Tag Archives: Faith working through love

Take Heed How You Hear

“My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt 7:12)

There was a story going round in Christian circles a few years ago about a dream that someone had had, of people sitting at a long table covered in food, but with knives and forks that were too long to actually get the food into their mouths. The solution was simple: they just fed each other. It’s a lovely illustration of how God wants us to live: not for ourselves, but for others. I saw an illustration of this principle operating in the natural world the other day, when I had the pleasure of watching these two spoonbills recently at a nature reserve near Leeds in the UK. Their beaks are too long to preen their own necks, so they preen each other’s.

After teaching the crowds with the parables of the Sower and the revealed light, Jesus says this: “Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” (Luke 8: 18). Immediately after that He illustrates exactly what he meant by that. Luke’s account continues: “Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” (vs 19-21)

The sequence here is not random: He told the parable of the Sower at that moment, following it with the illustration of the revealed light, because He knew in His Spirit what was going to happen next. We can either hear actively or passively. When we hear actively –“with a noble and good heart”- we do the sayings of Jesus and we bear fruit. Choose your metaphor: our talent multiplies; our seed bears fruit; our light shines; the river flows. When we hear passively, like someone who looks in the mirror and turns away (see James 1:24), we bury our talent in the ground, we hide our light under a bushel, our seed has no root or is choked with thorns, our river is silted up. The Greek word “kalos”, translated here as “noble,” has a strong sense of ‘goodness in action.’ One of the top-level Strong’s definitions is “good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends.” A good and noble heart is a heart with integrity; the opposite of the heart of the hypocrites, of whom God says they “draw near to Me with their mouths and honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Matt 15:8). The fruitful heart, the light that shines so others may see it, is the one that willhear the word of God and do it.”

James 1:17 tells us that “All good and perfect gifts come down from the Father of Lights.” I have written about the Father’s waterfall here:  the Father calls us to it so that we can pass on what we have received. This chapter of Luke carries on with a sequence of miracles; illustrations of faith in action beginning with Jesus calming the storm and culminating in the raising of Jairus’s daughter. Our spoons are for sharing. The Gospel is “for babes:” it might not be easy, but it’s simple. Carry your cross and walk after the Spirit who always wants to give life, and don’t walk after the flesh that always wants to hang onto it. We all want to see Jesus, but we stay outside unless we do what He says. And when we do, and those seeds of His take root in a noble and good heart, anything can happen.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us  commandment.” (1 John 3:18-23)

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4: 17-18)


“Perfect love casts out fear.” This is a Bible truth that we have all turned to, been turned to, or turned others to at different times and points of need in our walk with God. If certain scriptures are familiar “meeting rooms” that we all know and visit on many occasions, this has to be one of them. But I think that there is an aspect of this room, a décor, that maybe we don’t often see, and that I would like to spend a bit of time looking at and appreciating here, and it’s this: the perfect love that casts out fear is not just the love that has been poured in, but the love that we pour out in obedience to God’s command. It’s the love that we walk in. Output, as well as input. And not only does it have implications for our emotional and spiritual well-being, but also for the effectiveness of our faith. We know that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:5), but we have to walk in love for it to be manifested: it is only when that love is manifested that we do actually love “in deed and in truth” and not just in word and tongue, as John so succinctly puts it. That is when “As He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17)


Walking in Love

God’s desire is for His love to be manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We love the Lord and His love is revealed in us when we obey His commands; and John tells us clearly that when we obey Him we know that we abide in Him: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him.“  (1 John 3:24) Moreover, “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” (1 John 2:5) When we keep God’s word His love is perfected in us, and so we have no fear of condemnation, because perfect love casts out fear. John tells us that fear involves punishment ( “kolasis:” correction, punishment, penalty. NKJV above: “torment”), so to put this simply we know we aren’t going to get punished because we know we are being obedient. While it’s the input of God’s grace through the cross that brings us to salvation, it’s what comes out of us when we express that love in obedience to His word that casts out fear. And when we walk in the manifestation of this love, we will receive whatever we ask, because we are asking in the full assurance that we know we are walking in His purpose. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5: 14-15)

Much of 1 John is a reprise of what Jesus taught and John recorded towards the end of his gospel (see John 15): we love Jesus and remain in Him when we keep His word; when we do this we will do even “greater things” than what He accomplished during His earthly ministry; when we remain in Him we will “bear much fruit,” but without Him we can do nothing.

