In Building the Child of God, we discussed spiritual buoyancy, that tendency to float when in the sea of flesh, and its comparison to physical buoyancy. Physical buoyancy is the principle that an object placed in a fluid is buoyed up, or supported, by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. The force of buoyancy remains on an object no matter the depth, and makes it much easier to lift or move the object under the water. However, when trying to lift it out of the water the objects original gravitational weight will return. This fact of buoyancy is called Archimedes Principle. As with the Archimedes Principle in the physical, know that spiritual buoyancy is a truth.
We can look at a person and say that they are too wicked to ever be saved; the depths of sin they have reached are far too great for them to come out of. But Almighty God has provided the buoyancy of spirit that increases with the added volume of our weight and sin. God has provided that force or tendency to spiritually float in each of us. We must seek God to lift individuals to the place where they could be removed from the sea of flesh. We see in King Agrippa an excellent example of this. Under the anointed testimony and preaching of Paul, Agrippa is lifted and brought to the point of decision;
Acts:26, 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
While the conviction of spiritual buoyancy lifted Agrippa to a decision, Paul could not personally bring him any further. While it is easy with the spiritual buoyancy to lift them up through the water, the weight of sin and flesh make it impossible for us to lift them out of the sea: that is only accomplished through the Lord Jesus. The church today is stopping at lifting souls to shallow water, apparently thinking that having less depth of weight and sin is enough. We must grasp the spiritual truth that the man of God must be prepared by God to lead the lost to Jesus, and out of their lost condition. Our obedience is a requirement to be used, and to be the instrument of planting that the Lord desires of us.
While re-reading Spiritual Buoyancy God reminded of the scriptures below for a physical example of the spiritual possibilities. In this exhortation we want to look beyond buoyancy; let us consider first the physical example;
II Kings 6:5 – 7 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
We look at these few verses of scripture only as a historical account of one of the miracles God performed through the prophet, the man of God, but there is a depth of spiritual truth and promise that we must seek. We do not grasp the value of the axe head, because we live in the days of mass production; they are readily available, and relatively cheap. But in those days much labor was necessary by a blacksmith to make the axe head, and it was rare and very valuable. The borrower was also responsible for returning the axe head or paying for it. For those reasons this occurrence was very dismaying to the man, who went to Elisha. Elisha asked where it fell; it had to be addressed where it fell, and it had to be sought where it was lost. When the man of God knew where it was he did something that is not expected in the natural, cutting down a stick and casting it in. This resulted in an unnatural effect, the iron swam. While reading the scriptures God lead to consider its parts as another physical example of a spiritual parallel.
To best understand in today’s world the value of a rare item we would consider an old coin, or a painting. There is always that single coin or painting that had the highest price ever paid for one when it was sold. In relation to the word borrowed, God said we are not our own, but we have been bought with a price (I Corinthians 6:19, 20). The souls of men are borrowed, if you will, and were purchased with the greatest price ever paid for anything, the sacrifice and atonement and redemption of the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to get a greater depth of understanding of the value of a soul to God. We also are each on borrowed time; allow God to make the most use of it.
Where fell it? In spiritual buoyancy it is similar to the natural example, the lost have to be addressed where they fell, and have to be sought where they were lost. God wants us to consider where that lost soul is at, and be prepared under His leading, and in His love, to speak or reach out as He guides. God will know and will use you to reach to that one where they fell, if you will be guided by Him.
The word cast as used in this scripture means to throw out, down, or away. Are you a fisher of men? If you are this definition of cast should gain greater meaning for you. In considering the word cast, the scripture in Ecclesiastes (11:1); Cast your bread upon the waters … came to mind. Here the word cast means to send away, for, or out. Send out your spiritual bread, the Word of God, the living bread, onto the sea of flesh: it does not return unto God void (Isaiah 55:11) but … shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Can we be empty vessels prepared to send out the word as He purposes? We have now established a foundation in the Word, but we have barely begun to see the spiritual depth of what God is speaking in these verses.
