PODCAST – A Bible Study on the Church of the Laodiceans – Part Three. (Revelation 3:14-22)
Quote for Today
“Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground”
The foundation of spiritual discernment lies in the condition of our own hearts. If the fog and mists of deception cloud the verity of our own hearts the divine enablement to perceive error will be greatly diminished. True discernment will be as real and as sharp without as the objectivity with which we allow Him to examine our own heart. As we are honest within it allows us to have understanding and to see clearly the deception without. Purity of heart and freedom from our own agendas must be a reality in order for us to see peril in the lives of others. Obedience is God’s provision to free us from the contagion of self. It is there that presumption and delusion are met with the reality of our own condition. Those who never walk in the “faith” they hold live in a surreal world; their beliefs have never been challenged in the real world and the confidence of their standing in God is an illusion. Jesus sent out the disciples to walk in the substance of that which he gave them. It was in their actual handling of His life within the context of their own experiences that they learned their own inadequacy and their dependence on Him.
In our world today many Christians have not stepped out into the discovery of who Christ is in them. The knowledge about Him is not tempered by a life of obedience. It is a knowledge which is ethereal, unproven and conceptual. Lack of real and personal involvement in the things of the Son is in itself a deception that prevents the power of God from being revealed in the world around us. The deception of self is the greatest of all deceptions and requires diligence to prevent it.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.”
The Days of Vengeance
“For these be the days of vengeance,
that all things which are written may be fulfilled”
Our Obedience and God’s Judgments
“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience,
when your obedience is fulfilled”
2 Corinthians 10:6
Jesus responding to the questions of His disciples concerning His return declared…
“But as the days of Noah were,
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”
Our obedience must be fulfilled in order to release the judgment of God upon the children of disobedience. Just as the obedience of Noah released the judgment of God in His Day so must it be so in ours. Noah’s obedience was not only the catalyst which released God’s judgment on the earth, it was in fact also the very means of his deliverance. His completion of the work God gave him to accomplish was also God’s provision for him. May the Lord open our eyes to this essential truth for this hour.
“In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth,
the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife,
and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark…”
The flood commenced upon the earth WHEN Noah entered the Ark, which was the fulfillment of His obedience to God in his day. Such is the testimony of God concerning Noah…
“Thus did Noah;
according to ALL that God commanded him,
so did he”
Jesus said His return would be as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37); as Noah had his portion of obedience to fulfill so do we.
“Looking for and hasting*
unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless”
2 Peter 3:12-14
Note: * The exposition of the Greek Word translated “hasten”
“…the transitive meaning, hastening on; i.e., “causing the day of the Lord to come more quickly by helping to fulfill those conditions without which it cannot come; that day being no day inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it is free to the church to hasten on by faith and by prayer” Vincent Greek Word Studies
“So taken, the thought of the Apostle is that the “day of God” is not immutably fixed by a Divine decree, but may be accelerated by the readiness of His people or of mankind at large” Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
“The preposition “unto” is inserted without authority. The second participle σπεύδοντας is followed directly by the accusative, and is evidently transitive. In the Septuagint Version of Isaiah 16:5, σπεύδων δικαιοσύνην represents the “hasting righteousness” of our translation (comp. Pindar, ‘Isthm.,’ 5:22, where σπεύδειν ἀρετάν means “to pursue virtue”). Here the translation “hastening” is most appropriate. The Father hath put the times and seasons in his own power; but as the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, so now he is “long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish;” and in his gracious mercy waits for the repentance of his chosen. St. Peter seems to represent Christians as “hastening the coming [literally, ‘presence’] of the day of God” by working out their own salvation…” Pulpit Commentary
“Hasting unto.—There is no “unto” in the Greek. The margin is probably right, hasting the coming—i.e., hastening Christ’s coming by holy lives…” Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
Why is it men and women of faith have long seen and understood this truth, yet in our day the day of slumber, God’s people have no understanding that it is their walk, their lives and the holy expressions of the Christ within them functioning and ministering unto one another is what hastens His return. The return of the Lord is not a spectator event, it is one in which we are to be partakers and participants of His Glory. When will we awake out of our slumber to arise unto fulfilling our call in His appearing?
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil…”
This is why Jesus said…
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no,
not the angels which are in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father”
For Jesus is not only the seed which fell into the ground, He is also the harvest: HE Himself is the precious fruit of the earth in the lives of His people. God is returning for the harvest of a pure and holy people!
“Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until HE receive the early and latter rain”
Please consider the HE in this verse that we may understand the intent of God in this hour.
His Body is involved in HIS return. Let us take heed in this hour!
“…he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame”
The Present Truth
“…be established in the present truth”
2 Peter 1:12
The great exhortation to the people of God in the Book of Hebrews is as true and valid today as ever “and so much more as we see the DAY approaching”.
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith,
TODAY if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts…)”
The Word of God is ever TODAY! Many declare there is a word coming, there is a day coming. This is true but if the WORD today is not mingled with the obedience of faith the word tomorrow will be of no profit.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them:
but the word preached did not profit them,
not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
It is not in our hearing/knowing the truth preached but in our doing of it that we benefit by the power of His Life within us (see James 1:23-25). The Scribes and the Pharisees had knowledge of the day of the Messiah yet they could not “see” Him standing, speaking and doing the works of God in their midst.
“But exhort one another DAILY,
while it is called TODAY;
lest any of you be hardened…”
“And let us consider one another
to provoke unto love and to good works:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”
The “present truth” of the living Christ carries the strong exhortation “while it is called today”! The deception and folly of religion today is the absence of strong exhortation. People only want to hear good and pleasant things; things that make them feel comfortable in their relationship with God. We want to hear His promises without the corresponding obedience by which the confidence in God becomes ours. This is a generation who wants constant affirmation of their standing in God, but it is only through the medium of obedience that the true confidence of knowing Him is experienced.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing”
Whenever and wherever the people of God distance themselves from the daily exhortation to walk and be established in the present truth of God know that deception, hardness of heart and the folly of religion has replaced the fire of God burning within the human heart.
Let us give all diligence to walk in the present truth of growing and exhorting one another unto “love and good works”.
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
be diligent that ye may be found of him
in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
“Now is the dwelling place of God himself”
— Thomas Raymond Kelly
Note: The Present Truth Parts 3 – 5 were written as one writing and are best read as such. The last three parts were divided for the sake of brevity only.
The Present Truth
“…be established in the present truth”
2 Peter 1:12
What was the “present truth” of which Peter speaks? The “present truth” is revealed in the context of the above scripture. Being established in the “present truth” is not a teaching or an acknowledgment of the scriptures; it is a life of interaction with Him who is the truth. It can only be known by the wonder of our participation in its work of bringing us to a life of authenticity. “Present truth” requires diligence and effort. It requires communion, prayer and discipline to discover the mystery of drawing from Him (the vine) the divine enablement to grow by the miracle of His Life in us. The context of the “Present Truth” scripture being the following exhortation…
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 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 1:5-8
Read this chapter in its context to grasp the significance of what the present truth is.
It is as we add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance…patience… godliness… brotherly kindness… God’s love that we “make our calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). These graces are the evidence of the I AM becoming our I AM experience. The adding of these things to our faith is simply the expression of living and growing in Christ daily; the “now” life being lived through the “faith OF Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
Doing of truth in our daily lives is the only way to come to the greater light of His Life within us.
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light”
We are exhorted in the scriptures concerning “Today” in our relationship with Him.
“And Joshua said unto the people,
Sanctify yourselves (today):
the Lord will do wonders among you”
The sanctifying of the people today was the present truth which would result in the tomorrow of God’s wonders. The religious of today wants God’s movings while ignoring the sanctifying truth of today!
“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”
It is in our “having done all” today whereby we will be able to stand in the evil day of tomorrow. The careless and unenlightened ones forfeit the opportunities of obedience today which is the requirement to be clothed in Him tomorrow. The lamps of the foolish virgins went out because of their casual indifference to the truth and importance of TODAY.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day”
2 Timothy 4:7-8
The confident “henceforth” declaration of Paul was because he had (past tense) “fought the good fight” and had “finished his course” in God. He had been faithful to keep his faith active and alive in his daily life. His confidence was born of obedience to the I AM.
They who have the true understanding of the time in which we live know the significance of walking in the “Present Truth”.
“Men that had understanding of the times.”
