Transfigured into His Likeness

 

stoning of Stephen

“And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured [Grk. metamorphoo] before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his clothing was white as the light.” (Matthew 17:1-2 KJ2000)

What a wonderful sight that must have been for these disciples to behold Jesus in such perfection and glory. Have you ever met a dear saint who had been so changed by the living Christ abiding in them that their face shone with His glory? Is it even possible for a mere human to be so transformed by the indwelling Christ that they shine forth with His love and grace? I think that this is what Stephen’s religious persecutors saw that day as is recorded in Acts chapter seven and they broke out into a frenzied rage and gnashed on him with their teeth!

Paul wrote,

 

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed [Grk. metamorphoo – tranfigured] into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-4:2 RSVA)

Stephen, that day 2000 years ago, had an unveiled face… his face shown like that of an angel.  It was the face of Jesus who abode within him. And for those who were followers of Moses with their veiled faces it was too much. His face was a witness before them that what he told them was the truth… that they had slain the Lord of Glory, their Messiah, and that their temple worship was used by them to “always resist God’s Holy Spirit.”

Have you ever noticed in a church service that any time the Spirit starts to rise and the presence of the Lord is starting to become manifest, someone in control feels compelled to rise up and put an end to it? I have seen this happen over and over. The program must go on! And the Spirit wind does not abide in the walls and the programs of men. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and the purveyors of religious bondage will not allow freedom to take hold and get out of their control so the Spirit wind moves on.

So we who have the Spirit of Christ must move on with Him. We seek HIS glory and abide in HIS life changing truth. We cannot settle for mere words that come forth from those who quench the Spirit and handle the word of God with cunning and much tampering. We would rather read the Bible for ourselves and listen for our Shepherd’s voice speaking to us in a personal way. We would rather behold HIS face than the faces of those who would presume to take His place as they stand before us on their elevated platforms.

In the above passage Paul says we who behold Jesus’ face have a ministry. We have the ministry of Life IN Christ Jesus. We are being changed, transfigured, into the likeness of the One whom we behold. We go from one degree of glory to another because this comes from the Spirit of the Lord who abides in us! As much as we are being transformed into the image of Christ is what proves that our service “ministry” is true, not some man-made title, degree or stance behind a pulpit and in this we do not lose heart for Christ is our sufficiency in all things as we abide IN Him. Behold Him, dear saints, and shine forth with what you behold.

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22 comments on “Transfigured into His Likeness

  1. Mark W says:

    After being out of the Beast Church system now for 10 years and walking with the Great Teaching I find myself basking in His Word for me and less and less of the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Orr says:

    My brother, thank you for such a clear word. Glory.

    Like

  3. Devon says:

    Held revival 2 years in a row at a little church in Iowa. Here’s the steps.

    1. God anointed the meetings with His power and presence.
    2. Pastor gets jealous. Stops the flow of the Spirit.
    3. He beats me up, then casts me out of that vineyard, spiritually speaking.
    4. Eventually pastor loses congregation, forced to shut down.

    Isn’t that precious? It’s just the way things are. Judgement must begin with the house(ekklesia) of God.

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    • Devon, Yes, I recognize this pattern. It happens over and over. Jesus told a parable about this very thing…

      “Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.”
      (Matthew 21:33-43 RSVA)

      Yes, Devon, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Only IN Christ are all things made NEW and the old things pass away. May we all be found IN Him as that final day approaches.

      Like

      • Michael, that’s the exact scripture God gave me this week depicting what I experinced. Thanks for hearing His voice.
        God gave me a rush of joy yesterday over this thought.
        The babylonian church has decivively rejected us and our ministry in no uncertain terms. We are grateful we never fit in. But….in 77 He told us that some of them will come knocking on our door one day asking us to show them the way. We await that moment.

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  4. Kennth Dawson says:

    Yes the ontological reality of the being of Gods loving being shining out of us..how sweet the expression.

    Like

  5. Scarlett says:

    “Have you ever noticed in a church service that any time the Spirit starts to rise and the presence of the Lord is starting to become manifest, someone in control feels compelled to rise up and put an end to it?”

    Yes, Michael, many times. Especially after the “Praise and Worship Service”.