All the time we walk along the path of love, we walk in ‘the works which are prepared for us beforehand’ (Ephesians 2:10), and we will receive whatever we request to accomplish them because we won’t be asking for anything that is not on our path. If there is a tree in front of me and I need the fruit that hangs from a branch that I can’t reach, God will give me a ladder by the power of His Spirit, because I am keeping His commandment and abiding in His purpose. “Now he who keeps his commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.“ (1 John 3: 24). However if there is another tree, or even a whole orchard, beckoning from somewhere over the fields and off my path, God will not give me the means to reach it. And if I do, stubbornly, manage to beat a path there myself I will find that the fruit is either under-ripe, inaccessible, or rotten.

The Lie of Condemnation

The devil is always working to thwart the purposes of God in Christ, and we are called to achieve them by walking in faith and love. We are fighting a war, and these are the battle lines. The devil will use the world and the flesh to try and tempt us away from the path because these are the domains under his sway; and he will undermine our faith by telling us that we are not walking in love, because if our hearts are under condemnation we will not have the assurance of faith that God will answer our prayers. Faith only works through love, so if he can weaken our resolve to love and convince us that our love isn’t perfect enough, our faith is undermined and our prayers ineffective. Bringing us under the lie of condemnation is one of the enemy’s main strategies.

But “God is greater than our hearts”: He knows that we love Him, and He knows that He has called us according to His purpose. Even though the heart of the old man is “deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9), the heart of the new man – the new, soft heart of flesh – has God’s  law written upon it  (Jer 31:33) and is therefore always directed towards fulfilling His purposes. And when we miss this direction because we fall into the ways of the old heart, we know, and God knows, that if anyone sins “we have an Advocate with the FatherJesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1).

The commandment that we are given, which as John says “is not burdensome” (1 John 5:3), is to love one another and to believe in Jesus. These two are like the twin poles of an electric current: out of our born-again, righteous heart we walk “after the Spirit and not after the flesh,” (Gal 5:16) loving one another with the resources that the Holy Spirit has poured into our hearts. And when we fail to obey this part of God’s commandment – which we will do, regularly – we obey the other part, which is to believe in the power of the blood of Jesus and the Grace of God to forgive our sin. So perfect love – the love that is perfected in us by our obedience to God’s commandments – casts out fear, because There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) Free of condemnation, we can walk in faith that our prayers will be answered.

Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace

To complete the picture of the electric current, there is (in the UK anyway) a third pin on an electric plug, and that is the earth. We can neither hear what Jesus is asking us to do, nor receive His forgiveness for not doing it, unless we stay close to Him all the time. So we need to always be earthed in the presence of God for the twin poles of our obedience and His forgiveness to be active in our lives. When they are, God’s current flows and the power of the Holy Spirit moves among us, and those “greater things” become possible.

So brothers and sisters, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Heb 4:16) knowing that in this place the devil ‘has nothing in us’ (see  John 14:30). When we can ask, free of fear and in full assurance of faith, for whatever it is that we need to see His Kingdom furthered, His love will be manifested among us and the name of Jesus will be glorified on the earth.

Faith working through Love

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6) And then in chapter 6 of the same letter he writes “for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15) First he says “In Christ, it’s not about the law, it’s about Grace; and Grace is only about one thing, and that is faith working through love. Then he writes, “In Christ, it’s not about the law, it’s about Grace; and Grace is only about one thing, and that is a new creation.” So by this logic, faith working through love and the new creation are synonymous. We are born again for one thing only, and that is for faith working through love.