1 Chr. 12:32
“I cannot doubt that this sentence, like every sentence in Scripture was written for our learning. These men of Issachar are set before us as a pattern to be imitated, and an example to be followed, for it is a most important thing to understand the times in which we live, and to understand what those times require”
― J.C. Ryle
– Continued in Part Five –
Thought for Today
Redeeming the Time
“For John was not yet cast into prison”
John did not know what lay before him. The verse preceding this one tells us “and John also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim…”. He was active and occupied with doing the will of God. Time is deceitful; its passage is swift and determined. There is never a moment like the present to be about our Father’s will. Slumber and apathy are thieves of the religious. The slothful one betrays their own heart with whispers of tomorrow or another day.
Just as John did not know what lay before him, neither do we. This precious gift of life is only available to us today; it is in making the most of each day that we experience the fullness of His call and purpose. The Son knew His time and filled it to the full in doing and being about His Father’s business. John testifies of the Son at the close of his Gospel:
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
the which, if they should be written every one,
I suppose that even the world itself
could not contain the books that should be written”
How can we who claim to hold Him in our hearts be unlike the One who in 33 years accomplished so much? Even at the age of twelve Jesus was engaged in the will of His Father.
“He said to them,
“Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must
be doing the works of my Father?”
Is it possible that we have muted the voice of the Father by the busyness of the world, the cares of this life and the religious attitudes of not being ready or worthy?
“And the one having been sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the care of this present age and the deceit of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” Matthew 13:22
“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
Quote of the Day
Then and Now
Slumber and the Spirit of God
“And he awoke out of his sleep, and said,
I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself.
And he knew not that the LORD was departed from him”
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference”
Thought for Today?
Who is Wise?
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
God given wisdom is anchored in righteousness and the fear of the Lord. Those who are wise, have a fear of the Lord as they walk and seek to understand the true righteousness of God. The wisdom of God causes His people to shine in the brightness of His countenance. It is the truly wise who understand the consequences of sin and righteousness knowing that in Him all their actions are weighed. The foolish do not consider the wages of sin; they walk lightly and carelessly. They forget that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” and give an account for all the things we have done (1 Corinthians 5:10). Their lack of understanding produces wrong thinking, wrong living, and consequently, unholy lives.
The wise shine forth His counsel and righteousness for it is in the ministration of wisdom that others are made wise. It is in the speaking and the living with a true understanding of “the holy” (Proverbs 9:10) that others are turned to righteousness. There are many who preach forgiveness, acceptance and grace but do so at the expense of righteousness. It is in the preaching of righteousness that men and women seek God for mercy and forgiveness! There can be no true and earnest desire for mercy except there be a revelation of the righteousness of God. A penitent heart is one who has been impacted by the holiness of God.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” Acts 2:37-38
It is the preaching of righteousness in the power of the Holy Spirit that “turns” people to righteousness. The preaching of grace and forgiveness apart from the ministration of God’s righteousness is an absurdity.
“The depth of our repentance
will determine the depth of our revival”
The reason for the dearth of holy zeal, passion and fervency of spirit is because we have not seen the enormity of our sins! For they who are forgiven much love much. Lukewarm hearts, apathetic lives and lethargic living in His people is the fruit of those who have forgotten or have never known the extent of their transgressions.
They who are wise preach righteousness
for they love Him who is righteous.
“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. 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. 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 1:5-9
The foolish lack diligence, virtue, knowledge, temperance and all the above qualities of the character of Christ because they have become blind through forgetfulness of how much they have been forgiven.
They who are alive in Christ walk in the wisdom of God and live for the sole purpose of preaching Christ and His righteousness.
THE CONSECRATED LIFE
EXCERPT FROM COMING BOOK
The Blood Sanctifies our Walk
“…and Moses took of the blood of it,
and put it upon …
the great toe of his right foot”
Those who pursue the consecrated life know deep within their hearts this one truth: to be chosen by God requires a walking in His ways and a forsaking of their own. The consecrated life is a life chosen by God*(see Note). It is a life which has been “set” as a jewel in the Ephod of the High Priest. No one takes this honor upon one’s self; it is the result of God’s call and our obedience. It is a life chosen by God as a consequence of being faithful to Him and loving Him to such an extent as to walk in His Ways and to do of His good pleasure.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord,
who hath enabled me,
for that he counted me faithful,
putting me into the ministry”
1 Timothy 1:12
It was God who “set” Paul into the ministration of the risen Christ; not because he had Bible school credentials but because God found him faithful. It is here that we must avail ourselves of His grace, for faithfulness is measured in the walking and choosing of His ways over our own. The Blood applied to the right toe signifies a sanctified walk in which we are “set apart” for His service and His ways. The Blood speaks of far more than a doctrinal setting apart; it is in itself the power and the divine enablement to do so. The Life of Christ in the Blood is ever to this one end; to cause a child of God to become in all ways like the One whose nature we have received.