In the Hebrew language the word used for stick in the above verse is number 6086 in the Strong’s, and means a tree (from the firmness); hence wood, (plural sticks). As noted previously, Isaiah 61:3 says we might be called … trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. There is a preparation and progression in becoming this tree of righteousness from the planting, to a seedling, to a sapling, to a tree. God wants us to become so planted and established by Him in righteousness that we might be like trees planted by the waters;
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
It would be easy with the comparison of a tree for us to justify becoming fixed in our present location of being used. But consider the willow tree in the natural; if a branch is cut off, kept moist, and planted, the branch will form or take complete new roots, and then grow to a new tree where it has been planted. The Lord Jesus Christ himself is described in scripture as a Branch;
Isaiah 11:1 – 5 AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Jeremiah 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12 also speak of the coming of the Branch. Since Jesus is the Branch, and we are to be conformed to His image, we must be a branch. Allow Jesus to take root in you, and flow with the fountain of life; then allow Him to cast you as a stick into the sea of flesh. There is often no life in the place where He casts you, but by Jesus, the fountain of life in you, He will, as a root out of a dry ground (Isaiah 53:2), take root where He casts you, as the willow tree in the natural. Allow Him to work beyond buoyancy in that people, much as the stick Elisha cast in the natural. Allow the Lord Jesus as the fountain of life to flow through you and bring people to the surface of the sea of flesh; and God will put out His hand and take them to Him. Let Him use you so that those people may become rooted and established. Then let Him, as a branch, cast you again as He sees fit.
With the prior discussion of spiritual buoyancy we discussed that it is only in and through Jesus that individuals may be lifted out and reconciled to God, for He, Jesus, is the way. The weight and sin must be removed through true repentance and turning to Jesus, and the removing of sin is the feeling of cleanness, the lifting of weights or burdens, and the spiritual difference an individual feels at true salvation; the change in relative spiritual density that the individual feels is, or has become, less than that of the sea of flesh. This immediate, total, reversal of spiritual density is one of the greatest miracles of the Lord God Almighty!
But now realize that besides the way there are two other parts of John 14:6 that Jesus is, and the importance of them; He is … the truth and the life. The righteousness that results with the truth, and the spiritual life that He gives us, are necessary not only for us to be used, but also for those He reaches to become sanctified and established. Note in the scriptures above of the trees of righteousness and being planted by the rivers of water. Vital wood that was recently living is lighter than water and will remain above the surface, but have you ever seen a piece of wood that has become waterlogged and begins to submerge? Embrace … the truth and the life, and allow Him to establish you and those He sends you to! If any of the spiritual parts that Jesus is, or gives, are missing the failures of men will begin to waterlog both the cast branch, and those who receive beyond buoyancy. We must go in the anointing and fullness of the Spirit, who scripture also records as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13, and I John 5:6), and the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2, 10, and Revelation 11:11);
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.
We must follow the example of Jesus, walking in the anointing of the Spirit and power, and God will be with us. He will equip you to go and do good, and heal those oppressed of the devil!
Jesus also gave us these truths as a comparison to a vine, but we did not previously hear the fulness of these truths in its parts;
John 15:4, 5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
The ability to thrive and bear fruit is dependent on your abiding in Him, for without Him … ye can do nothing. We are also given the result of failing to abide in Him;
John 15:6, 7 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Have you ever read this scripture and wondered why branches are cast forth? If you are not abiding in Him you will wither when cast as a branch. If you love the things of the world you are the enemy of God, and are not abiding in Him (I John 2:15 – 17, James 4:4). We must abide in Jesus, the vine, the root out of a dry ground, flowing with the fountain of life, to be a branch that can be cast for His purpose. Allow Him as the way, the truth, and the life to work that which He purposes. If you abide in Him you will not wither, but will grow, abide, and bear fruit. That fruit will include … the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11), and will be unto holiness.
