“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals”
He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Rev 3:5-6)
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:5-6)
“He will keep the feet of his saints”
1 Samuel 2:9
This scripture gives an assurance of His keeping grace. The feet of his saints speak of various things; one is sensitivity unto the Lord. Moses met God at the burning bush still shod in the shoes of Egypt. His sensitivity was lacking; though he stood in God’s presence he was unaware of the Holy ground upon which he stood.
“Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”
There was a numbness in God’s presence and an unfamiliarity with the things of God. Yet we see God drawing near to teach him the way of holiness. We see God at work in Moses to cause him to walk carefully and reverently before Him. In removing the shoes of Egypt, Moses was abandoning the ways and culture of Egypt and being introduced to the wonder of God. One cannot hold onto the ways of the world and expect to grow in the wisdom of God. The two are contrary.
“And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you…”
A sensitive walk is one of feeling our way in God. We must remain sensitive to the intonations and gentle leadings of our Shepherd. These things are beyond the hearing of the ear and seeing of the eye; they can only be known through the deepening of relationship. God desires for us to become so ONE with Him that we know within our heart the way we ought to go. These things are not learned quickly; but as we set our heart to the daily doing of His will there is a recognition of His leading which can only grow through the medium of obedience. It is here we sense that “keeping” of our feet and His Shepherding grace is most evident. We discover by our response to His direction that even small incidents take on importance and adventure. There is a gentle assurance of “this is the way, walk ye in it”. Sensitivity in our walk is vital if we are to learn of Him.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me”
This yoke binds the heart of the disciple to the will and the way of the Master. It is always voluntary. He encourages, validates and directs us with His Staff; He also corrects and chastises us with His Rod. Both of these expressions come from the same heart of Love. The four Gospels are full of these great aspects of His Love. It is a poor parent who does not both affirm and discipline their child.
God’s purpose is for us to be led in a sensitive walk that transcends hearing, seeing and circumstance; where we instinctively do His will by virtue of an abiding relationship. It requires an intentional and vigilant walk by His disciples.
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”
The Psalmist goes on to declare:
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle”
God’s way with His own is filled with such depths of promise. He stands as our great Shepherd to lead us into those places of relationship and grace. It is our obedience and willingness to learn that determine the extent of our walk with Him.
“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (righteousness and stability)”
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering…”
2 Timothy 4:2
For the preaching of The Word to be effective, it must spring from the source which is the love of God Himself. Care and concern for the status of God’s people is the motive. It does not rise from self-righteousness but from a deep knowing that God is righteous. There is a suffering borne by those who behold apathy and complacency; a pain carried within the hearts of those who feel the call of God to deeper and higher things, who sense a responsibility to cry out in the darkness. The call to speak is greater than the vessel. The need to present God far outweighs the desire for acceptance and friendship. Longsuffering is the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. It is not an attribute of the flesh, but its hold upon a heart produces a suffering long with the condition of God’s House.
Sin is the reason for the suffering of humanity in its lost condition. Love is the reason for suffering in the godly. Christ suffered most, leaving us an example of what righteousness will bring to one who is growing in the wonder of His light and love.
“For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself…”
Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, who suffered long in the midst of a perverse and lost generation. The greatest contradiction was from His own people who, in their blindness, and religious ambition, condemned Him to death, even the death of the Cross. Those who follow on to know Him must experience in some small way the same rejection.
“Love suffers long, Love endures all things”, and, to whatever measure we are held in its sway, there will be a corresponding expression of its virtues. By contrast, apathy cares little, speaks smooth words, is pragmatic and remains uninvolved with the conflicts between light and darkness. It hides itself in religious garments of false separation and indifference just as the priest and the Levite who passed by the man who lay beaten in the streets. It was the despised Samaritan, who involved himself in the plight of this one, of whom the blessed Saviour tells us to “go and DO likewise”.
The true love of God necessitates involvement and personal risk. The religion of men produces insulated living and empty words which lack the one essential thing: Love. The preaching of The Word must be fueled by the fire of the Love of God to make Him known in this world.
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
The Grace of God received is revealed in the “necessity” to preach among those to whom the vessel is sent “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. There is no desire to draw men and women unto themselves. They have no church, organization or earthly agendas; they live to make Him known! Grace received can have no other heart!
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
1 Corinthians 9:17
There is no room for self-promotion or boasting; it is a burden of “necessity” to preach the Gospel. There is an unction and a fire which burns within those who hold a glimmer of His beauty and wonder. This is not a weak gospel that robs His people of the purity and the power of this love. This is not a casual gospel with a gentle presentation designed to make the wayward comfortable and anesthetized to their own sin. For what is often presented as the “love of God” is in fact a “gospel’ of a god who has been made in their own image and to their own liking.
