The Army Of The Lord Of Sabaoth
The prior books were to help us grow to a closer walk with God in righteousness, and to begin to prepare us for our purpose and calling in God. Now we need to consider the plan of the Lord of sabaoth (the Lord of hosts); to consider your calling in the army of God; to consider the special training required; to consider removal of the remaining things of the flesh; and then to hear and obey the commandments of the Lord of sabaoth! When God sends, there will be no lack or failure if we trust, follow, and obey His commandments completely. Let us consider some examples in scripture.
One of my favorites is in Numbers 31, where God told Moses to avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites, who had caused them to fail (Numbers 25). In obeying the instructions, one thousand men of each tribe went to the war, twelve thousand men in all. Scripture records that the booty brought back included 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 asses, and 32,000 virgin girls of the spoil or prey of the war. Considering the 32,000 virgin girls using a standard population distribution would indicate that possibly over half a million people had been destroyed in the war. Yet consider what they discovered, and their realization about it, when they returned from the war;
Numbers 31:49, 50 And they said unto Moses, Thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us. We have therefore brought an oblation for the Lord, what every man hath gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before the Lord.
Twelve thousand men went out to war, and all twelve thousand men came back from the war! See the humbleness in their declaration … Thy servants; also by bringing an oblation in their understanding that God had brought this miracle about; and again in their thankfulness of seeking the atonement. When we go fully with Him, If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
We could consider the deliverance of the Lord given by Gideon’s three hundred from Judges 7, but let us consider the total deliverance given to King Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20, where God told them there was no fighting or warfare required at all. II Chronicles 17: 13 – 19 records that Jehoshaphat had 1,160,000 men of war at Jerusalem alone, so how many men came against them to cause him to fear (II Chronicles 20:3), to cause him to seek the Lord, and to cause him to proclaim a fast throughout all Judah? What were they then told through the spirit of the Lord? … Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (II Chronicles 20:15) They were further told that Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you … (II Chronicles 20:17). Jehoshaphat told the people … Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. (II Chronicles 20:20) When they believed God and obeyed, the Lord delivered;
II Chronicles 20:22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
Not only did God provide a miraculous victory and deliverance, it took the people three days to carry away the spoil! See the fulfillment of what Jehoshaphat told them if they would … Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. In having to do nothing but only believe they prospered and carried away great abundance!
After we believe and are born again we are all called to be soldiers in the army of the Lord of Sabaoth. Spiritual boot camp will remove the hindrances of the flesh and teach us to hear and obey without question. While we are all part of the collective body, there are some whose calling is to perform special tasks. Let us go further then, and consider for a moment the physical or natural example of elite special military forces, such as the US Delta Force, or Navy SEALS, if you will. These have specialized abilities, training, equipment, and planning to perform special operations considered impossible with precision, skill, accuracy, and power. Scripturally, King David had thirty mighty men of valor who did noted acts above those in the armies. If men can perceive of elite special forces in the natural why do we not believe God prepares, equips, and endues with power men that He has called to perform His will?
In the spiritual consider the training of the apostles versus the disciples. They spent three and a half years with Jesus learning of Him and of God, they were anointed/ordained, they were filled with the Holy Ghost and power on the Day of Pentecost, and then they were specially equipped with great grace (Acts 4:33). God used the apostles miraculously to change the world.
As we discuss the necessary boot camp, we will also explore further the special elite calling of the seven thousand that Paul says is a remnant according to the election of grace. However, we must first begin with understanding that there is a specific will, purpose, and plan of Almighty God, even though we cannot fully know them. Let us begin then with briefly exploring His omniscience.
In The Wisdom And Knowledge That Is GOD
In the prior books we have minutely explored the omnipresence (the universe being in God, and not God in the universe) and the omnipotence of God (to have created, spread out, and ordered this vast array of the heavens). But thus far we have not considered His omniscience to even a small degree. Realize that we cannot begin to know the depth of His wisdom and knowledge, for they are unsearchable and past finding out;
Romans 11:33 – 36 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
In these days of computer search engines, realize that they would be useless with finding the depth of God’s wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and ways. So how do we receive from God any of His wisdom and knowledge and joy? By our living good in His sight;
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
If we are walking in the knowledge of men, we do not fathom God’s omniscience, but there is a spiritual access to Him that will bring us past the knowledge of men. God is the giver of all things that pertain to life and godliness, and the knowledge of Him can open to us His promises and give us the divine nature;
II Peter 1:3, 4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We trust and pray receiving the divine nature will also work spiritual understanding of His greatness. The wisdom and knowledge of God extends far beyond that which is in the past, for in His omniscience He sees and knows the thoughts, intents, and heart of every creature;
Hebrews 4:12, 13 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
What time could be spent on … the word of God is quick …, but let us continue looking at the depth of His knowing. Even when you convince or justify yourself of your motives, God knows the true thought and intent of your heart. I John 3:20 says that … God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. There is nothing that you can hide from God, for all things are plainly open to Him.
The past, the present, and additionally the future: scripture further says that God knew and declared the end from the beginning;
Isaiah 46:9, 10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;
God declares in His omniscience that there is none like Him, that He had declared the end before the beginning, and that His counsel and pleasure will occur. With our short life spans, we cannot get a proper time perspective of the omniscience of God knowing the end from the beginning. Perhaps a distance comparison would be easier;
Isaiah 55:8, 9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
This scripture has been repeated to us often, but thoughts and ways are not indicators of His omnipresence or omnipotence, but they deal only with His omniscience, the all-knowing, Almighty God! How far are the heavens above the earth? Even without considering the aspect of the spiritual heavens, the physical universe is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. If there are over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy alone, the many galaxies have literally trillions of stars, and God knows them all: He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psalm 147:4) The stars are each many, many, light years distant, but as far as the heavens and those stars are above the earth is how far the ways and thoughts of God are above ours!
Scientists believe, due to the relative positional relationship of the stars to each other over time, that the universe had a beginning of time, and have postulated the Big Bang theory for that beginning. What faith (or the lack or refusal of faith) it takes to believe that the immense, perpetual, life-sustaining, power of even one star, our sun, came in a random occurrence from nothing! Looking closer at the Big Bang theory, consider that an explosion radiates its power and debris uniformly in all directions spherically, but the known universe has a flattened and elongated shape: it should plainly speak of what some scientists call “intelligent design”. Fireworks in a fireworks display have to be carefully designed and modified to create shapes and patterns when they explode. Omniscience had to work with omnipotence to order this great creation. God did not just create the heavens and earth, but planned every intricate detail. Long before astronomers had the wisdom or ability to accurately map any stars; before men had the knowledge to determine the makeup of the sun by the solar spectrum; before the speed of light was theorized; God had told us repeatedly by the prophets that He spread or stretched out the heavens (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:12, Isaiah 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, Jeremiah 51:15, Zechariah 12:1). Our reasoning cannot begin to understand the complexities of that work!
Narrowing our scope then, even the size of our Solar System is beyond our full grasp and reasoning, since none of us have been outside of the earth realm. But let us consider that very limited piece of the universe, our solar system. In relation to the power of God we considered the example of the Sun radiating its heat and light in all directions, and earth receiving only a very miniscule point of it, but this relates to His omniscience as well. He knows, designed, and purposed the size, location, and necessary energy generated by the sun (perfect energy for all living, but such power it can burn you if you are in it too long). But there are trillions of suns, and He created, ordered, and knows every one of them in complete and intricate detail (Psalm 147:4, 5)! Our full knowledge does not reach to even the limits of the earth. We are told that there are over seven billion people living on the earth today, and it is impossible for men to even count each one of them: what an impossible task it would be for us to know the names of each of them! Consider what the Lord asked Job concerning the creation;
Job 38:1 – 4 THEN the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
He further asked Job who laid it, measured it, or what it was held up by;
Job 38:5, 6 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof?
What could possibly keep the perpetual order and constancy that we see in the earth on a universal scale? Just speculating, we see on the earth that electro-magnetism has similar or like forces that attract, and opposite forces that repel: the magnetic poles of the earth keep the earth from randomly spinning, and thus give us consistent day and night, and regular seasons. We understand that the electric field controls the voltage, and the magnetic field the current, and we understand the laws governing electro-magnetism enough to use them for work. But we cannot determine the exact location or source of the massive force controlling the earth, moon, and planets. Some men have spent their lifetimes studying these forces but we have learned only a small amount about their working: do you receive a greater humility knowing how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Is this electro-magnetism also working in the universe, between the solar systems and galaxies? Have you ever seen metal shavings on a paper above a magnet? The metal shavings order according to the electro-magnetic field. God created everything in the universe, both great and small, in intricate detail and order, and regardless of the means or method He keeps and sustains it for His purpose.
Over the past several centuries men have discovered the elements; pure atomic materials: a substance that can be further broken into simpler stable substances fails the test or definition of an element. Men have then studied the elements and learned what they think is much concerning the creation of energy, versus conservation of energy, versus conversion of energy, but men are still relatively novice. We have learned enough to destroy ourselves, often unable to provide enough stability to assure there can be no meltdowns or explosions. The energy of the sun is to us (and in our lives) stable, constant and perpetual in its existence; without fear of it’s failure. It has always been since created, and will remain until God chooses. Consider what the Apostle Peter said about the perpetual nature of what God created;
II Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
While the science of man in their ignorance has considered or theorized many varied and not fully substantiated reasons for conservation of energy, let us try a little Spiritual theorizing. Have you scripturally and spiritually considered the love of God as elemental, the eternal, universal, constant? The Word tells us that love (charity) is a must to know God;
I John 4:7, 8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Since we have to know love to know God, then for us to fully consider or know of the omniscience, the wisdom and knowledge of Almighty God, we must consider His love. Because we know that God is love, we know that His love was not created with everything else, but existed before the Beginning. We also know from scripture, inspired by God, that nothing can separate us from that love;
Romans 8:38, 39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For this to occur the love of God must be everywhere. Scripturally we know this to be true, since the Word tells us that … God is love … (I John 4:8, 16), and we know that God is omnipresent. Therefore the love of God is omnipresent. Acts has one of my favorite scriptures on His omnipresence;
Acts 17:27, 28 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
If we … live, and move, and have our being … in Him, then God and His love are necessary parts of our existence. Please remember though, that while the love of God is everywhere, it is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39 above).
We also know that God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), therefore the love of God extends beyond this life, existence, and universe and is eternal. And since God changes not (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8), and we know that Charity never faileth … (I Corinthians 13:8) we know that the love of God is constant and unchanging. Scripture says that God rests in His love;
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
If God is love, and He rests in that love, it is all encompassing and contained in all things. Scripture also tells us of the sovereignty of God, who is love;
Colossians 1:16, 17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
By God all things consist, and we know that God is love, so by God’s love all things consist. Scripturally we know then that the love of God is everywhere and in everything, is eternal, is unchanging, and is constant; how much more elemental could His love be? While we realize the love of God is elemental, it is not an element, but a force. Scientists tell us that the force of gravity only attracts, so gravity may be the physical parallel to the spiritual truth of God’s love. Every object has a gravitational pull to another object, and so is the love of God.
If God … knoweth all things (I John 3:20), and God is love, does love know all things? We are told in I Corinthians 13:7 that charity (love): Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Not just in regard to His omniscience, but to know God we must know His love (I John 4:8). And there is a great connection between our faith and that love.
Over the years men have begun replacing faith with the knowledge of man, until our limited faith does not stand in the wisdom and knowledge and power of God. This should not be;
I Corinthians 2:4, 5 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Faith that is not based in God and His power will fail. From I Timothy 1:13 and II Timothy 1:13 we find … faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. We know that Jesus is the way, and our necessary faith and love are both in Him. We also know from Galatians 5:6 that … faith … worketh by love. (This scripture is further proof that love is a spiritual force, knowing that faith worketh by love. Merriam-Webster’s defines a scientific force as any of the natural influences (such as electromagnetism, gravity, the strong force, and the weak force) that exist especially between particles and determine the structure of the universe.) Since we have established that the love of God is elemental, why do we have difficulty understanding that His love moves or works our faith? Jesus, the Word of God, is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Our increase in faith then comes by Jesus, the Word of God;
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
But your faith cannot be only in head knowledge of Him, you must have a heart knowledge of Him, for His love is elemental and activates your faith. Both faith and love are in Christ Jesus, and He is always ready to work them in you: why are we so lacking in faith and love then? Seek His face for the greater expansion of these things in your life, and you will open yourself to the divine nature! Does this give a greater realization of His omniscience?
If you cannot be reached, if you cannot be touched, if you cannot be moved, if your faith cannot be expanded, by hearing of the sheer magnitude of the greatness, of the omniscience, the omnipotence, the omnipresence, and the love of Almighty God, your eternal abode will be the lake of fire. The knowledge of Jesus is eternal life;
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Come now and let us grow in awe and reverence and love for this Almighty God. Let us seek the faith that the author and finisher has written for us. Let us receive the love of God as it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, and let the love of God activate that faith. Allow God to establish you, and pray for your friends, that you all may receive deliverance from the discouragement, disillusionment, and doubt that the enemy has been defeating you with. Your faith, humbly grown and then activated by His love, will be greater than anything the enemy can attack you with. The omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, Almighty God desires to be, and is, our sufficiency and our overcoming if we will but yield, receive, and walk with and for Him.
For our edification and learning, let us consider an additional truth about the wisdom and knowledge of God: there is no confusion, but peace;
I Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
This peace is a spiritual peace that is beyond understanding, and will keep your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). The enemy will always attempt to lie, and confuse, and confound you to prevent your growth in the knowledge of God. Seek God, and He will open the word and the truth by the Spirit;
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Be led by the Spirit, that you may be a son of the omniscient, all-knowing, Almighty God, and a joint heir with Jesus!
Next let us consider that there were no names given of the seventy that Jesus sent, but we know that they existed by scripture. The seven thousand that were kept and separated by God also were not named, but Elijah was told that they existed. Let us explore these sons.
Reserving The Seven Thousand
In His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and love, God is a God of order, purpose, design, and clarity. This order, purpose, and design is true first in the physical or natural, and then also in the spiritual. Consider the contrast that is made in I Corinthians between Adam and Jesus;
I Corinthians 15:45 – 47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
I Corinthians 15:22, 23 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
So we see that in the order and purpose of Almighty God the natural came first, and then the spiritual parallel. Just as by Adam came sin, and from that sin death, so by Jesus came reconciliation, resurrection, and life. The natural occurrence was overcome by the spiritual occurrence. We have looked first at the order, purpose, and design of one, let us look at some other examples of this order in scripture.
We know that God blessed and multiplied Jacob in the physical, and promised him the land (Genesis 28:12 – 15). Jacob had twelve sons, and then God renamed Jacob Israel (Genesis 32:28), and the sons became the twelve tribes of Israel. The natural lineage and descent of Israel became the chosen people of God in the physical. In the Spirit, Jesus prayed all night, and then chose twelve whom He named apostles (Luke 6:12 – 16). Again, first the natural or physical, and then the spiritual occurred. Jesus gave them power and authority and sent them (Luke 9:1 – 6), and the apostles began changing their world. The spiritual was so overcoming of the natural that we as Gentiles could be chosen, grafted in, and become joint heirs with Jesus!
God ordered Moses in the natural to choose seventy elders who God would put of the spirit of Moses upon (Numbers 11:16, 17). It would be easy for us to expect a multiple of twelve, to have an even number from each of the twelve tribes, such as seventy-two, but in His order and purpose God did not do so. While they received of the spirit of Moses, in the natural example spiritual power was not fully evident in these men. In the spiritual, Jesus appointed seventy, gave unto them commandments and power for ministry, and sent them forth (Luke 10:1 – 20). Again, first the natural occurred, then the spiritual. The seventy returned rejoicing over their spiritual authority. Why do you believe that God chose seventy (that later became the political Sanhedrin) and that Jesus also chose seventy? Can you receive that it follows the pattern?
