“I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”
– Charles Spurgeon
“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”
One cannot be of this world and know the unity of His Spirit. To “be of the world” is to be at variance with His people, His nature, and His Life. To prefer our brother or sister over ourselves, to feel the call to union with Him is to seek that in His people. The unity of Him is simply the resplendent nature of Him drawing us to one another, this drawing is the joy and fruit of those who live in His Spirit.
“For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.”
Love of the Truth is the Nature Of God in Man The Love Of the Truth Causes us to Love IN Truth
“…every where and in all things I am instructed”
There was an intensity in Paul to garner the wisdom of God in all things. He was alive and active in his walk with God. He learned because he wanted to learn from every situation. God speaks to us within our own hearts, He speaks through others who care about our progress in the Lord and also in the situations we encounter if we apply our hearts unto wisdom. A wise heart hears the words of others; they consider all things before God because they know that there is so much more in God than they presently see.
The mark of a true disciple is the intensity of heart to learn of their master.
“Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!”
There is an endearing ministration to those who walk closely with the Lord; wonders and mercies through the bonds of relationship. As we draw near to Him, we touch unspeakable aspects of His glory that are beyond the thoughts of men. Life, His Life, cannot be assimilated by the natural mind for God is beyond comprehension. Who can truly understand the mystery of a beating heart, the unfolding of a flower, or the intricacies of a relationship between a husband and wife? These are things we can see, feel, and appreciate for their simple beauty, but to try and understand them intellectually is folly. The enablement to see the growing dynamic of God, His Life, and His Wisdom, requires faith and surrender to His work in us.
“In thy light shall we see light”
It requires the Christ within to enable us to “see” the Father as He is.
“All things were yielded up to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.”
Jesus is the lens through which we behold the Father. He alone can impart to us the substance and being of all God is. Our depth of abiding will determine our knowledge of Him as He is. Jesus spoke parables to the masses (God’s own people; John 1:11), but His own disciples he would take aside and expound to them precious truths through the intimacy of friendship.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant, does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
What was the vital truth which precipitated this transition from unknowing servants to friendship with the Son?
“You are my friends if you DO what I command you.”
Obedience is the highest expression of Love. The summation of the Life of the Son in the earth can be bound up in one culminating crescendo of love.
“Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
The Holy-Spirit inspired scriptures go on to describe the effects of that Divine Will on our lives.
“By the which Will we are sanctified…”
Hebrews 10:10 (capitalization my own)
True sanctification will always be to the measure that His Will becomes our own. Those who are truly His, pursue one thing; full conformity and union with the purpose of the Son. “Lo, I come to do Thy will”.
“Then Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not mine in origin but belongs to the One who sent me. If anyone is desiring to be doing His will, he shall know experientially concerning the teaching…”
John 7:16-17 (Wuest)
True disciples do not initiate their own doctrine. They read His Word with the eyes and the heart of a little child; what the word declares they believe. They make no allowances for self which always seeks to justify its aberrations from its purity. They seek earnestly and fervently for faith and grace to see their lives conformed to its truth. They understand that the same Spirit through which the Word became flesh in the Son has been given to work that same devotion to the Will of the Father in us.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
Why is the ministration of the Spirit of God-given? To change us “into the same image”; the same likeness and demeanor which characterized the Son.
“Lo, I come to do Thy will”
The full revelation of Grace is expressed in our obedience to the Will of the Father.
“through whom we received grace and apostleship in order that there may be obedience to the Faith…” Romans 1:5 (Wuest)
“Surely in vain, the net is spread in the sight of any bird”
Nothing is hidden from Him – He sees everything. The secret councils of all are open to Him – whether it be the strategies of the enemy, the devious plans of men or treachery between brothers and sisters – God sees all. As pointless as it is to set a trap for a bird in plain sight, so is the folly of all who work unrighteousness.
“…for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him, actions are weighed”
1 Samuel 2:3
From the presumption of Ananias and Sapphira to the scheming of worldly governments, or the dark agendas of wicked principalities and powers, God sees all. Let no action or thought which crosses our minds go unattended, or be allowed to take root, without our consideration of Him who sees all things.
The crafty thoughts of Judas, or the bravado of Peter, unaware of his own human weakness, were all the same to Jesus. He was not carried away with the pomp and praises upon entering Jerusalem for He knew well the hearts of all men. When many were believing in Him after seeing the miracles, Jesus remained unmoved.