    He inhabits the praises of His people.

    I would even feel the “anointing” come all over me as I KNEW the Most High God wanted to speak to His people….and then some legalistic chucklehead would grab the mic, and say, “It’s time for the service to begin”.

    Can you imagine how grieved our LORD is over such an intrusion and affront to His Majesty?

    “19Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances”

    Yet this they do, and so much more.

    I say to my precious friends, the intrusion into the sanctity of your communion time with our Savior, can never be violated as we spend time praising, worshipping, and loving Lord Jesus in our private time with Him. He will indeed Inhabit your praises. Isn’t that glorious and wonderful thing indeed?

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    • Yes, Scarlett, it usually happens when people are really getting into worshiping the Lord that this antichrist spirit in the hierarchy wants to manifest its “authority” and intrude by imposing its program over the will of God. (Greek meaning of antichristos- against Christ or INSTEAD OF Christ). All too often in the visible church system, antichrist prevails and those sensitive to the Spirit of Christ are quenched right along with the Spirit of Jesus.

      You wrote, “I say to my precious friends, the intrusion into the sanctity of your communion time with our Savior, can never be violated as we spend time praising, worshiping, and loving Lord Jesus in our private time with Him. He will indeed Inhabit your praises.” I fully agree, dear sister. Soren Kirkegaard wrote:

      The speaker who does not know how the task looks in daily life and in the living-room might just as well keep still, for Sunday glimpses into eternity lead to nothing but wind…. And it is
      • in the living-room that the battle must be fought, lest the religious conflict degenerate into a parade of the guard once a week;
      • in the living room must the battle be fought, not fantastically in the church, so that the clergyman is fighting windmills and the spectators watch the show;
      • in the living room the battle must be fought, for the victory consists precisely in the living-room becoming a sanctuary.

      I agree with his observation and our “living room” is where we really live our daily lives and where Christ should be Lord over all not in a place where He is not!

      Like

  6. Another beautiful, Spirit-led entry, Michael. I admire your ongoing success in listening exclusively to His voice, my dear brother.

    “Have you ever noticed in a church service that any time the Spirit starts to rise and the presence of the Lord is starting to become manifest, someone in control feels compelled to rise up and put an end to it?”

    Oh yes, I have noticed this strange behavior more than once. Your question reminded of such an occurrence – about 25 years ago – where a Catholic priest gave a talk on “The Breeze of the Holy Spirit and how to discern it”. Most of us who listened to him were women, of all ages. I had been very eager to learn more about the Holy Spirit, but after a few minutes I was disappointed by another intellectual treatise on a merely theoretical work of the Spirit in our days. The priest appreciated questions on his lecture; however, I saw no sense in asking a man who didn’t know from his own experience what he had been talking about.
    Suddenly I heard right beside me the soft voice of a very old and graceful woman. “What did she say?” they asked. She repeated, “We can hear God speaking as soon as we are completely silent,” was all she said. “Yes, yes.” The priest quickly slid over her precious statement as if he would scare an annoying fly away.
    I couldn’t believe it. Some other women also wondered why THE ONLY sentence which came from the Holy Spirit had been cast away. At that very moment I just wanted to stand up and walk away. But I didn’t, then…

    In contrast, today I am highly sensitive toward God’s unexpected guidance, although not in churches but rather on Christian blog sites (cyber churches 😉 ). So often I have experienced spiritual flows on different blogs. Some flows lasted a few days, some longer, but suddenly there was almost always a sudden stop. I have always been quite shocked when I felt that someone who had been led by the Holy Spirit for a certain time unexpectedly shrinks back and continues in fleshly religious habits. I always wonder why it happens. Is it due to the fear of losing control and surrendering to the unknown – or whatever…? Finally, isn’t it much more relieving when the Holy Spirit indeed takes the tiller so that we can rest in (doing) His finished works?

    I know it might sound strange, but I cannot write comments on blog posts which consist of mere human reasoning [to me, life has no meaning when He is not around]. From the outside, we cannot see the difference. But our hearts feel still empty after reading overly intellectual articles.

