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The new breed: Redefining the expression of Christianity

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  • The new breed: Redefining the expression of Christianity

    If they were alive, could the first disciples recognize most American Christians as followers of Jesus? Where are these disciples of Jesus who do not settle for typical American Christianity? They they go by many names: “Friends of the Bridegroom”, “The Nazarites”, “The Sons of Thunder”, “The faithful ones”, “The over-comers”, “Vessels of Honor”, and many other names. Mark Anderson, the president of The Call2All simply describes this group as "the New Breed". There are seven characteristics (at the heart level) I want to highlight related to these men and women who will love Jesus unto death:

    Characteristic #1. They know God intimately (through the Word)

    Jesus said in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” Paul cried out in Philippians 3:10-11 “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. This is far more than repenting from sin and turning to Jesus and his righteousness (though this is essential to getting started). I am so thankful that God has led me through that, but there is so much more. When I talk about really knowing God, do I know the why behind Jesus shedding his blood on the cross to remove my sin? Do I really know what brings pleasure to the heart of Jesus according to truth (not how I feel today)? Do I know what causes Jesus heart grief and pain? (Hint: It is not when we as sincere followers of Jesus stumble in brokenness, and then repent and go for it full-force again). Do I know in detail what is in the heart of Jesus regarding the nation of Israel? Do I fully understand how His heart reacts when one of his little ones is exploited for sexual gratification? Do I understand the wisdom of his leadership in leading us through “dark, painful seasons”?

    The apostle John was Jesus’ best friend on the earth. It was John who was able to get the answer on who would betray Him because he leaned into knowing His heart. It was at the cross, Jesus trusted John with his most prized relationships- his family (see John 11:26-27). It is this deep intimate communion and trust with Jesus that is foundational to this new breed.

    Characteristic #2. Identity: They know who they are to God.

    Jesus as a human being personified what this mysterious phrase means. Satan tempted Jesus repeatedly to doubt his identity- “If you are the Son of God…” “If you are the Son of God…”. Satan then brazenly accused the Father's way of getting the kingdom as inferior (through the cross). Satan knew if he could Jesus to doubt his identity and relationship before the Father, he would be able to overcome him. It was out of Jesus knowing who He was as a human being in John 13:1-3 to the Father of Glory that flowed out the ultimate act of humility found in John 13:4-19:36. When the reality of God’s wisdom and tenderness in leadership and His eternal workmanship is made manifest, the redeemed cry out, “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are all your ways King of the Ages” (Revelation 15:3).
    Some of the greatest rewards that Jesus promises over-comers are related to knowing His name and God giving them a new name- speaking of their identity before God as “highly esteemed” for the way they lived on the earth (Revelation 2:17; 3:5 and 3:12). Understanding and rejoicing over our eternal identity before our Father, Bridegroom, King and Righteous Judge is the foundation to walking out extraordinary humility on the earth.

    Characteristic #3: Unstoppable love of God expressed through radical sanctification

    The 3rd characteristic of this “New Breed” will be radical sanctification based on intimacy before God and also having their identity in God. Matthew 5-7 will describe the lifestyle of this company of people as they individually and corporately express their love for Jesus tangibly in words and deeds. This goes far beyond just “staying out of trouble” and avoiding the “big sins” such as financial improriety, immorality, drunkeness, murderous rage, or deliberate deception. Instead of asking “how much sin can I get away with”, this new breed is asking, “how radically can I give myself to expressing whole-hearted love for Jesus (overflowing to other people)”.

    For example, for many of us “The Fear of the LORD” involves being afraid of coming under the judgment of God (bad things happening to us because God’s judgment lands on us). However, this “New Breed” will take “The Fear of the LORD” to a whole new level. Out of deeply abiding in communion with God; they will “fear” doing something that grieves the heart of Jesus- even if there are no immediate negative consequences.
    The result will be a radiant, joy-filled holiness that will inspire those around them. Their acts reflect the kindness and joy of Jesus Himself. Their speech brings forth life and healing in the midst of a world of darkness and pain. God’s commands are not burdensome because they are simply a means to the end of expressing the unstoppable, unquenchable love of God that is flowing through their beings.

    Characteristic #4: Persevering Love: Tested and found true…

    It is easy to be desire to walk out radical righteousness in an easy season of life when all is going well with Jesus and other people. It is a much more difficult thing to walk out radical righteousness because of vibrant love for Jesus over years and then decades. Inevitably, there are a few “big storms” in life along with many little seasons of temptation and trouble. A love relationship by “default” will grow cold unless it is intentionally sustained.
    Song of Songs 5:1-8:4 talk about the seasons of mature testing the Bride goes through. Song of Songs 5:1-10-6:9 describes a season of trouble, persecution and pain. In the midst of the season of pain and trial, these people will stand firm in radical trust even when life does not make sense. They will answer Song of Songs 5:1-9 pain and trouble with Song of Songs 5:10-16 radical expressions of devotion (though it will look still look pathetic in the natural).
    Meanwhile, Song of Songs 6:10-8:4 describes a season of great honor and seductive temptation. Many people who can endure trouble faithfully with Jesus end up getting swept away by the praises of people. As the result, “the fear of man” creeps in resulting in subtle deception, (especially when there are no negative or even positive “outcomes”) and a dulling faith. In both plenty or in famine, the hearts of this new breed will not be moved from radical, unquenchable love for Jesus.

