely come from more recent moves of God which have settled into maintenance mode.

Deeply ingrained

Even within ourselves, we may struggle to overcome the comfortable inertia of wanting to keep things the way they are. We experienced some of this within the church here: for a while the old pastoral form of church government steadfastly opposed and resisted the new heavenly apostolic order. We discovered just how deeply some of these things are ingrained into our thinking and practice. But eventually we made an individual and corporate decision to step into the new.

“… The dynamic of our strategy is revealed in God’s ability to disengage mindsets and perceptions that have held people captive in pseudo fortresses for centuries! Every lofty idea and argument positioned against the knowledge of God is cast down and exposed to be a mere invention of our own imagination” (2 Cor 10:5-6 Mirror Bible).

God has begun challenging the very pillars of our minds. We find ourselves in a time of transition, of uncertainty and change, in which we cannot be sure of anything we thought we knew. He has even told us,

“You have been invited to know the real Me, so that you can be forerunners of the glory presence”.

If He is inviting us to get to know the real God, what God did we think we knew? Is it possible that we have been seeing and presenting a false image of Him all this time? If so, we have only been introducing new believers to the same false image we have been worshipping. And if the world has rejected that image of God (and often, it has), then what might happen when we present the true nature of God, when we ‘show and tell’ what He is really like?

We need to meet Him and experience Him for ourselves. Then what we are offering people will not be some theoretical, theological perspective and doctrine, but a real relationship with a living God. And that is what the world needs; like us it needs to meet the real God, not the image that has been painted of Him up to now.

Seen Me, seen the Father

Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.

“Jesus is the crescendo of God’s conversation; he gives context and content to the authentic thought. Everything that God had in mind for mankind is voiced in him. Jesus is God’s language. He is the radiant and flawless expression of the person and intent of God. He mirrors God’s character and exhibits his every attribute in human form. He is the voice of God announcing our redeemed innocence. This voice is the dynamic that sustains the entire cosmos. He is the force of the universe upholding everything that exists as the executive authority of God, enthroned in the boundless measure of his majesty” (Heb 1:3 Mirror Bible).

He declared, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. As Mirror Bible translator Francois Du Toit says, “the best translation would always be the incarnation”. So Jesus has to be the lens through which we both see and project what God is really like.

Transformation

As ‘forerunners of the glory presence’, we must get to know that presence by our own experience. The glory is the glory of the true God, not some dim, fractured, distorted image of Him. The principle is that we will be transformed into what we behold: if we see God as angry and vengeful, looking for every opportunity to pounce on us and strike us down when we get out of line, then we will display the same traits ourselves. So even as we look to unmask what Brad Jersak calls ‘the toxic representations of God’ so prevalent in the traditional church (and therefore in secular western society), we have to be careful to operate in love towards those we enter into discussion with. We can only do this if we are beholding the real God. The leaven of the Pharisees and Herod is still working its way through the lump: religious and political spirits love dispute. By seeing and revealing the truth and operating in love we can help people to engage God themselves rather than feeling they have to engage in argument.

When Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, there was first of all a time of consecration. Alongside new experiences, new thinking and new levels and patterns of authority, we must display new levels of openness, honesty, sincerity, honour, respect and commitment.

Sacred cows

The old, the comfortable and the familiar have to be left behind when God brings us into a new day. If we are to receive all that God has for us we will need to let go of those old familiar ways because they will no longer be effective. Two and a half tribes elected to forego their inheritance in the Promised Land. We are not to be tethered to the past: old ways must not become idols we will not abandon.

So what are your pet doctrines, ideologies, methods and other sacred cows? Are you willing to meet God as He really is and ask Him to expose, remove and replace them?

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206. God’s Eternal Purpose

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

Our destiny is to have access to heaven, where the Father is, and to have relationship with Him.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).

We are to be fellow-citizens with all those who have gone before us, that cloud of witnesses in heaven. Like them, we are citizens of heaven, but we are also ambassadors of heaven, representing heaven here on the earth.

Both corporately and individually we are a temple of God’s presence, with the Presence of God dwelling in and among us.

In this generation

…which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit (Eph 3:5).

God is revealing a heavenly blueprint to apostles and prophets in this generation so that a reflection of heaven can be established on the earth. That is what we at Freedom are called to do (it is why we are an apostolic resource centre: we are to bring that heavenly blueprint into people’s hearts and lives on earth), but this is not only for us – reflecting heaven is what all God’s people are called to do.