    In fact, the Spirit’s guidance is a funny thing. Can you imagine, Michael, that I already had a lengthy comment on seeing God’s glory shining on our “angelic” faces in my mind? However, God didn’t permit me to write one word about it, as you can clearly see now. 🙂
    Indeed, nothing’s gonna break the spell that our faithful Lover puts on us every minute of every single day…

    Much love,
    your sister – Susanne

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    • Susan,

      Along with my often not knowing what effect the things I share will have on others and not knowing when I really AM hearing the voice of the Lord, now I am not sure how to answer a gracious letter such as yours! Walking by the Spirit Wind is truly a walk of faith. We pray and then we boldly step out onto thin air (for isn’t that what wind is?). So, here it goes once again.

      I remember how sure I used to be about my ability to hear the voice of the Lord and how off I often was, a mixture of flesh and Spirit at best. The flesh is so sure of itself, self-confident and self-assured. Then the Lord showed me one day how HE saw me in all my confident religious pride. It was so ugly. It was then I had a choice to make, either to go on as I was so accustomed to doing or to let Him take me to His “woodshed” where “He scourges those who are His sons.” I chose the latter and the following fourteen years were the most painful of my life. If I have any clarity in hearing Him speak in this day it is because of my yielding to Him as my Father who loves me. As I read Paul’s writings I realize that He also had walked a similar path (see Phil. 3:4-12). He was so sure that killing those who believed in Christ was His divine calling in life, only to be knocked off His high horse by a blinding light and hear the words, “Saul, why do you persecute me… I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you persecute!” What a shock that must have been. It was back to square one for him… in fact it was way beyond going back to his former beginnings to coming to the place where he denounce all his rights as one born into Judaism. God stripped him until there was nothing left but a “sea of glass.” It is here that God can start all over again with that old Adam in the grave and the raising up of the Last Adam in us standing in Him alone before the Father. Did I start out this replay with these last two paragraphs in mind? No. Like you, the directing of His Spirit took me another way.

      In His great love for you, my sister,
      Michael

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    • Carina says:

      Christian forums can be precious and yet it can be very painful to see how brothers and sisters misinterpret and devour each other. And yes, it’s painful when the conversation starts to get “off-track” (meaning it’s going in a direction the moderator or blogger didn’t mean or doesn’t like) and then he or she will always say, “OK, guys, let’s get back on topic.” Of course, it can be a good idea when people start with personal attacks to intervene, but many times it’s valid comments, perhaps very spiritual comments, that get ignored and brushed off because the person who moderates doesn’t understand or agree or hasn’t esperienced them.

      I’ve been labelled Lone Ranger, Rebellious, Proud, because I posed some hard questions about the church as it is. I’ve shared things from the bottom of my heart only to hear no reply or find myself attacked by people who didn’t even read my comments properly. And yet the Lord is good and will usually bring someone into the forum who shares the same concerns and has been hearing the same things from the Lord.

      As for me, I’ve given up trying to convince anybody. I don’t have that power in me. All I want is to find the people the Lord wants me to commune with. Let the Lord deal with the rest in His own Way.

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      • Carina, I agree. Christian forums can get off track in a hurry. All it takes is one person communicating from a fleshly drive within them. When I was a kid in Catholic school the nun’s pet student would be given the job of being “hallway monitor.” There job was to snitch on any kid that was not following the strict rules of conduct once they were outside her rule of the classroom. Well, I have seen these self-appointed “hallway monitors” on Christian forums, especially on so-called eGroups. This person feels it their responsibility to come down on anyone that posts anything the does not fit in their theological box… a sort of internet police over the freedom of the group.
        So, what do we do when this happens? Do we rise up and do the same to them? That is the folly of running out into the field and pulling up what we think are “tares.” If we do some wheat are sure to become offended. The choice I have taken in my cases is to move on. If the Spirit is being quenched in a group, the Holy Spirit does not hang around. The Spirit wind does not blow in a man-made box whether it is made of bricks and lumber or whether it is a box made of the laws of religious men. I choose to follow the Wind.

        “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it came, and where it goes: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 KJ2000)

        Yes, it is folly to try and convince a person against their will. As the saying goes, “A man convince against his will, will be of the same mind still.” You can not replace personal Holy Spirit revelation with mere teaching. Teaching goes to the head, but revelation goes to the heart and it changes us to the core, not just our theories.