In speaking to Elijah, God told Elijah that He had left Himself seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed the knee unto Baal and kissed Baal (I Kings 19:18). A remnant is part of the original, and God reserved them, unmixed with the wickedness of the then current Israelites. In the very next chapter we are then also given the possibilities of what a natural army of seven thousand can do with God working for and behind them (I Kings 20:13 – 30). Later the apostle Paul was lead to say that God had “reserved” the seven thousand who had not bowed unto Baal, and that at that present time there also remained a remnant according to the election of grace;
Romans 11:2 – 5 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
We know that all scripture is given by God, so Paul was lead to write of God’s answer; I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, and to speak of a present remnant. Realize that the Word of God is a continuing word, and receive from verse two that God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. God is a God of order, purpose, design, and clarity, and Even so at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. God had still, to and through that time, reserved a part of the original who had not forsaken Him. To this point, we have seen the natural with the seven thousand, but the spiritual occurrence has not been given in scripture. Can you conceive or consider what God will do with a spiritual army of seven thousand? There is a phrase men use when they want to say something is a slim chance, it is “one in a million”. Again knowing that God is a God of order, purpose, design, and clarity, understand that there must soon be a divine, spiritual calling and purpose to the seven thousand reserved of God. It is for this reason that it was not questioned when God recently lead to divide the seven billion living persons on earth by the reserved seven thousand, to find that they are each “one in a million”. In this wicked, spiritually adulterous generation God’s grace will allow men chosen by the election of grace to be one in a million for Him. These will be called to hear and obey God. Daniel was given a vision of the last days, and we see this call being fulfilled;
Daniel 11:32, 33 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
These scriptures and those that follow speak of the spiritual warfare that will occur in these last days. Do you truly know God? That is what will be required to … be strong, and do (the word exploits was not in the Hebrew text, but was added for clarity in the English; the work is not of you, but will only be accomplished because of what God has designed, commanded, and purposed!). In God’s order, purpose, and design there will be a reserved remnant (in righteousness and spiritual warfare) according to the election of grace! Paul had spoken before Romans 11 of the remnant;
Romans 9:27, 28 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
God lead Paul to declare, and remind of what Isaiah had said, that there would be a remnant saved, and that the Lord would finish the work in righteousness. Let us look at Isaiah’s prophecy;
Isaiah 10:22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Isaiah is lead to write that there is a consumption decreed of God. Everything will be consumed, would you prefer to be consumed into the kingdom of God, or consumed by the fire? The God of order, purpose, design, and clarity tells us there will be a remnant saved, a diligent remaining few of the original purposed call: seek the kingdom in God’s righteousness that you might be part of the remnant! God also tells us that what He has decreed will overflow with righteousness. The word overflowing speaks of a flood; God literally speaks of a Flood of Righteousness! Paul is lead to remind us of what Isaiah prophesied, let us continue to look at what Paul was lead to declare;
Romans 9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
The Lord of Sabaoth is the Lord of hosts, or the Lord of the armies; will you be a soldier for God? The scripture says Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed: it is only the seed, or remnant, that have been left (reserved and kept) by God that prevents judgment of this present world to the extremes of what God did to Sodom and Gomorrha. These are the army of His righteous, if you will. Let us find Isaiah’s prophecy;
Isaiah 1:9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
God had told Abraham that he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were but ten righteous there: four people were lead by the hand out of Sodom before it was totally destroyed. Lot’s wife looked back and was also destroyed. It is a very small remnant that is preventing that same destruction today. As with the sons-in-law of Lot, many will scoff at this promise of God, and prepare themselves unto the burning: fear God and let Him open your heart to the truth and deliver you from the judgment to come.
Read past the above verse through Isaiah 1:10 – 31: God is still speaking in these verses to the remnant, the hosts, the reserved army of God! Verse 10 cannot and does not speak to the rulers and people of the two destroyed cities, but unto the remnant to hear! God is calling them back (return) as in Isaiah 10:22 above! These scriptures have always been taken generically as a call for repentance, but it is also a specific prophecy for a specific time! God again speaks of the consuming of the unrighteous, and verses 29 and 30 speak of trees and gardens dried up, as though for the fire! Verse 31 then speaks of the burning similar to Malachi 4, where it says they will be ashes under our feet! Seek to be trees of righteousness that you might abide the fire! The deliverance of the three Hebrew children from the fire in Daniel is a great story for our youth. But it is also a physical example of deliverance from the fire with the Son of God, that you might believe for the spiritual deliverance He will give from the judgment of fire that is to come!
God told Isaiah to prophesy of the remnant, and later confirmed it through Paul, so that the mystery could one day be revealed to you to find Him, The Lord of Hosts, as a soldier in righteousness. He will cut the work of this war short (only through Him) in His righteousness! Have you been prepared, have you been purposed, have you been reserved, and will you diligently seek, to be one in a million, the reserved of God, part of the spiritual army of seven thousand? Even if that is not your specific calling, the grace of God can keep you, and lead you through and out of the burning if you will fully serve Him! But how often our servitude is limited, or lacking; what causes that lack?
Spiritual Voltage But No Current
I was considering and bemoaning the fact that I am so blessed to be living in such a time of electric power and modern conveniences (the ability to light, heat, cook, travel, communicate, work, think, and play) that have so eased the lives of everyone today. Why did I get to live when life is so easy? God said that the ability to have electricity was there through and for every generation, but in ignorance they did not discover it or use it. Man had to learn how to generate, capture, and transport the current before the things we see today were possible. Even with the ability to use it we often expect that the voltage is what is required. In electro-magnetism, the voltage comes from the electric field, but the current comes from the magnetic field. If your car won’t start many check the battery to see if it has 12 volts, but if it has no cranking amperage it will not start your car. The power is in the current! The church today is like that in the spiritual: because they do not see the power and fullness of the Spirit in their midst, they are seeking more and greater spiritual voltage only in the Word, not realizing that the power is in the current, the flowing and moving of the Holy Ghost!
I Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance: as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
Paul had to remind the church at Thessalonica that the gospel was more than just in the word, that the power, and Holy Ghost, and assurance had made them followers. In the physical we have taken the blessings of power and its modern conveniences for granted, and we have become lazy because of how blessed we are. How like that we are spiritually today, we have such power available, but we do not fully know it or use it. Having a history of the moving of the Spirit, we have become lazy, and we now have knowledge of and profess spiritual voltage but we have no current! The power is in the current! By our sin and iniquity we are living far below our God given blessings and capabilities. It is similar to moving or flowing water, stagnant water has potential, but no power; the power is in the flow or current. By our unrighteousness and lack of holiness the Church has dammed off the river of life, and it is not flowing! Unless and until we repent and seek the righteousness of God the river will not flow! There is no shame in repentance, as the enemy leads many to believe to stop their growth: repentance is the initial step in seeking more from God;
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
If we are seeking the righteousness of God we have not yet fully found it, and I John 5:17 tells us that All unrighteousness is sin: repent of that sin and get more from God! This scripture also says seek ye first; establishing that it is the initial step. Even after repenting and seeking the righteousness of God we can limit the power (by our ignorance, laziness, or complacency) of the blessing and multiplying God has for us. To generate or capture spiritual current for use we must first begin seeking to get beyond sin and into the righteousness of God. We desire to be “in” God, and have Him “in” us, but limit the power by what we perceive that to be. If we only seek to be “in” the man Jesus we do not acknowledge His deity and His ascension. We must seek more than being “in” the Saviour, and seek to be “in” the image of His Son, “in” the King of kings and Lord of lords, “in” the power of His resurrection, “in” the fellowship of His suffering, and yet having Him “in” us! He is the creator of all, the heir of all, the owner of all: some quote and stand on the lone scripture about God owning the cattle on a thousand hills, but scripture says repeatedly … the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. Recognize His omnipresence, His omniscience, His omnipotence, and His love for you. If He is not showing in you in current and fullness of power through the Spirit know that the failing is not His! Repent! Turn from the vileness that the world surrounds you with! Repent! Escape the corruption that is in the world through lust! (II Peter 1:4) Repent! There is a wide path to failure; if you are complacent and do not escape the corruption, realize that it is not only you that is affected. Your children, your grandchildren, your parents, even hundreds, thousands, or ten thousands can be affected because you have stopped the current or flow of the Holy Ghost! What would be the effect if your congregation saw and followed the lead of a broken, contrite, repentant heart in your leadership? Repent and take the divine nature home with you, and change your world!
Gain a greater perspective of the need and calling in the following scriptures;
Romans 13:11 – 14 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
We read the things to put off and convince ourselves that we have not done them, but rioting and drunkenness includes more than alcohol; are you partying on other food or drink? What about entertainment? Even sports or shopping can be a form of excess. The excesses today in chambering and wantonness are easily recognized when you consider the drugs for sexual enhancement promoted constantly; is your mind often captured with sexual thoughts? It is the lust of the enemy defeating your diligence in the things of God. Perhaps you have put aside those more fleshly things, but if you are in strife and envying there can be only limited unity of the Spirit working in your life. Repent, make no provision for the flesh, put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and allow the flow of the Spirit to increase!
After learning how to capture and transport electricity men had to then learn how to deal with resistance and impedance (made up of both inductance and capacitance) to properly use the power. There was a resistance in the wire, for instance, that had to be addressed or overcome. The use of the current could also be impeded by both adding to, or taking away from, the flow (inductance – such as a power surge, or that flicker of your lights when the flow reduces when an additional appliance is turned on) and storage of current (capacitance – which is why you wait 20 seconds before rebooting a computer, or why an electrician de-energizes a system before working on it). Realize that there are spiritual parallels; your flesh is resistance to the Spirit, and must be overcome. The flesh and Spirit cannot work together, and we must deal with the Spiritual resistance. If you are walking in sin and iniquity: if you are cleansed from those things but still mindful and walking your own path: if you partially yield but resist the leading of the Spirit, you also resist the flow of the Spirit.
Anything that we would add to the things of the Spirit, or is out of order, or is of self-exaltation is Spiritual inductance and impedes the flow. There is nothing to be added to the perfection of what the Spirit calls for in any instance. Yes, in our resistance we may not have given all that the Spirit intended, but there should be nothing you add to it by pride or for any self-purpose. We also cannot take away any of the glory, for it is all His (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11).
Everything of the Spirit that we would store up, or hold back, or prevent by lack of doing after we hear, is Spiritual capacitance and impedes the flow. Have you been taking in the Word and the things of the Spirit and not letting it out? God wants the Spirit to flow through us. God showed me that I have been a Spiritual hoarder, desiring more and more of the Word and blessing of the Spirit, and not letting the Spirit flow out. Scripturally it is compared to water;
Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
God said in this scripture that these things are two evils. If we are not letting Him flow we are committing an evil! If we are storing up and not letting the living waters flow it is an evil, and we cannot possibly fill our leaking storage! Consider the unrecognized dearth that is on us and those around us because we are walking in evils. Also consider the miracles and healings that have not occurred, the knowledge and wisdom not attained, the love of God that is not shed abroad, the joy and peace missing due to our failures. Then consider that all these things, as well as greater power, are possible if we release the Spirit in our lives! This can fully occur only in purity and holiness, and in humbly yielding to the Spirit.
Just as man has learned to deal with the things that affect the flow of electric current, know that there is a simple solution to the things that hinder Spiritual flow: God’s grace! That grace is available for abounding;
II Corinthians 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
Only the grace of God enables us to fully and completely overcome the flesh and hindrances. Our best attempts will only provide partial overcoming. But grace is not a ‘stop all’ from sin or failure. That is, it does not prevent you from failing if you willfully choose to do something. But if the contrite desire of your heart is to overcome, God knows your heart better than you do. The grace of God will help you if you will ask for it, and it is available for every area of our lives;
II Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Consider the Apostle Paul in his thorn in the flesh. Paul’s desire was for it to be taken away, but God told Paul that He would be Paul’s sufficiency through it;
II Corinthians 12:8 – 10 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
In the absence of Paul’s sufficiency, in the weakness of Paul’s frailties, in the attack of the enemy, the grace of God was sufficient, and Paul was made strong! God’s grace allowed him to overcome the spiritual resistance and impedance, and to let the current, the power of Christ, the moving of the Holy Ghost, flow in his life! May you glean understanding of how much your ways, thoughts, and flesh hinder the power and the flow of the Spirit, and allow God to use you in a greater way!
The Head Of The Church
Brother David Owens recently preached in Farmington, Missouri on knowing our assignment, our authority, and our anointing in the spiritual warfare. His texts were taken from I Samuel 17:54 and II Samuel 5:6, 7;
I Samuel 17:54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.
II Samuel 5:6, 7 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.
Brother Owens preached that David knew his assignment to take Jerusalem, knew his authority to take Jerusalem, and knew his anointing. Several nights later Brother Owens added a fourth item for the spiritual warfare, to know your connection. Joshua had Moses, Elisha had Elijah, Paul had Barnabus, in bringing each one to their calling. We will come back to this connection, but while it was the assignment and authority of David to take Jerusalem, his taking the head of Goliath to Jerusalem was a much larger prophecy in the spiritual warfare. King David’s subsequent taking of Jerusalem was necessary preparation in and for the spiritual warfare that was to come. Jerusalem had to be taken for Jesus to fulfill all prophecy there. In Matthew (27:33), Mark (15:22), and John (19:17) each of the gospels records that Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, the place of a skull. Only Luke 23:33 uses another term, Calvary. How many of you know that the word interpreted Calvary comes from the Greek word kranion, literally meaning skull? The placing of the head of the defeated Philistine (who had defied the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel) at Jerusalem prophesied of the spiritual victory Jesus would win at that specific location over the devil, who also defied the Lord of hosts!
As you begin to understand the prophecy of the spiritual warfare, go back and read the gospel accounts of Jesus death on the cross, and receive spiritually, not just historically, the knowledge of the warfare (Matthew 27:50 – 54): how the veil of the temple was rent in twain, how the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, how the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, … and appeared unto many. From Mark 15:33 and Luke 23:44 you can note the darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour. Receive a greater understanding spiritually of how the centurion and those with him could fear, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. All of these things are declarations of the warfare being fought and of the spiritual victory being won!
Do not stop here, or let this limit the depth of your understanding of the significance of the placing of the head of Goliath at Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Christ is to be both the head of man (I Corinthians 11:3… the head of every man is Christ) and the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23… and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.) First consider the course and mind that we have all had in the past;
Ephesians 2:2, 3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
In that former mind and walk we were lead by our own head, by the lusts of our flesh, and by the enemy, and we also defied the Lord of hosts in this spiritual warfare. The enemy filled us with lust, hatred, selfishness, concupiscence, and idolatry in defying God through us. How often the enemy invades and we are not fighting, or have passively allowed the lust and wickedness. You have no sufficiency of yourself in this battle. The Philistines had sent out Goliath as their champion, the biggest, strongest, and best warrior. We must allow Jesus to be our sufficiency, our deliverer, and our savior; to be for us our champion; the biggest, strongest, and best that we know Him to be in our lives. We have explored the omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and love of Almighty God, and we know, If God be for us who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) Are we walking with Him so that we can let Him go before us in our spiritual battles?
At each point of serving self, by our lust, by our selfishness, by our wickedness, we defied God, the Lord of hosts. Who do you want for your champion, your flesh or the Lord Jesus? David picked up five smooth stones as he prepared to fight Goliath, and many have said that was a lack of faith, but scripture records that there were four other sons of the giant in the Philistines ranks (II Samuel 21:15 – 22, I Chronicles 20:4 – 8). David was prepared in the physical warfare for each of them. Realize that after you allow Jesus to defeat your Goliath, the enemy will figuratively send a fleshly Ishbibenob, or a Saph, or a Lahmi, or a six-fingered son of the giant to try to defy God and again be your head. Be vigilant, and hear only your true Head, the Lord Jesus, in the warfare that continues. There is a call to everyone, and especially the professing Christian, that we must give up the physical head of this flesh for the spiritual head Christ Jesus.
There is no selfishness, no lust, and no wickedness in having His mind. That spiritual warfare won at Calvary by Jesus was in mercy to us;
Ephesians 2:4 – 7 But God, who is rich in his mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved😉 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
We have known that we have been quickened to salvation, but looking closely at these scriptures begin to understand and receive that through Christ Jesus there are exceeding riches of his grace available to us beyond salvation in his kindness toward us. Grace can allow us to escape the corruption of this lust of mind and flesh. There is no lust in Jesus, and he hath called us to glory and virtue. If Jesus is truly and fully your head you have exceeding great and precious promises, and may escape the corruption and partake of the divine nature;
II Peter 1:2 – 4 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We and the church today are living far short of the exceeding great and precious promises of God because we have not given Him full reign in our lives; with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We cannot fully partake of the divine nature because we have not escaped the corruption. Consider additional scriptures that declare him to be the head, and the fullness of that authority;
Colossians 1:18, 19 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;
In a natural body the arms and legs do not have their own head or mind, but obey the one head of the body: Christ became the head of the church that in all things he might have the preeminence. We are not to stay in or revert to our own ways or thinking, but allow him to have the preeminence in all things.
