Podcast – The Two Goats
Take time to hear of Our Saviour’s Love!
“But as for me, I am full of power by Yahweh’s Spirit,
and of judgment, and of might,
to declare to Jacob his disobedience,
and to Israel his sin”
True prophetic expressions have their origin in God Himself. The fountain from which they spring is God’s heart, not their own. It is a call, not a career. It is a heart that has touched the sacred atmosphere of His dwelling place and sees and feels the waywardness of the human condition. The Holiness of God is the matrix by which all things are uncovered and made bare. Those who have, in some measure, the “knowledge of the Holy…” (Proverbs 9:10) have nothing to boast of. There is no high-mindedness, for in touching God they have seen themselves in that same piercing, Holy Light (Isaiah 6:5). It is a Light which obliterates any sense of worthiness or merit. It cries out against apathy, disobedience and sin, because God does. Those who bear such things know the dichotomy of the treasure in the earthen vessel. The press from within is of greater value than the animosity from without. The over-riding need to express the Holiness of God becomes the purpose of life itself. Whatever may be the reaction of all the powers of the world, or the indignation of our brothers and sisters, faithfulness to Him is paramount.
“For if I proclaim the gospel, no glory is to me;
for necessity is laid on me,
and it is woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel.
For if I do this willingly, I have a reward;
but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship”
1 Corinthians 9:16-17
How few in our Day know of the necessity to declare The Gospel of God; this unutterable, inherent need to speak of His Holiness and His hatred of sin. The horror of the religious ways and methods of men obscure His very person. The presentation of a Gospel entangled with the ambitions of men for personal gain and recognition, dims the radiance of the risen Christ. Where are those who recognize the entrustment of a stewardship? This call is like a ship at sea driven by the winds of heaven, no longer free to navigate its own way. The ebb and flow of God determines the when and the where of such lives. These are the expressions of those who know the fulness (see note below) of His Spirit and from this fulness that the Words of God flow. It is a fulness which makes the vessel aware of its own emptiness. The great mystery of God at work through fragile earthen vessels is the true revelation of the Grace of God.
“the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”
It is in the hearing, the touching and the seeing of Him that the press of His Spirit rises within. He is the origin of all things pertaining to His Glory. He alone is worthy of lives yielded to Him. May God make known to the next generation the Call to Himself that they may be no longer their own.
“For if I do this willingly, I have a reward;
but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a stewardship”
To know the life of stewardship is as costly as it is precious. A steward is entrusted with the goods of the master. He owns nothing. He is conscious that God’s things are Holy, and he dare not handle them carelessly. Stewards do not have their own doctrine, nor do they subscribe to the popular teachings of the day. They carry within themselves the true doctrine of the Lord:
“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,
and to finish his work”
The stewards do not have their own agenda. They do not live to build up a following, or what men call a “ministry” or “church”. They are His alone and by the grace of God they remain such. Their ministry is simple:
“That which we have seen and heard
declare we unto you”
1 John 1:3
A Steward of the Lord
“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem,
not knowing the things that shall befall me there”
* The fullness of God's Spirit is relative to the capacity of the vessel. In the parable of the Talents the measure given to each individual was determined by their capability.The individual to whom two talents were given filled them to the measure of their capacity. In their obedience and faithfulness the two talents became four and so it is with each of us. God pours out His Spirit without measure and as He has His way with us our capacity grows to walk in Him.
“I have fought the good fight…”
2 Timothy 4:7
The surest sign of the life of God within His own is the unconquerable will to fight the fight of faith. Life is always the antagonist of death. Faith is the adversary of sin. Victory over sin and iniquity is the result of warfare; warfare of the life of Christ Himself. When a heart ceases to fight it ceases to live.
“Fight the good fight of the faith…”
1 Timothy 6:12
We live in a day where “faith” is presented as a legal declaration of victory (regardless of the life lived) rather than the means by which we attain the victory. Paul was ever encouraging the people of God to remain active in the battle, to be diligent in their walk and to grow in the victory of the faith. The writer of the beauty and the power of all the truths in the Book of Romans also wrote this to Timothy… “fight the good fight of faith”! Compromise and concession are the harbingers of spiritual defeat and death. Life by its very nature opposes death and the scriptures declare that the “wages of sin is death”. The life of Christ within withstands evil in all of its deceptive and destructive forms.
The fight of faith is not won in a moment, nor is the crown easily earned, but we have been given the great gift of faith, the blood of Christ and the grace of God to stand in this evil day! It requires a walk of learning, growth and development in the school of His Spirit.