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      • g says:

        really enjoyed ur convo wit carina…th Lord only sent me to one “church” and when he was finished with his work in me there he brought me out. So I don’t really have the experience in the religious system or in churches that many others do. When he sent me to the church I was already grounded in him and everything about that church seemed foreign and strange to me so it never was like a home or like anything that I tried to get used to. But your conversation here seems very much like what I have found on blogs and Christian forums. Revelation by the Spirit of God ends all argument. And I have to say the Spirit moves me out just as he does with you. I always think of when God says my spirit will not strive with man always. It seems to me that the Lord brings us into and out of situations for His purpose knowing full well how each heart involved will respond. Just as he is moving in me and changing me in each situation I believe he does the same with all involved.

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      • G,
        I agree. God is using all these things in our lives that we might become more than overcomers in Christ Jesus. You are blessed to have been grounded in Christ before you ever got involved with a church. The contrast was a great teacher, I am sure. Yes, we often come in and go out of these things in our journeys. I think that is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9 KJ2000). By and IN Him we have freedom to both go in and go out and find our pasture where He feeds us as our only Good Shepherd. We always have freedom as we abide IN Christ.

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  7. If we could behold His face, spiritually, continually without intermission, I’m sure self would be no more. But the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit wars against the flesh. The light, insight, and mindedness gained by seeking His face and living continually in His life, has no comparability as far as satisfaction, rest and contentment is concerned. His face is where life is. Seek His face that you might live. This kind of talk, sounds so mystical, but, where else shall we go? A man or woman clothed with Christ…, can anything be more spiritually mystical than this? The authentic spiritual inward transfiguration that we experience, abide in, grow up into, seeking uninterrupted intimate union, in a perfect restful law of liberty, not in trying to do the body of Christ, but, being, moment by moment. How the little children’s angels continually behold the face of the Father. Matthew 18:10 In His light, and His face shines like the noonday sun, we see light. How the Holy Spirit is so unwelcome by most, but, let us persevere and endure until the brightest end.

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  8. Michael,

    What an interesting discussion here! I am so thankful for all commenters and their precious replies. Well, here’s one more of Susanne’s comments of which I wonder where it came from… (sounds somehow schizo 😉 ).

    Quoting you, my brother, from your reply to Carina,

    “If the Spirit is being quenched in a group, the Holy Spirit does not hang around. The Spirit wind does not blow in a man-made box whether it is made of bricks and lumber or whether it is a box made of the laws of religious men.”

    Excellent observation that helps me “to move on” as you said. Alas, I am someone who always has difficulties with releasing those whom I have taken into my heart by continually praying for them, particularly when I see that they have been misguided by evil spirits. Finally, we don’t fight against flesh and blood (not even against tares). However, those evil spirits are our enemies indeed. We ought to resist the devil so that he will flee from us. Therefore it is sometimes necessary to write a challenging “truth-in-love-wake-up-call” instead of an entirely kind but spiritually sleep-soothing posting or comment in order to make them “see” – or at least “feel” – that there is something wrong with their belief [just for clarification: I am NOT talking about doctrine here].

    For instance, if we observe for a certain time that some members of His Body not only rebuke those harshly who do not agree with them, but even cut themselves off from the Body by treating other members badly (because they consider themselves spiritually superior), it may be on the cards that the Lord urges us to do what Paul wrote to Timothy,

    “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” (1 Tim 5:20 ESV)

    This is not an easy thing to do as we can imagine. But sometimes it is badly needed in order to protect His Body. May we all have the courage and love to do whatever He wants us to do. Whenever.

    Love,
    Susanne

    PS
    Michael, I have been very blessed by your reply to me (it was prophetic, and much more). Indeed, it did a world of good to me. Thanks so much for obeying Him!!