God will frequently give natural or physical examples with a spiritual parallel for our edification or understanding (For instance, Jesus as the Head, or ye are the salt of the earth, or as a grain of mustard seed). In our physical bodies they speak of chemical reactions and synapses, and the head then sending an electrical impulse through the nervous system to tell the leg, or hand, or finger to move or perform some function. That impulse is not random, but is a specific message with directions of how to move, which parts to move, how far, and how fast. There is nothing audible about that electrical impulse, but the body hears that message better, clearer, and much faster than we would a text or an e-mail, and the body obeys. Is that electrical impulse intangible? It is clearly seen in each and every movement of every one of our bodies. If that impulse cannot reach the body part, then that part of the body is immobile or paralyzed, and the lack of movement is also clearly seen.
In the spiritual the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the body, and with the spiritual impulse or message sent to the body there is also grace sent from the Head to call, equip, and enable us to the task or purpose we are called to. The church is paralyzed to the spiritual gifts today because we have stopped hearing, receiving, understanding, or obeying the impulse and the necessary grace that is freely sent from the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result we see the same lack of movement as in the natural body part that is paralyzed.
The world hates the name of Jesus, and that is filthiness of the flesh (II Corinthians 7:1). But if you are not allowing Jesus to be the Head, and you are failing to give Him the preeminence in all things that He might enable you, it is filthiness of the spirit noted in that same verse! Repent and allow Jesus to establish you in Him. This preeminence is not only in those things which are before, but also in those things which are behind: what things of your past are you keeping and not committing to Jesus? The apostle Paul was convinced that Jesus is able to keep everything we will commit to Him;
I Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Do you have a problem with lust? You must recognize and give it up to be delivered from it. Commit it unto Him, for you will not conquer it yourself. Are you holding onto sins because you do not want to give them up? Sin when it is finished will bring death (James 1:15). We must give Jesus the preeminence in all things, for in him should all fullness dwell.
The natural body has five senses, and four of them are fully in the head (sight, hearing, smell, taste). The fifth, the sense of touch, originates at or upon the rest of the body: will you touch someone for Jesus? But even with the natural sense of touch the receptors are in the head! While you can do the spiritual touching, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the body, receives the information and determines what has been felt, what is happening, and what is needed. We should also begin to recognize that if we perceive any concupiscence, inordinate affection, lust, or desire in our senses that it is the head of our flesh trying to again take over the senses and take the preeminence back. Our sufficiency to overcome this is only in God.
Paul is lead later in Colossians to clarify and expound on this preeminence of Jesus, warning against philosophy, deceit, tradition, or the basic principles of men;
Colossians 2:8, 9 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
We cannot find the fullness of the Godhead without being in Him. The phrase “any man” in the above scripture includes yourself first and foremost, since your own mind, flesh, and lust may be your most deceptive and controlling distraction or failure. It is for that reason that Paul is lead to again declare Him to be the head in the next verses, and speak of spiritual circumcision and baptism;
Colossians 2:10 – 12 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
In putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, we will have spiritually cut off the head of our defying flesh, and given Him preeminence! In verses 13 through 17 Paul then declares the freedom in the blessing and overcoming Christ provides, and then he warns again of having the wrong head;
Colossians 2:18, 19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
There are pride and personal exaltation in being lead by our fleshly mind that will not allow us to receive the increase of God that is possible when He is the Head. Being vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind speaks of trusting self and flesh. Trusting self or flesh may be our greatest difficulty in overcoming the flesh. We must learn to trust God first, foremost, and completely to defeat our lust and mind. It is only with His mind that we can fully receive the blessing, multiplying, exceeding great and precious promises, increase, and anointing of God.
Let us look at the physical example to better understand the spiritual promises. Aaron received the anointing oil as part of the process to hallow the high priest;
Exodus 29:6, 7 And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him.
This anointing oil ran down the body of Aaron, as noted by the Psalmist;
Psalm 133:2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
When you become part of the body with Jesus fully the Head, you are then able to operate in the spiritual anointing of Jesus;
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him.
There are two distinct anointings here: anointed with the Holy Ghost, and power; we will consider these further as we consider the grace of God. For the initial consideration of this scripture, if you are in Him, and He is your Head, His anointing will flow to the extent of the body. If you have not made Him the head you are not part of the body. The full anointing will not run down the body to the skirts of the garments: you will place yourself outside the control and reign of God, and will not have the same depth of His being with you. Do you desire to walk in the anointing of Jesus? Then He must be your Head!
Scripture also gives a comparison as if the church was a building, and Jesus is the head of the corner;
Psalm 118:22, 23 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This declaration that Jesus is the head of the corner is so important that it is repeated in scripture at Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, 11, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and I Peter 2:7. Why is this so important? Because there is no other foundation;
I Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
After declaring Him the head of the corner in Acts 4:11, the exclusivity of His position is declared;
Acts 4:11, 12 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Jesus is the only foundation, the only way to the Father, your salvation is only in Him, and He must be your Head if you will be part of the body. We said we would talk about the fourth part of Brother Owens’ sermons, our connection. While God can use an individual to facilitate His will, our connection must be to the Head, Christ Jesus;
Ephesians 4:15, 16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
In order for the impulse from the head to reach our hand and fingers it must travel through the neck, the shoulder, and the arm: does that make the arm a head? Of course not, but all the parts of the body are necessary for the whole to fully work as God intends. While we know that Barnabus was sent to Tarsus to get Paul; who sent him? Barnabus was the connection, but the connection was to the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ! If we are fully part of the body of Jesus, He will supply, He will fit and join together, He will enable as with how the joints work in our natural body, He will work effectually in every part, and He will make our increase in the body always in His love! Let His grace be sufficient for you! We need to gain a greater understanding of the necessary grace for our working through the Head. We each and every one must know Him to have spiritual life;
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
If you are the shoulder, you are necessary in the body for the upper arm, the elbow, the forearm, the wrist, the hand, the fingers, the knuckles, and the fingertips to receive from the Head, and to know … the only true God! Allow Jesus to fully be your head, and be the connection that God has called you to: fulfill His will, purpose, and calling for you, that the rest of the body is not paralyzed!
THE MANIFOLD GRACE OF GOD
Reading I Peter 1:6 recently during heavy trials the manifold temptations were noted; Having always read the word manifold as meaning many, it was determined to find and know the correct context and definition for manifold. The Greek word is poikilos, number 4164 in the Strong’s, with a Strong’s definition of motley, i.e. various in character. So not only are temptations numerous, but they are varied or assorted in type and kind. In studying this, the same use and translation of the word manifold was noted in I Peter 4:10 (these are the only two times poikilos is translated this way in the King James Version of the Bible, the other eight times it is translated divers);
I Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Understand then that the grace of God is not the same for every instance, but varied for each need! We have manifold temptations, but God provides manifold grace to deliver. Just as we would use differing means to battle differing natural disasters, God will provide the specific grace that is needed for each spiritual battle we fight if we truly seek Him for it and open ourselves to receive that grace. Sand bags are used against a flood, but would serve little or no purpose against an earthquake, wind, fire, or drought. Similarly, the grace needed to overcome sin and reconcile an individual to God is not the same grace needed to operate in a gift of the Spirit. What God also gave in reading this verse again was that we are asked to minister the gift of grace we have been given: we cannot hoard grace, but must allow Him to use us in grace. Similar to how we give things to our children, and then teach and tell them to “share” with the other children, God is exhorting us to share by ministering the precious gift of grace! But it is also a spiritual call to minister the gift, as noted by the inclusion of the phrase … as good stewards. Having received that grace is diverse, consider again the following;
I Corinthians 10:35 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
We have often read this verse to mean that we have choices, and can escape the temptation with the correct choice. But the verse says God … will … make a way to escape. God provides grace to enable you to escape (avoid, overcome, or bear) whatever temptation you face: but God does not bear it without you, you must yield and receive that grace. It is only your willfulness that prevents, resists, or cannot see what God provides. There is diverse grace to meet your every need for every diverse temptation, persecution, or ministry purpose in life! As Paul was told concerning his thorn in the flesh;
II Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
By the phrase … lest I be exalted above measure, Paul plainly understood afterwards that the thorn was grace to prevent a greater temptation. Not only is Paul told that the grace of Jesus is sufficient, but please note that Paul equates the sufficiency of that grace with the power of Christ. Please also understand that Paul freely embraced and gloried in that weakness, that the power of Christ might be upon him! Paul did not shun the frailty, but rejoiced over it, knowing that God is greater than the weaknesses if he gave them to Him! God will freely give us this gift of grace and power if we will walk with Him and ask for it! Grace freely received will abound more than sin;
Romans 5:20, 21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Jesus Christ our Lord grace will abound and can reign through righteousness. Grace will not give us our own righteousness (which is as filthy rags per Isaiah 64:6) but the righteousness of God. It is only in hearing and receiving that grace, the impulse from the Head, that we may truly find the righteousness of God, anything less is unrighteousness! Although grace is not specifically included in this verse, see the similarity;
John 7:18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Fully walking in the gift of the grace of God will seek His glory, and give us the righteousness of God, not our own unrighteousness! The English prefix un- means not, if it is not the righteousness of God it is un-righteousness. I John 5:17 says in part; All unrighteousness is sin. Paul plainly understood and declared in II Corinthians 12 above that the thorn in the flesh prevented him from seeking his own glory, so it kept him in the righteousness of God. So if we are walking in our own righteousness and not His, we are walking in sin. It is only by the gift of grace and by obedience that we can find His righteousness.
While I Peter 4:10 spoke of the gift, it did not specifically declare that grace itself was the gift: let us first confirm that grace is a gift;
Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
We know then from these scriptures that grace is a gift of God. It would be easy for us to misunderstand where grace originates and attribute it to the Spirit, but grace came by Jesus;
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
We are often exhorted to seek the truth (thy word is truth), and to seek the knowledge of Jesus who is the truth, but the grace and power are needed also. Grace has largely been considered an invisible intangible to the church, and it is not properly sought. That Jesus is the giver of this grace is confirmed by many scriptures, including Ephesians 4:7 above; for additional examples;
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
Grace must come from Jesus, because grace is part of salvation, the way, and there is none other name … given among men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) There is no alternate way through the Spirit to reach the Father, but it is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved. This is not contradictive in the scriptures. In a physical example, in construction the Owner determines what he wants, needs, desires, and what he will pay. It is then drawn, administered, and built by architects, engineers, contractors, project managers, and superintendents. Jesus brought about and provided grace and truth, and can administer that grace with and through the Spirit. The Spirit also leads and guides into all truth (Jesus) as well (John 16:8 – 13).
It might be easier for some to consider a military example: the king is responsible to equip the army, although he does not often go to the battle. King David looked to God for direction for the war, and then fully prepared for it as he was instructed, but the specific warfare was often led by Joab, captain of the host. Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, looks to the Father for His will and purpose, and provides the grace to those chosen to fulfill that will and purpose. The power of the Spirit then leads the hosts into the spiritual warfare. There is coming a day when Jesus will lead the hosts into the final battle of this warfare. Please consider further the differences of the tasks of these members of the Godhead;
I Corinthians 12:4 – 7 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
So we see that in differing tasks, with perfect unity, the Spirit, the Word, and the Father order the warfare. We know also from these scriptures that beyond salvation there are differing gifts as by the Spirit, but as you read on through the ministry gifts in I Corinthians 12:8 – 10, there is no gift of grace listed, because differing grace is necessary for each gift;
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
Here scripture notes that differing grace provides differing gifts, but prophecy is a gift of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:10)! Do you gain a further or greater understanding here that there is manifold or differing grace administered from Jesus for each ministry gift or call? Please consider and receive now a different perspective of the administration of the promise in Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Each individual has a specific call and purpose in God. Grace is given to enable us for, and to fulfill, that specific call and purpose if we will ask for, hear, yield, and receive that grace. You do not completely fulfill your call on your own (Look at Moses in the physical example: Acts 7:25 tells us Moses knew his calling to deliver the children of Israel, but until God met him at the burning bush he could not fulfill that call. Did the calling ever go away? It was forty years before the gift and presence of God enabled him to fulfill the call!).
Many question whether individuals are full of faith and of the Spirit because of the lack of the gifts and power, but it is the fruit of the Spirit that shows that the Spirit is present (Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.). If there is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:23, 24) we know that the Spirit is present and working in an individual. He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. If we recognize that the fruit is present, but the gifts are not in operation, the lack is in receiving or utilizing the grace from Jesus needed to enable us to accomplish the will and purpose of Almighty God!
In The Head Of The Church we discussed the physical example that the head of our bodies sends an electrical impulse through the nervous system to tell the leg, or hand, or finger to move or perform some purpose. In case that exhortation was not read yet, it bears repeating here that there is nothing random about that impulse, but it is a specific message with specific directions of how to move, which specific parts to move, how far, how fast, and for what specific purpose. While that electrical impulse does not make an audible sound, the body hears that message and obeys. That electrical impulse is not intangible, for it is clearly seen in each and every movement of our bodies. If that impulse cannot or does not reach the body parts, then those parts are immobile or paralyzed, and the lack of movement is also seen.
We then discussed that in the spiritual our God, through the Head of the spiritual body, the Lord Jesus Christ, sends a spiritual impulse or message to the body with the diverse grace necessary to call, equip, and enable us to the task or purpose we are called to. Many are paralyzed to the spiritual gifts today because they do not hear, receive, understand, or obey the impulse and the necessary grace that is freely sent from the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is thus considered intangible, or worse that we somehow are not in grace because we do not feel it. Because of that lack of hearing we see the same lack of spiritual movement as in the natural body part that is paralyzed. We often do not recognize the keeping grace of God that is active in our lives unless or until it is removed for some reason. In Spirit there is an assurance, a safety, a quietness, a provision, or a comfort in that grace that we do not always understand, acknowledge, or sometimes even feel the presence of. In a recent time of seeking God for grace, and feeling that the heavens were as brass, I then also felt the absence of prior grace. The need for the fullness of that prior grace was realized in the thoughts, temptations, and attack of the enemy. In that time of feeling exposed and inadequate the grace of God was no longer intangible to me. In feeling that loss, or lack, of grace I fully recognized the grace that had been there, and no longer felt that it had somehow been missing. Jesus is FULL of grace (John 1:14), and freely gives it to us, and also provides grace for (because of, in the place or instead of, or in addition to) grace (John 1:16). The immediate return of that keeping grace is now known as the amazing blessing that it is, and God is to be praised, worshipped, exalted, and loved for it!
The devil hates the name of Jesus, and puts that hate in those serving him, and that can be filthiness of the flesh (II Corinthians 7:1). But if you have not allowed Jesus to be the Head, and you have failed to give Him the preeminence in all things, it is filthiness of the spirit noted in that same verse! Repent, return from your spiritual filthiness, give Him the preeminence and allow Jesus to be your Head, and to establish you in Him. Grace is only in Christ Jesus, do not miss it by filthiness of the spirit. As with the fruits being evidence of the presence of the Spirit, and as with the movement of the physical body being the evidence of the electrical impulse from the head, the gifts working in a life are evidence of the grace being present, and thus grace is not intangible: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made … (Romans 1:20). Paul exhorts to covet earnestly the best gifts, and if we do, we are seeking the grace to enable the gifts. Scripture exhorts repeatedly for grace for the hearer, why do we not continually seek Jesus for more grace? Timothy was exhorted to be strong in that grace;
II Timothy 2:1 THOU therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
How could Timothy be exhorted to be strong in something he could not even perceive? Why would Timothy be asked to do something he had no control or part in? There was an action of receiving required by Timothy! Consider the first part of I Peter 4:10 again: As every man hath received the gift. You have nothing to give until you receive! We then have another call to action required to be strong in that grace: … even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Timothy was told to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. We know that our strengthening is in Jesus;
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
But we also know from what Paul was told in II Corinthians 12:9 that the grace of Jesus is sufficient for the strength that we need. That strengthening is by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Please note the difference in gifts, calling, and grace between the early church and the apostles in the following verses, which tell us that the early church were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and of the apostles that great power and … great grace was upon them all;
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
While verse 31 tells us that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness, the apostles were additionally given great power and great grace was upon them all as a special dispensation or administration from God. This great grace fulfilled the purpose and will of God for the time, that the early church be fruitful, and that their fruit remain. As a further example consider John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). Jesus said … among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). These scriptures establish the greatness of John the Baptist and his operating in the leading of the Holy Ghost, yet we do not see the gifts of miracles and healings occurring in his life that were in some other prophets, in Jesus, and in the apostles. Do you get a better understanding that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, and that He provides by grace the enabling of that gift? Seek the grace of God, and then be diligent that you do not fail of that grace;
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Are you failing of the grace of God? Are you often complacent or even hindered in ministry, without grace? Are you fully abounding in grace? Seek the promise, and purpose, and will of God that is your gift or calling, then be diligent to hear and receive the grace to fulfill it. Allow Jesus as the Head of the body to then use you for that will and purpose, that the body not be defiled. Jesus had given the below promise to the apostles, that continues for us today if we will yield and receive it;
John 16:15 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Just as with the early church and the apostles, God has a specific will and purpose for you to fulfill in His plan. No matter what the depth of that gift or call is that He has chosen you for, God provides the grace necessary to fulfill that purpose if you will yield to it. It is only by that grace that you may serve Him acceptably;
Hebrews 12:28, 29 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.