…and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph 3:9-11).

Manifold wisdom

multicoloured jewel
“The manifold wisdom of God is like a multi-faceted, multi-coloured gem.”

The manifold wisdom of God is like a multi-faceted, multi-coloured gem, which we will spend eternity looking into without ever beginning to grasp its fullness. But it is our role to represent that manifold wisdom in creation and bring the heavenly places, the atmosphere of the earth, back into order. We are to manifest God’s power, God’s wisdom, God’s glory in these realms: that has always been His intention, His ‘eternal purpose’.

He is giving us an opportunity in this generation to be involved in something which sums up all the ages, which brings everything to a conclusion and sees Jesus return.

Unity

I… implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3).

We are called to demonstrate heaven on earth, to walk in a manner worthy of our destiny: one heart, one mind, one purpose. If relational, corporate unity was easy, Paul would not be making such a big deal of it. We rub each other up the wrong way, and we cause each other problems, but God is calling us to work it out with each other in relationship. And sometimes, as our friend Mike Bryant is fond of saying, we just have to get over ourselves.

Jesus described it as being gentle and humble in heart, just as He demonstrated (see Matt 11:28). True humility is accepting our identity, accepting our calling and our destiny, not being fearful, and working it all out in our daily lives for the benefit of the world around us.

Gift

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Eph 4:7).

Every one of us has been given grace: the divine ability to outwork who He called us to be. No-one is left out of that. Each person is able to do what Christ has called us to do. We are all individually called to play our part.

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; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11-13).

Those ministries are there to equip us to fulfil our destinies (not to rule over or lord it over us). We need to grow and become who we are supposed to be as sons of God, and as we individually come to maturity, so the church will come to maturity. We are to be like Him,  conformed to His image, to the ‘measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ’.

Grow up

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph 4:15-16).

Those joints are our relationships, our connections in the kingdom, in the Spirit. If one of us does not fulfil our destiny and our calling, then we are lacking something. It is like someone who is missing a body part: they can find ways of getting around their disability, sometimes in quite inspirational fashion, but it is not ideal. When we all do our bit, the body will function properly. And each church, each congregation or ekklesia, has a destiny of their own to fulfil, and a redemptive gift to work out.

…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) (Eph 5:8-9).

Jesus was the light of the world; but now He is calling us to be the light of the world. There is a glorified, shining light within us which we can manifest (something which most of us have never realised but are beginning to reach for in these days). We cannot hide that light, it must shine out of us.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:15-17).

We do not have time to waste. God wants us to use out time carefully to outwork His will.

God’s ultimate purpose

His ultimate purpose is…

…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:27).

When I look around (or in a mirror) there are a few spots, a few wrinkles! We are a work in progress, in a process which is ongoing. God still has work to do to get us the way He wants us, both individually and corporately.

He wants to bring us to a place of maturity where we know who we are. As our friend Lindy Strong says, ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about becoming who God created you to be.’

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203. Manifesto of Love

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

It has always been God’s intention for this material universe to reflect His heavenly, spiritual, supernatural kingdom:

Pray, then, in this way… ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt 6: 9-10).

And we are citizens of that heavenly kingdom.

Exact representation

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:3).

Jesus is the exact representation of God and we are ambassadors of Jesus, conformed to His image (see Rom 8:29).

  • He upholds by words of power
  • He sits on a of throne of authority
  • His identity is as a son
  • His throne has a sceptre of authority
  • He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness

Ambassadors have an honoured position, which carries responsibility. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father”. Make no mistake, the world sees us as personal representatives of Jesus Christ in every situation. People will base their opinion of God on what they see in us.

Words and deeds

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart (Matt. 12:34).

Our speech should mark us out as different. If we listen to what is coming out of our mouth, day by day, week by week, we will see what fills our heart. We want our hearts to be filled with God, with His word, His truth and His life, so that when we speak, we speak words of truth and life. By what we say, people should be able to realise that we are followers of Christ. Our words should come with authority and resonate with righteousness.

Words can be extremely powerful: God created (and sustains) the whole universe with words. But speaking the words of God is not enough: our deeds and our words much match up, demonstrating the kingdom as Jesus did.

For our [preaching of the] glad tidings (the Gospel) came to you not only in word, but also in [its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]. You know what kind of men we proved [ourselves] to be among you for your good (1 Thess 1:5 AMP).