If this is the case, what is the work of faith? James famously writes “for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.“ (James 2:26) When Paul writes to his friend Philemon he talks about faith becoming “effective:”

“I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you by Christ Jesus. For we have great joy and consolation in your love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.” (Philemon 4 – 7)

The Greek word translated as effective – energes – is only used in the new Testament for supernatural power. It’s the same used same word translated as “powerful” – or in some translations “active”- in Hebrews 4:12: “for the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword.“ Effective faith is active and imbued with power. It is Faith with Works; not dead but very much alive.

As the writer to the Hebrews says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11: 1-3), and Paul writes to the Romans: “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” (Romans 4:17) God creates by the power of his word. He knows that what he speaks will bring about the fulfilment of his will, and will call into reality things which did not exist before his word was spoken. His creative word carries His life. It “framed the worlds“ and “gives life to the dead.“ The words of Jesus are “spirit and life.“ It is God’s own faith that knows for a certainty that what He says will happen: that His word “will not fall to the ground void.”

So how do we receive this faith ourselves? The answer, as Paul writes in Romans 10:17 is this: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” When we hear God speak His  word into our hearts we know it carries his creative life giving power. If we want to move mountains, we need God’s faith.

“So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. (literally “the faith of God”) For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  (Mark 11:22-23)

If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20)

Paul is clear about the source of effective faith when he writes to Timothy: “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.“ (One Timothy 1:14)

Faith is in Jesus, as indeed is love. When we exercise effective faith we are drawing on the faith carried by Christ in us, not on something we have generated ourselves. If you have God’s faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. This faith is activated by a word from God brought by the Holy Spirit, and it operates in the spiritual realm. Human faith is activated by the soul and operates in the realm of flesh. You can have human faith the size of a mountain, and it won’t even move a mustard seed. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!“ is the cry of a heart  that recognises the difference between the two.

What else do we need to operate in effective faith? Paul tells Philemon that faith becomes effective “by the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you by Christ Jesus.” The word translated as “acknowledgement” means precise and correct knowledge. The church is “the Fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Eph 1:23)  Effective faith is borne out of “precise and correct knowledge” of every good thing that the Holy Spirit – the  Spirit of Jesus – has put into us: the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Unless we are operating in the fullness of the Holy Spirit we are unlikely to share our faith effectively – ie, with power. And since any one gift of the Holy Spirit might carry a mustard seed, we need to be open to them all.

Effective Faith takes us  from death to life, from flesh to Spirit, from human effort to divine enabling, from standing in the boat to walking on the water. We cannot know it unless we are filled with the Spirit who brings it. “All you who are thirsty, come to the waters!” (Isaiah 55:1)

When spirit-filled faith abounds in the Church, things start to happen…And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith  and power, (in other words, effective faith) did great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6: 5-8)

HOWEVER…

To be filled the fullness of God we need to be empty of the emptiness of self. The works of faith go hand in hand with the labour of love. “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.“

The Prophet Bob Jones, who died in 2014, was known for the remarkable accuracy of his prophetic ministry. He is also known for the fact that he temporarily died many years previously, in 1977, after after a short illness. When he reached Heaven he heard Jesus asking everyone the same question. It was this: “Did you learn to love?“ Bob Jones obviously hadn’t, because he came back to this life, and from that time on he was known not only for his gifting and the power of his ministry, but the depth of the love that he showed to others. He was known as “the prophet of love.“ However powerful our ministry, without love we are nothing

Love doesn’t come naturally: it is the result of a choice. At every interaction we can choose love or we can choose self. We can choose life or death. We can walk by faith, or we can walk by sight. We can walk according to the spirit, or according to the flesh; we can live out of the new creation or out of the old. We were born again so that we can learn how to love and bring Gods love into this world. To do this we need to “be renewed in the spirit of (our) mind “(Ephesians 4:23); we need to “put off concerning your former contact, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,“ (Eph 4:22) and “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:24)  The new man is a supernatural being. Just like faith, love is found in Jesus, so to walk in love we need to walk in Him. To do so we need to die to self. And dying to self all day is hard! That’s why it’s a labour of love. Actually without the Lord’s help it isn’t just hard; it’s impossible. As Paul says: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

If we keep close to Jesus and keep in mind why He endured His cross, He will help us with our own. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:4)

Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before him.“ What was His joy? Sit down for this: it was you and me! And the rest of the Church, of course. Paul writes to the Ephesians “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5: 25-27) He has a vision for His bride and He is working on bringing her to the potential that He sees. We need to let His love that is within us show us His vision for each other so that He can work for us to bring others to their potential in him.

