“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)
“Even Christ pleased not Himself. He was utterly consumed in the zeal of His Father’s house. As man He ever moved for God. As God He ever moved for man“
– Geoffrey T. Bull
In the development of Christ within us, we too shall be moved for the welfare of “Our” Father’s House with the same zeal and the same love to see her radiate His Glory and to reveal His Unity among the true saints of God. The life of Him within will ever move us for His purposes and will in so doing by His Spirit we too will know the moving of God for man.
“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.” (Psa 84:5-7)
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith…”
2 Peter 1:5
2 Peter 1:4-12
(Read these passages
prayerfully and truthfully!)
Peter knowing “his departure was at hand” was setting forth specific truths in his last Epistle to the church to ensure that their faith would continue to abound. He sets forth with utter clarity the growth required to enter the Kingdom of God.
In this fatherly display of love for God’s people, Peter speaks calmly and truthfully of his own approaching martyrdom. His concern is not for himself; his burden is for their continued growth and vitality in the diligence required to enter the Kingdom of God. He presents a “ladder” for them to continue to add the steps necessary to receive an “entrance” into the Kingdom of God. Without this divine diligence they would fall into “barren and unfruitful” living. Peter exhorts God’s people to give “ALL diligence” to add to their faith the virtues and graces necessary to fulfill the purposes of God.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity…”
2 Peter 1:5
Why does Peter so powerfully exhort God’s people to this diligence?
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:8
The cultivation of these graces in our lives is the source of our fruitfulness! Any knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ which leaves us “barren and unfruitful” is the result of a spiritual blindness and a forgetting of the marvelous love which accompanied our salvation.
“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins”
2 Peter 1:9
Fruitless living is a testimony of our blindness and forgetfulness, in the loss of the wonder of our salvation. The diligent in heart must bear fruit; anything less is a contradiction of the nature and the ways of God (John 15:2).
Peter goes on to declare:
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall…”
2 Peter 1:10
Many speak of election and of being the called of God. Peter here exhorts us to give diligence to “make our calling and election sure”! It is foolish to glory in being called while failing to live diligently; it is a deception of those who hear but do not obey. Read these scriptures carefully, prayerfully, and honestly, for there is no greater delusion than the sin of presumption!
Peter, in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, lays before God’s people the secret of entering into the Kingdom of God: by giving all diligence to the things of God. It is important to read this in the full context for our learning…
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:10-11
Salvation is free and is the result of faith in the mercies and wonder of God in Christ. Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires something far more than a simple confession. Until we realize the difference between an initial salvation and the entering into Kingdom of God, we will continue to see the apathy and the blindness of the Laodicean Church ethos! A gospel which does not make the distinction between these two, where mere confession alone replaces the necessity of diligence, will leave us blind and indifferent to our own condition.
“For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
When confession becomes the standard of the church, when men are satisfied in what they know rather than in what they walk and many are content to live lives which do not impact those in the world around us we can be sure of our desperate condition before God.
Barren is the life which rests upon something other than the development of Christ within.
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth”
Lukewarm living and lives devoid of the works of Faith are the revelation of the Laodicean “spirit”.
The two deadly sins of religion…
1. Faith without works
2. Works without faith.
In Hebrews the Holy spirit declares emphatically…
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful…”
“And this is the writing that was written,
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.”
The “handwriting is on the wall”. This is no longer just a rhetorical quote. The Almighty God has made a declaration of judgment. It is a judgment upon North America. Just as Belshazzar in his prideful heart ridiculed the precious things of God, so this generation has mocked God and He has spoken “UPHARSIN” over our land. His Word in Daniel’s day was written in the Ancient Chaldean language and could only be read and interpreted by one who walked in the Spirit of God and understood that Judgment was about to fall. There are few in the church today who “see” the handwriting on the wall. There are few, as the Prophet Zephaniah declared, who can hear“the voice of the DAY of the Lord”. There is a voice in the Day calling us to repentance and preparation for His coming.
