“My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13
How often we have missed God’s power in the simple things, the daily things, the seemingly innocuous things because of our own wrong thinking. The revelation of Christ is often found in a lad giving up his five loaves and two fishes; the widow simply pouring out the “little” oil she had on hand; the man putting forth his withered arm despite the scorn of the religious crowd; the woman breaking her prized alabaster box to worship Him lavishly.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”
It requires a humble heart to see the glory of God in humble things. It takes a pure heart, transformed by the power of Grace, to see His opportunities all around us. His wisdom is buried in the mysteries of our own children, in the circumstances which come our way at home, at work, and in the mundane things of life. The Parables of Jesus were drawn from everyday examples filled with the power of truth. Though many heard, few understood their import. Jesus spoke in parables for He saw His Father’s truth in them. To Him, this world was filled with the Face of His Father everywhere He looked. The proud and haughty hearts of men saw nothing, heard nothing, and therefore continued in their blindness of heart.
It is the heart that determines our seeing and hearing of God. It is the “renewing of our minds” whereby we are able to “know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God”! Without these changes, men may read the scriptures, pray, and do many religious things, but the power of transformation ever eludes them. Life itself becomes mediocre and pedantic.
Paul was one filled with the joy and anticipation of ever learning through the varied experiences of life. He declared that the heavens, creation, and the wonder of nature were resplendent with the evident hand of God. He found glory in His sufferings, weaknesses, and weariness through God’s power and strength. He declared with boundless joy:
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”
The humble heart sees God in the humble and simple things. The pure in heart behold His wisdom and hand in the things which beset them. Such things are learned by the Holy Spirit working within our hearts through the medium of obedience unto the purifying of our souls.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
1 Peter 1:22
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light…”
“The significance of this statement bears eternal repercussions. Its decree brings to every man the responsibility for his own growth and development in the call and the purposes of God”
– Brian Troxel
“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…”
Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of children and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.
If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question. It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than information with no spirit of awe or wonder.
Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth. Over time an image appears and each brush of color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.
“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report”
“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom
Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.
“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
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law”
Consider love as the ruling agent to all of our interaction with others…
We do not steal because it is offensive to Christ (first and foremost), besides being injurious to others it also brings dishonour to that glorious Name to whom we owe our life!
They who love with His Love cannot but seek to keep the commandments for His Love inspires us to treat others with the same grace He has treated us. “Love thinks no evil.” If we are held in the power of His Love I am not able conjure up or hold evil thoughts of others. They who have tasted of His love and forgiveness cannot and dare not hold unforgiveness towards another.
Where Love reigns so will the righteousness of Christ shine forth.
The “end” or the fulfillment of all the commandments of God are to bring us to this ONE END… The Love of God flowing out of a pure heart, lives lived in a clear and clean conscience and a living faith which is genuine and authentic.
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”
1 Timothy 1:5
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”
This is the first mention of grace in the scriptures. The grace Noah found produced a life that was radically obedient and pleasing unto the Lord. In the midst of a violent and lawless generation he alone stood true to do the works of God.
He is called in the New Testament a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) and is given to us as an example of what grace produces in the lives of those to whom it is given. His preaching was revealed in the life lived and in the work of his hands.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…”
The glory of Grace is we are not saved by good works, but we are saved unto good works; it is by grace His works shine forth! Grace is the provision of God for any life to make His wonder known in the earth.
Grace received will always culminate in our making Him known.
“If grace does not make us differ from other men, it is not the grace which God gives His elect”
“But working together, we also call on you not to receive the grace of God in vain”
2 Corinthians 6:1
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body…”
1 Corinthians 6:20
“Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his donkey; and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. He split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.”
“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.”
Benedict of Nursia
Only a humble heart can obey God. The proud and the stiff necked cannot obey Him. Obedience is the revelation of our growth into a purity of heart.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, untoobedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied”
1 Peter 1:2
The validity of our election through the power of His sanctifying grace will correspondingly be revealed in our growth “unto obedience”.
“Think for a moment how Jesus was at home among the things of His Father.
What was His place of prayer? Not the Temple, but the mountaintop.
Where does He find symbols whereby to speak of what goes on in the mind and before the face of His Father in heaven? Not in the Temple. Not in its rites, not on its altars, not in its Holy of Holies. Rather He finds them in the world and its lovely, lowly facts–on the roadside, in the field, in the vineyard, in the garden, in the house, in the family, and in the commonest of affairs: the lighting of the lamp, the leavening of the meal, the neighbors borrowing, the losing of a coin, the straying of a sheep.
See how He drives the devils from the souls and bodies of men, as we the wolves from our sheepfolds!
The World has for Him no chamber of terror. He walks to the door of the sepulcher, the sealed cellar of His Father’s house, and calls forth its four days dead. The roughest of the world’s servants do not make Him wince; none of them is so arrogant as to disobey Him. He falls asleep in the midst of the storm that threatens to swallow His boat. Hear how, on that same occasion, He rebukes His disciples! What, the children to tremble at a gust of wind in the house! God’s little ones afraid of a storm! Hear Him tell the watery floor to be still! See how the wandering creatures under it come at His call! See how the world’s water turns to wine! How its bread grows more bread at His word! See how He goes from the house for a while, and returning with fresh power, takes what shape He pleases, walks through its closed doors, and goes up and down its invisible stairs!
All His life He was among His Father’s things, either in heaven or in the world–not only when His parents found Him in the Temple at Jerusalem.
He is still among His Father’s things, everywhere about in the world, everywhere throughout the wide universe. Whatever He laid aside to come to us, to whatever limitations He stooped, He dealt with the things about Him in such a lordly, childlike manner as made it clear they were not strange to Him, but the things of His Father.
He claimed none of them as His own, would not have had one of them His except through His Father. Only as His Father’s could He enjoy them–only as coming forth from the Father, and full of the Father’s thought and nature. That the things were His Father’s made them precious things to Him. He had no care for having, as men count having.
All His having was in the Father.
To be lord of space, a man must be free from bonds to place. To be heir of all things, His heart must have no things in it. He must be like Him who makes things, not like one who would put everything in his pocket. He must stand on the upper, not the lower side of them. He must be as the man who makes poems, not the man who gathers books of verse…
Oh, for His liberty among the things of the Father! Only by knowing them as the things of our Father can we escape enslaving ourselves to them. Through the false, the infernal idea of having, of possessing them, make we them our tyrants, make the relation between them and us an evil thing.”
– George MacDonald from an article titled: “Jesus, Son in His Father’s House”
“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;
as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things“
2 Corinthians 6:10
In losing we gain, in giving we receive and in dying we live. In having Him we are free to let go of all other things. We are to be faithful to things He gives us as stewards and yet entirely free from their hold on us.