“And he said, WHO art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, WHAT wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
“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…”
“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 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”
“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 4:2
Freedom of self is but a path to bondage and depravity. The Gospel of God offers an entirely new and radical freedom; freedom from self. To hold the words of God in the intellect only, without allowing them to bring us under His Lordship, is the bane of religion. The full salvation of God lies in Him becoming our life in order for us to reveal His.
The “gospel” of today often ignores the fact that God has given us “commandments”. It tends to focus on our freedom rather than His. We receive forgiveness to deal with our guilt, yet our essential self remains unchanged. This is not the full salvation for wherever “self” remains so too does the rebellion, the disobedience and the carnal tendencies which contaminate and refute His Lordship in our lives.
“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God”
Paul writing to the Church at Thessalonica declared that he had given them commandments concerning their walk and growth in the Lord. If commandments are spoken of today many are offended; they label it “legalism” and cover their ears from the truth. We must stop and ask ourselves where these commandments came from. They came “by the Lord Jesus”.
“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 4:2
What is the spirit and purpose in which they are given to us?
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…”
1 Thessalonians 4:3
A gospel which presents only the truth of justification without the need of becoming vessels which are sanctified, is not able to impart the power and the wonder of His Salvation. Jesus came to save us from our sins, not to offer a salvation to enable us to remain in our sins.
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid”
Paul prefaced this powerful truth by declaring emphatically:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace…”
If we in truth hold to this powerful word, we must conclude that IF we are under grace sin shall NOT have dominion over us. It is the grace of God that breaks the chains of sin. Grace is not a sentiment; it is the power of God to free us from the dominion of sin. Freedom from sin is a revelation of the measure that our lives are lived under His grace! Grace frees us from the penalty of the Law because it causes us to live above the dictates of the law by the power of the Law of His life in us (read Romans 8:3-4*). That is the true freedom of a life in Christ. The commandments are spiritual and because of that we must walk in the Spirit to fulfill them. Only a spiritual man can fulfill a spiritual law.
The carnal man bristles at the very mention of the word “commandments” for it strikes at the heart of rebellion. One may speak the words of the redeemed yet live and walk under the dominion of the carnal mind. God’s word speaks to all who walk in the flesh.
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God”
We may quote scriptures and be involved with a church or some Christian sect, but if we walk in the flesh we “cannot please God”! Those who are truly spiritual fulfill the Law of God for they are partakers of the ONE who came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it!
“Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill”
Thanks be unto God who has brought a true and powerful salvation to all who by faith enter into a Grace which makes us free from the Law of Sin and Death.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”
The Gospel of Christ is not in Word only; it is revealed in the power to break the dominion of sin and free us from the works of the flesh. The deliverance of God is seen here in our past, in our present, and in a living hope for our deliverance in the future.
“…who delivered (past) us out of so great a death, and does deliver (present); on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us (future)” italics mine
2 Corinthians 1:10
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
“…when I see the blood, I will pass over you”
A great misconception in much of the Gospel today is that the forgiveness of our sins is based upon compassion rather than the sacrifice of our Savior. His justice demanded that our sins be paid for. God’s love dictated that His Only Begotten Son offer Himself upon the Cross to pay the penalty for our rebellion, sin and shame. If we fail in understanding the nature of our God, we will fail to understand the nature and wonder of our salvation. This failure leads to lukewarm living and carelessness in the hearts of many.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”
It was because of Love that God sent His Son to die in our stead. Forgiveness was based on the Blood of Jesus, not on the sentimentality of love. The Love of God never violates His righteousness. His Love is pure and holy and those who dwell in Love, walk in righteousness. It is humanistic reasoning that presents a salvation based upon anything less than the Sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This infusion of humanism into the mixture of the Truth of God robs us of the conviction of sin; of the horror that it actually is. We get the idea that God simply “winks” at our sin because He is Love. It is because of this deadly supposition that many in Christ live at ease with sin and are robbed of touching the power and glory of God in their lives.
Whenever sin is regarded lightly, the knowledge of God is superficial. God hides Himself from such. It is in His Holy Presence that the true nature of sin becomes known and our repentance is real.
The Holy Love of God required Sacrifice to procure our Forgiveness.
As we begin to know in truth that our salvation is only because of His Sacrifice we are able to respond to Him sacrificially. Anything less desensitizes us to the incredible cost of our redemption and produces lukewarm hearts, tepid prayers and impotent living.
“But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
When we estimate our salvation based on a sentiment rather than the sacrifice of God’s Son, the corresponding heart response is artificial, lacking the fire and intensity of all that He is worthy of.
“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied”.
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon, this I see, Nothing but the blood of Jesus; For my cleansing this my plea, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Nothing can for sin atone, Nothing but the blood of Jesus; Naught of good that I have done, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus; This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I’ll overcome— Nothing but the blood of Jesus; Now by this I’ll reach my home— Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Glory! Glory! This I sing— Nothing but the blood of Jesus, All my praise for this I bring— Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By Robert Lowry
“Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head”
Ecclesiastes 9:8 (ESV)
The great gift afforded us of the garments of salvation require our attention to keep them white and clean. We walk in a world filled with contamination, temptation and sin at every turn. Uncleanness in conversation, things which would corrupt our thought life and offenses from which bitterness and unforgiveness may arise all threaten to stain our garments. Our exposure to all of these things in their varied forms require His grace and power to cleanse us from “all unrighteousness”; otherwise the residue can poison our minds and spirits. There is an aggregate effect upon us. John encourages us to deal faithfully with the sins and offenses in our life.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
1 John 1:9
His dealings with sin in our life are not only to forgive but His power is released to also cleanse us from any residue. Many who deal lightly with sin never go deep enough in their transactions with God to the point of knowing and experiencing the cleansing which should accompany the regenerating work of grace. Bitterness, anger, sins of the flesh, anything which impairs our newness of Life in Him, needs to be fully worked out until we are clean and pure again in His sight.
“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
Bitterness that is not dealt with will always spring up defiling not only ourselves but others. Its rancor and poison cannot be kept from the tongue unto the spreading of malicious gossip often accompanied with unwholesome deeds that bring damnation and judgment upon many. May we be instructed in the way of the Lord by the simplicity of His words:
“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
“For if I preach the Good News, I have nothing to boast about; for necessity is laid on me; but woe is to me, if I don’t preach the Good News. For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Good News, I may present the Good News of Christ without charge, so as not to abuse my authority in the Good News”
1 Corinthians 9:16-18
It is crucial in this hour for us to be a voice that is a clear and consistent expression of His heart, His purposes, and most importantly, His Person. How we as the clay of humanity express Him with the clarity that He deserves is a heart-wrenching experience; yet it is the privilege of all who bear His Name.
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak…”
May we hold one another up in the burden of His Spirit that He would make “ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7) to present Him to His Church first, and then to the world. The passion within to make Him known is the evidence of His call to be stewards of His grace to all who would hear.
“…for when I am weak, then am I strong”
2 Corinthians 12:10
“To trust in the strength of God in our weakness; to say, “I am weak; so let me be. God is strong”; to seek from Him who is our life, as the natural, simple cure of all that is amiss with us, power to do and be and live, even when we are weary–this is the victory that overcomes the world…
“I am weak,” says the true soul, “but not so weak that I would not be strong, not so sleepy that I would not see the sun rise, not so lame but that I would walk! Thanks be to Him who perfects strength in weakness and gives to His beloved of His very life even while they sleep!”
– George MacDonald