“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” (Prov 5:3-5)
“The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way…”
While men slept – the enemy came! What a summation of the history of God’s Kingdom. This parable begins with Jesus declaring: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field”. He is giving us a clear narrative regarding the history of His Church in the earth. The enemy knows he cannot thwart the purposes of God by persecution only; he is well aware of the keeping grace of the Almighty God. Persecution is his last resort. By cunning and guile the enemy has been able to paralyze, divide and dim the glorious Gospel by simply sowing false doctrines, false teachers and hypocrites. He uses the rampant egos of men, driven by pride and a lust for recognition, that have built their own kingdoms in the name of God.
While men sleep – the enemy comes and destroys families, insidiously, and slowly from within. While men sleep – the fervent love between brethren is lost. Party spirits rise up, each calling people to themselves, with little or no concern for those outside of their “church” or “fellowship”. While men sleep – false brethren come in living unholy lives, walking in compromise with sin and the world, yet using the profession of faith to ease their conscience. While men sleep – they pride themselves in the knowledge of a saving grace yet lack the fire of a love which compels them into ministering beyond their own little circle of friends. While men sleep – the world grows dark and the church is seen as just another belief system because she has lost the vitality, the power and above all the presence of God. While men sleep – their hearts grow cold and the Word of the Lord takes on a doctrinal persona; no longer living, sharp or active. The slumber renders His people ineffective, empty shells capable of quoting scripture but devoid of the life and the wonder of Jesus Christ.
While men sleep is the narrative of Christ concerning His Church. Yet there are times when men and women can no longer tolerate the deadness and stagnation of their lives and begin to seek in earnest, He who alone is Holy. This is always prefaced by deep soul searching unto broken and repentant hearts. The God who knows well the tendency of men to sleep, warns us throughout His Word. Jesus gave us this Parable that we may read and be instructed to be diligent in this hour. The Apostolic ministry of the New Testament era constantly warned, reproved and exhorted the people of God unto diligence to LIVE the Life of Christ, not just to believe the words of Christ.
Even in his day Paul felt the need to warn the people of God against slumber and the resulting spiritual decay:
“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame”
1 Corinthians 15:34
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise…”
“While men slept” is a prophetic warning of Christ to His people in our day.
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
The thick fog of slumber that has fallen upon us has resulted in lethargy, compromise, the worldly systems of men infiltrating the church, lack of morals, and doctrines of men which rob God’s Word of its authority. Grace has been presented as a sentiment rather than the power of God. We have made Him in our image; one who winks at sin and the worldly ways in His House.
In this Day of Harvest the wheat and the tares will be dealt with and men will know that God is Holy. It is time awake, to deal with the issues of our hearts. Repentance is the greatest gift God can bestow upon a life. It is the spring from which His glory arises, the womb from which His Power is born. It is the very hope for our generation “upon whom the ends of the earth have come”.
“Wherefore HE saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”!
This Word was given to His Church and is more valid today than ever. May we hear the Word of the Lord!
“And he said, WHO art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, WHAT wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
“He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words…”
Jesus clarifies the verity of an individual’s love for Him. The criteria are simple as is the faith to walk in it. Many may declare their allegiance to Him, they may pray, they may speak of deep and esoteric things, they may ascribe to teachings and associations, but the Spirit of Christ cuts to the core. Obedience reveals the truth of our hearts toward Him.
Isaiah declares who it is that God sets His eye upon:
“…but I will look to this man, even to he who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word”
One who understands the enormity of God’s Word, and the inherent need to draw from Him the grace to walk in it, captures His notice. The religious readily acknowledge His Word yet feel no need to honour it with a life of obedience. They are not loving Him for who HE is, but for the sake of easing their conscience. They ascribe to His Salvation but not to His Lordship; they use grace to absolve themselves of the doing. They find refuge in His promises but remain unaffected by the power and love of Him through which the heart becomes subservient to that Word.
Jesus asks a penetrating question:
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
There is no time like the present to face the truth concerning our relationship with Him. Jesus does not leave us with any ambiguity as to our condition. Do not let the obscurity of a false gospel blind us to His clear word. Religion will rob God’s Word of its authority and leave the conscience untouched. Rather let us allow the Word to strike our hearts with His full power and intent.
“He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words…”
The litmus test for our heart is not in what we know, how well we pray, or in how many good things we may involve ourselves. The proof of our love for Him is always obedience.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments”
The true life is the simple life.
Those who truly love will truly obey.
Allow nothing else to cloud our hearts. Let our growing obedience to Him be the sole measure of our love. Love always serves the object of its desire. Those who love themselves will end up serving themselves – even in the Name of God. Those who love Him, serve only Him.
“…having been perfected, He came to be the Author of eternal salvation to all the ones obeying Him”
“God Himself – His thoughts, His will, His love, His judgments are men’s home. To think His thoughts, to choose His will, to judge His judgments, and thus to know that He is in us, with us, is to be at home”
– George MacDonald
“For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you…”
Spiritual resources come to those who give what they have. It matters not how little one has, it is what one does with what one has. The Law of Christ is “give and it shall be given…”.