    Like

    • Susanne, See my reply to Ron and Kathy. Thanks for your edifying reply, dear sister.
      Love you IN the Son,
      Michael

      Like

    • Susanne,

      I had a chance to read your post again and wanted to comment further. You wrote:

      For instance, if we observe for a certain time that some members of His Body not only rebuke those harshly who do not agree with them, but even cut themselves off from the Body by treating other members badly (because they consider themselves spiritually superior), it may be on the cards that the Lord urges us to do what Paul wrote to Timothy, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” (1 Tim 5:20 ESV)

      What you wrote here reminded me of what John was talking about in his letter to the saints:

      I have written something to the church; but Diot’rephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, prating against me with evil words. And not content with that, he refuses himself to welcome the brethren, and also stops those who want to welcome them and puts them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10 RSVA)

      This Diotrephes not only considered himself superior, but he also cut-off from fellowship the brothers whom John had sent as well as casting out those who did receive them. This “spirit of Diotrephes” is alive and well in the churches today. If you are led by God to go into one of their “churches” the head wolf will accuse you of being guilty of the very things he practices and if anyone does try to accept you, he will cast them out as well. It is that same Laodicean close- door system. Those who love the per-eminence cannot abide with Christ coming in among His body. They want to be the head. Eventually, if Christ’s sheep are caught in this false authority of lording-over God’s people, they will follow their Shepherd’s voice outside of that system. One can argue all day long with blind leaders and blind guides and get nowhere. They have to come the end of themselves and come into a hunger for those things which are eternal which are found in Christ. Whenever God puts me in one of those closed system meetings, I have learned to pray that He would lead me to just one with HIS words of encouragement, not the whole crowd. After all, the text says, “If any man will open unto me I will come into Him…” It does not say “if any church…”

      Very few men in church leadership can take a rebuke to heart, rather they posture themselves against any word of correction that might come, “Who are you to tell me…” “Brother, are you about to touch God’s anointed?” Etc. Sometimes you just have to follow Paul’s advice and not answer a fool according to their folly.

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  9. Devon says:

    I’m planting seeds on a couple of forums and it boils down to this Michael. Before our ‘churched to death’ brothers and sisters can receive any of these truths, a miracle the size of the one that parted the Red Sea will have to come into play in the locked down hearts of those ‘that oppose themselves’ stewing in the juices of their own arrogance. You present sound scripture to them and BAM!, they immediately go into attack mode. They will not answer sound doctrine. They will not address the truth. Like political liberalism, they see hot as cold, up as down, wrong is right. I’m about to go into a Larry Norman song here.

    They all but call you satan.
    Smart alec attacks, totally dismissing your presentation out of hand.
    Like I said, a miracle is needed but even then they’ll dismiss the Holy Spirit conviction by the end of the day. Sad in deed.
    Keep up the anointed teaching. I’m on board. God bless bro. Devon and Kathy

    Like

    • Ron and Kathy,
      I used to try and convince these people that still have their hearts in Egypt that it is a land we are called to that flows with God’s milk and honey and they just wanted their leaks and onions. Then finally the Lord told me what He told his disciples when the Pharisees and Sadducees were offended with them…”They are blind leaders leading the blind… leave them alone and let them fall into a ditch.” It was then that I saw the value of ditches in God’s eternal plan. Ditches in the middle east and the third world are used to convey effluent out of the villages and cities to the nearest river. They are not a nice place to fall into, BUT they ARE great teachers when you can’t hear your Shepherd’s voice. While laying in one on your back you hope nobody will make a ripple! And you have lots of time to contemplate, “Where am I and how did I get in this hand-basket???” I spent many years following blind leaders into these ditches and I finally saw the wisdom in what David said, “The LORD is my Shepherd!” Not mere men. And the wisdom of what John wrote, “I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:26-27 RSVA)
      So, dear brother, unless the Spirit leads you specifically to try and pull one of these people out of their ditch, you might find yourself being pulled into it with them (pearls and swine syndrome), so it is best to just leave them alone and let then stew in their religious effluent until it does its job.
      Love you guys!

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  10. Devon says:

    Agreed. I am led occasionally to plant the seed then let it do its work. Back off for awhile then plant another one as directed. Jesus cofronted them as He was directed then got outta Dodge.

    For years my tongue was ordered to cleave to the roof of my mouth but lately He has been telling me to speak and hold not my peace. Again, as He moves me and not until then. Keep on keepin on. Devon and Kathy.

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