Mat 5:44 “but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you,”
Mat 5:45 “so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.”
Mat 5:46 “For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?”
Mat 5:47 “And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so?”
Mat 5:48 “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
The higher life is a lowly life. This call to truth, to the actual living out of His life in us is impossible in our own self; the true godly life is self-less. His Life is required in order to live His Life! There are no substitutes, teachings or strategies which will avail us of this wondrous reality.
This phrase struck me this morning: “Love your enemies”. We all have those who marginalize, disrespect, and even plainly hate us. God is gracious to provide us with real-life opportunities to become sons of His by discovering His nature within; to love in word and in deed those who mistreat us. While many look for signs, wonders and overt acts of God, the greatest display of God’s power is found in loving those who mistreat us.
“Love your enemies” is the resplendent Call of God. In the doing of such love, we fulfill the purpose of the Call of God in Christ: “Therefore, you be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”. Perfection in Christ can only be realized by our doing the love we have been called to. The love of which God speaks is revealed in the deeds it produces. It is beyond words.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
John follows this remarkable truth with another:
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:19
Love is the evidence of truth. Our standing in the truth of Christ must be assessed by the Word of God and not by our own carnal estimations. The divisions and secular composition of the Body of Christ, the lack of His Truth in our midst, belies our true condition.
“For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have?”
Our attitude toward others is the revelation of the depth our abiding in Him.
Relationship with Christ is the spring from which His Life flows. This flow of Life is the essential element of ministry.
The Womb of Ministry
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:16-17)
“I am a debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to wise, and to foolish, so as far as lies in me, I am eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome also”
The secret of the power of Christ at work within the human heart lies in grasping our total indebtedness unto Him. The same God that saw the need to send His only begotten Son to the earth, desires that we in turn see the necessity to preach the Gospel of God to all who would hear. Notice the secret of Paul: “so far as lies in me”! The power of Christ is pressing and empowering us to make known the wonder of this salvation; expending ourselves in order to make the living Christ known. The power of the Gospel lies not in words but in the unction and the impression of His heart.
The Kingdom of God is not in word. It is not in the multitude of the words we speak amongst ourselves. It is in the dynamic of His Love launching us into “fields” ripe unto harvest. Only by the Love of God have men and women through the ages spent themselves for the sheer honour of declaring Him wherever they were sent.
The preaching of the Gospel has more to do with the power that lies within an individual than in the knowledge of words and religious phrases. Love is the power of the Gospel – it is the Gospel!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”
That same Love burning within our hearts is the epicenter from which we reach the world. Without the breath of the Love of God, the New Covenant becomes nothing more than something to discuss and dissect with others of like disposition. It is a thing rather than a life; a mere idea which produces no wonder of empowerment, no horizons to pursue and no sense of the overwhelming purposes of God in Christ. The result is dimness of soul and a life bereft of participation in the declaration of Christ.
What is the power which is at work within us?
This does not put in question the power of the Almighty God. It does ask if we have allowed Him to empower us within.
“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”
The evidence of the gift of Grace within His own is men and women who are able ministers of Christ. Grace received produces an effectual ministry of grace to others. A genuine receiving of grace leaves us with a deep sense of our unworthiness and an awareness of a Love beyond comprehension. Love by its very nature is sacrificial and selfless. As we grow into the heart and mind of Him, we cannot remain untouched by the human condition within and without the family of believers. There is an abandonment to the will and passion of Christ to make known the Salvation He has provided to all.
Paul was “Made a minister, according to the gift of the grace”. Grace received cannot be held in fireless hearts.
“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”
1 Corinthians 15:10
The evidence of grace received is the labour of the spirit within a life, just as the evidence of conception is the labour it ultimately produces.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
“For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”
For the true child of God there is no darkness through which He does not intend to bring us to greater light. There is no trial so great that the Great Shepherd does not watch over the soul of His Own. There is no sorrow and no separation so great that it cannot be compensated with Himself. Let us face this coming year with an understanding that His sovereign Wisdom is at work for our eternal benefit.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion”
It is needful that we prepare our hearts for the things which lie ahead. Things are changing quickly as God is allowing a time of suffering and counting the cost. A cost-less gospel is about to become a precious Gospel. Religious liberties as we have known them will give way to intimidation, prison and even death. Yet in the midst of all this a new-found liberty will be born in those who have followed Him with a full heart; it is called the liberty of the Spirit. It is the same liberty that Paul had in prison, the same liberty the disciples had in the Macedonian prison to sing and worship God, the same liberty of Peter and other disciples who rejoiced in being found worthy to suffer for His Name. A new day is dawning upon the North American Church; which for the most part it is still fighting for a way of life that has failed to produce an overcoming church. God in His wisdom will bring a purging of the filth and the infiltration of the world from His House. Just as Jesus with great vehemence drove the money changers out of the Temple in His Day, He will once again purge the haughtiness from His House of whom we are. The divisions, the strife, the competition and the contagion of pride gives testimony that the liberty we have enjoyed thus far has not furthered His Glory in our midst.