“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight…”
Faint not at the battles which assail you; do not lose heart in the intensity of the conflict for we have this promise from God:
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil”
2 Thessalonians 3:3
“The Christian life, then, is a battle,
so sharp and full of danger
that effort can nowhere be relaxed without loss”
“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Without context, the focus of most Christians becomes the gate. The message presented in many places today is one of being “born again” with little thought of entering the Kingdom of God. Religion likes things simple and easy and the English language plays into this concept very well. However, in the Greek language, there is a whole different thought to what Jesus is saying to us.
“Because strait is the gate, and narrowing (compressing) is the way,
which is leading unto the life, and few there be that are finding it.”
Literal Greek Translation
The Greek tense used here is the Participle mood, best translated here with an “ing” suffixed to the basic verb form. This communicates to us a progressive walk and an on-going sense of growth and development. The narrowing or compressing of the way is the daily experience of all who would find the resurrection Life of Jesus. The leading speaks of following Him with the discovery that death to the outward man is the path to experiencing His life within. Discipleship is the life of the narrowing way, and few there are who choose this path.
We hear much of the scripture:
“Except a man be born again,
he cannot SEE the kingdom of God”
However, Jesus goes on in his discourse to Nicodemus:
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot ENTER INTO the kingdom of God”
While many of God’s children are content with seeing the Kingdom, there is a cry within the heart of God that some enter into the Kingdom. There is a pursuit and a cost involved with this entrance. The narrowing and confinement of the path must be walked in the reality of our hearts. We discover that this way is neither popular nor easy. It is the way of the Cross. It is found in the following of Him, not in the structured ways of men. It leads us into the wilderness where we discover that He came not only to forgive us but to save us from our sins and self-will. Of necessity we must be born not only of water (the cleansing aspect of His life) but also of the Spirit (the empowering aspect of His life) where we find enablement to overcome the issues that bind us. This birthing of the Spirit is also accompanied by the fire of His life to purge the dross and the impurities from our hearts. It is a purifying that no amount of washing will ever accomplish.
The strait gate is the introduction to the Narrow Way. The Gate is not an end in itself as many suppose. It is merely the beginning ever leading us farther on the Narrowing Way wherein we discover the “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of our God.
“We want to reach the kingdom of God,
but we don’t want to travel by way of death.
And yet there stands Necessity saying: ‘This way, please.’
Do not hesitate, man, to go this way,
when this is the way that God came to you.”
It is the broad and easy road which leads to destruction. A crossless walk is the way of the broad and easy way, its end is judgment and misery.
“…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many are the ones entering in through it”
“If you here stop and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the early Christians were, your own heart will tell you that it is neither through ignorance nor through inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.”
“Also this, knowing the time,
that it is now the hour for you to be aroused from sleep”
The deceptive nature of slumber is that it is not aware of itself. It is found in the lives of those who rely on the tenants of faith rather than the life of faith. It is to those who do His will through the agency of faith who are kept awake and alive unto Christ. Doing necessitates that we are constantly pressed into Him for Divine enablement to meet the needs of those around us. Life without doing produces a virtual reality in the life of a believer, without experience or substance. It is a deadly place to dwell. Its foundation is based on an intellectual belief in the inspired Word of God, yet it is not united by faith unto the life of doing (Hebrews 4:2). It is the highest form of deception. When Jesus walked the earth the religious leaders of His day were the most deceived. Those who had spent their life in learning became deceived by the very knowledge in which they had immersed themselves!
Faith by its very definition is the evidence of spiritual realities (Hebrews 11:1). It must produce works and expressions of actual worth to validate its existence in the life of a believer.
Hebrews 11:2 “By faith the Elders obtained Witness…”
Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered a greater sacrifice to God than Cain”
Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”
Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham… obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went”
Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed…”
Hebrews 11:17 “By faith, being tested, Abraham offered up Isaac…”
The authenticity of one’s faith is revealed in the doing, not the knowing. A faith that does not have within the life of a believer the “evidencing” of its power is a faith which is dead and deceptive.
“My brothers, what is the gain if anyone says he has faith,
but he does not have works?”
“But someone will say, you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith out of my works. You believe that God is One. You do well; even the demons believe and shudder. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?”
“And everyone who hears these Words of Mine,
and who does not do them,
he shall be compared to a foolish man
who built his house on the sand…”
Living faith is evidenced by the works produced within the life of a true believer. Jesus gave us the Parable of two men building their houses. One man, “a believer”, built his house by the process of “hearing only”. The other man built his house by hearing and doing. The house built by “hearing” only, failed in the time of the storm. He “thought” his faith was genuine, but it was proved otherwise. The one who built his house by hearing and doing had a foundation built upon the Rock of Christ.
