2. JESUS CHRIST SPIRITUALITY

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Note: It is strongly suggested that you  print off  a complete section for reading through at a  later date than trying to read the content of this website directly off the computer screen.

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So what is understood then by “A Spirituality from Jesus Christ”?

Index to this section:

1. A Biblical Spirituality

2. The Roman Empire

3. The Christian Church Sequence

4. Back to the Future

5. The Historical Influence of Jesus Christ

6. The Newly Emerging Church

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1. A Biblical Spirituality: an Overview of a spirituality from Jesus Christ

A Christian Spirituality is based on what God has revealed through His son Jesus Christ and His Word the Bible. It is based on an everlasting covenant that God initiated when He created man in the beginning. This covenant exemplifies God’s unconditional love for us, His grace and His mercy towards us through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. He has made a way for us to be accepted for who we are and not what we have done. The essence of a Spirituality from Jesus Christ is God coming to us in the human form of Jesus Christ. It isn’t about making us so we can find God or Jesus Christ being another spiritual prophet leading us to God. God wants us to be with Him forever ….. He is passionate about us ….. He comes to us.

A Spirituality from Jesus Christ results from a Biblical Spirituality which begins with the Bible. There is a truth concerning God and the whole of life. It was a ‘True Truth’ communicated by God who sees the whole Cosmos as the large picture plus you and me as part of the detailed small picture. Seeing God is the Creator of all things, God knows the final truth. This truth was communicated by prophets and seers over many years and finally in person in Jesus of Nazareth who was God Himself in human form. These truths were collated in the Bible which consists of sixty six books written by people who didn’t often know each other over 1500 years ++, yet whose writing manifests an amazing unity. In this unity there is even a mathematical sequence which flows from beginning to the end.

The books of the Bible are divided into two sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the story the nation of Israel which predicts the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah came in the person of Jesus of the New Testament as the New Israel. There are some striking parallels like an intricate Biblical clockwork within the bigger Biblical clockwork. This gives us even great confidence in the Word of God as the Word for the Old and New Testament.

Read more on the nature of the Bible  being the Truth of God at this post:

http://www.newearthcommunity.org/?page_id=2205

The Covenant …..  a Biblical Overview: In the Old Covenant of the Old Testament is the New Concealed and in the New Covenant in the New Testament is the Old Revealed … Jeremiah 31: 31 “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.

Download and read the brochure The Covenants Comparisons  by myself in January 2012.

Also see the Blog Site on Christian Spirituality which discusses this theme in more detail through words and photographs.

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THE FOCUS OF JESUS:

The focus of Jesus was on an internal, invisible change of heart and not on an external, visible keeping of certain standards and religious laws. The life He presented was an internal one which flowed out to have external, visible actions ….. especially on how we treated other people. Life is an ‘Inside – Out’ approach and not an ‘Outside – In’ approach. He wanted people to understand that external appearances do not define us as individuals but it is our character.

Jesus’s view of people was radically different to his religious counterparts. His religious counterparts had people graded into a hierarchy of those who within their religious framework of acceptability …. who kept close adherence to the teachings, standards and religious laws that they subscribed to. The organisation  was more  important than the individual.

Jesus didn’t start an organisation but developed relationships with a small core of people. These then multiplied around the then known world into small committed fellowships or house churches. In the New Testament Greek of the New Testament, ‘Church’ is translated from the word ‘ekklesia’ which is simply a gathering or community of relationships who gave value to one another.

Jesus had a very Hebrew view of life which was very wholistic whereby all aspects of life had value to God. There were two parts to the world:

      • An invisible Spiritual Realm

      • A very visible Created realm

It was a very unified worldview.

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SOME FACTS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST:

  • Jesus Christ came along 2000 years ago as a son of Galilean carpenter
  • Galilee was a very lowly backwater
  • He taught only 3 and ½ years as he didn’t start His ministry  till thirty years of age
  • He had twelve unlearned disciples, a very motley bunch …. Two of whom were called the son’s of thunder …. . in fact they were ALL at each others throats
  • One became the treasurer of Jesus’s group and used to thieve money for himself from the common purse and finally sold Jesus to the Jewish leaders for 30 pieces of silver
  • One was very brash and self confident who denied him three times at the end.  It wasn’t a very promising group of men to start a revolution with
  • Jesus never wrote anything down except for a moment of writing a short message in the sand when the woman caught in adultery was brought to him by the Pharisees …. the message was blown away by the next strong wind … not a very permanent record of His teachings
  • He came into a culture that was dominated by the Roman Empire …. a very oppressive regime
  • The culture largely consisted of unlearned peasants and  the Roman  conquerors
  • You either walked everywhere, rode a donkey or horseback or went by sailing ship across the sea if you wanted to get to another country
  • There were no telephones, newspapers, computers, internet, websites or e-mails
  • Jesus was totally concerned with the politics of the heart …. the inner person not the outer person and external issues. He was neither left or right in his politics but very much of the centre. He was seen as the Messiah Jesus. One of the followers of the Messiah Jesus wrote: “ …….. when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (John’s Gospel Chapt. 4 vs. 23, 24).