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men”
It is in our heart of hearts that the issues of life are determined. We must know that the hidden intentions and actions which we may hide from others are open and unveiled to Him. Authenticity is the result of those who know this powerful truth and order their steps aright. They are ever “bringing every thought captive”.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”
2 Chronicles 16:9
Those who walk rightly, think rightly, and whose actions are purposed to bless Him, will know of His favor for “thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:4)
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
Purity of heart is to be free from selfish agendas and hypocrisy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
“For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should come abroad” Mark 4:22
“And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation”
Truth is simply the manifestation of the Life of Christ. His unrelenting quest within each of us is for purity and perfection. He does not spare His Own from His piercing gaze as He searches our hearts with the divine flame of His Love. His Word is living and sharp. Its cutting seeks to free us from that self that cannot and will not submit to God.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
Our hearts are revealed in our openness to receive exhortation. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews pleads with us to “suffer the word of exhortation” to the end we may walk a life that is pleasing to God. Truth must expose within us all that is not of Him. Being the perfect manifestation of all that is true, He has great love and determination to change us from “glory to glory”. While many readily receive His forgiveness, the real test is in our receiving that Living Truth which pierces even to the dividing of our “soul and spirit”.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
Those who bear His Word must know that work within themselves. Only In becoming free from self, with all its devious and corrupting ways, will we be able to communicate to others that same word of exhortation. A word of exhortation can only be received by those who because of their love of truth suffer its liberating ministration of life.
May we all hear the “beseeching” of the Spirit of God to embrace His Word. To love truth is to receive His corrections and the pruning of His two-edged sword.
“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights”
“For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives”
The true in heart desire correction. They know within their own being the necessity to receive His reproofs and exhortations. The passion to become true outweighs the tendency to hide from His probing gaze. Many love the promises of God but few are willing to endure the correction necessary for His promises to come to fulfillment in them.
“If you endure discipline, God bears Himself to you as to sons”
It is in the crucible of correction that the true in heart reveal their sonship and love for their heavenly Father.
“Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it”
“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present Truth.”
(2 Peter 1:12)
Whenever the Spirit of God is speaking to you He is speaking the whole truth concerning you. He is ever seeking to bring you into the place of a connection and a living truth that you might be in the “present” Truth. In the Greek, the “present truth” is, in essence, “the truth of THE presence”that you might be equipped and prepared to walk in a living and consistent walk, in sync with what He is doing on the earth.
Jesus said, “the words I speak they are spirit and they are LIFE!” and as you develop that personal relationship with Jesus there is an unfolding, and a familiarity, that grows within your life of Him speaking to you on a very personal level, where the word of the Lord isn’t the word of Elijah or the word of Ezekiel, but it’s the Word of the Lord to you and through you!
The whole purpose of ministry is to bring you into the place where you begin to speak the voice of The Lord in that particular wonder of His revelation to you. In the hearing of Him, we begin to walk in the present truth of His ministration to this generation and to the church in which we live.
Jesus felt no compulsion to answer this rhetorical and ostentatious question of Pilate. Nor does He respond to those today whose ideas of truth lie only in statements and confessions. Without a living relationship with Christ, truth is merely an opinion, a belief, or a concept born of predispositions or persuasions. There is nothing concrete or absolute in its origin. Some believe one thing; some believe another thing. If truth is simply esoteric in nature and exists only in intellectual assumptions, then the philosophical question “What is Truth?” bears testimony to a lost humanity declaring its own existence as futile and vain. The span of time “lived” between birth and death is inconsequential. Death is merely the end of a consciousness that evaporates into oblivion. Feelings, relationships, and the myriad of human experiences have no real value or meaning.
The comforts of religion are that it assuages the torment of this thought by providing an antidote of belief; somehow the belief itself will mitigate my wrongness and assure me of a noble end. Rather than seeing the need for repentance and change, my rightness is based on an affirmation. Religion dissipates the gnawing and persistent desire to answer this question in earnest. The belief alleviates the need for a definitive answer. It makes me think that if I believe right, I will personally be right regardless of the life I live. The deception is that I can profess to have truth without the need to become true.