“But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God”
The glory of the New Covenant is not one of adherence to a teaching. It is in the power of the Living Christ so dwelling in us that we become sons of God! It is in our daily drinking of Him and eating of Him that He is assimilated into our very being and His Life becomes our life. The result is something far deeper than an outward imitation or observance which will always leave men and women falling short of the true, authentic life of Jesus. Hypocrisy is always the result of desiring to live rightly without the inward reality of His Life. Teaching, as necessary and good as it is, must culminate in the acquisition of the Life of the Son. Ministry, which does not press the hearers into their own encounter with Him who is the Life, will leave them bereft of the power and validity of it.
“Even the Spirit of truth;
whom the world cannot receive,
because it seeth him not,
neither knoweth him: but ye know him;
for he dwelleth with you, and shall be IN you”
God, revealed in the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Spirit of Truth, was not meant to dwell with His people but rather to dwell within them. While Jesus walked this earth God’s revelation was Emanuel (God with us) but by His death and resurrection He is now in us and we are made partakers of His Nature. The glory of the New Covenant is that we (by grace) are given power to live and walk by a new and living way, “Christ in us, the Hope of Glory”. He is our Hope, He is our strength and in Him we can walk uprightly by a living faith that draws from His veins the Life of God Himself.
The Blood has not only purchased our forgiveness but has brought us into the realm of His Life and Grace. Those who are consecrated as revealed in the Blood being applied to the “big toe” must walk in His ways. The power of the Blood is our access to His life and grace. Therefore the glory of the Gospel is not just His forgiveness but also the partaking of His nature.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory”
Appearing with Him in Glory is the result of Christ being our life. It is not a believing on Him it is a believing into Him.
*NOTE While there are several Hebrew words translated “consecration” the one which refers to the setting of Aaron (and his sons) into the priesthood of the Old covenant is revealing in terms of it speaking directly of God choosing men rather than man choosing God. It is the same Hebrew word used to describe the cut and polished precious stones being “set” into the priestly ephod (Ex 25:7, Ex 35:9, Ex 35:27, 1 Chr 29:2) The setting in of these stones was based upon a finished work of the craftsman. God sets those who are faithful, compliant and obedient into places of ministry unto Him. No man takes this honor unto himself; it is the result of God’s choosing and our faithfulness (1Timothy 1:12 and 2Timothy 2:21)
Total KJV Occurrences: 15
Ex 29:22, Ex 29:26-27 (2), Ex 29:31, Lev 8:22, Lev 8:29, Lev 8:33
Ex 29:33-34 (2), Lev 7:37, Lev 8:28, Lev 8:31
Ex 25:7, Ex 35:9, Ex 35:27, 1 Chr 29:2
In the instances where this Hebrew word is used it is only translated either in the consecration of the High Priest and his sons or in the precious stones being set in the Ephod. This speaks of God ordaining the vessel which will minister unto Him. Many are called to such a place but few there be that are chosen. The truth of this is revealed in the New Covenant; “many are called; few are chosen”. The Greek used in the corresponding scripture reads:
πολλοί γαρ εισι κλητοί ολίγοι δε εκλεκτοί
For many are called, but few are chosen
For many are called, few are selected
Peter goes on to say…
“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
It is by our diligence to do the will of God that we make our call and election sure. Being called is the beginning of our salvation. We are constantly reminded in the New Testament to “Press toward the mark”, “Let us go on to perfection…” The Call of God is to righteousness, purity of heart and holiness without which no man shall see God. Men and women who linger in a passive and apathetic approach to God will suffer grave consequences now and in the life to come. The Call of God goes forth to all creation. His heart is such that none should perish. In the Book of Revelation the voice of God calls out to His own to come out of Babylon lest they partake of her judgements and her plagues. If His people partake of her sins they will surely partake of His judgements. The Blood will not circumvent a disobedient life.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues”
A Blood washed life cannot linger in the sins of the world. A Blood washed life is one that keeps the way of the Lord and will not walk in the way of sinners nor stand in the council of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1). It is the faithfulness of our daily walk that makes our “calling and election sure”.