After prophesying of the shaking that will come upon everything, we are exhorted to let us have grace; that grace will let us serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. In each of the following epistles written by the Apostles (and led by God), the writer seeks for grace to be given to the recipient; Romans 1:7, I Corinthians 1:3, 4, II Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, I Thessalonians 1:1, II Thessalonians 1:2, I Timothy 1:2, II Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3, Hebrews 4:16, James 4:6, I Peter 1:2, II Peter 1:2, II John 1:3, and Revelation 1:4 all seek for that grace from the Father and the Lord Jesus for the reader. There can be almost the same length of list exhorting to receive grace at the end of these epistles. These are not mere greetings, but a prayer and desire for those reading to receive the enabling power and strength of God and the Lord Jesus Christ! All scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16), so we must know that God is exhorting us to have grace. We speak about the world not wanting to hear of Jesus, but the church has been lacking in seeking Jesus for His sufficient grace!
Let us consider grace in the life of Jesus: He was perfect, without sin, and did not need reconciled to the Father, but the Word says grace was on Jesus as a child;
Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Jesus waxed strong in spirit because He was always feeding His spirit, not His flesh. As a result he was filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. His early life was preparation for His call in the will and purpose of God;
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Jesus was anointed with power: the grace of God was upon him! There is grace for all spiritual needs, if we will seek him for it. Let us consider His anointing closer: His anointing was greater because He loved righteousness;
Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
The depth of Jesus anointing above others was due to His life of loving righteousness and hating iniquity! Consider then that this greater anointing brought Him to a fullness of the Spirit that did not have measure;
John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
There have been many who preached from this verse that Jesus had the Spirit without measure that we cannot have, but this is not scriptural. While we know that each of us is given faith by measure (Romans 12:3, we each then determine what we will do, or fail to do, with that faith), there are no limits of fullness of the Spirit except by our walk. We are to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29), so we are predestinated to also have the same depth of Spirit. While we are not achieving this depth and fullness of Spirit, it is possible. Jesus fulfilled His purpose in His earthly body so that we might make Him the Head, receive grace, and be His new body. The same anointing of Jesus will be present in His body today if we will receive the grace to fulfill the call. This is possible in finding His mercy and His grace to help;
Hebrews 4:15, 16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Finding the word therefore, consider that Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Jesus walked in that overcoming grace, and we are exhorted with this verse to come boldly, but if we have considered the throne of grace to be intangible, how will we come boldly unto it? There is a spiritual place of grace for us to come to, or we would not be exhorted to go boldly to it. We do not have to understand grace to find and receive it, and grace is our help in time of need. God will not only give grace to help in time of need, He will build us up, and prepare us for an inheritance;
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.
Do you want to be a joint-heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17)? Then receive the necessary grace to enable you and give you a place among the sanctified! Let us look closer at what the Apostle Paul said of the abundance of grace in his ministry through Christ Jesus;
I Timothy 1:12 – 14 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Please receive from verse 14 that grace, faith (Jesus is the author and finisher), and love are in Jesus! If you are not receiving exceeding abundant grace you are falling short of your calling! Let Him build you! Paul further notes that it was the grace of God that made him a wise masterbuilder;
I Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Paul also acknowledges in the following scripture that by the grace of God … I am what I am, and that his labour was by grace;
I Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Do you feel like a procrastinator spiritually? Paul said he had become what he was only by the grace of God. We know that Paul was abundant in working, in travels, in preaching, in power, and in writing for the Lord, yet when Paul states that he laboured more abundantly than all the other apostles, he humbly notes it was not him, but by the grace of God which was with me. If you desire greater diligence in the spiritual, seek Jesus Christ that you may be strong and abound in grace! Look again at II Corinthians 8; verses 1 – 6 speak of grace for giving. Verse 7 then lists an abounding in many things, and exhorts to …abound in this grace also. By stating this grace also, it is apparent there is grace for each of the gifts mentioned. Please consider the verse deeper in the greater knowledge of the working of grace;
II Corinthians 8:7 Therefore as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
There is grace for anything that you need to accomplish the will of God! There is grace for faith. There is grace for utterance, for knowledge, for all diligence. There is grace for love. The grace for diligence is what we were speaking of with Paul above; Paul knew and received that diligence given by grace! If we begin with seeking Jesus for grace for … all diligence… we will abound when we receive, for when we receive diligence we will find the ability to tarry and receive the other gifts of grace. If you have difficulty expanding these promises for your particular need of grace from this scripture, please consider again the following verse from the ninth chapter;
II Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
The Almighty God in His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and love is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you may have all sufficiency in all things, and may abound to every good work. This fullness of availability of grace for all things is lacking today because we do not understand the depth of this grace, we do not seek the fullness of this grace, and we do not receive grace in God’s plan. The grace of God will always work in His will and way, for His purpose, and in His time. Do not be dismayed if you do not see the answer as you think, desire, or when you purpose. Paul also humbly gave the glory to God only in the verses above, and this humbling of self must be present to walk in his grace;
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
I Peter 5:5, 6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Do you see then that the thorn in the flesh of II Corinthians 12 was the grace of God that kept Paul humble? Most gladly therefore Paul accepted that infirmity, that greater power of Christ could rest on him. Consider again Moses: at forty years old he knew his calling, but he had to wait forty years, had to become the meekest man who lived (Numbers 12:3), and had to be sent of God at the burning bush before the calling could be fulfilled. Moses was then so humble he resisted by telling God of his inadequacies! Please seek and receive this grace by humbly and boldly asking for these things to be given to you and to your church. May you find the promises and gifts freely available to each one from God, for His purpose, in His time, through that grace! May you glorify God who has chosen you! But know also that there will still be those who are called by the election of grace to a plan, purpose, and timing of God similar to the calling of Moses. Let us explore the sureness, faithfulness, and stedfastness that will be in the 7000 reserved of God, and try to better understand the election of grace, and who God is choosing for that calling.
The Election Of Grace
While you are loved, chosen, and blessed when you serve God, understand that there is also a special calling to be the elect of God; Jesus is spoken of in this way in Isaiah 42:1;
Isaiah 42:1 BEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Are you a servant of God that His soul delights in? If you are fully conformed to the image of His Son you will be! Please note from this scripture that God will uphold His servant, His elect. Do you desire for God to uphold and delight in you? When you delight in Him, that opens your heart to receive the desires and promises that God has for you. These things have always been prepared for you because … the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. How often we live short of the blessing and multiplying of the promises of God by our fleshly walk. Begin to delight in Him and see these things brought forth in your life;
Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
If you truly delight in someone or something your desire is to do those things that benefit or please them. This allows you to begin escaping the lust and desire of only delighting in, or seeking for, yourself. If you delight in God enough, the fullness of that love of God will then allow you to serve Him fully. The receiving of grace can then allow you to delight in God, and overcome the desire for “me”. That grace can and will reserve men and women for God in His election;
Romans 11:4, 5 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Do you believe there was a random number, without meaning, when God reserved the seven thousand He spoke to Elijah of? God is a sovereign of order, purpose, and clarity; if God reserved seven thousand be assured there was a reason for it. We explored this reason very briefly in Reserving the Seven Thousand; men who will be one in a million for God. Let us also briefly consider who they could be.
After the apostle Paul speaks of the election of grace in Romans 11:5, 6, he immediately declares What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded … unto this day. (Romans 11:7, 8) So we see that there is no exclusivity to all of Israel, but to the elect, the chosen of God, and the rest were blinded. Paul then speaks of the salvation, and then the grafting in, of the Gentiles. The word provides that spiritually they were … grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (Romans 11:17). Paul does not then exclude all of the children of Israel either, because he then says … for God is able to graft them in again.
There is then no exclusion to the whole house of Israel spoken of in Ezekiel 37:10, 11. What did Ezekiel call them? He does not say they are an exceeding great congregation, or people, or number, but he calls them an exceeding great army! They had been dry bones, but at the word of the Lord they would be given sinews, and flesh, and skin, and breath, and live (Ezekiel 37:4 – 9), that they would know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 37:13). Many have declared this to be only a spiritual word, and said that it speaks of a return of the spiritual demise of Israel. But that limits our faith and understanding of the power of God. There is scriptural precedent for, and by, those brought out of the grave at the resurrection of Jesus;
Matthew 27:52, 53 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
These were not just spiritual resurrections because it says their bodies arose! Paul tells us we will not have the same body in the resurrection, terrestrial versus celestial. As Jesus was the firstfruit of the final resurrection and our inheritance, these could be the firstfruits of God’s great army. Ezekiel 37:12 … I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves could be the army of the Lord of sabaoth! So there is no limit with God, but He can bring them from anywhere: whether Jew or Gentile, whether natural branch or grafted in, whether dead or living, as long as they partake of the divine nature by the election of grace they can be part of the seven thousand, one in a million for God! Consider the spiritual giant you knew who has gone on to be with Jesus: God can restore them to this great army. Faith, grace, and love are in Christ Jesus, let Him expand them within you for His will and purpose! Regardless of how long you may have left in this life, let this exhort you to love and serve Him fully with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength, that you may walk in His righteousness, and be prepared for His use!
The Righteousness Of God
In a dream recently I was doing what seemed to be the right things in working and keeping busy, but heard a voice say repeatedly, That’s not the righteousness of God. Isaiah 64:6 says in part that … all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Our righteousness falls far short of the righteousness of God, and is unrighteousness, which is sin;
I John 5:17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
While this scripture says there are sins not unto death, which do not stop your relationship with God, being in the will and purpose of God for your life requires complete, total, faith and obedience; you will not and cannot find the same results in unbelief or in using your own will or path. The Word says that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness, which is the righteousness of God!
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Believing God is faith, so faith is a necessity to find the righteousness of God. Faith is a continuous action; it is something done now, not just something that you did in the past. For we walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7) So we must continuously walk in obedience unto the walk of faith, believing God. Scripture attributes faith to righteousness even when it is not sought;
Romans 9:30 – 33 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
So we understand that we do not find righteousness by only seeking, but by faith. As the Gentiles did, you can find righteousness without looking for it, if you walk in faith. You can also, as Israel did, seek it perpetually and never find righteousness if you reject the faith of Christ. We receive according to our faith and obedience. Do you understand that your rewards will also be according unto your ways, works, obedience, faith, and righteousness?
I Samuel 26:23 The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to-day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed.
II Chronicles 6:30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Romans 2:6 – 11 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.
If all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, why would we want to be rendered or rewarded according to them? In fact this may put the rendering in the wrong place;
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?
The many blessings given unto us of God will lead us to give back to Him. Do you love Him for His mercy, grace, and perpetual love toward you? So what things does scripture lead us to render to God?
Psalm 56:12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
While the Old Testament calls us to render praises, the New Testament extends the call; to glorify and serve only God;
I Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Matthew 22:21 says in part (also Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25), render … unto God the things that are God’s. So we must render to God His righteousness, not our own! (As well as our entire selves: from the scriptures above, we are bought with a price!) We also must walk in the righteousness of God to find His will and His purpose to render to Him. So how and where do we begin to find the righteousness of God? Our beginnings will almost always start with a foundation in the wisdom of The Word of God (the Lord Jesus Christ). It is Wisdom that is speaking and declaring the start of the path to the righteousness of God in Proverbs 8;
Proverbs 8:17, 18 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
If we truly love and seek wisdom early we will find wisdom, and we will be loved, and will receive for it not just the shallowness of physical riches and honour, but the enduring spiritual blessing of … durable riches and righteousness. If we search scripturally we know that God loves righteousness and judgment. Wisdom speaks further in Proverbs 8, and says;
Proverbs 8:20, 21 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
To find the righteousness of God we must love wisdom, and follow the lead of wisdom. We will be led … in the midst of the paths of judgment: and wisdom will make us to inherit substance and fill our treasures! Know that the righteousness of God will only be found in yielding and being lead! In Isaiah the Word says that righteousness and praise will spring forth from God;
Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so will the Lord cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
The Hebrew word translated spring forth in this verse means to sprout. Stored seed can remain dormant for long periods of time: but if sown, the garden or earth will cause it to die and spring forth in new life. If we hearken to Him, seek Him, yield completely, and follow after righteousness, God alone will cause this spiritual sprouting, and cause righteousness and praise. This righteousness and praise cannot be made by you or your flesh. The apostle Paul acknowledged this failure in his own righteousness, and also the part that faith has in the righteousness of God;
Philippians 3:8, 9 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Here Paul declares that he has given up everything, and counted them as nothing, that he might have the righteousness that is through and by the faith of Christ. Unless we gain that perspective of righteousness by faith we will not find that which we are seeking. We cannot completely define, understand, or establish the righteousness of God by ourselves, but must seek and submit to the righteousness of God;
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The kingdom and the righteousness of God do not just come to us, but we must seek them. Do not despair that you have not achieved them, but allow Him to establish you in them through the Spirit;
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Again realize the need for the leading of the Holy Ghost in everything. It is through our continuing walk in belief and the Spirit that we can find the righteousness of God;
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
You will not find the kingdom without submitting and allowing the Holy Ghost to establish you in righteousness. It is through seeking, tarrying, and waiting in the Spirit that we may have this hope of righteousness. Galatians 5:6 then says … faith which worketh by love. There is a hope and waiting in the Spirit to receive, but it is activated or begun by the love of God! This faith is not just in believing for a promise, or a healing, but all faith works by love. How do we get the love of God? Romans 5:5 says … the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. The Spirit is our guide to all things spiritual if we yield. The righteousness of God is found only in His love, His joy, His peace, His anointing, His power, His grace, His promise, His healing, His deliverance, His provision, His miracle, His glory, His honor, His praise, His holiness. Open your heart to receive that God alone is our sufficiency (II Corinthians 3:5), and He only, is your righteousness;
Jeremiah 23:5, 6 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
If we know that He is our righteousness, why are we so hesitant to serve Him? Ask God to open your eyes and ears to understand that true righteousness is not in or of you, but in the God given leading and provision as we fear Him;
Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
A stalled calf is dependent for everything. As the sun ever shines on the earth to give warmth, energy, and life, let Jesus shine His righteousness on us that we might receive healing, go forth for Him, and be dependent on Him for everything He sends us to do. The Comforter, the Spirit, has come and now reproves of righteousness because Jesus, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, the Sun of righteousness, has gone to the Father (John 16:8 – 11). Also realize that as the sun radiates energy in an indeterminable amount compared to what the earth receives, so is God’s righteousness to us, we cannot fathom the depth of the righteousness of God. That is why we must learn to receive His righteousness in obedience, because you will never conceive of the depths of His righteousness your self. We must then become servants of righteousness unto holiness;
Romans 6:17 – 19 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
As servants we cannot walk in our own will, and paths of iniquity, but must yield unto His path and His righteousness. As Isaiah 55:9 tells us that God’s ways and thoughts are as high as the heavens are above the earth than ours, realize our need to fully submit to have His righteousness. Know that Jesus is the way (John 14:6), and that way is far above anything you can think, find, or know in self; the way must be found in Him: Matthew 7:13, 14 says … narrow is the way … know that there is no other way to find. Many have the 23rd Psalm as their favorite scriptures, but have you found these paths in verse 3? If you yield as a sheep with the shepherd, He will lead you;
Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
We cannot find these paths of righteousness if we cannot be lead. Do you value his name’s sake, or do you believe that there is a randomness in life, and God just sends us mixed means of finding the paths of righteousness? It is only in servitude, following His commands, hearing and obeying, that we will find the path of the righteousness of God. We will not see God without holiness (Hebrews 12:14), so our righteousness in Him must reach unto holiness.
In order to fully understand that it is His righteousness, let us look at a stark and distinct instance where in self it is not the righteousness of God. Have you ever been in extreme anger and seeking what is the right thing to do?
James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
In our wrathful anger we cannot find the righteousness of God. The fleshly nature and our anger work against the Spirit, and thus we cannot find the righteousness of God. The Spirit and the righteousness of God will work peace and joy in us (Romans 14:17 above). Isaiah prophesied of this truth and of this day;
Isaiah 32:15 – 17 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
The correlation of righteousness with peace can also be found in Isaiah 48:18 and James 3:18. Yield in faith and allow God to take your wrath and work His righteousness and peace in you.