We are given a wonderful example of how the Holy Spirit gave one man revelation of his vision for another brother. A young man in the early church was clearly on fire for God, but he was not accepted by the other disciples. Barnabas, like Stephen a man “full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” saw his potential and introduced him to the elders of the Jerusalem church, who accepted him into the group. His name was Saul. “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.” Acts 9:26-28 Before long there was an attempt on his life, and the brethren sent him off to Tarsus, presumably for his safety. At around the same time Barnabas was sent by the Jerusalem church to Antioch, where the Holy Spirit had begun to move in power. After encouraging the brethren there, Barnabas went to Tarsus – a round trip of about 500 miles – to fetch Saul to assist him in the work. The two of them then spent a year ministering together in Antioch. This is where Paul’s apostolic ministry began to emerge, and the term “Christian” was first used.

Barnabus saw the vision that Jesus had for Paul; he connected him with the leaders of the church; he singled him out for an important ministry opportunity in a young, growing fellowship, and almost certainly would have been discipling him during the year at Antioch where he was leading the apostolic team. Later, Paul would write: ““From whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:16). To disciple others and to be discipled by others is a natural outworking of relationships in the church and the supernatural work of faith working through love in the body by the power of the Holy Spirit, and is what moves us closer to our destiny in Christ.

So to have the power, we need to be connected; and to be connected, we need to have the power. The essential characteristic of the new creation is faith that works through love.  It is the supernatural lifestyle that brings the supply of Heaven to Earth, releases the potential in others, matures the bride of Christ, and makes disciples.

The Railway Track

“I am going to lift the train back onto the rails…”

I felt the Lord showed me a railway line going into the distance, except it was going up into the air, like a fairground ride, not along the ground. He says “The train has been bumping along slowly because it has been running over the sleepers, not along the tracks that I have laid down for it. The sleepers are barriers across the path: divisions, religion, unbelief. All the time my church looks at these barriers it remains stuck on them, rooted to the ground and bumping along slowly instead of rolling freely along the tracks that I have set and rising up into the realm of the Spirit. For the track is the twin rails of faith and love. I am going to lift the train back onto the rails, and the train will surely speed up as the wheels roll freely at last. You will look for the sleepers, but they will be flashing by so quickly that you will not see them, and you will just hear the sound of the wheels speeding along the track towards your destination. Listen: can you hear them? Faith and love, faith and love, faith and love, faith and love, faith and love …  The destination is your certain hope, the anchor of your soul. Take your eyes off the sleepers, for it is only faith and love that will get you there. Listen to the sound of train – Faith and love, faith and love, faith and love, faith and love, faith and love …”

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (Gal 5:6)

The Leaven of the New Creation

The DNA of the Kingdom of God

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Gal 6:15)

When we preach Christ, we preach the new creation. When we receive Him, it is the New Creation that we step into. Jesus is King of the New Creation: in His Kingdom, all things are made new. On his first missionary journey, Paul had preached the gospel to the Galatians, and now the “Judaizers” were trying to lead them away from the Life of the Spirit and back under the law. This was the first of Paul’s epistles, and his message rings clear: the life that is ours in Christ comes by the Spirit, and not by the law. Paul stresses that there is just one characteristic, ‘the only thing that avails,’ in the New Creation, and that is faith working through love. This is the hallmark of their new life in Christ. “Faith working through love” is the very DNA of the Kingdom of God.

