What is Eternal Life?

As Exchanged Life disciplers/counselors convey the message of the believer’s union with Christ, the nature of eternal life is addressed. Here is a brief biblical outline on this theme.

God is eternal…without beginning and without end.

“Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

Eternal live is essentially God’s Life.

“[God]…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” 1 Tim. 6:16

Eternal Life is not restricted or defined by chronological time.

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” John 8:56-58

As God the Son, Christ is eternal
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

Eternal life is received when a person is redeemed (born again).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47

Eternal Life is Christ’s Life.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”” John 11:25,26

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” 1 John 5:11-13

God has made provision for Christ’s life to be the believer’s life source experientially.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Col. 3:3,4

“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1:3,4

This spiritual union of the Christian life is symbolized in the Vine – branch relationship.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

– JBW (NKJV quotes)

This article in PDF: What is Eternal Life?

Abide Above

The beginning of a new year in a important opportunity to prioritize our personal devotional life. We have a page on this site of helpful free resources arranged in daily readings. Not only is this convenient for the counselor/discipler, it is helpful to recommend to the counselee/disciple. Here is a sample article from None but the Hungry Heart, which is archived at abideabove.com

Tranquil Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).

Restful trust is developed not so much by what the Lord Jesus does for us, but by who He is to us—and that necessitates fellowship.

“It is a wonderful thing to be so satisfied with the Lord Jesus’ company, that we can be tranquil about everything. You will often find that it is the one of the most anxious temperament who finds most in Him, when such an one begins to know Him. I remember when I used to think that I should be happy beyond conception if I were able to say, ‘I will fear no evil,’ ‘my heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.’ In order to reach this, you must find Him enough, without anything else. We all say that He is enough, but it is quite a different thing to know it practically. You can never prove the worth of anyone, until you are absolutely dependent on him.” -J.B.S.

“What do you need? Ask your Father about it. Instead of harassing your mind about it, present it to Him; and it is not said that He will necessarily give you what you ask, but He gives you His peace. You put your cares into His heart, and He will put His peace into yours.”

“Our Father’s purpose is an ‘eternal purpose,’ from eternity, embracing an eternity to come. He does not shape His thoughts according as circumstances arise, but the circumstances are controlled by His thoughts and plans. How blessed to know that He is absolute Master in all things; that even ‘He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He restrains.’ It is the only thing that can give the smallest comfort in the midst of such a scene of confusion all around us.” -F.W.G.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6).

(12/25)

Watchman Nee: An Orthodox Evangelical

Exchanged Life Counseling is an application of the message of identification with Christ (Rom. 6:1-4, John 15:1-8) to clinical discipleship. Sometimes our brothers and sisters in other branches “the family tree” are suspicious of our doctrinal perspective. Since the writings of Watchman Nee (such as The Normal Christian Life) are classic, valuable resources, we may be called upon to reassure inquirers that his teaching is well within the boundaries or orthodoxy..

The Christian Research Institute (a.k.a “The Bible Answer Man” broadcast) devoted an issue of their Journal to retract their previous condemnation of Nee/Lee/”Local Church.”
The journal states,

“The purpose of this five-part article, then, is to offer a fresh critique of the LC [‘Local Church / Watchman Nee & Witness Lee]movement. After briefly looking at their background as a movement and as a source of controversy, we will take a long, hard look at what can fairly be called the four major concerns evangelicals have expressed about the LC. These were all succinctly presented in a 2007 “open letter” to the LC signed by a long list of evangelical theologians, apologists, and leaders. We will then draw our conclusions together and reassess where the LC stands in relation to historic orthodoxy and to the wider Christian community. Finally, we will look at the larger picture: what is at stake in the decades-long controversy surrounding the LC and what might be gained from its resolution”…

The issue is available for free download:
http://www.equip.org/PDF/EnglishOpt.pdf

Not that we have will individually have complete agreement with Nee/ Lee literature, but it is helpful to have this research and vindication handy.

Hank Hanegraaff summarized this vindication in this online video:
“A Brief Affirmation of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee”

Union with Christ

Ian Thomas’ books such as The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness continue to be accurate and dependable resources to share the message of the Exchanged Life. We believe this New Covenant perspective should be central to Discipleship Counseling. Thomas was used of the Lord to launch the Capernwray Bible Institutes in various countries. Derek Burnside teaches at the mother school in England. In this online video message, Derek speaks on the topic “I’m in Christ and He’s in Me” (John 14:20). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOoczLDCUOw

Coaching Calls

“Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name.” (Malachi 3:16)

This month Grace Fellowship is beginning a teleconference ministry to encourage Discipleship Counselors. We envision regularly scheduled calls for fellowship, equipping and networking. The calls will have designated groups that are invited to participate: 1) those who have been certified, 2) those who are in the certification process, 3) all workshop alumni.