We could search for additional examples where our self or our flesh work against His righteousness, but it is not necessary; we must learn that His righteousness is shown when we learn to live by our faith;
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
How do we receive this faith to walk in? Peter wrote that we obtain … like precious faith … through the righteousness of God;
II Peter 1:1 SIMON Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Walking in your own righteousness is not living by faith, for you are trusting self and not God. The righteousness of God also is not in trying to find that righteousness in the law, which you can never fully obey;
Romans 3:21 – 23 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
The righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ, or we will fail, or fall, or sin. Paul continues in verses 24 through 26 to establish justification through faith in Jesus. This justification then brings us to the walk of sanctification;
II Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
This verse does not say that we are this righteousness, but that we … might be made the righteousness of God in him. Justification must be followed by sanctification in yielding to the Holy Ghost, or we will sin again, and again need our Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1, 2). Begin to see the stark, desperate, and absolute need to be full of the Spirit. In the following verse Paul is speaking of the children of Israel, but it could easily describe each one of us;
Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Oh, Lord, remove our ignorance that we might find your righteousness! We saw above from Galatians 5:5 that we, by the Spirit, wait for righteousness; waiting will not allow you to go about to establish your own righteousness. Waiting is part of the submitting spoken of in the above verse. A good woman once paraphrased Romans 14:22, 23 as “when in doubt, don’t”: the end of those scriptures says … for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. That submitting mentioned in the verse above will be unto, in, of, and by the Holy Ghost. There are those who feel they have been endorsed by the Spirit if they have been baptized in the Spirit and spoken in tongues in the past. They use this supposed endorsement to justify their words, deeds, actions, and ministry as correct or accepted, leaving themselves in the place of ignorance of Romans 10:3, and going about to establish their own righteousness. Realize that this puts the endorsement in the wrong place and evidences the pride that can destroy your life. What item of value do you have to give, sell or purvey? You endorse Him, and not the other way around.
Endorsement contracts almost always have a morals clause to allow the entity endorsed to get out of the contract. How many of you have been used in a gift or fruit of the Spirit and it is no longer evidenced? Have you left the righteousness of God and returned to your own righteousness? As King David in the matter with Bathsheba and Uriah, you may not even have recognized where you have failed, and are now missing the righteousness of God. Repent and allow the Spirit to be your continual guide in leading you through justification, sanctification, and purification unto perfection and holiness.
David, as king, had very much to give, sell, or purvey, but he knew where the order or place of the endorsement of the Spirit was. Please consider that David was recorded as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22): see that he recognized the spirit, and valued the anointing given, and see his acceptance or endorsement of them. David also knew that there was an unwritten morals clause;
Psalm 51:10, 11 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
David had seen the spirit taken from Saul for his failure to obey God; recognize the true penance, brokenness, or contrite heart in David’s prayer, desiring to be restored and to keep his position with God. Why are we so often cavalier with our walk in the flesh in violating that morals clause? In his repentance David asks God to … Create in me … and … renew … within me. Realize that David, a man after God’s heart, could not find the righteousness of God in or of himself and his flesh.
After being filled with the Spirit, in Acts 3:6 we see that Peter has endorsed and also become a salesman or purveyor of what he has been given; … Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee … Begin to realize in humbleness the nothing that you were or possessed before you were saved, the Holy Spirit He has freely given you, and know what you now are or have, and what you have become in Him. How often do we freely endorse a product or business for something we have received or used? Why then don’t we fully realize the value of the life we have been given, and espouse, declare, and endorse its infinite value, and the value of His Spirit?
Can you be declared a man after God’s own heart? How many men did God find who could live the righteousness of God from their self?
Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
None were found because they had no means in their selves; the 7,000 in Elijah’s day were reserved, but had no means in their self without the Spirit. Looking further for a man;
Isaiah 41:28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
New Testament scripture further confirms this lack of righteousness in a man;
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
No matter how you try, you cannot find the righteousness of God in self or flesh; it must be found in Him. This lack of a man able to meet the need was answered by God Himself;
Isaiah 59:16, 17 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
The arm of man had no means or ability to provide the necessary deliverance, so God brought it with His arm. What did he bring? salvation and righteousness, with zeal and vengeance. The helmet of salvation will make Him the head, and allow us to be assured in His righteousness and keeping. Armed with these things He came to oppose the enemy, and overcome for and redeem His children;
Isaiah 59:18 – 21 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.
The Spirit shall lift a standard; a flood of righteousness to counter and stop the flood of wickedness from the enemy. These things are not external to us, but are through the kingdom within us: we are enabled by God through faith, by the Spirit, and by the intercessor, the way, the Lord Jesus Christ within us. Smith Wigglesworth said it is impossible to overestimate the importance of being filled with the Spirit. Repent of your righteousnesses; seek God to be filled, or refilled, with the Spirit, and then let Him be your guide in all things to the righteousness of God! Then, cast as a branch, you will not wither, but be equipped to prepare and herald the coming of the way, the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Allow Him to have the preeminence in all things in your life!
Repetition Of Righteousness
Do you have a storage or junk room in your home where you put things so that no one can see them? Do you also do that spiritually, keeping iniquity in your heart? Do you think it is acceptable to have iniquity in your heart, your holy of holies, just because no one else can see it? There can be no mixture, Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity;
Hebrews 1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Do you want a greater anointing and the oil of gladness? Then love righteousness and hate iniquity! This will result in a daily cleaning, and righteousness is the daily cleaning: also removing our righteousness, which is as filthy rags, for the righteousness of God.
When praying and meditating in the morning my practice is often to pace around, and while pacing one morning in my work apartment many sizes of pieces of green or white paper were obviously noticed scattered around everywhere. My daughter had given her puppy an empty Mountain Dew bottle to play with. The puppy could not get her mouth around it, and had chased it rolling around the room, and her little teeth had cut off pieces of wrapper that were green on one side, white on the other. These pieces of paper were picked up during the pacing and praying. When picking up the pieces of wrapper finished, then pieces of hair, lint, threads, and smaller pieces were noticed scattered everywhere, so they were picked up. Upon completing that, crumbs became obvious at places on the floor. God lead to consider this as similar to the sin and iniquity in our lives: the bigger items can often obscure your vision or view of other filth. As God cleanses and purges, He will then reveal other items for us to remove, and if obedient, little by little we present ourselves (by living sacrifice) as holy and pleasing unto Him, transformed by the mercy and renewing He has provided for us, finding His good, acceptable, and perfect will (Romans 12:1, 2). Yes, it is possible for us to “vacuum” clean our lives with a full repentance, but God will always follow it with other items that need changed that we could not previously see.
It was remembered that Sister Allmon seemingly vacuumed every day. Do you believe that one vacuuming or cleaning is enough? Even if there has been no activity in a room, there is always the issue of dust that will settle. Spiritually speaking the flesh continually causes new lint or threads or pieces, and daily living leaves debris in our lives as well. We should always be vigilant and responsive; as Paul said, I die daily. We may need a new spiritual cleansing, a new removing, a new vacuuming every day. Life itself also brings new things every day, and we should find a new cleansing, or seek a new repentance through the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate (I John 2:1. 2). Realize, know, accept, and be in action that there is a repetition of righteousness.
When I went in my daughter’s room later, more pieces of Mountain Dew wrapper were found scattered about, needing picked up. Going room to room, picking them up, it was found that in my room, where the puppy had been shut out of, there were none. God lead to consider that we are spiritually compartmentalized in a similar way. If you truly and fully love God you will obey Him in all areas: and that is why Jesus commanded to do so … with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Mark 12:30, also Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27). Begin to recognize the areas in your life where you have not given all to Him: yield and allow Jesus to have full rule and reign!
Consider what Jesus said to the disciples in John 16:12, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. After years of being with Jesus the disciples also were still learning, and on the path of righteousness. Know, understand, and submit in this life to an unending walk of spiritual cleansing and growth. Oh, God let me see the spiritual lint, the dirt, the crumbs that need removed, that your righteousness might be found in me. And let me not be avoiding or condemning of others for their sin or iniquities that remain. Let me find your love in all things in my life!
The Love Of The Father
After my wife had passed, in my personal love, desire, and my own perceived need I hugged my daughters, my sisters-in-law, and extended family with a tremendous affection. This is not just in giving affection, but also meeting my desire for it: I had to ask myself, was I giving to get? Is even this very limited show of affection a lust of the flesh? It is our fleshly or very carnal nature that often obscures the difference between love and lust to the minds of men. Our mind remembers the love or affection to, or from, an individual or thing, and desires to return to it. It is this lust of the flesh that we do not recognize and that often defeats our attempts to grow into the love of the Father;
I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
There can be no fullness in our love of God, with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, if we have kept any love of the world or the lust of the flesh: our vessel will have a mixture unless and until the love of God is in the completeness of all that we have. Your fleshly or carnal mind is against the Spirit and God and cannot be subject to the law or please God;
Romans 8:5 – 8 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
So your fleshly nature will never love God! A synonym for carnal or fleshly is meat; if you are carnally minded you are a meathead! Your flesh really only loves itself, only showing love to others in order to get what it desires! And your fleshly nature then works against your ability to love God in the spiritual. In our flesh we become like the Pharisees, making a show of the things that are right, and … pass over judgment and the love of God (Luke 11:42). We know from I John 4:8, 16 that God is love, so the divine nature is the love of God, and not anything we have with our own perceived love. In our flesh we can never reach the fullness of this love of God, the divine nature, for our flesh cannot and will not be subject to the law. That is why we are exhorted to come out of the lust (flesh) to find the divine nature;
II Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
So we must come out of the fleshly nature to find the nature that is given of God! How did we get to this place of failure of flesh and of the love of God? Our God is a multiplier, but satan is a duplicator. Every good thing that God has created the devil will try to duplicate, and makes a counterfeit. So where is the beginning of this counterfeit love? In place of the love of God, the devil gave Eve the alternate evil desire of lust;
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Can you see that all of the things of the world of I John 2:16 were in her lust? She saw that it was … good for food (the lust of the flesh), … pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and … desired to make one wise (the pride of life). The failures of man, and worldliness, all began with … when the woman saw; which brought her to temptation by her own lust and enticed her: and … when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, (and so she took of the fruit) and then … sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death. (James 1:14, 15) Do you recognize the counterfeit love of the world that the devil gave Eve? If that counterfeit love of the world is in you, where is the love of the Father? Consider I John 2:15 again with the scriptures following;
I John 2:15 – 17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The devil tempted Eve and brought worldliness (that lust or love of the world) that has been corrupting, destroying, and defiling ever since Eve was tempted: corrupting and defiling men and women, destroying righteous living, destroying faith, and confusing our understanding. How often today lust is confused for love! We see sexual lust in nearly everything today, and it is teaching our young people to dress provocatively because the ad agencies say “sex sells”. This has resulted in a compounding and increase of the lust. What they receive in return is not even a cheap copy, and will never fully satisfy the longing in their hearts. We must escape the counterfeit of lust and get back to the love of God!
We are living in an extremely corrupt and lustful generation, and it has blurred the lines of righteousness around us. The apostle Paul said … I die daily. (I Corinthians 15:31) If Paul said he died daily, the possibility existed that he might not die to the flesh; as he said in Romans;
Romans 7:19 – 23 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inner man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
So if that war between the flesh and Spirit was with Paul daily, and is continually with us, bringing us captive to sin, how can we possibly overcome? Paul continues on and asks and answers that very same question;
Romans 7:24 – 8:2 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
In Christ Jesus, with a walk in the Spirit, there is chastisement and deliverance if we stray, but no condemnation. Many confuse chastisement and condemnation: condemnation is final judgment, and is beyond the love and mercy of God for us. We should have a continual walk in the Spirit, but know that if we fail we have an advocate;
I John 2:1, 2 MY little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
If you are a man or woman that God would say is after mine own heart you will love Him enough to obey His commandments, but also to receive chastisement and always repent and go forward in Him if or when you fail. How do you think Paul learned to die daily? He had a few failures, but overcame them through the Lord Jesus! If we are comfortable in our lust we will remain in it and continue in the paths of failure and sin. Why were we told of the things that the children of Israel lusted after in the wilderness? The word tells us;
I Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
If we see and diligently consider the example in the lust of the children of Israel then we should be circumspect (Exodus 23:13), and look for the lust for worldly things in our own lives. Ephesians 5:15 also calls us to be and walk circumspectly, but if you will expand and read Ephesians 5:1 – 21 you will find this call to walk in love in verse 2, and to the spiritual warfare against the lust. While it does not have the word circumspect, Colossians 3 considers this warfare as well, and may best describe how to be circumspect;
Colossians 3:1, 2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ setteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
By lust our affections are so often on the physical people or things of the world, and those things are our passion. When we are blessed and amazed spiritually by a brother or sister, set your affection on the one who gave it, the giver of every good and perfect gift, and not on the individual, and you will be increased in the love of the Father. We must recognize the counterfeit love of lust and escape to find the passion of the fullness of the love of God.
Why is the fullness of the love of God so important? The love of God will bring us to complete obedience to His words and commandments. I awoke one day to hear We cannot let the warfare determine or dictate our actions. With the warfare active between the carnal mind and Spirit, we will perceive that temptations are choices or options. With any love of the world or our flesh remaining it will allow our minds to justify our chosen actions, rather than to simply hear and obey the commandments of God. You are not loving God with all your mind if you allow your mind to find alternative choices or options. If you let the love of God determine your actions you will obey;
John 14:23, 24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
If we fully love God it will become as simple as hear and obey. Please also see from the above verses that the depth of your love of God has a cause and effect with the King and the kingdom being within you: If a man love me, he will keep … and my Father will love … and we will come … and make our abode. There is also cause and effect with receiving the Spirit;
John 14:15, 16 If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
The Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost will … teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance (John 14:26). All these promises can also bring us to the cause and effect of us abiding in His love, and having fullness of joy;
John 15:10, 11 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
This love and joy that are His, is as a blessed well springing up inside of us! What will it feel like when it reaches the full level of rivers of living water flowing out of us? We cannot reach that place until we can recognize and remove the fleshly hindrances that occupy our daily walk. People need to be able to then see, and perceive, the differences between the love of God and the lust of the world: Is this in being moved and doing, not just in saying it or in emotion? The emotion of love is the most visible, but the action, provision, and constancy of love is the most life changing. . In Colossians 3:5 we are commanded to Mortify … inordinate affection. The love of God is not changing in intensity with high highs and low lows, but is constant and unchanging! God is love (I John 4:8) and I am the Lord, I change not (Malachi 3:6), so the love of God does not change. Jesus Christ the same yesterday and to-day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8) If Jesus is unchanging, and the love of God is constant and unchanging, we must seek the place of having unchanging love to be like Him. How can we ever come to know this unchanging love? Jesus was taken through great stress, fear, trial, and spiritual warfare, preparing Him for suffering, in His prayers in the garden;
Luke 22:41 – 44 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Most have read and thought the scripture said that He was in agony, but the scripture actually says … being in an agony. The Greek word in the Strong’s, number 74, is agonia and means; a struggle (properly, the state), i.e. (figuratively) anguish. If we are in great pain we say we are in agony, but Jesus was in an agony, a great struggle; spiritual warfare. Through temptation, fear, and persecution the devil sought to change who Jesus was, is, and always will be. Jesus always prepared for the warfare ahead. While Jesus was in this struggle it says he prayed more earnestly. This warfare was so great that verse 43 says … there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. Know that God will also strengthen you if you earnestly seek Him in this struggle.Jesus was in great spiritual pressure and had a very narrow path before Him, through great physical and spiritual pain and suffering, to the cross. Jesus was seeking the will of God, the purpose of God, and the way of God, for His life, so we can better understand the truth of what Jeremiah came to know;
Jeremiah 10:23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Our way is not after the rudiments of the world, or the flesh: it is not in the natural, but in the spiritual! The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect example, for if Jesus did not have his way in Him, and sought God for His will and way, know that it is not in any of us. If you are walking in your own path with your own mind, you cannot find your God purposed and intended way (the Lord Jesus is the way). Continuing on, and considering further the spiritual path of the Lord Jesus;
Hebrews 5:7 – 10 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
While Jesus was unchanging through His path, the walk of great suffering and a very narrow path to the cross took Him to perfection: in the days of his flesh Jesus did not want to go to the cross, but the love of the Father and obedience took Him to perfection, and He authored eternal salvation for you and me, if we obey Him. In the natural, homogenizing a substance takes it through very high pressure and low volume (a very narrow path) in order to make the end result uniform. Milk is our most known example of this, with the cream rising to the top in raw milk, but milk remaining in uniform consistency after homogenization. For each natural occurrence a spiritual parallel can usually be seen if we look for it, and this comparison to homogenizing was made with the path of Jesus. In sharing what God had been giving me on spiritual homogenizing, a friend noted that the great pressure Jesus went through brought Him to the place that … his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground, and noted that occurrence could easily be seen as a natural manifestation of spiritual “homogenization”. Until we are spiritually homogenized we will not fully find our way, or be fully prepared for the strong meat of the word God wants to bring you to. There can be no unity of the Spirit in anything carnal, so we must escape the corruption that is in the world through lust to have the fullness of the love of the Father. Know that you are being brought to His will and His way as you face the difficulties of life and seek Him. We find in the Word of God the provision of, and for, our path, but consider the end result if we are diligent;
II Timothy 3:16, 17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The four elements of profitability of the Word that are in II Timothy 3:16 are what can bring the man of God to perfection: embrace them, seek them, and allow God to use them to bring you to the walk of being throughly furnished. The scripture is often misread and quoted as thoroughly, and not throughly, and many do not understand the difference. You can stir raw milk thoroughly and mix the cream back in the milk, but over time it will still separate again. Can you recall this occurring in you spiritually, where you are spiritually strong and bold at times, and weak at other times spiritually? If milk is homogenized it is throughly, and it is throughout, entire, and complete with no need to mix it again. That is how God desires to equip the man or woman of God. In all of the trials, in the temptations, in the travail, even in the stress of attack from the enemy to the point of persecution (II Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.), God wants to bring us to the place of evenness, consistency, and constancy of His love. If we are spiritually homogenized we will reach the place of loving all the same to be in His image and have His mind: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5). We hear this scripture frequently, and are often left to our own thought of what the mind of Jesus is, but the prior verses establish this mind;
Philippians 2:1 – 4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
This lowliness or humbleness of mind and constancy of love will bring you to fellowship of the Spirit and to action in esteeming others: it is homogenized and always, readily, available for God to use, and let it flow out of you. This like-mindedness or constancy is in the love of the Father and obedience to God. Barbara said don’t hug me or tell me you love me, but show me: God wants us to show him we love Him by our obedience to His commandments. How often our hearts are lead by our flesh;
Mark 7:6, 7 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
This prophesy can be found at Isaiah 29:13, and then establishes that the result was that wisdom and understanding would be hidden from them. That God knoweth the hearts can be found in a number of scriptures including Acts 15:8 and Romans 8:27, but Jesus described it so well in Luke’s gospel;
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Can you recognize any justification of self in your heart? Are you choosing to hold onto your lust and the things of the flesh? Do you still choose to have things as the world esteems or values them? In the love of the Father and the mind of Christ our fleshly values will be replaced with what He esteems. Brother Don Shoots said in a sermon that God had told him, I won’t let you hold on to anything but me, and Brother Shoots said he did not like that. In our very limited understanding we perceive this “hold on to” as the physical attachment or grasping of life, and do not understand the Spirit and nature of the “holding”. God is calling us to only hold on to Him, escaping the corruption of lust, and receive His love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
In my own life it seemed God had placed me on a path of loneliness after Barbara passed and He had commanded me to wait, and not seek a wife. To obey His command I purposed to distance myself from the single ladies and only be associated with the married nurses who took care of Monica. This exclusion in itself is an issue we will return to later. There were then individuals who God used in their compassion to sustain and strengthen me, and their affection was a great comfort. He also used them to build me in His path, but He then took them out of my daily life. When God moved the last, a great, very dear, and only friend, to some distance I despaired of the loneliness, longed for affection, and began to have a pity party until God showed me that the love and affection for those wonderful people was preventing me from seeking Him to the fullest. My comfort and satisfaction with living with the personal affection for, and from, those blessed individuals had resulted in a complacency to seeking the love and fellowship of God in a greater depth. I must therefore embrace the loneliness that it might bring the fullness of the love of the Father.