Where are those who feel the pangs of “necessity” to make Him known in this day? May God pour out upon us a grace that produces lives compelled by the Love of God to make Him known. May He save us from slumber, indifference and ungodly apathy, speaking of “deep” things yet revealing our shallowness through unremarkable living; lives with little or no effect upon the world around us. Let us not claim to have a faith in word but which denies the power of God even within the confines of our own homes. It is time for a new generation to arise who will “Preach the Word” and bring strong exhortations of God to contend with the bondages of a lost generation.
May those who bear His fire in their hearts declare His Word unto the earth and unto the heavens!
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach* the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort…”
2 Timothy 4:2
There are many who preach today, but not The Word. There are many who quote scriptures but fail to preach The Word. They preach their own words and their own gospel; they preach to gain the approval, affection and finances of those listening. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is to preach the Word that brings reproof, rebuke and exhortation! How few are willing to risk their popularity, their income, their positions or “career” in the organizations of today for the sake of truth. Many ascribe to the “relevant” things of today, but they will not touch The Word; a “sharp two-edged sword” which divides the soul and spirit of the religious man (Hebrews 4:12). Many are reticent to utter the Word of Life which will cut and reveal the thoughts and intentions of the religious man. They seek the favour of men while turning their back on the God who IS a “consuming fire”. Those who bear His Word must know, in some measure, the temperament and fervor of a God who hates mixture and compromise.
Preach the word!
This was the cry of the Apostolic heart in a Day when the Fire of God was burning, and the faith of God’s people was penetrating the darkness of the world in their time. “Preach the Word” is the call of God to His people in this hour who desire His Sword within their own hearts; who know that in order to walk with Him in holy places they must themselves be holy. Preach the Word has ever been the purpose and the directive of the Holy Spirit for He has come to lead and guide us into the truth and power of holy living. Without holiness we shall not see God! Let the truth of this Word revolutionize our hearts. Our pursuit of holiness is the revelation of our desire to see God!
The depth of an individual’s pursuit for holiness is the revelation of their desire to see God!
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord”
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
Preach the Word whereby men and women are filled with a fire to pursue holy living. Preach the Word which transforms the tepid, the comfortable and the passive into flaming hearts of purpose, captured by the Eternal Call of God.
“Is not my word like as a fire?”
Fireless preaching comes from cold hearts, compromised living and empty altars. If His Word is like fire, should not those who Preach His Word be of the same disposition and temperature?
God is speaking today, let those who have ears to hear, hear.
*Preach the Word - In a large segment of the Christian Church preaching the Word is relegated as ministry to the unsaved. This was a foreign concept to the early Church (who turned the world upside down). Timothy was sent out to travel through out the Church of God to observe their order, their love for one another and to contend with false teachings and error in their midst. We need those who will "Preach the Word" to the Church in power, unity and truth that HE may be glorified in our midst.
“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that He might know how much every man had gained by trading.”
The magnitude of God’s grace and the abundance of His gifts are evident throughout the New Testament promises. The depth of His unmerited mercy can only be fully appreciated through the medium of walking out those gifts in faithfulness. We see this throughout the Gospels. The Parables of the pounds, the talents, the sower and others, show the variety and the wonder of His gifts AND their corresponding accountability. To each of the recipients of the Pounds in the above Parable the reward of Christ was determined by their “trading” of the thing given. The individual who received one pound without their diligence to the precious gift given were never able to fully appreciate the gift or the giver’s worth. It remained unchanged, undeveloped and unappreciated. For such the Day of the Lord holds no rejoicing. How did Jesus respond to the one who held His precious things lightly?
“Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant… and he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds…”
The great gifts of God require our full attention. They become far more developed and valuable as we are faithful to them. In this Parable (unlike the Parable of the Talents) every individual was given the same initial amount; through their faithfulness and investment the one pound became ten, and to another became five. Yet for the slothful one, the one talent remained one. In the Parable of the Sower the one seed sown in a variety of the soils, produced very different outcomes. The fruitfulness of the seed was determined by the soil, not the seed! The same Pound given produced different results in the lives of each of these individuals. The great eternal question to each of us? What have we done with the precious gifts allotted to us?
We read in the great chapter of Faith in Hebrews 11, the faith of our forefather’s lives and the testimony they have left for us that we might walk in like manner.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respectunto the recompense of the reward”
The reason Moses forsook Egypt and chose to suffer affliction and reproach was because he had “respect” for the eternal rewards of Christ! He accounted the reproach of Christ to be of more value than Pharaoh’s riches! Men and women who fail to develop the great gifts of God hold a disrespect for His Gifts of Mercy and Grace. The verity of Moses having “respect unto the reward” is a New Testament truth declared in the Book of Hebrews; it is a truth of infinite value for the people of God in this day! We live in a Day when the Gospel preached minimizes or denies the reward and the Judgment Seat of Christ unto His Own! (2 Corinthians 5:10) We have a gospel today which speaks of a salvation regardless of how we live our lives where the faithful and the unfaithful all just go to heaven without any eternal consequences relating to the life they lived. Without the solemn truth of the “fear of the Lord” men and women, who are truly God’s children, see no reason to develop the gifts of Christ in their own lives. Much of the “ministry” in God’s house is satisfied with a people who are undeveloped in their “own” gifts and ministries in God. This false gospel is convenient for the leaders as they maintain their authority with little or no local accountability. It is also convenient for the people as they feel free of their responsibility to God in His purposes for their lives.