It is clear that it is the doing
that is the true foundation of faith.
“Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for,
the proof of things not seen.”
True living Faith obtains the promises of God… (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
True living Faith is evidenced through the life we live…
True living Faith reveals the life and wonder of Him who gave it…
True living Faith must produce the works of faith in the lives of those who are governed by it.
True living Faith builds its house upon the Rock of Christ through the obedience which it inspires…
“For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed (Greek united, joined) with faith by those who heard.”
A faith which does not produce within the believer change, passion, and obedience is a faith which will bring men and women into the judgment of God (read 1 Corinthians 10:1-12).
“For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.”
2 Chronicles 34:3
Whenever and wherever a soul begins to seek God in truth, the result will be a purging of unclean things both within and without. Those who declare they are earnestly seeking God but have not this heart, have not yet found God. It is one thing to seek Him; it is another thing to find Him.
“For in the eighth year… he began to seek God
and in the twelfth year he began to purge…”
God is not found overnight. He is not found in a few days of seeking. The true in heart set their lives apart to seek Him. It is not a quick and easy process; it takes learning, discovering and an earnest cry within the human heart for Him alone. He is unfathomable, eternal and infinite. The is no end to His Glory nor His purposes for us. One cannot touch Him and remain the same. The life that constantly seeks Him shall surely be filled with the constant finding of Him.
The promise stands sure to all who would find Him.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.”
The secret to finding Him lies in the persistency of seeking.
It is a lifelong pursuit which intensifies in passion because of the beauty that beckons the hungry heart onward. Faith will not be deterred. The human element which seeks for other purposes grows weary in its search; the faithful heart expends itself all the more. The Syrophenician woman would not be dismayed by the seeming rebuffs of Jesus, crying out “even the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs” (Mark 7:28). Jesus responded with great delight at the display of her great faith.
It is incumbent upon us to set our hearts afresh to seek Him and to remain faithful in our pursuit of Him. His promises are sure and those who find Him will speak to the world around them of righteousness and purity of heart. The anointing falls on the life of those who love righteousness and hate iniquity.
“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
therefore, God, even thy God,
hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness…”
“Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
Obedience to the will of God is the revelation of His Lordship. Calling upon His Name and then walking in the stubbornness of our own ways is labelled iniquity in the New Testament. Iniquity simply means “self-will”. It is the unbroken, undisciplined and unconquered will of one who claims to be a follower of Christ and yet exhibits all of the traits of the first Adam. We live in a day of a false gospel, a declaration that by simply naming the name of Jesus we have full access to all the promises of God, such is not the truth.
The message of Jesus to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation is consistent… “I know thy works…” It is in what we do wherein we reveal the nature and the spirit in which we walk.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord,
and do not the things which I say?”
Jesus follows this powerful question with the “Parable of the Houses” being built upon rock and upon the sand.
“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
How few realize that it is in doing His will wherein the deep foundation of the house is laid! It is in the doing where we discover the true nature of all that we are and run to Him for grace. His will is in itself the very foundation of our salvation. In His will we are confronted with our own stubbornness and we are met with the full knowing of our own weakness and folly. His Will is the cross upon which the horror of self is crucified. They who hear only never come to terms with their true self, they live in a world of teachings, confessions and religious talk without ever venturing into the land of truth. It is WHEN the flood comes that the foundation is discovered and the verity of an individual’s true nature is revealed.
Obedience brings us to the need of the true grace of God, it is no longer a sentient, a catch phrase or a religious cliché; it is the means by which our hearts find the power to submit to His ways and walk in them.
Through disobedience man lost the right and the access to the Tree of Life and it is through the wonder and life of the Son (as expressed in a life of obedience) we gain the right to the Tree of Life and are able to partake of its life giving fruit.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
“On the third day,
they threw the ship’s tackle overboard
with their own hands”
There comes in everyone’s life moments where all hope appears lost. The valiant efforts to extricate ourselves from the situation have failed. The storms batter and assail our soul relentlessly. The dark grey clouds and angry wind hide God’s Face from us and we seem to be at the total mercy of the storm. The context to the above verse is:
“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days
and the great storm continued to batter us,
we abandoned all hope of being saved.”
It is here where we see the most seasoned of sailors cast all the tools of their own making overboard in resignation to the sea. When no other hope is left they are simply left clinging to the fragile ship itself. The relentless storm brought ALL who were on the ship to despair. The “we abandoned all hope of being saved” included saint and sinner. The storm came to all. We see in the world around us hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, and a multitude of other disasters; God’s people are not spared these circumstances.