Fully received His love will be all encompassing, fully meeting our every need for love and affection. To receive fully we must enter into His love, and escape the need and desires of the lust of the flesh. Only if and when our heart is fully and always to Him will we be unmoved or unswayed by persons or things the enemy uses to tempt or distract us. That is why the first commandment is what it is: your victory is in your love for God! It is not a demand, but a promise! If we can have a heart after God’s heart, and receive the grace to attain the fullness of love for Him, it will resolve all other issues. And yet we hear the first commandment as only a requirement or rule. If we do not find this stedfastness of heart, the flesh will work against the Spirit, and continue to prevent or reduce the flow of the rivers of living water that are the Spirit. This love of God is part of the divine nature and will bring us to receive the promises of God. It will thus equip us to always be giving, instead of also needing to receive from the world. It is the blessing of God; … It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35) Can you understand and receive that that nature or desire to give is the mind of Christ?
There is also great importance of our love for God in relation to the depth of our faith. Our love of God will bring us to not only obey His commandments, but to have greater faith, and overcome the world in victory;
I John 5:3, 4 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Have you considered the phrase For whatsoever is born of God in these verses? Your love of God and your obedience to His commands births you in Him and establishes you in faith! After Jesus gave the parable of the unjust judge, in Luke 18:8 it says, Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Where is our faith? We know from Romans 12:3 that … God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. So we each have been given a measure of faith, and we each determine our own activation or use of that faith. We also know from Galatians 5:6 that faith … worketh by love. We have considered this scripture repeatedly, so where is our faith? Our faith is not being fully activated because we are living and walking and trying to find that faith with the counterfeit love of lust! How often we mistake the necessary love, or limit it due to the mixture of the lust of the flesh. Fullness of faith will only come in fullness of His love, allow yourself to be fully born of God! His love is then expanded by the Holy Ghost;
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,
When we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our faith is activated and strengthened by that true, pure love, then the Spirit can flow out of us as rivers of living water. We have continued to seek for the Spirit to flow in this way, and we say we are waiting for God, yet the delay and problem is ours, we have not fully escaped the corruption of lust!
Once we have finally found the fullness of the love of God, there is then a need to be vigilant to remain in the love of God, as evidenced by Jude’s exhortation;
Jude 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
The love of God will not stray with us into the counterfeit if or when we do, so we must keep ourselves in His love. Let this give greater understanding of Paul’s declaration that I die daily, there will be a need to be vigilant and obedient continually. Purpose to be an individual after God’s own heart, that you may abide in His blessing and keeping love and grace! If we begin to know and recognize the counterfeit, how can the enemy deceive us and take us out of the love of God? He will use every means in this warfare to stop you from operating in the love of God, whether it be temptation, fear, confusion, shame, or deceit.
A very special married friend has shared the numerous poor decisions she has made in life that led her into sin and that plunged her to greater depths of sin. As the enemy had done with me in my own past, he had also done with her. In fact, as provided by Romans 3:10, … There is none righteous, no, not one. That is the past of each one of us until we find the Lord Jesus. She now is again following Jesus and has a hunger and thirst for Him, and for the great calling, anointing, and path that He has for her. She is a lady gifted by God with great compassion, a wonderful smile, and now has the light of Jesus radiating from her and her eyes. In knowing her now it is impossible to attribute the failures to her that she describes, because she is so wonderfully delightful. As I considered this, a still small voice, in love and with no chiding or scolding, spoke to me, You are coveting another man’s wife. In my immediate appall, and my desire to justify, I got out only two words No, God! and I thought that I have not lusted after her, since we think of Jesus saying … whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her … Immediately sanity caught up and I said you know everything God (… all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:13), and you know me better than I do God, show me. To find how it is possible I searched the scriptures; the one above from Matthew 5:28, and on the commandment not to covet;
Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.
In finding the Strong’s definition for covet in this verse (number H2530, chamad) it says simply to delight in. Some of the other words it is translated to in the King James Bible include desire, and lust, but these are greater extremes of the coveting. There is nothing fleshly or sensual in or about a house or livestock, but it is simply having a “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” mind. To covet begins with the simple sight of the eyes, mis-attributing of the glory, and to delight in. We consider to delight in to be a minor thing, but it could allow the enemy to put you on the slippery slope to the greater failures, and out of the love of God. I felt immediate chastisement and repented, and God continued loving, blessing, and keeping me. Understand that her part was obedience, but that it is the Lord Jesus Christ abiding in her that is showing and shining, and working, and blessing from within her, and give Him the glory! If we will hear and obey, the grace of God will keep you in His love, as He did for me! But consider further that delighting in God is the love of the Father! I almost allowed the enemy to convince me that I could not love my friend as I do, but God let me know that to delight in was the issue. We need to then glory in God, and recognize in our life and the lives of others the giver;
Jeremiah 9:23, 24 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
God must be our first and foremost love, so to glory or delight in the recipient and to attribute the blessing, the keeping, and the anointing that are on an individual to the individual and not to the God who gave them is spiritual adultery! The glory is all his and God does not share it (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11). Glory in God for what He has given the individual! I pondered on how to describe this dear friend, and came to realize that I have never had a similar friend. Scripture records, however, that there is … a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:19) The Lord Jesus is that friend that sticketh closer than a brother. So let not the friend glory in the friendship! I also realized that it is because of the zeal, hunger, and thirst that she has for the things of God: but that is the Lord Jesus, the friend that sticketh closer than a brother, that is living and shining within her! Because of her obedience God is exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in her earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. I am delighting in them because God delights in these things, and in her! It is similar to what I have come to understand regarding compassion, that you will begin to see, feel, and recognize that same compassion operating in others, it is all fellowship of the Spirit! This is the love of the Father! It is just finding how to love the invisible God through the visible manifestations.
It is only the grace of God that allows an individual to find Him, or that prevents us from greater failure if we will hear and obey. Paul said … by the grace of God I am what I am (I Corinthians 15:10). If grace was necessary for Paul, then it is by the grace of God and it is for the glory of God that any other individual is working for God. It is only the obedience and not the calling; it is only the yieldedness and not the blessing; it is only the boldness and not the anointing; that is attributed to them: the calling, the work, the blessing, the anointing, is all God’s: and it all works by the love of the Father.
You may feel like you are having to give something or someone up to love God to the fullest, but the late Brother B. H. Clendennen properly noted that if he loved God fully he could love his wife of 62 years even more than he did. The love of the Father does not take away, but adds to the fullness of your love! Glory in God for what He has given the individual! It is only the grace of God that allows an individual to find Him, or that prevents us from greater failure if we will hear and obey.
We have seen from I John 5:3 that to obey the commandments of God is … the love of God, and that His commandments are not grievous. The very first commandment is the love of the Father;
Mark 12:29 – 31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
We discussed above that the first commandment is not a demand, but a promise, and that our victory is in our love for God! If we have a heart after God’s heart, and fully receive His grace for the fullness of love for Him, it will solve all. Yet we only hear the first commandment as a requirement or rule. This commandment can leave us trying to determine from within ourselves when we have reached the depth or fullness of this love of God. Perhaps that is why Jesus gave a new commandment;
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
This is His commandment to us, to love others as He loved us, and if we love Him we will obey His commandments! Even this new commandment could leave us trying to define the depth of how much Jesus loved the disciples. Jesus did not leave the depth of His love for us to determine;
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Jesus said that as the Father had loved Him was how He loved them, and we are to have that same love for one another. So the truth is that the love of the Father is the love of the Father! It comes from the Father as it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost! It is not a searching within ourselves to find this love, but seeking and receiving this love from Him! James said … ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2) God will not take the lust, and give His love until you desire and ask. If we will hunger and thirst for His love, and desire and diligently seek God for it, God is a rewarder, and will pour it in, and then pour it out of us as we overcome and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. If we escape the counterfeit, then Jesus, by His grace and truth, will pour into and out of us the love of the Father! That true, full, active, love will increase our faith, remove doubt and fear, defeat temptations, and openly display the fruit of the Spirit in our lives! But we then need to also consider the purpose of hope!
Hope Maketh Not Ashamed
What is your personal definition or perspective of what hope is? Do we really understand spiritual hope, the necessity for hope, and the operation of hope? Many think that hope is just the random wishing for something on our part, which can be a flesh or lust based desire. Our hope must be “in” to be effective. Psalm 43:5 and 78:7 encourage us to hope in God: what better place to have hope than to trust in the one who created it all, and never faileth! Let us find the beginnings of spiritual hope, and then take a greater, deeper look at the working of that hope.
Please consider the phrase “By whom” in the verse below. We know that Jesus was delivered for our offences, but scripture tells us that our justification was provided by His resurrection (Romans 4:25). We are told that by faith, we have peace; and this grace wherein we stand; and we may then have hope;
Romans 5:1 – 2 THEREFORE being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Know from these scriptures that we must activate our belief in Jesus to activate our receiving: we have peace … through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom we have access … into this grace. Since we know that grace came by Jesus (John 1:17), does this access give you a greater understanding of Jesus as the way? You have no ability to receive any of these things without belief, and then these will allow you to rejoice in hope. That initial hope is in His coming;
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
His death atoned for all repented sin; the price was paid for us whether we ever believe or not: but His resurrection provided for our justification. We have no means or ability of our own to gain this reconciliation or keeping grace, but can only receive that justification by faith, believing in Him, and by that faith we have access to the grace that enables us to stand! We can then rejoice in hope of the glory of God, the salvation of our souls: look for that blessed hope, His glorious appearing! Let us continue this first look at hope operating in our salvation, but then know and receive that there is also a far exceeding and greater working of hope in our walk;
Romans 8:24, 25 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
But we are also saved by grace, and through faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.) But since we know from Hebrews 11:1 below that … faith is the substance of things hoped for, then we know that hope is also present. Hope is initially an essential part of our salvation, and gives us patience to wait for it. Why is having this patience important to us?
Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
If you have no hope, there will be nothing to wait for, or continue for. The hope of, and for, that thing that we see not brings us faith to wait for the promise. There is a confidence and assurance, a faith, of our salvation; yet it is hope that provides the patience to wait for it. Hope then becomes part of our protection, or armor;
I Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith, and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
The helmet, the protection of your head and mind, is in your hope of salvation: can you see how that brings you to more patience: yet patience is one of the things that bring you to greater hope? Please also note that faith, hope, and love are all in the last verse, and look for their relationships as we progress in this study. Let us move on with this hope to the walk of sanctification: after we are told to rejoice in hope in Romans 5, we are then told that we glory in tribulations also, and then … tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts … (Romans 5:3 – 5). We need our hope increased, and then our love will be increased by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. If you are not tried you will not have sufficient patience to wait for the promise: if you cannot then be patient and wait for it, you will never experience the promise of God. Only if you experience it will you learn to hope for the promise. By faith we believe for the promise, but by hope we anticipate, expect, and are confident for the promise! By faith we know that He can, but by hope we know, that we know, that He will! Faith is then the substance of our hope;
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Consider the opposite or alternative of this verse; if we have no hope, we have no substance to our faith. Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, speaks of each one of those in the hall of faith as acting by faith, by faith, by faith. And we of course know faith works by love (Galatians 5:6). But without hope, an expectation and knowing of (and standing on) the promise, there was no active faith or substance: each one saw the promise of God afar off, not seen in the natural yet, and believed for it. Faith is not the substance of things wished for, but those things hoped for, those promises that you have tarried and learned and walked in a path for, and that God then brings you to that expectation and that hope of. Faith is then the substance of those things hoped for, those things that are not seen, but hope and faith are distinctly different things. When we make bread, we make it out of flour, but must add some yeast to activate the rising of the bread. The flour is dormant until we begin to make the recipe, but with the activation of the yeast, and the multiplying of that yeast, the flour then becomes bread. Similarly, unless or until we have that activation of hope we have no substance or rising to our faith, our faith can remain dormant. Hope is the unseen activation or leavening, of our faith! So as you find tribulation in your life know, as Romans 5:3 – 5 said above, that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; truly learn to glory in the increase of your hope! We must not only believe by faith that He can, but hope is the expectation and confidence and assurance that He will! Those in the “hall of faith” had believed for the unseen promises and were assured they would come, and thus received them! May we understand that He is the God of hope, and look to and seek Him to increase our hope;
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
We also saw the peace of God in Romans 5:1 above, and if we will allow it, and walk in that peace, it will allow us to abide the trials we face without loss of faith. Do you see the cause and effect: if you are filled with joy and peace in believing, then you may abound in hope? The joy and peace of God will keep us and allow us to increase in our faith, that we may abound in hope, but the fullness of that hope is also through the power of the Holy Ghost. All of this promise is from the God of hope, and is a work of God. Is greater hope what is added to faith by the Spirit, to give the spiritual gift of faith to some? That hope, assurance, confidence, and expectation that He not only can but will, may then bring forth the fullness of faith by the Spirit. Realize then that there is a purpose and need for spiritual hope;
I Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
We cannot miss the hope that fits between faith and charity, or love! We must have all three for each of them to properly abide in and through us. Faith believes that He can, hope is the expectation and confidence that He will, and then love works that faith! It is much like an engine that can work, but must have fuel, and a spark, and then it will produce the end purpose! Faith is fueled by love, but it does not matter how full your tank is if the ignition is not turned on. The expectation of hope is the spark that ignites the love, which then powers the engine of faith! However, it does not matter how big or how powerful your engine of faith is, or how many cranking amps your ignition of hope has, because the fuel of love is the greatest and most necessary! You cannot operate an engine on an empty tank. There also must be a proper mix of fuel and air: that is why the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. If it is in our control or means we could have the engine flooded, or we could have a lack of fuel, both by inordinate affection. It has also been noted and questioned previously that faith and love had not been the topics of many writings early on, but the path of the gift of grace and righteousness unto holiness was truly necessary: in our vehicles there is always a filter on the fuel system, since condensated water or contaminated fuel will not ignite effectively. The filtering always comes before the igniting process (our hope). We cannot have lust, sin, or iniquity, the dirt or sewage of life, contaminating or preventing our love from being activated. We also cannot have our engine of faith trying to operate with broken or inoperable parts. Our sanctification is the path of repairing, filtering, and purity that the gifts of God may operate perfectly. If all these things are in perfect order, and the spiritual engine is hitting on all cylinders, the engine has great power. Consider for a moment the Lord Jesus with the woman with the issue of blood;
Luke 8:46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
The word translated virtue in this scripture is the Greek word dunamis, G1411 in the Strong’s Concordance. It is translated 77 times as power in the King James Bible, and only 3 times as virtue. How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power … (Acts 10:38): consider that the word power here is the same Greek word. Recognize that the Greek word has more meaning than our English, and relate both power and virtue to it, the purity of the fuel of love! Jesus had great power in Him, and could perceive that it had gone out! Jesus love was so operating His faith that He did not even have to know of the need that the woman had for it to work! But it was the woman’s actions in hope that provided the spark for her own faith and activated that power; If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. (Matthew 9:21) Can you understand that first the hope, or thought, of touching His garment preceded and precipitated the action or faith of touching His garment? Without the thought the action would not have occurred. Can you now better recognize the interworking of faith, hope, and love? Jesus was not exclusive to this power going out, for we see later that the shadow of Peter was sought to heal some (Acts 5:15). Consider that there was a hope from those that laid the lame in the street, not from Peter. Handkerchiefs that were taken from Paul provided special miracles or healing (Acts 19:11, 12), but the hope was in those that sought for, believed, and in faith carried the handkerchiefs to their purpose.