Let us receive from Him this chastening that in the purging of all worldly contaminants He may reveal to the world a broken, pure and holy people. May we turn to Him in the secret places of our hearts with repentance and sorrow knowing that from such God will not turn away.
God’s Word to the Church OF the Laodiceans…
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent“
This is the Word of the Lord to His Church. It has grown lukewarm, its pursuits are worldly, it is rich in the things of the world, and there is no end of teachings, sermons and programs. It is not the content which is lacking; it is the spirit in which it hears the things of God. Works without faith and Faith without works are the hallmarks of a lukewarm and lethargic people. Let us prepare ourselves for His coming; a coming which is contrary to many of the teachings of our Day!
“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap…”
He is coming to cleanse and purify His Church, to purify His people that He may receive unto Himself a worthy Bride – pure and spotless free from the corruption of the world and fully alive unto Him.
Peter declared emphatically:
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17
Before God judges the world, He must first cleanse and purify His house. It is to this end that HE IS COMING TO NORTH AMERICA!
He cares much more about the issues of our hearts than He does about our lifestyle and “freedom”. A Bondman in the Lord is freer than the richest man in the world. The true servant of the Lord is Free regardless of his circumstances and manner of living. There is only ONE place to hide in the storm which is about to break – His Name is Jesus!
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”
While many quote this scripture, we must comprehend what it is saying. The place of safety is where the “shadow of the Almighty” falls. It falls upon those who abide in the “secret place” of Christ Himself.
John declares how we can know that we are abiding in that “secret place”:
“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us”
1 John 3:24
Do we keep His commandments? Do we walk unstained from this world? Do we love our brothers and sisters deeply and freely? Do we seek forgiveness from others, and in turn forgive others freely? Are we in truth “living epistles, known and read by all men”? Do we live our faith and is our life consistent with the words we speak?
The Spirit of God tells us emphatically that the evidence that He abides in us is the Divine enablement to Do His Commandments!
Let these words penetrate our hearts: “Hereby we know that HE abides in us”!! How? We honor, keep and do His Will! We deceive ourselves if we walk in disobedience to His Word yet comfort ourselves with His Word.
This is a time to reconsider our “location” in Him. Do not let tomorrow pass without considering the verity of your life in Him and His Life in YOU. Those who have the Son living and dwelling within declare the truth of it by their walk.
I share these things because of my own need for fellowship which challenges, confirms and stirs my heart to love and follow Him more deeply. We are here corporately to “present every man perfect in Christ”.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus“
Let us in godly fear turn again to Him who alone can be our hiding place in the storm which is about to break!
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy”
His Second Coming Characterized to this Generation
“And it shall be in that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men being settled on their lees; who say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, nor will He do evil. And their goods shall become a prize, and their houses a waste. They shall also build houses, but not live there. And they shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine. The great day of Jehovah is near; it is near and rushing greatly, the sound of the day of Jehovah. The mighty man shall cry out bitterly there. That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and pressure, a day of waste and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the ram’s horn and alarm against the fortified cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress to men, and they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against Jehovah. And their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh like dung. Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of Jehovah. But all the earth shall be consumed by the fire of His jealousy. For He shall make a complete, yea, a speedy end of all those living in the land” Zephaniah 1:12-18
God is searching the hearts of who lay claim to His Name in this hour. He who spared eight people in the days of Noah is no respecter of persons. He is Holy and He is coming back for* something not just to something. He is coming back for a Bride who has made herself ready because of the expectation and hope in her heart. Her love is genuine and intense; she honors His word because she honors Him. At the end of the Book of Revelation she is saying the same thing as the Holy Spirit for she has become One with Him.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come”
Throughout the scriptures we are exhorted to search our own hearts, to take account of our lives unto Him and to evaluate the state of our hearts in relationship to our keeping His Word.
“Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord”
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…”
2 Corinthians 13:5
“And he that keepeth* His commandments dwelleth in him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us”
1 John 3:24
*Note: τηρέω (tēreō) “Figuratively, to obey, observe, keep, fulfill a duty, precept, law, custom, or custom meaning to perform watchfully, vigilantly, with the acc. (Mat 19:17; Joh 14:15, Joh 14:21; Joh 15:10; 1Ti 6:14; 1Jn 2:3-4; 1Jn 3:22, 1Jn 3:24; 1Jn 5:2-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 14:12)…” Dr. Spiros Zodhiates
*Note: God’s return is predicated upon His purposes in the Church and He is coming back FOR a Bride who has made herself ready, He is returning for the “precious fruit” of the earth and has long patience for its harvest. For a glimpse of this magnificent truth please read His Appearing
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy* both soul and body in hell”
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
“I think, my friends, that it depends altogether upon that of which one is afraid. The words of our text (Mt. 10:28), with the solemn inculcation of fear, are also a ringing denunciation of fear: the “Fear Him” is balanced by “Fear not.” The fear of God is here made a way of overcoming the fear of man. And the heroic centuries of Christian history have provided abundant testimony to its efficaciousness” - John Gresham Machen
The history of the Church has been one of men and women bearing testimony to God by living His truth. True pilgrims were often “misfits”; even though their testimony was a shining light of God’s grace and favor in their generation. They did not dwell in the concepts of men concerning the scriptures. They lived their lives in the unfolding truth of God and as a result their testimony was the spirit of prophesy. There was a sense of being captured or, as Paul would say, “bound in spirit” to the will and purposes of God; a knowing that they had been apprehended to apprehend the thing to which they had been called.
To feel deep within our being that CALL, inarticulate in the language of men, which is more real, more powerful and more essential than any existence the world has to offer is true life. Its passion is to leave a clear witness of the Christ here in the earth. Bound up within this call is to know the joy of finishing our course with a testimony that clearly expresses His heart and being. The CALL to an effective communication of His Faith to the world around us and to leave a legacy of faith in our own children which will impart His Life to their generation is to be our birthright.
The CALL of Christ is unto Himself; it does not leave options or choices to those who respond to it. Disciples are ultimately freed from their own agendas and pursuits. They are captured by the wonder of His beauty to follow Him alone. They cannot rest in anything less than a full and dynamic expression of Christ. There is a sense of the eternal that draws them to things unseen. There is an endurance borne of “seeing Him” who is invisible.
“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible”
The Testimony of the Church has ever been one of faith, intensity of spirit and heart which desires to honor Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
May our testimony be somewhat worthy of all who have gone before us!
*Note: apollumi (G622), a strengthened form of ollumi, signifies “to destroy utterly”; in middle voice, “to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luk 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution, Luk 15:4, Luk 15:6, etc.; the lost son, Luk 15:24; of the perishing of food, Joh 6:27; of gold, 1Pe 1:7. So of persons, Mat 2:13, “destroy”; Mat 8:25, “perish”; Mat 22:7; Mat 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter, Mat 10:28; Luk 13:3, Luk 13:5; Joh 3:16 (Joh 3:15 in some mss.); Joh 10:28; Joh 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1Co 15:18; 2Co 2:15, “are perishing”; 2Co 4:3; 2Th 2:10; Jas 4:12; 2Pe 3:9. “Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words”
“Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”
It is in our understanding the “fear of the Lord” where we discover the true “knowledge of God”. Wisdom is not the summation of learning nor is it a commodity gained by the efforts of men. Wisdom is the matrix by which truth is revealed. It is the wise in heart who grow in understanding.
“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”
The true knowledge of God comes to us as His wisdom enters our hearts. By it the knowledge of God is revered and held in awe.
“The first thing is wisdom—get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding”
There are many in this day who hold a knowledge of His word apart from the fear of Him; without wisdom all knowledge is perverted. Only the wise in heart walk and keep themselves in the fear of the Lord. They hold themselves accountable to Him who weighs all the words, actions and the motives of our hearts.
“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”
The scribes and the Pharisees held a knowledge of God apart from the fear of God. The result was a religion based on the words of God without the wonder of God. There is no greater darkness, no greater delusion, than that of men who hold knowledge apart from wisdom.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness…”
It is a fearful thing to hold the truth of God in an unrighteous manner! Let us not assume that by claiming a promise of God yet living in unrighteousness that He will acquit you in the Day of Judgment! Let us not presume that we can hold unforgiveness and yet be forgiven. Do not think that we can walk contrary to His Word and still grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“…to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
To grow in the depths and power of our salvation requires us to walk in the wisdom of God. He shows His salvation to those who order their steps aright. He unveils Himself to those who align their hearts to His Word.
“Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow by it…”
2 Peter 2:1-2
The wise in heart put away from themselves all malice, hypocrisies, envies and evil words because they know, at least in some measure, the fear of the Lord. The recompense of walking in His righteous ways is the divine enablement to grow into Him in all things.
Christians may hold on to evil things while comforting themselves with the promises of God; this they do to their own sorrow. They may cover themselves with the fig leaves of religion even as they “hold the truth in unrighteousness” sealing to themselves a life void of the power of God. They may speak of grace, and can expound upon the mercies of God, yet never touch the true depths of either; only the fear of the Lord can reveal the power of these realities. It is by the enlightenment of His wisdom entering our hearts that we know the awe and the joy of obedience to Him who first loved us.
Without the fear of the Lord there can be no true wisdom or knowledge of Him. Only by the understanding that these bring are we able to depart from our evil ways.
“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”
“But wisdom is justified of all her children”
The wisdom of God is vindicated by the conduct of those who are held by its wonder.
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not…”
3 John 1:9
Self-promotion is the curse and the damnation of the Church of Jesus Christ. The wickedness of a self-seeking, self-promoting serpent nature is alive and very prominent in the Body of Christ today. Men pretend to be walking in the Spirit of God yet by their works reveal the factious ways of the world (the Greek word relates such works to the political factions of the world). The result is division and strife. We see these secular and isolated groups throughout the history of the Church inflicting great pain and sorrow on the people of God while bringing damnation and eternal judgments upon themselves.
“Because of this, if I come, I will recall his works which he does, ranting against us with evil words. And not being satisfied with these, neither does he receive the brothers; and those intending it he prevents, and thrusts them out from the assembly”
3 John 1:10
John goes on to say:
“Beloved, do not imitate the bad, but the good. The one doing good is of God; but the one doing bad has not seen God”
3 John 1:11
It is what people DO that reveals the spirit in which they walk, not their profession!
“They profess that they know God, but by their deeds they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work”
In order for this infection to stop God’s people need to grow in discernment. It is not what men say but what they do that reveals the spirit in which they walk. We see much of the spirit of Diotrephes across our land. The cry for people to join an organization or sect, follow a teacher or a movement, is heard far more prominently than the true Call of God to “Come unto Christ”. The waning influence of the Church is partially a result of the horror of calling people to something other than Jesus.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”
The Gospel today is one of setting forth the ambitions of men to “grow” our churches, our fellowships, our teachers (or teachings) in competition with the other “churches” who also promote themselves in the same spirit of rivalry. Somehow, we convince ourselves (in spite of our carnality) that we are representing the Spirit of Christ and the work of His Salvation in the earth.
“Now I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all say the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but you be united in the same mind and in the same judgment”
1 Corinthians 1:10
This Word from Paul is aimed forcefully at those in the Church at Corinth because of their carnality:
“For concerning you, my brothers, it was shown to me by those of Chloe that there are strifes among you. But I say this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ”. (Or in our day – Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance plus thousands of other names or no names – the little sects that meet in closed cliques which mingle not with others nor reach out with the love of God to the world around them are all an affront to heart and mind of Christ.)
1 Corinthians 1:11-12
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5 (ESV)
The very nature of this mind being formed in us through the ministration of His Word and our abiding in Him is the very essence of our unity. Any heart which “feels” not the call of God in Christ to this is one which is out of touch with Him. The holy bonds of His Spirit are the actual bonds of those who are His. There is a spiritual joining, a joint-communication of the life and power of the Christ which flows between those who live in Him. The Day of the wheat and tares are being revealed in our day, they who cling to a joining which is carnal and based on something other than Christ Himself will become more evident as we see the bones of Ezekiel’s Vision comes to pass (Ezekiel 37)… The phrase “bone to His bone” is the verity of the New Wine Skin. Only those whose lives are becoming His can partake of this glorious thing. It is the power of His Life which joins us to one another and it is here where the depth of God’s wisdom will reveal the unfathomable truth of His Word… “members one of another”. This is a truth which the natural mind cannot comprehend, its power, its wonder is so Divine in its origin that only those who feel the draw and the call of God to this Holy place can be affected within the core of their being. Few there be in our Day who feel the pulse and the power of all God is preparing in this Day.