To this point this exhortation has been to individuals, but the Word also addresses this in the entire congregation;
Psalm 80:8 – 12 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
Israel, the vine brought out of Egypt was planted, took deep root, and filled the land. Figuratively she prospered, and sent out to the lost and strangers, the sea of flesh. The description is of a vibrant people, obeying and blessed of Almighty God. But we know that Israel had allowed unrighteousness and the sin of the heathen to remain, and a little leaven leavened the whole lump. In pride Israel also became exclusive, and then became such as had need of a branch of salvation to quicken her, and turn her back again. They failed to abide in the vine. The church today must realize that our commandment and God given purpose and obligation is to lift souls through spiritual buoyancy from the depths of sin, and hardness of heart, so that they can be reached. We each were brought from that condition, and in the love of God we must remember and be His hand extended to others. The church must send out her prepared branches to the lost and dying world. But we also must always remember in humbleness that the redemptive work is only in God, who will, by the fountain of life, allow the branches to take root and flourish; that they may grow to become a vine also prepared to cast its branches. If this pattern stops due to sin, complacency, or failure to remain humble and connected to the true vine, we will fall, as Israel did.
We also need to consider the branches, the individuals who have roots and love and desire to be with the local church they have been sent from. They desire to return, to feel the love, and continue to be the blessing they had previously been to that people. But consider the Apostle Paul, who in love continued to write, pray for, minister from afar, and also send workers to minister to those churches that he, through the Spirit, had planted and caused to take root. He had a love and longing for them, but he continued to be a branch, and allow God to take root at each new location that the Lord cast him. That was the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which was given to him (Romans 5:5). Paul later mentions the seven thousand God spoke to Elijah of;
Romans 11:2 – 4 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.
Elijah was told that by the divine choice and keeping power of God that there were seven thousand who had not succumbed to the wickedness of Baal worship. They had not achieved this in self, but were reserved by Almighty God. While the persecution of the enemy will be difficult at times, and at times you may, as Elijah, feel alone, and desire to go home, or back to your home church, know that you are not alone;
Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Election here is 1589 in the Strong’s, (divine) selection (abstractly or concretely). His grace was sufficient for Paul, and His grace will be sufficient for you, and will keep you, if you will stand stedfast in faith and belief in Him. God has not changed, and that same divine keeping power is present today if you will be a tree of righteousness for Him; God will still have seven thousand reserved for Him; men who will be ‘one in a million’ for God in this world of seven billion living souls. Know in this wicked time that there is also a remnant remaining only by the divine selection and grace of God! Know and rejoice that God has divinely selected you, and will keep and enable you, if you will stand and obey with the remnant! You are not alone, and while you can keep contact with the people of your past, who have been a blessing to you, soldier on for the Lord Jesus Christ. You are called and chosen, now be faithful and obedient with the remnant of God!
If you continue to read through Romans 11, you will see that the fall of the children of Israel through spiritual blindness and deafness was the riches of the Gentiles spiritually. Paul speaks of the grafting in of wild branches to be holy with the root (the root out of a dry ground). We cannot speak in pride against the branches; we are all dependent on the root. In studying of the branches it was noted that there are 26 different words in the Hebrew, and three in the Greek, translated branch. We have also seen that Jesus is scripturally called The Branch. Know that there are many kinds of branches, and God’s will is to graft them in and use them to reach the lost. But how will He reach them? Please allow God to give you a greater understanding of the need, calling, and will of God in the scriptures in the chapter just before Paul speaking of the remnant;
Romans 10:14, 15 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
There are many who have sought the righteousness of God and have laid down their sin, anger, hatred, uncleanness, etc. at the altar. But how many have laid down their will at the altar before seeking the will of God? You cannot be properly called, properly sent, or be part of the seven thousand with your will remaining intact. It will limit your belief, hearing, and obedience;
Romans 10:16 – 18 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
With your will cast out, and the kingdom (Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost) within, your sound will be heard. To any lesser level of yielding you will, as the children of Israel, diminish your ability to be heard, or to minister for Him;
Romans 10:19 – 21 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will I anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Will you hear and obey? Or will you fall into the disobedient and gainsaying? The word translated disobedient means to disbelieve (willfully and perversely). Gainsaying means to dispute, refuse. God says He stretched forth His hands all day long unto them; the love and enduring mercy of God. But they would not believe and refused Him: God also spoke of this in Psalm 95, repeated in Hebrews;
Hebrews 3:7 – 12 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Where did this evil heart of unbelief come from? How do we avoid it? God does not leave us to guess;
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
The love of the world, and its lust and deceitful sin, will harden your heart, and make you the enemy of God. It will leave you in unbelief with those in the provocation;
Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Unbelief, or the lack of faith, is the place many Christians walk in and do not even realize it. Where has the power of God gone from our churches? After speaking the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1 – 8) Jesus ended with Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Where is our faith? Why has the church lost the ability to speak it and have it become so? The truth has been hidden from our hearts by our unbelief;
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
We have completely missed that our faith is fueled or activated by love, the love of God! What is the most defining characteristic of God and the Lord Jesus Christ; love. Consider again Jesus as The Branch: Jesus came down in love for us, cast as The Branch to reach this lost and dying world. How often the scriptures tell us Jesus was … moved with compassion … for others. I John 4:8 and 4:16 tell us that … God is love. How can we fully find or walk in His love? In the same way as the Apostle Paul above, 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.