Before He left us, He prayed for you and I in: John 17:20‘Neither, pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe, on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

‘I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them’

In Jesus’s prayer there are only two kinds of people: those for Him and those against Him. A few points in Jesus’s prayer:

    • That they all may be one: There is only one group …. His followers called from the world ….. not many different followers of all different churches or spiritualities ….. followers of Him alone as the Lord Jesus Christ
    • As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: the degree of togetherness was to be the same degree that Jesus was with His Father = the standard
    • That the world may believe that thou hast sent me: Our degree of unity would result in the world believing in Jesus Christ.

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JESUS’S BASIC TEACHING: The Kingdom of God as a Third Alternative:

Jesus Christ came along 2000 years ago into a very Jewish culture. The Jewish Church in Jesus’s day had everything in a very tight theological and ritualistic box as what was acceptable belief and practice. Anyone in this box was in the Family of God. Anyone not in this box was not in the Family of God. These people had precise beliefs and rituals as to what was acceptable and what was unacceptable. The Christian Church today as a whole is very similar. Jesus Christ came along and preached something that was very different. He preached on a third alternative …. The Kingdom of God.

…. The Teaching of the Kingdom of God was an absurd notion against all the might of The Roman Empire ….

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Jesus set out a basic ground of verbal teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:17- 42), for His new Kingdom Order where he taught His disciples principles like: Message Bible: Luke 6:17- 42:

You’re Blessed 17 -21 Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:

  • You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all.
  • God’s kingdom is there for the finding.
  • You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry.
  • Then you’re ready for the Messianic meal.
  • You’re blessed when the tears flow freely.
  • Joy comes with the morning.

22 -23“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me.

What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like! … for even though they don’t like it, I do and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this.

Give Away Your Life

24 But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get.

25And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.

26“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

27 – 30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

31 – 34“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35 -36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

37 – 38“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”

39 – 40 He quoted a proverb: “‘Can a blind man guide a blind man?’ Wouldn’t they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn’t lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

41 – 42“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you, ‘ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.

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SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS:

  • The focus of Jesus was on an internal, invisible change of heart and not on an external, visible keeping of certain standards and religious laws.
  • The life He presented was an internal one which flowed out to have external, visible actions ….. especially on how we treated other people. Life is an ‘Inside – Out’ approach and not an ‘Outside – In’ approach …. It starts with us being better people on the inside.
  • His whole primary focus was people as one humanity (not by race or gender), not ideas or religious teachings as with the Jewish Religious people of His day.
  • Jesus’s view of people was radically different to his religious contemporaries. His religious counterparts had people graded into a hierarchy of those who within their religious framework of acceptability who kept close adherence to the teachings, standards and religious laws that they subscribed to. This went way beyond the teaching of the Old Testament.
  • He was calling for a new order of living that was countercultural to the prevailing culture of the day. There was a separation between the cultural concern for prosperity, position and power
  • Jesus’s new order was countercultural as to how to treat people:

Count yourself blessed every time:

1. someone cuts you down or throws you out

2. when the tears flow freely

3. when you’re ravenously hungry ie. starving for food

Give Away Your Life. Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.Give without expecting a return. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

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THE RADICAL NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD:

The teaching of the Kingdom of God did not possess strong qualities to take over the world …… but when applied by Jesus followers, actually worked and turned the world upside down when outworked with the preaching of the Good News of His new Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God focus applies in the here and now!! and not when we die or Jesus comes again. That teaching was an absurd notion against all the might of the Roman Empire. The meaning of this Kingdom of God was summarised finally in the Roman cross on which Jesus was crucified at the age of 33 and ½ years ….. for someone who only lived this very short life. The cross had two members: a strong vertical member symbolised the link between God and us and a horizontal member which symbolised us with everyone else linked together.

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See the next post  on:

2.1 Jesus Christ’s Resurrection

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