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Demonstrating God's Power (3 of 6)

Shane Willard

Page 1 of 10
Demonstrating God's Power (3 of 6) Remarkable similarities are found between the Corinthian Gods of Mithra, Adonis, Addis, Horus, and the Gospel story of Jesus Christ.

Paul's strategy changed in Corinth, instead of making fine-sounding arguments that Jesus was the Christ, as he did with the Jews, he demonstrated what Jesus' life looked like, by living it out.

That gave him the credibility to announce that the kingdom of God was at hand. Cookie-cutter evangelism doesn't work. Demonstrating the Power of God, within the Disposition of Messiah, gives us the Credibility to speak life into any situation.
Last night we talked a lot about Tefillah, Teshuvah, Tzedakah; and how those three things create Trust, and create a way of life, a way of living, that requires trust. We talked about Temptation, things like that. Tonight I want to talk about a different type of thing, that requires the same amount of trust.

In English, when we make a point of something, like let's say our thesis is: “Shane's shirt is blue”. Let's say it takes us three sentences to build the case that: Shane's shirt is blue - it shouldn't, but let's say it did. Once we make our case, and state our point - we just stop; the Hebrew people do not do that. The Hebrew people talk in what's called "reverse concentric symmetry".

Reverse concentric symmetry is this: let's say that our main point is called Statement D - this is where we're trying to get people to. Leading up to Statement D, we have to make Statement A, B and C, in order to prove that Statement D is true. Now in English, that's where we stop; but in Hebrew, that is where they start again.

So if you have to make three statements; A, B and C, in order to get to D; then you have to back out of it, in parallel statements. In other words, you have to make a parallel statement to C, a parallel statement to B, and a parallel statement to A.

So you've got A, B, C and then D's your main point; then you've got C1, B1, A1, which are parallel statements to these statements. In other words, A corresponds to A1, B corresponds to B1, C corresponds to C1, and D is the centre point. Now what does that look like? A Menorah (7-branched lamp-stand; widely used as a Jewish symbol) - which is just one big giant reverse concentric symmetry.

The theology of the menorah comes from Isaiah 11, where it talks about the Spirits of the Lord. It says: “the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him”. So you've got one spirit - the Spirit of the Lord, will rest on Him; and then it divides this one spirit into six different characteristics, like: the Spirit of Wisdom; Understanding; Council, Might, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord.

So you've got these six anointings in here - and it makes sense: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The centre candle is called the Servant. In other words, whatever anointing you have as a leader - in the Church of Jesus Christ, whatever anointing you might have - if you're not a servant, it doesn't matter.

If you're not a servant, none of the other candles light up. The Hebrew people called it "Disposition of Messiah". The theology of the ‘Disposition of Messiah’ comes from Exodus 34:6-7, and it says this - and you ought to memorise this, say it 10 or 20 times a day to yourself, until it builds down inside of you.

It says: The Lord, He is the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God. That is the disposition of messiah.

Later David says it - they quote it all the time - Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! And forget not His benefits. Who forgives all of our sins, and heals all of our diseases. He does not treat us as our inequities deserve, for he is the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiveness God”.

Everything we do, as leadership in God's biggest idea, has to be done in the Disposition of Messiah. In the first Century, specifically around the gift of prophecy, prophets were tested. So if somebody gave a word of prophecy, the first thing that would be done is they would test it; and they have this bench of three.

They had these three guys sitting in holy-man chairs, they sat up above people, and they would test the prophecy. They would have all these questions about the prophecy, and the first question of prophecy was not: is it true? It was NOT: is it true? The first question of prophecy was: was it delivered in a manner that was consistent with the Disposition of Messiah?

In other words, did the person delivering the prophecy, deliver it in a “compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding-in-love” way? If somebody delivered a prophecy, it could be 100-percent spot-on true; but it would be considered false prophecy, if it was delivered in a tone that was not: “compassionate, gracious, slow to anger…”