“That they all may be one; AS thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”
May God re-establish the truth within us, that we are here for His Glory, we are here to fulfill HIS purposes for us and they who are growing in their relationship with Him know that we are here to please and honor Him who is worthy of all that we are. Having the “mind of Christ” formed within us necessitates a fervency to live out His nature with our brothers and sisters. A nature which speaks truth, lives truth and walks in the desire to please Him.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created“
As Christ came to Glorify the Father may we so allow our hearts to be transformed to “order our steps aright” to glorify His Glorious Name by how we live.
“…to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
To the heart of those who direct their steps in the Way of Christ there is a unveiling of Himself concerning the wonders and glories of His Salvation.
These truths are hid from the wise, the proud, the seekers of pre-eminence and those who are satisfied with something less than the fulness of Christ Himself.
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight”
It requires the “mind of Christ” to see Him unveiled in His Word and it takes the heart of Christ feel the bonds of His Spirit.
The spirit of Diotrephes is alive and present in the community where I live, and the place where you live. Its dark and sinister work is deeply felt within the Body of Christ world-wide by the schisms and discord sown by its proud and haughty ways. It covers itself with garments of falsehood and hypocrisy. It pretends to follow Christ and usually appeals to its adherents on the basis of being deeper, more spiritual and may even express itself concerned for others while yet by its works reveals the true nature of its spirit by its isolation and spiritual stagnation. The spirit of such refuse others from the Body of Christ liberty to minister to "its own", it receives only from those who hold to its ideology and secretly must acknowledge its leaders to gain access. It is an malignant evil which will be judged severely in the Day of the Lord. It is by their works the spirit of such are revealed. It is important that God's people read and meditate carefully upon this writing of Third John for in it is the dark spirit of such revealed. Honesty of heart and pureness of motive will be the safeguard of all those who desire to see the One Body of Christ.
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, 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. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Phil 2:1-5)
“In respect to justification, grace stands opposed to works (Rom. 4:4-5; 11:6). However, in respect to sanctification, grace is the source of works. This simply means that whereas we are saved by grace and not of works, we are saved by grace unto good works. Good works are the fruit, not the root, of God’s saving grace (see esp. Eph. 2:8 -10)” – Charles Spurgeon
It is the sanctified vessel which is fit and prepared for the Master Use. It is one thing for a people to be Justified and as glorious such a truth is… for us to go on, ever going on unto the place of being prepared for HIS USE.
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
2 Timothy 2:21
Sanctification is the work of grace to bring us unto the works of God.
“And Jesus said, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, ‘Who touched me?”
Faith is the conduit through which His virtue and power flow. The panacea for the human race is found in the virtue of Him flowing unto all who come to Him by faith.
“And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me”
It is His virtue that brings healing and salvation to humanity. We read in this passage that many were thronging about Jesus, touching Him but with no consequences. One woman, in her desperation, touched Him in Faith; a living faith sufficient to release the transmission of His Life into her hopeless condition. The flow of that vibrant Life filled her with amazement and fear. There was no reference or ability to prepare her for its wonder! The purpose of God in Christ is to bring us to that place of unconscious dependency upon that virtue continually sustaining and invigorating us. The parable of the vine is the hope of all who aspire to live within His dominion; a perpetual fountain where we are made partakers of the Divine Nature! (2 Peter 1:4)
Through His death on the cross, we were reconciled to God. We were invited into the commonwealth of God in Christ. As glorious as this is, we are now invited to the banqueting table of His provisions to the end we would feast upon Him who is our living bread. It is by our eating and drinking of Him that will grow into Him! We were reconciled by His death, but we are ever being saved by the power of His Life flowing and producing His likeness within. Him.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”
Reconciliation is the beginning of His work in us. The Holy Spirit has come to lead and guide us into Him who is the truth and the power of the New Covenant.
“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”
The bearing of fruit and the divine enablement to live beyond the resources of self requires an enlargement of our capacity to draw from Him the virtue needed to reveal Him in this world. The works of God through us are dependent upon the Life of Christ within us. Faith is the vital link between His resources and our needs and, even more importantly, the needs of others.
Self-less living, Love, and compassion for others, is bound up in His heart being poured into ours. It is here we most reveal the truth and verity of our abiding in Him.
To be reconciled to Him by His death is one thing. It is quite another thing to be saved, empowered and sent of Him into this dark and destitute world. They who know of His sanctifying Life become vessels prepared and fit for His purposes!
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work”
2 Timothy 2:21
As we partake of Him, we become ready, willing and divinely enabled to do His Work.
“…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you”