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near,
and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord” Zephaniah 1:14
The great Day of the Lord is upon us and it will be unveiled in successive judgments. God’s determination is fixed. He will harden men’s hearts, and, in their fury, they will gnash their teeth. This will increase the suffering of God’s people even as did Pharaoh in the beginning of the plagues, but the Holy Verdict will accomplish God’s own purposes. God judgments will bring affliction upon all; the same fire which consumes the wood will purify the Gold. How little we comprehend of the Holiness and Majesty of our God!
God is speaking the final word of the sentence passed upon Belshazzar to North America. He speaks of division, lawlessness and anarchy. The rider of the Red Horse is coming, and his mandate is to take peace from the earth. The chaos and rending of division have begun and there is no stopping it.
“And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword” Revelation 6:3-4
UPHARSIN* means DIVIDED. “A nation divided against itself cannot stand”. The once proud and mighty nation will be swallowed up in its own destructive ways. We must prepare for the dark hour which is upon us.
*Note: UPHARSIN - defined “…thy kingdom is divided, or broken into pieces, and given to the Medes and Persians. The meaning is not that the kingdom was to be divided into two equal parts, and the one part given to the Medes and the other to the Persians; but פְרַס is to divide into pieces, to destroy, to dissolve the kingdom”Keil & Delitzsch
“PERES*; Thy kingdom is divided”
*NOTE: “Peres - In Dan 5:25 this is “Upharsin.” These are but different forms of the same word - the word in Dan 5:25 being in the plural, and here in the singular. The verb (פרס peras) means, to “divide;” and in this form, as in the previous cases, it is, according to Gesenius, participle meaning “divided.” Albert Barnes
Upharsin– Speaks of plural “dividers” and factions at work in a nation while the Peres speaks of the resulting division as the singular outcome. God is bringing this division and chaos to the nations in order to work His unity in His divided and carnal Church. All these things are working together for His purposes in the earth. The siftings of His Spirit are upon us and there will be divisions in the “professing” church for He will fully reveal them who serve the Lord from those who serve Him not (Malachi 3:18). He will fully answer the Prayer of Jesus in John 17… “That they may be one”. The pride and desire for pre-eminence will be broken in His House with the intent that they who are His will be fused in a love so deep, so pure and so divine that the world will marvel at His Work within the True Body of Christ. He is determined and will leave nothing of the residue of the fallen Adam nature to linger in His holy bride. (Brian Troxel)
“MENE*; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it”
MENE, MENE* means we have been measured. The literal Hebrew: Numbered as if falling short in stature and its length of days are finished*(see below). God is thorough. His judgments are meted out from beginning to end. In the Book of Revelation, He reveals Himself as “the beginning and the ending”; (not end but ending). His endings are a process; they tear down, they divide, they bring famine, pestilence and woe. When He judges a nation its ending is complete as it was in Egypt. It was an unrelenting series of Judgments to bring the land to desolation and great sorrow. In the midst of His judgments on Egypt He hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to bring His full justice upon their pride and arrogance. The ending of our land has entered its final stages. God has brought us to the precipice of a new day and with it comes the four-horseman. The great seals are even now being removed and their decrees are bringing the ramifications of judgment which will culminate in God’s glory.
*Note: MENE defined “Daniel accordingly interprets מְנֵא thus: God has numbered (מְנָה for מְנָא, perf. act.) thy kingdom, i.e., its duration or its days, וְהַשְׁלְמָהּ, and has finished it, i.e., its duration is so counted out that it is full, that it now comes to an end”Keil & Delitzsch
When God pronounced judgment upon the faithless and wicked priesthood of Eli, the prophet declared: “For when I begin, I also make an end”. The beginning of God’s work in our land is the end of a manner of life as we now know it. The insolence and pride of the Laodicean Church was one of frivolity and ignorance of her true condition; a deceptive, lethargic ethos to which God spoke “be zealous therefore, and repent”. May we have ears to hear and, more importantly, may we have hearts to respond to His assessment of our condition.