It is here that God appears. In these dire moments the word of God comes with assurance of hope and a way of escape.
“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer”
Why could Paul say this?
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve…”
God’s coming was to the man who had made God his God. God’s coming was to him who had long before committed the very keeping of his life to God. God’s own are never left to the fate of circumstances and it is in these moments that His Own are revealed. It is in our now that the transactions of our life in God are made. It is before the storm that we are to become His. In the desire and diligent pursuit of God in our daily walk the covenant of grace is realized.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation,
which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth”
The Storm is coming to all
saint and sinner alike.
1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
The keeping grace of God is unto those “who dwell in the secret place of the Most High”. God does not spare His Own from the storm; He keeps them IN it. Paul was kept through the storm for God had purposed that he testify before Caesar.
“For there stood by me this night the angel of God,
whose I am, and whom I serve,
Saying, Fear not, Paul;
thou must be brought before Cæsar…”
Later on Paul would be martyred in Rome. The same God who kept Paul in the storm also gave him grace to finish his course with the joy and certainty of all that awaited him.
The secret of Life is to discover grace in our present circumstances to bring us to the place where we can say in truth “I am His” and “whom I serve”. This is the confession of Paul prior to the great storm:
“But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy,
and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus…”
“But when the morning was now come,
Jesus stood on the shore.”
The long night seasons of life with its discouragement and shattered dreams lay heavy upon the souls of His disciples. Each in their own way had failed to stand in the great testing and trial of the crucifixion of Jesus. Each one fled in the face of the fury and hatred of the moment. No one had felt the bitter sting more than Peter whose grandiose confession seemed to be so genuine and bold just a few short days before.
In their discouragement they had returned to their former occupation with an inner desolation and a sense of hopelessness. It is here that Jesus appears and meets them in the morning hours. It is here, though at first hidden from their eyes, He first comes to bring the power and hope of His resurrection. It is in His resurrection we have hope to arise from the fresh failures of life. It is in His resurrection we can feel Him invigorating our hearts and our hopes, moving us forward unto a greater sense of His purpose in our lives.
Though the nights be long, our efforts seem futile, and the world about seems not to even notice the starless sky, Jesus will come in the morning; and in His coming the fires of our hearts are rekindled. Rest assured He keeps His own. He watches over the objects of His Love even though the night is dark and the way seems uncertain, He will come with the wonder of His presence and, though we may not recognize Him at first, the truth will dawn and joy will break over our hearts as the morning sun upon the mountains.
“…weeping may endure for a night,
but joy cometh in the morning”
The resurrection of the dead is simply the revelation of the seed which was sown. If the life was evil, filled with self-seeking, self-loving and self-dependence so will it be in the resurrection. If we plant the seed of a noxious plant that will be its resurrection.
“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain”
1 Corinthians 15:34-37
In the Resurrection, God gives a corresponding body to the seed sown. What we become through the outworking of the cross of Christ and the power of His Grace determines the wonder of our resurrection. Paul prefaces this word on the resurrection with “Awake to righteousness and sin not”.
It is critical that we begin to correlate our walk here with our resurrection there!
“But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him,
and to every seed his own body…”
1 Corinthians 15:38
“To every seed its own body…” May God open our eyes to the power and truth of this, that we may not live in the slumber of religion but that we would in fact “Awake to Righteousness”. Let us re-examine the truths we hold and the clear teaching of Christ. Paul wrote concerning his own life:
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:8
Why could Paul state this?
“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith”
2 Timothy 4:9
The confidence of his resurrection was based upon his life here on earth. He had fought the good fight, he had finished his course and purpose in God, and he had kept the faith of Christ alive and relevant in his heart.
We cannot slumber in our walk here and expect the rewards of righteousness there. His reward is with Him and He will reward every man according to their works. May the light shine and may we seek fellowship with others that will exhort and encourage us to live “godly in Christ Jesus”.
“Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God”
“And, behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be”
Our resurrection will be according to the life we live not because of some religious confession we make. May God awaken us to live righteously, truthfully and confidently in the power of His Grace.
The gift of eternal life is not by works but by grace through faith. However, the manner of our resurrection will be proportional to our faithfulness to the talents received, His commandments kept and obstacles overcome.
“To him that overcometh will I give…”
If there be no overcoming there will be no receiving
of the promises of God in that day
(Read the message of Christ to the seven churches
for insight. Revelation 2:1-3:22)
God’s Word to us, “Awake to righteousness and sin not”, is clear. Any teaching which contradicts the clear truth of this is deception and error.