“…the priests rule by their own authority; and my people love to have it so”
The result is a poor and impoverished church which lacks power, vitality and the raising up of the Body of Christ through the development of their own ministrations. This arrangement will not alter the accountability of each individual unto God for themselves. His Word is clear and our Day of giving an account of how we lived our lives unto Him remains true and unchangeable.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”
2 Corinthians 5:10-11
(I do not write these things to be contentious, but because I am compelled to be faithful unto His Word to all who read these things. We want our day of standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be a day of joy and great rewards, not of loss and sorrow.)
A gospel which denies our accountability is not only a deceptive lie but a robbery of God’s glory and investment!
“Will a man rob God?” “Yet ye have robbed me” But ye say, ‘Wherein have we robbed thee?’ In tithes and offerings”
The tithes and offerings of the New Testament is for us to give back to God the increase of His gifts to us. If one with a gift of healing, a word of knowledge, a ministry in the Word, or a thousand other ministrations He has lavished on the Body of Christ does not invest that in others, we not only rob ourselves of the reward of Christ but we also rob His Body which is to be built up “by the functioning of every part”! (Ephesians 4:16) If every part is not functioning, the Body of Christ will suffer loss!
Paul in his understanding of this vital truth exhorted and encouraged the people of God to walk and fulfill the ministry that God had given unto them.
“And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hastreceived in the Lord, that thou fulfil it”
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”
1 Timothy 4:14
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”
2 Timothy 1:6
We must reject a gospel which presents ministry as something for a privileged few and began to read His Word in the truth and solemnity of its simple declarations.
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all”
1 Corinthians 12:7
Read the context of this scripture and do not let any teaching, doctrine or cunning words of men deter you from the truth and grace which has been given to “each one” of us!
When we stand before Him, may we each hear:
“Well DONE, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
The way of God is ever before us. His call, His purposes and His desire are presented unto us throughout the scriptures. Our life in Him is bound up in the choices we make. By our choices, this life in Him is either discovered or lost.
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Mankind was created for obedience; it is the pathway to freedom. The above scripture reveals that one’s choice (yielding) determines whose servant they will be.
Whom or what we serve is the revelation of whose servant we truly are regardless of what we profess!
The wisdom of God is clear and simple. All our professions, declarations and outward shows of religious activity are weighed in the balances of true obedience. Obedience is the fulcrum by which our true relationship with God is revealed. If I yield myself to sin, I am the servant of sin, regardless of my profession. Truth is truth and it is in “becoming” alive unto Him whereby we are made free from the power of sin over our lives. The true wonder of our “becoming” servants of God is the result of His victory being wrought out in the reality of our daily lives.
Servanthood to God is the highest call. A true servant of God serves Him, chooses Him and obeys Him from their heart. The individual who truly serves and obeys God, lives and walks in the Victory of Christ Himself. Without this victory we do not come to know the power and the glory of being a “servant of God”.
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle…”
The depth and power of Paul’s apostolic expression was in corresponding measure to His servanthood to Christ. Whenever Paul defined his relationship to Christ, he always expressed it as servanthood not as apostleship. His apostolic expression was the result of his servanthood – not the other way around.
“I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12
Paul’s appointment to service was a result of his faithfulness to God. We must discover that the way into the true ministry to which God has called us will only be known by our faithfulness in serving and obeying Him.
We live in a day in which many of God’s people do not know their call or purpose in God. This dilemma can only be solved through the medium of obedience. Without obedience to God alone the riddle of the call of God to each of His own will remain unsolved and unfulfilled. It is in the yielding of ourselves unto obedience that we become servants of righteousness. If we yield ourselves unto sin, we become servants of sin. Jesus declared emphatically:
“No man can serve two masters…”
Ministry today is often presented as serving people, a church, or an organization. In reality the true ministry of God serves Him, speaks His words and works His works.
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ”
An individual who seeks the esteem or favor of others cannot be at the same time a servant of God! Compromise is the womb of spiritual death. True humility frees an individual from the opinions of others and is the fragrance of a life in submission to God alone. There is much compromise within “Christendom” today. There is an impotency within the lives of those who seek the approval of men rather than God. Truth has been rendered powerless for it is often presented through the lives of those who do not know the workings of the Cross of Christ. It is the Cross which frees us from ourselves and bring us into singular devotion unto Christ.