“TEKEL*; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”
TEKEL* – We have been weighed. God’s judgments begin in secret and we see in His Word the process by which His judgments infiltrate the fabric of a nation upon which His Hand will fall. In the Book of Romans Paul sets forth the subtlety of His ways:
“Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves; who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error”
We must see that the rise of sexual perversion is God’s judgment upon a nation. Because they refused to acknowledge God, HE GAVE THEM OVER to be slaves to their lust and its consequences. May God open our eyes to the truth that His judgments have already began and there is no turning back. Paul goes on to describe the culmination of His Verdict whereby they are given over to a reprobate mind, incapable of repentance. Paul in his day was speaking to the Roman Empire; that same end is now upon us.
The Church has been weighed; her witness has been tarnished, her light is dim, and her words carry little weight or power for she has forsaken truth in the pursuit of worldly success. In her lust for worldly wealth, power and recognition she has denied the Call of Christ who, in His devotion to the Father, “made Himself of no reputation” and “humbled Himself” in perfect obedience. Instead, she has built extravagant buildings, and elevated various “ministries”, each one vying for the attention, allegiance and money of God’s people. In our own worldly lusts for gain and recognition we have fabricated a gospel to appeal to the masses; to fill our pews in order to justify our own ends. God is coming and He is going to humble and strip His people from the Babylonian garments, the shekels of silver and the wedge of gold (Joshua 7:19-26). When HE has finished His endings in our land, He will have a pure, humble and holy people and great will be the Kingdom of His Peace.
“I am come for thy words”
God is coming for our words. He came to His beloved Daniel for he was a man of integrity. His words carried the weight of one who feared and honoured God; for that he found protection under the wings of the Almighty. God came for Peter’s words who spoke right things but did not know the true condition of his heart; he failed in the day when he should have stood. God is coming for our words; our words which come from untested hearts, words uttered that are not backed by the life we live. Words spoken by the disobedient are idle words (in the Greek: words without works). God dealt with Joseph’s brothers who assured him (not knowing he was Joseph) “we be true men”; words without weight or substance. God weighs our words, our actions and the true intents of our hearts. We may hide them in garments of religion, but God searches hearts and will render to every man a just recompense in the Day we stand before Him.
“Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed”
1 Samuel 2:3
TEKEL – Our actions and our words are being weighed in the balances of God.
*Note: TEKEL defined “In תְּקֵל there lies the double sense that the word תְּקַל, to weigh, accords with the Niphal of קָלַל, to be light, to be found light (cf. תֵּקַל, Gen 16:4). The interpretation presents this double meaning: Thou art weighed in the balances (תְּקִלְתָּא) and art found too light (like the תֵּקַל). חַסִּיר, wanting in necessary weight, i.e., deficient in moral worth. תְּקִלְתָּ”Keil & Delitzsch
Are we living lives of moral worth? Is the weight of His righteousness brought to bear in our lives by how we live, in how we cherish and speak truth to our brothers and sisters? Are our business dealings ethical and free from deceit and covetousness? Are we good and faithful stewards in our service to our employers? Do our words carry the weight and life of Christ to effect change in the lives around us? Are our children raised in the fear and the admonition of the Lord? How will we be weighed in His balances when this life is over?
“TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances,
and art found wanting”
I do not like to share these things as I feel the weight of them and must consider myself in the light of them. The division has begun in North America and the rent will become violent to the point of an incomprehensible un-civil war. We must not get embroiled in the quagmire of politics. The Church is to be a light concerning the Kingdom of God not the politics of men. May we overcome evil with good.
“No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please Him who enrolled him as a soldier”
2 Timothy 2:4
Active duty is the posture of those who are alive in Christ. It is a Call which holds us to our posts ever watchful and ever engaged in the affairs of our hearts and in His Church. Their lives are governed by the full knowledge of the deceitful nature of their own hearts and the propensity of the church to slip into the darkness of slumber and lethargy.