This may involve more than just meeting people’s spiritual needs. Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, and He did so supernaturally. We need to learn to supernaturally meet people’s physical needs as well.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

Demonstrate love

As ambassadors, we are representatives of another culture, another way of life. We must function as servants or stewards, faithfully representing our country (heaven), practising hospitality, courtesy and graciousness.

We will demonstrate love to one another, because God is love.

Since Jesus, our Lord and Teacher, washed his disciples’ feet, we also ought to wash one another’s feet.

We will be devoted to one another in brotherly love; giving preference to one another in honour; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practising hospitality. We will bless those who persecute us; bless and not curse.

We will rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We will be of the same mind toward one another; not haughty in mind, but associating with the lowly, and not wise in our own estimation. We will never pay back evil for evil to anyone, and will respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on us, we will be at peace with all men.

We will  pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one anotheraccepting one another just as Christ also accepted us, to the glory of Godso that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

We will not judge one another any more, and will not put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.

We will put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one anotherbeing kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven uswith all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.

We will maintain the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose, doing nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regarding one another as more important than ourselvesWe will encourage one another and build up one anotherlive in peace with one another, and see that no one repays another with evil for evil, but that we always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as we see the day drawing near.

We will confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another so that we may be healed, because the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. As we walk in the Light, as God Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Above all, we will keep fervent in our love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins, being hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, we will employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

For we were called to freedom, and we will not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love we will serve one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfilling the law of Christ.

That is the manifesto of love right there. If we truly lived that way, the world could not help but take notice.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13: 34-35).

Let us be transformed from the inside out, and become faithful ambassadors of Christ, seeking to reconcile all men to God, embodying the message of Good News which we carry; bringing heaven to earth.

Note: If you hover over each phrase in the ‘manifesto’ above, you’ll see a link to the Bible reference for that statement.

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76. A Generation Of Forerunners

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott –

As we saw last time, God will have His way: His will is going to be done, and our choice is whether we want to be part of it or not. All the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.

The Moses generation

Moses’ generation came to the borders of the land… and chose not to go in. As a result, God told them, “your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb… and Joshua” (Num 14:29-30).

Those aged 20 years and up were responsible. There were a whole lot of people under the age of 20 who wandered round in the wilderness with their elders; but when their time came to make a choice, they chose to embrace their destiny. God is calling that people forth today. Caleb and Joshua were of the older generation; but how they lived, how they believed, how they acted, what they did – that was what set them apart from their contemporaries and inspired the younger generation. They are a key to understanding what it takes to inherit, what it takes to become a Joshua generation.

A billion labourers

The Moses generation failed to receive their inheritance, and died in the wilderness. The Joshua generation, I believe, are going to equip a harvest of a billion labourers in the supernatural. I say ‘in the supernatural’ because we cannot succeed by natural means in all that lies in store for us; it is going to have to be achieved by supernatural means, and by a people equipped to operate in the fullness of God’s kingdom power.

That is why we have to take back ground that has been given to the enemy. Occult and New Age people are operating in spiritual power and doing things most of the church would not begin to know how to do, but they are occupying ground in the counterfeit that we should be ruling in the authentic if only we were operating in the true power of God.

We need to stand up and be counted. We need to take back that territory, in the face of intense opposition (and most of that opposition will come from within the church). If we are to see this next generation raised up, we need to begin to operate in the realm of the supernatural beyond what any of us have experienced so far. We have to make ourselves ready for a whole new revelation of the supernatural, and when we are ready God will lead us into it.

We need to equip a generation who will see Jesus return. To see a final harvest in which everybody who is going to be saved will be saved. The Joshua generation will be forerunners who have spied out the land. Many of us have already been forerunners. We have experienced a foretaste of some of the things which are going to take place. We have glimpsed it. In our spirit and in our heart we know there is more. We have been hungry for more, some of us have been that way all our lives. And there are more forerunner experiences still to come. It will be like spying out the land. We will not yet have received the complete fulfilment of all that God intends, but we will have glimpses of it, get a taste for it, begin to realise what it is going to be like.

Crossing the Jordan

The Church is crossing the Jordan, and it has been happening for a while. I look back into the eighties and I can see the beginnings of it. I remember some of the things that were prophesied then (and people didn’t really know what they were prophesying): about Joel’s army; a whole different breed; a nameless, faceless army of God’s people who were going to be raised up; no superstars, just ordinary people, operating in the supernatural power of God. They were prophesying some of the very things we are now beginning to see take place.