“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father…)”
Any ministry which validates itself by something other than doing and being a servant of Christ, will never know the power of a true servant of God.
Jesus prefaced His word, “No man can serve two masters”, with the need for a singular heart.
“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”
The Light and Life of Christ fills the heart which is single in its purpose to serve God alone.
Paul summed up his life in very simple terms:
“separated unto the Gospel of God”
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”
“My son, don’t take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives”
Every child of God will know and experience His dealings; it is the surest sign of Him setting His Love upon us. King David knew much of God’s blessings and judgments. He was inspired to declare in Psalm 23:4 “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, they comfort me”. The true in heart find as much comfort in God’s Rod of correction as they do in the Staff of His provision and protection. All God’s children know of His correction, but many do not benefit from it. It is here where disciples are distinguished from adherents. Correction has no benefit to those who ignore God’s dealings. Those who seek to know the wonder of Him appointing them to His service, will consider these things as vital to their development.
“All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby”
The peaceful fruit of righteousness is the result of being exercised by His corrections! Why would we ignore or take lightly His dealings with us? His corrections are given to make us partakers of His Life.
“Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?”
We want life, His Life, in us. His Life grows in those who are in subjection to His corrections. A stubborn and rebellious child will not bear the likeness, the wonder and the power of God in any depth. It does not negate the power of a gift of the Spirit*, but it will leave the one in whom the gift operates with a sense of emptiness and may bring them to eventual ruin.
The Path into the life of ministry and service is filled with the dealings of a loving and wise Father. In His corrections we also discover a growing into and a knowing of His Holiness.
“For they indeed (our fathers in the flesh), for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness”
Holiness is more than a gift; it is the very essence of God Himself. The only path to growing in His holiness is in our partaking of Him. God cannot give us holiness; we become holy through the medium of living and abiding in Him. He is the Holy One and it can only be real in us via relationship.
What is the fruit and benefit of His Holiness in us?
“Eagerly pursue peace and holiness with all, without which no one will see the Lord”
The depth of an individual’s ministration will be in corresponding measure to their seeing of God.
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us”
1 John 1:3
A wise son desires the correction of the Father.
*Note: There is a great difference between the power expressed in a gift versus the authority and power revealed in those who live, abide and walk in submission to the King of kings. This will be covered later in this writing.
“I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12
In the life of a true disciple everything is to be unto Him. It is our faithfulness to this One alone, that frees us from selfish pursuits in the name of God. Religion is simply taking the Name of the Lord our God in vain; we seek to promote ourselves under the pretense of serving God.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain*”
*NOTE: shaw' (H7723), "deceit; deception; malice; falsity; vanity; emptiness." The 53 occurrences of shaw' are primarily in poetry. The basic meaning of this word is "deceit" or "deception," "malice," and "falsehood." This meaning emerges when shaw' is used in a legal context: "Put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness" (Exo 23:1). Used in cultic contexts, the word bears these same overtones but may be rendered variously. For example, in Psa 31:6 the word may be rendered "vain" (KJV, "lying"), in the sense of "deceitful" (cf. Eze 12:24). Eliphaz described the ungodly as those who trust in "emptiness" or "deception," though they gain nothing but emptiness as a reward for that trust (Job 15:31). Vines Dictionary of Old Testament Words.
“A masculine noun meaning emptiness, vanity, evil, ruin, uselessness, deception, worthless, without result, fraud, deceit. The primary meaning of the word is deceit, lie, or falsehood. God used the word to indicate that He punished Judah in vain. The word is used by the psalmist to state that all activities such as laboring, guarding, rising early, staying up late, and toiling for food were useless without God's assistance (Psa 127:1-2) …”
The Complete Word Study Old Testament (Word Study Series) Hardcover – June 1, 1994 by Baker D.R.E., Dr. Warren Patrick (Author), Dr. Spiros Zodhiates (Editor)
The unsaved cannot take His Name in falsehood or deception; they cannot take a name which has not been given to them! This commandment was written to His people. Sadly, throughout history, we read of many who have taken His glorious name unto themselves for their own gain and purpose. False teachings, prophesies, wrong and immoral deeds, and the perversion of His Word to draw people unto themselves, were and are committed in the name of God. Those guilty of such things will not escape His judgements or wrath.
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”
The only hope of freedom from the contagion of this horror is by the workings of the Cross in our lives. It is only by the “spirit of burning” and the crucifying of that “carnal man” that we will know purity of heart in our service unto Him. There is no valid expression of the risen Christ who has not known of His judgments, His fire and His Mercy. Authenticity is the fruit of a life who has walked with Him in truth.
“Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel”
1 Corinthians 9:9