It is ever the slumbering church which becomes the fearful church, for in her slumber she eventually awakes to discover that the enemies are at the gate and that she is ill prepared.
The Day is now dawning upon us, division and lawlessness is arising. Stay in the Spirit and we will not fall into fleshly carnal warfare. It is those who are not standing their posts, who are not on duty in Christ who get subverted to carnal issues.
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”
Jesus said IF His Kingdom was of this world then His servants would fight… but it is not of this world. If His people get caught up in the affairs of this dark world they cannot be active in His. It is a day to prepare ourselves to be at His disposal and to come to the place of grace and sacrifice. Suffering and glory cannot be separated.
May we encourage one another to stay in His Spirit and find grace to walk above the issue of this life. The rise of evil is upon us and blessed are they who find in Christ the grace to overcome evil with good.
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters; may we begin to feel the drawings of His Spirit into the union of His Life within us that we may be active in preparing one another to “stand in the evil Day”.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”
“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
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Mat 7:24-27)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus did not come to annihilate the soul of man; He came to save it. The crucified life is one that chooses to reveal His resurrection in a fragile clay vessel that His power might be seen. Many speak of the cross in a future tense, but such is not the language of the New Covenant.
“I die daily…”
1 Corinthians 15:31
The folly of words that speak of future things while ignoring the call of Christ “Today” is the bane of religion. We are called to live His Life NOW, to walk daily in the wonder of this flesh and bone existence. Those who speak of things in some distant future while they allow the sands of time and the opportunities of today to slip through their fingers live in the danger and peril of a religious faith.
“…but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”
The way of the cross is not a doctrine, a teaching, or a concept; it is the doorway into His life, present tense. Jesus did not come to share a new teaching; He came that WE may have life and have that life abundantly!
The life that you and I NOW live
is the revelation of our
daily participation in the Cross of Christ.
“Consecrate yourselves (today), for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”
Our depth of consecration today will determine God’s work in and through us tomorrow.
The Daily Offering
“Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their drink offerings, according unto their manner, for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the Lord”
The Old Covenant speaks of New Testament truths in Christ. We are called to participate in the “daily burnt offering”. The offering is one of ourselves, daily, unto Him alone who is worthy. Do we not hear the voice of His Spirit calling out to us in the “now” of our life?
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”
This is not some future truth or call; it is the heart and desire of all true disciples. It is the way of life, His Life, in us. The religious adherent talks about the cross in abstract and rhetorical words of philosophical wisdom. The disciple embraces it with the full knowledge that the Life of Christ cannot be apprehended by any other means.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win*(see note below) Christ”
Paul counted the cost in His pursuit for the full apprehension of Christ. His life was spent in the “loss of all things” to the end that he would “win” Christ. Few understand this pursuit to “win” *(see note below) Christ. It is in large part an unknown quest, a mystery which few have looked into. It is however the mystery of the call of Christ unto each of us.
“That I may win Christ”
Paul’s pursuit was to “win” or “gain” the fullness of the majesty and wonder of Christ. He was “reaching” unto something beyond the perspectives of man’s concepts and teachings. He was stretching, reaching, pressing unto the fullness. There existed in him a passion for the “One Thing”. In light of this “prize” he could not and would not rest in his current knowledge of Him. Oh, may we see afresh the vast horizons of glory reserved for those who feel the fire and call of God in Christ Jesus!
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me”
“Metaphorically used of persons meaning to gain or win someone, i.e., as a friend or patron, referring to Christ (Php 3:8); a brother (Mat 18:15). To gain over to one’s side, meaning to win over to Christ and thus bring to salvation (1Co 9:19-22, where it is equivalent to sṓzō [G4982], to save or to deliver in 1Co 9:22; see 1Co 7:16, where sṓzō is used; 1Pe 3:1).”