Have you allowed the Holy Ghost to shed the love of God abroad in your heart? The greater you are filled with the love of God, the greater your faith … worketh by love. Ask God to shed His love abroad in you! He will dwell in you, and your branch will become rooted;
Ephesians 3:17 – 19 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
We cannot be … filled with all the fulness of God … without the love of God! By whatever degree you limit the love of God in your heart and life you limit your ability to have His fulness. It is only here in the fulness of God that the … greater works than these shall ye do … of John 14:12 are possible. Your faith … worketh by love! Can you see and hear this truth? We know from Romans 8:35 – 39 that nothing can … separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let God fill you with that love, and walk in a level, and action, of faith you have never known.
God also gave the promise of being a partaker of Christ;
Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Is your confidence unwavering, stedfast, and unmovable? What is your confidence in? It cannot be in you;
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.
We have come full circle, back to the greatest price ever paid for anything, and it was paid that you might be … made the righteousness of God in him. Do you see spiritually how the election of grace works? You can only be a remnant, ‘one in a million’, because He paid the price and made you so, but you must stand in faith that He has done it, exercise your faith by love, and you can be a partaker! It is nothing of self, but a humble yieldedness to His will, and a diligence in standing for Him;
II Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
We are to only obey and understand the limitless possibilities with the Almighty God, and allow Him, in our humbleness and obedience, to work through us the power of the Holy Ghost! Will you yield in total humbleness and allow Him to make you one of the seven thousand, and cast you as a branch where He can reach others? Why is that important? Let us look at the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem in the physical;
Mark 11:7 – 10 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
These physical branches were not noted as distinct in any way, but were used to prepare the way before Jesus coming to Jerusalem. Jesus is coming again! Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! You must allow Him to cast you as a branch or you will never fully be the man of God. Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, and Luke 3:4 all declare this prophesy of Isaiah regarding John the Baptist … The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Will you allow Him to cast you as a branch to prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight, and herald His coming? Isaiah went into greater detail of building the physical highway;
Isaiah 40:3 – 5 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Realize that this highway speaks of a spiritual preparation, a spiritual straightness, righteousness unto holiness that the glory of the Lord be revealed. Luke 3:6 declares the end of this prophecy as: And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
It was thought that this exhortation was complete, except that while studying the verses from II Kings God was asked what the iron represented in these scriptures … the iron did swim; was it representative of our sins that weight us down? God instead lead to consider the axe head, an implement of His building, a prepared tool of God’s calling for use in His harvest or building, which for whatever reason became lost. We have seen some tremendous young ministers lost to their personal failings, and it would be easy for us to point to them. But how many of you have been attacked of the enemy, discouraged, in spiritual weariness, disillusioned, complacent, or just becoming physically comfortable with the place you are in. The scriptures state that … charity is not … In many churches today the problem is that charity is not; we have the love of man, and not the love of God. Camp Meeting or revival are to cast a stick or branch to again reach the ax and cause it to float, that it might again be used to cast a branch to another ax. Come let us repent and float, or let us be cast as a branch. Our churches are not successful by growing in numbers, but in growing trees of righteousness prepared to cast their branches, and truthfully reach a lost and dying world. Will you allow God to reach you and by the Spirit allow you to float, be anointed, and … doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God is with you?
The Apostles were known and honored of men, and only 17 were specifically named as apostles in the bible. The seven thousand are not known or named, but humble, yielded vessels reserved by God. Can you receive a call to glorify God?