This generation has been entering in over that whole period of time, but we have not progressed far beyond the other side of the Jordan. The church is still at that place called Gilgal. For Israel that was where the reproach of the past was removed, where they were all circumcised again, where they took the Passover again: the things which were necessary for them to do as preparation to going in to fight the giants and take the whole land. I believe that this is where the church is in these days, days of preparation.

We have experienced the Wine, Fire and Wind of God, but there is more coming. We have to be able to lead and equip the Jesus generation to possess – the Hebrew word means ‘to inherit by seizing, dispossessing, and become heirs of’ – the land of promise. This is about the violent taking the kingdom by force. The Joshua generation is a warrior generation who will fight on behalf of others and bring them into the land. They will bring God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven: fulfilling Adam’s mandate in both realms. They will rule in the spirit realm and influence in the natural realm, to see God’s glory fill the earth (Num 14:21).

The Joshua generation will experience the land for themselves, but will also equip others to be able to live in the Promised Land and to fully possess it. It will mean living in a completely different dimension in terms of the supernatural.

We are all called to enter: some of us are called to go before, and to equip, but all of us are called to enter. Or you can choose to be like those who turned down God’s invitation and died in the wilderness. Everyone has that choice, but God is inviting people to enter in. Even in Joshua’s day, there were people who crossed the Jordan, were part of fighting the battles, and yet they chose to go back and live on the other side. Two and a half tribes, or nearly a quarter of them.

There are some ministries who have been forerunner ministries, who have been in the forefront of what God is doing, but who will choose to go back, and as a result will miss out on the fullness of their inheritance. I do not want to be one of those. I want to be part of a generation who enter in, possess, and enjoy the land; and who equip others to come in and do the same.

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62. Now You Are The People Of God

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are continuing to look at Matthew 24, and seeking to let the Bible interpret itself rather than seeing it through our own filters, or imposing a particular set of doctrines upon it. If you are new to this blog you might want to skip back a few posts to see where we have come from.

In the sky

Today we have reached Matt 24:30, “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory”.

Again, this is not talking about the end of the world: this is about Jesus coming in authority judgement. It is about the destruction of Jerusalem. The end of the Old Covenant system had come because the New Covenant had been established.

All this language is very symbolic, and ‘in the sky’ is really a poor translation. It does not mean that a sign will appear in the sky. What it is saying is: the sign that the kingdom has come is that the Son of Man is in heaven.

Jesus said later said to the Pharisees and to the High Priest, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:64).

So He told those who were alive at that time that they would see it.

This is the prophetic fulfilment of what Daniel saw: Jesus coming at His ascension, His blood being presented on the mercy seat in heaven and receiving the kingdom from the Father.

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).

Mark 16:19 tells us, “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”. Do you see how this is all the same language? It is talking about the end of the Old Covenant system, and the beginning of the New. We have to prepare for kingdom dominion.

angel-4928_640Messengers

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other  (Matt 24:31).

The Greek word ‘angellos’ means ‘messenger’, and the trumpet is symbolic of the proclamation of the gospel: ‘Behold, I send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matt 11:10). ‘Gather’ is the word ‘synagogue’: it speaks of what church was to do, being gathered as part of God’s people.

Misunderstanding arises if we take statements in isolation rather than allowing the Word to interpret itself.

The people of God are revealed. We are now the true nation, city and temple. The same language continues to be used of us because we are the continuation of the people of God. Some say the church has replaced Israel; but actually the church is the continuation of Israel (the covenant people). We are the same. Jews and Gentiles are now one in Christ; but we do all have to come together in Christ.

One people of God

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (Heb 12:22-23).

The same language is being used here of the New Covenant people as was being used of the Old Covenant people. That’s because it is the same people being described. Abraham himself was ‘looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them’ (Heb 11:10, 16). We have a city prepared for us, the New Jerusalem of which we are part. We are living stones being built into that city and into that temple.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).

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58. Preached To All The Nations

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We have seen how, in the passages leading up to Matthew chapter 24, Jesus was talking about covenant. Specifically, He was warning of the judgments of the Old Covenant which would come upon that generation of unbelieving Israel.