    Characteristic #5: Decisive action based on biblical faith.

    In one word, this characteristic means radical obedience that requires faith. Out of the place of deep intimacy and communion with God, He will speak! The Scriptures give us much general wisdom and knowledge that we absolutely need to know. However scripture also tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith without works is dead. This New Breed will take decisive actions and go “all in” (to use Texas Hold’m terminology) in response to a clear invitation by Jesus to do something that will deeply bring pleasure to His heart. The only thing that will matter to them is whether God was honored or not.

    The few times I have been invited into decisive action through a supernatural encounter with Jesus, I have never regretted it. The first time I did this (a day after coming to know Jesus) regarding the unknown (at that time to me) “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, God responded to my weak act of love and proceeded to “baptize” the entire Bible camp in revival and joy. All of this has flowed out of a sustained deep intimacy and communion with Jesus.

    Characteristic #6- Extraordinary humility before others as Friends of the Bridegroom

    There has been much talk about John the Baptist a lot in preparing the way of the Lord (see #7 below). John the Baptist was anointed from birth and sought God with intense prayer and fasting accompanied by radical holiness. In response to prayer, (God hears our prayers!) God anointed John the Baptist with a message that startled the nation of Israel. Multitudes came out to the middle of no where to hear this man preach about the coming Messiah. However, this characteristic is not about gaining a ministry platform or influence.

    The most radical thing John the Baptist did in John 3:22-36 was he gave up his ministry, his human source of honor, and his financial stream so that all could follow Jesus freely without hindrance. John tells us the reason why in John 3:29-30- He heard the voice of the Bridegroom and his joy was fulfilled. It was this same reality that caused the Apostles to give away their exclusive governmental and economic “powerbase” in Acts 15, freeing the Gentiles to worship in their own cultural expressions, speeding the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations of the earth.

    Without our identity being rooted in Eternity (characteristic #2) we will put our identity in something else. When we are threatened, we end up reacting in self-preservation or in self-conceit. Sadly, history testifies that the previous move of God is usually the one that persecutes the next move of the Holy Spirit. A group of people walking out the first five characteristics over time will likely get a corporate visitation from God. However, it is only this “friends of the Bridegroom reality” that will turn a corporate visitation of God into a place of habitation.

    Characteristic #7- The ultimate ambition: Hastening the return of Jesus

    In the last supper, Jesus inaugurated the New Covenant. We talk about how bread represents the body of Jesus and the cup represents the Blood of the Covenant shed for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26-28). However, in our communion services we don’t typically include Matthew 26:29, I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom”. This is a loaded statement!
    Typically in scripture, wine is symbolic of joy and celebration. Every Jewish wedding had wine symbolizing joy (This is why it was so disastrous to run out of wine in Jesus’ day- see John 2:1-11). Applying what we know of wine to this statement of Jesus, we can infer that Jesus is saying that His joy will not be made full until He can be with us forever in his Father’s kingdom on the earth (Matthew 6:9-10). Other scriptures imply the fullness of Jesus’ joy comes at His 2nd coming to Jerusalem.

    The last characteristic of this “The New Breed” is that their ultimate goal (task-wise) is to fulfill the great commission and welcome Jesus back to the earth. Scripture talks about building a highway of holiness (Isaiah 35) and preparing the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:1-3; 60:10-12). It is also a physical path connecting Egypt, Israel, and Assyria ( Isaiah 19:23-25). Whether they live or die as a witness for Jesus is not a big issue. Their motive is found in the cry of the Moravian missionaries as they sold themselves into slavery: “Give to the Lamb the Reward of His suffering.”

    • threebigrocks
      #12
      threebigrocks commented
      Editing a comment
      After discussion with the author for clarification, please note the edit to the article.

    • markedward
      #13
      markedward commented
      Editing a comment
      Having not read the article in a few days... which portion is the edition?

    • JLM Lives
      #14
      JLM Lives commented
      Editing a comment
      correction

      Just joined: Anyway felt led to comment.
      my feeling is to Trust Jesus. He did it all for me. Gods filter is The Word
      take it through that. If it makes it it's good.
      I appreciate the fourm and hope I can contribute to Gods Glory thank you
      Last edited by JLM Lives; Mar 9 2010, 09:31 PM. Reason: mispelling
    Posting comments is disabled.

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