Can you now recognize that faith and love are absolutely necessary, but that there is also a need for your hope to be that action, or spark, necessary to ignite? Believing that He can does not avail unless there is an acting in hope that he will. Consider that the plowing and threshing in the below require action;
I Corinthians 9:9, 10 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.
There would be no purpose for the plowing or threshing were it not for the hope of partaking of what is produced: hope causes the action. Let us continue, however, with this look at sanctification and hope: we have seen in Romans 5 above how we acquire hope, and also the necessity for patience;
Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
There is a sanctification process by and through the Spirit after our justification, and we see that we wait for the hope of righteousness. Righteousness is not just given, but we have to look for and anticipate it by the Spirit! We know from Galatians 5:6 that faith worketh by love, but this immediately preceding verse includes the hope and righteousness that are also a part! Hope will call you to this sanctification process;
I John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Just as hope brings you to look forward to the promises, it will bring you in this hope to seek to purify your self. What is this hope? The prior verse provides that information;
I John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The Spirit and this hope will keep you and bring you forward in this calling and sanctification process, that you might be like him; for we shall see him as he is: you must yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (Romans 6:19) to be like Him. To see the antithesis of this consider the following verses;
Jeremiah 2:25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.
Jeremiah 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
If there is no hope, you will not have a desire for righteousness or purity. Consider then this hope in relation to the sanctification process that was working in the Apostle Paul that he mentioned in Romans 7, and the fulfillment of this walk, that then in Chapter 8 leads up to the hope mentioned in Romans 8:24, 25 above: verse 25 says But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. So hope brings patience in this sanctification process, in this purification process. And then that … patience works experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. There is no shame in this hope, because it is pure by the sanctification process that hope has helped to work in you!
In relation to this sanctification process being necessary, have you considered that Abraham did not receive the promise of the land from God until he became obedient? Abraham was called out of thy country … from thy kindred … from thy father’s house. He left country but went with kindred and with his father: after his father passed he still went with kindred, Lot. When Lot was finally separated from Abram he received: And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:14, 15) This was only the beginning of the hope that was given to Abram, for God later changed his name, promised him a son, and promised him blessing and multiplying as he succeeded in the walk of sanctification! Let your hope bring you forward in this walk of sanctification! We often do not recognize that our failure to seek and receive the fulness of our sanctification is what has also prevented the fulness of our receiving in hope, love, and faith!
Scripture further tells us hope is given by God through grace;
II Thessalonians 2:16, 17 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
Again realize that the grace extended of God must be received for you to have everlasting consolation and good hope, and these may then bring you to every good word and work. Let us consider this further in Hebrews 6;
Hebrews 6:9, 10 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
If better things have not accompanied your salvation, then you should check your salvation: some of those better things are the work and labour of love and the ministering of verse 10: and these things bless and multiply God! This diligence will then bring you to greater hope;
Hebrews 6:11, 12 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Can you understand that these things are all part of the sanctification process, and that your work and labour of love and that ye have ministered … and do minister all accompany salvation and bless and multiply God, and give the full assurance of hope? Verse 12 then mentions that we inherit the promises. Our inheritance comes from the Father! Verse 13 then starts with For, which refers back, and basically says because or since;
Hebrews 6:13 – 15 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
The promise to Abraham, the truths of the blessing and multiplying of Almighty God given to him in Hebrews 6:13 – 15, required obedience and patient endurance (hope) on the part of Abraham: he obtained the promise. God then continues this look at inheritance, and notes that the heirs of promise may then receive this consolation and hope that may then be our refuge, and an anchor for our soul through the two immutable things;
Hebrews 6: 16, 17 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
We know from this verse that God is still speaking through the writer of the promise made to Abraham, since he attributes its continuance to the heirs of promise. He first introduces through the writer the immutability or unchangeability of His counsel. Counsel is Number G1012 in the Strong’s Concordance, and is defined as: βουλή boulḗ, boo-lay’; from G1014; volition, i.e. (objectively) advice, or (by implication) purpose:—+ advise, counsel, will. What God advises, counsels, or wills (in another word promises) is unchangeable, but is also future tense. We do not hope looking back at a promise, but it is something unseen, not received yet. In this verse God also confirmed it by an oath, so again we are obviously still referring back to the promise and oath made to Abraham in the preceding verses, but we are looking forward in hope.
There are many who look at verse 18 and believe that what is unchangeable is that God cannot lie, but where then is the second immutable thing? That God cannot lie is a fact, not a promise: the sentence of Verses 18 through 20 is a continuation of verse 17: it is the prior promises to Abraham here that are still the topic. Before time began God could not lie: it has always remained the same, and always will be. Know then that the two unchangeable things are the promises that were made to Abraham and that are inherited: that if you bless then you will be blessed by God, and if you multiply then you will be multiplied: Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. (Hebrews 6:14) We then have that consolation, refuge and hope if we will stand on, and in hope of, the promises;
Hebrews 6:18 – 20 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Hope is not something that we just have, but God has given or extended to us hope. It is set before us; consider the receiving actions necessary in the verses … fled for refuge, and lay hold upon, and entereth into that within the veil. What must we flee from for our refuge? We must flee from our unrighteousness; to lay hold upon the hope we must get on this path of sanctification: The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe. Your access, your safety, your refuge, your anchor, yes your very hope is only found in righteousness. We saw from the Jeremiah scriptures above that where there was no righteousness, and where people are walking in their own imagination and sin, there is no hope. As the priests could not enter into the holy of holies without sacrifice, we cannot enter into that within the veil without righteousness unto holiness. Does this give you a greater understanding of the calling to the kingdom and to His righteousness? Your hope fully comes only after His righteousness;
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Can you see that greater hope is a part of all these things shall be added unto you? Can you see the interdependence and the circle of these things? Righteousness and patience will bring you to greater hope, but greater hope then brings you to purify yourself, seeking more righteousness and sanctification! Seek the kingdom and His righteousness, and let hope then activate your faith in love, and go blessing, giving to all who need and will receive!
Isaac was heir to the promises that were made to Abraham, as was Jacob, as were the twelve tribes, as was Moses, and David, and as we are if we embrace, rely on, and walk in the hope of the immutable or unchangeable promises, blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. If we will not receive and walk in these promises and this hope we may live in relative spiritual squalor, regardless of our wealth. The children of Israel were blessed and protected, being fed with manna, and led by the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, but they lived in relative spiritual squalor for forty years because the ten spies did not receive the hope of God’s promise. In their lack of hope that generation also failed miserably and frequently in sin and iniquity, failing of righteousness also. In hope, Joshua and Caleb took the next generation into the promised land!
We must also then be patient in that hope to receive the promise;
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
When your hope is delayed or deferred, do you become complacent or impatient? or does your heart instead have a longing or yearning to see the promise come to pass? That longing or yearning is what is needed to initiate the spark of hope and ignite the fuel of love that drives the engine of faith. When the desire comes, it is a tree of life!
We must hold on steadfastly to our hope! In the Strong’s Concordance hope in the Greek is number G1680, elpis; (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence. It is translated fifty-three times as hope, and only one time as faith;
Hebrews 10:23, 24 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
If you substitute hope for faith and reconsider these verses, can you fully understand that hope is the spark that ignites love to cause good? Since we know that he is faithful that promised, we have no cause to waver in our hope! That hope is what can then provoke or ignite to love and to good works! Fully sanctified and operating, this faith, hope, and love will be giving, and not accumulating to self. Can you begin to perceive the strength of this combination of faith, hope, and love? Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that … a threefold cord is not quickly broken: realize that the power of the threefold combination of faith, hope, and love in complete obedience to the will and counsel of God is unstoppable! Begin to desire of God to know hope, and ask God to activate your love and faith through that hope! Know then in humbleness that everything that you are is in Him!
A Turtle On A Fence Post
A phrase or quote was heard that was attributed to a basketball coach: “If you see a turtle sitting on a fence post you know it did not get there by itself.” A turtle cannot climb the post, it cannot fly to the top of the post, a turtle cannot tightrope walk the wire of the fence to get to the post. If a turtle is on a fence post somebody put it there. His intention was to say that sometimes a player that stands out is there because of those around him. But the phrase has been around for a long time, most often attributed to politicians.
“I” am as a turtle spiritually: slow, methodical, and crawling, and very quick to retreat into my shell. And it is often as if on a fence post: any and all of the physical and spiritual places that I have reached, all that I have been given, all that I am, but more than that, all that I could or can be, are given from God and by the Spirit, so that He would be glorified. Even this exhortation is written, and was written, because He spoke it and purposed for me to. I was an obnoxious, obscene, obstinate, unstable, perverse sinner when I was serving the devil. I often had no inclination, and I had no means or ability in myself, to change.
Consider yourself: were you perfect and the picture of stability spiritually before Jesus changed you? Even after coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus my obstinate, fleshly, nature has often prevented receiving the fullness of the very promises of God. It is only when we submit and yield completely to Him and His will that we can have the fullness of this life. In the instances where confusion, indecision, inadequacy, and even pride arise I must check for the flesh or the enemy and again repent and allow God to provide His refreshing and blessings. It is no wonder Paul said … I die daily. While this dying daily is mostly attributed to defeating the flesh, the necessity is to … escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4) Why would God put you up on a fencepost for everyone to see if you were full of wickedness? That would lead people to assume that the sin or lust was acceptable to God. You cannot mix oil and water, they eventually separate again: similarly you cannot mix sin and righteousness. You cannot have the fullness, completeness and sufficiency of this life in God when/if it is mixed with your former sin or failure. Lust is a trial, or motive, that wars against and most often prevents our obedience to God;
James 4:1 – 3 FROM whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Lust is great desire; a driving force that will leave you warring internally and externally to fulfill that desire. You can lust for food, alcohol, drugs, wealth, sex; the list can be exceedingly long. Realize that lust is your internal enemy, and you must escape it to receive the fullness that God has for you. John spoke of the lust of the flesh and eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:15 – 17), but James attributes lust to our spirit as well;
James 4:4, 5 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
In the natural or flesh we understand lust as being our carnal nature, and attribute it to fornication, lasciviousness, hatred, etc. While this is how lust is prominently displayed by the world, there can be a filthiness (II Corinthians 7:1) or lust of the spirit (above) as well. Have you ever seen good works, compassion, sanctification, or the anointing working in an individual and desired them or envied their call? If you envy the calling or anointing on an individual, know that it is your spirit and not the Holy Ghost: there will be perfect unity in the Spirit. When you see the promises, the blessing, and multiplying, and anointing of God working in an individual, give glory to the God who has given those things! Spiritual lust may be even more subtle and deadly to fulfilling your calling because it is often unrecognized, and as a result not dealt with. As much as God’s grace delivers from the carnal sin, that grace can also deliver from the spiritual filth and iniquity, bringing sanctification. The grace of God can bring you out of your lust and put you on a fence post! That grace is ours only if we will be humble;
James 4:6 – 8 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.
If we will Draw nigh to God, know that he will draw nigh to you. It is in that place close to God, His righteousness, His holiness, His omnipotence, and yielding to His keeping power, that you will be overcoming. So we see that … I die daily is not a monumental task for us to struggle to accomplish, but humbly submitting ourselves to Him and allowing God by grace to daily put you on a fence post, where your obedience abounds, and the lust of the world cannot control you. We often do not understand that lust in our heart is the root of our failure, and not necessarily our actions. To illustrate, consider that scripture says Enoch walked with God three hundred years;
Genesis 5:22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
Amos 3:3 says Can two walk together, except they be agreed? For Enoch to walk with God he had to have complete agreement with Him. Yet we see that Enoch … begat sons and daughters. Sons and daughters result from a physical action, but Enoch was walking with God! We are taught that the physical action is the sin, and miss that it is acceptable and honourable to God (Hebrews 13:4) if it is within His commandments. It is when the iniquity of lust and concupiscence arise and conceive (James 1:14, 15) that the actions become sin and death, out of the will and blessings of God. We can know then that Enoch was consumed with God and not lust, and he was taken to be with God;
Genesis 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
What was the testimony of Enoch? Hebrews 11:5 says … he pleased God. While Enoch is an example we can easily understand of not walking in physical lust, begin to see and receive of God an understanding of the spiritual lusts that cause us to miss the purpose of God. Get a deeper understanding of the call to cast down the spiritual filth or lust;
II Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Removing the filth and lust of the flesh and spirit will bring us captive to the obedience of mind that God desires for us to have. And we again find the knowledge of God in this scripture. Anything that prevents greater knowledge of God must be defeated. The knowledge of God and Jesus is eternal life;
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
As you begin to know God in a greater way you will begin to delight in Him. The world has mis-read the following verse, and thought that God would give a Mercedes, a mansion, or great wealth. But if you truly delight yourself in God the lust for things will be replaced with a new desire for the spiritual wealth;
Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
As you fully and completely delight yourself in God, His desire will become your desire, that you might be consumed with, and by, and for, Him. You cannot know Him only in head knowledge, but must have a heart knowledge of Him as well. Your heart will become His heart, His kingdom, His throne. If you are delighting in self, or anything or anyone else, as much as you are delighting in God, you will not be fully complete, or giving Him all, in the desires of your heart. What did Jesus say was the first commandment?
Mark 12:29, 30 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all the soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
The people or things are not the issue, but rather the order of the things: in your flesh do you love anything as much or more than God? This is subtle and often imperceptible to us due to the lust of the flesh. Begin to fast, or deny, your flesh some things that it loves while also praying and seeking the face of God, and see if you get a greater understanding of the lust and also of the love of God. Lust hinders or prevents your ability to receive the divine nature.
It is very humbling to know that I have been placed where I am only by the love and enduring mercy of God Almighty. That He knows and cares for the least of us shows the utter, the exceeding, the extraordinary and unequaled magnitude of the greatness, the omniscience, the omnipotence, the omnipresence, and the love of Almighty God. Let God put you on a fence post, that He might receive glory for the work He has done in your life. Please consider the following scripture deeper in the context of Psalm 37:4;
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
In the natural we perceive this to mean that we get more faith by reading the word of God, but that would only need the first part of the verse. Numerous scriptures tell us we have ears to hear but hear not (for instance, Ezekiel 12:2 or Romans 11:8). Lust or sin decay or reduce our spiritual hearing, and our delight in God. When we begin to reach the point of truly delighting ourselves in God, then the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, will provide the grace to open our spiritual understanding to truly hear and expand our faith, the Spirit will guide us into greater truth (again Jesus, the Truth), and we can and will have the desire of our heart, to please God! This is truly reaching the place of being as a turtle on a fence post, for we have no ability in ourselves to achieve any of these places! It is also a repeating process, as we continue to grow deeper and deeper in the things of God. Praise God for His omnipotence, His omniscience, His omnipresence, but most of all for His enduring love and mercy! Allow God to continually use you in His will, purpose and plan, and for His glory!
