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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Weekly Blog: Beheaded for Christ

“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4 

 

The Brain: To start with, let’s talk about the human brain for a couple of minutes. 

   Even with all the advances in medicine and study of the human brain, there are still mysteries and gaps of understanding of how this incredible organ functions within the human body. One of the things we do know is that the last small part of the brain known as the Hypothalamus is a fascinating entity that concerns our thoughts today. It is within the Hypothalamus that we are able to laugh, able to cry, we are able to express love or hatred or anger or fear or hostility. All occur in the Hypothalamus. Even our blood pressure is controlled by the Hypothalamus. 
 
   Obviously then, the whole control of our being, the whole control of our body, our physiological activities, our emotional state, our behavioral patterns, our attitudes, are all centered in the brain!!! The brain is the control center. Whether we are good people, whether we are bad people is because of our brain. 
   
   Most of what we understand concerning the brain, in terms of brain function, the BIBLE assigns to the heart. For instance, In Mark 7 we read:
 “For from within, out of the hearts of people, come the evil thoughts, acts of sexual immorality, thefts, murders, acts of adultery, deeds of greed, wickedness, deceit, indecent behavior, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the person.” 

   In reality, from within, out of the mind of man proceed evil thoughts. 

   So, as we explore the thoughts of John the Revelator in 20:4 we need to understand that John is being shown a vision of the Church. They are the ones who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and God’s Holy Word. They are the ones that are sealed by the holy spirit and thus immune to the mark of the beast and its false worship. 
 
So, then the question is, how do we become beheaded? 

 In Romans 6:3-6, we read: “ Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;…” 

   What happens when we are baptized into Jesus Christ? We die! And what happens when we come out of the water? We are resurrected into a newness of life in the Lord Jesus Christ, as new creatures, a new creation. And as new creatures, we have, metaphorically, been beheaded, and now Jesus Christ has become our head. That is when it begins. That is where it starts. It is a gradual process; it is a growing process. 
   Paul says in Colossians 1:18 “ He is also the head of the body, the church…” 

   In Romans 12:1-2 we read: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."  

That can only happen when this mind of ours is transformed into the mind of Christ. Renew in the Greek literally means “to renovate” for example, when we renovate a living room, we replace the old with something new while the old structure remains. We need to renovate these old human structures of ours with minds that have been transformed into something new, renewed with the mind of Jesus. 

   In writing to the church at Philippi, Apostle Paul writes: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, (when Christ becomes the head of the body, then we start to become likeminded, because we are being nurtured by one mind, that is the mind of Jesus.) having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;(that only happens when we have our own head, our own mind) but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” 

  We need to have the mind of Christ to be able to become like Christ.

    Speaking to the Nation of Israel, concerning their restoration, God says through the Prophet Ezekiel – 11:19-20 
“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may walk in My statutes, and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.” 

  This is a prophecy concerning the Nation of Israel in the age to come, not in this age. In the age to come, God is going to remove their stony hearts and give them a heart of flesh, so that they will walk in the ways of God and God is going to do that. But this prophecy has been fulfilled in the church, you and me, right now! It is not only a prophecy for the nation of Israel in the age to come, but also a prophecy for spiritual Israel right now. And what God wants to do, is not give us a new heart but give us a new head. That is why those who are sitting on thrones judging the nations have been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God. What God wants to do is to take off my head and replace it with the head of Christ. So, when Ezekiel says, “I will give them one heart…”, what he is saying is, I will give them one mind. 

   Although there are many in the body of Christ, if they become beheaded for My sake, for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God, I will make my Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, become their new head. Remember, the brain controls the whole body. And the beauty is, whether there are 50 or a million of those who are beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God, they ultimately become a single unified body, because they are controlled by a single head, Jesus. 

   In Christ there is “…neither male nor female, there is neither bond or free, there is neither Jew or Gentile.” The body of Christ is indiscriminate concerning salvation. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it."

  Jesus says to all, “Come to me all you (everyone and anyone) and I will give you rest.” For we all become one because we are controlled by one head. We are all controlled by one heart, (biblically). That is the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

  Conclusion: The mind of Christ! God would like to give everyone one of us a head transplant. He would like to remove our heads so that the Lord Jesus Christ can become truly, the head of the body. So that He can become everything to the Church and thus, in turn, allow you and I to become everything that God wants us to be. 

                                                                                               Br. Dennis Gorham