Purpose:
To encourage fellowship among those who have been certified with Grace Fellowship International
To defend and promote Exchanged Life personal ministry
To give personal updates on GFI
To provide a forum to learn from each other
To provide additional coaching wisdom and resources

Format:
Bimonthly teleconference or videoconference
Scheduling letter and invitation sent the week before
An enrichment topic mentioned
Participants are welcome to email John with additional suggestions, questions, and testimonies
A follow up email will be sent out with some major points of the call and a link to the recording

We pray that the Lord will use these coaching calls to further encourage and equip us to be Christ Centered Discipleship Counselors.

The Secret of Christ our Life

[Discipleship Counselors need to emphasize the believer’s union with Christ. This is an excerpt from The Secret of Christ our Life  by Andrew Murray. The Secret series, is ideal for client “homework.” – ed.]

A poor spiritual life results when a Christian thinks, “Christ for me” is enough… and does not know or even desire “Christ in me.”

The Twofold Life
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10

EVERYONE can understand the difference between life that is weak and sickly and life that has abundant vitality.
Thus St. Paul speaks of the Christian life of the Corinthians as not spiritual but carnal, as of young children in Christ incapable of assimilating strong meat or of understanding the deeper truths of the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5).

There are some, the majority of Christians, who never advance beyond first principles. They are dull of hearing and remain carnal Christians.
There are others again, a minority, who indeed show forth the abundant riches of grace.

All through the history of the church we find this difference. In our day, too, the number is small of those who seek to live wholly for God and, being spiritually minded, have large thoughts of the abundant life there is in Christ. These few witness to the glory of Christ as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14); “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (1:16).

The preacher’s aim should be so to declare the fullness of God’s grace in Jesus Christ as to make Christians ashamed of the poverty of their spiritual life, and to encourage them to believe that “life abundant” in the fullness of the Spirit is for them.

Dear reader, ask yourself if you are living such an abundant life as Jesus came to bestow. Is it manifest in your love to the Savior and in the abundant fruit you bear to the glory of God in soul-winning?—for remember, “he who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30).

If not, pray God to strengthen your faith so that He will be able to make all grace abound toward you that you, always having all sufficiency, may abound in every good work. Let Jesus be precious to you and daily communion with Him indispensable. He will teach you by His Holy Spirit to honor Him by an abundant life.
re-posted from CLC Publications. Find out more…

Excerpt taken from The Secret of Christ our Life  by Andrew Murray

Practicum Testimony

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

These words were penned by the Apostle Paul from prison, a place that often leaves one in a state of hopelessness and despair without a positive outlook for the future or concern for another’s well-being. This was not so for the Apostle Paul. His assurance and confidence was rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul explains God’s plans for Him and how his imprisonment was being used as an opportunity to share the good news of the Gospel. He made it clear: God had positioned him at this specific place, under these specific circumstances, for a specific reason. That reason was to preach the unfathomable riches that come from knowing Christ as one’s Lord and Savior!

My name is Curtis Fahrlender. I am currently a youth pastor in Central Iowa and finishing up a Master of Science in Counseling from Clarks Summit University in Clarks Summit, PA. As I was nearing the end of my counseling degree, I needed to find a ministry where I could complete my practicum and internship requirements. As I was praying and searching for possible locations, I remembered a counseling ministry that focused on remedial discipleship under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Grace Fellowship International (GFI). Dr. John Woodward graciously agreed to allow GFI to be my supervision and practicum site. I have been able to meet with Dr. Woodward every other week to discuss counseling and ministry situations, and he has guided me in applying the Exchange Life Model to my current ministry settings. This has been extremely helpful and I have seen great results.

2 Corinthians chapter 1 is sometimes referred to as the soul care passage. Paul teaches us important attributes of God. He is the God of all comfort and Father of mercies (2 Corinthians 1:1-7). He then moves from theological to personal testimony. In verses 8-11 we are invited to the apostle’s personal struggle and affliction. The climax of his testimony is found in verse 9, “Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” This verse summarizes the impact GFI has had on my counseling methodology. The struggles, afflictions, aspects of rejection, unmet expectations, frustrations, and so on all happen in our life, as Paul says, to teach us something extremely important. They teach us reliance. We can rely either on ourselves to get through the difficult journey or on God who raises the dead.

This is summed up in the wheel and line diagrams which — along with the other significant contributions GFI have made to the field of biblical counseling — has been so valuable to me. I desire to come alongside the local church and to train and equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12). As I continue to embrace this Christ centered message in my own life, I look forward with great excitement to see how the Lord will use my training at GFI. I’m excited to see the Exchanged Life message be used in bringing about hope in a world that desperately needs it.