Say On, Say On, Say On
Do you love and support evangelism? Do you realize how few revivals are being scheduled, and how short they are today? The anointed evangelist needs to be financially supported beyond the revivals to keep them able to continue to work and revive and bring people to salvation through the knowledge of Jesus. But we also need to support the evangelists with our preparation and our testimony. Is your testimony exhorting to the body, and to the evangelist himself? Paul came to the synagogue on the Sabbath day at Antioch in Pisidia, unknown to them, and sat down. There must have been some special grace on them for the rulers to see;
Acts 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Men and brethren are terms of acknowledgment; there must have been a kindred spirit to receive that open invitation! Their place, purpose, and words were ordained of God, and He had a ministry prepared for them when they came! Here we see a different order than our usual services, the testimony is following the Word, but Paul was very quick to say on, say on! His subsequent words were edifying to all! Paul’s testimony and preaching was so effective that we see the results in verse 44;
Acts 13:44 And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
Paul was not the one scheduled to preach, but he came in prepared to testify and Say on, Say on, Say on, and it edified the body and spread through the entire community. People had to have left there also prepared to Say on, Say on, Say on for the whole city to hear in one week! Even testimony can be evangelism if we will lift up our voice in edification;
Isaiah 58:1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
When I read the first part of this verse I think of Sister Deborah Bettis who has tremendous volume and is very quick to use it (Her and her parents will be used as examples in this exhortation: think of someone similar that you know). I compare her to a Bose speaker, how do you get so much volume out of such a small package? We need to be just like that with the anointing and our testimony Say on, Say on, Say on.
So many testified of Brother Allmon’s meek and quiet spirit at his funeral services (I thought of I Peter 3:4 … even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.), but they also noted that when he preached under the anointing he had a booming voice. The meekness did not prevent him from being used; let God have you and your testimony and Say on, Say on, Say on! Consider what it will produce in you and in the church;
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Please see the cause and effect, by reason of use they had their senses exercised to discern. The church today has abandoned reason of use so much that our revivals are more about keeping the saints than about winning the lost. Our testimony services have so often digressed to become an acknowledgment of the ministers, so that no one gets offended. Many of those ministers do not want to be called on, and some do not even come because they know they will be. But this so often omits some who have much to give. Brother and Sister Allmon would speak very highly of Brother and Sister Bettis, and Sister Allmon would just glow when speaking of them. I see the meek and quiet spirit there, and the apple (Sister Deborah) doesn’t fall far from the tree, so I expect there is a voice there! Allow them to have some reason of use in testimony and see what edification there is for the body when they Say on, Say on, Say on.
When Sister Allmon was sick I heard so much more of her anointing on her daughter, Sister Carter, and it equipped her to take up a mantle. When Sister Carter was sick I heard the anointing of both Sister Allmon and Sister Carter on Sister Shawn (granddaughter and daughter), so I know it is there! By reason of use it will exercise and be edifying if you Say on, Say on, Say on.
So what do our testimonies need to be? We don’t need pity parties or self-purposed lectures. Paul was asked for if ye have any word of exhortation, and he did. Paul later recorded that the following was in the early church;
I Corinthians 14:26 How is it then brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
This scripture says every one of you: now they had church didn’t they! It would sure make it easy to spot the tares! But it says to let everything be done unto edifying. Where must we get our psalm, doctrine, tongue, revelation, or interpretation for it to be edifying? Do you come to revival, fellowship meeting, or church to receive, or to give? Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. If we are lead of the Spirit it will be edifying, Say on, Say on, Say on. I have been studying on the elect, and had reviewed the following;
Isaiah 42:1 BEHOLD my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Through verse nine in Isaiah 42 it prophesies of Jesus, and If we are to be just like Jesus we will walk as He did and delight God: then verses ten through twelve call for us to be heard;
Isaiah 42:10 – 12 Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.
Reading further into chapter 43, verses 9, 10, and 12 tell us that we are witnesses that He is God! What does a witness do? A witness testifies! Say on, Say on, Say on! Repent of your complacency, timidness, and disobedience: be ready to jump up and Say on, Say on, Say on? Have your spiritual senses exercised … by reason of use! Say on, Say on, Say on! Extoll the goodness, mercy, and grace of Almighty God!
While I was writing this I left it open on the computer for a dear friend who was watching Monica to read. She left me the following note in blue print:
Tis provoking Brother xxxxxx…Say on, Say on, Say on J
It was so exhorting for such a dear friend to leave the note, so I have kept it in (but for the name). But you have a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24), who is exhorting you to do the same! He is righteous, and holy, and just, and perfect, and is King of kings, and Lord of lords: He is worthy of all praise and honor, and glory, can it provoke you to Say on, Say on, Say on?
Can Ye Drink Of The Cup?
John 21:25 says that if all the things Jesus did were written, the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. The Bible describes Jesus with so many descriptive terms: in John 1:1 – 5 alone He is the Word, God, the creator, life, and the light of men. In John 14:6 He is also the way, the truth, and the life. From these few terms only we can know Jesus is omnipresent, so we can readily acknowledge that what John said is true; God is everywhere and in everything, and to fully expound His omnipotence and omniscience would be impossible for us: but we must extoll and proclaim Him to the world!
Narrow our scope then to consider only that Jesus is the Light (capitalized in John 1:7 – 9). Verse 9 says … which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Regardless of whether they ever see, feel, comprehend, or accept that Light, the Light is shining in the darkness of every man. When Jesus told Nathanael that thou shalt see greater things than these (John 1:50, 51), He was not speaking only of physical sight, but could tell him ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. There is a spiritual promise to each of us confirming the spiritual light and vision that Jesus gives being not only with us, but in us, by us, through us, and for us, if we will fully accept Him! Oh, the volumes that should be written of this Light! There is no way anyone could read or write everything that should be written of Jesus, or absorb everything that is the will and purpose of Almighty God, so God has not tasked us with that. However, know that every scripture given in the Bible, The Word of God, has spiritual purpose if we can find it. Let us narrow our scope further, and continue by seeking the spiritual depth and emphasis then, of our drinking of His cup:
Mark 10:38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
The mother of James and John had asked Jesus that her sons sit on his right and left hand in His kingdom. While this would be a position of great honor, it is also a position of action, of authority, and of being used of Jesus. When Jesus replies Ye know not what ye ask, He is not speaking only to them, and it is not recorded only as a historical event, but He is speaking to everyone who would desire to be used of God: there is a call to answer, a preparation to make, and a price to pay (if you will) to be used of God. While Jesus told James and John that they would indeed answer their call, He told them that being on His right and left hand was not His to give;
Mark 10:39, 40 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.
James and John were seeking some of the highest of high callings. But in the will and purpose of Almighty God those positions are reserved for those for whom it is prepared! (Scripture does give some information on these two … for whom it is prepared. Zechariah 4:12 – 14 records that the two olive trees … are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. In Revelation 11:3, 4 scripture establishes that … my two witnesses … are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.) However, realize from these scriptures in Mark that you must be prepared to drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism, and to find a greater depth of being used. As you face the trials and persecution of the enemy that you go through, know it is preparation for the calling God has for you! Are you desiring to fully and completely serve and obey God, or are you just desiring a high calling or position? Desiring a high calling or position would evidence pride in your life, and show the cup, or work, of the devil. You cannot drink of His cup while also serving the enemy;
I Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
While we convince ourselves that we are drinking of the spiritual cup, it is a cup of our own choosing, and not the cup of the Lord. The cup of the Lord is pure and there is no mixture: there is no sin, no iniquity, and no lust for the things of the world. This pure cup can run over in the Spirit into rivers of living water. Consider the necessary flow of the Spirit in our lives for a moment. Flow is one directional, and we determine the direction of spiritual flow by our walk. Even life itself is a flow, moving as, and where, our actions cause that flow: … he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8) Walking only in the flesh we and the church are feckless; weak, ineffective, irresponsible, and worthless spiritually: our flow in the flesh is that of corruption and wickedness. As we begin to allow the Spirit to move in our life we can then have the conflict of flesh and Spirit that dams off the flow, or leaves only a limited flow. God has continuously and repeatedly admonished and exhorted us to come out of the flesh and walk in newness of life, in the divine nature. It is only in this fullness that we can have rivers of living water flowing from us.
Do you desire to completely drink of His cup and find His calling for your life? You will not drink His cup or your find calling, without separating yourself: you cannot serve two masters, for they lead in opposite paths or directions; this struggle can leave you susceptible to leaving the faith;
I Timothy 4:1 NOW the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
You will not heed that which you cannot hear; it is the mixture that leaves you susceptible to departing the faith. That is also the significance that in Revelation Jesus said to every one of the seven churches; He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, and 3:6, 13, 22). If you are hearing and heeding the wrong master you will not fully hear what the Spirit says: what is your mind thinking on?
Are You Mindful?
We are exhorted scripturally to have the mind of Christ. We are to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37). But where is our mind, what things are we mindful of? We are most often mindful of the things that please us. The following scripture tells us what the result of being mindful can cause;
Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
Speaking of the faithful and blessed in Hebrews 11, these were not mindful, and did not return. However, scripture tells us that the children of Israel sought to return to that country (Egypt) from whence they came out (Numbers 14:1 – 4). They failed and remained in the wilderness until they died, and the next generation inherited the promises. What things are you mindful of that you repeatedly are returning to? While foretelling of things to come, Jesus spoke the following;
Luke 17: 32 – 33 Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
We are warned with these verses to remember what happened to Lot’s wife; but what caused it? She was commanded not to look back (Genesis 19:17), and although she was initially delivered from the burning, she was so mindful of that city and life from whence she came out, that looking back she was turned to a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). In seeking to retain her fleshly life she lost all. Jesus reminded us to spiritually consider our tendency to look or turn back to those things we have been delivered from: in giving up or losing the fleshly life the spiritual life will be preserved. The burning such as occurred in Sodom will burn all that are mindful at that coming day (Malachi 4:1 – 4). Peter was led of God to compare this tendency to be mindful` to a dog, or to a sow;
II Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
These animals by their nature return to what they are mindful of. By our fleshly disposition we also are mindful of the sin nature, and often return. Jesus had further warned the worker of looking back;
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
In the physical comparison you cannot plow straight, even furrows that have consistent coverage without looking forward; looking back will allow you to get off line. Working that way spiritually cannot make you fit for the kingdom of God. The enemy will tell you after reading this scripture that if you fail you are through, but we have an Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1, 2), repent and seek the fullness God has for you. The God of mercy has provided for your deliverance and reconciliation: you will find it in Jesus.
If you are mindful of your sin, iniquity, covetousness, or if you have misplaced love, you can return to them and fail (profligacy). If you are mindful of where you are spiritually, and satisfied with that place, you can stay and also fail (complacency). If you are not mindful of anything at all you will fail (apathy). While your spirit may desire more of the fullness of God (and will war against your flesh) profligacy, complacency, and apathy will not seek a better country. Profligacy, complacency, and apathy are opposed to the things of God, and are friends of the world;
James 4:1 – 4 FROM whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Let us look closer at these lusts that war in our members; realize that, as with the physical wastefulness of profligacy, complacency, and apathy, we can also be wasteful of life itself. The secular definitions of these three mindful things that work against the knowledge and very will of Almighty God are as follows;
prof·li·gate; adjective \ˈprä-fli-gət, -ˌgāt\: carelessly and foolishly wasting money, materials, etc.: very wasteful
Full Definition of PROFLIGATE
1: wildly extravagant <profligate spending
2: completely given up to dissipation and licentiousness <leading a profligate life>
Full Definition of COMPLACENCY
1: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
2: an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction
Full Definition of APATHY
1: lack of feeling or emotion: impassiveness
2: lack of interest or concern: indifference
These negative traits are a result of being mindful of the things of the world. If we are mindful of worldly things, we will be unprepared and unable to achieve the will of God;
I John 2:15 – 17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Please consider that the love of the Father works from within you, and is an all or not occurrence. If we love anything of the world to a depth that hinders our love of the Father, we cannot love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. We will have allowed the enemy to stop our growth and walk, with and by a lust for things that create a mixture. Why has God had to bring us back repeatedly to the same scriptures on lust and being the enemy of God? because we have not yet fully escaped the corruption of lust and received the divine nature;
II Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Lust is like a recurring cancer, and we are not removing all of it, and have to continually come back to fight it again and again: lust should be eradicated totally. Even after escaping the physical lust, we can have a lust in our spirit if we do not recognize it. We can become so mindful of the gifts, anointing, and Spirit working in an individual that we lust in our spirit (James 4:5) and covet, desire, or envy the individual, not recognizing the gifts, and the Savior, and the Spirit who gave them! From all of the above, please get a different prospective of what the Apostle Paul is giving us in the following verse;
Philippians 3:13, 14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Child of God, realize that forgetting those things which are behind is not just about forgetting the physical, or in our history of past sin, but also in the spiritual aspect of being mindful of, or desiring, those things! Forget the lusts of your flesh, and those things that can make us the enemies of God. Forget the desire to have things as they had been in your past, knowing that God sees and knows what is best for you. Paul does not replace these things with an indifference or apathy, but reaches forth unto those things which are before. As He had with Paul, God has a will and purpose for you! Hebrews 11:10 said Abraham was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God; we must have a purpose, a goal in mind, that is God’s. Paul says that he pressed toward the mark, toward the prize, which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us now look again at those in the hall of faith;
Hebrews 11:13 – 16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
In faith these all accepted the promises, having seen them only in the spiritual, and being persuaded of them, and embracing them. We only embrace what we love! Do you have a “dream” home that you would love to possess? Are you constantly looking at or for it? When it came time to be divided from Lot, Abraham was not mindful and did not care where he stayed in this world; his dream home was with God. Abraham desired the spiritual home and was satisfied with the physical leftovers, Lot chose according to his physical vision and thought, and wound up with nothing. These in the Hebrews hall of faith had cast off their love for, or being mindful of, the things of earth and whence they came out. They had escaped the corruption of that lust! See and embrace the spiritual truth in what He said to the children of Israel;
Deuteronomy 6:23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land that he sware unto our fathers.
God did not just bring us out of a physical past, but also a spiritual one. By the flesh we were and often are serving a different master, but do not recognize that we are. Consider some examples of Jesus discerning the remaining master, the lust or love of the world, that was in individuals:
Mark 10:21, 22 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
Our faith, love, and trust cannot be in wealth or riches, as it was with this man. Our love for house, home, or family also cannot be more than our love to serve God. Consider the discernment of Jesus of the spiritual need in the following three individuals;
Luke 9:57 – 62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
God did not just bring us out of a physical past, but also a spiritual one. We do not see or know the certainty of what each one’s lust was. Was the first bound by a love for his home, or for the comfort and conveniences of life? Was the second man loving his earthly father enough to grieve, or was he desiring the inheritance? Did the third have a love for family, or in pride want to be exalted by family, or was he a just a partier? By the flesh we were and often are serving a different master. God did not deliver you from the worst of your sin just to leave you holding onto the desires of the flesh, and continuing to try to serve that same master. He brought you out that He might bring you into His glorious kingdom: let loose of the love of the world! There should be no mix;
James 3:11, 12 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Your mind cannot be on both lust and the will of God, and still be overcoming. Can you now gain a greater understanding of casting down these things and finding obedience to Christ? Enter into the true spiritual warfare with the spiritual weapons;
II Corinthians 10:3 – 6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh, (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
His will and purpose for us is that by accepting His grace in all things in our lives we may overcome when we are tried, being mindful only of the blessing, and multiplying, and promises (Hebrews 6:13 – 20) that He has for us! And that by this He might bring us in to the city he hath prepared. What scripturally are the things we should be mindful of?
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If we can yield and receive the grace of God we may reach the place of this victorious spiritual thinking, and we will have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The exceeding great and precious promises of God that will allow us to be partakers of the divine nature may now be ours! What a goal, to have the divine nature! It is only in this place of complete servitude that you are fully prepared to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ, (II Timothy 2:3, 4) one in a million for the Lord! Thou therefore endure hardness, and do not be entangled with the affairs of this life that you also may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. If He has called you to it, join His army of seven thousand and begin to capture the world for Jesus!