“The Complete Word Study New Testament” (Word Study Series) Dr. Spiros Zodhiates
“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”
It is important for us to reacquaint ourselves often with the words of Jesus during his earthly walk. Let those words reverberate within our hearts and pierce through the rhetoric. There is something so uncompromising about His Call. May we meditate upon these words of His and allow them the full and undivided attention of our hearts. The solemnity of His Call to us is not to a mere forgiveness of sins (as overwhelming and precious as that is). His Call is to Himself. Our redemption is for His glory and the following of Him. His whole design is to bring forth a people who are no longer their own, but rather “As He is, so ARE WE in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Look at the depth of His conversations with those who heard His Call:
“He said to another, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.”
“But Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but you go and announce God’s Kingdom.”
“And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house”
“And Jesus said unto him, no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
There is power in the Call of Christ that defies logic. There is a stark contrast between then and now; between the perception of Jesus in our day and the Jesus presented to us in the Gospels. The Call of Christ is to the “whole” of us, not just a portion. Our response is not to be a casual one where we fit His Call into our daily life as if it were a part-time occupation. The Call is to Him; to sacrifice and to a determined relinquishment of all that we are.
Paul reiterates this in his plea to the Church at Rome.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
There is a pleading in the ministration of the Call of God that this becomes an experiential truth. The things we allow in ourselves, and in the lives of those who claim to know Him, reveal our ignorance of His claim upon us. Sin no longer disturbs the majority. We look lightly upon the issues of others because we look lightly upon the issues within our own hearts.Lethargy is contagious; as contagious as any pandemic with eternal implications far beyond the loss of life here on earth.
Paul left no doubt with the Church at Colosse as to the purpose of the true ministry of God.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
What did this intensity of heart look like?
“Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”
The mighty working of Christ within is revealed in a life of labour without; it is the exposé of His claim upon us. There is no place for the lethargy and indifference men and women display to the Call of God.
We Are Not Our Own
We may declare such things, we may present our claims of following God, but the reality of the life we live may reveal something different. The works of a life reveal the faith of the life. In Revelation God declared unto every location of the Church in that day, “I KNOW THY Works”. God is ever beholding our works for by them He knows our faith.
The validity of our love for Him and the power of Him working within us is readily expressed in our interaction with our brothers and sisters. Paul sums up his expression of the workings of Christ within: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom…”. If mere confessions of faith were sufficient (as is commonly taught today), why did Paul express warnings, admonitions, and exhortations to the people of God? To the church at Ephesus, one of the crown jewels of the early church, Paul declared:
“Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears”
The deception and lethargy of a confession-based gospel has produced the slumbering church of our day! It produces a blindness to the magnificence, grandeur, and enormity of His Holiness. We have reduced Him to professions which require nothing more than a mental assent which consequently requires nothing, costs nothing, and correspondingly produces nothing. A confession without sacrifice leaves people without resources to face what lies ahead. Ministries must heed the Call of God to build up His Church and to prepare His people for the storm which is about to engulf our land. He is coming first of all to judge His church to the intent that in righteousness He may then be free to judge the world.
“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? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1 Peter 4:17-18
The time IS COME upon us! Let those who have ears to hear tremble and seek Him afresh that we may be found “doing” when our Master returns. Take no comfort in confessions and doctrines which do not produce the Fear of the Lord, that do not bring forth a growing holiness and purity of heart. Forsake the delusion of heart which enjoys hearing the word, discussing the word, while yet refusing to obey the word.
A New Ministration of Mercy
It is a day to seek a new ministration of His Mercy; a mercy which produces sacrificial living and bringing forth of a new worship which is costly, pure and holy.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
The true mercy of God enables men and women to give themselves wholly unto God, not to comfort them in their sins and rebellion.
May we as His redeemed rise up to respond wholly to the Call of God in Christ!
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power”
2 Thessalonians 1:11