In the shortest parable that He gave, Jesus said:  “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” (Matt 13:33) In the Kingdom of God, the New Man is charged with the same command as was the first Adam: “Go forth and multiply.” We are instructed to go into all the world and make disciples, multiplying this Kingdom that we are part of, as disciples make disciples and pass on the DNA of the new creation until, like the stone that destroys the kingdoms of the world, it becomes “a great mountain and filled the whole Earth” (Daniel 2: 35). The Kingdom of God is like yeast, because yeast multiplies. The yeast that multiplies – this DNA of the Kingdom – is faith working through love.

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The book where I think we can see the Word of God dividing between soul and spirit more than anywhere else in the New Testament is the letter of James, the brother of Jesus and one of the “pillars” of the Jerusalem church. James “divides” heavenly and earthly wisdom, wealth and poverty, trials and perseverance, sensual and spiritual prayer requests, empty faith and fruitful faith, the untamed tongue and “perfect” speech, pride and humility, judgement and grace. He lays out clearly the blueprint of the Kingdom of God, where faith flourishes in the context of a loving, Christ-centred lifestyle, and he succinctly wraps it up in a single verse: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) The “works” of faith that are central to James’s message (James 2:18) are both the supernatural results of Elijah-style prayer that this verse refers to, and the grace-filled lifestyle of the “righteous man” who prays them – faith at work in a setting of love.

James makes it clear that a fruitful Christian life requires full commitment to the Kingdom of God, because a “double-minded man” is “unstable in all his ways” and will “receive nothing from the Lord.” (James 1:8). His epistle progresses from portraying various characteristics of the “carnal Christian” whose faith is fruitless, to the picture of Elijah, who “was a man with a nature like ours” and whose faith both stopped and started the rain. In the new creation, where faith works through love, the prayer of faith raises up the sick person, the hungry are fed, and the needs of “widows and orphans” are met.  Elijah is praying in faith, and people are being loved.

The goal of discipleship, as expressed by Paul to Timothy, is “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” This is a recurring theme in the New Testament, revisited from different angles. Paul prays that the Ephesians will be “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19). James exhorts his readers to “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) Paul prays that the Corinthians “may be made complete” (2 Cor 13:9), and his final exhortation to them is, again, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete…” (2 Cor 13:11) He tells the Colossians that “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” (Col 4:12) The writer to the Hebrews prays that his readers “may be made complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. ”

Finally, Jesus tells us “therefore be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Throughout the epistles, the Holy Spirit takes these words of Jesus and makes them known to us (John 16:14) so that we can see the goal of His discipleship programme. If the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven, then faith working through love should be multiplying “perfect”, “complete” believers in our churches, as double-minded, carnal, babes in Christ learn to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24)

This is the trajectory of discipleship: the babe in Christ who walks after the flesh becomes complete, like Elijah, and walks after the Spirit, as the DNA of the Kingdom multiplies in his or her heart. It is the bottom line of what it means to make disciples. It is what God will be seeking to restore in the church when He pours our His Spirit in the coming revival. He has been seeking it since Pentecost.

Paul said to Timothy: “Those things you heard from me, commit to faithful men who are able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2.) In one verse, we see the leaven of the Kingdom multiplying three times: from Paul to Timothy; from Timothy to “faithful men,” and from those faithful men to “others also.” I see three questions arising out of this scripture:

  1. Are we training up “Timothys?”
  2. If we are, are they hearing from us the same things as Timothy heard from Paul?  
  3. Does our church model promote multiplication of that leaven as far as the “others also,” who will in turn eventually be reaching Timothys of their own?

The new wine is coming, so that as we drink of it the double-minded babe can become, like Timothy, the complete Elijah. He has poured it out many times before, and every time it has stayed around for a little while, then the wineskin has broken and the wine has drained away. If the next revival is going to be different, it won’t be the wine that has changed; it will be because the wineskins don’t break.

We’ve all had a chance over the last year to inspect our wineskins. Have we got the new ones ready? Or are we going to ask God, yet again, to pour the new wine into our old wineskins? Because we know what will happen if we do.