This is the ethos of much of the Christian landscape today. There is an insidious concept that I can be disobedient to the teachings of Christ without any ramifications to my eternal standing with God. I can claim to be in the right relationship with Him and yet disregard my accountability to Him. I believe a truth without it becoming true in my own experience. Consider forgiveness… (for example)
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
To claim Him as my Lord and deny my brother or sister forgiveness is hypocrisy. How many of us hold on to unforgiveness and yet pray to Him without any thought to the ramifications of our standing before God?
Jesus is our only truth; His Life within me, changing me, convicting me, and transforming my behaviour. Profession without the corresponding life to validate it is deception.
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous”
1 John 3:7
Let no man deceive us. Let us not deceive ourselves. Mere belief does not change an unrighteous life. Jesus came into our hearts to free us FROM our sin; not to allow us to remain IN our sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!”
Paul asks this incredulous question. It is an absurdity to him that it would even enter the minds of those who have truly experienced the power of Christ within.
“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him”
1 John 2:29
God’s people to a large extent know little of God’s righteousness. This scripture only has power in those who understand “He is Righteous”. To those who know of this truth, sin is an offense to God. It is something that produces a holy war within our own being, something with which we cannot compromise. Its presence is a revelation that a portion of our life is still not fully His. Those who walk in the truth of Christ are convicted, in contrast to those who base their standing with God on a confession.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”
Quoting scriptures, believing in the correct theology, and subscribing to sound doctrine will not free you or me from the power of sin and disobedience. The truth of which Jesus speaks is a power and a dynamic extension of His Life working within the recesses of our being. Jesus presents Himself as the truth; not knowing about Him, but He Himself. Our hope is not based on what we believe. Our hope is in Him living and ruling within, changing the very fabric of our being. Paul presents this truth unequivocally to us.
“Christ IN you the hope of glory”
“…in our day Christ as the truth has… been abolished: we take Christ’s teaching – but abolish Christ. We want truth the easy way. This is to abolish truth, for Christ, the teacher is more important than the teaching… Truth is not a sum of statements, not a definition, not a system of concepts, but a life. Truth is not a property of thought that guarantees validity to thinking. No, truth in its most essential character is the reduplication of truth within yourself… Your life expresses the truth in the striving… The Gospel says that this is eternal life, to know the only true God and the One Whom He sent, the Truth (Jn. 17:3).”
– Soren Kierkegaard
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men
Mercy must be coupled with truth to equal righteousness. Truth must be in harmony with mercy to be consistent with the character of God. Mercy tempers self-righteousness and truth delivers us from apathy and carelessness. It is in the blending of these two Divine realities of God that righteousness culminates.
“…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation”
Moses’ response to such a pure and Holy revelation was this:
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped”
Pure worship is the result of seeing God in the wonder of His Glory and Holiness. His Glory is His character; His character is the basis of His Judgment. The deceived corrupt His Likeness by “perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint”. Others corrupt His truth into a callous caricature of a malicious despot. Truth magnifies mercy and brings the work of Christ into holy living, worthy of His sacrifice. Mercy breaks the proud heart of the natural man. In brokenness, we find obedience unto Him by which we are made free and alive in Him.
“But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple”
There is no contradiction between the Mercy of the Lord and the Fear of the Lord. Only the pure in heart can understand the fusion of these two great and solemn attributes.
A Gospel which declares a mercy void of truth produces apathy, the womb of unholy living and damnable heresies.
“For certain men entered surreptitiously who were of old predicted with reference to this judgment, men destitute of reverential awe towards God, perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint, and denying the only absolute Master, even our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jude goes on to declare:
“Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this**, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe”
How we need to be reminded of the verity of God. It is to this end we encourage and admonish one another to “live godly in Christ Jesus”. Let the unmerited ministrations of His mercy break our stubborn hearts and bring us into obedience that the world may see the truth of Him in us.
“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
2 Corinthians 7:1
Those who believe in the “promises of God” pursue purity of heart and are ever in the process of seeking holiness in the fear of the Lord.
“The diverse aspects of the divine nature, to separate which is the tendency of the unregenerate mind of man and of all paganism, are united in perfect harmony in the Lord Yahweh… But the perfect revelation of the harmony was reserved for the fulness of time when “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” was made known to us in the flesh as both our Saviour and our Judge”
* Hebrew – To meet together (face to face), to concur, join
** The early Church knew of these powerful truths and the resounding expression of them brought forth a people who were the light of Christ unto the world. Compare the glory of the early church with the ethos of the present.
“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)