Birth pangs

"Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img 0327" by Ikluft - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img_0327.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img_0327.jpg
San Andreas Fault [“Kluft-photo-Carrizo-Plain-Nov-2007-Img 0327” by Ikluft – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons]
We are taking this verse by verse now, so let’s go on to Matt 24 vv4-8: ‘And Jesus answered and said to them, See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

‘See to it that no-one misleads you’: in this whole passage, Jesus was talking to the church, to those who would be living in Jerusalem and in Israel at the time. They were being warned, so that when they recognised what was happening they could escape out of the city. ‘The end’ is not the end of the world; it is the end of Jerusalem and that Old Covenant system. And when Jesus talks about ‘birth pangs’, what is it that is being born? It is the new; it is the birthing of the church – the new ekklesia of God – in persecution, trouble and pain. The difficulty and pain in the birth of the new was caused by the fact that the old was still around to persecute it.

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name (Matt 24:9). That is exactly what the Jews did in all the cities where the gospel was preached. They stirred up trouble against the church, against Paul and others, wherever they went.

Verses 10-13: At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

There was persecution. Believers did fall away. There were false prophets. Many were misled. Lawlessness increased. People’s love grew cold. All these things took place in that period between AD 30 and AD 70. “But the one who endures to the end…”, that is, who endures until the destruction of that old system, “… will be saved”.

To all the nations

Now comes a verse which has caused a great deal of misunderstanding because, like much of this chapter, it has been taken completely out of its first century context. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt 24:14). Now you are going to tell me that the gospel could not have been preached in the whole world by AD 70, because most of it hadn’t even been discovered yet. My answer to that (and you will know this phrase very well by now) is: let the Bible interpret itself. Let‘s look at some scriptures and see whether this prophecy was fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5). So already, the day the Holy Spirit came to the church at Pentecost, the gospel was preached to people from every nation – and you could quite legitimately say that the end could have come at any time from then on. But God, because He is gracious, left a generation for people to repent. And many priests, and many Pharisees and Sadducees, did indeed repent and become believers.

And there are more scriptures to consider. Look at these:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.” (Rom 10:1-18).

… the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world… (Col 1:5-6) and, the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven (v23).

The Bible says that the gospel was preached all over the world, to all the nations, at that time. That prophecy was fulfilled before AD 70. We are not still waiting for it to happen.

I hope you are catching this. We have been wrongly taught for so long that it can be a stretch for us to lay aside other people’s opinions and actually see what the scriptures say. And next time we will be doing more of the same.

45. Please Do Not Stone Me…

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are still looking at the Prophetic Timetable God showed me, but as part of that I am going to get into a subject now that could take quite a while to cover. We need to look at how we understand prophecy.

Sons of Issachar

Scripture tells us that the Sons of Issachar were people who understood the times, and who also had knowledge of what to do. We have had that prophesied over us here, but it is not only true for us, it is true for anyone who will lay hold of that truth for themselves. If we are to gain understanding from God, so that we know what to do, then we must deal with all that robs us. We need to face up to the fact that God is about to challenge and change things we have in place in our lives, in our thinking and in our understanding, so that we line up with Him.

And He loves to give continual opportunity for people to respond. If you look at the Prophetic Timetable diagram, you can see that although God moves on to the next stage, He carries on doing everything He has already begun, so that people can get on board with it at any time, right up to when Jesus returns.

Understanding the times

Some within the church, and indeed some churches, have still not heard the call to intimacy, to identity, or to sonship. Some have not realised that God is highlighting the stumbling blocks, the lawlessness in the church. Not everyone yet sees that He is in the process of refining and purifying us so that the church can be presented to Jesus as a spotless bride (and no longer what Joan Hunter calls a ‘dalmatian church’ – covered in spots). Some may have seen or heard, but not yet responded.

Knowing what to do

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There is still time, but it is already shorter than it was. If we have received revelation, we need to take action. Are we willing to be that generation of harvesters? Or those who train up that generation of harvesters? A shaking is coming, and when it does, the world’s systems are going to fail, big time. It will be critical that we really do understand what God is doing and that we actually do know what to do. That is not the time to be caught unprepared.

In the next few posts I am going to challenge some of your sacred cows. I am going to call into question some of your deeply held beliefs and the way you have always understood and interpreted scripture. There are doctrines which up to now many of us have simply accepted without question; but which God is now exposing as doctrines of demons.

Please do not stone me, at least not until you have read and considered everything I have to say. I do not say it lightly. It is not my natural inclination to be confrontational. But God has shown me some truths and I cannot escape that I need to share them with you.

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