Jesus is not talking here about the “unrighteous mammon” He is speaking of the true riches, His graces, His gifts, His Word and His resources. His dealings with us is always proportional to our dealings with Him. There is an expenditure in our giving, there are times of weariness, times of discouragement and loneliness, but there is also mingled in the process touches of His Joy in our lives as we give what we have to others. There are also seasons of refreshment and His watchful care to fill our hearts with fresh truths, new glimpses of His wonder and stirring in the hearts of those to whom we feel the impulse to cry out to God to raise them up to heights we have yet to see ourselves.
In all of these things we are reminded to “not grow weary in well doing… for WE SHALL REAP”! Such glorious promises to those who plow the fields, sow their seeds and pray for the rain of His Spirit to bring forth a New Generation fit and prepared for the “Master’s Use”. We are reminded that if there be no sowing there will be no reaping and the whole purpose of this life is to bear fruit unto Him for He alone is worthy.
May all those who give all that they have be encouraged for the harvest will surely come and He will be glorified. May God continue to purify our hearts that all of our giving be unto His Glory and that we shall glory with Him in His Glory. Continue to give, continue to sow, and continue to pray over that precious seed that there would be a harvest of hearts who live for Him, unto Him and through Him for eternity.
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”
“A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ”
– Jonathan Edwards
Holy lives are the result of spiritual warfare. The Apostle Paul’s life exemplified one who was ardent, diligent and consistent in his pursuit of the “one thing”. The Holy Spirit has been given to lead us into the fulness of Truth, the fulness of Christ living and ruling within our hearts. He has come that we may come into the wonder of all Christ is.
Whenever the scriptures speak of life they speak of His life, there is no life outside of Him. There can be no other call or desire within the life of the true disciple. He is and there is no other.
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen”
“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”
Different translations of this verse read both “he considered not” and “he considered” his own body in his estimation of God’s promise. According to the original, both are accurate. In Abraham’s estimation of his situation, he “considered not” his own vitality. He did not take into account his age or Sarah’s condition in light of the immensity of God’s promise. He did not ignore his situation, nor did he “pretend” to not see his helpless state. The original language indicates that he “considered” full well the impotency of both he and Sarah and YET continued to believe, to move, and to obey the God in whom he had placed his trust.
Faith is not blind; it is not a religious exercise in futility. Faith is the ability to fully consider our situation and, in the face of overwhelming odds, believe God! Faith launches men and women into the impossible, the unfathomable and the insurmountable because it does not take into account our own resources. We find a trust to cross rivers, to face lions, to travel on in desert places knowing that He who has called us is faithful.
Do not see the obstacles, the limitations, the flaws in your own being as impediments to God’s glorious power. Do not allow the history of the past to prevent the opportunities of the present from becoming your future victories.
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth…”
1 John 5:5
True believing produces an overcoming. It is not static; it is not in word only. The overcoming is as actual as the faith which produces it. Overcoming found in the lives of those who no longer consider themselves, but who by faith rise up and trust the One who cannot lie. Obedience is the highest expression of faith. To step into the waters of the raging sea one must believe that He is able. To refuse to pay tribute to the kings of this world while facing the fiery furnace one must have faith. The call of God is not to the wise, the strong or the noble; it is to those who in their weakness find Him strong.
The present situation in which we find ourselves is an opportunity to give Him glory. In Darkness falling, in evil arising, in health issues, in all of the peculiar challenges of our own life: “Let God Arise!
The smallest candle cannot be extinguished by the darkness which surrounds it.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
When Abraham offered up his only son, the God who sees obedience, knew that here was a man who feared Him.
“…for NOW I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me…”
Here, in Abraham’s greatest test, he was afforded the incredible revelation of God’s eternal plan. Faith which brings obedience will always be accompanied by the revelation of God Himself.
Abraham’s obedience resulted in him seeing the “ram caught in the thicket”; an offering “in the stead of his son”! Let the immensity of this truth spur us on in our own journey into obedience. In the offering up of his best Abraham was enabled to “lift up his eyes” and SEE heavenly things!
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son”
Without obedience we will see little. Obedience is our participation with God in His purposes in the earth! In that participation we are afforded His Revelation!
Of Abraham seeing the Ram given in the place of his son, Jesus declared over a thousand years later:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad”
Abraham’s obedience in offering all that he held dear, revealed God’s offering of the ONE He held so dear!
Regardless of our station, our situation and our present circumstances let us trust and obey God. Give unto Him your best for in so doing He will give unto you the greatest gift of all: Himself.
It is not the size of the offering which matters but the value to the offeror!
“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
The religious offer according to their estimation of themselves. The more they view their own importance the less they feel the need to give. Likewise, those who allow their circumstances to dictate their faith will give less than they are capable of giving. The law of the New Covenant is the living testimony of a heart which has discovered the way into His Life: “give and it shall be given unto you…”. Give of yourself to Him and of Him you shall receive in the corresponding measure. We are not speaking of the “unrighteous mammon” of the world, but of the true riches of Christ Himself.
“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully…”
2 Corinthians 9:6
The New Covenant has brought us the One supreme offering: all our offerings spring from His heart becoming ours.
“…the greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally – weaknesses, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guise of weakness.”